[Play By Post] A Quiet-ish Year for a Whole Year

Hey friends. I love The Quiet Year, which is a game that plays out one week at a time as you draw cards and collaboratively tell the story of a community.

I also love its hacks like Anomaly, which we’ve also played on the forums before:

What is The Quiet Year?

The broad pitch on the Quiet Year (the original game at least) is that as a group you’re collaboratively telling the story of a community. You don’t have a specific character, you’re just operating as an author. On your turn, you might tell things from the perspective of a certain character or group. But that changes from turn to turn, you’re encouraged to hop around and not stick too much to one character.

These games don’t all match to that entirely but it’s the foundation of the original game.

Friends at the Table played The Quiet Year for Marielda. It’s a good way to get a sense of the game, and doesn’t require knowledge of the previous season (even if they allude to things).

Friends at the Table: Marielda 01: The City of Light Pt. 1
Friends at the Table: Marielda 02: The City of Light Pt. 2

There are other Quiet Year hacks with different flavours, settings, tones but following the core concept of a year playing out with weeks as a turn while you draw cards from a deck. So I thought a fun idea for the forum would be:
We play a Quiet Year-like game in real time.
Each turn takes a week, we only draw the next card when the current week is over.

Previous forum games have had a slow pace and they unfold over time, so I like the idea of leaning into that and really feeling the time and seasons go as we play.

Player Expectations

A year is long and real life happens. I don’t expect anyone to commit 100% to being around for a full year. If anyone needs to drop out, or can’t start playing until June, then that’s fine! A player can even drop out for months only to rejoin the game again when they have the bandwidth. We’ll keep the turns going with whatever set of players we have at a given moment.

The game’s first turn would be the start of January, though through December we will do some pre-game set up. Exactly what that is depends on which game we end up choosing, and will be more free-form than the turn based weeks we’ll get to at the start of next year.

While participating, players are not expected to post very much, nor are they expected to make long posts. In fact, shorter and snappier is easier for people to read (especially when refreshing their memory on the previous turns).

When it’s a player’s turn they can post any time and day, as long as they’re able to finish their turn by the end of the week. If they’re having a busy week, a brief update to say when/if their post is coming would be helpful.

I’ll check in with a player if we’ve heard nothing by midweek, just to make sure that nobody is stuck rushing to finish a turn at last minute. We can pass a player’s turn to someone else and have the original player step back in during a future turn.

When it’s not a player’s turn, they may need to occasionally take part in other actions, depending on the specific game we play. The players will be tagged if this is happening, so they have decent notice.

Safety Tools: Lines, Veils and the X card

The normal rules of the forums all apply and should be respected. In addition, we’ll also be playing using some tools to help manage any material that a player wouldn’t want to engage with in the game.

Lines are any topic, idea or theme that a player or GM does not want in their game. It will not appear on screen, in back story or in allusion. It is wholly absent.
This could be a phobia, a trigger or even a source of discomfort. No-one needs to explain why something is a line, the table needs to accept it unquestionably. You can’t ask someone to elaborate or remove a line, they’ve brought it forward for a reason. If someone wants to explain their reasoning, that is fine of course. But it shouldn’t be asked for.

Veils are similar to lines except that the player is ok with them happening off screen, but never described or depicted. Someone’s veil may be sexual content, in which case you could refer or allude to it. But there would never be any sexual content on screen. As above, anything can be a veil and you must accept it, not question it.

The X card is a reactive tool, resented by the :x: emoji. You can use it in response to any content you would like to hit the brakes on.
As soon as the X card is invoked, play should pause until the matter is resolved. The person incoming the card can then detail what they responded to specifically (if clarification is needed)
It is OK to request clarification if you’re unsure, but if the invoker isn’t comfortable going into detail, then try to roll back from that post and go in a new direction.
If the invoker wants, they can request what action to take, eg. deleting/editing the post they responded to or making a new post that continues but is mindful of their concern.
It could be worth adding a new line or veil to avoid repeating the same issue if it seems appropriate.

With all of the above, you can post them at any time before or during the game. You can also use the form linked below if you prefer to be anonymous for any reason.

