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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Mythic GME & Shock: Social Science Fiction: Fleshing out the Issues Pt 2: First Issue Minutae

Here I now try to gel some of those brainstormed interpretations into some actual Minutiae for each Issue:

  1. Issue: Greed. Owner: M1
    • M1: (Debase)(Reality)
      • There is an underground market for a powerful mind altering drug, which makes the person feel as if he's one with God, or experience Godhood. Drug is expensive and illegal.
    • M1: (Intolerance) (Dreams)
      • A side effect of this drug is that its withdrawal symptoms cause the person to have horrible dreams and visions. This gets worse the more dependent on the substance the person is.
  2. Issue: Free Will. Owner: M2
    • M2: (Bestow) (Fears)
      • There are two ways the Inquisition [need a better name], uses fear. One way is through indoctrination, which inculcates the fear of never returning to God or being one with God. The other, used sparingly, is terror to keep the few unbelievers and transgressors in line.
    • M2: (Communicate) (Dispute)
      • Despite these efforts, isolated instances of free thinking do manifest in small pockets, and do have a tendency to either "infect" other people, or cause disharmony when they clash with the rest of the populace, who tend to be true believers.
  3. ME: Sabotage
    • The mind altering drug was introduced by rogue scientists as an attempt to make Godhood widely available outside the imposed rules. This was an attempt to affect a major shift in society.
    • Whatever pockets of resistance there have been, few have been large or organized. Sabotage usually takes place in personal acts of disobedience or insubordination.

I think this is enough detail for now as far as the Shock and Issues go. On my next post, I will add some more Minutiae that will flesh out other details of the world, to make it come more alive.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Mythic GME & Shock: Social Science Fiction: Fleshing out the Shock Pt 2: First Shock Minutiae

Here I will try to flesh out the Shock by looking at the possible interpretations I brainstormed for it earlier. I will also try to pay attention to the interpretations pertaining to the issues, and setting Minutiae. The idea is to pay attention to how they interplay or clash with each other, and the shock.

I also decided it was appropriate to use Fate Chart questions to tease out details, such as:

  • Q: Does being 'God For A Day' involve some sort of supernatural power in this world? Odds: 50/50
  • A: No.

So, from this answer, it seems that the only logical way in which this sort of law would make sense is if:

  1. The population voluntarily or involuntarily submits to such institution.
  2. None of the people being 'God' on a particular day overthrow the institution itself.

There could be no such institution otherwise, as the society would certainly succumb to chaos. So, from this train of thought, I continued to put questions to the Fate Chart as ideas came up. These were the Shock Minutiae born out of them, along with the original Mythic "suggestions" from earlier:

  • Most of the population submits voluntarily, as a result of their indoctrination.
  • Godhood itself is attained by the chosen person via a secret technology which stills the mind, and transforms thought.
  • Society at large trusts whatever comes out of this state of mind as good.
  • Once the chosen person's time is up, they are released, but are never the same. They have a self-compulsion to become ascetics, preachers, and evn prophets on their own.
  • You are only eligible when you reach 50 years of age, and only up to 70 years of age. If you are chosen, you have to serve.
  • A sort of Inquisition enforces all of this.
  • (Refuse)(Opulence): This philosophy embraces self-denial. Whomever is chosen forfeits his existing wealth.
  • (Recruit)(The Mundane): Those who are eligible are voted for by ordinary people. They can only serve once in their lives.
  • (Extravagance)(Expectations): While basking in their Godhood, they find bliss beyond any expectations.

A number of the minutiae strongly suggest that there is a priestly/clerical caste which rules, even though all law comes from the God. I can picture a Theocratic society based on this Shock. Whether it's more "malevolent" or more "benevolent", remains to be seen, and perhaps will only come up in play.

However, it seems pretty clear that most people are true believers.

On my next post, I hope to begin fleshing out the Issues, based on what I've established so far.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Mythic GME & Shock: Social Science Fiction: Fleshing out other setting details Pt 1 (Brainstorming interpretations for Mythic's "suggestions")

Here I try to apply the same process for the setting’s other Minutiae. I tried to let each Mythic “player” come up with up to three “suggestions” that I can then try to interpret.

