Before things spiral out of control with crazy file dumps and sentimental commentary, I want to take a second and thank Meridia Island for their work in preserving these games. Time being so precious these days, it means a lot that you’d devote such effort to safeguarding and promoting play-by-email RPGs. To speak nothing of the money required to maintain the site. So thank you all, and Ketara as well, for the Planetzebes predecessor.
I have a lot of old files that aren’t appropriate for the MI archives. Most are loose Word documents; update notes, battles, RP posts from forums long gone. Hoping to stop an endless cycle of losing and rediscovering, I recently consolidated them into an archive on my computer. Then I made a Google Drive. Not all of this stuff is really useful to anyone but me, but I thought it might be nice to share these things rather than leave them collecting dust.
Here’s what I’ve been able to find, so far. Being the nostalgic type, I’ll messy this post up with a little (lot of) context. Feel free to ignore that junk and go directly to the files you’re interested in, though. I’ve arranged them mostly in chronological order, from After Era to Requiem Echo.
If anyone else has old documents they’d like to share (be they battles, RP posts, or crazy fan art), you’re welcome to reply to this post with your own. Don’t know how many people still visit these forums, but I’d bet one or two would love to see your work from the old days. Just please take care to avoid uploading personal information or private chats.
Okay! Onto the files.
Prior to delving into RPGs, I thought I’d share my GML Notes. The document includes an introduction, so I won’t go too far into explanation. Back during Eternity, I mentioned these notes a few times, but don’t know if I ever shared the file. Due to its size, the link may take a few seconds to load.
The intention of gathering all this data was to start a Gundam fansite. Dyrik let me use the All Gundam name as homage, and Andrew helped me test it out a bit. School (read: drinking, indecorum) got in the way, but I have an old prototype lying around, from near the time of Future Imperfect.
Back during AE I didn't save much. After battles and events were updated for the night, I recycled the Word documents. Posterity wasn't really on my mind back then. We had around two hundred members during its peak, with battles and events numbering in the twenties on some updates, so there was a lot written over its run. The only compositions I have involve Marcus's Revolt, dated around the time Turn A ran. A cringe-worthy prologue involving Epyon Dios, and a (very) incomplete team list I was using to place where the major players were during that event. The cringe worthiness is fun for a good laugh, at least!
Viktor sent me some information on Gaia Gear during AE, including rundowns of the suits and weapons that appeared in that novel. It was awesome, because we all seriously knew nothing about Gundam back then. Nothing. If Aku told me a Dom could go Trans-Am nine years before Trans-Am was a thing, I’d have believed him. Aku rocked.
This isn’t really from After Era, but Tural sent me an After Era/All Gundam quiz Marlon made at some point. I read through it before uploading, and didn’t do so hot.
Trial by Fire RPG
Vladimir was a lot of help when designing the Turn A shop. He may have actually designed it himself, but I can't remember. Chances are he presented me with something, I switched it around a lot, and then he went on a five page IM rant about me defacing the majesty of his perfect mobile solution (while I sat back chuckling, and tried to figure out if he was a real person or not). He's awesome. ANYWAYS, I remember him sending me this shop file, I think when I questioned how good pillbox turrets were against flying Gundams. The details on the document show it was from an RPG called Trial By Fire. I recognize the name, but I don't think it's in Meridia Island's archives.
The majority of old stuff I have is from Turn A. In early 2002 I created a CD with all my RPG files, and then it got buried in boxes at my parents' house for the better part of ten years. In addition to battles and events, there're notes and various potpourri from the RPG's short lifespan. I released this awhile back, in a .zip file. Most of the stuff that isn't battles and events was written under the influence of hot chocolate. I don't know how that explains the Newtype monkey that piloted a Ball, but God bless Jojo.
Then there's this big fella. I honestly don't remember why it was called The Circle. Maybe because Archibald was bringing the solar system around to the same point his father left it? Either that or I was sixteen and read some poem or saw some music video that, really, just spoke to me about the way the world is, you all. I made it through one or two updates after this one, but it effectively ended Turn A.
As an interlude to The Circle, Thomas wrote an SNL parody. This was somehow not the point at which things jumped the shark. I also remember a Gundam Survivor from (I think) back in After Era that was probably his handiwork. Thomas is a warm gum.
Here are a few random page files. Don't know if these were pre- or post-The Circle "redesign". Bases, fleets, shop, rules (different from the one on Meridia Island, I think) and I guess at some point we ranked the Newtypes in After Era history? Tural made up a whole Chibi Neo Newtype conspiracy for the AE timeline, which was really cool. I recognize Vincient Mariko from that.
