Game Closet 70 – Mahar Abrera Mangahas

Game Closet 70 – Mahar Abrera Mangahas

5Calls.org: https://5calls.org/ – Stance: http://takeastance.us/ – ResistBot: https://resistbot.io/ – Swing Left: https://swingleft.org/

This show is a proud member of the Stop, Hack, & Roll podcast network.

This episode of Game Closet was edited by Taylor LaBresh. Show music was composed by Corv Leary.

Game Closet: interviewing LGBT+ people in tabletop gaming, creators, fans, anyone! Interviews talk about personal experiences, games with (or without) LGBT+ representations or themes, or using queer content in gaming. Are you queer or LGBT+ and want to be featured on Game Closet? DM me on Twitter @LeviathanFiles! You can also check out a curated collection of queer/LGBT+ roleplaying resources.

Links:

Mahar on Twitter

Mahar’s games on Itchio

Mahar on Patreon

Session Zero Con

Big Bad Con

#QueerBnB

Pam

Viditya

Dave

Jolibee

The Letter Sketches

Freaks & Geeks

Notes on Color

Semiotics

Sleepaway

🤖✋✌

36 Questions To Fall In Love

Falling

Mike Lombardi

Pentola

DC (Orion)

Babble On Equity Project

Rachel

Teach For The Philippines

Panic At The Disco! Into The Unknown

Terminator Franchise

Crispy Pata

Chicken Joy

Meguey Baker

Dramaturgy

Kienna Shaw & Lauren Bryant-Monk’s TTRPG Safety Toolkit

James Mendez-Hodes

Banana Chan

Kait Kerrigan

Nathan Tyson

Fugitive Songs

How I Learned To Drive

The Laramie Project

The Mad Ones

Pronouns (D10 table!)

Playtest Descent into Midnight!

Help The Show On Patreon

Riverhouse Games Website

RHG Discord

Twitter

Subscribe on iTunes

Subscribe via RSS!

Riverhouse Games Thanks You!

Thank you for listening to this Riverhouse podcast. You can find more podcasts at RiverhouseGames.com as well as games and resources about queer & LGBT+ tabletop gaming. Thank you to the people backing the Riverhouse Games Patreon, such as:

Rohit Sodhia & Gamersplane.com, The Redacted Files Podcast Network, Mossy, Lucca, Landan Smith, Elizabeth Bellisario, Kirsten Engeseth, Nicole Trainor, Alice Kyra, Kyle Krueger, Paul Bennett, and Rob Abrazado: THANK YOU! If you want to see your name in upcoming Riverhouse games or podcasts, you can set a small monthly subscription at Patreon.com/RiverhouseGames

 

Game Closet 69 (nice) – Ruby Ascendancy

Game Closet 69 (nice) – Ruby Ascendancy

5Calls.org: https://5calls.org/ – Stance: http://takeastance.us/ – ResistBot: https://resistbot.io/ – Swing Left: https://swingleft.org/

This show is a proud member of the Stop, Hack, & Roll podcast network.

This episode of Game Closet was edited by Taylor LaBresh. Show music was composed by Corv Leary.

Game Closet: interviewing LGBT+ people in tabletop gaming, creators, fans, anyone! Interviews talk about personal experiences, games with (or without) LGBT+ representations or themes, or using queer content in gaming. Are you queer or LGBT+ and want to be featured on Game Closet? DM me on Twitter @LeviathanFiles! You can also check out a curated collection of queer/LGBT+ roleplaying resources.

Links:

Ruby on Twitter

Ascendancy on Kickstarter

Resistance Toolbox

Douglas Adams

Powered by the Apocalypse

Masks

West Marches

Riley Hopkins

Interstitial

Vocaloid

Touhou

Grant Howitt

Chris Taylor

Psych

Hitman

Kagerou Project

Austin Ramsay

Beam Saber (Kickstarter ends 4/1!)

Hatsune Miku

Oscar Wilde Cheese

Pronouns (D10 table!)

Playtest Descent into Midnight!

Help The Show On Patreon

Riverhouse Games Website

RHG Discord

Twitter

Subscribe on iTunes

Subscribe via RSS!

Riverhouse Games Thanks You!

Thank you for listening to this Riverhouse podcast. You can find more podcasts at RiverhouseGames.com as well as games and resources about queer & LGBT+ tabletop gaming. Thank you to the people backing the Riverhouse Games Patreon, such as:

Rohit Sodhia & Gamersplane.com, The Redacted Files Podcast Network, Mossy, Lucca, Landan Smith, Elizabeth Bellisario, Kirsten Engeseth, Nicole Trainor, Alice Kyra, Kyle Krueger, Paul Bennett, and Rob Abrazado: THANK YOU! If you want to see your name in upcoming Riverhouse games or podcasts, you can set a small monthly subscription at Patreon.com/RiverhouseGames

 

Game Closet 68 – Dr. Evan Torner

Game Closet 68 – Dr. Evan Torner

5Calls.org: https://5calls.org/ – Stance: http://takeastance.us/ – ResistBot: https://resistbot.io/ – Swing Left: https://swingleft.org/

This show is a proud member of the Stop, Hack, & Roll podcast network.

This episode of Game Closet was edited by Taylor LaBresh. Show music was composed by Corv Leary.

Game Closet: interviewing LGBT+ people in tabletop gaming, creators, fans, anyone! Interviews talk about personal experiences, games with (or without) LGBT+ representations or themes, or using queer content in gaming. Are you queer or LGBT+ and want to be featured on Game Closet? DM me on Twitter @LeviathanFiles! You can also check out a curated collection of queer/LGBT+ roleplaying resources.

Links:

Evan on Twitter

Guy In The Black Hat Blog

Analogue Game Studies Vol 4

Full Day Analogue Game Studies Workshop

Bit Rot

Slayer Cake

Fiasco

Rock Band

Brutal Legend

Nowhere Fast

Streets of Fire

Just a Little Lovin

Analog Game Studies

Root

Alarums & Excursions

Different Worlds

Dragon Magazine

Over The Edge

Modernism: The Lure of Heresy

The CIA Funded The Iowa Writer’s Workshop

Amy McGrath for Senate

Papers Please

Ghost Court

Murderous Ghosts

Winterhorn

The Tribunal

Steal Away Jordan

Richard Garfield

Fallout 4

Diplomacy

Mafia/Werewolf

Pandemic

Tunnels & Trolls

Pendragon 

Traveler

Rocky & Bullwinkle Party Game

Violence

Whispering Vault

Pac-Man

Super Smash Brothers

Pronouns (D10 table!)

Playtest Descent into Midnight!

Help The Show On Patreon

Riverhouse Games Website

RHG Discord

Twitter

Subscribe on iTunes

Subscribe via RSS!

Riverhouse Games Thanks You!

Thank you for listening to this Riverhouse podcast. You can find more podcasts at RiverhouseGames.com as well as games and resources about queer & LGBT+ tabletop gaming. Thank you to the people backing the Riverhouse Games Patreon, such as:

Rohit Sodhia & Gamersplane.com, The Redacted Files Podcast Network, Mossy, Lucca, Landan Smith, Elizabeth Bellisario, Kirsten Engeseth, Nicole Trainor, Alice Kyra, Kyle Krueger, Paul Bennett, and Rob Abrazado: THANK YOU! If you want to see your name in upcoming Riverhouse games or podcasts, you can set a small monthly subscription at Patreon.com/RiverhouseGames

 

BONUS EPISODE: Descent into Midnight Actual Play Special (p 2)

BONUS EPISODE: Descent into Midnight Actual Play Special (p 2)

5Calls.org: https://5calls.org/ – Stance: http://takeastance.us/ – ResistBot: https://resistbot.io/ – Swing Left: https://swingleft.org/

Welcome to a special episode of Game Closet! You won’t hear your normal host’s voice on this one, but stay tuned!!!

Taylor’s been working as the Design Lead for Descent into Midnight for a good amount of time now and the Kickstarter is IN THE FINAL STRETCH! While you listen to these special Actual Plays, go check it out at DiMRPG.io/ks.

Session 2

Show Notes

Rich Howard guides Kat KuhlDC (Orion), and Devon George through the research facility where the team finds the truth behind Vista’s origin and Polyp 39’s past.

Transcript

RICH: Hi everyone. Welcome back to Descent into Midnight. If you haven’t heard our character and world generation episode you may want to pop back in the feed and check that out to see how this incredible world the players created came about. Before we get started, let’s go around and remind people who we are and who we’ll be playing. My name is Rich Howard, he/him pronouns, and I am the Concept Lead on Descent into Midnight, and I will be your Guide today. Next up we have Devon.

DEVON: Hi! My name is Devon George. I go by she, they, or he. I am an artist and illustrator, same thing really [laughs], sometimes game designer. Also, if you look at the art in Descent into Midnight some of that is indeed my art. I am playing a Cultivator by the name of Maybe Many Homes who is kind of like a hermit crab Iron Man who is kind of scared and just wants to help people out.

