Players: Jonathan, Ben, Erik
Voting Fraud (owned by Ben)
Bigotry (owned by Erik)
Addiction (owned by Jonathan)
The Shock: A future somewhere between Logan's Run and Zardoz, wherein everyone in a community is ranked by popular vote, and the highest ranked enjoy greater privilege. This system is considered a meritocracy. Those at the top eventually graduate to a higher tier and a better town, closer to the city and the Cathedral of the Gloss. The highest are granted the honor of receiving the Gloss and becoming the leaders of society, the Philosopher Kings and Queens. However, the system is a lie. The Gloss is a an alien creature that is latched to the "Kings and Queens" by needle tipped pseudopods, and those connected to it do not lead at all, but are kept in paroxysms of bliss by the creature until they are drained and as derelict addicts (the Glossed Over) are tossed in a labyrinth below the city. And the vote is controlled by the Cabal, a shadow group that controls the Cathedral, and stacks the ranks and the list for the Gloss with those it seeks to eliminate.
Goal: To free the people from the Gloss
Praxes: Idealism/Pragmatism: 3 (Idealist), Delusion/Clarity: 7 (Clear)
Features: not chosen for the Gloss, has seen an addict, resents not being chosen, [something I can't read] (during play)
Links: Lara, beloved, chosen for the Gloss; his village community (both lost by game's end)
Antagonist: Albor, Lara's father (Jonathan)
Goal: to overcome his own bigotry
Praxes: I/P: 4 (Idealist), D/C: 4 (Deluded)
Features: unconscious bigot, he's number 1 in his community (a Prime), he's a hedonist
Links: The Merit System (lost), his family (lost), Minerva, a low rank woman found on a hedonistic tour of the outlying villages
Antagonist: Pheebos, his slightly lower ranked elder brother
Issue: Voting Fraud
Goal: take down the Cabal
Praxes: I/P: 3 (Idealist), D/C: 8 (Clear)
Features: a member of the Cabal, of very low social rank, obsequious in public, under suspicion (during play), traitor (during play)
Links: Rose, his socially ambitious wife (lost), the Cabal (lost), the Tangent--a splinter of the Cabal opposed to the Cabal's inner Circle (lost)
Antagonist: Nos, his cabal patron that brought him into the organization
Some highlights: When Nos talking carelessly in public to Hobb about the Cabal in one scene being overheard by Hobb's wife, and then Nos informing Hobb that his wife had to be Glossed in order to exonerate Hobb for her knowing in the next scene. Helion trying to find something of worth in the provinces, only to turn the trip into a hedonistic concubine collecting fieldtrip. Helion trying to convince his brother that the low ranked have merit by describing the intellectual depth of Minerva who he'd fallen for, only to have Pheebos admit she was noteworthy--only to take her behind an arras for sex instead. Mardin realizing as he kills the Gloss at the end, that it is unhappy and wishes to be free of humans, and that to it, we are the addictive substance.
We had to rush the endings, and skip over what could have been some very profound Fulcrum moments. Our endings were perfunctory which made it more expedient to let rolls win instead of pushing Fulcrums and failures with 3rd party d4 rolls. I felt we'd made a great world. But my impression (from admittedly only two playings of Shock so far) is that Shock is a game for five hours of play. Ben's story unfolded very well. Jonathan's started out well; it was an internal struggle however, so at first I found it hard to antagonize. But it got progressively more colorful as we found more hooks for events. I enjoyed it very much. My own story I let lie undirected too long and it could have used four scenes at the pace I'd set for it. Ben as always is an excellent antagonist. Maybe the truth is that Shock is fine with four hours; it's just that my internal play pace is five hours. Anyway, if anyone has anything they wanted to flush out their endings with, please do.
Yeah, I thought you guys did great but we definitely needed more time. Learning to play for the first time (or the second after a long hiatus) eats up some game time.
I did love how the dual Shock conflict combo of "I find my beloved" and/or "I get trapped in the dungeon with the shambling burned out zombies who've been used up by the Gloss" combined to find me in the dungeon, with a broken/sprained ankle, having a not-so-tender reunion with my this-is-not-the-monster-I-came-to-rescue love interest.
Oh right, and added bonus difficulty: no dice. That probably slowed us down a bit.
Edited by Ben Robbins on Jul 26, 2012 4:26 PM
Thanks for writing the session up, Erik! Yes, I think there was a bit of a lag due to the learning process, which is a pity indeed. I feel better equipped to give Shock another spin in the future after having wrestled through that initial adaptation, however.
In terms of impressions, I really enjoyed the orthogonal conflicts and the world-building. I struggled to come up with Minutiae pertaining to my issue but perhaps that was just the pressure of time. I'm not sure how well I Antagonised, but, as ever, more practice will help. Everyone's stories were interesting and compelling; I'm glad we actually found out what the Gloss looked like in the end!