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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sercet's Scene #2

School is over;  the kids have been sent home. Sercet and Rhea walk on the same park where she had taken the children.

Seeing the same spot where the children had been sitting, Sercet says, "Your students are quite fiery. You have your hands full."
"I manage." replies Rhea with a smile.
"Perceptive too." continues Sercet, tapping his temple with his index finger. They both know he is trying to draw her into a debate. Sercet enjoys her sharp thinking, and her honest manner with him.
"More perceptive than they are given credit for. Yet, impressionable."
"Yet, their thoughts are ultimately their own."
"What are your thoughts?"
"On Haroun's outburst?"
Sercet nodded.
"The boy doesn't know better."
"But he's not completely wrong." Sercet smiles.
"No." Rhea half smirks. "Being right can have consequences, however."
"The Kinta's duty is to ensure the law is honored."
"What if the law is a dishonor itself?"
"That would only be true if its source was imperfect."
"God is perfection. Yet, does every law come from Him?"
"Isn't that is what the Revelation teaches?"
"That is what the Kinta teaches, yassat." she smiles. "The Revelation teaches that all authority comes from him."
"Can that authority be taken away?"

Just as Rhea was considering the question, they are interrupted by a boy's crying.

"Yasu, yasu! They're taking my parents away. Please stop them!" Haroun grabs hold of Rhea's skirt as he pleads. Not far behind Haroun, walks a young Kinta.
"What is the meaning of...", demands Sercet before he is cut off.
"The boy is to be protected from his parents." Interrupts the young Kinta. "Not only are they a threat to his faith, but to the people at large. We are all lucky that a loyal servant of God alerted us to their plot."
"What plot?" asks Rhea.
The young Kinta arrogantly looks at her, as if unbelieving her audacity to question him.
"You will answer her question." Sercet orders sharply. The young man hesitates, as he struggles with his pride. "Answer her!"
"They rebelled against God. They were plotting to destroy the Sun Fields." He answers with distaste on his tone. "That's what liberal interpretation of the Revelation engenders," he then says, looking at Sercet. "You are expected at the council, yassat."

Turning to Haroun, the young man commands, "We must go."

"The boy is not going anywhere," says Sercet, without moving as if expecting to be obeyed.
"What is your name?"
"Yassat Dygojikan, you are to bring Haroun's parents home, and you will bring the boy back to them."
"It is not your place to make this decision." Dygojikan answers defiantly.
"Young yassat, I won't repeat myself: You will stand down, or face the consequences. 
A pause. "But the council--"
"I will worry about the council. You may carry out my order." Sercet cuts him off, and turns his back on him.
Dygojikan, fearing the older Kinta's authority, and feeling humiliated, brusquely grabs the boy by the arm. "Let's go."
Sercet looks in Rhea's frightened eyes and suggests, "You should probably go home, yasu."
Rhea just nods, her response barely audible, "Yes yassat"


Days later, Sercet presents himself at the council meeting. The discussion has been going on for some time. A red faced council member is trying to berate Sercet about his action.

"But you have interfered with the enforcement of the law."
"Quite the contrary, yassat. My duty is to ensure the law is applied justly."
"And you have humiliated and challenged the authority of a fellow Kinta!"
"I simply exercised my privilege, as my rank and position entitle me, to intervene in a matter of the law.If you wish, as my peers, to hold an inquiry and trial regarding the facts of this family, and my subsequent intervention, you may as is the council's right. I am prepared to defend my actions according to what I have discovered."
At the members exchange looks, and some murmured conversation. A different member, with a more conciliatory if not entirely genuine demeanor, says, "Yassat Sercet. We have reviewed your evidence, and have found your explanation of the law to be usual. Further inquiries or a trial would be superfluous."
"Thank you, yassat."
"However," the council member continues, "We are concerned about your constant involvement with non-Kinta, seeing as your views are somewhat, shall we say, liberal."
"Have you found any problems with my interpretations of the Revelation that you wish to discuss?"
"Yassat," he replies dismissively. "As we all know, these matters are far from settled. They do require discussion, but this is not what this meeting was convened for." Then more personally and informally, "Sercet, all we ask from you is to keep more distance from non-Kinta...for a while. Your views could be misinterpreted, and might indirectly encourage rebellion against God."
"Have you proof of this?"
"No, but that is hardly the point.", the Kinta member protested
"But it is the point, yassat. Unless you have proof that I am misleading the flock, I will continue to be a light and a beacon for them, as we are commanded by the All Knowing." After a pause, "Now, if you have no further questions from me, I will take my leave,  yassat."

The council consults amongst themselves for a few moments, and Sercet overhears murmurs along the lines of "We can't hold him back with no proof." Then, with frustration in his voice, the Kinta member says, "We have no further inquiries, yassat."

Sercet nods and leaves the room


Sercet has come to see Rhea as usual at her school. For a moment she seems glad to see him, but as they converse he notices that her usual openness is gone.

"I wanted to apologize for what happened."
"It wasn't your doing , yassat." She says, as she quietly erases the chalkboard. "I appreciate what you did for Haroun."
"I just did what was righteous."
"Yes." She says, finding ways of keeping herself busy and avoid eye contact.
Sensing that she's holding something back, Sercet continues, "Yasu Rhea, you can still trust me."
"I know you are the same person I admire. I...It is not right for me to be so free with you, or to question matters of faith. "
"Nonsense, Rhea."
"It is better not to question things over which you have no power."
"Things can change...will change for the better, if we believe together, if we work together."
"Yassat, it's no longer safe. For me or for the children."
But Sercet senses something more underneath. "So you are surrendering. "You gave into fear."
To this, Rhea shows no response. A long silence goes by and Sercet says, "You'd rather forsake yourself and the next generation and the next to suffer in this twisted mirror of God's vision."
Suddenly, anger and defiance in her eyes. "You are right." She walks over to a poster with the Kinta's seal. "Belief and good intentions are not enough,"  she says as she tears the poster from the wall, and proceeds to rip it to pieces. "Maybe it should all be torn down."

