• The Infractions Forum is available for public view. Please note that if you have been suspended you will need to open a private/incognito browser window to view it.

[online 10:30 UTC Fridays] "Flat Black" serial rationalised planetary romance (sci-fi)


All out of spoons
RPGnet Member
Validated User
After a long hiatus from role-playing, I’m planning to kick off a new campaign soon, which I will run by way of Facetime video chat from 8:30 PM to about 11:30 PM or midnight on Fridays, Australian Eastern Time¹. So far the only person signed up to play a character is my old friend Paul, who has played a a few games in the proposed setting over the years, but who is not a not a veteran of the long run of early campaigns. I’d be happy to recruit another keen player or two, but I don’t have high hopes of the schedule (which is dictated by our time-zone and Paul’s commitments for work, family, and other hobbies) attracting anyone, so it’s probably going to be a one-on-one.

+ Genre

Serial rationalised planetary romance.​
Planetary romance is a subgenre of science fiction in which the bulk of the action consists of adventures on one or more exotic alien planets, characterised by distinctive physical and cultural backgrounds. Rationalised planetary romances lack the science-fantasy elements that are common in other planetary romances, and take place against the background of a future culture where travel between worlds by spaceship is commonplace. But travel and naval adventure in space are not the the focus of planetary romance. It is adventures on the exotic alien planets that are the focus of the story.​
This campaign will be a series of largely unconnected adventures. In each adventure the PCs will come as outsiders to one of the 1,000 inhabited worlds in the setting, with a job to do, a task to accomplish. This will bring them into contact with the bizarre society and culture of the inhabitants of the world, which will at first be an obstacle to the PCs’ mission, but which may be circumvented or even turned to advantage.​
Adventures will all contain significant elements of​
  1. finding out and figuring out what is going on
  2. and then doing something about it.
But the PC or PCs will not have the responsibility, right, or resources to address large-scale social or humanitarian problems on the worlds that he or they visit.​
I aim to produce a varied diet of action, adventure, suspense, mystery, combat, and drama, mixing up the usual stealth & slaughter with chases, races, infiltrations, exfiltrations, dialogue, impersonations, dissimulations, surveillance, and stalking. The focus will not be on combat or tactics, but violence will be an option both for PCs and their antagonists.​

+ Setting

The campaign will be set in my perennial SF setting Flat Black. Designed in 1987 to support serial rationalised planetary romance, Flat Black features a thousand largely independent and rather isolated worlds separated by weeks of travel time, in a matrix where the Empire exerts an effective monopoly on interstellar travel but has few powers over the worlds themselves.​

+ Premise

The player character or player characters will be "effectives"² working for some sort of interstellar non-government organisation, perhaps as troubleshooters, perhaps as secret operators, perhaps sometimes as one and sometimes as the other. They will not have official authority nor official duties. They will be involved in unofficial investigations of thefts and missing-persons, hostage rescue, object recovery, a bit of espionage sometimes, counter-espionage sometimes, and sometimes subversion of government and non-government agencies, but seldom if ever tasked explicitly with assassination.​
It is as yet undecided whether the PC or PCs will be working for an NGO that has or that lacks a grand political agenda. I think Paul would like a look at the political skulduggery that is going on as the new worlds in the Fringe become self-governing and appoint their Imperial senators. I’d slightly prefer that the PCs be effectives of a politically neutral NGO such as the Reporters’ Guild, Human Heritage etc. That’s subject to discussion.​

+ Tone & Content
TV content rating: M 15+ : for mature audiences.
• I won’t emphasis the brutal, but there will be violence and its effects may sometimes be graphic.​
• There will likely be some bawdy content. Sexual incident will likely occur from time to time; it will be mentioned explicitly but fleetingly, not described graphically.​
• There will be anthropological content, including character nudity and bizarre social conduct.​
Warning: colourful Australian turns of phrase.​

+ Game system

I will probably run this game using ForeSight, a 1980s-style SF RPG based on Victory Games’ James Bond 007, SPI’s Universe, and SPI’s Commando, though that is subject to discussion. A Fate or Gumshoe hack ought to be suitable, but I don’t have the hang of them.​
+ Participants

So far I have one fellow signed up to play, and I expect that this will end up a one-on-one campaign. But if you’re interested despite the time-zone, let me know.​
¹ AET is AEDT (UTC+11:00) until 2019-04-07 (i.e. for the next three Fridays) then daylight saving ends and it will be AEST (UTC+10:00) until October. Daylight Saving is not really terribly convenient for co-ordinating people who live in different jurisdictions.

² "Effective" covers a range of duties in the field variously covering the ideas of "troubleshooter", "field agent", "private detective", and "clandestine operator". Effectives may work permanently for NGOS or private firms, or be free-lances; the term excludes government officials. Effectives are contrasted with spies in that their duties emphasise effecting changes to a situation rather than gathering information. Effectives have to be usually less violent and more subtle than special operators because they lack a military mandate.
Last edited:


All out of spoons
RPGnet Member
Validated User
I have three character-players signed up now, and that seems like the right number. So this campaign is now fully staffed and recruitment is closed.
Top Bottom