25 Nov 2007

Player Scene Framing

Session six was most notable to me for the players insisting on a scene, taking on the role of scene framing usually reserved by the GM.

I had imagined that the fastest way towards resolution of the story as a whole would be to escape the guards somehow and cut straight to a scene in the hanger, and was prepared to engineer a situation with the Slave Race (so oppressed they don't even have a real name in our story) in the corridor.

But, the players were adamant that we should have an Evil Genius Monologue scene, and were actually disappointed that I hadn't pre-prepared the speech. So much so that I felt obliged to put a detailed monologue in the write-up to sew up the loose ends in the speech I used. That element of the write-up is really an exercise in Story After, but one that feels right in this instance.

Interestingly, I couldn't have properly prepared the speech anyway, because the actual NPC used was only settled as a Martian by Oriole's player using a fate point to declare that the bad guy wasn't a Nautiloid just as I narrated the swivel chair turning to face the PCs. That in itself is a demonstration of the massive shift towards narrativist play that we have taken whilst playing Spirit of the Century. So much of a shift in fact that I feel we now have issues of how much of the game should be dedicated to plot construction and associated meta-play as opposed to exploration of situation. I believe that Meta-play element is a key reason that Phantom's player decided to sit out of this and remaining sessions, stating that he isn't enjoying this style of game.

24 Nov 2007

Spirit of the Century - Session 6, Part 2

In which the Tide Turns

The remaining heroes are taken to the Tidal Machine, leaving Oriole's dead body alone in the office to slowly shroud itself in blood. Doc begins work on the machine, but in an act of bitter defiance he surreptitiously recalibrates the machine to only transport the inhabitants of the hanger into the future.

Just then, an explosion rocks the hanger as the slave race escalate their rebellion, breaking through a wall into the hanger. Sylvie takes her change to slip away from the guards in order to liberate any artefacts of weird science and technology from the Nautiloids lair. Whilst she peruses the hanger, Sylvie espies Nautiloid soldiers driving back the slave race incursion by use of a pain enslaving device. And, overhearing their boastful claims that the device will doom any rebellion, she locates the core of the device, and removes the biological empathic material that is the source of its amplified, projected pain.

The machine now back in operation and the tide rising, the machine roars into action, but at the last minute Doc realises that in order for it to work, and project the heroes and their captors back to his own time, someone must stay behind and hold in place the calibration lever. Clay bravely takes the task on, and everyone else disappears leaving Clay stranded in the distant past.

Doc and Sylvie appear in an ancient and empty version of the hanger in their own time, surrounded by the Martian and his Nautiloid guards. The Nautiloids, now devoid of water fall choking to the ground, and the Martian makes a dash for it. Evading Doc and Sylvie's attempts to confine him, partly due to Sylvie's shock at the sudden loss of Clay.

Is Oriole really dead? Will Clay be trapped forever in the distant turbulent past? Has the Martian commander escaped Oriole's predicted fate? Find out next week in the concluding episode of the Tides of Time.

Spirit of the Century - Session 6, Part 1

In which all is revealed

Our heroes are disarmed and Sylvie has her Lash used to bind her arms to her body, before being led up to the flooded Base Commander’s office.

The Commander is sitting with his back to the door, behind a large wooden desk in a Nautiloid suit despite being underwater. He is monitoring the activity below through a huge window overlooking the hanger containing the tidal machine.

Once the captives are positioned before the desk, Nautiloid guards watching their every move, the Commander rotates in his chair to reveal himself as a Martian! “So we meet again Oriole” he says peering through the red mist contained in his suit. Oriole recognises the commander responsible for the huge invasion fleet which you will no doubt remember from that daring interplanetary adventure Red Indian, Red Planet.

“How you here, in deep past of my home?” asks Oriole, maintaining his composure by crossing his arms and holding himself proud in the face of his nemesis.