Sercet can only watch in stunned silence as she continues to deface or destroy anything symbolic of the Kinta and their version if religion. Books, pictures, decorations, nothing is safe.  "Tell me, yassat: Why do we need the Kinta when all it does is gorge itself on our misery?" Her voice gets louder. "Why do we even need religion if this is the best it can do for us?"

When all her rage is spent, they both notice that a couple of the school servants are watching with puzzlement. One look from Sercet sends them scurrying.

"It's no use, is it Sercet?" She finally says, suddenly sounding tired and older than her age."We will never overthrow the Kinta."

"We don't need to. We can transform it, and everything outside it.We can renew God's true vision for us. Trust me, dearest Rhea."  He says, holding her for the first time since he's known her.

[See conflict breakdown here.]

Sercet Scene #2 - Conflict Breakdown

Sercet's Scene #2:

School is over and the kids have been sent home. Sercet and Rhea are now walking on the same park where the children had their outing. He enjoys debating matters of faith and authority with her, as she is very sharp and fearless with him. They enjoy a special kind of rapport.
  • Step 1: Choose Minutiae from the Shock
    • It is the will of the All Kowing that a select few of his servants [the Kinta] live apart from the rest of his subjects, in the glorious Sacred City. 
  • Step 2: Choose Minutiae from the Issue(s)
    • For the Issue associated with your character, ask Mythic: Will any Minutae from this Issue be used? Odds 70 . 93-No. (I may have to create some new ones)
  • Step 3: Additional Minutiae

    • Ask Mythic: Will any other existing Minutae be used? Odds: 50% 57-No
  • Step 4: "Destroy the Protagonist's Life"
Haroun's family is being split, despite Sercet's assurances to the boy. Someone must have informed on them. Involved with that are accussations of a plot involving the Sun Fields. This has brought attention to Sercet's mingling with non-Kinta. They are supposed to be apart; holy. Furthermore, his impulse towards "reformation" is encouraging rebellion. He is to cut off all contact with non-Kinta.

Sercet, of course, will challenge this with his superiors and make them back off. [Will Mythic declare this a conflict? Odds 70% - 82 - No]

Sercet is knowledgeable in the interpretations of the law, and his own position carries weight, so Sercet succeeds in making the Kinta back off from Haroun's family and Sercet's own involvement with the non-Kinta.

However, the whole incident scares Rhea into distancing herself from Sercet, seeing as it endangers her and her students. [Mythic Twist: Return Status Quo] Not only that, the scare has provoked her to think that the Kinta is right! They should not be mingling so freely or debating religion so freely. Sercet will convince her of her error, and of the fact that reform is needed. [Will Mythic declare this a conflict? Odds 70% - 6- Extreme Yes]

[Sercet's stake: If he wins he brings Rhea to his way of thinking, to the need for reform, and allays her fears.

He will use Rebellion.
Submission vs Rebellion - 8. Sercet must roll under 8
2d10: 1, 9
1d4: 3

Antagonist's Stake: The incident so affects Rhea, that along with Sercet's prior debates and views, she becomes completely radicalized beyond what Sercet imagined

(New rule: Since the Shock: rules book states that Antagonitsts should use between 3 and 6 credits, I will randomize as follows with a 1d4:
1 = 3 credits
2 = 4 credits
3 =  5 credits
4 = 6 credits)

1d4: 5 credits (4 credits left)
Antagonist will use Rebellion.
Submission vs Rebellion 6. Antagonist must roll under 6.

Will Antagonist use 4d10? Odds 65% (Somewhat Likely) - 46 - Yes)

4d10: 5, 4, 2, 5
2d4: 4, 4

Will Audience participate? Odds 50%, 67-No
Results: Sercet succeeds with his roll of 1 (+4 from Antagonist = 5, which is still under 8).
Antagonist roll of 2 + 4 (from Sercet) lands right on the Fulcrum of the Praxis Scale. Escalate!]

Interpretation: Sercet succeeds in convincing Rhea of the need to reform and resist the things that are unreasonable and wrong with the Kinta and the way it rules.

[Antagonist's roll lands on Fulcrum]

However, he sees that he may have awakened something more in Rhea. He sees the internal struggle in her. Is it enough to just resist some of it? Do we just need to get rid of the whole Kinta? Is the religion even necessary to live? She is screaming this all out loud while defacing everything having to do with Kinta in sight. Daring Seret to answer, while Sercet is struggling to silence her lest they both be punished.

[Mythic's twist: Passion Opulence]

She is also railing against the disgusting opulence the Kinta lives in while everyone else sacrifices their lives and their dreams.

[Reroll Antagonist stake:

Antag: 4d10: 9, 2, 2, 6

Sercet: 1d4: 4

Will Audience participate? Odds 50% - 38 Yes
Will it help the Antagonist? Odds 50% - 75 No. It will help Sercet.

The Antagonist fails his intent (2+4+3 > 6).]

Rhea's meltdown starts to attract attention from others, and when she realizes this, she gets a hold of herself.

