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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 132 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [Dictionary of Mu] No-prep play  (Read 2778 times)
angelfromanotherpin
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Posts: 135


« on: February 10, 2008, 08:13:12 AM »

So, I'd been trying to get a Saturday night game going for some weeks.  The first attempt fizzled, as I recruited a few people from a local gaming forum, we spent the first session talking expectations and prep, and then they never managed to show up again.  The second attempt was last night, salvaging one person from the first group (Dave), and one new person (Max), and I was determined to get some actual gaming done that night.  Naturally, as we talked about what we wanted to do, the group gravitated towards Sorcerer.  So, I suggested Dictionary of Mu, which I figured could just generate enough frantic energy and phantasmagoria by itself to carry a short session.

Character creation was interesting.  Dave's an old-school Shadowrun player, who immediately declared that he wanted his character to be a 'combat monkey.'  I asked if he meant a real monkey, because there's seriously a civilization of war gorillas.  He said that would do very well, thanks.  Max is a college freshman who hasn't played since middle school, and wanted to know if any of the standard fantasy fare was available, like elves or anything.  So I told him about Arcadia, (which I conflated with the Atlantis aesthetic, but that was okay) and he was sold.  So was Dave, as it turned out.

Then, as we went through the Descriptors, their initial concepts altered radically.  Dave's character became Vornorin, a Science-Priest of Arcadia, and Max chose every descriptor with the word Waste in it, becoming Khet, the last of a lost tribe of nomads.  Vornorin's a scary jaded bastard who eats brains and never has sex with the same species twice.  Khet's a manipulative and thieving survivor.  While searching Marr'd for new romances on his hover-platform, Vornorin found Khet near death in the waste and took him back to Arcadia as an indentured servant; so the players had decided to tie their characters together reasonably strongly from the beginning.

Kickers were a little tricky.  Dave's was that this was the day that Vornorin forsook Arcadian society and set out to find his own destiny.  I asked him why this was a problem, and he waffled a bit before coming up with 'the other priests don't want their secrets getting out, so they'll try to have me killed.'  Excellent, a Wild Hunt.  Max's was that he's had something stolen from him by one of Vornorin's slaves.  He described the item as a mundane piece of jewelry, of little real value.  I asked him why Khet even cared, and he thought for a bit and said it was the first thing Khet ever stole, and as such was a powerful symbol in his tribe's culture.

There were some cool scenes.  Vornorin leading his household slaves into the wastes, chained in a line and led by his hover-platform.  Khet hunting down the thief (who had fled the household before the exodus with news of Vornorin's plans to leave) and pretending to be a slave-taker.  Vornorin driving away the first round of hunters, lancers mounted on enormous dragonflies.  Khet's game of cat-and-also-cat in the faerie markets with a group of warriors convinced that his bracelet had hidden worth.  Vornorin cutting most of his slaves loose as 'ballast,' except for a few he saved as 'rations.'  Khet slipping out of town to rejoin Vornorin by posing as a member of the Wild Hunt coming after him.  The weeks-long endurance chase across the waste with the horns and baying of the Hunt behind them.  The diplomatic coup at Olymon, where they convinced the Primites that the Hunt behind them was an invasion force that needed crushing. 

Vornorin is a perfect Dictionary of Mu -tagonist.  Over the top, take-no-prisoners-except-as-rations hardcore, but also a total trust fund baby who has real difficulty dealing with common sense issues.  His starting Demon is an archaetech staff which detects and powers up other ancient technology, and shoots lightning.  Khet seems to be a much less distinct voice, and I think that's because Max is still finding his feet, but also because his Kicker was weak, and I didn't have time to spike it properly.  His Demon is the last cool breeze on Marr'd, which is pretty awesome.  The two of them have at this point decided to conquer the world, and their plan for doing so is pure gold.  Oh, Vornorin, despite being a 2/3/5 character, totally rocks the Will rolls all the time, because Dave is completely in tune with the 'Born to Rule' descriptor.  When he discovered that he could defend against physical attacks with commands backed by indignant aristocratic rage, he got the 'leopard look' big time.

