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[Shock: 1.1] - First game

Started by Nev the Deranged, August 08, 2007, 09:02:39 PM

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Nev the Deranged

Okay, I am gonna do this in chunks, because I don't have time to type it all out in one go.

I managed to get some people, namely Juli, Karin, and myself, together last weekend to play Shock:. I really wanted to try them before leaving for GenCon next week and getting inundated with new stuff.

Here's what we started with:

Shocks: (Owner)
* Genetic Engineering (Juli)
* Hyperlongevity (Karin)
* Slave Race (Dave)

Issues: (Owner)
* Environment (Karin)
* Marital Fidelity (Juli)
* Freedom of Information (Dave)
* Overpopulation (nobody)

* Fear vs. Compassion
* Manipulation vs. Honesty

We actually didn't really keep track of who owned what. Everyone just kind of went with the flow. With it being our first game, with three protags, there was enough to keep track of without worrying about ownership, really.

Dave's Protag:
Jeffrey Sing (Environment / Slave Race)
Fear - 6 - Compassion
Manipulation - 4 - Honesty
* Oldest son of a wealthy family.
* Addicted to Kronos.
* Having an affair with a slave.
* Father / Boss, George Sing
* Kronos dealer, Tiny
Story Goal:
Bring my family down in flames.

Dave's Antagonist: (played by Karin)
Sing family Counselor / Psychiatrist
Fear - 3 - Compassion
Manipulation - 4 - Honesty

We had decided the wealthy families had in-house shrinks, to help them maintain their emotional stability. However, this never came into play, and no such character ever materialized. Karin just ended up playing whatever opposition I set for the scene.

We weren't 100% sure who gets to frame each scene, we just kind of went with whomever had an idea to start, and then let things grow organically from prior scenes.

Karin's Protag:
Janis Abriet (Slave Race / Access to Information)
Fear - 4 - Compassion
Manipulation - 6 - Honesty
* Nanny for a wealthy family (which turned out to be the Sings).
* Highly educated.
* Genetically enhanced brain.
* Has the support of Agnes Sing.
* Intellectual Freedom Association.
* Younger sister, Emmeline.
Story Goal:
Free intelligent life from intellectual persecution.

Karin's Antagonist: (played by Juli)
Intellectual Purity Office, aka "Infopol", a government sanctioned organization that regulates information and knowledge. Very sinister.
I don't actually have this info, Juli still has the sheet. I will prod her to post.

Juli's Protag:
Dr. Felicity McNamara, a researcher in a government lab, working with rare fungi to try to find a way to further thwart the effects of aging (longer lifespans means longer sensescence).
(Hyperlongevity / Access to Information)
Story Goal: To find a breakthrough in her research.
Ditto for this one.

Juli's Antag: (played by Dave)
The future incarnation of VeHEMent, an organization that actually exists today, the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement. Only in the future they are the Violent Human Extinction Movement. Basically a terrorist group trying to undo the overcrowding that 1000 year lifespans have caused.
Fear - 3 - Compassion
Manipulation - 7 - Honesty

Alright, bedtime for me. I'll post more probably tomorrow.

Nev the Deranged

Okay, continuing!

Scene 1 - Jeffrey and his fiancee Daphne are sharing a swingin bench and some lemonade on the Sing family holo-porch, which overlooks a vast plantation, all green lit gold by the sun. It's all an illusion, of course, but the wealthy can afford such make-believe. Jeffrey (never Jeff), is coming down from a Kronos high. Kronos is a drug that causes a sort of mental time-dilation, compressing long periods into shorter bursts, depending on the dosage and purity. Known as "K", the drug is favored by both the poor and wealthy alike, for whom thousand year lifespans can easily become extremely boring. Daphne knows Jeffrey was a user, but not how deeply he's into it, and she's concerned about their future if he continues.

* My goal for the scene was that Daphne not find out Jeffrey was still tweaked on K.
* Karin's goal was that Daphne convince Jeffrey to give up the junk entirely.

We both succeeded. Jeffrey managed to keep his shit together (by spiking his lemonade with booze, we decided that alcohol and K cancelled each other's effects somehow), but the experience made him realize he was in over his head. He agreed to give it up, and Daphne was much pleased.

We weren't quite sure (and by this I mean I wasn't sure, since nobody else read the game) how scenes got set up and framed, so everyone pretty much pitched in. Throughout the game there was very little naysaying, which was sometimes a bit confusing, and to a degree I think we all came away with slightly different versions of what happened in the fiction because of it. I think that will get better with some practice.