  1. Other Minutiae
    • M1: (Recruit)(A Plot)
      • Adopt a plot (Of what?/What kind?)
      • Recruit/Conscript of a Plot / for a Plot
      • A plot/plan to recruit/conscript (for what?)
      • Recruit [for?] a plan/idea
    • M1: (Divide) (Advice)
      • Take advice/wisdom equally
      • Give advice/wisdom equally
      • Disharmony/divide/lack of advice/wisdom
      • Advice/Wisdom of disharmony/divide/lack
      • Advice/Wisdom to divide/share
    • M1: (Kill) (Expectations)
      • Interpret as a literal command to me (the author)
      • deflate(d) hopes
      • expect/hope to/of deflate/deflation
      • hope kills
      • dead hope/expectations
      • expectation of death/carnage
      • death of hope/expectations
      • dead/defeated future/hope
      • future kills
      • kill/defeat future/hope
      • kill (as in drink): drink of expectations = partake of expectations
      • obliterate/erase/end expectations/hope/future
    • M2: (Dominate) (Ambush)
      • Lie in wait to master/control/look down on
      • domination by ambush/trap/waiting/patience
      • ambush/trap the dominant
      • patience of domination
      • domination of patience
    • M2: (Betray) (Advice)
      • reveal advice/wisdom/guidance/counsel unintentionally
      • betray/cheat/fail/denounce/deceive a mentor/advice/counselor
      • to deceive/mislead/fail with advice/wisdom
      • to impersonate a mentor/counselor/guru
      • to propose betrayal/denouncing/revelation/cheating
    • M2: (Work Hard) (Nature)
      • work ethic of a character
      • work hard on character/nature
      • work hard on nature(wilderness)
      • exploit someone's nature
      • exploit nature(wilderness)
      • nature/wilderness works hard/struggles
      • the nature/character of hard work

On the next post, I hope to begin synthesizing these into Minutiae that make a cogent whole. I will also be able to add my own Minutiae, free of the limitations of those "suggestions", after that.

Mythic GME & Shock: Social Science Fiction: Fleshing out the Issues Pt 1 (Brainstorming interpretations for Mythic's "suggestions")

Here I try to do with the Issues, what I did with the Shock on the last post. I will only do this for the Issues “suggested” by Mythic. I’ll use questions to further help the process, if it makes sense.

  1. Issue: Greed. Owner: M1
    • M1: (Debase)(Reality)
      • Downplay reality (who is doing it?)(Direct suggestion to me?)
      • Reality debases (How? What?)
      • Someone uses reality to debase (How? What?)
      • Debase a reality (Whose? How?)
    • M1: (Intolerance) (Dreams)
      • Intolerance of Dreams (How could dreams be intolerant? Intolerance for what? Or intolerance for someone’s dreams?)
      • Dreams of intolerance (What kind of intolerance?)(Whose dreams?)
  2. Issue: Free Will. Owner: M2
    • M2: (Bestow) (Fears)
      • Create fear (Who? What? How?)
      • Grant fear
      • Burden with fear
      • Fear burdens (Who?)
      • Fear grants (What? To Who?)
    • M2: (Communicate) (Dispute)
      • Communication of dispute
      • Dispute of communication
      • Communication as infection of dispute/harmony (How? On whom?)
      • Confusion/Disagreement

The main issue now, with all of these interpretations, is how they fit with the Issue under which they are, and how that, in turn, fit with how the Shock is described. The Minutiae I come up with have to satisfactorily make sense in that context.

On the next post, I begin brainstorming for interpretations of Mythic’s “suggestions” for other world Minutiae, or color. Like I said, for now I will ignore my own Issue, as I think I will have an easier time coming up for its Minutiae in a way that fits with the others.

Mythic GME & Shock: Social Science Fiction: Fleshing out the Shock Pt 1 (Brainstorming interpretations for Mythic's "suggestions")

I tried fleshing out the Shock by “ceding” some of that creative control to Mythic GME. Perhaps it’s not so much, “ceding” creative control, as allowing the Mythic Event Meaning table to randomly set limits of how you express those ideas.

My self-imposed rule with the Mythic GME is to never re-roll a result from an Event Meaning table. The reason for it is that it lets me enjoy a feeling of having some imagined opposition; a sort of independent “reaction.” It takes my thinking in unexpected directions so I’d rather work with what it gives me, rather than look for easy answers.

This rule has made fleshing the Shock and Issues a bit difficult for me. I felt that some of the subsequent Mythic “suggestions” for Minutiae, on the surface, seemed to clash with Minutiae that had been established before. I have not been successful in integrating them in a whole that makes sense to me, or appeals to my aesthetic. Of course, I could easily just ignore my rule, but that takes a big part of the fun away from me.

Where that leaves me right now is that the initial Minutiae I had derived from Mythic’s Event table results have been scrapped. The raw table results were kept, however. For now, I will limit myself to brainstorming some interpretations for Mythic’s suggestions (Shock, Issues, and extra Minutiae for the setting). My hope is that looking at the interpretations as a whole will make it easier to come up with Minutiae that form a pattern.

  1. Shock: Everyone Gets To Be God For A Day
    • M2: (Refuse)(Opulence)
      • Lots of refuse/trash
      • Trashy/Gaudy luxury
      • Literally refuse wealth / vows of poverty
    • M2: (Recruit) (The Mundane)
      • Make use of the mundane
      • Choose from the mundane people
      • Or, transposed: Mundane people are the choosers
    • M2: (Extravagance) (Expectations):
      • An extravagant # of expectations (from who?)
      • Expectations are extravagant (whose?)
      • Extravagant promises (from who?)
      • Extravagant future (my extravagant expectations for this world, perhaps)
      • Extravagant predictions (from who?)