RICH: How about you, DC?

DC: I am DC… and I’m going to be playing-Oh, my pronouns are they/them. I am playing the Traveler which is the name of the class and also Traveler is the name of my character. They have no pronouns, but they and them is fine. They are this really cool representation of the universe’s consciousness in a very deliberate and I guess unassuming form, which is very cool, and I’m excited to see what happens in this third episode that we can’t talk about yet because you might not have heard anything about it. Go listen to the first episode, please.

RICH: [laughs] And Kat?

KAT: Hi, my name’s Kat Kuhl. My pronouns are she/her. I’m a podcaster, game designer, and voice actor. I’m playing a character whose name is Polyp 39, or whose designation is Polyp 39. Their pronouns are they/them, and they’re based around the Redeemed playbook.

RICH: Alright. Our fourth player from the previous games, Richard Kreutz-Landry, who is the Project Lead and Co-Designer on Descent into Midnight, can’t make it today because of work obligations. He was playing our Specialist, Même, but he and I have chatted about Même’s role today so we will find out, we will play to find out what happens, because it’s PbtA and you have to put that in their trademark somewhere.

KAT: Mm-hmm.

DEVON: Spooky.

RICH: Anyway. Let’s go over a little bit what happened last time, both for our listeners and for us. Last session our rebellious Cultivator, known as Many Homes, uncovered pieces of her friend Polyp 39’s missing memory. Polyp 39, a former member of the 100 series Infiltrators had been created by a private military research facility to undermine external threats to the city long before they became actual threats. When Même, a colonial being from another dimension, manifested into this world from The Echo, they duplicated the body of the first sapient creature they found, in this case Polyp 39. This psychic bond accidentally introduced the concept of freedom into 39’s programming and inadvertently to the entire 100 series. The 100 series was then quote unquote “retired” by their creators for this fatal flaw with 39 being one of the only known survivors.

Many Homes’s research into her friend’s missing memory uncovered a broken recording revealing that Polyp 39 had once been sent on an assassination assignment, not outside the city but aimed at one of its citizens. To get this information, Many Homes needed to tap into the enigmatic energy of an extradimensional plant in her garden, dubbed the Leo Venus plants, but doing so left her sick and her technically advanced, bioengineered garden suffering. Many Homes, Même, 39, and their Transcendent friend Traveler made a plan to infiltrate the private military research facility to, one, recover 39’s missing memory, two, revive Many Homes’s garden by exposing her unique species of Leo Venus plant to more of its kind, and three, find a way to help Vista, the last of a species suspected of being the ancestor of the beings known as the Transcendents, which DC is playing today.

When we last left our protagonists they had been discovered outside the former mansion/castle of one of the city’s most prominent families, a building now abandoned by said family, as it has been engulfed in a forest of Leo Venus plants and surrounded by hundreds of private and public research and tech facilities. Many Homes communed with the alien plants in order to find a way into the structure but awoke from her painful psychic connection to find herself face-to-face with her old mentor and four members of the new and improved 1000 series Infiltrators.

So, before we get going, one of the things that we didn’t talk about in this particular game at the beginning that we often do in Descent into Midnight games is the Corruption. Take a look at the back of your playbooks and you’ll see two tracks; there’s a Harmony track and a Corruption track. Harmony is what you mark when you roll a 6 or less or when a move directs you to, and it’s how you advance in the game. I’d like each of you to please mark 3 Harmony in addition to any Harmony you’ve gotten so far in the game. When the Harmony track fills, you clear the Harmony track and you can pick a new advancement, like a new move or something else, or you can also choose to pick an advancement for your community with your Harmony as well.

The Corruption track works in a similar way. When you mark your last box of Corruption the Corruption starts to work through you. You clear the track, you place a Corruption marker on one of the established elements in your community, and you pick one of the Corruption moves on your playbook. Each playbook has three unique Corruption moves to that playbook and there are two additional moves that are shared by every playbook, so you have five to choose from. Each move can be chosen and triggered only once, though, and one of those five helps you end the game in a dramatic way for your character if you choose it.

As a condition of their creation, Polyp 39 is currently sitting at 4 Corruption. The breakdown of the Leo Venus plant inside her shell means that Many Homes is actually sitting at 3 Corruption. Traveler picked up 1 Corruption in an earlier game that I marked down myself due to a scene that we may explain a little bit later.

So, Many Homes, tell me about your last interaction with this former mentor who you have named Definite In Perpetuum. Everyone can chime in ideas as well, but I want to hear a little bit about them. Many Homes, you left working with this mentor after discovering things like Vista and Polyp 39, right?

DEVON: Yeah. I left the place because of a reveal of In Perpetuum being involved in things that were bad, like sending genetically engineered people out to kill other people. I think that the last time Many Homes interacted with In Perpetuum would be honestly before she found out what was going on, I don’t think that there’s been any kind of discussion after it came out to the public. I don’t think there was any chance for her to get any kind of closure. There’s a lot of unresolved worrying on her part there.

RICH: Gotcha. In addition to In Perpetuum being there, In Perpetuum was talking to another Transcendent, they were traveling on the back of what looks like a giant turtle with a fairly flat shell and multiple fins coming out the side of it almost like the oars on a longboat, and they were traveling surrounded by four of this 1000 series Infiltrators. Many Homes had communed with the many Leo Venus plants that are around the area and they revealed to her a trail through a back area or entrance potentially of this Leo Venus covered mansion. She opened her eyes, many, many eyes-How many eyes now, 50,000 eyes? I can’t remember how many eyes. It just keeps getting more and more.

DEVON: I think I originally said seven, but the numbers have gone up to like 37 or something now.

RICH: I see. Okay. So there’s a lot of eyes. Opened up at least one of those many eyes and saw In Perpetuum there who was locking eyes with Many Homes, but in addition to that one of these Infiltrators had split off from the group, maybe potentially sensing something, and heading straight toward you as a collection, and Polyp 39 and this 1000 series Polyp were locked in a… What’s that move that you have? Find Weakness? Sense Weakness?

KAT: Yeah.

RICH: You guys are both analyzing each other. [laughs] I think the last statement you made was, basically, I think we have to be ready for combat or something to that effect. In Perpetuum sees the Infiltrator heading in that direction and one of the others starts to peel off when In Perpetuum calls out to them psychically and puts a hold on them.

RICH (as In Perpetuum): Stop! Stop!

RICH: It taps the back of the turtle that it’s riding on that also has clamshell crates that are held onto the back of the turtle and the turtle changes direction and starts heading toward you.

RICH (as In Perpetuum): Is that Maybe Many Homes?

DEVON (as Many Homes): This was a bad idea.

RICH: [laughs]

DEVON (as Many Homes): I lied. This was a bad idea… We could run. That’s a choice. We’ll run, we’ll find somewhere to hide, they won’t find us…

DEVON: …and very obviously we’ll just start backtracking very quickly along the ground with little legs going in reverse.

KAT: [laughs]

RICH: Okay, 39 and Traveler, what are you doing?

KAT: I turn to where Maybe Many Homes is starting to slowly back off.

RICH: Where she was, you mean?

KAT: [laughing] Yeah.

KAT (as Polyp 39): I may need you to restrain me, from combat. I-Oh. Oh, where is sh-Oh.

KAT: Then I turn to Traveler.

KAT (as Polyp 39): Well, I do not want to fight.

DC (as Traveler): I’m not particularly interested in fighting, especially since you are quite powerful and there are four somewhat like you. Are they stronger than you?

KAT (as Polyp 39): No. No, but that is irrelevant. No, no, of course they are not stronger. No. The point is that I don’t want to fight, so if it comes to that please hold me back. Don’t let me fight. That’s the point. I’m asking you to-It’s irrelevant who’s stronger, you understand? I’ve sized up their weaknesses… They don’t have any weaknesses. I don’t have any weaknesses. I don’t want to fight them, so in some ways I’m stronger than them, because I’m sure they don’t want to fight me… or, they do want to fight me, I don’t want to fight them.

DC (as Traveler): I just want to say that I am extremely interested in the result of whatever combat may happen between you and the four, but because you’ve asked I will-

KAT (as Polyp 39): I do not want to fight them!

DC (as Traveler): My interest is purely, well, the interest of the universe itself, but-

KAT (as Polyp 39): Where is Maybe Many Homes?!

[laughter]

DEVON: Alright, I have something.

RICH: Just one second. Même is watching everything that’s happening, and Many Homes is almost completely out of sight, like behind giant Leo Venus plants. Même discorporates into the little pieces of themselves, and just like before where they helped you put on disguises-

KAT: Oh! Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah!

RICH: They actually separate themselves into three clouds and collectively move toward each of you and manifest themselves on your body somewhere that allows you, when Polyp 39 says where’s Many Homes, you now feel a psychic link between the three of you manifested by Même, so you can now communicate and share visions and emotions through Même between the three of you no matter where you are.

KAT: Huh.