Ketara was a Gundam Fighter in Turn A, and our mutual admiration for G Gundam led us to institute a completely unnecessary and overly complicated Gundam Fight society into After Era. Completely unnecessary and overly complicated things are the best things ever. Ketara wrote up all the backgrounds for the AE-universe's Shuffle Domain.
Technical files for some of the custom suits and upgrades in the game. Lot of these were .txt documents, so I don't one hundred percent know who did what work here. Thomas made Rafflesia Executioner, and I know Berrik did Death Doga. Ketara worked on the large upgrade paths file. I'm sure Aku and Vladimir were involved in some way, as well. I couldn't tell you if even half the specs associated with some of these designs are accurate, but it was really neat at the time.
- Sazabi (Incomplete)
- Tallgeese II
- Death Doga
- Rafflesia Executioner
- Upgrade Paths
- Ketara's Upgrade Chart
Lastly, the timeline. Thomas once likened it to a B-movie plot, and that still makes me smile. Over time I fluffed it out a bit, so the early sections weren't all "Marcus sees this" and "Marcus goes here". Instead of evolving from the Universal Century, After Era followed the Correct Century. Tural's Chibi Neo Newtypes and the Gundam Fight were fleshed out. Lot more member contributions. At some point we explained away Ci-Lain always being the same character by making him D.O.M.E. Plus, y'know, Oblivion happened. But this was the original, in all its hokey glory. If anyone actually reads it, I'd recommend skipping to the Marcus's Revolt section. That has a lot of throwbacks to After Era, which help offset the eye-rolling.
Super lastly! Pictures. I think Renee did these, but I throw "I think" around an awful lot in this post, so if I'm miss-attributing I'm very sorry. Whoever did them, we'll call them Renee. And Renee did a fantastic job reworking the colors on certain story-based mobile weapons.
Mobile Suit Gundam After Era's Legacy: Wings of the Bird of Fire
Marlon wrote an After Era fanfic around the time of Turn A. He and I would chat in between me working on the After Era timeline, and I think this came about as a result of those discussions. <emo> aside, I don't know if, as a sixteen-year-old kid, I possessed an emotional capacity equal to the task of appreciating how awesome this is. So, rediscovering Wings of the Bird of Fire, a decade removed from being an idiot teenager (and firmly entrenched in being an idiot adult), I can't help but be a little flattered and a whole lot appreciative. Seeing the names Akio Okawara and Joshua pop up, even if they’re different characters... them's some big feels.
Final Fantasy VII – Prelude
I wanted to do a Final Fantasy VII RPG shortly after Turn A closed. Ketara, Jon Vitz and I worked on the rules during a series of late-night chat sessions. There was a site at one point, but the background MIDI tanked Ketara's browser :(. These are some snippets from the rules we were writing.
Star Wars Rebellion
Around the same time as Final Fantasy VII Prelude, Ci and I discussed doing a Star Wars RPG together. Not a lot leftover, but skimming over this brief document about pilots, guessing it was influenced by the old tabletop game.
Signs of Gehenna
Oh! Dyrik's World of Darkness was called Signs of Gehenna. At least in one of its two runs. I'm pretty sure the first one! Don't know if that's relevant to the main site's archives, b--but... it was! This is my profile, and my collection of RP posts from the first game. Gylkengaine and I fought on a dock. It was the original Cleganebowl.
Back in the day, people performed actions with bolds, thought with italics, and spoke using plain text. It was a weird world, kids. Just buying groceries was a mess of BBCode and post-9/11 hysteria.
Gundam Universe ran for two weeks, in February 2002. I only have two days of update notes and battles, since the CD containing all my old files was made during its run. This is the first RPG I ran under a different name than Marcus.
Oblivion is my favorite. I owe Anastasia, Jon, Viktor and Marlon for every last shred of it that’s been preserved. I owe the writers for being--without a semblance of doubt in my mind--the greatest collection of passion and talent these games had ever seen. For enduring demands that went far beyond reasonable. I owe the members for creating such engaging characters, and story lines, and for an enjoyable environment that drove me not only to relish, but value, each new update. There was a lot of stress, and anxiety masquerading as anger. Twelve years absent the experience, there are many things I wish I could go back and set right. But the time spent on Oblivion remains one of my fondest memories.
