Tuesday, 28 February 2017

The Week in Stories - February 27th (Strange Attractors)

Wow. It's been almost exactly a year since I've written a Week in Stories. Partly this is because our roleplaying life has been a little bit spotty since the fall, but also because life got busy, and stressful, and I missed out on writing about a good deal of my husband's awesome game of reincarnation and purpose, Not Fade Away. I regret that a lot, but it was what it was.

Last night, Rob started running a new campaign, a time travel romp-with-some-seriousness-but-definitely-also-punching-Nazis called Strange Attractors. We did character creation and played a short session, and wow, am I glad to get back to roleplaying. Because it was a short session, I don't know that I have a lot to say yet, but I would like to get back to recording at least small things about our sessions, so here goes: (For those who would like to know, we're playing using Cortex Plus as the base system.)

What We Know:

It's the 1970s, 1976 to be precise. We work for an organization called TimeWatch. We're trying to keep history on the right track, guided sparingly by people from the future called Admonitories, who try not to tell us too much, so as to avoid paradox. Obviously they're on the up and up. I mean, right?

Who We Are: 

Codename: Swift. Swift is from the 1970s, an antiquarian and expert in the field of artifacts and material history. He's also got a rather loose moral code, as likely to steal an artifact from the past and sell it in the present for big bucks as to turn it over to someone more responsible and reputable. Despite the TimeWatch regulation to cut contact with our former lives, he still has a girlfriend he sees from time to time.

Codename: Butler.  (Me!) Butler is from a world that's not around anymore, codenamed Cerulean. (The Earth as we're trying to preserve it is Navy, I think.) Her world was very much like a World! Of! Tomorrow! complete with lasers and personal rocketships. It seemed to be a utopia, but a few small things had started to go wrong when TimeWatch agents showed up and recruited her, convincing her in the process that her world was about to go down toxic and deadly paths, requiring that it be amputated and erased rather than left to fester. She's a true believer in the TimeWatch cause, and I see her as astonishingly chipper. Whether TimeWatch will live up to her faith that they are doing things for the best is left to be seen.

Codename: Pythagoras. A musician/sound artist, Pythagoras was recruited by the CIA for his expertise in mind-altering sounds, later seconded to TimeWatch. He's incredibly acute in anything to do with sound, but perhaps not quite as perceptive when it's visual.

Codename: Wells. A Victorian time traveller, he has criss-crossed his own timeline so much it is almost unidentifiable (and may now include dinosaurs with lasers). He carries a bit of a grudge against TimeWatch for not interfering with his rampage through time and the consequences.

The Mission

Meet Amelia Earhart on the island that she crashed nearby shortly after the last recorded (and contested) radio transmission, and recruit her (and her navigator Fred Noonan) into the organization.

The Complication

When we arrived on the island one day after the last radio transmission, the bodies of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan were face down on the beach with bullet holes in their heads. The bullets had been removed, and a German cigarette butt was in the grass on the small amount of high ground.  We jumped back again to a day before Earhart was due, and created a hideout and waited. A few hours before, a diving bell contraption/time machine appeared on the beach, and four Nazis (but not Nazis from our timeline) piled out. One of them recognized my character from a previous encounter, which was not the same as the previous encounter she remembered him from, as a wizened old man in a cybermech trying to shoot up Studio 54.

There was a fight, the Nazis were dispatched, and we waited for Earhart and Noonan to arrive.  They didn't. In fact, on doing some investigation, no one even seemed to know of her anymore - and at any rate, President Lindbergh and Secretary of State Henry Ford were promising "peace in our time."

The Paradox 

Well, we'd met Earhart before, but now we have to figure out how this Nazi time travel got Lindbergh elected, and then try to recruit her. Having met her as a seasoned TimeWatch operative in the 1970s, that was a little weird.

Also, my character and Gunter Frank the Nazi seem to be meeting each other in reverse order of meetings. If that makes sense. Grammar is not good at this.

What's Next? 

It was a fun first session, but I'm hankering for some more connections between character and/or recurring NPCs, which I know will come. First, we needed to nail down who the characters were, and then we can start building in backstory and reasons we know each other, what we might need from each other and why we can't give it. (To steal from the wonderful Hillfolk mechanic.)

But I'm pleased with the character I created and have ideas of what to do with her. I need to find the chipper a bit more, or change my ideas and figure out how else she might present herself. Also, I think she needs a ponytail.

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