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Topic: Artemisian Bangs? (Read 1727 times)
April 14, 2004, 06:54:45 PM »
So, Avram, who plays Laura, technoshaman recently become a werewolf, decided to give me a heads up about what he's planning next session. He told me that Laura is going to have her circle do a ritual to contact Artemis and ask her, "Okay, WHAT? You've got my attention."
As Avram put it, while I did not have in mind that Artemis actually wanted anything from Laura, thematically, "her handprints are all over Laura's life". So, I thought about it, and I know what I'm going to have Artemis want. I'm using this as a way of linking various groups and plots closer.
My question is: Okay, the player wants the PC to contact a goddess and ask what she wants from the PC's life. Is this potential bang material? What would you guys do with it? I'm curious.
Reply #1 on:
April 14, 2004, 08:04:57 PM »
I'd have the ritual itself cause a major change in the world, with many resultant sub-bangs.
Maybe Artemis gets trapped inside the character, who now has a metaphysical room-mate who leaves underwear out and puts beer on the wood tables without a coaster (or who possesses her while she sleeps as a divine avatar... pretty much the same issues).
Maybe the character gets turned into a prophet, and is now contesting (simultaneous with her other problems) with a bunch of similar prophets of other deities, all of them trying to subtly push their own conflicting agendas.
Maybe Artemis gets -loose-, and now the character has to figure out how and why the Goddess was imprisoned in the first place, and why it was the characters destiny both to release her and to harness the ways this changes the world.
Anyway, that's what I've got off the top of my head. The character is willing to risk potentially massive consequences... which means that the player is
for massive consequences, IMHO. So give 'em what they ask for.
New Project: Misery Bubblegum
Reply #2 on:
April 14, 2004, 08:50:08 PM »
Without knowing the context clearly, my inclination is to have Artemis get loose in a different sense. People like to think of happy goddesses frolicking in the woods. But Artemis is not necessarily Ms. Nice Lady, you know: she's quite terrifying when she wants to be, with people torn to shreds and the like. So have the "contact" thing turn into an actual manifestation -- have Artemis run wild in a horrible, brutal way. Let the character grapple with the fact that this goddess she worships is also totally inhuman, without any sense of human morality -- after all, her concerns are utterly other. Work on the sense of awe: this lady is not just an impressive lady, but something wholly beyond.
The Mysterium, Tremendum, et Fascinans, to quote Rudolph Otto, is what you're looking for here. This is not some powerful being; this is a GODDESS. Make her so totally out of the realm of human comprehension that there's almost nothing to be said. You want the characters not to react to the goddess as such, but rather to have to translate what she does into human terms just to wrap their minds around it. Impress. Stun. Inspire awe.
And whatever you do, don't give the character an answer to the "what now?" question. Make the player work to interpret the horrendous and awesome effects of her direct contact as some sort of message -- but what does it mean? This sounds like a whole quest on its own.
Reply #3 on:
April 15, 2004, 12:15:43 AM »
Erm... I think it looks more like a kicker than a bang.
If a bang is soemthing that compels a character to action - Chandlers man with a gun bursting through the door - then this implies it being imposed from outside. While a kicker is somemthing that sets the character in motion. This sort of scene would work well as the start of a story.
OTOH, I can see why an action of this gravity out of the blue feels rather banglike... Let me say that this seems like the player creating a space in which a bang could occur, even possibly calling for a bang... but whether it is or not will depend on how compelling the subsequent consequences actually are.
I think that for it to really go bang, you would need to drive the character in some new direction. Artemis manifestation would have to be a dramatic altering of the present status quo such that new action is required. If Artemis is just a source of information or similar, then its not a bang, just an interview.
Impeach the bomber boys:
"He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast."
- Leonardo da Vinci
Reply #4 on:
April 15, 2004, 05:49:49 AM »
My suggestion: Artemis is tired of 'the hunt', expresses weariness. Asks, not commands, if the PC would take over some of Artemis's desmense/responsiblities...so Artemis can pass into the world of humans for a time and go shopping (another type of Hunt) for clothes in Paris.
That was off the top of my head.
Why? It is a gentle transaction, not quite in Artemis's character (vengeful hunter of yore). Twists the cliche a bit. It leaves the power of decision in the player's hands...always a good thing. Shows, but not tells, that answers are ones we find for ourselves.... Artemis doesn't provide immediate direction, only by taking over some of the goddess's workload is direction shown. And that comes with its own baggage/consequences/challenges.
My feeling of Artemis run "wild, brutal way" is punishing the Player for doing something that is awfully cool and interesting.
