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Story Games Seattle Message Board What We Played › The Drift (Kingdom)

The Drift (Kingdom)

Ben R.
thatsabigrobot
Group Organizer
Seattle, WA
Post #: 454
Sigil Franz: "Look at it from their point of view. What would you do if someone shot your planet?"

Frank the Thug: "…am I in the same room with them?"

players: Ed, Cody, JC, Drew, Ben (Raven observing)

We started with a simple idea: a bunch of spaceships welded together haphazardly to make one lumbering city-ship, appropriately called The Drift. We were the dregs and outcasts of some society sent into space to find our own home (think: convicts sent to Australia) but instead we just made due living in the squalor of our jury-rigged space station.

Let me just say up front: just about every single decision we made during setup snowballed right into the action. Very close to 100%. Our threats were organized crime, lack of resources, and the fact that our ship was now trespassing in the space of an alien civilization. We weren't sure yet how they were going to react to our intrusion. This turns out to be a *major* theme of the game. Oh, and did I mention we had an orbital cannon welded to the hull? An important point, as it turns out.

Our cast of characters, in order around the table:

Frank Harris (Ed) -- Law for hire. Theoretically a bounty hunter and private detective, but mostly just a brutal enforcer who breaks arms for money. He's got anger management issues, so sometimes he breaks arms even if no one is paying him. Voted scariest guy on the Drift and least likely to join a 12 step program (surprise!).

Poole (me) -- Friendly neighborhood crime lord. No really, he's a great guy! He wants better things for the Drift, but these losers aren't going to lift themselves up by their bootstraps unless someone cracks the whip. It's a thankless job, but someone's got to do it. Poole gets along great with Frank and loves hearing about his crazy adventures, but hey, they're cousins.

Sigil Franz (Cody) -- Priest / mediator at the Pulpit, a neutral ground where an alien artifact brings out the truth in people. A very useful spot to make deals in a ship full of thugs and liars. He wants the Dirft to settle down and colonize some world. The Sigil leaks all sorts of juicy info to crime lord Poole.

Jasmine "Jazzy" Minus (Drew) -- Loner teenager. Orphan. Sewer rat. Future people's revolutionary leader. She does odd jobs for Jax but her real connection is with the Sigil, who's providing her some kind of philosophical guidance and helping her out of her shell. Does that backfire on him later? Oh yes it does.

Jax (JC) -- Owner of Jax's casino, he's neck deep in debt to Poole's crime syndicate. His fear is the exact opposite of the Sigil's wish, because deep down he's afraid the Drift will settle down on a planet.

Both of our Crossroads centered smack on our interactions with the aliens, which turned out to be the perfect medium to explore the internal issues of The Drift. I loved that they never even appeared in the game, it was all us just talking about dealing with them.

So much good stuff:

- Jazzie going from distrustful guttersnipe to people's activist. I loved the realization that she was looking at the aliens to save us as some kind of surrogate for her dead parents.

- Frank going from dangerous bruiser to soul-searching apologist, and then finding religion and going back to being dangerous. Pretty much every scene just hanging out with Frank and BS'ing: great.

- Sigil Franz thinking he was going to bring the Pulpit and his weird alien religion down to the new world but then getting surprised when people were happy to leave it behind. Not the new world order he had in mind.

- Jax, poor Jax, could never seem to get a break. Maybe it was just me, but it seemed like every time he made a move to improve his position it got blunted or redirected somehow so we was in a slightly weaker position than before, sitting in his now empty casino. And then in the end we abandoned ship and became farmers, his nightmare come true.

I thought the rising conflict between my character (crime lord Poole) and Jazzie the young mob leader was particularly good because it was rooted in a total failure to understand each other. Poole really was trying to make The Drift a better place (yes, by holding an alien world at gun point) but Jazzie adamantly saw him as a villain out to exploit the people -- not surprising when you wear a big hat that says "crime lord."

I really liked that characters that were generally on the same side (Jazzie & the Sigil, Poole & Jax) still had disagreements that escalated and turned former allies against each other. Like the Sigil wanted to take the alien artifact from the Pulpit down to the planet, and being surprised by Jazzie being adamantly against the idea. Great stuff.

Another really interesting point was that our characters argued back and forth whether the aliens were benign or were trying to screw us. There were predictions about things that the aliens would or wouldn't do, but no one ever made a prediction that actually told us what the aliens actually thought. We never did see if they helping us because we needed help or they just wanted to get us away from our orbital cannon and put us in camps where we'd be harmless.
Ben R.
thatsabigrobot
Group Organizer
Seattle, WA
Post #: 455
Also awesome: Cody's abstract Drift logo


Ed T.
AproposPenguin
Seattle, WA
Post #: 3
Best part of the logo: the back half of the "t" has fell off, and is drifting away.

That was a great game all around, and an excellent introduction to Kingdom, I think. Poole was a delight, and I thought part of his excellent interaction with Jasmine is that unlike everyone else, both of them were really honest about who they were. On a ship full of deceitful and manipulative folks, they never tried to lie or trick one another; there's was just a perfect clash of idealism and pragmatism; folks with similar goals who are nonetheless kind of baffled by one another. It was great to see.

Also, being Frank Harris was a little too fun, especially doing scenes with Jax and the Sigil from the safety-cell in the pulpit. The enforced honesty led to fun interactions with the guy Frank secretly loved and the guy he very publicly beat half to death. Poor Sigil, holding a taser in his slightly-less-broken arm.

Finally, while we didn't actually get to see the aliens, there was a LOT of important discussion about just how many butts they have. It was an issue of serious concern on the Drift.

Edited to add: And I almost forgot the best part! JC, right at the beginning, deciding that our first Crossroads should be, essentially, "Are we going to shoot this alien planet, completely unprovoked?" Now THAT was something that really put me, at least, in the mindset of the drifters. We are the sort of people for whom destroying a city without warning is a first volley. We... we are not nice people.
Cody
Grimmethy
Seattle, WA
Post #: 7
You know a game is awesome when you come back a week later and what happens? We talk about the game, constantly. Before we started playing today we talked about The Drift, when we were done and chatting after the games, The Drift.

The Drift had everything. We had xenpophobia/racism, we had minor classism, we had anger management issues, we had gambling, we had...
You get the idea.

The Drift was one of the darkest games I've played yet. Violence, starvation, more of everything. What do we do in light of this terrifying landscape? We laugh our asses off and have one of the most awesome story games EVAR! I seriously wanted to make it a movie and share it with the world.
J.C.
QueueToo
Seattle, WA
Post #: 1
The other thing I really enjoyed, though I'm not sure if this happens in most/all story games, is that the things I was expecting to come out from where we started were nearly entirely subverted. Guttersnipe to popular leader, Frank whose idealism made him feel like he should be law on the Drift ending up as a heavyweight brutal enforcer and people kind of loving the flying toilet.

And the Pulpit… when a bunch of down and out criminals can't lie (and sometimes feel compelled to blurt out the truth) gave a lot of dramatic potential. Like Frank declaring his love for Jax.
Ben R.
thatsabigrobot
Group Organizer
Seattle, WA
Post #: 463
Y U no link excellent post? Ed is too shy to link his own article, so it's up to me:

GMotW: Kingdom and narrow roles
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