RICH: So, Many Homes? You said you had something?

DEVON: Oh, well first, she psychically goes:

DEVON (as Many Homes): Oh, well that’s useful. Huh.

RICH: You feel Même’s happiness at your happiness.

DEVON (as Many Homes): Uh… I’m gonna do something, maybe stupid, and then you should probably come find me while they’re not looking. So…

RICH: [laughing] This turtle is still heading right over to where you guys are.

DEVON: Yeah, I know. I want to make a-Okay. Here’s my thing. I’m looking at my moves. I’m not sure which would be more applicable. I have It Plugs In Where and I have The Reef Protects Its Own. I know one of them is defend, but I think one of them very specifically, It Plugs In Where I believe, is kind of the…

RICH: It Plugs In Where is kind of the MacGyver maneuver…

DEVON: That’s what I want to do.

RICH: …and Iron Man maneuver, where you can either create or manifest or say you have access to a piece of equipment that’s helpful in the situation that you’re in. The Reef Defends Its Own is something that can work through a whole scene where you either take control of or manifest pieces of your garden in an area that works to defend your allies.

DEVON: Oh no…

RICH: And there’s a lot of Leo Venus plants here…

DEVON: I know! Okay, so…

RICH: …that clearly, clearly love spending time with you.

DEVON: Oh god. I have two thoughts, and you guys can tell me which one sounds cooler. I can do a bioluminescent flash grenade?

RICH: Like flares?

DEVON: Yeah, like a flare, so they can’t see you so you just disappear and we’re gone. They know we’re here and they’re after us, but… Then the other thing is I could manifest part of my garden around where you are so they stop and are like “where are they” and then the garden might do something bad? Those are my thoughts. Which sounds like a worse idea.

DC: Flash grenade sounds like something that would be a combat move to one of the Polyps in which case they’d probably respond with “oh, it’s time to go chase something that is trying to escape,” but also ending up… I mean, a part of the garden sounds really cool and then something possibly really bad happening sounds also very cool. I would actually be down with either, because in character you all feel-

KAT: [laughs] Traveler’s just here for fun!

DC: –a very deep interest as to who is stronger.

RICH: Traveler’s here to participate. Traveler’s here to experience things.

DEVON: Traveler is a force of chaos.

DC: Traveler will definitely take things into consideration.

RICH: Traveler sounds like they’re just being supportive to me.

DEVON: Let me double-check my move, but I think it would be more fun to manifest… unless you guys have something you want to do.

KAT: I’m ready to step in, but I’m trying to not act first.

DEVON: I don’t wanna like, if you guys have a plan I don’t want to take…

KAT: No, no-no-no.

DC: I don’t really have anything helpful other than the ability to help you do whatever you’re doing.

DEVON: Heh. Alright, I think in that case I’d probably Protect Its Own. [mumbles] …activation, rapidly create a garden in the surrounding area, so it’s not my garden, it’s a garden.

RICH: Well, you just define it however you want. At this point, it’s the Leo Venus plants, so maybe it’s bonding with the Leo Venus plants that are already around you.

DEVON: Okay. I have an idea if it goes not amazingly. Heh.

RICH: Okay. You tell me what you would like. This is all happening fairly instantaneously as you’re translating information.

DEVON: Mm-hmm. It just happens, and I have a +1 ongoing to defend another within the affected area. Any ally you successfully defend takes a +1 forward as the living world continues to aid them.

RICH: So, describe to me what happens with all of these Leo Venus plants. How do you bond in with them?

DEVON: I’m just gonna go ahead and do the kind of not amazing outcome for me but the cooler outcome visually. What I think it is, I just try to tap in regularly and create the plants or make them grow extra big over in this direction, but the Leo Venus plants that are in my garden right now are…

RICH: Uh-huh? And your garden is inside this pocket dimension inside your shell, to remind listeners.

DEVON: Yes. What happens is, I think they go crazy and they grow and now my garden inside my shell is only Leo Venus plants, and they start coming out of the shell, like the seams are bursting of the pocket space, and then just (shoop), and are very big and all of a sudden everyone is in a jungle.

KAT: Whoa.

DC: They filled up an entire pocket dimension.

DEVON: Yeah.

RICH: So, you plant growth this huge forest full of Leo Venus plants.

DEVON: Yes. I wasn’t entirely trying to do that, but there are now Leo Venus plants everywhere. You can’t see in front of you, but since we all have the mind thing…

RICH: Psychic link.

DEVON: Yeah. I would assume that we’d…

RICH: You know where each other are, generally.

DEVON: Yeah. Warmer, colder, cooler, yeah.

RICH: Right. You have a general idea of direction and distance.

DC: You feel this spike of interest as Traveler goes:

DC (as Traveler): Ooh. This is very good.

DEVON (as Many Homes): Thank you. It was an accident. Um, I’m over here.

DEVON: Heh. I’m waving, mentally.

RICH: This turtle has come over and a shadow is coming over Traveler and 39, and this happens fairly quickly even though the discussion happened for a bit.

RICH (as In Perpetuum): Many Homes? Many Homes?

RICH: He turns to the Transcendent that’s next to him.

RICH (as In Perpetuum): That was my former assistant, I think. I’m not sure what she’s doing here. Nice to see her.

RICH: He looks around and sees the 1000 series Infiltrator come back and there’s some communication going on. There is a roil across the skin of In Perpetuum’s body, and that is an indicator of stress and concern.

RICH (as In Perpetuum): I’m sorry, there’s a what?

KAT: Yeah. I’m restraining from doing stress roiling, but I’m talking to Même in the connection really, really rapidly.

KAT (as Polyp 39): Okay. Même, we’ve talked about this, many times, and you’re the one who said that nonviolent action is the best way to move forward, and I, oh boy, I think that you’re right, and, um, but, I haven’t really been tested, so I just, I could use some help at the moment, and if you could remind me about what, and how, and um, maybe you should be the one who takes care of this and if you could connect up with that person this time, just do the same thing that you did before.

KAT: I’m going to use one of my Heart of Violence moves, Storm Front. When I appeal to one of my allies to help restrain me from rash or violent action, I ask my friend to hold me back. If they do, soothe my violent nature and clear 1 Corruption, and if they don’t I gain +1 ongoing in the ensuing conflict.

RICH: Même connects everyone together, immediately, to have this same… basically you are allowed to feel the emotional support from the people who care about you, and that they are there for you, that they believe in you, and that they also believe that violence may not be the solution to this problem, and that, you know, there’s a history of perhaps violence not being a solution to many problems. So you get to clear a Corruption.

In Perpetuum sees this, all of a sudden there’s this garden growing up, the Leo Venus plants are growing wild and quickly, and In Perpetuum starts calling out.

RICH (as In Perpetuum): Many Homes? Many Homes! We need to… Many Homes, is that you?

RICH: Their shell-they’re one of the few that have a shell as well-the shell begins to open up and you see spores pour out through the bottom of its shell and coming out and going into and around. You’ve seen these spores act before. They’re basically scanners. They go out and they are collecting information and going through this forest looking for you, but also looking for what it is that’s happening and taking data and information about what’s happening around. Traveler, you also hear, the other Transcendent has been very calm, floating, holding onto this turtle and going with what In Perpetuum is doing. I picture Transcendents are not normally chatty unless they are designed to be that way in some way. This Transcendent then sends out a psychic signal that you can hear the echo of to the four 1000 series which is an order for them to go into this forest and locate who’s here, and they take off. In Perpetuum had given the order for them to halt earlier, but is now likely psychically linked to all these probes and lost in his own thoughts scanning this area.

DC: Oh… That sounds very interesting, but I was asked for an assistance in keeping combat from happening, and I do have choice as a being. Oh, if I must.

KAT: [laughs]

DC: I want to send out a powerful psychic resonance, like I want to pop up, rise out from-

RICH: Out of the forest? Yep.

DC: And then send out a huge wave of, just like, “HALT!” like at everything in front of me.

RICH: Oh my. It sounds like you redirecting the current, which is when you act to remove an obstacle in your path, which is a roll +Calm.

DC: From the last game I think I had a +1 forward, and I have a -1 to Calm. Great. So, 9.

RICH: Oh, a 9, very nice. On a hit you succeed at your task and avoid trouble. On a 7 to 9 the Guide will give you a hard choice, introduce an instability, or enact a cost. So, you send out this psychic wave of “HALT!” The four 1000 series actually pull up, they were kind of dive-bombing down into the forest, and they pull up at the psychic wave which has a very similar resonance to them, or tone, accent, however you want to put it, as the one that gave them the order. They pull up and they see you, because you are now floating above and it’s another Transcendent. The Transcendent that is on the back of the turtle sees you and reaches out, psychically, to link.

RICH (as Transcendent): Hmm. Friend, why is it that you are hiding here?

RICH: It’s less of a casual question and more like it’s crawling into your head. I would actually like you to Resist Corruption.

DC: Let’s do it.

RICH: You’re gonna roll 2d6 plus the amount of Corruption that you currently have.

