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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Intervention - Session 24

[Chaos Factor is now 8.
[I pretty much want to wrap this story up at this point, so I will treat this as a question of whether Joy gets a bit of peace within herself or not. Would "redemption" be the right word? ]

Scene setup: After a few weeks, Joy gets back to Gloria with an answer of 'yes' to Gloria's request that they try one more time to contact her son Terrel.

A roll of 2 says that the scene is Interrupted.

[Focus: Introduce a new NPC
Action/Subject: Separate/Inside

A little help from the Fate chart: Is this Terrel's skeptical sister? Odds 50/50: 26, Yes. Seems strangely fit for what I'm aiming...]

Interrupt Scene: A few weeks go by, and before Joy has the chance to get back to Gloria, Terrel's skeptical sister, Alexis (which means defender), shows up at her door.

She has come to "find out what this scam is all about" [Mythic]. She's even been able to separate Isleen from her deceased fiance's ring so that Joy doesn't have an excuse this time. Yes, she heard about the first session. [Mythic] Joy wearily invites her in.

[Turn 88: BIC: "Receiving" (reversed)]

Joy can immediately see that Alexis is not very receptive towards her. Her offer of a refreshment is turned down curtly.

Joy: "Then I guess we can proceed." Walking to the dining table she politely asks Gloria's daughter to please sit down.

Alexis puts Terrel's engagement ring on the table, in front of them, and Joy takes it with her palm with great respect.

After some thought, Joy says with sincerity: "You've made it pretty clear that you think I'm a liar. I will not try to convince you otherwise, or defend myself. I just hope we can find some closure for your family."

Alexis grunts with extreme disgust.[Mythic]

Joy: "All I ask is that at least you do your best to think of Terrel right now. Forget about me, or what you think of me, and just think of him."

[Turn 89: Does Joy begin to receive visions? Odds Likely: 99, Extreme No. Any kind of sign? Odds 50/50, 57-Yes. BIC: "Optimism"]

Joy is washed over by feeling of contentment that she recognizes clearly as coming from the spiritual world [Mythic].

[Turn 90: BIC: "Obsession" (Reversed)]

A message...not so much in words, but a message nonetheless.[Mythic] A gentle exhortation not to obsess over loss. [Mythic]

[Turn 91: BIC: "Enough"]

As Joy communicates this to Alexis, Terrel's sister abruptly says: "Enough!". She is visibly upset[Mythic], and expresses her opinion of what she perceives as cheap theatrics. [Mythic]

[Last chance for Joy to show her it's real: Does she receive an unmistakable sign for Alexis? Odds 50/50: 98, Extreme No]

Alexis' outburst causes Joy to lose contact.

[Turn 92: "Fantasy" (reversed)]

Alexis tells Joy she is not weak-minded like her mother, and thus doesn't need the fantasies that Joy spins for her. She finally tells Joy to stay away from her family, before walking out the door. [Mythic]

Joy sits in silence looking at the door, thinking that perhaps the message will find its way to Gloria when she's ready to receive it.

Inevitably, she thinks back to all the horrible things that happened. "So much pain in this world," she thinks. Then she remembers the feeling of contentment she received from the other side, and somehow that fills her with hope that everyone will find peace eventually.

[ I think this is a reasonable point to end this story. It's almost certain that the killer has been eliminated given the weird dreams/visions Joy had during her flight, and also the lack of contact from the murder victims.

Kayla's sketchiness remains a mystery of sorts, and so does the police cover up (and the potential UN military influence behind it). I'm fine with having those as unsolved mysteries. Perhaps a different character will stumble upon those in a different story, X-files style. I don't find uncovering those essential to the heart of this story.

The rest of the unsolved threads were peripheral (Joy's sister situation) and had to be cut due to budget constraints. :)

Thank you for reading, and I hope you have enjoyed the session reports,  warts and all. :) Also thank you to the folks who took the time to comment! Comments are always welcome and Very much appreciated. ]


Intervention - Session 23

[Chaos Factor still is 9.

Scene setup: A year after Joy is unceremoniously escorted out of Uganda by Kampala's police Sargent Fahamu, we find her quietly folding shirts at the department store where she now works. She has not received any more visions, though she had a vague dream where Mishale said his farewell, and asked her to be at peace. It did not feel like one of her visions, so she is not sure if it's her wishful thinking taking over.

A roll of 9 says that the scene is Altered.

[A little help from the Fate chart: Does she receive any visions? Odds 50/50: 44, Yes.

Random Event:
Focus: Ambiguous Event
Action/Subject: Struggle, Military

Does the vision give an intimation of a cover up? Because the local police were obviously covering it up, Odds Likely: 88, Yes. (Will not trigger Random Events when I'm already fleshing one out).]