Safety of the whole table is the highest priority, so all of these tools should be respected and followed above all else. If any of these tools delays play, we’ll continue holding the game to ensure the matter’s fully resolved before continuing.

Here’s an anonymous form to flag things through if you’d rather not do it publicly.

So What Game Are We Playing?

Despite the topic title, I thought it’d be fun to play a game that’s a hack of the Quiet Year. After asking for suggestions in the discord I got many, and whittled it down to these three options:

Please vote for which interest you the most (you can vote for multiple)

  • The Deep Forest
  • Twilight Song
  • The Land Whispers

0 voters

If a clear winner seems to come through, I’ll call the poll so we can talk pre-game prep.

The things I’d like anyone interested to do for now are:

  1. Reply here highlighting your interest (even if you’re unsure when/how much you might be available)
  2. Vote on which game we play
  3. Flag lines or veils if there are any you want to introduce

And feel free to post any other suggestions/questions about the game! Excited to play a year long game with folks. :slight_smile:

EDIT 06/03/2021:

Our current list of players in turn order: (feel free to request to join if you find this later!)

  1. SuperBiasedGary
  2. Forrest
  3. Homemade_Pizza
  4. Jkim
  5. NotThePars
  6. shokster826
  7. Wazanator
  8. epigraph
  9. aluketothepast

Want to join when free:

  1. Rupa
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I would love to play!

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Yeah, this sounds really cool.

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Don’t know how much time I would have available but I’m certainly interested in all three base premises to one degree or another went with twilight song cause it hits that hurts in a prescient way space that I’m always up for

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Regardless of availability, feel free to join in when you can. Even if some people just want to join for set up discussion and then drop out to just read the weekly turns, that’s still good with me :+1:

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This sounds cool! I’m in even if I don’t understand it yet.

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I’m in! I’ve never been able to get a game of the Quiet Year together, and this sounds like a super fun way to play.

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So I read the page but I’m not still 100% clear but I’m getting some king of dragon pass vibes. Are we like the village council essentially voting on what to do based on events that occur?

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I love the deliberately slow pace (since I’ve never done these due to a wildly unpredictable real life schedule). I’d love to contribute where I can.

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The broad pitch on the Quiet Year (the original game at least) is that as a group you’re collaboratively telling the story of a community. You don’t have a specific character, you’re just operating as an author. On your turn, you might tell things from the perspective of a certain character or group. But that changes from turn to turn, you’re encouraged to hop around and not stick too much to one character.

These games don’t all match to that entirely but it’s the foundation of the original game.

Friends at the Table played The Quiet Year for Marielda. It’s a good way to get a sense of the game, and doesn’t require knowledge of the previous season (even if they allude to things).


I’ll add the above to the first post too.

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This is an awesome idea, I love it!!
I would really like to participate at some point, I think the beginning/set-up might be hard for me to participate in, so maybe sometime in February or if somebody has to tap out I would be happy to join :slight_smile:

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Thanks everyone for your interest so far! Just to tally the current situation, Twilight Song is currently the most popular result but I’ll leave it til Monday to declare a poll winner.

So far, our list of players are:

  • Forrest
  • Homemade_Pizza
  • Jkim
  • NotThePars
  • shokster826
  • Wazanator
  • epigraph

Want to join when free:

  • Rupa

The first list is anyone who said they’d be interested, even if they might not yet be free from the start. I’m keeping the second list for people who explicitly flag that they don’t want to do the start but do want to join. Feel free to clarify at any point if you think I should move you from one spot to another. :+1:

And @aluketothepast voted in the poll, if you’d like to also participate let us know and if you’d be joining, whether that’ll from the start or later on.

Lastly, a note about the games. I’d like everyone to have a copy of the PDF for whichever one we pick so they can see the full content of the rules. No need to worry about getting one until we have the game picked. But if anyone has tight funds and couldn’t afford the paid ones, they have “Community Copies” available that can be taken for free. I’m happy to also buy additional copies for anyone who needs, feel free to DM me about it!

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Sorry for not replying earlier, I’m super excited about this! The Quiet Year is one of my favorite ttrpgs, so playing a game with the waypoint community sounds amazing. I don’t have any lines or veils to add, and should be available most of the time. Thanks for setting this up @SuperBiasedMan!