DC: Which is 1.

DEVON: I’m guessing my defend only works physically?

RICH: This is a world full of lots of things. In this particular case it’s a cost… so I’m gonna say that it doesn’t necessarily work here. They also came up above the jungle which I can kind of roll with, but for this particular case I think I’m gonna have it…

DEVON: Yeah. I didn’t quite, but I thought I’d just check just in case.

RICH: Of course. Yeah. The physical world, the emotional and psychic world are very similar, so they interact all the time. How did that roll go, DC?

DC: With the +1, I got a 6.

RICH: Oh, that’s actually good. Like with Endure or other things, you want to roll low, so the more Corruption you have, the higher the roll, the harder it gets for you. You actually did quite well. On a 6 you mark Harmony as normal, because you rolled a 6 or less, and you hold onto your true self. You keep the Corruption at bay and you reduce your Corruption score by 1.

DC: Yes.

RICH: What you do get is this with a 6 roll. There’s something off about this Transcendent. This Transcendent manifested here, like you and the other Transcendents, manifested in this world with a purpose. As you had mentioned earlier, this idea of the Transcendents being the will of the universe kind of thing, they’re manifested for a purpose, to keep balance, or to support, or in your case to learn and observe. This one manifested with something that is not in balance. It has manifested with a purpose that is not aligned with what you have run into in the past.

DC: Oh dang. That’s probably the weirdest possible thing that I’ve encountered in my entire hundreds of years of life. [laughs]

RICH: Yes.

RICH (as Transcendent): Why are you hiding, friend? Come speak with us.

DC: Traveler slowly moves forward, and when the other Transcendent says why are you hiding I think Traveler then gets the little “oh, what are you doing” sort of thing, and goes:

DC (as Traveler): What are You hiding?

DC: But only between the two of them.

RICH: Oh, interesting.

RICH (as Transcendent): Why don’t you come and have a discussion with me?

RICH: Polyp 39, the other Polyps did stop, they’re kind of confused now, they’re waiting for orders basically and trying to figure out what to do. Polyp 39, there are definitely these scanning things going through there, and also Many Homes, you know these scanners are moving through this forest, but Polyp 39, you see an interaction with Traveler. What do you do? Spotlight’s on you.

KAT: There are multiple Polyps you said?

RICH: There are four Polyp 1000s and there are hundreds of little spores, little glowing, bioluminescent spores that are basically little scanner balls that are going through, scanning the forest to see what’s happening with this sudden growth, probably looking for you and other information. That’s what’s happening there.

KAT: Have I encountered this before or is this a new technology to me?

RICH: I’d say you’ve seen this in the past.

KAT: Is this something that I can interface with, or is this just a plant spore sort of thing?

RICH: Oh, it’s biotechnology. What would you like to do?

KAT: Well, I’m not sure if I want to do anything with it, I’m trying to prioritize. I’m figuring out marching orders here.

RICH: Unless you do something in particular, they will find you, know what you are and where you are, and translate that information to In Perpetuum.

KAT: To In Perpetuum and not to In Perpetuum’s generals or anything.

RICH: No, this is personal, he’s basically looking at a tricorder.

KAT: Gotcha. Okay. That’s what that does. Then, the Polyps, are they moving or stable?

RICH: They were diving directly into the forest at the order of the other Transcendent, but then when Traveler gave their announcement they pulled up and they are now simply hovering above the forest waiting for further orders.

KAT: Ah! So they are dealing with the Transcendent not with this person.

RICH: Well, they’ve gotten orders from both and now they’re confused.

KAT: Yup. Cool.

RICH: You can tell by their actions, you know from the memory of what you use to feel like, you don’t do much of anything without orders and then when you do you do it…

KAT: Completely. Yeah.

RICH: …yeah, and they’ve gotten a bunch of conflicting orders right now, so they’re just confused. Not confused, that’s the wrong word, they’re just waiting. They’re stalled, they’re processing.

KAT: Just for Kat’s memory, have I been told that I was supposed to assassinate somebody?

RICH: I do not think that happened.

KAT: Okay. Cool. I see this thing happening with Traveler. Maybe Many Homes, where are you?

DEVON: I imagine if this is a big cavern then I’m off along one of the sides in a very thick patch of where the forest is, or where the garden is, but I definitely think ever since the garden has gone up she started to creep over, not quickly but like “oh gosh, are they alive, did I screw it up,” because that didn’t go the way I thought it would. I mean, she knows they’re alive because of the psychic link, but she knows there’s something going on, and she’s kind of creeping, but there’s a lot of fear I think in the psychic bond; a lot of weakness, a lot of fear, easy to kill.

KAT: No… [whines] No! [laughs]

DEVON: If you want to have a talk, there’s a team move that says Fearless Together.

RICH: There’s two team moves per playbook, and you automatically have access to those team moves.

DEVON: That’s rad, because then I will use my level up for something else.

RICH: That was something that was mentioned a little earlier, is that Devon’s character Many Homes, with the Harmony we marked, filled the track.

DEVON: I did.

RICH: So, your track emptied, and you’re still contemplating an advancement?

DEVON: I think I know what I’m going to choose, but I was gonna hold onto it until when I thought it appropriate.

RICH: Perfect. I love it.

DC: You gained a power in a time of stress.

RICH: That’s right.

DEVON: yeah.

KAT: Cool! Since you have a cool group thing for us to do and you’re kind of in an “am I running, am I staying” sort of thing, and also-whether or not Traveler knows this-Traveler’s in a tight spot. [laughs]

DC: Oh yeah, they know. [laughs] They’re in their element.

RICH: And I’m gonna reiterate, in other Descent into Midnight games when players create their group they’re already a group of Guardians that have this psychic link. Richard decided that this is the establishment of that psychic link for you.

KAT: Yeah, that’s cool, giving an origin story.

RICH: The way the “mechanics” of this work is basically you get to choose what you share, when you share it. There’s never really a question of “do you know what I’m seeing or hearing.” If you ask me that I’m just gonna say I don’t know, do you want them to know? So, Traveler can express or translate or whatever as much or as little of this interaction they’re having as they want. That’s up to you guys.

DC: I’m telling everyone everything. There’s no reason not to.

KAT: Cool!

RICH: Then I’m gonna say you guys emotionally felt that… Traveler does not get put off by anything, and Traveler is like “I do not understand,” and that is an uncomfortable feeling for all of you.

KAT: Yeah. That comes through the link, then basically the “mind palace” of Polyp 39 at any given moment is like a stat readout of people.

RICH: Got a HUD?

KAT: The HUD, yes. The HUD is like attack points, and figuring out like, the spores lead back to that device so they’re not an immediate concern unless In Perpetuum is the boss, but right now there’s a “who is the boss,” the boss seems to be the other Transcendent, that’s probable, that’s the working theory, the other Transcendent is definitely the dangerous person, so is Maybe Many Homes in danger… possibly, but it seems like Traveler is the one that we need to worry about so there’s a spark coming through that. Then, Polyp 39 speeds and goes really, really, really fast. I don’t think any of you have ever seen Polyp 39 book it before, and appears right between their faces. They were kind of close together and then Polyp 39 is there, and activates-

RICH: Between Traveler and the Transcendent?

KAT: Yes.

DC: Oh my god. [laughs]

KAT: Yeah, just there, just this tiny little Polyp thing. They softly start to glow, they have these blue rings on their body that start to light up with this neon blue.

KAT (as Polyp 39): Hello. I have some questions for you.

KAT: And they activate One to One. When you grapple with an opponent ask if they yield. If they do, roll +Calm, blah-blah-blah, and if they do not there are other things. So…

KAT (as Polyp 39): I have some questions for you. I would prefer not to fight at the moment, so if you would not like to fight with me please say so now. However, if you do, I suppose there will be consequences.

RICH: Nice. The One to One move, when we say grapple, of course that can be interpreted like a lot of PbtA games a lot of ways. It could be a psychic, verbal, social, physical grapple, and this seems like you’re using it in a really interesting way. The Transcendent answers you.

RICH (as Transcendent): You speak independently.

KAT (as Polyp 39): Like that’s hard?

RICH (as Transcendent): For some of you, yes. I don’t wish to fight with anyone.

RICH: Traveler, you sense one of those little communication pulses again, and the other four Polyps begin returning slowly, well, quickly but not as quickly as Polyp just moved back toward the turtle.

RICH (as Transcendent): I do not wish to fight with anyone.

KAT (as Polyp 39): Excellent!

KAT: So, they yield. I get to do a Calm. Let’s make sure the mechanics are ready and then we can break into… So, a 6. Oh no, I don’t get to do any of them!

RICH: Oh no. You rolled a 6? Okay.

KAT: Yeah. We just get to have a fine conversation.

RICH: Here’s a thing, if I remember correctly you each have 1 Maneuver.

KAT: Oh, hold on. I rolled +Calm, so let me see my Calm. Oh! It’s an 8 actually.

