This post I pulled from the session notes of a game of The Quiet Year I ran sometime early last tyear - right before lockdown started, I believe. We just about got to the end of Summer, but never picked back up for a second session. The screenshot we took of the map is likely lost, and the notes weren't edited or touched up from when I wrote them. As it's been over a year and a half since I ran / played in this, my
memories of it are a bit foggy. But, it was quite a bit of fun and a
nice change of pace, I'd certainly recommend it to people who want an
easy game night or two or something different.
A Quiet Year in the Worst Year
Players: Dan, Tal, Abe, Mike
Terrain: Giant mushroom swamp
- Big rusting metal factory-skeleton
- Giant tar pits
- Swamp strider breeding grounds (sacks on the underside of mushrooms)
- half-sunken stone statue (huge)
- Fresh water - Abundant (water filter)
- Snowbank stem spore (religious / medicinal) - Scarcity
- Tar-oil (refined) fuel (religious / energy) - Scarcity
- Protection - Abundant (striders)
- Crops - Abundant (floating farms)
- Trade goods - Abundant (Nomads)
- Medicine - Abundance
- Population - Stable
- Working computer
- Tar Altar
- Tamed Swamp Striders
A stilt village, belching thick black smoke.
Religious significance to the gathering groups?
Scouts found a computer in the wreckage of the factory. They haul it home, start a project to get old computer running via a nonsense diesel-generator (6)
An ancient man-made structure - a sports stadium, which was abandoned a long time ago after a brief time for pit fights. A discussion is held about migrating to the stadium on dry land, better protection - only the old really remember it now. Young vs old discussion, factions begin to form.
A new person emerges: someone emerges from the depths of the factory, mad old, possibly a worker or resident. Folks are unsure if he is friendly, but he has technical know-how (gets computer up and running). Stadium guys like him, elders are slower to trust. Start project to cultivate swampland for crops (aztec floating crops 6)
Young woman introduces a scheme to found the tar cult and project to build altar (3). Elsewhere, folks decide to start taming the swamp striders (6)
Old Factory Man confesses that he helped the old warlords maintain and run the blood sports in the stadium. The elders can't overcome their memories of the Fall, and the community is split (project: youth faction moves to stadium)
There are predators here: crocodiles with a boarlike build, very smart, we are not safe. Discussion is held: do we want to split projects between factions? Compy (Y) Crops (E) Altar (Y) Striders (?) Move (Y)
Normally it is the elders who have the greater social sway leading their people in fungal religious ceremonies (enter + age & shroom vision quest), but the youth/stadium faction is led by the tar dippers and their new cult (work as a tar-dipper / tar baptism). A new sickness has emerged, and it's putting people out of commission. Not deadly, but the mushrooms do nothing.
The oldest members of the community are ungodly old - they need the shrooms to stay alive, though they don't get youth. Oldest is 150- 200+. Cordyceps mummies. Some of them just couldn't migrate, and refused to move. Some have grown in place. Q: Who is really in power? The altar, the computer, and the sickness precipitate the move. This is the split. The Elders have lost almost all of their support. They will remain in the stilt village with some of the harvesters. The Move is underway!
We have moved to the stadium! We moved our food supply there, but there are swamp rats everywhere. Begin Event: sacrifice to the tar god to solidify the food supplies.
An omen appears! It's a bad one - the sickness hasn't let up, and those who went to visit the elders were given a vision of the stadium filled with corpses. Discovery: The statue is a machine, and it's possible to get inside.
Old Factory Man is telling all sorts of crazy tales about a curse on those who go inside the statue/Titan, painful death, all bad things, and fools are always going inside looking for treasure. Only one emerged, a warlord who ran the bloodsports. Went in a good man, came out changed. Project: The Young Woman begins formalizing the tar cult - the dreaming tar god and its other aspects, commission a work, assigning societal roles (More tar = more blessed, work is less meaningful in status)(6)
The champion of a week-long tourney is a sacrifice - fight to become the sacrifice. Contests of strength. Actually helps stabilize and maintain the peace. It's a safety valve on violence. Discovery: The arrival of a prophet with more tar than all others - preaches long submersion with the tar god.
The most beautiful thing is a species of fungus that tethers itself with a stalk and rises up like a huge, multicolored balloon. Project: Setting up a rain collection and filtration system (3)
The sickness suddenly gets really bad - the first person has died of the cough, drowned on their own mucus. Is it connected to the tar? Our own version of black lung? Discovery: A nomad band has set up camp nearby.
The unbaptised rice farmers burnt the food stored in the stadium as protest against their treatment, so they now have control over the entire food supply. They begin a project: start food cartel (2)
An abundance! Trade goods from the nomads! Project: Explore the factory, lead by the Old Factory man (1)
Project: A band of strider-riders is trained as a militia (4) Discovery: Bright lights seen within factory Rice farmers now have the Computer and their cartel. Factory expedition returns.
The eldest among us is very ill from swamplung, we need to find a cure. Project: Distill medicine from the striders, as the riders have been immune (2)
A project finishes early! A breakthrough with the strider medicine, thanks to the wisdom of the old elders. Discovery: The prophet have recruited some farmers kicked out of cartel and is going into the Titan. The Tar Cult is formalized.
A scarcity! The tar is running out! Question: How does the lowering tar affect society? People revert to shrooms, people blame the prophet, rationing and control by the Young Woman and the cartel, apostasy, cutting down on usage as fuel and fire, hoarded by the cult lodge. Ceremonies, once bright and fiery, are now cold and dark.
Project: Secret apostates and the Cartel are working on a Code of Laws (6) Discovery: the rice farmers who went in with the prophet have returned, dead. The prophet is nowhere to be found. Bodies are filled with tar.
A foolish project begins: frustrated farmers left out of the cult and cartel want to try and stage a coup (2). Project: Big symbolic wedding plans between major families of the swampfolks and nomads to help with population (1). The militia is complete.
Summer is fleeting. Discovery: Prophet in a blob of tar emerges from Titan with message, speaks of the old law that those who emerge have gained Kingship. Old man will support this. Discovery: A tunnel to what is below the factory has been revealed. Wedding has gone off without a hitch.
Outsiders arrive, colonists from a far-off land who believe in love, pleasure and fertility. Carnival / circus vibe. They are received with open arms et al. About 40 of them arrive. Project: The apostates gear up for an expedition to the Titan (1).
I should run this again some time, do a full game of it.