A new start, a new Elite Dangerous story

Jan 3, 2021

With my Lore and Astro Tours complete, I promised that I would use my Thursday evening Elite Dangerous streams to showcase the “new player experience” and give some of my thoughts on what that was like – inviting other players to join me and “start over” in the game once more, giving us something to do prior to the arrival of the new Odyssey DLC.

With the availability of an “extra CMDR” with the recent Epic Games giveaway, quite a few other notable streamers and players have done something similar, so… in order to do something a bit different and make things a little more interesting, I’ve decided that I would do something rather more ambitious.

I’m not in a position to write another official Elite Dangerous novel, despite the success of both Reclamation and Premonition, but that doesn’t stop me from being creative and wanting to involve the playerbase in new adventures in Elite Dangerous.

So… I’m going to attempt something that I’ve not tried since 2017 and the end of Premonition – an Elite Dangerous in-game story. It features a new NPC controlled by me, “Sassia Bianchi” who you will be able to interact with in-game and the story will be told through the outcomes of her adventures and interactions with the player community. A story called “Elite: Retribution”.

As a story teller, I’ve penned a little background to Sassia’s story of which you can learn a little of in the trailer below. More will be revealed on a weekly basis as an episodic story unfolds within the “Drew Wagar” Private Group in Elite Dangerous on PC. Players can contribute to that story and the outcome will, once again, be decided by the players. Season 1 should take us up to the beginning of the Odyssey DLC availability, we’ll see if the story continues after that…

We begin at 8pm game time on Thursday the 14th of January, in the Drew Wagar private group, broadcasting live on twitch.tv/drewwagar and available afterwards on Youtube.

To join the PG, send a friend request to “Drew Wagar”. You can also send friend requests to “Sassia Bianchi”.

See you in the void.

It’s time to write on, Commanders.

FAQ

What is the set up?

At a bare bones level I have access to a series of CMDR profiles which I can use to help tell the story, managed by different individuals. These will be present in the “Drew Wagar” private group at various times. CMDR Sassia is one of these profiles. Key aspects of the story including some cut scenes and key moments will be broadcast at 8pm-10pm UK on Twitch on Thursday (and made available afterwards on Youtube).

Is it just watching people role play?

During the broadcast period (8pm-10pm UK) you will be able to watch Sassia “play the game” as a new CMDR in the PG on twitch or in-game. Some of this will be the mundane process of establishing a new CMDR in the game, at times she will be undertaking missions, trading and so on. Any one in the PG will have an opportunity to interact with her if they are able/willing to during this period. Sassia’s overall quest will be revealed in Episode 1. Each episode of the story is designed to end on a “cliff hanger” of some sort, enabling interim play by players during the following week and setting up a continuing quest for the next episode. Players are encouraged to role play in response.

Where does it start?

Sassia, as a new CMDR, will begin in the new starter permit locked systems. With luck she will be able to leave these fairly quickly and enter the wider galaxy.

So the entire story has been written in advance?

No. Aspects of the story, and an overall arc have been composed. I have various “significant points” which trigger moving into the next segment of the story. However, I have no idea precisely what the player base will do in response to the episodes, so I may have to rewrite stuff on the fly in between each episode, or abandon stuff completely. In order to summarise the previous week, Sassia will give a “Previously on Elite: Retribution” narration akin to many SF TV shows. Player actions will thus change the flow of the story… and may even derail it entirely. It will be up to me, as the writer/director, to manage that difficulty. The entire story will thus only be told at the end, partly by my input and partly by the combined playerbase.

What if we can’t join in during the UK timezone?

Sassia and other protagonists/antagonists will appear in game at various times between episodes. Some clues or directives may be given during these periods. Players online at the time can respond to them. These may influence the story outside of the broadcast time. Influencing the BGS, securing trade items or providing an escort may be possible for players outside of the broadcast time.

Private Group? Not Open?

I cannot apply any narrative rules to the “Open” environment, by contrast the PG is mine to manage. This story is not designed to establish canon or become official lore, and is not part of a greater work thus doesn’t require “Open” mode. It is for entertainment only. The “Drew Wagar” PG will remain PVE only (strictly no PVP unless authorised, though PVP may occur in a limited context at particular points – these will be clearly signposted). Infringements of these rules will mean expulsion from the PG. The “Drew Wagar” PG is aimed at Elite Dangerous players who enjoy narrative and lore based gameplay.

PC only, no consoles?

At present I do not physically have an Xbox or PS. As an individual with a small team I don’t have the resources to make this any bigger at the present time. If this story is a success, I will look at expanding the reach and scope to include consoles in a future endeavour.

So is Sassia a player or an NPC?

Technically Sassia is a player CMDR managed by me. However, she will be consistently “in-game” and subject to the constraints of the lore, mores and experience of Elite Dangerous, unable to step out of that into our “real” world. As such she can only react to what she sees in game and will not benefit from “meta” knowledge of Elite Dangerous as real players do.

Who is Sassia Bianchi?

All to be revealed. 🙂

Is this officially support by Frontier?

No. Frontier are not involved. If they wish to add anything they are more than welcome.

How long will it run?

I anticipate around 8 weeks duration, but this may change.

Why are you doing this?

Why not? It’s a bit of fun storytelling for the game whilst we wait for the Odyssey DLC, it has no other objective other than entertainment. I wanted to explore the “new player” experience and thought, as a writer, I might be able to add something more than just a simple playthrough.

Can we make suggestions, comments, ask questions?

Of course. Probably the fastest way is to join my discord, there is an Elite: Retribution channel. https://discord.gg/DGmzSux

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