Monday, October 6, 2014

Game Recap Episode 3 -- On the Fly

It has been a month since I last ran my game  (I am glad my friend convinced me to run every other week as opposed to monthly. It is good to have a steady flow of story) and I knew it would be difficult to get back into it again. Not only that but last week was a difficult week. Work had me running around, working on several tasks at once. I had difficulty falling asleep because I could not get my spun up mind spun back down. I know I had a month to work on this session but I kept on procrastinating. But when it came down to the crunch, I just couldn't focus enough to plan this session. Then I thought I can work on it Saturday but after the week from hell, my mind officially shut down to the point all I could do was play Diablo III and watch Disney movies.

Before the fall, my wizard was a blitzball champion

Since I went into this game On the Fly, I decided call this episode that. In fact, I felt the title very much summed up the actions of the characters this session. I felt unprepared but my players are such a lovely bunch, it really didn't matter. They continue to dazzle me with their creativity and make me laugh with their jokes. The story moved forward -- maybe a little quicker than I intended to --but overall, I think my players had fun. And I think the story is moving in a way that it is still surprising.

 Now, onto the summary!

This episode opened up with a flashback to know where Anna has been all this time. After she touched her brother Tim, he passed out and she discovered she could move things with her mind. But before she could investigate that ability further, she called 911 to figure out why her brother wouldn't respond. He was taken to the hospital in which people in lab coats quickly surrounded him to take him away. Just as he was about to be taken out of sight, Tim opened his eyes and looked at his sister and mumbled out her name.

  Anna relayed what happened to Alan and Alan told her about the crazy weekend and how everyone developed powers. Anna had no idea why she did not have telekinesis anymore. She theorized that maybe everyone should sleep it off.

Tuesday came and school resumed from a three day weekend. Things seemed to be going back to normal despite the news of the dead teacher, rumors about the casino going up in flames, and Selena Gomez/Ariana Grande showing up in town. That is, at least for half the day.

Out of game, a friend who is about to move out of the country came to game so I allowed him to quickly roll up a character. He created a dumb jock named Josh. I started the day off with him. Josh was hanging out with Declan McGowan, the head jock, who also had a battle of the bands entry at the casino. Declan wanted to get the gang to confront Brock for ruining the night after school -- which didn't come how Declan hoped. Instead, Josh ended up going up to Brock because Brock had herbal refreshments he wanted and got involved in the shenanigans that followed.

But before that happened, Brock took an interest in two men in black suits that stood at the entrance of the school. One of them, a red-head named Wilson, was amicable with the students and seemed incredibly non-threatening.

The part of "Wilson" was played by Alan Tudyk in this episode

The other, a brunette named Flick, was a bit more serious and business-like who often chastised Wilson for being so friendly.

The part of "Flick" was played by Eric Bana in this episode

Using Ash as a distraction (who put a sheet over her head), Brock managed to steal Flick's phone. He handed it off to Alan who worked his geek magic to discover there wasn't much on it other than coded contacts, a stupid message from Wilson, and about 100 Corgi pictures.

Now I am just distracting you with cuteness

Just as Alan was about to leave the phone in the bathroom, Brock worked on his next distraction to get the other phone. He convinced Josh to shove Alan, which Josh gladly did. Josh's ability is gravity control so he used it to make Alan light. Alan -- who doesn't like the jocks so much to begin with -- made himself super dense. The result happened to be dense Alan shooting through the wall to outside, like a bullet. He got a concussion and was sent to the hospital as the school got locked down and Flick and Wilson went from classroom to classroom with some sort of device.

Brock, Anna, Ash, and Josh went to visit Alan in the hospital in which he got diagnosed with a concussion. While there, Anna asked about Tim to only find out there was no record of him being at the hospital. Our team was suspicious and began to explore but didn't get very far. Alan then got himself admitted for observation deciding to explore when most of the hospital was asleep.

But before that, the team -- of which Iggy joined after school was let out early because there was a hole in the wall -- decided Tim had to be in the same place They took Tony. Alan pointed out that they failed to get in last time but was quickly corrected that they didn't have powers then. The team then formulated a plan on how they would infiltrate and went for it that evening after Alan slipped out using his phasing ability.

They spotted what they thought was a blind spot in security and proceeded to try to sneak in that way. Josh would use his gravity abilities to toss people over and got into a confrontation with Alan when he tried to toss the nerd first. Alan punched Josh making his fist dense and just phased through the fence. However, the "blind spot" wasn't a blind spot and it triggered the intruder alert. Instead of running, Brock cast an illusion of about a dozen Ariana Grandes running away as the rest tried to make it over.

