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Story Games Seattle Message Board What We Played › What we played: Every life has value (Shock)

What we played: Every life has value (Shock)

A former member
Post #: 7
Issues: Legal corruption, disconnect from nature, actuarialism
Shock: The Population Bomb. There are too many people crammed into the cities, and everyone knows it's unsustainable. Advanced computer systems have been developed to assign every human being a dollar value, so that society can prioritize whom to save.

Fiona Adams has a secret- her son Toby is quadriplegic, and will almost certainly be assigned a negative dollar value if she takes him in to be tested. But the alternative is keeping him hidden forever. Her brother hints that he might know a sympathetic tester, but she shoots him down. Toby begs to be allowed to go to school, but she distracts him and changes the subject. Finally, her brother stages an attempted kidnapping, but Fiona catches him in the act. He insists that being hidden away is no kind of life, and Fiona can't find it in her to deny it. Toby is taken in for testing, and turns out to be sufficiently intelligent to be given medical treatment.

Gabriel is one of the downtrodden masses with a barely positive value, but he has a dream. He wants to start up his own yeast-protein processing operation and make a fortune. He gets help from his slightly-better-off friend Gale, who manipulates their coworkers into helping. After emptying their bank accounts and taking all the loans their calculated value allows them to, they have enough to buy their equipment and start processing. But they don't have enough leftover to bribe the health inspector, and the business is shut down within days. They only get a single full crop of yeast out, and it proves to be contaminated. All their customers, including Gabriel's entire family, are killed by the tainted protein supplement, and Gabriel ends his story on trial for his life.

Diane Dunning is a local celebrity elected mayor of a small city, and she has no clue what she's doing. For instance, it takes her a while to understand that sudden power failures in the local hospital and fire department are the Governor's way of saying that her city has too many low value people and it would be good for his numbers if some of them died. Having begged the Governor to keep the lights on a few more days, she launches a campaign of localism and self-sufficiency, and ultimately persuades the Governor that "low value" people can improve themselves. He responds by congratulating her and reallocating resources away from her city until it's just as bad off as it was before, and the whole thing is an exercise in futility.
A former member
Post #: 1
Great write up, Martin! Thank you for doing this.

What I found most impressive in my first playthrough of Shock was that there was this very lucid moment where all of the sudden things felt very immersive, despite some of the somewhat far-fetched scenarios we were exploring. For a moment I felt like I was watching a series of real individual stories unfold within a fully-formed larger world. And we'd gotten to that point in an hour or two, just three people bouncing ideas, plot, and character motivation off of one another. Very cool.

I also felt my main character grow as a person through interaction with others over the course of just three scenes, something I didn't really tune into until after the fact. There'll probably be more gelling to come.

Thanks to you and Greg for the game!
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