“When you destroyed my fleet you caused a massive explosion, and the wildly failing tachyon drives of our space ships caused a time distortion that threw me into the distant past of my world at the very height of the Martian civilisation. There I commandeered a space ship and flew to Earth, where I guided and moulded this promising race of Nautiloids. Manipulating their essential essences, making them as long lived as my race, I carefully selected the most aggressive of the species in a huge breeding program, which led inevitably to a new, world spanning empire capable of wiping from the face of the planet, the nascent potential of humanity before, they could forge the world that you know.

“But the islanders of Atlantis, proved tenacious and resourceful, their strange mechanical technologies thwarting me. So I hatched a plan to invade the future in an overwhelming surprise attack, oppressing humanity and stealing the technologies of your time. And, you have arrived here just in time to witness my tidal machine turn the oceans into a huge temporal vortex, allowing my amassed Nautiloid armies to sweep across the continents of your time, bending your whole planet to my will.

“Sit and watch with me” he says, gesturing to seats near the viewing window.

Doc Automatic peers down into the hanger with his expert eye at the reworking of his tidal machine, and spots a flashing warning light in an essential sub system of the grossly scaled up machinery. And, at this moment a Nautiloid scientist bursts in, hurriedly crosses the office and whispers a problem into the grim Martian’s ear.

Doc realises that the Nautiloids have not corrected the flaw in his original design which caused him to discard the tidal machine and leave it gathering dust amongst the many half finished prototypes in his laboratory. He delights in informing the Martian that the machine is doomed to failure without correcting and recalibrating that vital subsystem.

Oriel then has a vision of the Martian's fate, and pointing at him predicts that the use of technology beyond his ken will result in his destruction.

The provoked Martian raises his hand, and the Nautiloid guards level their guns at our heroes and the fiendish alien demands that Doc fix the problem or his friends will die. Quick as a flash Sylvie frees her hands and whips her lash across the room, dragging him and his chair across the room to face her.

Unphased the diabolical Commander raises a single finger and a Nautiloid fires his weapon felling our hero Oriole and leaving him on the floor, blood slowly clouding the water around his dead body.

“I do not bluff” says the Martian levelling his gaze at the distraught Doc, who screams in his distress.

“My Blood Brother!” Defeated and in shock, Doc agrees to mend the monstrous version of his machine.

Provoked into further action, Sylvie whips a Nautiloid’s gun from his grasp and into her hand levelling it at the Martian in front of her, but the Martian calmly directs her to shoot, and the gun clicks uselessly in the Martians face.

“Do you think I would let these guns work on me?” says the grinning alien commander.

20 Nov 2007

Spirit of the Century - Session 5

In which our heroes stir-up rebellion

Coming to a halt on the flight deck our heroes jump out and quickly assess the situation, noticing many large lumbering shapes in flash-proof suits that Phantom discerns are not Nautiloids. The heroes make for a large pipe outlet, and on their way Clay notices two pinpricks of light, shining out from darkness. The Phantom can sense no danger, so they continue towards the pipe's dark safety.

Waiting for our heroes in the pipe is a furtive Atlantean named Artemian who reveals that he had prior knowledge of their arrival via a message from Atlantis. He leads our heroes to safety before talking with them about the current situation. Answering their questions about the humanoids on the flight deck, Artemian explains that the Nautiloids make use of a slave race who do much of their manual work. This reminds Doc Automatic of a fragment of ancient prophecy about a group of heroes who came to liberate just such a race from sea-born oppressors, and the heroes ask if the slave race might be ripe for rebellion. Artemian says he knows just the man, and he takes them to see a covert slave leader in the cramped and squalid slave quarters.

He receives our heroes with interest, but seems reluctant to lead an active rebellion without assurances that this is the right time, Clay cold reads him, and convinces him by playing on his eagerness for rebellion and thus the rebellion is set in motion. Oriole senses a fortune for the slave, and pointing at him reveals that he will be a heroic martyr to his race.