Reply #5 on:
April 15, 2004, 06:32:45 AM »
I didn't mean for the "goes wild" thing to be a punishment at all. If this character is a serious believer, she should be deeply honored, and furthermore Artemis become a Big Power in the game. Sure, there are unpleasant side-effects, but it's the wildness of the virgin goddess. And I didn't mean she'd go kill the PC's best friends or anything, just that maybe you'd have all dogs in the area go wild and start attacking people or something like that, and sightings of a strange, beautiful woman, and so on and so forth. A very wild night -- cops and ambulances in action constantly -- but also a Divine Visitation.
Reply #6 on:
April 15, 2004, 07:52:15 AM »
I think the trick with "wild brutal Goddess" would be to have it continue to be an evocation of the ongoing choices that the
is making in the game. Something that makes the character more central to the story, rather than less.
New Project: Misery Bubblegum
Seth L. Blumberg
Reply #7 on:
April 15, 2004, 08:14:42 AM »
--that this is an example of what Ron calls a "Bob" in
Sex & Sorcery
. I don't have the book in front of me.
Since I found that part of the book somewhat hard to follow, I'd sure be happy if Ron dropped in on this thread and elucidated...?
the gamer formerly known as Metal Fatigue
Reply #8 on:
April 15, 2004, 08:57:31 AM »
A very wild night -- cops and ambulances in action constantly -- but also a Divine Visitation.
gotchya, that clarification makes much more sense to me.
Reply #9 on:
April 15, 2004, 10:16:50 AM »
Seth, that's not a Bob, it's an Opening. The idea is that the player has moved in and Bang'd the situation as he or she perceived an opportunity to do so, with or without the GM paving the way (usually without).
Kicker, Bob, Weave, Opening, Cross, and Bang are all included in the very-nearly-done Glossary ...
Seth L. Blumberg
Reply #10 on:
April 15, 2004, 02:33:27 PM »
Opening, right. See, I can't keep them all straight yet. Until I've read a half-dozen threads on each one, I probably won't be clear on what they look like in play. That's about how long it took me to "get" Bangs.
the gamer formerly known as Metal Fatigue
Reply #11 on:
April 15, 2004, 07:38:10 PM »
If I understand the terms correctly, I think what Avram handed me was either a Kicker or an Opening -- an Opening is when a player makes a Bang? Did I get that right?
Thanks for the suggestions. None of them quite fit the campaign -- unsurprisingly, as I gave basically no context -- but a couple of them might crop up in the future.
I wouldn't have the Hunt run wild for two reasons. First, it does feel like punishing the player for doing something cool. Second, that's not how I'm working the Hunt in Cthulhupunk. Brief theology digression.
I started with CoC, and then decided, okay, sure, the Outer Gods say they're at the center of everything, but what do you expect? And then I added the Swamp Thing idea that's been used elsewhere as well that, yes, contradictory views of God or gods are all true, or at least as true as I need them to be for the campaign. And I'm not utterly ruling out the idea of a PC becoming a god one day. Anyone read Primal Order? I couldn't get through most of it, but I did decide that Joey, God of Basketry, is a guy who became a god in the Cthulhupunk world one day. With his own cult and business cards and everything.
The Hunt is something different. The current story I have, which I want to more or less stick to, is that the Sidhe used to hunt people. A lot. For fun and mayhem. Then, some clever person convinced them that this was cowardly, and that they should only do it once a month, and pick a target. A target isn't necessarily one person, or even a human being, but that's another story.
I want to stick more or less to this because, well, I keep a lot of power in my hands as GM. Yes, I'm getting better at sharing, but I am running a fairly authoritarian game by choice. The flip side of this is that if I tell the players something, even if an NPC does the telling, and we all know that I'm using "GM Voice", I really should stick to it, unless I clear the change with them in advance. I've done that before.
Okay, so the Hunt is made up mostly of Sidhe. And of folks who get caught up either as hunters or prey. Now, the leader of the Hunt isn't a god. King Arthur led the Hunt, once upon a time. He's around again, having woken up during the climax of the original game, and he's using the name Bear, living with his sister, Anna (Morgan Le Fey's name in Geoffrey of Monmouth). Well, at the moment, he's helping run a cafe in Chicago, but that's another story. He's not leading the Hunt.
When the Hunt actually entered the campaign, a Sidhe named Gwyn led it. And Avram's PC, Alma, the mother of Laura, also Avram's PC, hijacked the Hunt one night because the Sidhe stole her baby. The Sidhe were impressed. They appreciate Style.
Later, Alma asked Gwyn if she could "borrow the keys to the Hunt" for reasons that made sense. Gwyn said that she could either do this as a one time deal and promise never to do it again, or she could take over the Hunt. He'd step down as Hunt Leader, and, as the reason she wanted to take the Hunt out was to capture a particular Sidhe for a prisoner exchange, and as this would leave a vacancy on the throne of a Sidhe kingdom, well, Gwyn would just take over that kingdom. Everyone's happy.
