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Story Games Seattle Message Board What We Played › Beware: There Be Lawyer Dragons and Go Fish (Dreaming Crucible)

Beware: There Be Lawyer Dragons and Go Fish (Dreaming Crucible)

Jasmine J.
Seattle, WA
Post #: 11
We played at last Saturday's meet-up and I am a horrible person and have waited far too long to do this write-up.

Players: Myself (Dark Faerie), Martin (Heroine), and our awesome facilitator and I'm so sorry I've forgotten your name! (Light Faerie) :\

Nemesis: Black Queen (seed was the hag who wanted something precious) - transformation: Momentum of Disappointment
Powers: Calling the Beasts and Shifting Terrain -- transformation: Haunted by Demons and Metamorphosis
Heroine's Gift (seed was the heroine holding a baby while mother stares impassively out a window): Calm -- transformation: Indifference
Heroine's Flaw: Cynicism -- transformation: Cruelty
Companion: Rowan the Knight-Errant (seed was young elf lad) -- transformation: There's Always Light

Synopsis: As you might be able to tell, it didn't end particularly well for our heroine, Lydia, an 11-year-old girl who loves puzzles, is a bit of a stoic, and is too smart for her own good. In Lydia's real life, she's dealing with the birth of her new baby sister and her parents' impending divorce. Her only solace is her neighborhood friend Beth -- they like to reorganize books together. She is sent to a total quack therapist who insists Lydia should be put on drugs because she's not reacting to the divorce the way the therapist thinks she should be. She is pulled into Faerie while playing with her Lego castle, sent on a quest by the Black Queen, and is aided by the young elf junior knight-errant Rowan, who is a ball of happiness and energy. After the duo get past puzzle wells, giant Go Fish, black cupcake walls, lawyers (lawyers are dragons in Faerie), and finally a showdown in the Black Queen's manor, it turns out the Black Queen's quest was entirely selfishly motivated (gasp!) The Black Queen needed Lydia's cleverness to help unseal the Queen's daughter, Princess Lydia, but it turns out Princess Lydia was too corrupted by the Light Faerie. Rowan sacrifices himself to try and save Lydia, but it is for naught -- Lydia sends back Princess Lydia to the real world and stays in Faerie as the new Black Princess.

Thanks to math and weird probability, Dark Faerie pretty much won every single draw, which meant that I had a lot more narrative power than I expected (since, being the Dark Faerie, I controlled the outcome of dark draws). However, the two or three times that the Light Faerie won out were so fricken epic and all the more exciting! I would also say that despite all this, it actually wasn't a very dark game, oddly enough. We had a really good group and collaboratively shaped the experience to everyone's satisfaction. As we talked about afterward, I could see how playing this game with players who are too invested in "winning" for their alignment would be a serious problem, seeing that the outcomes of all of the perils is totally up to chance and it could be really frustrating if you were sold on a particular outcome.

I'm also not entirely clear still on the whole transformation/card flipping mechanic, but I suspect that if I played again, it would make more sense. I dunno why I had such a problem with coming up with the transformation text, but it was rough. I think I kept getting stuck on it being literal instead of figurative and it was hard for me to weave it into the narrative -- also since dark won out so often, I was pretty much on the spot the whole time ;)

Favorite moments: Rowan being silly (awesome RPing); Rowan's various magical items like the compass and the sleeping mats; Lydia going through a black cupcake wall and sneaking past a two-headed monster arguing with itself (themselves?); I enjoyed playing the moving chessboard at the beginning; lawyer dragons.

Great game, folks! I would love to play again!
A former member
Post #: 60
Our facilitator was Lisa Henderson, who is too cool to sign up for

I really like the transformation mechanic in principle, but it did occasionally cause the game to grind to a halt as we tried to decide how to define a transformation that the fiction didn't really suggest one way or the other. I think we were overthinking it, and just going with the first thing we thought of would have been just fine.

This was a great game, though. I was skeptical about The Dreaming Crucible at first, both because it seemed a bit cavalier about triggering content and because I tend not to like stories that are trying to be dreamlike (like say Metrofinale). But in TDC, the symbolism wasn't just symbolism for its own sake, we were describing a tension which the early non-dream scenes had established. So it worked really well.
A former member
Post #: 1
I'm glad you guys had fun. I did too!

I agree with you, Martin, that it occasionally ground to a halt to figure out Transformations, or otherwise deal with mechanics. I think you're right about the overthinking thing, and first thoughts are usually the best thing to go with in DC. That and a few other things are sometimes difficult for me to explain to people, since it seems to me to rely on a certain intuitive grasp of the "feel" of the game and the story we're telling together. Do you have any suggestions for ways to help explain that in the future?

Also, I came home and had things still running through my head (particularly Rowan), and I drew him facing down the stone golem. I couldn't find a way to share it here though, so you'll have to ask me next time you see me. I pretty much always have my sketchbook with me.
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