Our heroes then start to ask Artemian detailed questions on the layout of the base, and providing them with frog masks, excepting Oriole who uses his Atlantean Diving Techniques, he leads them through water conditioning pipes to a vantage point above a weird-science Map room, which displays an interactive map of the base via mysterious glowing coral.

Whilst Clay looks down on the map, the Nautiloid in charge of the map room, the original Nzarlk, spots him and sends guards to arrest him. Clay tells the others to escape and awaits his captors.

Clay is brought to Nzarlk, who appears to have been demoted in favour of his future counterpart. Clay recognises his opportunity, and convinces Nzarlk that he is a time agent come to take his counterpart back to his own time. Nzarlk is convinced enough to help, granting him a security badge and access to the map room, and agreeing to provide a Nautiloid Guard. Clay quickly relocates his friends and our heroes march down a secure corridor towards the labs.

Meeting a security checkpoint Clay fast talks the guard into being relieved by his own guard, name dropping his superior officers name (provided by his own guard), and the group access the labs, packed with Weird Machines, the whole room giving off a Sinister Aura.

Clay is mesmerised by a strange mirror which once picked up opens a dimensional portal, which sympathetically sets off portals randomly throughout the base, and at one point opens near the slave leader and his amassing slave rebellion. Recognising the possible doom of his freedom movement he throws himself through the narrow portal, causing it to explode and then dissipate. Dying the slave leader becomes prophet, as he finds himself in the distant past in a village of his people, and with his last breaths recounts how they will be enslaved by the Nautiloids and then liberated by our heroes and their own rebellion.

Meanwhile back at the weird science labs, a Nautiloid commander bursts in through the door.

The Phantom shoots him, but not seriously hurt the commander fires his large multi-barrelled gun into the room, unleashing swarms of tiny drones swimming with menace towards each of our heroes. Phantom unsuccessfully tries to dodge them Oriole jumps onto a weird science bike and outpaces them, Sylvie stirs up the waters with her lash disrupting the swarm, Clay takes refuge in a cupboard but on reopening the door the waiting swarm sting him, and Doc smashes them away with a well timed punch from his mechanical arm.

13 Nov 2007

GM Responsibilities

Early in my Spirit of the Century game one of my fellow players made an interesting observation:

"The more I see of these story games the more I think it is all about the GM being lazy and getting the players to do his work"

I am paraphrasing this from memory but I think I have the gist right.

This interests me on many levels, due to its resonance with Big Model theories and various techniques espoused by Narrativist game designers and players about distribution of traditional GM roles. But my first thought was that it was almost exactly the opposite from my side of the table.

When I started running HeroQuest my aim was to encourage a style of play where the Characters were set free in the world and their actions would somehow shape and dictate the plot. Without a theory background I was attempting to resolve the Impossible Thing, by divorcing my responsibility to the story in order to allow the players to tell it through their actions.

The Impossible Thing:
The GM is the author of the story and the players direct the actions of the protagonists.

Where the game failed in my opinion, and it's still in its death throws, was that there was a story void in the centre of the game, and when the players didn't actively start to fill that void I was forced to. Slowly without me realising it, the game was transformed into the reverse solution, and I was dictating much of the story and allowing contributions rather that encouraging protagonism. Realising that things had gone awry prompted my turn to theory, mainly at that time through the now closed HeroQuest Forum at the Forge.

And the main thing that this journey has taught me is to prepare better. Instead of the logic that said "if I want story to be told at the table then I should do the minimum preparation and be prepared to roll with the players' suggestions" my preparation should be focused on facilitating the ongoing story.

An old RPG tradition has been not to cement stuff before play, a technique that allows the GM to keep his story on track. If the PCs capture the evil assassin then he turns out to be an underling: if the PCs obtain the enemy plans then they turn out to be an elaborate bluff, if the PCs make a wrong turn in the dungeon it matters not when the map hasn't been drawn. This technique takes away GM responsibility, but it's covert and works against protagonism because the players achievements are filtered through the GM's story.