Like I said, these are just possible interpretations for Mythic’s results. These do not constitute the Minutiae for the shock, yet. I am hoping to derive some Minutiae from these that will make sense in light of the Minutiae for the Issues.

On the next post, I begin brainstorming for interpretations of Mythic’s “suggestions” for its Issues. I will ignore my own Issue, as I think I will have an easier time coming up for its Minutiae in a way that fits with the others.

Mythic GME & Shock: Social Science Fiction: Brainstorming for Issues

Pretty much the same process as brainstorming for a Shock. The difference is that these are chosen from current real world issues that are interesting to you. The Shock: Social Science Fiction goes into this in detail.

  1. Brainstorming for Issues
    • Me: Greed. I was thinking of business and corporations.
      Looking back on this, it has been kind of hard to relate this to the Shock that I ended up choosing. I’m stubborn, however, and I’m determined to make it fit.
    • M1: (Malice) (Goals): Interpreted as “Sabotage”. I was thinking in the vein of “Terrorism” at first, but “Sabotage” can occur in other ways so there’s a lot of breadth.
    • M2: (Controlling) (Intervention): This didn’t really come from the Mythic Event Meaning tables, but from a deck of cards called the “Bright Idea” deck.
      Anyway, interpreted it as “Free Will”, which immediately appealed to me as a question, in a spiritual/philosophical dilemma sort of way. In retrospect, I’m wondering if the idea is too vague to really work as an issue.

Now that the Shock and Issues are chosen, you can imagine how they’d fit in the Shock/Issue grid (available at the site). Each character is supposed to choose one intersection of the grid to explore. I was immediately excited about exploring the Everyone Gets To Be God For A Day/Free Will intersection of the grid.

The second thing is that each player has to own an Issue, and one player has to own the Shock as well. Owning one of these means that you get to say how that item works in the world. People can suggest ideas, but you have the last word.

This is how ownership ended up (I did it randomly by rolling dice):

  1. Shock- “Everyone Gets To Be God For A Day”. Owner: M2
  2. Issue- “Sabotage”. Owner: Me
  3. Issue- “Greed”. Owner: M1
  4. Issue- “Free Will”. Owner: M2

On the next post, I begin brainstorming for ideas to further flesh out the Shock and Issues with Minutiae (details).

Mythic GME & Shock: Social Science Fiction: Brainstorming for a Shock

I labeled the two other players as Mythic 1 (M1) and Mythic 2 (M2). My first intuition was to try and stay as close to Shock's instructions as possible. Mythic’s “suggestions” came randomly from its Event Meaning Tables (Action & Subject). I then tried my best to interpret those, sometimes using Mythic's Fate Chart to help me tease out meanings without taking chance out of it altogether.

  1. Brainstorming for Shocks
    • Me: Perpetual Youth: self explanatory.
    • M1: (Postpone) (Ambush): Event Shifting Technology: Time altering technology that pushes catastrophes or negative global events into the future.
    • M2: (Persecute) (Friendship): World in which no violence whatsoever exists. (This comically reminded me of a Simpson’s Treehouse of Horror episode.)

Then, just for fun, I rolled again for another suggestion and got: (Inspect) (Legal Matters). I interpreted this one as a literal instruction to look for a legal shock. This is the suggestion I came up with:

  • A world in which everyone literally gets to be “God” (or “King”, or “President”) for a day.

After all that, I did some silly “voting” with M1 and M2, and “we” chose this last suggestion as our Shock. It still needs to be fleshed out further, but for now I leave it at just this bare idea.

On the next post, I will detail the brainstorming for Issues.

Mythic GME & Shock: Social Science Fiction: Intro

I tend to go through cycles of excitement for different things. Six months ago, after reading some of Slash's autobio, I was all about my acoustic guitar. I kept practicing until my fingertips got hard, then excitement kind of fizzled out, as it usually does. I'm still interested, but do not feel the same immediate energy for it.

After that, I became all about A.I. in computers, another topic that interests me. I suck at math (just like I suck at guitar playing), but I still try to get a general layman's idea of it. It kept me entertained for a few weeks, and again I slowly lay off of it for a while.

Now I'm on my third week of my "manic" phase for RPG gaming. I prefer playing solo for many reasons, so Mythic GME is the best option I have right now. I'm using it the plain vanilla way right now, just so I can familiarize myself with it. I won't write much about it on this post, but here are some links to check out:

A google search here:

The RPG game I want to try is called Shock: Social Science Fiction. What I liked about it was the way it broke down sci-fi, and the way its resolution mechanic can inform your fiction. The actual play reports also got me excited about it. You can find links for them at

Another google search here:

A link to some Philcon MP3 files with some actual play. This really helped me to illuminate the things I couldn't quite understand from the text:

In my next post I will detail the brainstorming session I had, with Mythic "playing" the part of two other players.