Date: Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011
Players: Marc, Sean, Mark
Two Shock newbies and one quasi-veteran. We dove headfirst into the game with gusto, and I think things turned out quite well! We only had time to play two scenes each since we took a long time in setup, but that's okay.
Our issues were extinction, civil disobedience, and corrupt judges. We managed to weave these together in what was perhaps a more creative manner than strictly necessary, but it worked well enough. Our Shock was thus: in a world where humans are the subordinate species, a human begins to rise by gaining access to the words of the law, which binds the land into a roughly judicial system of government. Let me explain more by outlining our Minutiae.
The world has two races, human and bast. Bast are cat-like creatures, somewhere between human and feline. They are the dominant species. Humans comprise roughly 1/3 of the population and are generally lower-class citizens, with some being kept as slaves or pets. Most humans live life with their heads down, but some do rise up against their bast overseers. When they do, they usually go into hiding or are killed. Bast and humans never have sexual relations; to do so would be an abomination. The bast, meanwhile, live in a peaceful, prosperous society, with one exception: their system of government is based solely on judges. The "Lawspeakers" are the ruling lords of various areas, and they receive their lawful verdicts from the "Lawgivers", which are in fact ancient supercomputers built untold millennia prior. Judges try to use the judgements given by these computers, but the system is corrupt. Lawyers do not argue cases; they secure bribes for their clients and try to win the judge's favor. Our Shock should now make more sense: only the bast can speak to the supercomputers and transmit the law... until a human suddenly gains the same ability, and founds the Church of Human Law.
Thus it was that we met our three protagonists:
Elgin Freeman (Mark) - A human cop/detective under the employ of a bast judge named High Lawspeaker Ardvin, Elgin's goal was to confront the human Lawgiver and judge his right to speak. Elgin's antagonist was his sister Kassi (Marc), a priestess of the Church of Human Law.
Rheta Dismer (Marc) - A bast Demi-Lawspeaker who pulled herself up from poverty into great wealth, Rheta's goal was to bring about the true Age of Law. How this might occur was not initally clear, but her story revealed one path. She was antagonized by Candice (Sean), a High Lawspeaker of the "old money" crowd who didn't approve of any young upstarts.
Sgt. Kale Halvin (Sean) - A bast ex-military, Kale just wanted to find a job and live out his days in relative peace. But the injustices perpetrated by the corrupt law system couldn't be ignored, and his goal became to dismantle the whole mess. His antagonist was Conrad (Mark), a powerful member of the professional organization of lawyers known as the BAR.
Kale began his story by searching for work as a private security guard. He started to fill out a job application, but was interrupted by Conrad, who informed him that the lawyers were keeping an eye on him. Kale shrugged him off and went in for the interview. Despite a black mark on his record (thanks to the BAR), Kale was given a chance at the job. In his next scene, he began working alongside a Lawspeaker as a guard. Various cases came before the Lawspeaker and Kale's conscience refused to stay silent. He ended up attempting to influence the Lawspeaker though arguments against corruption. The Lawspeaker accepted and changed his ruling, but Kale's interference became known to the BAR and the other judges. Eyes were turning in his direction as his story came to a close (for now).
Elgin's tale started with a routine report to his superiors. He was summoned to the chambers of the judge he works for and asked about recent movements in the city, most notably the Church of Human Law. Elgin revealed nothing. Shortly after, he went to visit his sister in said Church. She asked him to bring more supplies for the refugees under their care. Elgin was then almost brought to a Church service, but at the last moment Kassi reconsidered and he was not allowed to attend. A few days later, Elgin was driving a truck of stolen supplies when he was surrounded by human and bast protestors. He had no choice but to call for his squad, and though the supplies arrived safely, many human demonstrators were arrested. Kassi was furious, but calmed down after venting. She decided to finally allow Elgin to speak to the human Lawspeaker over a wireless radio, and said Lawspeaker demanded that Elgin forsake his former life in order to gain audience. Elgin's story closed as he donned the Church's robes.
Rheta's tale was short but exciting. She began with a conversation with a dear friend, anthropology professor Gilliam. They talked about the Lawgivers (the computers) and their history. Rheta decided to try to gain access to the Lawgivers, and asked her mentor (and antagonist) for permission. A conflict led to success: Rheta was led to the chamber with the Lawgivers. While there she met the Lawkeeper, a grumpy bast who actually interacted with the computers and gave the rulings to the judges. As she wandered the room, various computers began activating, showing Rheta how to bring them to life--for you see, they were actually giant robots rendered inactive. Her last story action was to pick up three words from one of the computers: "word", "the stone", and "Khet". No further information was found before the scene ended.
All told, we were just ramping up into higher levels of intrigue and mystery when our session ended. I'd love to take this world for another spin, or even Microscope it. Thanks for a good game, gents.
That does sound like a cool world.