Player: “I did it!”.
GM: “Yes but what did you do?”
Player: “huh! Oh your evil.”
GM sits back with a satisfied grin.

As a player this is fine if you are happy for the GM to provide story, the declaration of evil may be genuine appreciation, but it falls short when you want to reach for and achieve things set by your own agenda. For this the GM needs to have more than the narrow confines of the story prepared. He needs to know what kinds of things would be triggered by both success or failure or the big grey area in between, and ensure that any outcome is fun.

More radically, for a Narrativist Agenda to become established, it requires buy-in from the players either way: either an informed choice between success and failure or a trust that the methods of resolution provide scope for the characters and allow the players to further the story.

This requires just as much preparation, and just as much work for the GM, but the work is facilitative rather than directive and requires preparation to that end. Instead of constructing devices and plots that continually withhold resolution until the designated moment in the story, the GM needs to provide ways that the players can become involved in the story, and present situations that allow the players to achieve their character's objectives or at least ask the characters meaningful and action-provoking questions that allow further investment.

Back in the HQ game my preparation involved an incoherent mixture of the two, and unsurprisingly the game was also an incoherent mixture, but for this SotC game I am trying to confine my preparation and active involvement at the table to facilitation. Which still means providing story occasionally, but as a means to an end not the end itself.

It may appear to some players that my preparation has disappeared but it has instead been directed towards a totally different arena.

8 Nov 2007

To Sim or not to Sim...

Session 4 also contained a few moments where we had to consciously and overtly set out how close to the Pulp Adventure source material we were trying to be.

The moments were thus:

- In describing the Atlantean aircraft we decided that it should be silver and futuristic looking from a 1920's perspective, that it would probably look like a bi-plane but not have propellers, and in flight it should look and sound just like the old Flash Gordon matinee shorts, complete with sparks and the electronic turbine sound.

-The flash Gordon look also informed our ideas of the interior of the craft, which was basically a large cylinder with big simple dial readouts and room to walk around inside.

See here for those unfamiliar with 1930s style sci-fi.

- As mentioned in the last post, when the players reached a planning stage and one player was keen to jump into the action "this is pulp...".

- In the negative, when one player suggested that another player could jump from the supersonic plane onto a chasing plane (seen as unrealistic by the same player who asserted the pulp ideal earlier and ironic given the clip above).

As a GM attempting to encourage a Narrativist Agenda I am not always comfortable with the comparison with source material, and at heart it all depends what the group are using the source material for. If we are looking back at our favourite pulp stories and using them as inspiration and colour to help with setting exploration then it is a positive force. On the other hand, if the game becomes concerned with emulation of the source material - confining story and actions to expected channels in an attempt to protect that material and play within, the game drifts into a simulation of that material.

As GM I try to walk this line, encouraging pulp inspiration and colour but trying not to confine ourselves within a pulp aesthetic for its own sake. Realising that I have to be wary of using Constructive Denial and putting forward a case for breaking with the source material when other players use Constructive Denial.

7 Nov 2007

Thoughts on Session 4

Narrower in scope but with a more action orientated pulp feel session 4 was notable mainly for the use of character spotlighting, and considerations of pace.

For a start, the session very quickly moved towards use of the chase mechanics. Oriole's player was keen that the pulp format should not involve too much planning, and I was trying to keep up the suspense by making sure the players were on the clock in story terms. (Only 7 hours to avert a catastrophic invasion of the earth.)

For perhaps 30 seconds the players started to worry about what they were going to do when they got to the Nautiloid base, as they would need to find the tide machine, disable it in some way or get hold of the plans of the base (obvious parallels with the Death Star blueprints were noted). Oriole's player averted this potential lull by stating "come on this is pulp we can worry about what to do when we get there lets just jump in the plane", which had already been flagged up as the next source of drama by me discussing trying out the chase mechanics.

