Wednesday, November 20, 2013

[Our Last Best Hope] Microscopic: A Mission Playset

A mission playset for Our Last Best Hope
Microscopic Mission
Not all apocalyptic disasters occur on a global scale. Some occur imperceptibly, unseen by the naked eye. Virulent viruses run unchecked, infecting millions. Robotic nanites consume natural resources and self-replicate, depleting irreplaceable materials. Or the secrets of our very survival are found in the mind of one man who will die unless a crucial operation is performed -- from within. The Microscopic Mission challenges the team to save the world from a threat found on a miniaturized level: molecular, microscopic, atomic, and perhaps even smaller. The team will be miniaturized and thrust into this microscopic world, tasked with fighting off a global threat while venturing through a world filled with dangers only seen before through the lens of a microscope.

Suggested viewing/reading: Fantastic Voyage, Fantastic Voyage II: Destination Brain, Innerspace, Michael Crichton’s Micro

We are insignificant in the cosmos – Regardless of our size, we are dwarfed by the entirety of the universe. Mankind is comparatively small and insignificant when weighed against the vastness of eternity. Even when the scale of the world we exist in is reduced, our presence goes unnoticed. It is only through great deeds and selfless actions that we make our mark on an otherwise uncaring universe. Even if our deeds go unseen, we will be remembered.

“Smaller” doesn't mean “less dangerous” – The greatest predators in the natural world do not live on the African plains or in the ocean depths. They're found in a droplet of water, on a mote of dust, or in your bloodstream. Virulent bacteria, aggressive white blood cells, and microscopic mites mindlessly pursue and consume prey. Death comes quickly, silently, working on instinct alone. Though we may think that we're smarter, cunning, quicker, and more agile than any other creatures we may encounter, at the microscopic level, we're just another invader to be absorbed.

1W – Delicate microsurgery must be performed on the man who holds the world’s future in his hands.
2W – World-changing secrets found in a comatose patient’s memories must be downloaded directly from his brain.
3W – A virulent disease must be eradicated from Patient Zero before he can spread the pathogen globally.
4W – A world-shattering doomsday device has been activated and can only be disarmed from within.
5W – Rampaging microscopic nanite robots are converting all the world's water to flammable oxygen and hydrogen.
6W – A plague of carnivorous mutant dustmites is engulfing the planet, consuming everything in their path.
1B – All human beings worldwide have begun to spontaneously shrink into non-existence.
2B – Aliens from the microverse have begun their invasion of our dimension.
3B – Microscopic repairs must be made on a device designed to shield the planet from a deadly cosmic radiation.
4B – Tiny airborne bacteria are converting the atomic structure of oxygen in the earth's atmosphere to poisonous fluorine.
5B – A sentient supercomputer tied into the global computer network has gone rogue and must be reprogrammed on an atomic level without damaging or destroying it.
6B – A pure sample of cardiac DNA must be harvested from within a living heart for the cure to a disease decimating mankind.

1W – The energy needed to miniaturize something is astronomical. There is only enough energy for one attempt.
2W – The team's DNA has been uniquely altered to allow for miniaturization.
3W – The team has previous experience interacting in the microverse.
4W – Most of humanity has been decimated by the Crisis.
5W – The team has access to the only craft capable of functioning once miniaturized.
6W – The team possesses a device vital to completing the mission.
1B – Members of the team have unique experience and skill sets necessary to complete the mission.
2B – Once underway, the team's communication will be cut off from the outside world.
3B – Only the team is aware that the Crisis exists.
4B – Miniaturization will last only one hour, at which time the team will enlarge to full size.
5B – The human mind cannot properly function on a microscopic scale, but the team is immune to the hallucinations and dementia suffered by other subjects
6B – The team accidentally set the Crisis in motion and feels obligated to stop it.

1W or 1B – The team is continuing to slowly shrink and will disappear into the microverse in one hour.
2W or 2B – The environment they’re in is hyperaware of their presence and is sending out wave after wave of defenses to stop them.
3W or 3B – There is a saboteur working to thwart the team.
4W or 4B – They are severely off-course at the start and getting to the Crisis will sap all of their resources before they reach the goal.
5W or 5B – Their air supply will run out before they reach the mission objective.
6W or 6B – The craft/team are 1,000 times more fragile in their reduced size. Sound waves, Brownian Motion, and other imperceptible vibrations is tearing them apart.

Molecular instability
The environment's defenses
"The Mini-bends"
Carnivorous mites
Rogue nanite robots
Explosive decompression
Blistering heat
Poisonous environment
Catastrophic enlargement

Accurate map of the environment
Portable miniaturization device
Environmental suits
Robotic probe
Thin-beamed laser rifle
Nuclear charges
Tracking device calibrated for the Crisis
Medical bay/laboratory
Personal communicators


  1. Love it! There needs to be more micro-world adventuring. I did an April Fool's gag a few years ago for Exonauts and ever since then I'd been hankering to actually do something more meaningful on the subject.

  2. I facilitated a session with this playset at a mini-gaming con organised for my 40th birthday this year... and it went *really* well.

    I had a group of five players, so we went with two doctors of very different specialties, which seemed appropriate for the scenario.

    Whilst we started to struggle a little with creating enough variety of threats later on, we managed to get enough to finish out what was one of the most entertaining and engaging OLBH games I've played!

    Thanks very much for creating this and the other two playsets I've found via links from this page!

    1. Fantastic! I'm pleased it went so well! I'd love to read a recap of how the game went, the challenges encountered, and how they "won"!