1. What media inspirations are you drawing on for the game? The Abyss, Seaquest DSV, Sphere, Star Trek, and Alien are a few of the titles that come to mind quickly.
2. Will there be Adventures to explore the ocean?Yes! There will be adventures. Characters will be given a set number of ‘dive tokens’. They will turn in these tokens to go on adventures. The tokens are being used to make sure that everyone has an equal opportunity to participate in adventures and so they are not monopolized by a few folks.
3. Will there be intense interpersonal drama?Players will be provided backgrounds. Those backgrounds will contains connections to other characters. The depth of these connections is not determined by the writers- but by the players. Some players develop deep emotional ties to their characters early and quickly and they share these emotions with other players and characters. Other people don’t value these relationships as much and care more about ‘winning scenarios’ and completing ‘goal checklists’. The writing team strives to provide characters and settings to enable all of these different role play preferences and types. While the writers may try to present deeply personal plots, the writers cannot make players discuss or have emotional connections. There has to be buy-in from players for that to work.
4. How much is actual science going to matter?SCIENCE! You do not need a Master’s Degree in Chemistry or Marine Biology to play the game. I do recommend some basic reading and personal research on topics that are related to your Department, once that is assigned to you. These topics will help you embody your character and make you feel smart and competent during game play. Any actual science will be simulated with make believe and will have an associated mechanic to determine success of failure.
5. Will there be a pool mod?The game site does have a pool. It is outside. We will be playing in March and the pool will be closed. Please do not swim in the closed, empty pool. I like my players to remain safe. There may be an inflatable baby pool at game. You are not a baby. Please do not swim in the inflatable baby pool either.
6. Will there be opportunities for sci-fi makeup effects and props?Props- definitely. If you are playing an engineer- feel free to make a kit for yourself with parts and bits you can build things with. If you are playing a doctor- feel free to make a medical kit for yourself to examine patients with. A prop will be more fun than a paper item card. Sci-fi makeup- This is a conversation point that is still being discussed. A final decision hasn’t been made yet. As of March 31st at 9:30 PM- all the characters on the schedule are human. There are events and encounters planned for the game that may cause these humans to become altered or change. I don’t want everyone to run out and get FX makeup kits and a whole bunch of Pirates of the Caribbean prosthetics, but those items may be necessary. I will make a final decision before casting and costume hints go out to people. I will not keep you in sci-fi indecision costume limbo forever.
7. Will SEALAB be mechanically comparable to On the Rocks? No. SEALAB will have a lot more mechanics. Characters will have more stats and skills to employ to help them face more and different challenges. The types of mechanics will vary some based on departmental assignments.
8. Can I bribe the GMs to have cute sea critters? ((Otters, Nessies, etc.))Sentient mammals may in fact be crew members that use human interpreters to interact with the rest of the crew. Also- I love otters, but they are not deep water animals. How do you feel about sharks? With laser beams on their heads? ((Im only partly joking as I answer this)).
9. Will there be an obstacle course?No. There are a number of amazing boffer and live adventure style LARPs in PA. This is not a boffer LARP. I try very hard to make my games physically accessible to people. I run in hotel that has first floor convention space and accessible rooms. I don’t think that people’s physical capabilities should be a marker of their success in a game that relies on spirit and imagination.
10. Do people travel to/from SEALAB?No. The deployment to SEALAB will be inaugural. The toilets have never been cleaner. Arriving and departing from the lab requires medical supervision because decompression sickness can kill you if you are not careful.
11. The SEALAB questionnaire indicates that my character might be non-heterosexual. Because the game is set in 1989, how will that work for me as a player?
Crew members on SEALAB work for a variety of companies and are on the SEALAB station to work. Companies have varying fraternization policies. If a company has opinions about fraternization and romance, players in those companies will be notified in their player packets or with information released before game. It’s is a player choice to go along with a company policy or to defy it.
In the blueprint for SEALAB, there is a recreation/off duty space for team members to visit and spend time in when they aren’t performing their work tasks. Individuals on SEALAB will be assigned their own bunk in the housing modules. The SEALAB partnership guarantees that all staff have adequate housing, but there will be no prison-style bed checks. Off-duty time belongs to the SEALAB staff member and is not governed by work policies.