Saturday Seed ~ 79 (CthulhuTech)

This week’s tiny little seed is for CthulhuTech, but could be adapted easily to any Mythos-based system or setting with little difficulty. Although little more than an extended scene of deep role-play, the ramifications of this one scene and how you guide its development, will reach from its inception through to the very end of the campaign. In my own games the original version of this seed appeared in a complicated Vampire: The Masquerade Chronicle set in 1980’s Chicago which had strong underlying elements of Lovecraftian horror underpinning it, and a theme of choosing allegiances carefully.

The Seed

Quite simply, not everyone is as tough and committed as they look, and in a world of conspiracies, lies, magic, and inconceivable truths not everyone thinks it’s the sanest course of action to fight on the side of the underdog.

Planting the Seed

In order for this seed to take root, the characters need to have had some successes and losses. They need to have their medals and their scars, their highs and lows… and they need to have made sacrifices which have not yet – and may never – yield lasting results.

The seed is based on the idea that a close friend and ally, someone who has fought by the side of the characters since early on, suddenly poses the question, “What if we stopped fighting, and starting thinking?”

The Details

The characters’ colleague, hereafter known as Fleming, has been through the same sort of perils, losses, and disappointments as they have, but perhaps has placed less importance on their shared victories and accomplishments. Still sane, but proposing something which on the surface, and according to all the widely held beliefs of the day, Fleming proposes the unthinkable with well-reasoned arguments.

His proposals and questions will need to be framed to resonate with your particular group, but will revolve around the core principle of adapt or die, but rather than going the route of using massed force in some sort of vain hope to divert the sweeping weight and power of a tsunami with a finite number of upraised hands, he suggests riding the wave in its headlong rush inland.

To be effective, Fleming will need to cite specific examples for each character, using metaphors and images which will resonate on a deep level with the character, and the player behind the character. He must be perceived as having spent a long time thinking of this

What’s going on

This is your opportunity to play Devil’s Advocate, but more than that, it is a chance for the players to really find the voice of opposition within their characters, shedding the paper-thin motivations of “just because” in exchange for justified, mature, and articulated expressions of real resistance. To help them do that, you will need to use the character of their doubtful colleague to its full capability. Sell them on serving the Old Ones. Believe it is the right decision to make. If humanity is to survive, does it not make more sense to evolve the cultures of the earth into forms which can offer benefits to the Old Ones worthy of warranting our continued survival?

What will your characters do in the face of this? If you can be convincing enough in your presentation of Fleming’s position to make the players wonder if you want to change the very nature of the campaign then you are doing it right. There will be a few who staunchly refuse to consider alternate points of view, but sparking a true in-character debate on the war and the characters’ place in it will pay off in fantastic dividends later in your campaign.


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