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Madness Dossier one sheet

Started by Steve Dustin, January 09, 2004, 01:44:14 PM

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Steve Dustin

Thought I'd share the one-sheet I'm taking to my next gaming session to hook my players into a Sorcerer game. Any thoughts, tips would rock.

David Icke's line of defence was clear. When he said lizards, he really was referring to lizards. He was not talking about cockroaches, or amphibians in general, contrary to the suggestions mooted at the meeting in Vancouver, but Annunaki lizards, specifically, from the lower fourth dimension.

The immigration officers glanced at each other, attempting to square this denial with the memo they had received from a coalition of respectable and trustworthy anti-racist groups, accusing David Icke of anti-Semitism. Finally, after four hours of questioning, they concluded that when David Icke said lizards, lizards was what he meant. He was free to enter the country. There was no law against this. How could the lawmakers anticipate that sort of thing?

This game's timeframe is now. As in right now. This very minute. The location is somewhere in the Middle East -- Jerusalem, Baghdad, Kabul -- pick a place to start at.

Your character is straight out of Three Kings, Spy Game, or Black Hawk Down. You're a CIA operative. Or CNN correspondent. Or an humanitarian aid worker handing out food.  Or grizzled old Special Forces officer. Or a terrorist informer leading a double-life. One thing is you're on the American side (or at least neutral) on the War on Terror.

Most characters are involved with a shadowy organization known only as Sandman. Sandman is fighting a war, not with terrorists, but with something greater, something that wants to engulf all humankind. Sandman calls it the Red King. You got your sorcery from Sandman. All humans have a kind of Jungian alphabet encoded their minds. Control glyphs of the alphabet, and you control people. Sandman has unlocked the glyph in your mind, your ka glyph, that allows you to summon and bind demons. Sandman doesn't fully understand the alphabet, but the Red King does.

Humanity is your character's connection to this reality -- what you see around you, what you tangible think of as here. When your Humanity hits 0, you go there -- somewhere else -- Hell, the lower fourth dimension, a rubber room -- who knows exactly?

Your Humanity also acts as a double-compass. The second definition is traditional American values. You know, human rights: right of free speech, religon, all men created equal, innocent until proven guilty, democracy, freedom, blah blah blah. The stuff you find in the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence. We Americans talk a good game, but hey, talk is cheap. Everytime you betray those values, everytime you deny someone their human rights, make a Humanity loss roll. This means all those nasty CIA operative techniques, like torture, assassination, and raping and murdering Guatemalen nuns. Everytime you reinforce those values make a Humanity gain roll.

Demons are Sumerian demons, known as the Annunaki. Annunaki are agents of the Red King. Where they are from, no one knows. They aren't talking. Well, about where they came from anyway. Of course, the Annunaki are like people, there are all kinds. You know there's some real powerful ones out there though, ones who killed their masters, and others who control their masters, and others ... you  don't want to think about it. They're not your friends. They're your enemies. But it's fight fire with fire. Winner take all. To defeat the Red King, you have to use Annunaki who are aligned with the Red King who is trying to destroy everything dear to you ... its a tough bind. But what else can be done? You're only human.
Creature Feature: Monster Movie Roleplaying


I like it.  I really like the dual humanity definition, and especially the notion of 0 humanity...hell, some other dimension, or a rubber room because its all in your mind and you're now just insane.

As a player I think I'd enjoy it best if the Annuki weren't "proven".  In other words are these really Sumerian demons, or is that just the label some crackpot put on it that now colors your perception of it.  Are you really contacting and summoning demons...or is that just how you explain it as you decend into madness.

I'd like to have that completely unspecified, which means I'd probably want the demons to be primarily of the inconspicuous / parasite / possessor variety so that PCs can never REALLY be sure if its really the demon acting or they themselves.  It looks like the demon, they believe its a demone...but maybe the doctor was right and they are just mad.

Layer that on top of a screwed up relentless paced spy thriller setting...I'm drooling.

Mike Holmes

I like, too. But I like a harder "Sumerian" angle than Ralph does. I think he's going for a specific sort of color, and that's important. Not only aren't these demons anti-American, the last people they related to were the Sumerians. So they're doubly wierd. :-)

Anyhow, sure you can make it ambiguous if you want, but what I'm thinking is the Sumerian aesthetic to give it a feel. So even if people can't be sure (and what can you be sure of, anyway regarding demons or even Sumeria), there is at least a very specific color to it all. Hmmm. Maybe the Sumerians got their aesthetics from the demons?

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Oh absolutely...tons of Sumerian Aesthetic (or whatever pseudo fertile crescent pastiche we are capable of delivering).  I'd be envisioning moments where the scene seems to shift into ancient Sumer...the battle now taking place in an ancient city, with a ziggarat rising in the background and cuniform writing everywhere...and then shifts back to the angle was just leaving it unstated whether that shift really happened...or whether it was just a delusion of the sorcerer.

Sort of like that scene in Total Recall (the movie) where the Doctor is lecturing Arnold "are you listening to yourself...she's real...because you dreamed her..." just enough to screw with the players so they don't REALLY know one way or the other.

What would really excite me is if the shifts get more and more vivid the more the character learns about ancient Sumeria.  Someone tells them about ziggarats and the next shift has one in the background.  Someone tells them they're looking for a cuneform tablet, and in the next shift there one is.  So that the possibility is there that the character is just mentally projecting his recently learned knowledge of Sumer into his delusion...keep the player guessing.

Ron Edwards


Source recommendation: Valis, by Philip K. Dick.

"The empire never ended."