Archive for September 22nd, 2010

Deterministic Resolution Example

2010 Sep 22

Had to get this down before I forget.

Jonathan and John are playing Ghost Opera. Jonathan is the GM. John’s character has just discovered that the local village shaman — his uncle and the man who has taught him the ways of the spirits — has been fucking with the spirit world in horrible ways.

Jonathan: So you come across the shaman amidst the half-flooded temple. He’s dressed head-to-toe in these ritual robes made from bamboo and river rushes, acting as the Huai River Dragon. He’s holding a ritual knife and stabbing a rabbit on an alter while chanting into the burning incense.

John: I come up behind him, wrest the knife from him, and stab him to death.

Jonathan: Awesome! There are a few obstacles in your way, which you have to overcome to accomplish that. First, the shaman is crafty and paranoid. He might be able to hear you coming up on him.

John: No, he totally doesn’t. I’m a master hunter and silent as death. [John’s invoking the “I’m just better at this” clause, one of several ways to overcome an obstacle].

Jonathan: Cool. Can you write down “Silent as Death” on your sheet, as one of your new descriptors? I’m going to mark down that you were quiet enough to sneak up on paranoid old men.

John: Done. What are the other obstacles?

Jonathan: Well, since he’s your shaman, your uncle, and your teacher, I think he’s going to triple-invoke hierarchy on you.

John: That’s cool, but he has to actually do that, right? It’s not just some passive defense.

Jonathan: Sure, well, let’s let it play out and we’ll see if he’s able to do that. So how do you wrest the dagger from him, now that you’ve snuck up on him, silent as death?

John: Hmm, yeah. I think I leave his hand on the dagger and just twist his wrist around — probably breaking it in the process, since he’s an old man — and plunge it into his chest while holding tight onto his shoulder so he can’t turn around.

Jonathan: He screams in pain at his broken wrist and you hear this sucking sound as the dagger sinks between his ribs into a lung. Blood and spit burst from his lips as he gasps, “You piece of shit! I taught you everything you know! This is how you repay me!” He’s invoking his role as your master.

John: Yeah, nothing doing. I pull the dagger out and stab him again.

Jonathan: Okay, that’s one mark of breaking the Great Chain of Being. He moans and then starts speaking to you softly under his breath. Calling you by the childhood names that only close members of your family know.

John: Okay, that makes me pause for a moment, but then I viciously stab him a few more times, to try to make him be quiet.

Jonathan: And that’s another mark of violation. Finally, when he’s lying at your feet, all the blood draining out of him and billowing out in the six inches of water, he invokes the wrath of the spirits on you, for killing the shaman charged with protecting these lands.

John: He should have thought of that before he abandoned his responsibilities and screwed the spirits over. I kick his dying body down the steps of the temple and into the boggy marsh around it.

Jonathan: And that’s the third mark. The shaman’s body bobs and drifts away for a moment before sinking beneath the waters with a final gurgle.

John: Cool. Seems like end of scene, yeah?


2010 Sep 22

Man, reading all these games makes me want to work on design again (specifically, on Ghost Opera).

You cats are awesome.