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Story Games Seattle Message Board What We Played › The Palace Builders (Durance)

The Palace Builders (Durance)

Sam Kabo A.
user 30231972
Honolulu, HI
Post #: 50
Planet: KKV Nazino: horrible weather, scarcely-breathable atmosphere and unruly natives.
Colony: Freetown, a North Korea-ish setup. Lots of planning, order and justice, terrible motivation, density and prosperity. Most of the prisoners lived in crowded tent camps around the site of the Governor's half-built palace.

Our drive was Control.

Governor: Bill, the Exalted One. A somewhat-unhinged absolute dictator, henpecked by his mother.
Judge Advocate: Mina al-Hajji, who truly believes in the prison system as a necessary social good, and is ruthlessly efficient about making that work.
Marine: Gidner Adkin, who we kept calling 'Captain America'. Square-jawed, painfully naive do-gooder.
Emancipist: 'Pig', a simple but good-hearted guy, one of the first to finish his time and be released, close to the natives.

Dimber Damber: Oden Colchis, a former illegal genetic-engineering magnate. Very much a soft-power kind of guy, his power mostly exercised through rumour and reputation.
Abbot: Julia Pilver, hard-nosed pragmatist. In a place this tightly regulated, her job mostly entailed managing snitches.
Captain Sharp: (a late addition) Rustis Glover, an assassin reputed to have major genetic upgrades. Wholly dedicated to Oden.
Bolter: Indigo Price, maverick arms smuggler
Wrecker: Julian Pilver, Julia's hopeless brother, an idealistic revolutionary

This was, I think, the best Durance game I've played thus far; there were a lot of threads going on at once. Julian had been involved in a bombing of the Palace, and Julia had to work overtime - not with a great deal of success - to get him off the hook, despite his best efforts to incriminate himself. Pig got wind of the looming plans to wreak genocide on the natives, and did his best to intermediate or warn them away, but just ended up escalating the conflict at every turn. (Well-Meaning Innocents Ruining Everything was a bit of a theme.) Gidner developed hopeless longings for Julia and, when predictably rejected, set out to prove himself, with pitiful results. Indigo decided to escalate the shit out of a low-key confrontation with Oden and ended up blacklisted and on the run, selling her remaining stock of weapons to the only people who would deal with her any more - the natives.

The dice were pretty helpful here, I thought - in particular, Gidner got a couple of Savagery results that pushed him out of his character's comfort zone and asking how this nice-but-dumb guy could end up spreading violence around. "I'll just shoot over their heads!" Gidner was, not coincidentally, the only character to break his oath (I will never disgrace my position.)

We dropped the curtain just as the colony lurched over the precipice - Julian, at the end of his rope, suicide-bombed the Governor, just as the natives were at the height of their war preparations.

As seems common in Durance, there were characters who I felt didn't get enough spotlight time, or who didn't have the chance to develop character hooks outside their functionary role. Mina was useful at driving the two guiding plots (the investigation into the first bombing, and another one into a massive theft of valuable building materials that was actually ordered by the Exalted One) but didn't get much of a second character dimension. But overall, good stuff.
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