RICH: The Redeemed is a Calm-based playbook, actually. Nothing phases the Redeemed. The Redeemed has seen everything and seen terrible things. There’s nothing that really off-puts them about most situations, and that’s why their Calm is so high. You rolled an 8? What do you get?

KAT: Yeah. I can either limit their movement and they hurt, speak my peace and they hear me, drive them away and they seek refuge, or create an opportunity for my allies. I think we should do one of the last two ones, and the one that I like the best is create an opportunity for my allies. What do you guys think?

DC: I think leaving is a good idea.

KAT: Yeah. It seemed like Maybe Many Homes wanted to flee, too. [laughs]

DEVON: Leaving would be a good idea. I will say that there’s always a chance that we can have to deal with them on the way out as well, and that might be fun as well.

KAT: Yeah. How about I’ll have a little talk while you all leave and we can have some info or have a little scuffle or whatever on the way out?

DEVON: Yeah.

DC: So, what’s going on in Traveler’s head right now is that if not fighting and the safety of everyone’s lives is a priority we are in the most dangerous place Traveler has ever been in their entire existence, and it’s like, we’re all leaving. Traveler wouldn’t leave you by yourself.

KAT: Aw.

DEVON: Yeah. Remember, we still have Vista. We still have them with us.

KAT: Oh yeah, that’s right, they’re in your shell.

DEVON: If we get caught here…

RICH: The probes are now moving farther into the forest and will find Many Homes.

DEVON: I’m going to… Ugh.

RICH: You can effectively defend another in this situation, being yourself, if you can tell me narratively how you use the forest to hide yourself from them you can make that roll.

DC: I can also give you super speed.

DEVON: That’s actually really fab.

DC: You could just dip.

KAT: [laughs]

RICH: Super handy. “Also, I could blow up the planet, I mean if you need to. I mean, it’s an option.”

DEVON: Little jets come out of her shell and she just jets away… I have two options here. It sounds like the best option, you guys want to run away, and that sounds like what we plan on doing. Okay, then I won’t reveal myself. I think I will, because also I am carrying precious cargo, and it would be rad to confront them later on, but if that doesn’t work I think I can still have a semi-closure thing, kind of, about the mentor. I have a team move that I think would still make something interesting. So yeah, can I roll to defend myself?

RICH: In this case, you sure can. Roll +Altruism plus an additional +1 on the roll because of your move.

DEVON: Defend Another, +1, +Altruism, and I have a lot of Altruism… Phew. I got a 7, we’re okay.

RICH: Okay. here’s what happens on a 7. This is what you’ve done. Your goal was to hide from the scanners. Is that correct, to not be detected by them?

DEVON: Mm-hmm.

RICH: You are not detected by them, but on a 7 to 9 there are some consequences. You have to choose one. You take the hit, so some other consequence happens basically, you end up in a bad spot, or you lash out at a friend.

DEVON: I’m gonna choose you end up in a bad spot.

RICH: Okay. Here’s what happens.

DEVON: I don’t think I’m quite in the right situation to lash out at a friend yet.

RICH: Yeah. You bury yourself, reflexively, just hide yourself in an overgrowth of these things, tight enough that you know these little tiny scanners can’t even get in there, and you’re one of the few people who knows how they work intimately because you’ve seen them used before.

DEVON: I grow a couple of the plants over me.

RICH: Yeah, a really tight ball. Unfortunately, you now start to understand a little more about the Leo Venus plants. These Leo Venus plants, this thing that you’ve been tapping into, is… How do I put this? Do you remember the feeling that Traveler had with this other Transcendent that something was part of the universe but almost out of phase, screechy with the universe?

DEVON: Oh no.

RICH: It’s not the plants themselves. There’s something inside the plants. The plants are interacting with this in a way, and maybe absorbing it, eating it, consuming it, holding it.

DEVON: There’s a virus.

RICH: Surrounding yourself with these plants is exposing yourself to that. You are not found by the scanners, but you do need to Resist Corruption, please.

DEVON: Watch me roll good for once in my life.

RICH: Really high. Roll a 12.

DEVON: Real high. Hell yeah.

RICH: No wait, don’t do that.

DEVON: You joke, but I have never really rolled well. This is why I spent a very long time of my life being the GM/DM. Okay, I have three, so I’m gonna roll that again… [huffs] It’s an 8.

RICH: Eight?

DEVON: Yes. I rolled, again, almost as low as you possibly could.

RICH: On a 7 to 9 you stave off the Corruption for now, but something inside of you is unsettled. Mark a Condition, and let us know what you mark and why.

DEVON: Let me see what I have for my options.

RICH: For the listeners, the Conditions are Despair, Selfish, Isolated, Angry, and Conflicted, and they’re the opposite of each of the stats.

DEVON: Right now, also, by the way, I still have Isolated marked.

RICH: Okay, so you can’t mark Isolated again, you already feel isolated.

DEVON: Which is still very apt and accurate. I think in this context despairing makes sense, because it’s like how do we fix this, I don’t know, there’s a lot of elements going bad right now and I think she’s very overwhelmed, so I think despairing is a good reaction to being like, oh wow, now these things I’ve dedicated myself to are also screwed up.

RICH: Mechanically, Despair and Isolated will put -2 on the rolls of the associated stat, so with Despair it’s the opposite of Hope, ad Isolated is the opposite of Community, so if you make any rolls with those stats they’ll be at -2. The upside is you now understand a little more about the plants. Isn’t that nice?

DEVON: Yeah… Sure is nice.

RICH: Okay. You guys know that Many Homes is protected and not going to be detected by these scanning device things, but you also sense what she senses about the plants. There’s something more about them than at first you thought. So, Polyp 39 has created an “opportunity for your allies.” What is that opportunity, and how are you going to take advantage of that?

KAT: I think that the Transcendent is curious and that curiosity is diverting resources. I’m creating a diversion. Perhaps it’s creating minor turmoil even because it seems like there is, as we’ve already seen, a split between the Transcendent and Definite In Perpetuum, that they have different objectives. So, they can escape while I’m chatting it up here and trying to get some info.

RICH: Yeah. I think the four 1000 series are almost shark-like, slowly circling around this turtle, far enough not to be an immediate threat, but Polyp 39 you know exactly how quickly they can get from point A to point B if they need to. Also, you have a move, Polyp 39, the Sense Weakness. Can you read that out?

KAT: Sense Weakness: You identify weak points in everyone, friend or foe. When you first encounter a new ally, predator, or other notable creature you may ask the Guide one question about them. They must answer truthfully.

RICH: You can do that with both the Transcendent and In Perpetuum if you’d like, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be physical. It uses a lot of different senses including psychic senses, so you could ask a question of something that you think you’d be able to perceive in some way and I have to answer that question.

KAT: The question that I have about this Transcendent is a relational question, because from what I’ve gathered of Transcendents in general they show up here for purposes that most of the time seem to be generated by the planet, they’ve always been this frankly pretty mysterious thing but they’ve been benevolent.

RICH: There’s the word. They seem altruistic or community-driven in some way, usually.

KAT: Mm-hmm. This one’s spooky. [laughs] I wanted to know, can I get a sense if… Was this one summoned for evil?

RICH: Hmm… How to answer that question. Based on what you sense with your own personal sense and what you felt through Traveler, you know that this Transcendent manifested in a very similar way that Traveler did, but it manifested with a purpose that is counterintuitive or counterproductive to current society. It was not summoned, like from this side, it manifested naturally, or as naturally as you might think, from the other side, but since you don’t know why Transcendents get manifested, what the purpose is, what the drive is, or who brings them here or why, you’re not really sure about that, but this is definitely not brought here from this side. Something else brought it here.

KAT: And then this other being, In Perpetuum, is a Hermie?

RICH: Yep, like a hermit crab, this one with a shell, not all of them do.

KAT: Are they familiar to me? Is this the first time I’ve ever seen them?

RICH: Oh yes. No, not the first time you’ve ever seen them. Here’s what happens. You start to scan and analyze, your heads up display finally grabs them because he hasn’t been an immediate threat, and now you’re scanning him, and you are bringing up basically memory files that are hazy. Some of them have been broken. You had direct contact with this Hermie and you have gotten orders in the past from this Hermie. It’s more like an emotional memory of having interacted with this Hermie, but you have very few direct access memories with this Hermie. The one thing that I will offer to you that you do get from this Hermie, from your previous experience, is this Hermie is curious to an extreme, meaning curiosity and seeking knowledge will override almost any other feeling or need that he has.

KAT: Okay. My question is does this Hermie have a boss?

RICH: You don’t think so.

KAT: Okay, cool.

RICH: Traveler, there’s a distraction. Right now the 1000s are really more focused on 39 than anything else, 39 is up having a conversation with the Transcendent, and the Transcendent has kind of removed their attention on you toward 39 for what appears to be curiosity, deep, deep curiosity as well, toward how 39 is exhibiting such independence. So, you have an opportunity, and that opportunity can be to leave.

