[Sorcerer] Got My Mojo Workin'

Started by James_Nostack, September 08, 2011, 02:20:43 PM

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Maybe 2-3 minutes to frame the scene, another 5 minutes or so for the player to set things up, a minute or two of me stalling, and then about 20-30 minutes of break-time and working through the consequences.  Approximate play transcript follows.

So the deal was, I'd intended this as no more than a vignette.  There had been the sub-plot set up over a few sessions that a rock 'n roll DJ, Wild Bill Akers, was totally besotted with Mehitibel Cosgrove who has, perhaps, an undeserved reputation for sluttiness.  We hadn't seen those characters in a while, and as part of prep I just wanted to mention that Mehitibel had jilted Wild Bill and he was distraught. 

In play it was something like:

ME: Okay, Dave, you'd said you wanted to talk with Tommy Joe?

DAVE: Yeah, Mavis and I will go to the jailhouse.

ME: Well, you go over to the police station.  The cops start by giving you grief about wearing inappropriate clothing for a visit.  After about 5-10 minutes of arguing, they tell you that visiting hours are over anyway.  After another 10 minutes, they tell you that Tommy Joe isn't even at the jail, he's at court.  [I have seen this happen almost every time I go to a jail and it always amazes me.]  You wanna go to the courthouse for the arraignment?  [In my head I'm thinking, "These guys sometimes seem frustrated they're not on stage together: here's a chance to throw the two PC's plus a whole passel of related NPC's in one big scene at court."]

DAVE: Sure.  "Come along, Mavis.  I believe Mr. Jackson stands in need of spiritual uplift from this durance vile."

ME: You're driving there?  [I'm thinking: "If he's driving, I'll throw in a quick update on the Wild Bill subplot."]

DAVE: (Shrugs)

ME: Okay, somebody in your congregation must have loaned you a car.  You're dialing through the stations and come across WYOU.  It's right when Wild Bill's show is starting.  Begins with the usual crazy cowboy sound effects and whooping and upbeat rock 'n roll... and dissolves to Wild Bill just blubbering into the mic.  [Commence 20 seconds of me crying and moaning about the perfidy of a woman's heart, and how he can't go on, etc. etc.]

DAVE:  Zachariah nods sadly.  "Cousin Mehitibel strikes again."

ME: Wild Bill continues to cry.  Boo hoo, boo hoo.... "But um--sniff sniff--ah God--um, remember boys and girls of all ages, this F-Friday night Tommy Joe & the Rhythm will be performing all their great hit songs brought to you by Triple-You FM at the... S-ss-s-smokehouse!  Ahgggggghhh!" [Mehitibel is a waitress there.]  Mavis turns to you--she's clearly never heard the show before--and says, "Goodness, the things they play on the radio now days."  Okay.  Curtain?

DAVE: ....Not quite.  Hmmm, that's interesting.  "Mavis, Mr. Jackson must rely on the Lord at this moment.  Wild Bill stands in more need of our ministry at this time."  Zachariah drives to the station.  He wants to talk to Wild Bill.

ME:  Gee, okay.... It's a quick drive across town and up the hill to where the transmitter tower and offices are.  You see signs of the picketing from Mrs. Darnell from earlier that afternoon.  The folks at the station are mostly too busy trying to get Wild Bill to come around and do the show to care that you've come in.  Wild Bill is just about to pull himself together when he sees you--you can tell he immediately thinks to the conversation where he asked your permission to marry Mehitibel--and he just dissolves all over again.

DAVE: "Bill, I am truly sorry.  What's happened is a tragedy, but that's always been Mehitibel's way with men.  You look exhausted.  Maybe you should get some rest."

ME: (as Wild Bill) "B... B-but my show... I'm, I'm gonna put on a set about lying no-account w-women... Adam, how's the set coming?  You find that Muddy Waters?"

DAVE: "Don't worry about your show now.  You've got a broken heart and you'll say things you regret.  I've got a young lady here who I think will give a satisfactorily edifying elocution.  She'll fill in for you."

ME:  Oh fuck.  [Dave laughs.]  Um... Hmmm.  [At this point I'm thinking, "Fuck, fuck.  Umm, there probably ought to be some pushback.  From where?"]  Wild Bill is a professional and right now this show is all he's got.  His Cover, 3 dice, against your Will of 6.  (roll)  Gaaaahhhh. 

DAVE: Mavis settles into Bill's chair.  Zachariah adjusts the mic for her.  "Go on, my darling.  The people await the Word of God."

ME:  Hmmm.  This totally sounds like a public display of power.  She's gonna balk at that.  [I'm thinking; this is what I should have led with rather than Wild Bill.]