Alma agreed, especially after confirming that a) she could ride a motorcycle rather than a horse and b) the leader of the Hunt was not held responsible per se for the actions of the Hunt. Per se. By the Sidhe. (Who, in fairness, would back the Hunt leader against others who didn't see it that way.)
Hm, you know, this was before I ever saw or heard of Sorcerer, Kickers, Bangs, all of that. But this little deal did have long ranging consequences. Gwyn wound up dead as a result -- the prisoner was traded to the Outer Gods, subsequently possessed by Yog-Sothoth, and took over the Sidhe kingdom with much carnage. As this resulted in the destruction of a powerful ward, one of three keeping the Outer Gods at bay from, like, the entire planet, the PCs were highly motivated to deal with the situation. And Alma led the Hunt against Yog-Sothoth. And lost.
Yog-Sothoth is master of time and space, and batted Alma to the future. Well, sort of. The future on Mars. Well, in the Martian Dreamlands. It's complicated. But Alma got help getting back to her time. More or less -- she wound up with amnesia and became her own grandmother. This could have bombed, but Avram found it cool, so it worked.
And the results of the Outer God invasion of that Sidhe kingdom are still rippling throught the gameworld, 20 years later, and something like 5 or so years, I think, after I actually ran the sessions.
So, to a degree, I already did the "take over the Hunt" plot for Avram.
Alma eventually reached the present day, and now called herself Eve. She had a Sidhe husband, Christian (he's a rebel), and she was a shrewd business woman. All of this is background Avram created. Oh, and when she learned all about her past and got her memories back, she decided that being leader of the Hunt was a really dumb idea. A Sidhe who owed her a debt offered to repay it by taking the Hunt off her hands, and she agreed. He's still leading the Hunt.
No Artemis connection directly. But one question that's come up before is whether Eve's daughter, Laura, who is now contacting Artemis, will take over the Hunt. Originally, she so didn't want to. I cannot see Artemis as an exhausted goddess asking Laura to take that burden from her. But I could see Artemis allowing as how she would not be displeased if Laura chose to do so. And a not displeased goddess can give out fine bennies.
Now, what I'm planning to do is, I fear, less sturm and drangy. I got the seed of the idea when Josh noted that Laura is a female computer programer, and that these are rare. Perhaps Artemis likes this.
I'd seen the Artemis connection, among other reasons, because Laura is very independent. Sure, she has a boyfriend, and she's sorta faithful to him. When she's not on tour. And she hasn't mentioned the exceptions to him. I found this out recently when I asked Avram if it were a monogamous relationship. Not that I think the boyfriend will be either offended or surprised. He's only sorta faithful himself. But I'm told in various feminist interpretations that "virgin" means "unclaimed".
Okay, so Artemis probably doesn't want Laura to marry or make a permanent commitment to a guy. She wouldn't mind Laura taking over the Hunt, but she doesn't insist on it. She would like Laura to do some old fashioned consciousness raising.
There's a group of people that used to be the group's enemies. They're not exactly the group's friends now, but they're no longer enemies. They're living in Chicago. They're fairly patriarchal. They're sorta Greek, and probably do worship Greek gods. I think Artemis wants Laura to help out the women, have them gain better status among their people.
The plot involving these women has been there for some time, but only really hitting one player, Beth. I think I should take advantage of the opportunity Avram handed me to tie at least one other player/PC into it. And if Laura does this circle with the other PCs, well, they're all independent women, and Artemis wouldn't mind them helping. Even if it doesn't quite work that way, one of the PCs, Honggong, is dating a guy from this people. Not just any guy -- the guy they consider their prince.
So, she's dating the prince. Laura will be told, "Help these women move into the 21st century and equalize gender relationships." One of these women will be trying to court the son of another PC, Regina. And the last PC in this group (folks have 2-3 PCs by this point) is Jay, who always wants to get involved in everything anyway, and who has an unsettled score to settle with the prince's father. At the moment, she's being pragmatic, figuring that, as a sorceress, she can outlive the prince's father. I plan to shake that up a bit.
Now, the prince is not an idiot. He is aware that the gender role thing will be a major issue and he's doing his best to ride the storm. But I think we have a chance for some interesting times.
I'd been asked who is likely to channel Artemis. I'm considering having a ghost that hangs out with the band be the channel. She's a 16 year old girl who was murdered by her possessed art teacher after he tortured her for a while. She's doing her best to be independent, and Artemis may encourage this. Plus it means I don't have to hand a player a script or take over one of their PCs.
I don't think we have any Bangs in here yet, but some promising Openings and Kickers.
Ron, where's the glossary going to be when it's done?
Reply #12 on:
April 16, 2004, 01:52:19 PM »
Hm, I wonder if Laura will be on the ball enough to remember that it might be better if none of the male NPCs who hang out with PCs are part of this contacting Artemis business. 'Cuz, while I'm not planning anything too drastic, yes, this is a Greek Goddess, and "nice" is not generally the correct descriptor.
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