Friday, May 27, 2011

Resuming My Solo Games: Microscope

Perhaps the highest priority item on my list of things to do during my blogging spring cleaning is to resume my solo Mythic GME games. Regardless of how interesting the play reports are to other people, I really enjoy the play that goes into them. It's like writing fiction and reading it at the same time (and by that I mean I don't know what is going to happen next). And putting it out there for the public to see somehow makes the experience more real to me.

So, without further ado, I'm going to pick things up with my Microscope game (last seen here). I'm going to take this in small bites until I can get back in the swing of things and clear more time in my schedule. So until then, expect a series of irregular posts. I will, of course, continue to post non-Mythic content as well as I have a lot of ideas swirling around in my head that I'm itching to get down on the page.


Note: Recall that I am using the Mythic GME to simulate three other player personas other than myself. This should produce more surprises during play and keep the game from becoming a straight-up world building exercise.

This time I'll be documenting calls to Mythic
. Chaos Factor depends on the player that I'm simulating: Max is 5, Kate is 6, and Ian (the most unpredictable) is 7.

Q: Does Kate go with the Spear of Polhansur [50/50]? Yes.
Q: Does Kate create a dictated scene within her Spear of Polhansur event [50/50]? Yes.
RANDOM EVENT: NPC Action "Delay Leadership". (It is handy that this came up since I was going to go to the Mythic Event Meaning Table anyway to come up with a topic for the scene)
CQ: What's up with the Spear (New Mythic Description table)? "Positively fresh"... ugh, ok. It's is charged with positive energy and always looks like it was made yesterday.
We know that Old Hob is present in the scene, but what about his companions?
Q: Is there at least two other [Likely]? Yes.
CQ: What are they like...
    1. Mythic Description Table: "mysteriously watery"... a "water bender"?
    2. Mythic Description Table: "efficiently abnormal"... a higly trained freak of nature... or alien
    3. Mythic Description Table: "lazily remarkable"....a golden boy who has lived a charmed life
Q: Is there a sympathetic hireling [Unlikely]? No (there goes one idea that I had...)
Q: Is the spear buried in the heart of a monster [50/50]? Yes. Cool, now I have a different idea...
[Plus various calls to name generators]
We return to the table with me and and my imaginary fellow players: Max, Ian, and Kate. I just concluded the first pass around the table and now I hand things over to Kate to create a Legacy before moving onto turn #2.

I'm going to create a Legacy for the Spear of Elector Polhansur that was featured in my event last turn. I imagine it as being an indestructible legendary artifact that was discovered by Polhansur as he was cleansing his land of Nagari Cultists (most likely dating it to the Age of Enlightened Emperors). In fact, I'm going to say that his campaign against the Nagari (which may or may not have coincided with the Suppression of the Nagari Cult Event) and his discovery of the Spear is what led to him being elevated to Emperor in the first place. Even among the rest of the Enlightened Emperors, Polhansur stands out as a paragon.

Anyway, Polhansur's mythical weapon was eventually lost. During the Second Age of Darkness, a party of heroes quested to recover the weapon, hoping to use it to restore the glories of that lost age.

Leading this group, is the Nemur Prament, a handsome landed knight, a natural leader, and a bit of a jerk. His surviving companions are Zinatu Schwiger-Bettor, a matronly water wizard whose adventuring days are largely behind her and Gemo Timbrosta, an alien fighting monk. There is, of course, Old Hob (who is mostly employed as a lowly porter in complete ignorance of his fighting skills).

The question that I will answer is "Why does Nemu Prament, the obvious leader of the dungeon delvers, fail to take possession of the Spear of Polhansur?"
The scene opens with the four companions descending a series of wide stone steps into an airy, underground temple. The air is warm and humid and purple vines descend from cracks in the ceiling. Lying on the floor, in the middle of a blood-soaked magical glyph, is a humongous bat-like creature with the Spear of Polhansur embedded in its chest. The creature appears recently slain, though it is obvious that it has been here for centuries. There is a distinct odor of burning animal fur and the creature seems to radiate an unsettling heat.

"Well, we've finally made it," exlains Nemu Prameint, striding forth triumphantly in his exquisite etherium plate armor.

"Hold, Nemu!" pleaded Zinatu, her face dripping with sweat. "All is not as it seems. This beast looks like it was slain on this day, yet surely that is not possible. Give me a moment to decipher the thaumic energies."

Exasperated, Nemu says, "But we've survived the challenges of the Vault of Lerosathur..."

"And lost three companions," Gemo says is his distinctive monotone voice.

"Yes, all the more reason to claim our reward. We've made the proper sacrifice. I've... we've earned the right to claim the Spear." Nemu's blue eyes are practically afire with excitement.

Recognizing that look, Zinatu drops her head, takes a breath to calm herself, and says, "Fine. Whatever." She then begins to open her invisible third eye anyway so that she may perceive the magical knots of energies that might illuminate the magical affect that must be present. That there was magic, she was completely certain. But the magic was hot and foreign and it would take her utmost concentration to figure it out.

Meanwhile, Nemu strides forward, places a boot on the dead creature, and grasps the spear with both hand. His face is suddenly radiant with the realization of its power. He draws it forth from the monstrous corpse and holds it aloft, shouting at the top of his lungs, "Behold, the Emperor returns!"

The very next instant, Nemu is consumed in a pillar of fire as the gigantic fire bat returns to consciousness and regains its natural, blazing state.

Ignoring the screams of his companion, Gemo spring into actions. Dancing to and fro to avoid blasts of fire, he concentrates on using his sablewood staff to keep the creature at bay. Though he can certainly hurt the creature, he knows that their only hope is Zinatu's water magic.

Already on the edge of a trance to unravel the mystery of the creature's stasis, it is no hard feat for Zinatu to begin working her magic. But heat from the beast is already driving away much of of the moisture in the air, so Zinatua works furiously to concentrate what remains into an aura close to the creature's body. Its flames reateat and a cloud of steam begins to form in response.

Then, Zinatu draws on the moisture from her own sweat-drenched clothes and half-empty water skin. Shaping small ball of the purest water, just inches from her concentrating face, she freezes it solid and sends it smashing into the creature with the force of a bolt of lighting.

The creature flies back, its flames momentarily extinguished. Gemo seizes the opportunity to snatch up the Spear. With an uncustomary flourish, he spins it around and thrusts it back into the belly of the beast. The blowback incinerates him instantly, but the fire bat falls to the ground, dead or at least incapacitated once more.

Zinatu drops to the ground in grief, her sobs failing to bring forth tears from her water-starved body.

Loaded with the packs of the fallen, Old Hob looks on silently as a statue.

Updated Corkboard detailing the Microscope structure is here.


Bard said...

Really awesome. Looking forward to reading more!

Aleksandar Šaranac said...

I like the idea of different players having different chaos factors... Since I am currently at the beginning of my own Mythic/Microscope campaign, and I will definitely use this trick in further passes...

Dreamer said...

Good stuff! Makes me want to get into the Microscope action. :)

I've been thinking of creating a front-loaded city or world in which I could sandbox with Mythic, but I don't really know where to start. This seems like it could fit the bill.

Risus Monkey said...

@Bard: More will be on the way soon. :)

@Aleksandar: Yeah, the idea suddenly just came to me. I was trying to figure out a way to incorporate the Chaos factor, but there wasn't a linear story progression (other than within scenes) and no obvious way to measure when things were becoming more chaotic or out-of-control.

@Dreamer: Microscope is a great world-building tool. It's great to actually play out the world building and thus allow for the opportunity to be surprised.