[Mythic's Twist: Passion Illusion]:  Her passionate meltdown draws attention, but when she sees what is in people's faces, she sees her own powerlessness to totally overthrow the system. She sees it as a pipe dream.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Gamasutra: Automated Monomyth

One thing I admire about Shock is it's shock/issue grid. Not being familiar at all with literary theory or criticism, I thought this simple device elegantly captured what I enjoy about science fiction the most.

The world that Shock opened for me has led me into the local used bookstore in search of literary theory books. I'm way into Blade Runner so I wanted something which would illuminate that sort of work. However, I could find no works on science fiction.

On the other hand, I found a couple of books on crime fiction. Since I love the police procedural a la Zodiac and Memories Of Murder movies, I made the purchase. I also figure it covers an aspect of what makes Blade Runner attractive to me.

As an aside, I also found a book on David Cronenberg. I love Videodrome and Scanners, so I immediately put my greedy paws on that book ("The Artist as Monster").

This new interest has also introduced me to the concept of the monomyth. Intrigued, I had to learn more, and ended up finding the following thread on Gamasutra, which is titled: "Challenge: The Automyth, Or Automated Monomyth"

This happens to intersect with computing and AI, which is one of my interests despite my weak math (I do my best).The post is inspiring, and I can see it revolutionizing solo roleplaying if it ever became a reality. Pipe dream? Who knows, but just considering the question could prove to be productive.

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Structure For Solo Shock: Conflicts

I based this on what I did for the conflict in Kaluvan's second scene (here).The idea is to provide a little more randomness and surprise as to what the conflict will be. Depending on how subsequent scenes go, I might leave it as it is or tinker some more.

I am most concerned about the 1d4 coming up high on steps 1-3, as that could end up being too many elements to incorporate.

I'm also concerned about Step 5. It's meant to add even more surprise by giving Mythic the power to decide when a Conflict actually happens (you still retain much control, because you decide when to ask Mythic). My fear is that there may be times where the scene might drag because Mythic keeps saying "no conflict yet". Am I going to strictly adhere to what Mythic says, or will I override it? I guess I'll just have to wait until I get there.

Step 1: Choose Minutiae from the Shock

    1. Randomly choose 1d4 existing Minutae from the Shock associated with your Protagonist.
    2. If you have cool new Minutiae you want to use in this scene, ask Mythic: Will the new Minutiae be modified (by Mythic)?
    3. If  "Yes", roll on the Action/Subject table. This will be Mythic's twist to the new Minutae.

Step 2: Choose Minutiae from the Issue(s)
    1. For the Issue associated with your character, ask Mythic: Will any Minutae from this Issue be used? Odds 70 .
    2. If "Yes", randomly choose 1d4 existing Minutae from the Issue associated with your Protagonist
    3. If you have cool new Minutiae you want to use in this scene, ask Mythic: Will the new Minutiae be modified (by Mythic)?
    4. If  "Yes", roll on the Action/Subject table. This will be Mythic's twist to the new Minutae.
Step 3: Additional Minutiae
    1. Ask Mythic: Will any additional Minutae be used?
    2. If Yes, randomly determine from which unused group (liklely other Issues) . Then randomly choose 1d4 minutiae. You will use them through the lens of your Shock/Issue intersection.
Step 4: "Destroy the Protagonist's Life"
    1. Push the Protagonist, and keep the situation untenable, carefully based on:
      1. the chosen Minutae
      2. the Protagonist's and Antagonist's attributes
      3. the shock/issue intersection
      4. the story goal
    2. Once you come up with an idea on how to do that, let Mythic add its own twist by using the Action/Subject table. Re-interpret idea based on the results.
Step 5: After the Protagonist has had a chance to react:
  1. Assume that a Conflict is called for or ask Mythic if it will call a Conflict. Odds should be 70%.
  2. If it does not call a Conflict:
    1. Assume that Mythic is giving the Protagonist more rope to hang himself.
    2. You may start at Step 1 again,  or start at Step 4 with the same Minutiae.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mythic Quick Reference Guide at

I was looking through my old Mythic Yahoo Group's emails, and found a couple of nice blogs that I've added to my links. This reference guide is at Bottlesorter's blog, named 七転八起. Excellent blog.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Kaluvan's Scene #2

[Note: As a result of his failure in the previous scene's conflict, Kaluvan has won a new Feature: "Can I ever be in control of my real self?" Kaluvan's Scene #1 is at this link: Kaluvan's Scene #1]

A few days have passed and Kaluvan has recovered from the last episode with the Bhesh.Not being able to shake off a strange feeling that lingers, weakly and nebulous, he is sitting in Neryion's Garden, long rumored to bring calm. It is a sunny morning, and Kaluvan is hoping that the beauty of the garden will, at least for a moment, allow him to put aside everything that is unsettling him.

[See conflict breakdown notes for the nitty gritty Mythic info on how Antagonist will push.]

Soft steps disturb the gravel, and Kaluvan is distracted from his thoughts. What he sees brings him unexpected joy: It is Ianego, his childhood friend, who he hasn't seen since their Callings took them in different directions back in their young adulthood. He looks the same to Kaluvan, except for his sun weathered face, and his now muscular frame.

 He touches Kaluvan's forehead as they bless each other, and just as he would a child lifts Kaluvan in a bear hug. "Kaluvan! Blessed are the eyes that see your ugly face!"

If it had been anyone else, Kaluvan would have been offended."Ianego, put me down you big dolt! You're going to crush me.", he said laughing heartily.

