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[Nine Worlds] The Jovian Candidate

Started by ejh, October 02, 2004, 05:18:17 PM

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Maxwell Chime was a menial functionary in an industrial nation on Earth, who was on the verge of being Enlightened by Prometheus, when Somebody kidnapped him.  That Somebody brainwashed him to make him think he was, on the contrary, an ordinary inhabitant of Jupiter. They transported him to Jupiter and plopped him down into a the life of a menial functionary there, complete with wife (Helen) and false memories of having dated and married her years ago.  He lived there for a year or so until he happened to see a very high-ranking Aegis official in a parade, at which point he found himself compelled by those brainwashing impulses to shapeshift into a hideous winged, clawed serpent, and rip the official's throat out.  At that point he shapeshifted back into his normal form, with no idea what had happened and why.

He turned tail and ran, and managed with great difficulty to escape into the crowd.  His memories began returning immediately... although whoever kidnapped him had made sure he didn't see who they were.

So he's got an Aegis squad on his tail, staying one step ahead of them.  Meanwhile he desperately wants to find out who did this to him.

And what of his wife Helen -- was she part of the conspiracy or a fellow victim?  His memories of dating and marrying her, he's realizing, were all lies.  He wasn't on Jupiter then, he was on Earth, and he was unmarried.  Was she brainwashed too, or part of the conspiracy?

He was mostly Hubris, very little Arete.  Muses were "find his wife and figure out what her part in this is," "evade/defeat Aegis squad that's after him," and "figure out who brainwashed him."

The game began shortly after Maxwell went all Manchurian Lee Harvey Oswald.  He snuck back to his apartment to find it trashed, and while he was gazing at a picture of him and his wife and wondering where the false memories came from, an Aegis heavy burst in the door with some kind of magical club which liquefied things.  Maxwell ended up barely dodging the club and assaulting the Aegis guy with a cloud of tiny black frogs (creating them via Cosmos urge).  Globe of Frogs!

He ran out of the house and got on a streetcar.  He picked up a newspaper and kind of hid behind it, trying to blend into the crowd....  camera on Maxwell in the seat reading the paper, not realizing that on the front page of it is a picture of him with the headline "MAD ARCHON ASSASSIN."  He looks up to find the whole car of people staring at him in fear.  He realizes what's going on when the driver slows the bus down and he hears the aegis car sirens in the distance.  I decided to try a little Arete and had him threaten the driver with a pocketknife (barely succeeded) and force him to drive the streetcar at maximum speed straight out of Olympia City to the edge of town (to where the tram-line ended) -- at that point Max sprinted out of the car and became a bird again, fleeing into the mountains outside of the city.

(I imagined Maxwell as looking a lot like the protagonist in Yes's _Owner of a Lonely Heart_ video.  Like him, he turns into a bird when cornered.)

He spent a couple days in the mountains, mostly as one animal or another, trying to decide what to do.  Finally his "what's up with his wife Helen?" muse took over and he decided to find his way back to her.  He located a meteoric lodestone in a crater in the woods and enchanted it so that it would lead him to Helen.  He suspended it from a string made from shredding the remains of his tie and followed it back into the city, using some metamorphosis-disguise to keep from being immediately spotted.

Helen was somewhere within the Aegis headquarters building.

Well, time to get into the building.  He had to know who she really was, one of the conspirators who brainwashed him?  Or another victim?

Now I'm realizing I don't remember how Max got into the building, exactly, I just remember it was a heinous conflict with the Aegis Headquarters, personified as a character, with really badass stats including some Force Points, which screwed me completely because I didn't have any Valor or Pride.  Anyway, Max ended up gassed and in a prison, which he busted out of easily... to find Helen in the same prison.  A little investigation showed that they weren't in the Aegis building after all, but on an aether-ship... being attacked by a Kraken!

Long story short, cut to the chase, Helen was kidnapped and brainwashed like Maxwell, but instead of being an ordinary schmuck about to become an Archon, she was actually a Grace.  She had finally been tracked down and rescued from Aegis headquarters by the Graces, and they had rescued Maxwell too.  Maxwell spent the rest of the voyage trying to get Helen to stay with him, to salvage something from the lies and false memories that their relationship had been -- but she was not the Helen he knew and didn't want to be.

When they finally arrived on Venus he snuck away before the Graces could debrief him, hoping to find a ship to Earth to piece back  together what he could of his old life there and determine exactly what had happened to him.

System notes...

I picked up the system pretty fast.  It made sense.  I didn't know what to do with my tricks except pump my muses, though -- since I was the only one playing, I *always* got to declare the conflict over when I won, therefore I had no reason to use them to whittle down the foe.  ( cf Joe's questions at ).  This meant that I had nine points in two muses in no time!  This might be a bit of a hole in one-player play of Nine Worlds.  I mean, i didn't mind -- I kicked butt -- but it seemed almost too easy.

More as I think of it...

Loved the game!

Matt Snyder

Nice post, Ed! The Jovian Candidate idea is exactly in line with the Nine Worlds concept. Very cool.

I'm unclear -- were you doing solo play (as in, only you playing), or where you playing with you and a GM? If you were playing alone, you would have few choices on the narration victories, of course.

The Muses can add up to the maximum of 9 pretty quickly. I recommend channeling excess points into new Muses. Better yet, resolve those Muses and get some Talismans and/or improved attributes.
Matt Snyder

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra


I meant "me and one GM" not "just me as player and GM." :)  The GM was the user jporrett.

I did resolve one muse in the course of the game, so I have 9 points ready to spin into Talismans -- but I didn't actually invest them this game. :)

Very enjoyable game.

Ron Edwards


I drew a little diagram to help me out with Nine Worlds. You'll have to draw it yourself via these descriptions; I hope this works ...

Taking Tricks results in (a) increasing Muses or (b) manipulating characters' scores via the Virtues.

Resolving Muses results in Valor or Pride.

Valor is used for (a) increasing scores permanently or (b) bidding for Trump; Pride is used for acquiring Talismans.

I'm thinking that the Trick-to-Muse-to-V/P is the core. From there, you can got to Trumps, Talismans, and score increase. Spending Tricks "off" this line to rearrange scores seems to me more like a sideline, perhaps if you are nice and full up on Muses and V/P, or desperate for some reason.

Also, having high Muses means a higher chance of taking Tricks, so it'd be good to keep the Muses nice and high and have big ones ready "behind" the one that's currently getting resolved, if any.

Overall, early in play, I'd be more interested in capturing Tricks to farm into my Muses than in actually getting my way overall. In fact, I could see narrating conflicts that I'd won into prolonging the conflict rather than finishing it (and hence risking losing eventually).

I don't think that's a bad thing. It fits nicely with the lessons we're all learning and applying from Extreme Vengeance, Scarlet Wake, and With Great Power that getting thoroughly hosed and hammered in the first parts of play is a wonderful thing.



Dammit, Ron, I never thought of that.  (Actually I did continue rather than narrating a victory in at least one case for exactly that reason, but I could have done it a lot more.)

Matt Snyder

A correction on your otherwise excellent primer, Ron (edits in bold):

QuoteTaking Tricks results in (a) increasing Muses or (b) manipulating characters' scores via the Virtues.

Resolving Muses results in Valor or Pride.

Valor is used for (a) increasing scores permanently or (b) bidding for Trump; Pride is used for (a) acquiring Talismans or (b) bidding for Trump .
Matt Snyder

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra