Carving runes on the inner sky of an empyeran, trying to make meaning and hoping that those from without understand as well.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Two New Ideas, Sunny Side Up

A couple of ideas sprang up last night on the way home from Statistics:

Shadow Government/Fourth Force

A group of people have been chosen by some unknown Conspiracy to take care of the United States in its most desperate time and need: when Washington, DC gets taken out along with all of the political infrastructure of the US Government and the Pentagon. However, this group of people, this Shadow Government, must remain hidden from the entire world, even from themselves, until the need arises.

Meant to be played in a session per player plus a riveting finale, this game begins with the player's characters discovering that the government is disabled or destroyed and they are to take control and lead the nation out of crisis. With only a limited amount of time, they must decide if they will remain in power or relenquish control to some other party. They arrived, seeminlgy without motive, to a special elevator in a mundane building in Washington, DC, and are trapped in a command center in the most secret basement in the world. They have access to certain resources which will help them learn whatever they want and to make the decisions necessary to both lead the country out of crisis and with whom they will entrust the reins of government if and when they decide to step down.

The group has been 'chosen' by the Conspiracy, but the Conspiracy does not necessarily know who they've chosen. Each player will decide how they think the Conspiracy inducted the members into the Shadow Government and arranged for them to be at the right place at the wrong time. Examples:

  • Brainwashing
  • Subliminal Instruction from a lifetime of TV viewing
  • Cybernetic Implants
  • Magic

However, many complicating factors arise as the episodes play out. Each episode will highlight one character, chosen at random. The finale will choose one final character who will turn out to be a traitor, influenced or corrupted by some Fourth Force, and during that session the fate of the characters, the Conspiracies, the nation, and most likely all of mankind will be decided. To further complicate the matter:

  • The characters aren't necessarily politicians, citizens, or even educated. Each player will determine their own concept of the decisions made by the Conspiracy, and how they tie into it. They will also be responsible for their entire 'story', and will need to be able to explain their facade when they are revealed to be a traitor.
  • Neither the US Military nor the Intelligence Bureaus knows anything of the Shadow Government at the beginning of the game, and they will have to be dealt with, one way or another. By the finale, they are going to do one of three things: Acknowledge the leadership of the Shadow Government and support them, take over control of the government willingly from the group, or storm the basement and take the Shadow Government out.
  • The Conspiracy will be revealed to also be positioning themselves to take over the US and finish whatever catastrophe occurred worldwide and thus take over the world. The Conspiracy is keeping close tabs on the group by means of their own surveillance, which can only be interfered with by some outside action or group. If anyone acts in a way that forces the Conspiracy to consider the Shadow Government, in part or as a whole, as being disloyal or a failure, the Conspiracy can force a character to leave the basement to their certain doom, whether by 'remote control' or by convincing/cajoling/intimidating the group to do so.

Characters will be based solely on Trust. (I guess like the Mountain Witch?) Trust with the Remaining Agencies, Trust with the Conspiracy, Trust with the other characters, and Trust with the Fourth Force. The rest of the characters abilities and description will probably be like the Pool.

Crispin Glover is Here to Kill Me

You're all at a bar/club/dive, sitting around a table, when one of you and then all of you see that Crispin Glover has arrived. Crispin Glover has been hired to assasinate one of you, but will have to finish his pack of cigarettes first.

At first, the characters individually decide they will have one last great time, as they are sure that they are Crispin's target. As the game progresses, each will learn that everyone has a reason to be picked off, and can try to save themselves from their untimely doom.

Except for the very beginning, the players will always talk as their characters which they make up in their heads as they go along. Starting with the person to the right of the heaviest smoker in the group, each player will give a short overdubbed narration of their character, as seen through the eyes of Crispin Glover, as he watches his prey drink, smoke, and have a good time. This will establish the baseline of the character and cannot be denied through later narration.

When this is completed, each player is given a number of smokes equal to the number of players. The players, in whatever order they choose, can now initiate a monologue recounting some tale of their character and whomever else they want to include, as told in the first person, by throwing a smoke in the pot and by starting with the phrase, "Remember the time when ...". They are allowed to speak uninterruptedly, minus any solicitation for confirmation during the narrative that they initiate. As each player's character is introduced in the narrative, a smoke is thrown into the pot by that player.

When the story is done, the rest of the group either gives their approval that the story is true, acknowledges the story, but not necessarily its veracity, or gives disapproval and begins another narrative.

  1. Approval is given by a player not taking their smoke back from the pot and uttering the phrase "That's so true, [Character's Name], that's so true."
  2. Acknowledgement is given a player taking back their smoke and rhetorically asking, "So that's how it went down?"

At this point, if no disapproval is encountered, the story-teller takes the pot of smokes. However:

  1. Disapproval can be given by a player adding another smoke to the pot and stating "No, that's not how it happened ..." and retelling the tale from their perspective. This can only be initiated once. No more smokes will go into or out of the pot at this point, and this ability to re-narrate is not limited to the characters that were included in the original narrative.
  2. A final round of approval or disapproval goes around the room, ignoring the disapproving player, starting with the original story-teller. If that player wishes to acknowledge truthfulness of the retelling, that player states, "Damn! You're right, what was I thinking?" and splits the pot of smokes with the disapproving player.
  3. If this doesn't happen, the original player will say "That's not how I remember it going down." The other players will then speak to the original storyteller and say either "Can you believe this jerk?", indicating they agree with the original storyteller or "Dude, you're such a liar!", indicating they agree with the new story. Whomever has the majority takes the pot of smokes.

Every player gets to make one monologue and have it judged in this manner. However, the game isn't over yet. A new series of monologues will begin, but they will start with the phrase "I know why Crispin Glover wants to kill me ..." Only approvals or acknowledgement are allowed this round, and are done so by the phrases "Are you shitting me?" as an approval or "Damn, you deserve to die," as an acknowledgement.

Finally, Crispin Glover is done with his cigarettes and comes over to the table. The person with the most smokes gets one final monologue describing how every other character is more deserving of death and then initiates a plea, trying to bargain the character's life with the smokes they have on hand. The remaining players either agree or disagree with what's spoken by giving their smokes to the player for the plea bargain or by giving their smokes to Crispin. The game is won by the player if he/she has more smokes than Crispin Glover at the end of their story, meaning that Crispin spares only that character.


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