For a moment, they just looked at each other, laughing incredulously. "What are you doing here?", they managed to say simultaneously, and began their merry laughter again, much like they used to do way back.

Catching his breath, "Very well, you go first Kaluvan."

"I can't believe our paths would cross like this again. I should guess you are here to serve."

"What other reason would there be?" Ianego smiled.

"Of course." A pause, and then Kaluvan became more subdued. "Your family?"

"I have not seen them for five years."


"For the last two years, I've been a permanent member of the monastery." Ianego says with a knowing smile.

"I understand," says Kaluvan, for he even if he wishes to, he cannot say I'm sorry. It would be wrong.

"They have helped me heal." says Ianego, as if reading Kaluvan's real thoughts. A pause, and then, "War takes its toll."

It is only then that Kaluvan notices the slight scar on the circumference of Kaluvan's left arm. It is only then that Kaluvan notices the slight scar on the circumference of Kaluvan's left arm. Unlike body parts, the soul is not easily regrown in vats.
"May God reward your sacrifce, dear brother." After a pause, "I feel that He has rewarded me with the gift of your presence. I am full of joy."

At this, Ianego's face turns subtly sad. "I am filled both with joy and sadness, Kaluvan, for I bear bittersweet news. You are to leave your old life behind forever. God has great plans for you in the monastery."

My family,  Kaluvan thought, and as if reading his mind Ianego says, "God will provide for them. He is in control.Will you submit to His Divine Design, Kaluvan?"

[Given Kaluvan's characterization so far, while he is a believer, I do not believe he is in total submission to his God. He would only go so far in sacrificing for his God, and he would not go along with this.]

"I cannot Ianego. I'd...rather be punished."

With that Kaluvan takes his leave from Ianego. In the next few days, he asks for Sinamar's intercession. She readily agrees as she loves Kaluvan's dedication to his family. Kaluvan is nervously awaiting news at his quarters when Sinamar shows up. He notices right away she has been crying. She covers her mouth as if trying to control herself and then breaks down again:

"Oh Kaluvan...I am so sorry. I have doomed you and your family. I have doomed myself."
"No..." He already knows. He has been declared a danger to the Faith of his own family. Little Nok will be taken away from Erishti. Erishti, Sinamar and himself. will go through Repentance.
"I should have dissuaded you, Kaluvan." She falls at his knees.  "I should have been a real friend. Forgive me for my weakness...I just could not refuse."
Kaluvan's world seems to spin. Seeing Sinamar, who has been his rock during his time here, kneel before him in such weakness scares him.Somehow he is able to steady himself enough to try something...anything.

"Sinamar, I have wronged you. I have wronged my family, through my selfishness. God is not to be denied. I will be righteous." He leaves to rectify things. Sinamar weakly tries to reach for him, to stop him, but he leaves her crying on the floor.

When Kaluvan arrives at the overseer's office, the attendants try to stop this insolent Initiate from entering. However, with an inner strength he hadn't felt before, Kaluvan manages to brush them aside and burst into the overseer's room.

Before the overseers present have the chance to say How dare you, Kaluvan is already prostrate on the floor, not daring to look at them. "I beg you yassat. I have seen my sin, and I am broken."

The room watches in silence and then, "You must be Kaluvan." The leader says, almost gloating.

"Yes, yassat."

"You turned one of the most loyal servants against God's will, to help you. You come here uninvited, and break all decorum. I ask you: How can we be sure that your insolence has not contaminated those closest to you?"

Kaluvan's voice breaking despite himself, "Please spare the ones I love. This sin I carry alone. I beg you."

"And if righteousness and duty to God dictates that we carry through with Repentance?"

"Then, it will be as He wills." Then Kaluvan's emotions get the best of him, and tears flow like those of a child.

At this, the overseer who has been questioning him, gives a slight smile of satisfaction to the others present. They have enjoyed seeing this worm of a man grovel before them and their power.

"My son, stand up." The overseer says magnanimously. "You may go in peace. We have seen true repentance from you. We have seen true submission to God's Divine Will. God is Merciful. You need not fear for your family or your friends. Go in peace."

Feeling grateful for at least being granted this, he obsequiously thanks those in the room and leaves their presence. An enormous weight has been lifted from Kaluvan's heart.

Kaluvan's Scene #2 - Conflict Breakdown

[Will Mythic use more than one Minutiae? 50% 15-yes. Will it be 1d4 from now on? 50% 35-Yes. 1d4 roll was 2.]

[Will it use Minutia from the Shock? 50% - 19: Yes. Randomly selected the following:
  • The Kinta's role is that of rulers and shepherds.
  • Subjects are indoctrinated from birth to serve God and fulfill his Divine Design.
Will it use Minutia from the Issue? 65% - 70 No. OK will have to think about how the two above will be used in light of Free Will...

Will it threaten one of Kaluvan's links? 50% - 35: Yes.
  • "God rewards sacrifice" chosen randomly.

Action: Ianego will come to give Kaluvan bad news: Word has reached the Kinta overseers about Kaluvan's reaction to the Bhesh. While not unheard of, they are concerned for his well being and that of his family. They believe he should remain in the monastery for three more years in order for him to grow spiritually. This of course means that he won't see his family for that long

How will Mythic modify this? Action/Subject table roll: Abandon/Plans.

