I got my group to try Microscope (I linked to the Amazon page because it has a decent description) and we made a cosmic horror story about human civilization growing from its humble beginnings as a Mythos-guided monstrosity to its eventual culling at the hands of the Ancient Ones. And a bunch of stuff in between.

I like Microscope. I think, since having a chance to try it, I will try to code something like it. Eventually. I don’t really have time to do a whole lot of side projects beyond all the stuff I’m already doing. But somewhere in there…

So in Microscope, you set the beginning and ending of the story. And then you tell it from all the pieces you have defined by having a clear beginning and ending. Like a game of improvisation, the only real rule is “don’t contradict anything that’s been said.” Take this as “say ‘yes and’ instead of ‘no.'”

Each player takes a turn as a “lens” through which the group spends a round examining history: the befores, durings, afters of an event or period of history. What made the thing happen the way it did and what happened as a result of the thing. Whatever you make on your turn has to be related, however tangentially, to whatever the Lens chose at the beginning of the round.

You can make an event or period of history, or you can create a scene either by “role playing” or dictating what happened to answer a compelling question about an event in history. You know you’re “winning” at the game if the stuff you make is compelling and other players choose your stuff when they become the new Lens.

A year or… two, ago… I assembled a timeline of our campaign’s events, incorporating the content and consequences of published D&D adventures into our campaign’s history. Partly because I want to “make the world implied by D&D’s history.”

It’s a personal obsession, I realize, and a fairly unrealistic one. But whatever. I put a fair bit of work into reconciling events as they are implied by various events suggested in modules and monster manual entries, and it makes for a fairly interesting (if somewhat dry) version of events. (If I say so myself, which I do.)

After actually playing Microscope, I think it would be a good framework within which to set a cosmology like what we have now — and I think I might make up a set of cards to represent all the stuff that has transpired in our campaign. It will take… some work… and I might have to start it out as a digital thing first, then make physical cards to represent the things, but it’s all good. I enjoy a challenge.

Actually what intrigues me most (at the moment) is the question of how it all ends — there are plenty of creation myths for the D&D multiverse, but no destruction myths that I know of. The closest that comes to mind is the “illithid empire at the end of time,” implied by mind flayers being travelers from the far future, settling the past for their eventual conquest of… everything.

There are a couple suggestions for the endings of other universes though, such as where the aboleths and obyriths comes from–aboleths are effectively immortal (unless they are injured or take ill), carrying genetic memories of previous universes, and the obyriths are explicitly the survivors of a prior, dead universe. But how does -THIS- universe end?

I dunno. I’ll ponder it and write about it a bit more and let you know what I come up with.