#RPGaDay2020 – Day 16: Push

Probability indicates that most #RPGaDay respondents will be reveling in the prompt ‘dramatic’ but our ghostbusters are going for ‘push‘ from Area 21 on the map below for our 16th entry in this year’s event. We are now just past the halfway mark and while the end is in sight, there are fewer days of fun ahead than behind. As we drive toward that treasure chest icon, hopefully we remember to make the most out of each day and enjoy it.

Now serving number 21 for Day 16

Crossing the gap (Area 22), loaded with proton packs and other gear, using only grit and a liberated fire hose, the four ghostbusters screw their courage to the sticking place as there are two perils to pass. The first, and most obvious is the giant carnivorous vine that is slowly pushing its way up the shaft toward the night sky. The hole in the roof is obscured by its leaves and the girth of the braided confluence of vegetation. It hasn’t noticed them, yet, but if it does it could mean their next job might involve the elevation of daisies from underneath. The second peril is that the hole goes an excessively and genre-appropriate (but hard to rationalize), way down into a faintly purplish darkness. No one could survive such a fall. Well…. they might if they landed on Mr. Stay Puft…but then again that might depend on whether or not he is in a church-stomping mood.

The dice do not betray them this time and the ghost die is content to show its helpful faces and each of the four ghostbusters find themselves trying to make room and squeeze into the small maintenance area for the ventilation system. A comment about sweat and musty smelling equipment suddenly erupts into a hilarious rendition of a Dr. Squatch soap commercial, which then drifts into an even funnier PSA about the many problems with that company. That was great, but it had the potential to go off into a real debate on business ethics and the nature of a world where there are paid “air-quotes” reviewers, so I picked up my dice and mentioned a Brains check for the vine to see if it would notice the four men hanging out in a tiny room next to its evil self, discussing soap in load voices while singing. The group laughed and got back to business, with it turned out, a Brains roll of their own.

“If you are uncomfortable now, Dieter, you are going to love the next part,” chuckled Gray almost apologetically.

“What do you mean, Gray?” a cramped Dr. Dieter Lemmon grinds out, miming death by crushing… possibly serial crushing by some huge guy, but it was hard to tell.

“We need to go through the vents,” says Diego, his player miming a disgusted indication of a small and low grill on the wall.

“We need to give ourselves to the vines,” I say patiently, in Diego’s manner.

“You first,” sighs Dunhill. Then, “No! Wait! I didn’t mean the vine part, I meant the vent part.”

“I’ll go f-” begins Lemmon.

“Wait!” interrupts Dunhill. “I don’t want to be behind any of you clowns in a tight space!”

“After you!” offers Gray. “Personally, I think the safest spot is in the middle. The guy in front or at the end has the greatest chance of being singled out for attention by a vine.”

“Dibs on the middle!” shouts Dunhill. “I have been through enough tonight.”

“You have many demands,” I observe as Diego. “You would be happier as a vine.”

“I’ll show you a happy vine!” Dunhill snaps, but that cracks everyone up for reasons we cannot quite explain.

So, with more banter and nonsense, but a focus on progress rather than party-time, the group gets the grill off of the ventilation duct and begins the long crawl to freedom – fortunately not Shawshank style – but very, very dusty.

See the source image
Do you take pride in your work? Call the Ghostbusters.
We are now hiring!

“Does no one take pride in their work anymore?” Lemmon wonders aloud. “Why even have a duct large enough to crawl around in if the custodial staff are not going to crawl around in it?”

“To enable us to save this nice retirement community?” replies Gray.

“Are we even sure that anyone in this community is still alive? Even if we save them, how much time do they have? Maybe we should fall back, set up a perimeter, and let the army take care of this.”

“Lemmon, then we won’t get paid,” explains Gray.

“Pizza’s ready,” replies Lemmon, referring to their expected payment for this job.

“It gets worse, still,” interrupts Diego as Diego because I have handed him a sheet of graph paper. I get the feeling this ventilation system is a maze.

“You’d be right,” I say and leave it ambiguous as to whose idea that is.

Questions: In regard to maintaining a desired mood, we have options. which do you find is closest to your default, self-regulation by each participant, a gentle push from the GM? Keep in mind that when one of offered two choices the internet leaps on saying both with disappointing regularity and disheartening lack of support for the claim. Don’t be that person. Make a choice and take a stand. Know why you did it. Be able to explain it.

Which do you think is closest to my default?

Link: A video to serve as a companion for and commentary on today’s entry will be added to this post later today.

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