Saturday Seed – 15 (Blue Planet)

This seed is being dropped in the water and left to its own devices. Perhaps it will find a home on some Blue Planet.

This seed is wind-blown and storm-swept, and in the usual vague way of these entries will aspire to inspire some sort of idea for your own game. When I first got Blue Planet, I liked the immense attention to presenting monstrous amounts of detail in manageable portions for Moderators. In particular I was struck by the sections on weather and storms, and so this first BP entry will reflect that.

The seed: Not one, but two, powerful storms strike the characters’ community and wreak havoc with life, property, and personal plans. 

Over the course of several game days, weather reports will reassure residents that a massive and dangerous Force 5 storm will not present a danger to the community. According to the best data available, the storm will pass by harmlessly at a significant distance, head north, and decrease into insignificance. Early forecasts have been focused more on a weaker storm which is trailing it. Experts believe that this smaller storm (currently Force 3) will strike the community near the end of next week.

Preparations around the area will proceed at a predictable pace. There are those who prepare quickly for the worst, and those who will not ever be ready for the usual demands of daily life. Most people, inured to life on Poseidon, however, will also shift their focus to the Force 3 storm with its expected arrival date one week in the future.

What will happen will surprise survivalists and meteorologists both. This seed is essentially about freak occurrences and those who take advantage of them. For most groups, just dealing with the outcome of this weather story may be enough to provide a good story. For others, a subsequent event might be necessary. Worry not, one is contained in this entry.

Initially it will seem that the Force 5 storm will indeed miss the community, and those who chose to be concerned about it may very well relax. Moderators are encouraged to keep themselves well aware of the difference between what they know and what the weather people would be able to predict. It is also important to note what they would want to believe could happen, and how their producers would spin the reports to maximize interest, but minimize panic. Characters should not be made to feel that a huge storm is going to come and mess with their stuff. That said, they should be able to assess any information they are able to access (should they wish to do so) and come to their own conclusions. As what happens is technically possible, but essentially unlikely, any skill roll to determine the possible behaviour of the storm should be considered challenging. A marginal success will net only a suspicion that the storm will turn ugly. The inertia of daily life might very well overcome the effort and tedium of battening down for another storm which is likely just to pass on by unseen and unfelt. If they act on their suspicions, they won’t be sorry, but if they don’t act, they will be no worse off than anyone else in the community.

What happens: The Force 5 storm will briefly veer toward the community, but produce relief and neglect when it resumes its previous course and seems to be merrily headed North. The weather improves, the shift in winds brings welcome, cooler temperatures and life goes on.

A few days pass, and a sudden storm warning is broadcast somewhat late as the smaller storm suddenly blows up into a Force 5 gale itself and maintains a steady course for the community in which the characters live, picking up speed and force as it comes.

A third storm is spawned and spins off of the original Force 5 storm, which turns on itself and reverses course, heading back directly toward the community, also picking up force and speed as it does. By the time it reaches land, it will have expanded to become a rare  and threatening Force 6 storm, the likes of which most colonists will not have seen.  

By this time only the most optimistic colonist would believe that the weather intends to spare them, and so practically everyone will expect the third storm to strike the community on the heels of the first. They will be right. The level of devastation and destructive force levelled at the community will be enough to make atheists reconsider their most deeply held beliefs and the deeply devout to wonder what sort of universe could suffer gods so cruel to exist.

Under cover of the storms: A number of dark deeds can be conducted under the cover of a storm. The worse the storm, the darker the deed a deviant might consider as possible to perpetrate without detection.

The unpredictable arrival times of the storm will wreak havoc with plans, and the madness of the weather will spark impulsive reactions, leading for many opportunities for characters, in the grip of meteorological forces beyond comprehension to get involved in foiling these nefarious plots. More criminally inclined groups are free to use the storms as cover for themselves. To keep things interesting, you might have them discover another group with the exact same idea moving on the same target at the same time – both they and the PCs having to roll with the unexpected turn of chance and acting before they are completely ready, under conditions no one could have predicted.

Murder, Mayhem, and Madness:

  • Plan for crimes of passion as jilted lovers, and betrayed spouses take advantage of the brutal weather to dispose of those whose actions broke their hearts
  • Plan for acts of madness as the sheer force of the storms, coupled with the agonizing duration as each subsequent storm arrival extends the punishment further and further, drives people over the edge. Fathers kill families to ‘save’ them, people make desperate and stupid decisions to save themselves, and reckless heroes endanger the lives of others with unskilled rescue attempts
  • Plan for coldly reasoned crimes of greed using the storm to mask theft, acts of espionage, prison breaks, and insurance fraud.
  • Plan for all plans to be thrown off by the unpredictability of the storms’ arrival and the incredible ferocity of their force.

Let me know how it goes~

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