137: Demesne

If you wondered what happened to all of the references to the Demesne game that was promised on this website, then this article is for you. I needed to write something to get back into the swing of things and since I needed to also update the website to remove the Demesne references due to some recent decisions, the topic at hand was a natural fit.


The word is pronounced like “domain,” as it is a French version of the word. My RPG group, currently the one playing in Emerald Nights: A Vampire the Masquerade Chronicle, were the players in Demesne; which utilized the Expanse RPG system to run game play. While we had some great and very directed play, story was well thought out, and the players thoroughly enjoyed the experience, the recordings were not complete with several sessions being terrible quality to boot.

But I’d like to tell you about the universe of Demesne, anyway, as well as why we have collectively decided not to release any of the audio we have to the public.

The universe of Demesne is similar to that of the Expanse (the physics of how the ships work, space combat, communication, the Epstein Drive just has a different name, etc) but there are different things going on. Demesne happens literally 300 years in the future (so, as we played the game is was 2320). Earth (united as the United Nations) went and colonized Mars, but the belt was not a separate government like in the Expanse. Mars eventually founded the Mars Republic, the colonists of the Jovian moons formed the Jovian Federation, and the colonists of the Saturnian moons formed the Saturn Union. Each government became something different (UN became a little bit of everything, the MR was scientific and militaristic, the JF was scientific and socialistic, and the SU became hard militarized). There are several “outside of governmental control” companies that act as arbiters in this solar system (Monolith Enterprises deals with scientific and archaeological discoveries, Vulcan Dynamics deals with ship and station building, Caduceus deals with medical needs, Forseti Legal hands all legal disputes between governments as well as large scale disputes between individuals, Daikoku System Bank is the central financial system for all individuals and governments, and Lighthouse Communications deals with standardized communications for the entire solar system).

The players work (or are contracted to work) for Monolith Enterprises on a ship called the Sojourn. Unlike the Expanse, there are cybernetic beings (a manufactured intelligence, or AI, drives the ship) as well as nanotechnology and cybernetics to replace body parts. The GRIN (genetics, robotics, information, and nanotechnology) revolution is underway in the Demesne universe.

While investigating what appears to be a trend of strange objects in the solar system (they are sent to one, but others have previously been found and studied), they come across information that appears to point towards some sort of conspiracy going on. Secret organizations may be pulling strings as strange signals are being intercepted by the crew and the investigations lead away from the archaeological and more towards the extraterrestrial/alien as the mystery starts unfolding. A strange spacial anomaly and dueling hidden factions war for their attention and an even bigger mystery presents itself as season one wrapped… having them transfer from the barely useable Sojourn to a technological wonder now called Chimera, seemingly from the future!

Doesn’t this sound intriguing?

Well, at least three sessions are missing massive chunks of audio, forcing me to contemplate having to just narrate what is missing, which isn’t ideal (obviously). At least two sessions have terrible audio quality to them, making them useable but so poor that I’d be personally embarrassed to release that kind of sound to anyone for consumption. Lastly, and most egregious, is the fact that the last (and most impactful) 30 or so odd minutes of the finale is gone because all of our recording software went down without so much as a hint it died. Narrating that would be anticlimactic and would be a terrible way to leave the listeners hanging going into a long break while we wait for the next actual play to be played and released.

So, as a group, we decided that Demesne was just for us. Something where we weren’t obligated to record and we could just relax a little to play something for fun. The primary reason I am fine with this is that it gives me an opportunity to get used to the AGE system and run a proper Expanse RPG game in the Expanse universe as an actual play for the future. I could always do another Demesne like setting too, but some of the players expressed an interest in playing in the Expanse universe, so time will tell.

So… what’s next?

As I type this, we have finished our second campaign of Vampire the Masquerade, one not run by your’s truly. The game was run by Gates, who plays Lance in Emerald Nights, and is set in Montreal. At the time of writing this, he is hard at work editing the episodes for release onto the Actual Play feed for your consumption. We as a group have played the first session of Season Three of Emerald Nights and we’re on our off week before session two (or a planned 9). After that, we have Kevin (who plays Ves in Emerald Nights) running a game for us before we go into whatever scenario as yet to be decided. I’m not 100% sure if Kevin’s game is going out as an Actual Play but I’ll let you know when I know.

I am also currently exploring the possibility of getting together with a group in person, where I can then ask if the game can be made into actual play material. This is all speculation and I haven’t made any plans yet, but there is potential there.

Time will tell what’s next but I can promise that I’ve got plans for Emerald Nights up to a Sixth Season, Montreal has at least a Second Season coming, and the group isn’t stopping any time soon.

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