I’ve said this before, elsewhere, on a few different occasions. I’ve tried to avoid it in this post, so I don’t bog down what’s already a bunch of nostalgic, superfluous exposition. But here, I’ll say it once, and then move on... There’s a reason so much of this stuff has to be posted here, and wasn’t saved by archive.org for Meridia Island. With apologies for my language, the reason is that I am a complete and utter fucking moron. A complete and utter fucking moron who grew up way too fast, and then not at all for years after. One who didn’t appreciate the scope of what we all crafted, in the After Era games. The choices I made back then, and the way I let anxiety, stress, and a tendency to withdraw into myself dictate so many of my actions and relationships with the community was unhealthy. I was young, sure, but I had a responsibility to the work everyone did on these games, and I fell far short of that responsibility. For deleting Turn A, Oblivion, and anything else -- I am so, so sorry. It’s a thought I come back to often, even being in a far better place these days, and the sting of that idiotic decision always hurts the most when I think back to Oblivion.
Vampire: Final Jyhad
Early in 2004, I was working on a modern-era vampire game. I concocted some amount of fiction for it, because I remember Marlon telling me that “Si” is not spelled “Ci” when I asked if he’d proofread one of the pages. This is not the medieval game I ran following Oblivion. I don’t remember too much else about Final Jyhad, beyond that I thought the name was dumb even then. Apparently I got pretty in depth with the rules.
Force Arcana is my favorite PBE RPG I ever played. Gohan’s All Anime, Dyrik’s WoD games, and OYW V are close, unordered seconds, but Viktor’s little fantasy RPG takes the cake. These roleplays are zero use to anyone save me, but at least I can find it more easily in the future now. Viktor, sincerely, thank you.
Events that Viktor wrote. I don’t think these are still on the site.
The opening to an event, and a battle, which I wrote.
These are the histories from, I think, Force Arcana 2, which are no longer on the site.
- Chris’s Cailleach
- Doolie’s Primal Elemental
- James’s Torturous Deathknell
- Ben’s 1/4th Cavaliers
- Sean’s Caina
- Ender’s Sleeping Sun
This is a version of the site from its first run. It has the roster entries that lead to dead links on Meridia Island.
MSG Wars 3.0
I’m not 100% on if it was MSG Wars. Viktor, Tural and I joined one of Janadian’s RPGs as a pirate-themed trio, each taking a Crossbone. I was Roger Rackham in the X-3. Viktor was Captain Witchwood in the X-1, and Tural was James Griffon in the X-2. I don’t have Tural’s profile, but Viktor and I bounced ours off each other while trying to flesh them out.
Oi. Lots of scattered stuff for Advent Song. AS was my dream game, but it launched incomplete, and things spiraled out of control fast. Had life not intervened, I would have loved to give it another shot. A shot that, maybe, involved more sensible rules. And a functioning site. And less super-sly references to My Chemical Romance.
Echoes of Angels
These were the prototype documents for the government pages. Tural did seriously amazing work with the stereotypes.
I think the rest of this stuff is mostly mechanics/background files. A few documents seem mostly complete, and others (Combat, Introduction) are fragments. I tend to write, start over, and rewrite things, until I like the way they look, so those fragments are probably from that process. They never made it to the live site. Tural, who was among many people helping on so many aspects of the site at the time, wrote the merits. Towards his work and that of everyone else -- I can’t express enough appreciation.
- MS Shop
- Endless Waltz
- Orb Shop
- Early Joinable Suit List
Chris made this image of a destroyed Earth, for the map page. I don’t know if Chris has ever shared his actual drawings with most of the community, but he’s flat-out incredible.
This was from one of Ketara’s Naruto RPGs. I was so excited about this character. I forget the whole concept, but I think I was going to do every roleplay from the perspective of a childhood friend stalking the actual character I was playing, tracking her as she lost herself in a mission of vengeance. Ketara said that a bunch of haikus weren’t a history. The nerve! Here is my terrible poetry, saved for all time on the Internet!
Eternity is well preserved on Meridia Island. I think during One Year War, I gave Ketara the “master document” containing all of its battles and events, and he added that to the Battles page. Posting this stuff is slightly unnecessary, but for completion’s sake, and since I have the original files, I’ll go ahead with it. Eternity’s writers were Oblivion’s staff, plus Vladimir, and one or two new guys from MSG Wars and other communities. That’s like the 1992 Dream Team adding Lebron James and Yao Ming to their roster (no doubt in a time travel scenario that pits them against Robotic Stalin leading a team of Monstars in a battle for the soul of Korea). Viktor’s Maxter versus Spiegel on 4-19-07 is a thing of pure and absolute beauty. Like Advent Song, I got support above and beyond that which I was capable of paying back, and I can’t thank everyone enough for their work.
One of the things I hoped to make in apology for Eternity’s closing was a short vampire game people could enjoy while Advent Song 2.0’s complex systems were getting drawn up. It was based on the modern World of Darkness, and all players started off as vampires. Like AS 2.0, this never came about, but I have fragments leftover from the creation process.