Altered Scene Setup: Joy is escorted by Sargent Fahamu to the Kampala International Airport. During her fitful sleep aboard the international flight out of Uganda, Joy has flashes of being hunted like an animal by men in military uniform, in a forest much like the one where she had been the killer's prey. She feels thoughts and hate alien to herself. Along with that there is much fear and despair as they gain on her. Finally her doom arrives and she wakes up with a barely stifled yelp, as she knocks a glass of water off her tray. She manages to scare the man sitting next to her.

A year later Joy is we find her quietly folding shirts at the department store where she now works [Mythic ratified]. The visions of the killer have stopped. [Mythic] Though still a believer, the experience has made her less willing open herself to the other side.

[Turn 84: BIC: "Synthesis- Encourages moderation, taking a middle-of-the-road approach, seeing how things relate". Mythic says it has to do with Gloria, once again. The picture in the card does have a kindly old lady patching together a blanket made of bits and pieces.]

An older lady approaches, and not recognizing her at first, Joy asks her: "How may I help you?" Then, knowing who it is, she says, "Hello, Gloria."

[Turn 85: BIC: "Debate". For what's going on in the background, I got "Cooperation" (Reversed)(cautions against saying things like "it's not my job.")]

After saying hello, Gloria explains to Joy that she was very conflicted about seeking her out, after all that happened a year ago. She wasn't sure whether what the police sergeant said about Joy was true or not-- that she was a con artist and manipulator.

Someone comes to interrupt Joy about some task that Joy is supposed to do, but Joy tells her she's busy. Thinking it's a sale, the woman insists she'll take care of Gloria so Joy can go.

Joy, annoyance in her voice, tells her: "It's a personal conversation. Can it wait?" The other woman stomps off.

After a moment to take a deep breath, she says to Gloria: "I don't know what to tell you, Gloria. I know what I lived...but I just don't have the will to relive over again. I'd rather leave it all behind."

[Turn 86: BIC: "Examination" (Reversed)]

Gloria quickly apologizes. She has not come to question Joy all over again.

[So why did she come? Did she decide that Joy was being truthful after all? Likely: 80, Yes.]

Gloria says that she came because she realized Joy was not lying.

Joy expresses her appreciation for that. It is a sweet gesture, and it does relieve her somewhat, though it doesn't change the outcome.

[Turn 87: BIC: "Satisfaction" (Reversed)]

After a somewhat uncomfortable pause, Gloria reveals the real purpose of her visit: She is not at peace yet (satisfied) regarding her son Terrel.

[Does she know that Joy is no longer doing consultations? Odds 50/50: 77, Yes. Random Event.

Focus: PC Negative
Action/Subject: Inspect/The Physical]

Gloria explains that she has heard that Joy no longer wants to be a spiritual consultant, but Gloria thinks that she's the only real chance she has to know about her departed son.

The conversation somewhat takes Joy back to that feeling of opening herself up to the spirit world, but just the slight feeling of it makes her have an unpleasant physical reaction. [random event interpretation]. This happens to the point where Gloria has to grab Joy to help her remain steady.

Joy apologizes, and after a minute says: "I'm not sure Gloria. Give me some time to think about it."

Gloria seems satisfied with this answer, and they part ways for now.

[Scene upkeep:

Updated character list: n/a

Updated Threads:

#1 On her flight out of Uganda, Joy had vague dream or vision about being hunted by military types back in Uganda, though she felt weirdly dissociated as if it wasn't really her. Dream or vision, it seemed to have been about the killer and it was the last one such she has had.

#6: Visions regarding the killer have stopped. (See #1) Though still a believer, Joy has developed an aversion towards opening up to the spirit world.

#9: Joy seems to have had a dream or vision indicating that the killer has been done away by the military, which appears to be covering the incident up for some reason. The local police are definitely covering it up, however.

Since Joy was more in control during this scene, the Chaos Factor goes down to 8.]


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mythic GME and the power of questions

I just saw this awesome post by Jerry over at Solosaurus called Solo Gaming Set Up (please read it first and come back here). :) In playing around with the Mythic GME, he noticed something I had also noticed, and mentioned in my "scrap notes" post:

The main GME book talks about cheating and asking silly questions like "Do I find one million gold pieces right now?" But it doesn't address that you can manipulate things without realizing just by phrasing the questions differently or asking under certain conditions.