The chase mechanics were not an exact match for the situation, but they are clearly how the book would advocate running such a scene and I was confident that I could mold the situation to the mechanics. I didn't want to house rule or patch the mechanics to fit the situation, as this was the first time I had tried them out, and that way can lead to confusion, and if it falls down can lead to players coming away from the game thinking the mechanics are inadequate.

I set up five planes that would oppose the group, 4 'good' planes with 2 stress tracks and and a final plane as a Last Pursuer with +1 Pilot and +3 stress boxes. I haven't quite got the hang of balancing out combat and its ilk in SotC so this was based on instinct. The PC's plane had 3 stress tracks and had a speed of 'great' mainly dictated by how we had narrated the plane, our instinct being that it should just get the players to their destination.

The scene was run as a series of manoeuvres as suggested in chase scenes with any combat being left to the players not flying. This felt natural in the story, as Oriole was written up as a natural pilot and it seemed right that his pilot skills be in the spotlight as opposed to gun skills.

Treating the scene as a chase also allowed us to stay focused on the reason for the scene 'get to the Nautiloid base and quick' instead of treating it as an aerial combat scene. It was interesting that when the option came up to declare that the plane had rear guns this was quickly discarded in favour of using a gadget, which provided more colour and kept the pulp flavour going.

The chase advice suggests that no passenger can act for two exchanges in a row, which proved a nice way to keep the spotlight rotating around the table, although we found it difficult for Clay to contribute to the action as the character has a social skill focus. This was handled at first by a player tag, suggesting that a pipe had come loose, which I used to compel Clay's Tough Scot, and a direct compel of his espionage aspect to provide a reason why the plane should crash land at the end (as agreed earlier).

So via these two spotlight controlling actions, and the sharing of the passenger role the chase was quite satisfying. Although, Sylvie and Clay may need to hold the spotlight in the next session.

I had misread one element of the chase rules, I had been treating the passenger roll as a separate roll as opposed to taking the higher roll to work out success in the chase. On reflection despite this being a detraction from the rules it allowed more action in the scene and the balance of the chase seemed to work. Had I realised and played it by the book it is possible that the opposition may have been too highly powered.

5 Nov 2007

Thoughts on Session 3

I found session 3 of this game very interesting from a theoretical perspective, hence my inclusion of mechanical details such as compels and tagging in the write-up.

I was very pleased to see the three players present embrace the possibly of shaping the ongoing story. I had sketched out some details of what might happen but wanted the players to decide on a course of action.

Previous sessions had involved player disagreement over the theme of time travel, this was expressed as in-character choice and played out in an ultimately unresolved conflict. The issue felt to me, more of a player level problem, needing some form of resolution at the "lets tell the story this way" level.

The functional working-out of this conflict was the Butterfly Effect aspect placed on future scenes, effectively acting as a "told you so" aspect which allows the Phantom to express his reticence without halting the story. It also allows the player to engage with the time travel theme in a meaningful way that supports further story.

Clay pushing his Nautiloid contact through the portal was a PC act that reflected an embracing of the possibilities of player authorship. The assertion implying that there are only a finite number of Nautiloids and that they do not reproduce freely (akin to the Asgard in Stargate) and creating a weakness that could be exploited later in the story.

During play I also discussed the possibility that the story could result in a wiping out of the Nautiloid race wholesale, and how this could necessitate a rewriting of the characters aspects. This was not only accepted, but Doc's player considered that his Bane of the Nautiloids aspect could be an indication of this eventuality, and we were amused that this aspect could be used a little like the Doctor uses his reputation against the Daleks in Doctor Who.

All-in-all the session involved feeling-out story direction and establishing themes for future sessions, something that I have never experienced before, but have attempted to facilitate in the past with little success. Given that one of my reasons for playing Spirit of the Century was to help explain my predilection for Narrativist game play this was an excellent result.

