Jiffy Con

Janaki had never been to a con before and I really wanted her to meet my friends out in western Mass, so this was the perfect con to get two birds with one stone. Also, cons are huge energy drains; we both find those kinds of crowds really tiring but as gaming gatherings go, Jiffy Con is pretty low contact.

My buddy, Pete has a daughter, Kalista, who is a special needs kid and the Jiffy Con childcare allowed them both to attend. Pete had a nice weekend and it was nice to introduce a long time friend to a bunch of buddies from another part of my life. Kalista had a good time, I think, but she’s non-verbal, so it is hard to suss out her more subtle thoughts. We were worried she was really going to meltdown on the car ride home due to boredom but it turned out Tom Waits pacified her and allowed her to rock out.

We got there right on time in the morning and a Shock: game that I thought I was facilitating in the afternoon was going on right there and then. So, I jumped in and ran the game. Shock: is easy that way. I will write more about the Shock: game later, just wanted to give a more general overview of the weekend here.

Janaki and Pete were a table or two away, playing Julia’s new game, Tales of the Fisherman’s Wife and from what they told me, they had a good time. It was really cool to look up during a bathroom break at our game and see my lady-friend gaming a few tables over.

Next we headed into town and found a gluten-free lunch and just walked around town until our next game, Misspent Youth. It is amazing to see how far this game has come. I have seen it through its various stages of development and I think Rob has made a sweet-ass game.

There were lots of gluten-free dishes for dinner! Fantastic! I need Josh’s meatball recipe.

Sunday was a nice day of chilling out. After Rob showed us around his beautiful new town, North Hampton, we ended up at a local park and met up with a bunch of folks. The weather was absolutely perfect. We found a shady spot and watched an ill-advised game of nut-ball, the less said of that game the better. You win this game by not playing.

We played some elbow tag. Anyone else’s hips sore from this? I’m just not used to sprinting around quite like that.

It was a splendid weekend.

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.

Power Armor Minutae

One of the things I love about Shock: is the minutae. The minutae were put on index card-sized piece of scrap paper littered all over the table, written by me, Mario and Bret.

In this case, our Shock: was Power Armor and the Issues were PTSD, Priviledge and Blood Sports. Go!

Our minutae were the following:

-Power Armor exacerbates PTSD.

-In wars, rich kids in the military are protected by power armor while the poor folk go uprotected.

-“Armored Brat Syndrome” is only now being studied by VA hospital psychologists.

-Power Armor is used in public blood sport duels and battle sports.

-Participating in bloodsports can get someone on parole quickly.

-The 4th Gulf War.

-Only the rich can afford to have power armor manufactured.

-Blood sports are an alternative sentence for criminals.

-Pimp My Armor TV show.

-Medical containers that can tell your doctor via remote whether or not you have taken the medicine (NOTE: This exists).

-Guantanamo Satellite.

-Rich Armor owners will have proxy pilotes use their armor but pay for damages – can become indentured servitude.

-Armor Brand Names: Silver Skull, Reagan “Behemoth”, Kiyasachi “Sword”, BMW “Fire and Iron”, Boeing “Nebula”, Lockheed-Martin “Lancer”.

-Wealthy families have lobbied absurdly harsh sentences for power armor theft.

-Power Armor culture is much like 50’s hot red culture.

-Hilton Associates Correctional Division
Johns Hopkins Center for the Betterment of Humanity.

Fun stuff.