KAT: I broadcast the knowledge, obviously, that they have come to wreck society. [laughs] Or, they have a purpose counterintuitive to the purposes of modern society.

DC: Yeah. Oof. This is a really tough situation for Traveler. Ooh… How do I both escape, keep everyone safe, and ascertain more knowledge as to what this other Transcendent is meant here to do. I will leave a psychic note. I’ll put out a psychic wave again. I’m going to Redirect the Current with this opening. I want to get them interested in something. I want them to redirect their focus again, as if what Kat just did, like it’s basketball, and we just are gonna cross them up, trip them up for a second and then we can book. I am going to put out a wave that says:

DC (as Traveler): In time, this one will show you what they can do.

RICH: Meaning 39?

DC: Yes.

RICH: Okay. The Transcendent’s attention is drawn to you.

DC: And to the Transcendent, this is kind of a gamble…

DC (as Traveler): We’re getting close to the point where you’re not gonna kill us but those things are. We don’t want to fight, but if you have this curiosity as to why this one has independence you’ll have to let us go in order to see where that goes.

DC: That’s just a truth.

RICH: Interesting.

DC: So it’s like take the win now or get more later, because I’m coming back. We need to talk. [laughs]

RICH: So, you give this information to them and they’re processing that information when In Perpetuum returns.

RICH (as In Perpetuum): Is that a 100 series? That is a 100 series. What is that 100 series doing here? Is that a…?

RICH: The Transcendent… Describe to me again how the Transcendents typically manifest their look.

DC: They mostly just look kind of like the jellyfish from SpongeBob honestly, they’re pink but they’re very translucent, and some of them change form, some will be smaller and some will be bigger, some do come out in humanoid shapes, but it’s usually around the same. They all end up looking Transcendent and have lots of little jellyfish arms.

RICH: Little tentacles?

DC: Yeah.

RICH: This one holds up several tentacles between you and In Perpetuum.

RICH (as In Perpetuum): Wh-What?!

RICH (as Transcendent): You can go.

RICH (as In Perpetuum): What do you mean they can go?!

RICH: In Perpetuum starts getting indignant. Do you take that opportunity?

DC: I’m hitting the super speed on everybody and we’re getting the hell out of here. [laughs]

KAT: I stay a brief moment to stoke discord.

KAT (as Polyp 39): Clearly the more powerful entity says we can go.

KAT: And then I book.

[laughter]

DEVON: Zing!

RICH: Wow.

DC: Wakka-wakka.

RICH: I mark a Condition on the mentor. Wow. You can leave this particular area. Are you leaving the entirety of the central research facility, the most central sphere of the inside of this city? Are you moving out of the quarantine zone?

DEVON: I have a question if that’s the case. The only reason we were on the inside of this, because we had access to the mainframe before this right, because we were looking for info? Was two of our three.

RICH: Yeah. You wanted to come inside the quarantine zone area, which was the central neighborhood I guess, or central district of the city that used to be the aristocracy, meritocracy, people at high ranks, but now is full of research facilities, so you wanted to get more information. To get more information you needed to be inside the quarantine zone to hack into the security, but to help yourself with the Leo Venus plants and other things you needed to actually get into that castle.

DEVON: Yes. My follow up question is, do we still need to get into the upside down castle? Because where am I with my plants? They’re all Leo Venus now.

RICH: I will say that you have other plants in there, but the Leo Venus plants are now choking out with volume.

DEVON: Yeah. I used to have like two of them, and now I have like 30.

RICH: Yes, the same number of eyes that you have as they grow.

DEVON: Yes, exactly. One eye for every Leo Venus plant.

RICH: It’s a coincidence, I’m sure.

DEVON: I’m sure.

RICH: Now as you get more corrupted and you’re mutating people are like “did you have this many eyes last week?”

DEVON: Yeah, totally!

RICH: So, you’re not better. [laughs]

DEVON: Okay, so I still need to go in there.

KAT: Yeah. We need baby, and I want my memories. I don’t think we should leave.

DEVON: It sounds like everything we need to find is actually inside the upside down castle.

RICH: Mm-hmm.

DEVON: Alright. I will probably bolt along the path that I was shown last session, which is Episode 2, you can go listen to if you haven’t.

DC: That’s where we’re going.

RICH: They’re heading toward the castle. The turtle with all of them are moving toward the castle. They’re arguing currently, but that’s where they were going.

KAT: Oh. Can we just wait? Can we hide and loop and then follow them?

RICH: Mm-hmm, if you’d like.

DC: Lower our power levels and just hide.

KAT: Yeah. [laughs]

DEVON: My other thought was what if we went in and hit the fire button so they couldn’t get in, like the quarantine button, once we get in.

RICH: [breathes heavily] Is there a quarantine button?

DEVON: Of course there’s a quarantine button! We’re not heathens here in this lab!

[chuckling]

RICH: So, you worked in a lab that was nearby and you have been inside this castle/mansion, but you’ve only been in some of the outer rooms, because the place is just packed. You did not have access to the larger central core of this castle.

DEVON: Do we want to wait for them to be in or do we want to hit the quarantine button? Which one is the worst option you guys like?

DC: I think we should let them in and then trap them in here by hitting the quarantine button when we’re booking it. We go off-

DEVON: Oh…

RICH: On the way out?

DC: Yeah.

DEVON: That’s good.

DC: They’re gonna come after us. If we’re prepared we can just hit the button and they can’t immediately get out.

DEVON: At first I thought you were gonna do, like, “I’m not trapped in here with you, you’re trapped in here with me!”

[laughter]

DC: I have curiosity and I know people. Those are my skills. I cannot fight.

RICH: Just as a reminder, Même, the Specialist from the last game, on one of their rolls they gave you-what you were looking for is where you think it is, on their roll Get the Job Done, and your way out is uncompromised.

KAT: Oh!

RICH: So this sounds like how you’re uncompromised getting out.

KAT: Yeah, that rocks!

RICH: They did not choose, however, you and your friends don’t suffer long-term consequences, and they also did not choose no one knew you were coming, which is basically a little of what just happened.

DEVON: I feel like there’s a difference between you can get out and people tried to stop you.

RICH: Your way out is uncompromised means that you will be able to get out, but narratively it’s nice to describe what that is, and it sounds like you just did describe what that could be. If you get in, and you can find what you’re looking for, then you have a way to get out without having me block you in some way.

DEVON: In that case, I think we should do what DC mentioned which was wait for them to get in and then sneak in around them.

RICH: Okay. They do go in. This castle as we described is what we would think of as upside down, right, because this whole central area is a big sphere, almost like a space station out in space is circular. You can look up and see buildings and lakes and stuff because of the way gravity works. This castle is hanging upside down, pointed triangular upside down, but it is almost impossible to see any of the original architecture. It is covered in Leo Venus plants, but there are some areas that are opened, like hacked away. There were probably old supply things or “drawbridge” equivalents where there’s an opening, and the turtle continues to go after you see the Transcendent and In Perpetuum arguing extensively. They head to the castle. They get inside the castle. The way you were shown by the plants who were happy to commune with you, Many Homes, showed you a path through them around to the back which you expect was some kind of service entrance of some sort, you’re thinking. That’s the way you want to go?

DEVON: Yes. That’s where I would lead them unless anyone else would prefer going in the front. I prefer to go in the back so that there’s less chance of running into people we don’t want to run into, which I’m sure there will be a high chance of doing that anyway.

KAT: We’re not going in the front. [laughs]

RICH: Okay. You guys move through the forest around to the back side, along up the walls, upside down, at least Many Homes is chittering along upside down while the others are swimming. [laughs] You do get to an entrance, but you couldn’t see it at first. It’s actually covered in Leo Venus plants, but you are now able to almost transmit the visual memory of this sense that you had, and you’re pretty sure you’re where you need to be to get in, but there’s lots of Leo Venus plants all over the place. So, you need to find the entrance and/or get through these to get inside.

DC: [gasps] I have abilities for this. Like a Local: When you are introduced to an unfamiliar location or culture tell the table how you are aware of the location or culture and roll +Community. On a hit you are able to call for aid, comfort, information, or rest.

RICH: Excellent.

DC: On a 10+ you gain +1 forward, and on a 7 to 9, things happen.

RICH: Make that roll. You are familiar with how this aristocracy works.

DC: Alrighty. Let’s see how this goes.

DEVON: Heh. They’ve invited you to dinner.

RICH: How old is Traveler, 800 years or something?

DC: Yeah, somewhere around there.

RICH: Okay. I’m gonna say, depending on your roll, you’ve been to this before it was covered.

DC: I had dinner here once.

RICH: Yeah.

DC: I got a 7. I just barely made it.

RICH: On a hit you are able to call for aid, comfort, information, or rest. It sounds like information.

DC: Yes.

RICH: On a 7 to 9 choose one.

DC: Oh, there are two really good ones. You uncover something dangerous or threatening…

KAT: [laughs]

DC: …and an adversary, competitor, or rival makes their presence known.