Scene 2 - Janis is in a classroom on the Sing estate, teaching two of Jeffrey's younger siblings, Cheryl and Fredric. A courier enters and has her sign off on a registered letter, which reveals that one of the children's test results has been flagged by the IPO for noncompliance with mandatory intellectual purity indoctrination. And here we had one of the coolest minutia ever- the Intellectual Purity Office administers mandatory testing throughout the educational process- and they test both for what the student should know, and what they should not know. That's just wicked cool and evil. So, the children must report for reevaluation.

Janis is extremely concerned, because she has been using the curriculum designed specifically by the Intellectual Freedom Association to thwart the IPO tests. Not only does this put her in danger, and the children, but it could mean the IFA's curriculum is no longer up to date with the latest IPO testing.

* Karin's goal: That Janis not lose her teaching license.
* Juli's goal: That the Sings get wind of the illegitemate test results.

Both succeeded (we had a lot of those early on). Agnes (Jeffrey's mother) is in charge of the children's education, and calls Janis in for a meeting. She believes it's just an honest mistake, and wants to go over the lessons with Janis to make sure everything is ok, but Janis isn't in trouble... yet.

I'm not sure if we were being antagonistic enough, or even protagonistic enough, really. Once actually IN the game, it was hard for me to be as objective as I would be if merely observing, so I just went with the flow.

Scene 3 -  Dr. McNamara is working in her lab, cataloguing a new shipment of rare fungi that just came in from harvesters in the Rainforest. Little does she know that the shipment was intercepted by Vehement, who planted a deadly contaminant in them.

* Juli's goal: Discover a useful property in a previously unknown specimen.
* Dave's goal: That she does not notice the contamination.

Escalation! I wasn't sure if the Antag also re-Intents, but I ended up doing so, because it seemed silly not to.

* Juli's escalated goal - Earn the praise of her boss for finding the new property.
* My escalated goal- That Dr. M gets infected herself by the contaminant.

I won, and one of the speciments moved unexpectedly while she was unpacking it, causing her to jerk her hand back and nick it on the edge of the packaging. It was just a scratch, and she was so intent on finishing her work, she didn't properly clean the wound or report the accident.

Tune in next time, boys and girls, when Jeffrey's legs get broken.


Nev the Deranged

further continuing:

Scene 4: Jeffrey meets with Tiny to cut off his regular Kronos supply. Needless to say, Tiny is not pleased to lose one of his best customers.

* My goal - Make a clean break from Tiny, and Jeffrey's Kronos habit.
* Karin's goal - Tiny breaks Jeffrey's legs.

We both succeeded. Juli's minutia was that K builds up in your system, causing random, unexpected time dilation episodes, and that was in fact what had been happening to Jeffrey during his tet-a-tet with Daphne. I was thinking about what I wanted to narrate, and finally just said "do we really need any more details here, or do we all pretty much get the point?" Everyone agreed that yeah, the scene was good as it was.

Moving on!

Scene 5: Janis is at an IFA meeting. Also present are her supervisor in the IFA, and, unbeknownst to either of them, an Infopol double agent.

* Karin's goal - That Janis' situation be made public in a legal action, and for her to be set up as a symbol of the intellectual freedom movement.
* Juli's goal - For the double agent to get proof that the IFA has been defeating the IPO testing.

Juli succeeded, so the mole got access to the test manipulation data from the IFA's files, and Janis doesn't get the dubious protection of a public legal battle.

Scene 6: Dr. McNamara is in the lab, putting one of the specimens through a battery of tests on some big scanning machine thingy.

* Juli's goal - To make a breakthrough in her research.
* Dave's goal - That Janis get reassigned to an unrelated project.

Both succeeded (we had a lot of those). Just as an unexpected chain reaction occurs beneath Felicity's waldos (waldoes?), her boss comes in and shuts the power down in the lab, announcing that the project has lost funding and they have been reassigned.

Scene 7: A meeting of the board for the big company the Sings have a controlling interest in. George is already there, and Jeffrey shows up in a wheelchair, pushed by the slave he's having an affair with (which is still a secret).

* Dave's Goal - The board members will express their lack of faith in the Sing family's leadership. After all, Jeffrey was found bloodied and battered in an extremely seedy part of town.
* Karin's goal - for Jeffrey to become an anti-Kronos spokesperson.

