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Story Games Seattle Message Board What We Played › What We Played: Visions of Lithius (Shock)

What We Played: Visions of Lithius (Shock)

Ben R.
Group Organizer
Seattle, WA
Post #: 65
Sat, Oct 23
players: Andrew, Pat, Ben

"On Earth I was called insane. I was a fish flopping on the sand. On Lithius, I'm in my element, a fish thriving in the sea. Why would I want to go back?"

-- said the man who tried to murder his own wife and children before being committed, now turned visionary tribal leader (a tribe of madmen, that is)*

Starting with the issues Mental Illness, Unsafe Work Conditions and Unused Talent, we came up with a world (Lithius) where an alien psychic presence lingered. This presence caused disorientation and often insanity in people who stayed on the surface for prolonged periods. This was the first and only sign of alien intelligence humanity had found so far, so huge efforts had been invested over the years to understand the phenomena, and unlock the whatever secrets the aliens left behind -- all without success.

The only people who responded positively to the strange environment were people with certain mental illnesses. Mental wards were combed and screened for these potential "explorers." On Lithius they thrived, experiencing something inexplicable that opened whole new doors in their minds -- an experience they were entirely unable to explain, because hey, they're crazy, right? How do you know when they're experiencing a moment of alien-induced enlightenment, or just doing that crazy thing?

Three very cool intertwining stories.

* I'm paraphrasing Pat's line, but I think it's pretty close. Pat & Andrew's "Apocalypse Now" shtick was awesome.
user 8415259
Seattle, WA
Post #: 4
I really liked the shock in this game. The premise supposes that people we label as insane might be just operating on a different-- but possibly still valid-- perception of reality than the rest of society. Whereas on Earth that is a debilitating condition, on Lithius it's an advantage over the sane people.

Our stories as best as I can remember them:

Andrew was Dr. Giuseppe Jordan, a cold psychiatrist studying the effects of the planet on his mental patients. His story goal was to "go native", which is the euphemism in the setting for when a sane person succumbs to the effects of the planet. He eventually succeeded through some grim interactions with a "native" child and an ex-colleague of his, but was ultimately taken off planet and committed. Is he doomed to live a life tuned to a new reality that he's now forever separated from?

Ben was Dr. Miles Something, a passionate scientist obsessed with learning the secrets of the alien planet. While initially hamstrung by his father-in-law and superior at the LRI (Lithius Research Institute), Miles managed to finally make it to the planet's surface. Unfortunately, his wife, feeling betrayed and abandoned, stowed aboard his landing craft. The two of them struggled to survive in the harsh environment, but Miles finally put together the mystery of the planet: the shared "halucinations" of the natives are actually each other's projected thoughts and emotions which allow for unprecedented levels of communion between people. Sadly, his wife was unable to cope with the situation and became hysterically frightened of Miles and his projected guilt for his treatment of her.

I was Phaedrus, one of the original "naturally" insane mental patients deployed to Lithius and a leader of a group of natives. Like Ben said, I was definitely channeling Marlon Brando's character in Apocalypse Now for Phaedrus, and true to form the safety of his little community became threatened by an LRI agent sent to disrupt his activities by any means necessary. After a battle of wits trying to subvert each other's belief in our respective realities, Phaedrus's faith became shaken and the LRI agent assumed leadership of the community. Knowing the agent meant his followers harm, Phaedrus killed him, but not before the agent sent orders to his superiors that would essentially doom the natives to a lifetime of excruciating lab experiments. Phaedrus had secured the survival of his teachings, but his followers would be persecuted for their beliefs and Phaedrus himself was left exiled from his followers and bereft of belief himself.
Ben R.
Group Organizer
Seattle, WA
Post #: 70
Dr. Corbin (Myles) was passionate, but really rather selfish (it was my favorite Praxis! ;)). By the time he got to the planet he was ashamed that he'd thrown everyone who should have been important to him under the bus in his obsession to get a chance to unlock the alien secret -- which of course led to the perfect tragic ending in trying to commune with his wife.

In the post-meetup comments, Andrew said:

Another great day of gaming. My first experience with Shock and as always Ben was very patient with me.

Andrew, I think the interesting part was that was you were only having trouble finding conflict when you were trying to decide where to move the plot in the abstract. As soon as you dropped into roleplaying and said what your character said, you created excellent conflict immediately (for those who weren't there, I don't mean this was kind of true, I mean _the moment_ roleplaying started Andrew was throwing punches).

I think there's a valuable lesson in that: it's better to jump in and play than plan.
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