KAT: [laughing] Oh no!

RICH: [smiling] There’s also your information is incomplete, and how you gained your knowledge involved an unsettling personal memory.

DEVON: How many do you have to choose?

RICH: Just one.

DEVON: Oh. I was gonna say, if you could choose two there are at least two really good ones in there.

RICH: Just one. So, you get the information you need, which is you’re like “I think the entrance was right around here,” and then you do actually find that entrance. As you get closer these Leo Venus plants respond to the presence of your Cultivator and seem to fall away, out of the way from this door, almost voluntarily disconnecting themselves from the wall and curling themselves up into little balls, almost like seeds as they come falling away. You’re not sure if that causes them to die or not, but they have moved out of the way.

DEVON (as Many Homes): Um… They don’t usually do that.

RICH: You’ve never seen one do that, and now like hundreds of them have done it.

DEVON (as Many Homes): Well, if we pass by anymore I guess I can do that now.

DEVON: She says uncomfortably.

RICH: Maybe. So, Traveler, which choice do you make?

DC: You uncover something dangerous or threatening.

RICH: Excellent. [laughs] You know exactly which way to go. Trust me.

DC: There’s that scene in Mad Max: Fury Road, I forget his name, but he’s one of the kids that are supposed to die and they love Valhalla and all that, and he’s driving in his little buggy, and he goes “What a great day! What an absolutely fantastic day!” That’s how Traveler feels right now, like everything is weird, I want to be here right now.

[laughter]

RICH: Fantastic. As all of the Leo Venus plants drop away revealing this entrance that you can swim and move through, you guys enter into this giant castle. You normally would have a Specialist, and your Specialist, Même, has an ability called Hack the World. I’m going to assume that the Specialist has used their ability to help you manipulate yourself through this cavernous area. The part of the castle that you enter into that Traveler kind of guided you in and through is all unused. It’s covered in Leo Venus plants to an extent, but it’s clear that no one goes back there. They must have put no security or no anything else there, because nobody could theoretically find the entrance to get in that side. You’re in a big, disused area of the castle as you’re moving through it. You get to where you think these plants should be, not that Many Homes has necessarily been there, but you know and have memory of how this space works and how the castle works. You know where you’ve been, you know where you were not allowed. How your unique species of these Leo Venus plants got into your garden you’re still not exactly sure, because they just love you I think is what it is. Isn’t that nice? So nice.

DEVON: Makes me feel so safe and comfortable.

RICH: I’m sure. It should.

DEVON: Agh…

RICH: You guys move through and you get to a much more trafficked area. Describe to me, when I say you’re in a much more trafficked area of this castle, and this castle is being researched on by researchers who are studying the plants and various other things, describe to me one thing that you’re seeing as you’re looking into an area that looks like it’s much more trafficked. Devon? What surprises you, maybe, about what you see?

DEVON: What surprises me? I guess the level of how deep they’re going to analyze what these are, and I imagine we pass… maybe “room” is a little too official for what it is, but an area that we can see through glass or transparent material that they have deconstructed a Leo Venus plant all the way down to almost its molecules, if that makes sense. It’s kind of floating up in the water, like an exploded view of the plant, but all the way down to some of its smallest parts.

RICH: Nice. I like it. The majority of the Leo Venus plants, actually all of the Leo Venus plants that you’ve ever seen all have this internal bioluminescent glow, but this one that’s been exploded out and is hovering there where they can look at it with this 3D view is not. It looks dark and not glowing. Kat, tell me something that is interesting or surprising about what you’re walking into.

KAT: I think now that we’ve seen the internal structure of this Leo Venus plant, and… this bioluminescence that we’ve seen, it’s not common but it’s familiar, and this substance that’s internal is not, but the way that it’s unfamiliar is almost protective camouflage, you know, if you weren’t looking at the skeleton of it you wouldn’t notice it because the bioluminescence masks. Now that you can see the skeleton of it, it’s just like, oh, I know what to look for, and now that I’m looking at the structure of the palace it’s like embedded in the framework here, not meaning that the Leo Venus plant is everywhere necessarily, but there are things utilizing technology or whatever this stuff is elsewhere.

RICH: I’m trying to follow. I’m not sure I follow. Can you explain that a little bit more? The picture I have of the Leo Venus plant exploded out is this idea that it’s blown out so that you could examine it and look at it with the bioluminescence. You’re saying there’s little rhizomes or something from the Leo Venus plants that are in the structure of the building or something like that?

KAT: Sort of. Based on what you were saying, I figured there was a skeletal structure to the plant just made out of some foreign material.

RICH: It does now, yeah.

KAT: And this foreign material is being used in the framework of the building, but not necessarily the building itself-could be, if you’d prefer-but I figured some of the building’s technologies.

RICH: Yes. They have been utilizing it. They have been utilizing what they are learning into other bioengineered devices around them; computer bank equivalents, basically Valve rooms, the Valve rooms that are covered in these bivalves or whatnot, but you can tell that the technology is different. There are smaller valves that have different patterns on them. something’s been incorporated into the technology directly from the Leo Venus plants.

KAT: Yeah, which feels like if it’s embedded in the building it means that this has been going on longer than at least I thought.

RICH: Yeah. DC?

DC: I think that the décor is beautiful.

RICH: It is. It really is.

DC: It was a castle. There was a lot of really beautiful… Well, because this is underwater I think we have something similar to our world where we have tapestries that slowly wiggle back and forth through the water, and some of them are a little torn or broken. The floor and the ceiling, to us, there’s probably some really cool, like, as you move forward the designs probably turn in a spiral so that any point whatever direction that your up is you’ll be looking at or you’ll be right next to a part of this pattern that doesn’t seem to have any frame of reference in it’s three-dimensional-ness.

RICH: [laughing] I love how Many Homes and 39 are like, Many Homes is kind of horrified by what’s happening here and what’s being seen, and 39 is all analytical about “ooh, they’re using it in the technology, that could be bad,” and Traveler’s like “it’s so nice in here!”

DC: [laughs] As long as things are interesting, I am onboard. And returning to this place having been here at some point, now there’s this frame of reference, so seeing how things have changed is probably a really big thing to Traveler. “Oh… I love that time passes. Things are different, and I can come to the same place and have a completely different experience.” So, they’re just soaking it in and contrasting it over the little bits that they do remember.

RICH: Speaking of that, Traveler, as you guys are moving through toward where Many Homes believes that the information she needs is contained, you see an area that you absolutely were at before. It’s the big dining area, the dining hall, you were here for dinner that one time. The hall itself is filled with researchers, but there is a wall or a door there that was not there before, an archway that has been very purposefully placed in one area of this hall that was absolutely not there before. There’s very little activity by that door, but you do see an Infiltrator standing guard, which 39 you’re already like that’s not a thing.

DC: Huh.

RICH: So, if they’re putting a 1000 series Infiltrator in front of a door, that’s like unnecessarily big guns.

DC (as Traveler): Well, we found our doorway… and a friend. Are you stronger than this person?

KAT: Uh… [laughs]

RICH: Didn’t we do that bit?

KAT: Did we?

DC: [laughs]

KAT (as Polyp 39): I can easily not rise to that, because I am very strong. So, let’s look for a back way into the room. Yes? I understand that it’s very interesting for you, would be, to watch me interact with them, but let’s just look for a back entrance.

DC (as Traveler): Oh. You don’t necessarily have to be in combat. I’m just interested in which, as we go across these different series, if you’re stronger than them. But, I think maybe, maybe it’s your independence and your ability to not enter combat.

KAT (as Polyp 39): The only interest that I have is possibly converting them like the others of my series, but I haven’t interacted with ones above my level yet, so I don’t know what stopgaps they’ve made.

DC (as Traveler): That is even more interesting.

DEVON (as Many Homes): Traveler, I think you’re comparing oysters and clams.

DC (as Traveler): That’s the best part.

DEVON (as Many Homes): But you can’t add them together, because they’re not the same. You can’t compare and contrast.

DC (as Traveler): That’s what makes this even better. Now you’re going to try and turn these oysters into clams. This is very good.

DEVON: Do I know that through this doorway is what we are looking for, or do I surmise?

RICH: There is something of importance behind that door. You think what you’re looking for, as far as the computer interface for the memories and perhaps data and information to help with the history of Vista, is in another area. You can access that from another area. As far as your plants are concerned, it’s possible they’re held up in this special area that’s being heavily protected.

Now, as you guys are discussing the various merits of clams and oysters, the Transcendent that you saw earlier floats toward that door. The door molds out of the way, it and of itself is a living creature, the bioengineering kind of morphs and clay moves out of the way, and it moves through that space.

Polyp 39, as soon as that door opens up, your senses pick up all kinds of information. There is a living thing in there that is in an almost incomprehensible amount of distress, pain, and angst. You can sense it, that Sense Weakness you have, you can sense it coming through the water; the pheromones, waste products, things like that are coming out and you immediately sense this, and then the door closes, molds closed.