Both won, so I narrated that the board informed Jeffrey that he had gotten an invitation to tour the country giving anti-drug speeches, which they strongly urged him to accept. George wanted Jeffrey to stick up for the family and tell the board off, but to his shame, Jeffrey accepted the offer.

Minutia was that Kronos has become something of an epidemic.

Scene 8: Janis, apparently long disillusioned with the IFA's methods, has been teaching the rest of the Sing family slaves in secret. She's ready to go ahead with her own plans.

Karin's goal - for Janis to go public with the results of her own program, showing that slaves can pass the higher level intelligence testing, and that the system of social stratification by intellectual "purity" should be abolished. (story goal)
Juli's goal - for Infopol agents to raid the IFA headquarters and shut them down with "extreme prejudice".

Both won (again!). Janis goes public, with the help of Agnes Sing, who has been sympathetic to her work all along and uses her money and political influence to strike a major blow for the intellectual rights of slaves. Meanwhile, the Information Police sweep through the IFA hideout, arresting the leaders for later interrogation and brainwashing, and slaughtering the rest in a hail of bullets. This too, is publicized by Janis and Agnes, lending strength to their movement and calling the IPO's very mission into question.

This ended Janis' story.

Scene 9: Felicity is in the makeshift laboratory she has cobbled together in the kitchen of her apartment, using scavenged and stolen equipment. As she works feverishly to recreate the breakthrough from her earlier experiment, she is seized by blurry vision and regular coughing spasms. After a particularly violent one of these, we can see specks of blood seeping through from the inside of her facemask.

Juli's goal - That Dr. M find the solution to the problem of advanced aging due to lifespan elongation (story goal)
Dave's goal - Nobody finds out. (I had trouble deciding what exactly I wanted to go with... my other idea was for her to die. I should have gone with that, since the one I used is actually not orthagonal, but dependent on her succeeding).

Both win, and she finds what she's been after all along. As she reaches weakly for the phone to tell her boss, her eyes are so blurry she can't make out the numbers, and she is gripped by the worst coughing fit so far. Collapsing on the floor, she fades in and out of consciousness, barely aware of the Vehement agents breaking into her apartment and gathering up all her equipment, research, and ultimately even herself, for an unknown fate.

This ended Dr. Felicity McNamara's story.

Scene 10: On a national holovid channel, Jeffrey Sing is giving a talk on the effects of Kronos usage on his body, mind, and lifestyle.

Dave's goal - Bring the final humiliation on his family by publicly denouncing his engagement to the respectable Daphne and revealing his love for Talia, his personal slave. (story goal)
Karin's goal - for Talia to self-emancipate and leave Jeffrey to follow Janis and Agnes' movement.

I won, and succeeded in my story goal, but decided that Talia would still be emancipated, and that she had been one of Janis' students all along. Jeffrey supported her in this. Together we hashed out that Agnes divorced George, and that most of the money and influence came from her family anyway. Without her support or Jeffrey's, and with the Sing family slaves all having revolted, George was powerless. He was summarily removed from the board of directors and lost everything. Jeffrey, Talia, Janis, and Agnes all worked together to spearhead a worldwide emancipation movement.

And that's it! Despite not really knowing what we were doing, we had a good time, and managed to tell some interesting tales, even if we didn't adhere strictly to the Issue/Shock intersections we started with.

We didn't have a good grip on pacing, either, but that will come with practice, I think. I note that in 1.1, each protagonist gets either 3 or 4 scenes, period. This means stories need to be told in pretty broad chunks, which is ok, just not what I was expecting. Also, just one Audience member gets to contribute to the results of the scene, which means less minutia, as well as a LOT of Both Succeed results.

I think it might be interesting to try a game with a single protag/antag pair, one or two audience members, and give the Antag maybe 20 credits or so, to see if that led to a longer, more detailed, possibly more cinematic story.

Thanks to Josh for doing 1.1, and for answering my questions. And thanks for Juli and Karin for playing!

Oh, yeah, I almost forgot! Karin (a non-gamer), posted in her blog about the game:

Nev the Deranged

Karin pointed out that it was Doc Felicity that got reassigned to the other project, not Janis. I bet she's the only one who noticed, tho.

Thanks ^_^


Quote from: Nev the Deranged on August 13, 2007, 07:10:28 PM
Karin pointed out that it was Doc Felicity that got reassigned to the other project, not Janis. I bet she's the only one who noticed, tho.

Thanks ^_^

I caught that, but definately after Karin did since I just read everything thoroughly.  I will be posting my part sometime tomorrow, hopefully.