OK, it's much more cruel than I thought. Kaluvan will be expected to completely abandon his family. God has greater plans for him, and they are for him to serve Him the rest of his life. ]

[Given Kaluvan's characterization so far, while he is a believer, I do not believe he is in total submission to his God. He would only go so far in sacrificing for his God, and he would not go along with this.]
[After Ianego breaks the news to Kaluvan: Will Mythic initiate a conflict? 70% 84-No ]

[Does Sinamar or anyone agree to intercede for him? Unlikely: 35% 18-Yes! Hmm, how is Mythic "planning" to let Kaluvan hang himself with all this rope? The Antagonist has to twist this in some way.

I say that Sinamar's attempt to interced causes more problems for Kaluvan by threatening to break up what is left of his family. Kaluvan's actions are seen as nothing more than willful rebellion. It causes the overseers to believe that perhaps Kaluvan, as the leader of his own household, has corrupted the hearts of his family.

The Kinta are Shepherds and protectors of God's Children. They will protect little Nok by separating him from Erishti. Erishti and Kaluvan will undergo spiritual Repentance.

Does Repentance involve any sort of polygraph, truth-serum like or mind reading to ascertain its genuiness? Very-Likely 75% - 15-Extreme yes
I'd say it's the same combination of Bhesh and hypnosis.

Is it something a strong willed mind can resist? Very Likely 75% - 50 -yes

How will Mythic add its own twist to the above challenge? Action/Subject table roll: Overthrow/Allies.

Not only will Kaluvan and his family undergo throught Repentance, so will Sinamar as the one who tried to help him.
I have to initiate a conflict here as the Protagonist. Kaluvan would not put Sinamar through that,  and certainly not his family.Kaluvan decides to convince the overseers that only he is responsible for this; to beg them to spare everyone else. He will submit to God's will, and go through Repentance if they still believe it necessary.

Kaluvan's stakes: If he wins this conflict, the overseers are satisfied with his change of heart and spare everyone from going through the process of Repentance.

As Kaluvan is trying to show his Submission, that seems the appropriate scale:

Submission vs Rebellion - 3

He needs to roll over 3.

2d10: 1, 4 Damn, should have used more d10's. Unlucky rolls.
2d4: 1, 4
Antagonist's stake: If Antagonist wins, the overseers decree that in order to make sure little Nok grows strong in the Faith, all memories of Kaluvan will be supressed in him.

How will Mythic add a twist? Postpone, The Intellectual

In addition, due to the sin of insubordination in his father, little Nok will not have a chance to enter study for any of the higher occupations or responsibilities for fear that this insubordinate streak is also in him. His path will be redirected towards menial occupations which do not leave him much time to question God.
Antagonist will use Lies to have the overseers rationalize the punishment to themselves as not being a power trip.

Truth vs Lies 7
Antagonist must roll under 7.
Roll 1d4 for how many credits will be used: 2 credits. Will two of those be d10's? 50% 34-Yes 2d10.]

2d10: 7, 3

Will the Audience participate? 50%: 89, No. 

Kaluvan wins, and everyone is spared from going through Repentance. Antagonist loses due to Protagonist's d4, and Audience's uninvolvement. ]

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Updated compilation of Minutiae

Minutiae for the Shock (God for a Day) session:
  • The persons chosen to serve as God cannot have any personal property.
  • Chosen ones are almost never from the ruling class, The Kinta, who also happen to be the enforcers.
  • Serve God in this world, expect amazing rewards in the next world.
  • Subjects are induced to connect to the Godhead via a natural chemical that affects brain waves (Bhesh). The subject is hypnotically guided by someone older in the faith.
  • The substance named "Bhesh" is inhaled. (Unanswered: Can it be injected? What was injected in Kaluvan?)
  • Bhesh can cause the subject to experience a hallucinatory reaction.  
  • Subjects often serve God by being recruited to fullfill and fulfill his Divine Design as defined by the leadership.
  • It is the will of the All Kowing that a select few of his servants [the Kinta] live apart from the rest of his subjects, in the glorious Sacred City.
  • The Kinta's role is that of rulers and shepherds.
  • Is the current vision of God false? Is God in fact a Goddess? Is there no God? [Implied in narration but unanswered.]
Minutiae for Issue: Greed

  • Your dreams, your problems, your hopes, your whole life, your reality is unimportant insofar as it doesn't serve your God and his Grand Design. All your energies are to be devoted to Him and his glorification.
  • Other creeds, philosopies or desires that go against what God requires of you are against the law. All of your resources must go to the service of God.
  • A war against "unbelievers" is taking place. This war is being used to maintain power and provide resources to maintain lifestyle of Kinta. The Sun Fields was built to aid in this war. [Stated via narration. What's unanswered is who these unbelievers are?]
Minutiae for Issue: Sabotage

  • There is an underground conspiracy to undermine the current planetary order.
  • Sabotage involves secret propaganda and use of memes. [Implied in narration]
  • Have rebels infiltrated the ranks of the Oracles/Mediums with visions of a "Goddess"? [Implied in narrration but unanswered.]
  • Is there a widespread perception in the population that the Kinta have Carte Blanche to do anything? Is this being encouraged by the penetration of the Rebellion? [Discontent implied in narration but details unanswered.Whether the population is widely for the Rebellion or neutered by the established indoctrination is unanswered.]

Issue: Free Will

  • Opposition is kept in check via the use of fear. [So far, I've only implied this in narration.]
  • Speaking out against those over you is to rebel against God.[So far, I've only implied this in narration.]
  • Is there a Goddess that can make you love her against your free will? Is the use of hypnosis in conjunction with Besh (or some other substance?) enough to do that? [implied in narration but unanswered conclusively]
  • Hypnosis in conjunction with a substance (Bhesh?) can bury a person's memories against their will. [Implied in the narration.Can those memories be recovered? Unanswered.]

