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PTA: More Imperivm Confidential

Started by Matt Wilson, October 17, 2003, 07:51:58 PM

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Matt Wilson

Rome is in turmoil.

In episode III, Atticus learns the identity of the murderer. It goes all the way to the top. A Nubian slave was paid to murder Galinius. Paid by Atticus' own patron, Pulcher, who in turn was instructed by the emperor himself.

But there's more: Pulcher reveals that Galinius and Cattalus are both responsible for the death of Atticus' father. It was justice seeing Galinius dead, Pulcher tells Atticus. Surely he should let the matter drop and let things resolve the way they have played out thus far.

Decimus and Atticus have a showdown at the pier, and Atticus appeals to Decimus' reason (after getting his nose bloodied): Why is he carrying the baton of a vigile?

Cattalus, Decimus' patron, has announced to all of Rome how the "murderer" has been caught and how there will be a "festival of pain" as the man is tortured. Decimus, in a defining moment, chooses to sneak into Cattalus' dungeon and kill the man rather than see him slowly tortured.

It was at this point I think that John said something about a weird parallel with MLwM, and he's just defied the master.

In Episode IV, last night, Atticus makes a decision. He enlists the help of none other than Marcus Gaius. What is justice worth to you, he asks Gaius, and tells him the truth.

This was a confirming moment for me that I liked N play: I made the choice to have Atticus go after the emperor because the thought of Rome in civil war sounded too cool to pass up.

Decimus confronts Marcellus and tells him that his memory about the killer is going to suddenly get really hazy if he wants to see Appolonia again. But that plan backfires a bit, as Cattalus is already claiming that he's discovered the truth about the false murderer on his own and is blaming Decimus for it.

The episode concludes with Decimus attempting to kill Cattalus and failing, instead being taken prisoner. Rome demands a festival of pain, and Cattalus has found his replacement.

And Gaius' troops are mustering, and the Praetorian Guard is manning the walls...

System Notes
I'm pretty pleased with the way the conflict system allows a nice mix of actions. Decimus swings his fists while Atticus tries to shout sense into him. It worked great.

In a conflict, the winner gains narration rights, but the loser always gets at least one demand, which works sort of like a Donjon fact. That's worked nicely in play. Last night I suggested that John's demand on losing the conflict against Catallus be that the emperor will be at Cattalus' estate to watch the torture. It sets up a bunch of fun story ideas.

It's been a little tricky with such an ongoing storyline to cater to the spotlight episode concept. Focusing attention on a protagonist is no guarantee that it'll allow the biggest moments of character growth and change. It works better with more of an episodic TV feel.