While this went on, Ash broke away from the group and walked up like a boss to the front and asked to see her dad as she hadn't seen him in days. Ash has the distinction "Underage" which makes her appear much younger than she is. We rolled for it and it turned out the guards happened to be those who knew and were fond of Ash. Ash's dad took her often to work. They let her in and because there was an intruder alert, they plopped her down in the guard shack and gave her hot cocoa. Ash snuffed out the light in the room and wandered out to let the gang into the cafeteria. Brock and Josh decided to get coffee while Ash, Anna, Alan, and Iggy headed to Ash's father's office.

Ash is clearly queen of On The Fly -- she just doesn't even realize it

The only thing was they got stopped again in the hallway. Ash worked her wide-eyed innocent little girl routine explaining Anna and Iggy were her friends and they needed to see her father as it was an emergency. Alan decided to use the distraction to phase through the wall. He did so into the bathroom (no luck with bathrooms!) and managed to escape that guard by phasing through the wall again into the arms of another. Alan was captured. The intruder captured and the lights returned to normal.

The guard Ash spoke to managed believe Ash's story and brought Ash, Anna, and Iggy to Ash's father's office. Josh and Brock ask the guards where everyone went and they ended up detained.

Meanwhile, Ash, Anna, and Iggy find Ash's father asleep -- which happened a lot as he would not sleep for days and just crash. The three began to snoop and uncovered quite a bit of information in Ash's father's messy desk and unsecured computer. Anna discovered Project Y which talked about unlocking the human genome to unleash powers from within. The project listed its goals which was to create a military and launch Operation Coup. She also uncovered other secrets, including that each one of them is assigned an experiment number.

Ash's father's boss, Dr. Zanjani came into the room obviously surprised. He seemed distracted and agitated but gave them a ride home stopping for waffles on the way.

Victory Waffles to those who followed Ash.

The tag scenes went like this: Ash went to knock on Joss's door only to realize she wasn't missing, just skipped school (Joss's player was sick). Brock was in a cell and my mind escapes me with what happened. Alan assessed his values as he lay sedated. Anna's slipped my mind. Iggy met the cowboy again and tased him. And Josh broke out of prison after going crazy (Anna discovered the abilities aren't always stable). Players please help me with your tag scenes. I can't believe I forgot (I blame 7 Wonders somehow)


As I said, this game was very on the fly and as I wrote out a summary of this I can see it shows a little. The game still was a lot of fun and my players still manage to surprise me. Ash just going right up to the guards and playing innocent girl still gets me. Or a dozen Ariana Grandes running away For Reasons. I also really enjoy how well Anna's player is playing the Head archetype, especially since she was initially shaky about it.

 I still feel shaky about the system. I meant to reread the rules again but like I mentioned -- Diablo III and Disney. I do find it interesting that every session, it is always Alan who is challenging his values and relationships. I think it is because Alan's player created him to be at odds with himself which sometimes translates to others (I feel this is one of Alan's player's strength -- he is not afraid to play a character who has ideas that differ from the other player characters). This is perfect for Cortex Plus Dramatic. I feel like his character has grown the most in three sessions. Not saying the other characters haven't. There is growth in the other characters but Alan has made the biggest strides. He has rewritten a value statement and a character relationship statement.  Joss comes next as she rewrote her relationship statement with Alan.

And while I get stuck in the frame of thought of typical rpg (I'm really trying to break out of it), I really really like this aspect of the game. It shows the progression of the characters and how they continue to grow. And I love that so much.

Regardless of how much I follow the rules to Cortex Plus Dramatic, I do feel we have a great story going. And that is the most important aspect of roleplaying.


NPC Of The Session

The Role of Dr. Zanjani is played by Shaun Toub

Name: Dr. Parviz Zanjani

Place of Birth: Tehran, Iran

Children: Naveed, 19, a student at MIT
Shirin, 17, senior in High School

Public Information: The Zanjanis arrived in town about 15 years ago and started life in the middle of the road. But Dr. Zanjani became a rising star within the company and quickly rose up the ladder, making it to Galileo Street about 5 years ago after the previous head of the department head of Science Research left suddenly. Ash and Alan's parents both work under him.

He is friendly but closed off about what happened to his wife -- which there are still pictures around the house of her. He invites everyone under him to the two Eids where he and his children cook a massive feast and what is not eaten, they give to homeless shelters in Tuscon.


Quotes of the Session

I didn't take as many this time, mostly because I forgot. Players are more than welcome to contribute.

"The nicer the suit, the blacker the heart" - Brock to Alan

"You're small and creepy. You can follow them" - Brock to Ash

"He pushed you through the wall, so he is part of the group now." -Ash about the wall busting incident

"It's an Ariana 'GRANDE' Latte! HA! HA! I can be funny!" - Anna

"Being an asshole. Not a superpower" - Alan about Josh

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