With the Mythic GME, the questions drive much of the story, and the player has absolute control over those questions. No matter what the Chaos factor is, you can consciously manipulate the story to your advantage or your disadvantage. Like I've said before, that's a lot of control, and Jerry is right that it sort of it can't be helped. :)

I still think that there are ways to lessen this, though. I may have mentioned this before (I can't recall), but one way I can see of lessening the solo player's ability to manipulate the story is by having rules that specify how the player may ask the questions (a structure). Like, "You may only ask questions in a way that create more opposition for your character " (or the opposite of that if you want to have a positive bent). To use Jerry's "Daemon Prince of Khorne" example, in a high chaos situation, you'd ask "Is the main antagonist a Daemon Prince of Khorne?", while in a low chaos situation you'd phrase it as the opposite ("Is the main antagonist NOT a Daemon Prince of Khorne?").

The rule still leaves a lot of openness for manipulation of the story (i.e. you could make all your opposition weak, etc), but it takes away some of your control over the story. Ideally, a set of rules like these would try to structure your questions in such a way that they create the kind of story you find enjoyable. For example, perhaps the rule above would be more like "In low chaos situations, you must always ask questions that increase your opposition. In high chaos situations, they should be structured in ways that are positive to your character."

I think there is some room for innovation in the area of how to structure the solo player's input, whether that input is in the form of questions or interpretation of randomizers.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Intervention-Session 22

[Chaos Factor is 9.

Scene setup: Joy is under guard in an interrogation room. She has spent hours there, but has not deviated from her version of the truth, or accepted that there was no evidence. She mentions the box that one of the policemen had on the car, but is told there was no box.

A roll of 10 says that the scene stays as indicated.

[Turn 83: BIC: "Resolve"(Reversed)- Cautions against foolhardiness, sticking to decisions despite consequences, allowing emotions to distort your sense of right and wrong]

Sargent Fahamu enters the room.[Mythic] He studies Joy for a few minutes before breaking the silence.

Sargent: "Ms. Shamrock, the more I've observed you, the more I find myself believing that you are being sincere." He pauses in order to register her reaction. "Sincere, for sure, but also misguided in your empathy for that boy's pain; for the whole community's pain. "

Joy protests at this, but the man shakes his head condescendingly. "Ms Shamrock, over here we like to say that 'Only a fool jumps into the fire'." After a pause, the sergeant says: "We are sending you back to the United States tonight," and Joy knows she has no real say.

He continues: "I will be blunt. The moment I find you back in Uganda, I will charge you with the negligent death of that boy." With that, he gets up and walks to the door.

[Scene upkeep:

Updated character list:


New Thread:

#17 Joy under suspicion now. Police covering up the evidence, and Joy kicked out of Uganda under threat of arrest if she comes back.

Chaos factor: 9 ]


Intervention - Session 21

[Chaos Factor is 8.

Scene setup: At Joy's request, she is taken to the UN peacekeeping camp. Though she does not expect to find the killer hiding there at all, she wants to see what she can find out about the killer. She assumes they are aware of what's happened already.

Gloria and her "protector" tag along.

A roll of 7 says that there's an Altered Scene. Is Joy denied access? Likely: 72-Yes

Altered Scene: Joy and the rest get to the UN peace keeping camp, only to be denied access. The villagers offer Joy a place to stay in the meantime. They hope that her spiritual gift can lead them again to the murderer[Mythic].

Gloria and her friend are also offered a place [Mythic + random event].

[Event Focus: 58-PC Negative

Event Action/Subject: Develop/Reality

Interpretation: The local authorities are not buying the psychic story. They come to question Joy.]

A weary Joy returning from the UN base finds that the Kampala police is waiting for her at the village, wanting to question her. There are five cops, led by Sargent Fahamu (RSC: "book", and Fahamu means "Intelligence"). The Sargent is fluent in English, and also a sharp looking middle aged fellow.

[Turn 82: BIC: "Controlling-Restraint"- An authority figure ordering a marching mob to stop.]

Joy relates all that happened, and Sargent Fahamu furrows his brow in thought.

Sargent Fahamu: "Do you know what I think, Ms. Shamrock? I think that you are manipulating these simple villagers, using their pain and fear."

Livid, Joy replies: "I can't believe it. That is ridiculous. Why would I do that? To what end??"

Sargent Fahamu then accuses her of unwittingly leading Radi to his death via this manipulation, which made his psychosis even worse [Mythic]. The policemen proceed to arrest Joy on charges of fraud against the villagers, against every one's vocal protestation.

On her way to the police vehicle, Joy notices a look of confused pain on Gloria's face [Mythic]. This makes the situation even more painful on Joy.

Joy: "Wait! What about the killer's truck, and the pictures we found in them?"

Sargent Fahamu, ominously: "There are no pictures and no truck."[Mythic]

Once in the vehicle, Joy sees one of the policemen with the box that was found on the truck[Mythic]. A new fear arises inside her.

[Scene upkeep:

Updated character list:

#17 Sargent Fahamu

New Thread:

#17 Joy under suspicion now. Police covering up the evidence?

Chaos factor: 9 ]