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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 173 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [Ruby] Session two, an Opal murder mystery  (Read 1560 times)
gds
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Posts: 29


« on: April 27, 2007, 01:32:26 AM »

So finally we ran the next session of Ruby. The game can be played as essentially small, isolated adventures linked by the presence of the characters, where the previous mission does not have a bearing on the current one. We play it like this at the moment due to the difficulties of getting a regular session together - we had about three hours for this session. If you recall, the first mission was the Crimson, this one is to Opal. The profiles and previous actual play are on this thread (I didn't want to resurrect an ancient one).

http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=23604.0

There were two players this time, one had other commitments. We started with me explaining via Unity that they were Casting to Opal to free an Obsessive Dreamer, and that the Dreamer was one of three individuals related to a recent death, and also a little about Opal (mainly that it is a place of fear and oppression and that the Shells the characters would occupy would be members of the security forces). I also explained that unlike Crimson Shells on Opal continue to function while being occupied by successive Dreamers (i.e. on Opal the beings appear to live full and proper lives much like they do on Ruby). I handed out the Shell sheets and we started. The Shells were both gamma Drones from the police, armed and armoured.

The players woke within a recharging station in the city of Harmony. They quickly went about ascertaining that they were in a security station, and that they had been working there for some time (i.e. the Shells had existed long before the players used them). Straight away they started making enquiries about the murder, the plot of which is posted in the mission profile in the previous thread. They soon ran into Tilk, whose aggressive attitude immediately set him as their main adversary. They then set about trying to work out what had happened in the case, interviewing Pusel and running into Hile and K'llid, while I wove in some patrol duties to introduce them to the city.

Really the game seperated into two parts - trying to understand how Opal works, and trying to free the Dreamer.

The players had fun I think trying to work out what Opal was all about. The massive city of Harmony, the fear of Placid and Serene and the constant vigilance for 'infiltrators', the gambling and the ranking system and even the concept of wealth - all were introduced to the players as unique to Opal during the course of the mission. I found it personally satisfying hearing them reason out how the ranking system worked, how the prices of goods were linked to the rankings of the cities, and how that might give a motive for the killing. From one of the two players I definitely understood that this was what he liked most about the game - investigating bizarre places and trying to figure them out.

Freeing the Dreamer was the focus of the mission, and once they had scoped out the situation and how Opal worked, they set to the problem at hand. They correctly assumed pretty much straight away that there must have been a coverup and that they needed to bring the culprit to justice, but interestingly assumed that Pusel was the Obsessive. I think this more had to do with the classic 'save the innocent' idea than with how they thought an Obsessive might act. Interesting. I think the other player enjoyed this part of the mission, reasoning out the crime and putting it right.

They gathered the information using their police powers (checking computer records for example), and reasonable quickly found the link to Hile via the Beta K'llid. Due to a couple of botched rolls Tilk discovered their snooping and despite his and Hile's attempts to warn the players off, they pretty much sussed the link between Tilk and Hile. I was gearing up for a surprise attack from K'llid when the players decided to follow Tilk. The session was runnning out of time so I decided that afterinterviewing them to find out how much they knew Tilk was off to see Hile, and I let the players catch them together with the help of a good roll (more on the system later). They confronted the pair with K'llid in the background, and after the failed to take the initiative K'llid attacked. Tilk also attacked but after the players managed to injure the Beta and appeal to Tilk, he joined them and turned on Hile who was arrested. The players didn't push Tilk even though they knew he was involved in the crime - they even let Tilk doctor the evidence they had to remove his complicity. Pusel was freed and the mission ended and they returned to Ruby.

I haven't told them if they succeeded or not yet, though the fact that they ceased Dreaming indicates that they did!

All in all a good session. It was a little rushed in places due to time constraints, but overall fun and I think the players enjoyed themselves. It was the sort of session I liked because it involved very few rolls. Generally, unless I could see a reason why a player's suggestion should fail or could think of an interesting situation that could come from that failure, I let the game roll (say yes or roll the dice as others have nicely put). The combat was resolved quickly at the end, and the only other rolls were for the players attempting to persuade their computer (you have to talk to them in Ruby) to let them see some files. In this case the question was not whether they would see the file, but whether Tilk would be alerted to their snooping as they read it.

Anyway, at the end of the game the players were up for another session, so overall a success!
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2007, 06:54:38 PM »

Hi there,

Now that I own and have read Ruby, I can reply!! I am excited. This game is scratching a lot of itches and I'm impressed at the fine line you've managed to walk. On the one hand is Larry Niven-esque planetary cheese, just a lot of neat planets and minor speculative science; on the other is fairly hard-core thematic, even painful story creation, in the long term. You really nailed both with mechanics, too, and I don't think I've ever seen that in an RPG before.

I understand what you mean about the time constraints. I think that Gem Worlds scenarios really beg for multiple sessions, at least a couple, due to the subtle and dangerous status games that everyone must be enmeshed in. At the risk of self-promotion, my book The Sorcerer's Soul might go a long way toward helping devise these scenarios.

Hey, one thing - the way to deal with an Obsessive Dreamer is to exacerbate their situation, right? Really build it up and then puncture it? So on a Gem World, the Dreamer's striving for status, profit, power, and so on is the key (unlike on Crimson), so ... how did that play into the scenario? Did you have the time for any kind of build-up in that fashion?

Best, Ron
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