#RPGaDay2020 – Day 15: Rare

For today’s post for #RPGaDay2020, I feel that 15 days in and on one side of the halfway point, we are really cooking with gas – but not overdoing it. Our unexpectedly uncommon approach to the event this year is a look at the prompts through the lens of the incredibly clever and innovative game, Ghostbusters – this time in a fully-realized map format. It isn’t one of a kind, but there are very few like it, or that have had such widespread effects on games and therefore on gaming. From the creative minds of a surprising alignment of talented early-adopters and adapters of the RPG concept, it should not be too much of a surprise that the game turned out to be a pearl of great price, much like the film itself, but time moves on and we lose sight of things. Regardless, it is Day 15 and I think that you, Dear Reader will have guessed that out off-beat detour prompt choice for today is not common. In other words, we are having a ‘rare’ opportunity to combine a lot of different and enjoyable elements of the hobby and all for a beloved IP and this great event. Juicy, isn’t it?

As you can note from the list of prompts on the map above, the expected prompt for today is frame. We will get there. I had honestly expected the prompt for this blog today to be stack in Area 11, but it turns out that the Ghostbusters (Gray Stent, Diego Spencer, Dieter Lemmon, and Dunhill Theodore) had other plans. They are hoofing it to Area 22 – despite their earlier apprehensions about getting killed.

It’s not everyone who will plunge toward danger like that.

Stopping briefly on the way to isolate the computer from the network, Diego, with frothy commentary on the inevitable death of the ghostbusters tossed in by me here and there, insists on not damaging the machine – much to its surprise (and that of the rest of the group).

“You didn’t notice? No PKE reading! It is conscious. How often do we meet a genuine AI that is not just a ghost in the machine?”

Rather than argue or make jokes, the group does what he asks, after interpreting which of the things he was saying were actually him and which were the fearful disruptions of the possessing entity. Done in short order due to everyone pulling in the same direction with their full attention and effort, they then double-time it out to the metal door (Area 4) blocking their access to what their floor plan indicates was originally a large air shaft.

Such cooperation is certainly not unprecedented, but the speed and coordination present is something that I don’t get to see that often with this crew.

Lemmon dips into his youth as a troubled teen and ‘bypasses’ the lock on the door with some skills he definitely did not learn at MIT or Stanford. When the lock clicks into the open position, the ghostbusters take a moment to regard each other, and then, thinking this could be the end of the line, Gray kicks open the door.

To lighten the mood just a little, it bangs open, then slams shut again, revealing a slim glimpse of vegetative horror of beanstalkian proportions.

Inside the shaft is a braid of massive vines with slender and more agile tendrils entwining around it, all pulsing and stretching their way up and out of the complex. Intermittent tendrils bear purplish fruit, each pulsing with an inner light, and each a quick Brains roll confirms, is bearing a possessing seed from the other side like the one that resides within Diego.

“Prepare for the punishing power of the purple portal! Its purposeful plan to pulp the puny people of this plane with its purple plants of preposterous power is puissant perfection!” I babble as Diego.

“What was that?” snaps Gray startled.

“Nothing,” I say, as Diego.

“It’s as I feared, Gray,” intones Diego’s player as Diego. The research team opened what I believe to be a stable portal to a different plane and that has allowed entities from beyond to enter our world and assume the forms of the life here, possess it like is happening to me, or to actually alter it like in the case of Dunhill’s lady-friend, the former shift supervisor, Linda.

“She’s not my girlfriend. I like her because she’s passionate and has a lot of long legs.”

The comeback by Dunhill has a tinge of desperation to it.

“We’re stalling,” says Lemmon.

“I’m… just admiring the sights. It’s not often you get to see the root of the problem plaguing the planet as plane as day right before your eyes…” Gray says in a soft tone.

“Stay with us, Gray. One mentally compromised person is all this little troupe of paranormal investigators and eliminators can handle. We are full up on crazy, ok?” Lemmon snaps.

“What do we do?” asks Dunhill. It’s too big to blast with the proton packs, right?” he asks both in-character and out-of-character simultaneously.

“I think we need to go to the roof to see what is happening up there. If we can stop that it might buy us some time to deal with the portal and its keepers,” Diego goes out on a limb of speculation and I give him a nod of encouragement.

“No! I mean, there is no reason to go to the roof, puny sub-cr… my friends!” I wheedle as Diego.

“Roof it is!” say Gray and Dunhill.

“How do we get there?” asks Lemmon as I slide over an updated map. “The vines have ripped out the interior of this shaft… it’s a long way down.”

I fill them in that the interior of the shaft has been greatly expanded by the growth of the vine and that a fall could be fatal for a large number of reasons beyond gravity and impact. I describe a ruined catwalk (Area 23) , and a small maintenance space with the sign, ventilation system on it (Area 21)

“We have to get over to that room to the right,” Diego states, and I howl frustration before clamping my hand over my mouth overly dramatically, missing a little bit.

“It’s a good thing your ‘guest’ has your impulse control,’ says Lemmon mock seriously to Diego. “I was considering climbing up the vine.”

“That would be extraordinarily bad,” states Diego.

“Go for it!” I say brightly as Diego.

“I think there is some weed killer in the van,” offers Dunhill.

“It’s too far to jump, so we are going to have to string a line…” Diego stops and waits.

“Under the dorsal guiding feathers?” everyone else asks.

“From this doorframe over to the maintenance area, staying as close to teh wall as possible,” he finishes.

“Fire hose?” offers Dunhill as both a question to the group for discussion and a prompt for me to confirm or deny the existence of any such hose.

I point to the area next to the Coke Machine as being the closest hose.

See the source image
Someone is going to get hosed

“Well… we have a crazy plan, what are we waiting for?” Lemmon asks.

The four put out their hands and form a huddle for a moment.

“Good working with you,” they say in unison.

Then they string their makeshift line from the liberated firehose and begin their dangerous climb across to the ventilation maintenance area…

Questions: What is being done to balance the pace and mood at this point in the session? What character aspects are the players drawing on to bring in the feel of the films? What skill is Dunhill displaying and what is its effect?

How many instances of rareness are there?

Video: I will add a video companion to this entry below, later in the day

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