Spirit of the Century - Session 4

In which Oriole's flying skills are tested to the limit

The Heroes discuss the world’s fate with the Atlantean leader who puts a supersonic bi-plane at their disposal and tells them of the secret, giant-clamshell, Nautiloid base where they are setting up their tidal equipment. Oriole recognises this description, as matching an account in Ancient Indian Lore of a box canyon near the Path of the Dead where the remnants of a giant fossilised clam shell could still be seen.

On the runway, Oriole kicks the plane’s tyres and decides that it will just about get them there even if he needs to crash land the thing, and no time to plan further the heroes jump in and take off.

Oriole finds that at supersonic speeds the planes handling is disorientating, but is still able to pilot the plane at these unheard of speeds, and before long they are approaching the vicinity of the Nautiloid base. At this point a pipe on the outside of the rocket comes loose and our ‘Tough Scot’ Clay is forced to hold his breath and hang out of the plane, allowing Doc Automatic to crawl over him. With Clay clinging onto his ankles the Doc attempts to affect a mid-flight repair on the steam belching pipe.. It is at this crucial moment that a Nautiloid patrol, consisting of two rocket ships, comes hurtling in on our heroes at 12 o’clock. Oriole maintains a straight course to aid his friends, allowing the rocket ships to turn and place themselves on Oriole's tail. Next, Oriole banks sharply to drag in his two colleges, leaving Doc Automatic a split second to affect his repair.

Doc Automatic is, as ever, un-phased: hammering the pipe into place and using his mechanical arm he walks calmly back into the wildly banking plane. Clay, on the other hand, is flung into the craft, causing his face to become temporarily distorted by the supersonic forces.

Now unencumbered by the mechanical failure Oriole slams his plane into a stall slowing his pace to more familiar speeds but damaging his flaps in the process. The Rocket ships bank also, suffering similar damage and Sylvie grabs a flare gun and shoots at the rocket ships kicking smoke into the cockpit. Spotting clouds ahead Oriole plunges into their cover, and pulling off a superb manoeuvre emerges at an unexpected angle. This timely deed looses one of the rocket ships and grants the Doc a clear shot with his light amplifying lens, sending the remaining ship spiralling to it’s doom.

Oriole turns back his plane towards his destination, and is confronted by two more rocket ships in close formation. He aims his plane neatly between them blasting them in his wake and sending them into a spin; struggling to correct their path they collide and explode.

However, the patrols have had time to alert an ace pilot in a delta winged, twin-rocket plane, Oriole is drawn to the danger of capturing this plane and with a stupefying stunt, lands his plane in the gap between the rockets. Sylvie acrobatically climbs out of the plane and edges along the wing attacking the water filled cockpit’s weak point, springing a leak of life supporting water from the pilots refuge. As Oriole fights valiantly to stay piggy-backed, stressing both vehicles further, the Doc focuses his lens on the cockpit: boiling water and placing the foul Nautiloid pilot in distress. The pilot surrenders and succumbs to Clays intimidation and falls in with our heroes plan to fly back to the clam-shell base declaring the Atlantean plane as a captive.

However, Clay’s espionage skills are a double edged sword, and the Nautiloid, in a last desperate attempt to foil our heroes, uses a code word to alert the flight controller. Clay cold reads the controller and recognising stress in his response, tells our heroes that the game is up. Oriole forces the delta-wing into an explosive crash and dives his heavily stressed plane headlong into the rapidly closing clam shell scraping the rim and spinning to a halt on the flight deck leaving our heroes with moments to spare before Nautiloid troops inevitably appear Harpoons at the ready.

Spirit of the Century - Session 3

Clay turned up as the police arrived and was able to take charge of the situation using his contacts in the police: keeping the police happy and allowing the phantom to strip out effected seating and fixtures and Doc Automatic to set up equipment to remove the temporary anomaly.