DAVE:  Man.  You think that if the whole town goes crazy, they're naturally gonna say, "Oh, it's the radio that did it?"

ME:  I don't that's out of the question once the investigation begins.

DAVE:  But this is totally in service to her Desire for Power.  And for her Need for carnal affection.

ME:  The Need?

DAVE:  It's time for pie.

JOSH: Sweet potato pie.  Mmm.  (Slurping noises)

ME:  Um.  [I'm thinking: "This is too awesome to risk blocking, even if the rules are against it."]

DAVE:  I'm giving her oral pleasure as she prophesies into the airwaves.  What happens?

ME:  Fuck it.  Yeah.  Okay, she's delivering the Hint.  Here's how we're going to do this.  She's going to make one roll, we'll write it down, and whenever we come across anyone who might have been listening, we'll roll for them and compare.  So Mavis has 7 dice of Power, plus 2 because this FUBAR's everything, plus 1 for pie.  (We roll.  It's pretty strong but not overwhelming.)

[At this point we took a brief break so I could collect my thoughts.  I failed.]

ME: All right.  Hint's one of the more complicated powers in the game.  Let's run through an example, for its own sake, but also because this is a good spot for a montage.  Who do you think is listening?

JOSH: Every kid in town.

ME: Specifically.  What about Smokey the BBQ chef?  [Check latest errata for Hint.]  So Smokey automatically knows the true answer to the one question he would ask God.  What else happens?  Dave, roll 2 dice for Smokey's Will.  (roll) Okay, he's dazed and perplexed.  Is he totally zapped?  (roll)  No.  [I'm thinking: "Let's do a little bit more."]  Who else?

JOSH: Cousin Mehitibel.  Smokey now knows the secret to the ultimate barbeque rub.

ME:  You think she's listening now?

DAVE: How could she not be?  Her would-be fiance is bad-mouthing her to the entire town. 

ME:  Okayyyy.... [we roll a bit.  Mehitibel gets walloped with Special Lethal Damage.]  What do you think that looks like?  [I'm puzzled by the rules, and review them intently as Josh and Dave begin riffing on horrible things that happen to the pregnant Mehitibel.]  Okay, I've got this figured out.  9 dice of penalties, which is like 4 times her Stamina.  She's obliterated.  What's going on in the fiction?

JOSH & DAVE:  (Paint a very gruesome picture.)

ME:  Okay, you can stop right there.  What's Joe Tate doing while Mehitibel is trying to carve his baby out of her stomach with a broken bottle?  [I'm thinking, "This is getting a little indulgent, but we won't see this subplot again."]

JOSH: Oh no way.  Joe Tate is the father?!  [Turns out Joe Tate is mostly fine, but too stunned to prevent Mehitibel from killing herself and the fetus.]

ME:  Uh... Hmm.  That's probably enough.  Jeez.  Let me think.  Just eyeballing the math, I think that everyone listening is going to know one thing they wanted to know.  And 80% of them are bamboozled.  And I'm thinking like 30-50% of those go suicidally crazy.  I don't know what a reasonable rating share would be, and we've been a little vague on the size of this town, but surely that's like 50 teenagers at least.  Well done, Dave.  Time for a Humanity loss check at -5.

DAVE:  Bring it.  I can always roll well on these.  (Roll)

JOSH:  Guess God wanted you to kill those children. 

Tor Erickson

Hey James,

Great post! I think you got why I was asking: the scene sounded like an extremely tricky beast to tackle - in terms of rules, narration, and maintaining focus around the table to work out something fairly complicated - and I was dying to know how you did it. It reminds me of some of Stephen King's better work, where the little town that's been simmering for the entire story finally blows its lid. Good work.

Did that wrap up the game, or is there still more to come?



Hi Tor, thanks.  The scene was a little long-winded but once we got to the Hint itself it felt like a pretty natural thing to cut away and see what happened.  Dave, who is a horror novelist, also compared to Stephen King at one point.

The game is probably all over but the yelling. 

* Zachariah Cosgrove got walloped by Mavis, and is now half-conscious curled up on the bathroom floor at the radio station.
* Mavis was about to drop a Hint on Zachariah and finish him off, but she was almost-Banished and decided it would be better to stay bound . . . for now.
* Tommy Joe, with Old Saul's help, broke out of jail and tried to Banish Mavis.  There isn't much keeping him in town, so I'll be curious to see what happens.
* Delilah is out there, but events have pretty much overtaken her.  It will be interesting to see her reaction.

I figure another 1-2 scenes at very most.