Other Minutia
  • People close to each other usually greet by touching foreheads and uttering the blessing "Isho." Otherwise, they bow their head. The depth of their bow implies their social position relative to each other. [Implied in narration.]
  • Social position or role determines the title by which someone addresses you. Yasu is used for teachers. Yassat is used for those in the Kinta.
  • There are cures for birth defects, and handicaps. Medicine seems to be very advanced. [Implied in narration] 
  • Kinta of higher rank can overrule Kinta of lower rank on the spot. A group of peers can perform inquiries on any member, but they must provide evidence and be willing to make their case.

Shock: God for a Day - redux: Self assessment of play so far

I've just realized that I've been doing something wrong.  I have created new Minutiae as part of narration, but not when resolving conflict per the Shock: rules. I kind of blew the Audiene part by not narrating circumstance using existing Minutiae, or writing down new ones. Not too much of a big deal, but the description of the world at the moment feels sparse.

The rules say that Minutia can be added at any time in the game for use by anybody. The only constraint is that everyone at the table has to OK it. Not sure how I want to do this. Do I:
  •  Write down whatever I feel is cool [and take away any sort of surprise]
  • Suggest an idea and have Mythic "ratify" it [waste of time?]
  • Suggest an idea and use Mythic's Action/Subject to warp it [add a bit of surprise, and keep something I like]
Probably will go with a combination of the above. After all, I'm the Boss Man. :)

Regarding conflicts, I've been looking carefully at the Protagonist's links and Shock/Issue intersection, which has made made the conflicts more satisfying to me. I feel that, unlike my previous try, this time the narration is more tightly focused.

I've also looked at the Minutiae that make up the Antagonist, but I have not used them directly. At best, the Antagonist's Minutiae are being used obliquely, or really not much at all. I think I had trouble thinking of interesting ways of using them, so perhaps those Minutiae are kind of "anemic", for lack of a better word.

Anyway, I need an ongoing post listing all of the Minutia, including those that were created as part of the natural narration process.  I think that will help in coming up with conflicts as well.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Scrap Notes: More Tinkering with Mythic

Interesting thread at the Yahoo Group for Mythic:
The OP asks:
DnD should be the easiest to use Mythic with, right? After all, the game is
already laid out and regulated well enough to be able to play it without a GM at
all. However, there is one thing that I have always wondered especially when
trying my hands on a solo dungeon crawl:

How should I use Spot/Listen and similar checks?

Normally, you would roll these sense checks and then ask your GM "do I hear/see
anything?" With Mythic however, seeing/hearing anything would more likely be
detrimental to the PC's progress and health, since nothing EXISTS before they
look for it and ask the question.
In my view, this again boils down to the fact that the Mythic GME's input is only relevant to the story or game when you consult it. The player has the power of being able to choose WHEN the GME can add any input, which for some players just does not have the same feeling as a live GM.  The GME is not an entity that can interrupt you to say, "Since you didn't make a perception roll, you didn't see the giant spider hiding in the shadows."

As a solo player, you have to wear both the player and the GM hat, with the Mythic GME throwing you a curve ball a percentage of the time that you consult it.  On top of that, you also control HOW the GME can add that input by the way your questions are framed. You also get to set the Odds, though if you have a good handle on the internal logic of your setting, you can be "objective" when deciding the Odds.

Still, that's a lot of power you don't have when you're not the GM, so one needs to be fair with their expectations of Mythic to fully enjoy it.  :)

Nevertheless, some suggestions follow:

Using a Timer

This idea was mentioned by a member (Monele) in the Yahoo Group. I tried to create an outline out of the poster's description:

1)    Set the timer to an unknown interval.
2)     As you play, if you ask a Mythic question:
a.     If there an “Unresolved Mystery” (as defined by this set of rules on step 3.c.ii), and the “Unresolved Mystery Number” appears in either of your d10 die:
                                          i.    Ask Mythic:  "Was there *really* something?":
1.     If “Yes”: Define what you discover with more Mythic questions or random tables.
2.     If “No”:  The "GM" was playing with you and there was nothing to worry about. (Optional: Keep the mystery as unresolved or resolve to regular Random Events)

3)    If the timer goes off:
a.      Mythic is asking you to make a skill roll. Pick a skill that applies to the situation.
b.     Assign the Odds according to how well your rolled in “step a”, and Ask Mythic a yes/no question ( “do I perceive anything?")
                                          i.    If “Yes”: Define what you discover with more Mythic questions or random tables
                                         ii.    If “No”: You don't perceive anything. Roll a d10, write down the number with the note: "unresolved mystery". (I’ll call this the “Unresolved Mystery Number”).
4)    Start again at Step 1.

Hidden Encounters/Treasure

For something like a dungeon crawl, I would probably take a page from dungeon crawl board games. Some of them appear to have sets of "tiles" (sometimes cards) that can be randomized to create a dungeon as you play. In one game I saw, the cards had information on them regarding treasure, terrain, etc, and if I remember correctly some of those would only be activated according to specific attributes the Hero has, etc.

I think something like this could be implemented using index cards that you can shuffle, or maybe random tables. It'd all depend on what method one likes best. I personally would try index cards with information on one both sides, one of which I would keep hidden face down. Before stepping on a particular "tile", I would decide whether to make a "sense roll" or something.

You could even make it more strategical/tactical, by limiting the number of such "sense rolls" that you could make per game. Generally, placing some limits in gameplay can lead to more fun in the way of some challenge.