However, a Tag from Clay’s player on Doc’s self experimentation means that he temporarily endows his arm with temporal abilities and uses it to create small portals to set up equipment on both sides of the boundary. This allows Clay to push his Nautiloid contact back to 100,000 BC, declaring that the Nautiloids do not reproduce and actually have lived for at least 100,000 years, (via the declaration and maintaining his aspect of the named Nautiloid contact, now 100,000 years older). This sets up a compel that by throwing him back, the Nautiloid race have had 100,000 years to prepare an invasion to conquer the world. Effectively giving the Nautiloid race the aspect of ‘plans as long as civilisation’, and allowing them to infiltrate many of the world’s occult societies in preparation for their ascendancy.

On return to Doc’s lab, the heroes discern that some things seem to be disturbed and phantom and the Doc are able to detect that forces from the altered timeline have been rummaging around his lab and have stolen a discarded tide controlling device from the Docs submarine experiments. Realising that things are afoot the phantom has a horrified premonition that the Nautiloid invasion will take affect the next day during high tide. The Phantom also foresees that time travel can only bring trouble, creating an ongoing scene aspect of Butterfly Effect.

The Doc rapidly builds a time travel device in record time transporting the Heroes to a field in 100,000 BC along with a couple of hundred innocent individuals (and some not so innocent) compelled to have been transported by the untested device. The heroes realise that some of the individuals are thinly disguised Nautiloid spies (heavy cloaks and an inhuman aura) and dispatch them as quickly as possible but then realise that some of the humans may also be Nautiloid agents.

At this point, Clay hears a conversation emanating from one of his many trench coat pockets and pulls out a rare artefact of a petrified Atlantian head, which now serves as a mysteries communication device with its original owner, and after a brief introduction and explanation the heroes use the artefact to teleport themselves to the Atlantian's presence (the players realising that their very existence was due to a GM compel and as such will cause trouble one way or another and the choice allows them to decide the nature of that trouble (spies on pre-sunk Atlantis or spies at large in a Nautiloid dominated world revealing their presence and actions).

And so the session ends with the heroes on Atlantis with only 7 hours to stop the Nautiloids launching themselves across time in a wholesale invasion of earth.

Spirit of the Century - Sessions 1 & 2

Weeks 1 & 2 are glossed over to pull out the elements that remained active in session 3 and beyond.

The Story so far…

Session 1

During an academic’s stage demonstration of a supposedly Atlantean Artefacts, our heroes discern its 100,000 year old Nautiloid origins (an ocean born ancient race secretly living below the oceans).

They inadvertently activate it and it turns out to be a portal to that ancient era. The immediate effect being a tumult of water, which threatens to flood the theatre. Oriel (still not sure which spelling is preferred) looks through the portal and sees a coded message on a sub-aquatic building from his old mentor beckoning him through but Phantom breaks the device and closes the portal.

Oriole and Doc Automatic investigate the water and declare that it has temporally anomalous properties and that Doc Automatic would be able to use it to create a time machine to the distant past. Phantom is against such meddling knowing from experience how painful and disturbing the repercussions can be.

Session 2

Phantom receives a mysterious premonition that the flooding of the theatre has created a giant portal through which the Nautiloids will attack, and Sylvie races across Paris with Doc Automatic and Phantom to reach the theatre on time to avert the danger.

The heroes manage to kill the Nautiloids but not without casing some complications along the way. An innocent lady was shot as Doc Automatic ducked behind her to avoid a dart, and many people were horrified by the Phantom’s attempt to make the theatre goers flee by appearing to threaten to burn the place down.

Whys & Wherefores

This blog will mainly focus on my experiences with roleplaying games. That is, the pen and paper, sitting round a table, creating a story variety.

I do not know where this blog will go, but it starts as a scratch pad of ideas, a log-book of my experiences, a journal for my actual play reports, and musings on the games I play.

The topics are bound to head into theoretical territory because that's how my mind works, and it will certainly be focused on games that provoke story because that is the kind of game I like.

My thinking is currently influenced by Ron Edward's Big Model Theory and this, in turn, will certainly influence my thoughts and indeed my play.