All in all, I think the session was a success.  My biggest problem was in keeping the pressure on, which was not a huge deal at the time, but I need to work on it.
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-My real name is Jules

"Now that we know how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, how do we determine how many angels are dancing, at a given time, on the head of a given pin?"
"What if angels from another pin engaged them in melee combat?"
Judd
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« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2008, 11:30:03 AM »

Sounds fantastic.  I love the -last cool breeze on Marr'd- demon.  That is fantastic.  What is Dave's PC's demon?

Were there any Humanity tests for gain or loss?

I love that they want to take over Marr'd.  I can't wait to see what they do with the joint when/if they do.  Please do let me know.
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angelfromanotherpin
Member

Posts: 135


« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2008, 08:04:51 AM »

Sounds fantastic.  I love the -last cool breeze on Marr'd- demon.  That is fantastic.  What is Dave's PC's demon?

Were there any Humanity tests for gain or loss?

I love that they want to take over Marr'd.  I can't wait to see what they do with the joint when/if they do.  Please do let me know.

Vornorin's Demon is an archaetech staff covered in glowing runes.  It detects and powers up other archaetech, and shoots lightning, and all of it is under the Demon's control.  So Vornorin can point with it and yell at it, and it might do as he wants, and sometimes it just shoots lightning for no reason Vornorin can discern.  He recharges it by walking into sandstorms and letting the ambient static electricity discharge into it.  At some point it's totally going to power up the war-colossus of which the 'Face on Mars' is the only visible part.

Vornorin lost a Humanity point when he led his slaves on their death-march into the wastes.  Khet failed a gain check when he found the abandoned slaves waiting to die and convinced them that where there's life there's hope.
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-My real name is Jules

"Now that we know how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, how do we determine how many angels are dancing, at a given time, on the head of a given pin?"
"What if angels from another pin engaged them in melee combat?"
DainXB
Member

Posts: 36


« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2008, 02:19:40 PM »

At some point it's totally going to power up the war-colossus of which the 'Face on Mars' is the only visible part.

Speaking as someone who used the Cydonia 'Face' as a set-piece (a tomb of the Ancient Martians, preserved by decrepit-yet-deadly Mechanical Guardians) in a Space 1889 game once-upon-a-time... 

That  Is  Freaking  AWESOME!

--
DainXB
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2008, 09:41:32 AM »

I'm excited. It's great to see your Sorcerer participation paying off so much in actual play. Your descriptions seem to me to be illustrated by a cross between Moebius and Simon Bigley!

Question: are there any female characters of consequence?

Best, Ron

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angelfromanotherpin
Member

Posts: 135


« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2008, 06:08:48 PM »

Hey, Ron.  Hm, not familiar with either reference.  Could you fill me in?

The answer to your question is: not really.  The Damsel Messiah exists on the horizon as a future obstacle, and I tried to portray the Arcadians as existing in a sort of post-gender depravity.  On the other hand, all the significant characters from the tribes and the Primites were pretty aggressively masculine. 

It's a good thought, because I think the setting does need conniving courtesans and razor-edged babes (as well as the established terrifying Queens) to be complete.  I think the societal misogyny expressed in the Damsel Messiah's entry colored my vision a bit.  I'll definitely make an effort to introduce some Marr'd-worthy women in the next session.
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-My real name is Jules

"Now that we know how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, how do we determine how many angels are dancing, at a given time, on the head of a given pin?"
"What if angels from another pin engaged them in melee combat?"
Ron Edwards
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Posts: 17707


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« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2008, 07:28:04 PM »

!

Arzach (specific webpage chosen due to resolution) is the signature series by Jean Giraud, a.k.a. Moebius, first published in Heavy Metal. I used to have a huge poster of that image on my wall. Here's an unofficial Simon Bisley site, too; the pic that works best for me regarding your game is Melting Pot #3 (go to the gallery, then pick Heavy Metal, then Melting Pot).

I think you'll see what I mean.

I recommend making some really kick-ass non-sorcerous women NPCs.

Best, Ron
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Judd
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Please call me Judd.


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« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2008, 09:18:32 AM »

I think the societal misogyny expressed in the Damsel Messiah's entry colored my vision a bit.  I'll definitely make an effort to introduce some Marr'd-worthy women in the next session.

Misogyny that was punished quickly and brutally.
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