Edit 1/17/2011: As is often wont to be the case, someone had already thought of something similar. On 7/13/09, a member of the Yahoo Mythic Group, going by the moniker of "shadowxsoul", had already offered the following suggestion to a fellow member:

for terrain i personally use terrain cards that i made myself out of construction paper, take out a bunch at random and throw them down face down, then turn them all right side up and voila! a map. the edges of the map are assumed to be walls, cliffs, or otherwise impassable obstacles. i also have cards that i can draw to detail what's happening in each room. like if its an ambush or a treasure room or a puzzle or a trap etc... you could probably do the same thing with another chart.
Sounds like it'd be fun just sitting down to lovingly create these. =) However, if you don't want to create them yourself, you could download the "Torchlight - Quest for the Orncryst" random dungeon cards. They can be found at This came to the Yahoo Mythic Group's attention courtesy of pdwmcdonald on 7/13/2009 (if you haven't joined, you're missing out!).

Edit 1/20/2011: Just liked this paragraph I found at this post: It describes Drangonlance's SAGA system which uses a deck of cards. This is something I could see myself enjoying, and why I bought the "Bright Idea" deck. There is something to the saying that "A picture is worth a thousand words."

[Italics added by me for emphasis]
Game play I haven't gotten too far through. No combat yet. I really do like the Fate Deck though. There's a fair amount of information on the cards, so if I want something to be randomly decided, I flip over a card and interpret it. For example 1-3 are white, 4-6 are red, 7-9 are black, for good, neutral and evil. I wanted to see what the weather would be like, flipped it over and got a 10 (the odd exception, still black), and decided it was one of the worst storms ever. Ask a question, flip card, interpret. It's like having random tables to roll on, but without having to check the tables. It certainly makes it inherrently much easier to GM. The advice for Narrators is also quite good, I haven't gotten around to doing a designed adventure, or using one of the published ones (doesn't entirely suit the characters we have going), but I like what I see. Definitely something I wish I'd seen in the DMG.

Edit 1/24/2011: More thoughts on using cards, though this thread is not specific to solo gaming:

Hidden Die Rolls

Not that different from the idea of index cards with the hidden facing down. It could possibly be a bit more dynamic. The idea would be to have an extra set of die that you can use to make a secret roll (by somehow hiding it from yourself)The secret roll should map to some sort of table. Perhaps the Random Event table, or the Action/Subject tables in Mythic, or some other custom table. You would choose how often a secret roll happens during a game session (the beginning of every scene or turn? Every other scene/turn? etc).

Once you have a secret roll at the beginning of the scene, you can either randomly select the requirements (what type of roll, the difficulty/Odds), or set yourself based on subjective criteria. If the roll is successful, then you can look at the Secret Roll and determine that your character caught on to what was in there. If it's unsuccessful, then you decide: do you back out of there, or continue and take your chances? If you choose to continue, then find out what the Secret Roll had in store for you. It may be nothing, or it may be an encounter your character is now unprepared for.

There are many ways you can play with a scenario like this too. Perhaps you treat success at a more granular level: you may be somewhat successful and only get a small bonus to determine if your character is surprised once you reveal the Secret Roll, based on some 'hint' that you found (Mythic can provide the detail). The 'hint' itself can add color to your interpretation of the Secret Roll (if you're using something like the Mythic Action/Subject tables).

Default Assumptions & Dice Rolls To Change Fortune
I don't quite know what to name this idea, but I heard that the old Tunnels & Trolls solo adventures used to handle combat damage to the PC this way: The PC rolls to hit the monster. If the roll fails, he takes an automatic hit from the monster. What if you could extrapolate this idea to create default encounters in each "tile" or dungeon section?

What I mean is, what if at every interval X, the "tile" or section of dungeon that you are has an encounter with Y creature type (e.g.1d10 kobolds every 3 tiles/sections)? Now, assumming that kobolds were the easiest encounter (say level 1), let's say you had a random table like this:

1) 1d6Goblins (level 2)
2) 1d4 Zombies (level 3)
3) 1d10 Gold Pieces (treasure)
4) Nothing

You now have a choice. Go with the default encounter, or take a chance rolling against that table. Now, I would probably get sick of the default encounter very quick, so I know I would take chances. If I felt lucky, I might also roll on an empty tile to see if I luck out with some free treasure.

This doesn't lend itself to the same surprise feeling that a deck of upside down cards could have, because it's more like gambling, but that can be fun in its own way.

Treating Encounters as Resources

Edit: I had to rewrite this section as it got cut off when I added other suggestions above.

I was thinking of this independently, but it looks like the author of
World Vs Hero thought of something similar, as evident on some published playtests of that system. That system has the 'GM' front load a number of "Locations", which have a list of encounters built into them. The game uses a standard card deck to adjudicate when those encounters can be used. Pretty nifty, from what I can tell.

I was also thinking of pre-compiling lists, except that they might not necessarily be specific encounters. A list could contain, for example, a set of Mythic GME Fate Chart questions to guide a user's interpretation. Perhaps a set of questions in an entry might look like:

  • Is the creature type Goblins? If no, then assume they are Kobolds. Are they a group of 1d4? If not, assume it's a solitary creature. Do they live here, or are they invading?
Your answers might be: A hermit Goblin that lives in here. A group of  Kobolds that are invading. Etc.

The questions could demand more interpretation by being vague:
  • Will this be a Level 1 encounter?
Your answers might be that you have to roll on an encounter table to determine what the Level 1 encounter is.  Or decide if it's a Level 2 encounter, or something else. The more things left unanswered, the more things are at your discretion to decide or interpret.