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Looks like we’ll be playing Twilight Song! Everyone should get a copy of the game from here:

Feel free to DM me if you want to request a copy.

For now, it’d be good for people to read Parts 1 and 2 for us to do set up.
Part 1 establishes some broader stuff about the game and tone.
Part 2 goes through the actual steps of worldbuilding. I’ll be posting through step by step, but it’d be good to have an idea of the whole process.

Part 4 is short and would be useful bonus reading because it has some touchstones as well as notes about alternate rules. Notably, this section:

Weird, Wild Worlds

A normal game of Twilight Song starts in a world approximately like our own, around a generation or two after our present time, with some stranger fantasy or sci-fi elements around the edges and in the shadows. Those elements may become more prominent or everyday as the story goes on. You should use the first two years, and the Years Between, to establish how much the world you’re creating is like our own, and change it from there.

However, you can also begin from a much stranger starting point, such as a colony on an alien planet, a fantasy world through an old wardrobe, or an ever expanding far-future mega-city. If you want to play in a world like that, then discuss it with your everyone during setup. If you play in an unusual setting you may need to creatively interpret some oracle prompts.

I’m open to either the idea of starting close to our current world or creating a more unusual setting. If anyone has thoughts on this, then post away! If/when we need to decide on this, I’ll make a poll with the suggestions offered.

Lastly Part 3 is where the rules for turn based play are. Everyone will need to read this too, but we’re not starting turns until January so don’t worry about it too much. I’ll be explaining rules as they come up then.

The main thing to know for now is the overall feel of the game, and I’ll kickstart each part of the set up process for us in this thread.

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Humanity thought they would go on growing, building forever into the bright blue sky. Now they know that’s not true, but they’re left with this: a twilight time of peace. All the time they need to live well, see children and grandchildren grow up, and understand the new world rising to take their place. When dawn comes, they may have vanished—or made a new place for themselves in the new light of day. For now, in these years, there is an opportunity to be together.

Who are you, then? You live alongside humanity, but you’re different—immortal. Maybe you’re a lab-grown or artificially-intelligent child of humanity, or perhaps you’re something older or stranger that came out of the dark into the twilight. You live like them and with them, but time doesn’t draw the same lines on your face. You’re a chronicler, guide, witness, explorer, friend—this is your own immortal life to live as you see fit.

Our first step in determining who we are as the narrator is to each suggest a “Routine” for the narrator. A routine could be a tradition, a hobby, an everyday ritual. It is something that the narrator does (or has done) with some regularity.

My suggestion for our first routine is:
Send a letter to a stranger.

There’s no time limit on this, so when you think of an idea, post it. The book says everyone should have one, but we have a lot of players, so if you’re stuck on an idea, don’t worry about it.

Afterwards we will need to pick one of these routines to be one that our narrator has kept up, so once we have 4-5 Routines, I’ll check in with anyone who hasn’t written one before setting up a poll to choose which Routine has been kept up.

We also need to decide on the pronouns of our narrator. Does anyone have strong feelings on this? Again, anyone with thoughts can suggest things and we can use a poll if we need to decide from multiple options.

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It took me a couple of days to properly wrap my brain around this, but now I get it. My suggestion for our first routine is:

Count something – I’m not sure if it’s something specific, like people or sheep or sunflowers, or that the routine itself is just counting.

I don’t have strong feelings on pronouns for the narrator.

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I should have said too, everyone can feel free to ask me for clarification if they’re not entirely clear on something. I’m happy to explain it clearer for anyone who needs it.

Working pretty hard atm but I think I have a full weekend off so am gonna sit down with this and have a big read to get familiarised.

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okay so the actual broad idea that we as a group would be sharing control of an immortal narrator just clicked with me today. i’ll have to read the book to get a solid idea of the turn by turn stuff but that’s a weekend project. for now i’ll add in my idea for the habit and go with travels with people to various historical sites he has been and recounts their stories if this is too specific i’m willing to make it more vague. i could make a joke about regeneration but i’ll leave it here for now

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My suggestion for a routine is:

updates the wiki

Since an immortal witnessing the decline probably has some way of maintaining knowledge of things once considered important. Feels a little passive, but I might as well put it out there.

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