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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Solo Tabletop Gaming Appreciation Month: Monomyth structure - Session 4

After finishing the last session , I've begun to wonder what is the optimal number of scenes to play for a back story. Four sessions feel quite long already, but I still don't have the answers to some important questions I'm supposed to establish in the "Ordinary World" phase.


Situation: Ichard, Eli's father, is a successful exporter of  what is colloquially known as "Wisdom Cider." The name comes from the fruit of which this cider is made, which is unsurprisingly known as "Wisdom Fruit."

Wisdom Fruit has now been grown over much of the Empire for centuries, but Hart's Island still retains the distinction of being the originator of the finest Wisdom Cider. This is fortunate for Ichard and other local businessmen in the trade.

Eli's second favorite hangout is his dad's office. When not drawing, or having his nose buried in a book,  Eli likes to sit near his father's desk, and watch Ichard manage the business. Today one of his younger salesmen tried to impress Ichard by bragging about convincing a bulk buyer to pay three times the normal price. He sure wasn't expecting gruff response he got from Eli's dad, as well as a long lecture on how integrity and fairness is crucial to his business. To add insult to what must surely feel like an injury for this young man, Ichard has instructed him to find the buyer, and not only give the extra money back, but apologize, on penalty of being fired. Growing up, it has been clear to the boy that his father is not necessarily loved, because he is a demanding boss, but is greatly respected.  

After dismissing the ambitious young man, Ichard turns to Eli and says with a wink: "How do you think I handled that?"
Eli feels a bit sorry for the young employee. He smiles and shrugs. "I think you scared him." 
Ichard leans over and rubs his son's hair, "He should be scared. If I was in the habit of taking advantage of others, I wouldn't be in business long."

[Conflict from Mythic: "Celebrate-Good"]

"By the by, Eli, I have some news for you," Ichard says. Eli can't quite read his expression, but it seems as if his father is somewhat conflicted. "It's about the Grüns."

That's Brelward's family, who also happen to be their business rivals.

"What happened dad?"
"Well, nothing. Not yet." He takes a deep breath. "You see, we've been fierce competitors for years, and just a few months ago Frank Grün dropped by..."
Eli's beginning to feel concerned, when his dad tells him, "It was a friendly business visit. We've been discussing the matter, and it'd be good for our business."
Eli sighs in relief, and smiles, but his father is not smiling."There's a catch. He invited us to Brelward's birthday celebration."
"Do I have to go?"
"Now, son, I know how the little runt picks on you. I wouldn't force you to go. Knowing the Grüns, it's possible they could be offended...but it's up to you. Just think about it."


When the day comes, Eli begs off, since he is scared of Brelward, and his mind keeps imagining all the different ways that Brelward would torture and humiliate him. Ichard does not insist, or hold his decision against him, though.

Later that day, however, Eli hears what he thinks is hushed arguing. He sneaks close to the doorway in order to eavesdrop, catches his father in mid rant.

"He called you a haughty hag!"
"How dare he," Eli hears Bryne, his mother, say.
"I challenged him to a fist fight, but Frank Grün is a coward," Ichard says with distaste.
Usually, Bryne would look down on violent tendencies as brutish, but this time Eli notes that she grunts with approval.

After most of the anger has been vented, Ichard sounds more concerned when he says: "He said he would run me out of business."
The eavesdropping Eli is not the only person surprised by Bryne when she says: "Not if you run him out of business first."

 [Mythic threw a couple of random events that I need to resolve in this session. One is PC-Negative: Trust-Magic.]

The next day, in the morning, Ichard drops by Eli's room with a knock. A still sleepy Eli notices that his father seems somewhat angry at something.

"I found these shoes downstairs. Are these yours, Eli?"
"Yes, father," Eli nods.
"Young man, I want to know why you destroyed your Grandpa Eli's flower garden."
The garden was planted by Grandpa Eli, who passed away a few years ago.Eli was very fond of him and would never think of doing that. "Dad, I haven't even left bed yet!" he protests.

"Eli, your shoe prints are all over the garden."

Eli runs downstairs and looks out to the garden to find that indeed his shoe prints, and that all the plants are wilted. In his mind, Eli instantly blames Brelward and his gang, when out in the street, a distance from the house, he catches another distant brief flash of the creature that was chasing him days ago. It's luminescent eyes mock Eli from beneath a hood.

[NPC-Action: Lie-Environment]

His dad clears his throat behind him. "Son, look at me," he says while kneeling down. "You have not forgotten what I've taught you about having integrity, have you?"
"No, father."
"Then why did you lie? I'm very disappointed, son," his father says, and Eli realizes that perhaps his father will never trust his word again like before.

"I forgive you, Eli. However, you are not allowed to go to the library until you finish planting a new garden for Grandpa Eli. I want you to know how much work work and love he put into it."

Eli knows better than to protest at this point. "Yes, father." 

Ichard leaves Eli, who is looking out the window at the garden, wondering how to even get started.

Edit: Click here for Session #5.


  1. Now, you've no idea what "the creature" is at this point, right? (Or did I miss something?)

  2. Hey JF!

    All I know about "the creature" is from a meta perspective: I know that it is some sort of manifestation of the monomyth's "Shadow" archetype.

    It's not clear yet whether it will turn out to be the main antagonist, or just an aspect/servant of it.


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