Vast and Sundry

So in case you are not aware a new method of media has developed over the last two years or so. That is the live-streamed role playing game. Penny Arcade has Acquisitions Inc., Hyper Rabbit Rpg has Pencils and Parsecs, and Geek and Sundry features, perhaps the most successful, Critical Role. I do not particularly care about those today. Instead I would like to draw your attention to Vast. A new show which just finished its first story arc two weeks ago.

So what is Vast? Well it is a Scifi RPG based of a system called Whitewolf but then home-brewed even further by the game master, Jackson Lanzig. It is on Geek and Sundry/Nerdist online network Project Alpha. Jackson Lanzig was known for running a Star Trek RPG in Los Angeles, where he lives and works as a comic book writer. So it seems to have been built off that to some degree. For example there is a powerful space empire in the game’s universe called the Pac-Ha Peacekeep. This ’empire’ was formed by the Pac-Ha, an alien race who have saved more primitive species from a space phenomena called the Slate. Under the Pac-Ha these species have formed a group that is vaguely similar to the Federation from Star Trek.

What is really interesting about this story and makes it unique is that it has two parties. Each group of players is based on a separate star-ship. A new episode is streamed each week with the crews swapping back and forth. Except for moments where the overarching story line needs both crew present on the same day. On top of this at the beginning the show the different crews are in opposition to eachother. This allows for some very fascinating character development and conflict.

I have already mentioned the idea of the Pac-Ha, one of the crews is from them, made up of a ship with several of their member species. They play a very Federation style of game trying and save species from destruction and be general good people. Opposite them is a somewhat Klingon inspired Brightest Eye, and I say Klingon in that they are a very warlike race. The Brightest Eye though are giant bugs and have invaded an conquered several other races they now rule over. Their crew plays in a very ‘metal’ fashion, and they use metal to describe it themselves. The Brightest Eye are unique in that they are the only race apart from the Pac-Ha to resist the Slate. Despite the fact in many ways they are more primitive than the Pac-Ha.

Perhaps the single selling point that may make you bite off something like this is that each episode runs three to four hours. RPG shows essentially produce a movies worth of content every time they stream. Now you don’t have to catch them on the live stream if you can’t sit down for four hours. Many of them are released for Video-on-Demand several days after they stream. For Vast the first four episodes are available on Youtube as a bit of sample to get you hooked on it an sign up for Alpha. To be honest it worked on me.

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