Mud, Rockets, Orbit

Got together with Pete and Janaki and played Shock: Social Science Fiction. This is a game I have been wanting to play with these two people for a long time, and it was kind of just what the doctor ordered.

Shock: Orbital Culture

Issues: Resources, Disease Outbreak, Caste System

One rule that we paid particular attention to this time was precisely how the audience rule works. The audience get’s to roll a d4 and add it or subtract it from either the protag’s or antag’s roll but the vital part that I have often left out is that they are supposed to utilize and/or create a piece of minutae to explain what effected the roll and changed success to failure or failure to success.

Minutae = setting tidbits that help flesh it all out. I like it when we write them down on pieces of scrap paper strewn all over the table. Last night our minutae were:

  • Caste System: Zero-G’s at the top with the Rocket-Men and Merchants next and the Earthers below. We realized we needed a warrior caste.
  • Drones: Named after insects, remote controlled by Zero-G’s via drugs. Names like Yellow-jackets, Wasps, Scarabs, Locusts, Termites. (At this point, I pictured the drones like unmanned jets or robots but once Pete was playing a Drone, they become very human-like.)
  • Rocket-Men: They are like cowboys or pirates, entirely romanticized due to their ability to walk on earth and float in space, the rare link between the orbits and the mud.
  • Zero-G’s: Grown brittle like foot-binding, as a sign of status
  • Ritual Ingestion of Pharma Pre-Battle: Like communion. Pete and Janaki had tons of ideas about this, really describing how it worked among different Zero-G’s and different Drones, with the Zero-G’s taking control of the Drones via a kind of hive-mind trance state. Neat stuff.
  • The Elevator Wars: 10 Years ago, a war waged between the Rocket-men and the Zero-G’s in order to shut down the space elevators that threatened to cut the Rocket-men off by making them obsolete.
  • Union Station: a melange of middle European cultures.
  • Drones have a nano-tracking pheremone they can rub off on people. Their ramped up immune system can combat weaponized viruses and this puts them into battle-mode.
  • Zero-G use DNA stamps as chops to identify them.
  • Order of Durga at odds with Order of Kali, both religions are among the drones.
  • Drones have a shut-down mechanism when they get worked up off-duty that floods their system with melatonin.
  • Hood: a collar that kills sensory input.
  • There were a whole lot of minutae like things that came out of conversation that never quite made it to paper or that we all just understood fairly quickly.

    Janaki played a fallen to earth noble who had an army of drones of her own.

    Pete played a drone soldier with hints of his own personality.

    I played a Rocket-man veteran who just wanted to see some good in humanity.

    Good Shock: games make me want to run home and begin writing a science fiction epic and this one was no different.

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