The time between Eternity and Future Imperfect is a blur in my life. Lots went on those two years; RPGs were on the backburner. So I hope I’m not misplacing this in my recollection. Andrew did a great job with Century Color. Per our talks I know he was stressed, but CC was a fantastic game that I, regrettably, didn’t have the time or energy to devote a proper character to. I started on a profile for Arkady Leonovich, though, and sent this to Andrew before he had to write my first battle.
Andrew has let me look at a lot of RPG-prototypes during our conversations over email. I won’t post any that didn’t go public, without his permission, but I do have a (very) few things from CC. There are two versions of the rules (one before, and one after Jon helped with edits), the shop’s ships, and I think a battle I wrote for the game.
Advent Song 2.0
Advent Song 2.0 got weird. Real weird. At one point, very early on, it got so weird it almost became Star Wars. It was a bad idea. Early in the process, I wrote this design document to get Ci and Jon’s opinion on where I was headed. They are the unfiltered thoughts of a madman. Later on, written encounters were dropped in favor of players combating one another in a MUD or MMO fashion. Actually having more than a sophomore’s education in Computer Science now, the scope makes me chuckle. AfterEra.com would eventually shut down, and with it most of the real work lost. I think that’s probably for the best. My hope was to do better by all those who joined and worked on the original Advent Song and Eternity, but this wasn’t the way.
During the timeframe between Eternity and Future Imperfect, I wrote out an old school play-by-email rule set for fun. Never had any intention of making a site; just got bored during a blissful spot of downtime. Probably a subconscious response to the outlandishly crazy design document that had become Advent Song 2.0. The rules weren’t initially complete, but when Berrik asked for guidance in writing Future Imperfect’s, I finished them up with AE references. There’s also an upgrade path list I made, to see if I could find an elegant solution to the problem of Epyon murdering everyone early in a game.
Berrik had a banner competition when Future Imperfect launched. I took screenshots of each on the site, so Berrik could see which one he liked best. These were all Chris’s entries. I want to say number three won the contest?
The first three banners below were prototypes I used to help format the site, before Berrik realized it’d be a much saner idea to have a graphics artist handle the job. The last two were my contest entries. The first one, okay, sure. Unprofessional. The second, though? I think we can all agree a mistake in judgment at the highest levels occurred, and that history will show who the clear winner of that contest was.
At some point Berrik decided things needed to be in space, what with it being Gundam. So I helped out with a few bases. If I remember right, bases in Future Imperfect were elaborately designed structures with their own synopses. That was neat beans.
When Berrik asked me to help with Future Imperfect, he had two requests. First was design the site; second was write an FFA. Berrik has done so much to help my games over the years, of course I said yes. Unfortunately, as regards the FFA, nobody clued Berrik in on two natural laws. 1) In 2003, I lost any sense of what an appropriately scaled event should look like. 2) When I approach these games in any official capacity, the universe rips open a colostomy bag and waves it over my life until I repent for my sins and go quietly back into the night. Here’s the beginning of the FFA, the notes I made in preparation, and what I sent Andrew/Berrik when things finally collapsed under the gravity of aforementioned natural laws. Andrew’s pre-FFA shenanigans are included, and I hope they at least made it live, because Andrew’s got jokes.
- Pilot Notes
- Random Pre-Scribblings
- Opening Salvo Notes
- Wing vs Exia
- How It Concluded Originally
This link is relevant to nine people, and it’s a crapshoot if any of the nine will both see this post and make it down this far. Nonetheless, treasures deserve a pedestal. Glad to see it’s still up and running, because Jesus Henry Christ, you guys! Chris, Andrew, Frenzy, Kuriboh, Daniel, Ci, Skytso, and Jeimuzu. You all were the greatest. I mean, aside from the time Kuriboh just had to play fast and loose with Rent, setting off a chain reaction that MURDERED THE ENTIRE POPULATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIA PLUS ONE PUPPY. Aside from that, you all were the greatest. And hey! Chris! We did die long before we made it to space! I promised you Deacon’s character would be kept intact!
These were some recolors Kuriboh did for Chris and Frenzy. Unfortunately Chris's custom jobs are leading to dead links right now :(.
OYW is pretty well preserved, far as I can tell. I think people can even view the side forums without a password now. So I’ll just post these two images I found in my Photobucket. I-- I seriously have no clue.
Also! Ketara sent me this map from an Odessa battle in one of his earlier games, when he asked me to proofread the upcoming event’s rules. I wasn’t in any of the previous OYW games, so maybe this is readily available elsewhere, but just in case!