#RPGaDay2020 – Day 5: Tribute

Scattering from the cloud of dust and zinging rock fragments from the cave-in of the secret stairwell down to a lower level (from Area 3 to Area 26), the ghostbusters regroup in the curious hexagonal room (Area 4) to work out a course of action.

Lemmon and Stent look intently at Spencer. Spencer is described as reaching for his scientific calculator, but Lemmon slaps it out of his fingers.

“C’mon Diego, use that big brain of yours and think of something! How do we get to him?”

In-Character and Out-of-Character, the group has come to rely on the analytical prowess of Diego Spencer’s player. It is good for players to have strengths and to have the skills to make the strengths and weaknesses of their characters a point of interest for the other players, but no single player should end up feeling like they are playing alone, and no player should feel like they are just along for the ride. Fortunately, this time, I have the answer to balance this out and so retain our forward momentum, capitalize on the contagion, build on the reflection of player life imitating character life, and flip the previous post’s denial of the sense of sight into a scene of its enhancement: I give them the blueprint that Diego had been described having in the van.

“Thankfully, someone on this time does their homework,” I, addressing the players as the Ghostmaster, give voice to what the mood tells me everyone is thinking.

The guys lean in and note right away that there is no underground section on the floor plan, and they shoot me dirty looks. I shrug and move to take the map away… “If you don’t want it…?”

They grab the map and after a quick discussion about expedience versus certain death, decide to open up the door on their right (to Area 5). Their floor plan seems to indicate that there is nothing but a huge ventilation shaft behind the steel door to their left (to Area 22). Diego goes for another Brains roll to deduce whatever he can about the ventilation shaft and is willing to fork over a pair of Brownie Points for two extra dice, but I reward his preparation and his character’s expertise by cutting the cost in half.

This time, he nails a successful result with not a ghost in sight. I tell them that the shaft is a no-go for their rescue operation, but then I smile and ask him to tell us why~

The players give him various attaboy praise and while he is thinking about what is so bad about the shaft that it would prevent them from going that route, I shift to Dunhill.

He gets in on the praise action, by opening up with, “Your giant Mantis Man doesn’t scare me! I work with a guy who successfully drilled a hole through his head – increasing his mental efficiency by 64%!”

His captor cannot resist the bait, and he retorts, “Oh I know your precious and hole-y Diego Spencer. Where you see genius, I see only a poor scientist in a clutch of dreamers and con artists!”

“You know Lemmon will be thrilled that someone called his cons artistic,” Dunhill bites back.

“Oh, Dunhill… so loyal… well, you will soon change your tune from ‘Who ya gonna call?’ to ‘Where’s my mommy?’ when I reveal what lies beneath this place!”

I cut back to the others as they devise a plan to get through the simple lock by the classic security circumvention technique of Gray Stent’s size 15 boot being propelled against the latch plate by his meaty leg. As Gray’s player rolls dice for Muscle, Diego’s player describes his certainty that the ventilation shaft is actually the means by which the animated plants which shroud the building escaped whatever secret lab lies underground.

“We’d be leaf litter in seconds,” he intones.

Inside the room, still slightly worried that they are going the wrong way and consigning Dunhill to a fate like the forest scene in Evil Dead, the group comes face to face with a massive computer console.

It blinks at them and intones flatly with female speech synthesizer blandness that somehow manages to convey a sense of suspicion and menace, “Access denied, Dr. Lemmon.”

See the source image
Computer Dating is a thing, right?

“Hey now, Miss! We’ve just met! Don’t go breaking my heart like that – don’t do me like that! We are just here because someone reported a ghost…. Tell me, Bright Lights, do you have a ghost in your machine…?” and a deeply romantic but still sardonic wink is mimed as the player reaches for his dice to roll Cool.

“Hard,” I say dreading whatever innuendo he will respond with as he counts his dice and visibly reflects on the possible need to spend Brownie Points.

“You’ve got this, Man!” says Gray’s player supportively.

…and he did… except that the Wild Die of his 9-die pool for Cool rolled a Ghost.

See the source image
A 1 in 6 chance, you say…?
I do not think that means what you think that means~

“It’s not fair!” he has time to say, as the other door in the room rolls open and vines shoot forth to try to entangle them.

On the screen though, Diego and Stent both catch fragments of code that I promise them will be useful later. No one is as Cool as Dr. Dieter Lemmon, even when he is wrapped up in animated tendrils in a deadly experimental greenhouse~

Questions: What effects does reinforcement of the characters’ and players’ abilities have in the long-term in a game that will have constant reversals of fortune, scary and powerful opposition, and a dynamic built around trying to play catch-up with evil plans?

How much of it is the right amount?

Video Link: Later today, I will add a link which gives brief context and behind-the-scenes of the scene insight in video format via YouTube

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  1. […] Grey, Dieter, and Diego in the grip of animated vines, now seems like the perfect time for a more decisive cut to Dunhill down in Area 25. […]



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