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The Alternate History One-Shot Contest

Previously posted on Story Games...

I currently need to design an awesome alternate history one-shot to run at Go Play Northwest. Despite the fact that I've got a file full of alternate history ideas, I kind of want to mix it up a bit and also find out what other people think is interested. So I propose this: let me know what alternate/awesome-ized/lasersharked peice of history you'd like to see as the kernel of a one-shot. I'll pick one that sparks my enthusiasm, write the adventure, run it at Go Play NW, and send you a copy.

Here are some more guidelines:
What I need for an entry:

An obscure historical figure you think is awesome and/or

A real historical person or event and idea of how to lasershark it and/or

A real historical person or event and an idea of how to aweseom-o-fy it and/or

A wild macguffing dropped into a historical setting

The setting for Mathematica is rennaisance Europe, but I'm willing to consider ideas in other settings and times (I can just use TSOY for them if they're not appropriate for Mathematica).

You don't need to be intimate with Mathematica, but here's the quick pitch if you're interested:

Mathematica is a game about the war of ideas set in renaissance Europe. But in this renaissance Europe, ideas are made starkly incarnate. This is a world where we might see Michelangelo building giant clockwork war machines, Machiavelli training eldritch doppelganger assassins, or Sir Francis Drake on a daring journey to Avalon to consult with Merlin. It's also a world about epic conflict: the Old Church against the upstart reformers, city states struggling for independence against central powers, threats of foreign invasion, the light of science against the dark of superstition (or vice versa).


I read a short alternate history story recently in which the premise really seemed interesting and, for you, might be useful for a game. It's the beginning of the Dark Ages (approx. 450 AD) and someone in the British Isles has created a volatile mixture of Saltpetre, Redwood Charcoal and Sulphur (aka gunpowder)... and another person has used this powder in a spear-like tube to fire forth projectiles (aka fire lances). Most people believe the world is going to end in the year 500 (the timetable Hippolytus constructed was still believed). What would the powers-that-be, still in upheaval after the fall of Rome, do to prevent these inventions from being used... and hopefully preventing the end of the world in a mere 50 years time.

Don't know if this is something you could use, but it seems interesting to me.

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