The should probably be customized in ways that are interesting to you. I like eerie atmosphere, so I would try to build it into my choices like this:
  • You see a light. Is it coming from above? If no, it comes from ahead. Is it white? If no, it's orange. Is it sentient?  
My answers to this might range from someone or something carrying a torch, to a sentient statue that glows, to an elemental spirit, to just a lamp hanging somewhere.

Finally, you could set these up as random "Madlibs" (if you're familiar with that kid's game):

  • You see a _(adjective)_ light.
The answer here could be anything from: "You see a crazy light" to "You see a blinding light" to "You see a talking light." It doesn't have to be an adjective either. You could omit a noun, a verb, any part of the sentence that makes sense to you. If you so felt like, you could even randomly determine which part of the sentence to leave out.

If you could imagine combining a number of the suggestions above into something wholly satisfying to you, what do you think it would look like?  The possibilities are great!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Erro Scene #1

[Is Erro participating in a ceremonial innaguration? 50%  68 - No]

[Is there an innaguration going on? 60% 18-yes]

Erro is standing by the window of his office quarters, watching the ceremonial innaguration of [Desert, Power] the Sun Fields, a solar energy harvest system of monumental proportions.

[Is there an ongoing war effort against "infidels"? 50% 12 Yes]

The Sun Fields will go to help in the production of armaments for the war effort against the enemies of God's Children.

[Is this being "sold" by the elite as an act of self-defense against foreign agression? 60%  57 yes]

Erro feels a certain sense of pride in the accomplishments, congratulating himself, and the Kinta, on effective management of the working caste, who sacrifice themselves for the glory and defense of their "God". The war has been specially profitable in bringing needed raw materials needed by any worthy civilization-- and what a civilized life he lives, he internally chuckles. Is it not their duty as leaders to raise up their subjects? And is it not the right of the Kinta to rise higher still?

[Time to push this Protagonist a little. Is there anyone opposed to the escalation of this war? 50% 7 Extreme Yes]

As Erro is thus meditating, he is interrupted by Cavanu, who struggles in with his crutches. Self-righteous fool, would be Erro's description of Cavanu.  A perfect example of how physical feebleness can lead to a feeble mind that looks for comfort outside of rationality.

Erro does not even move to help the pious fool, who could be cured of his ailment if he wished, but has chosen to serve as an example of God's justice.

Struggling painfully to sit himself, uninvited, at one of the chairs near the desk, Cavanu states, "I know how much you hate the sight of me. I'm a reminder of our collective sin as Kinta."

"What brings you here, Cavanu."

"Proud of what your deceit has built, Father?" Erro cannot distinguish whether it's pain or venom that he detects in that last word.

Erro does not dignify the question with an answer.

"It's not only mad," Cavanu continues. "it's ungodly."

"Blasphemy against the Oracles is punishable by death, even for the Kinta. I cannot-"

Cavanu cuts him off with a bitter laugh. "The Oracles are full of the lies that you feed them with!"

"That's enough! One more word out of you, and I'll charge you with Blasphemy." Erro coldly threatens.

[Erro's intent here is to leash Cavanu in by intimidation. To make him submit. He uses Truth, because he is not above sacrificing his own son to maintain his power.]

[Conflict notes here]

Cavanu rebels and loudly tells him, "Go ahead, just like you did to Mother!". In his rage, he vainly attempts to attack Erro with his crutches. Erro tries to get him off of him, he causes Cavanu to hit the floor hard, and fracture his delicate bones.

As Cavanu moans in agony, others rush in to be greeted by the scene, with Erro looking disheveled and out of control.

He yells at the orderlies that are gaping wide mouthed. "Don't just stand there! Take him to his room and procure a healer!"

His mind is already wondering how he will deal with the other in the Kinta.  He turns back to watching the Sun Fields, unable to enjoy the spectacle now as a shadow passes over his visage. Gossip travels fast.

Erro's Scene #1: Conflict Breakdown

[Does Mythic go along with this (i.e. Does Mythic NOT initiate a conflict here) ? Very Unlikely 25% 10 - No, Mythic does not go along with this. Conflict begins.]

[Erro's Stake: Intimidate Cavanu into standing down by using the cold vile Truth that he will turn his son in. I will use 2d10 to make that happen, and 1d4 to defend.]

Praxis Scale
Truth vs Lies- 5

Need to roll over 5:
2d10: 1, 3
1d4: 2

[Cavanu's Stake: To call attention to Erro in a negative way. He will use Truth. Roll 1d4 for how many credits will be used: 3 credits. Will two of those be d10's? 50% 29-Yes 2d10.]

Praxis Scale
Truth vs Lies 4

Need to roll over 4:
2d10: 5, 9
1d4: 3

[Will the Audience participate? 50% 3-Yes. Will it help Erro? 50% 41 yes.]

1d4: 2

Erro's Results: 3 + 2 [from Audience] = 5, which falls right onto the Praxis Scale's fulcrum. This means that the conflict escalates. It becomes more physical when Cavanu attacks his father.
Erro's stakes remain the same, but the conflict has become more physical.
[The antagonist now gets to tell what happens if Erro fails. Does Mythic agree with the idea that Erro accidentally kills Cavanu in the bitter struggle? 60% 74-No. Hurts him badly, but does not kill him.]
2d10: 7, 6
1d4: 4
[Does Audience participate?  60%: 64 - No. Audience stays out of it this time around.]
Erro fails.