KAT: Hmm…

RICH: And as always, you can share as much or as little of that information immediately with the group as you wish. They could all know it just the same time you do if you want.

KAT: No, I’m not telling them that. Instead, I say through the connection:

KAT (as Polyp 39): Are we very sure that the plants are there?

DEVON (as Many Homes): Uh, it’s a possibility. I don’t actually know exactly where the center is, actually. I’ve never been there, but it could be. This could be it.

KAT (as Polyp 39): It could just as likely be a trap.

DEVON (as Many Homes): Yes.

KAT (as Polyp 39): We should act with self-preservation.

RICH: She says in the middle of the giant castle filled with antagonists.

DEVON (as Many Homes): Or we trigger the trap on the way out.

KAT (as Polyp 39): Yes.

DC (as Traveler): I like that plan as well.

KAT (as Polyp 39): Perhaps we should get your baby seen to.

DEVON (as Many Homes): And your memories, don’t forget.

KAT (as Polyp 39): Hmm.

DEVON (as Many Homes): It’s a two-pronged assault. Two fish with one stone.

DC (as Traveler): I would prefer that both of these things happen.

RICH: [laughs] Of course you would. As Many Homes says “and your memories,” Polyp 39, I would like you to roll an Endure, please.

KAT: Sure, gladly. A 7.

RICH: On a 7 to 9 you will choose one. This is what happens. She says “and your memories,” and you have immediate recall of the inside of that room. That is just after you awoke. You spent time in this room witnessing other members of the 100 series being created. There was something else in that room that you were kept away from that you did not visually see, and just like you smell chocolate chip cookies and have a memory of your childhood, the sensory information that you got as that door opened is now triggering a fall of memories from this space. So, as an Endure, on a 7 to 9 you choose one. The trauma unsettles you, the trauma of the memory, mark a Condition. The trauma impairs your physical, emotional, or psychic defenses, mark a Corruption. Your attempt to defend yourself goes wrong, and expose an ally to danger.

KAT: I think I’ll… Hmm. I’ll take the trauma impairs me and I’ll mark a Condition.

RICH: Okay. What Condition do you mark?

KAT: I’ll take Selfish here.

RICH: Interesting. Why that?

KAT: Because what I was moving away from, here, the instinct… I noticed on my stats pretty early that the thing that the Redeemed doesn’t have is Altruism, that they have a high sense of self-preservation, so with this happening their first instinct here is to retreat in, go away, to protect this group… so they’re going into a very selfish place away from this scary thing.

RICH: Do you share this, any parts of this?

KAT: Yeah. I don’t know how much of the memory, but the emotions are all coming through.

DC: Ooh.

DEVON (as Many Homes): There’s something in pain in there?

KAT: Well, the knowledge of others’ pain is coming, but I don’t know that you’re getting how much of it being attached to memories and stuff. Does that make sense?

DEVON: Yeah.

DEVON (as Many Homes): Well, there’s something in pain in there. I am all for triggering a trap.

DC (as Traveler): This reminds me of Vista’s plight.

DEVON (as Many Homes): Yes.

DC (as Traveler): Although, I am having quite a good time, pain doesn’t seem to be a thing that most people like in my experience.

DEVON (as Many Homes): I’ve committed fish crime before, and I’m going to commit fish crime again.

DC (as Traveler): Crime is a very interesting thing to do.

DEVON (as Many Homes): And by that I mean I’m going to help someone out of a government facility.

RICH: [laughs] “Crime is fascinating!”

DC: [laughs] I need a t-shirt for Traveler that says “Crime is Fascinating.”

DEVON: I want one that says “I have committed fish crime.”

KAT: Polyp 39 has been very quiet and then looks up, concerned.

KAT (as Polyp 39): What? No, we should go.

DC (as Traveler): Yes, go inside. Yeah.

KAT (as Polyp 39): No. No, we should go. The Transcendent is in there.

DEVON (as Many Homes): Oh…

RICH: Yes, I’m not understanding what you’re saying. [laughs] You’re making my point for me. Let’s go.

DEVON (as Many Homes): I can get the one away from the door.

KAT (as Polyp 39): No, you cannot.

DEVON (as Many Homes): But I could.

KAT (as Polyp 39): You are… very, very weak.

DEVON (as Many Homes): No, I wouldn’t be doing it, but I could make them get away from the door.

DC (as Traveler): You’ve both shown yourselves to be extremely capable in all matters of deception, escape, crime-

DEVON (as Many Homes): Crime. Yeah.

DC (as Traveler): –not quite yet combat, but apparently we’re not going there.

DEVON (as Many Homes): 39, I don’t fight with my body, I fight with my mind, and I don’t think your radar says whether I am smart or not, unless I am mistaken.

DC (as Traveler): Does your radar say whether or not?

DEVON (as Many Homes): Yeah, actually that’s kind of interesting.

KAT (as Polyp 39): That room is a dangerous room.

DEVON (as Many Homes): [chuckles]

KAT (as Polyp 39): You’re laughing, but it is a dangerous room. We shouldn’t go there.

DEVON (as Many Homes): Yeah, we probably shouldn’t.

KAT (as Polyp 39): There are other rooms to go to. There are other rooms to go to. We should go to the other rooms.

DEVON (as Many Homes): And then go to this room, because there’s someone who’s… If I can repair something that I’ve screwed up, then I’m going to. I did the same thing with you, and I’m probably going to keep doing it.

DC (as Traveler): Are we gonna come back to this room later?

DEVON (as Many Homes): Aye.

KAT: Polyp 39 starts to {blup} off.

DC: [laughs]

DC (as Traveler): I’ll take that as a yes.

DC: And then I’ll just follow.

DEVON: I’m gonna go find an office.

RICH: Okay. You do find an office. You find an office and you manage to get into the office thanks to Même’s hacking skills, into an office and find a Valve bank.

DEVON: Do I need to roll something to get the info?

RICH: Just tell me what you want to do. You see an office with a very advanced Valve bank. It seems to have incorporated some of this technology, this newly designed technology, that loves you.

DEVON: Oof. Oh boy. I feel like… I don’t know. For some reason I always imagine, where it comes to those types of things, I imagine her like plugging into The Matrix almost, that’s what I’m seeing, like a physical almost.

RICH: Yep. I love it.

DEVON: Although, she does have Bioelectric Mainframe.

RICH: Yeah. At home you have a bioelectric mainframe, but also the Technopathy and the Bioelectric Mainframe, you can jack right into this thing, just have that new technology right there at your fingertips.

DEVON: Mm-hmm. Yes, but I want to say that I also would like to upload the information that I’m looking for, which is the file on… everything they have on Vista, and everything they have on 39. I’m also gonna have data slugs, I guess slugs but they’re literal slugs, that you eat I guess, and that’s how you get the info. I’m also gonna be transferring to those so I can get it to the others, basically USB drives.

RICH: USB drives that are actual, bioengineered memory slugs.

DEVON: Yeah. I don’t think I’m loading it into myself, I’m loading them into these thumb drives that are actually slugs.

RICH: Hmm, but to interact with this highly secure mainframe you’re going to have to use the technopathy and psychically jack in.

DEVON: Rad. Do I have to roll anything?

RICH: No, you just get to take a Corruption.

DEVON: Rad. Awesome. [smiling] I’ll take it. I am almost full.

RICH: Where are you at now, 4?

DEVON: Yes, I’m 4 out of 5. You only live once.

RICH: But you also get extra information, so you find what you’re looking for and you’re just quickly downloading data and information on Vista and on 39, and inadvertently basically a lot of the 100 series. You also get other information as you’re looking around, waiting for it to download. Here’s what you find for your Corruption that you took, because I’m not a monster.

After the old Guardians died there were lots of concerns about the safety and security of the city. We’ve talked about this in the past. The Infiltrator series was created to help protect the city before problems could happen. The thing is, before that, because the Infiltrator series is not as old as these plants, before that the instability that happened in the city started right here, in this building, in that room. The instability was because the aristocratic family that lived previously in this castle was exploring The Deep Echo and trying to recreate the deep and powerful psychic abilities of the Guardians for their own. There are many things in there that implied that they were doing it for the benefit of the city itself, but you know better.

There was a lot of personal power and status involved in this. They brought something over they shouldn’t have that caused the city to start to unravel, and in reaction to that these plants showed up and began feeding on the corruption that this family brought from somewhere else, feeding on and containing it. So, these plants feed on whatever this corruption is that you don’t have a lot of information on as of yet, and flourish in it, but they also contain it and keep it from spreading.

Just a short period of time ago, probably within the last year, a Transcendent manifested and came here, and said I’m here to help, but you are finding information that this Transcendent is not trying to help research and understand more about these plants, they’re trying to destroy them.

DEVON: I share this with everyone. I keep the open psychic link.

RICH: This Transcendent has manifested here on this plane basically as a harbinger of something and is trying to unplug the hole so that it can come through.

DC: This Transcendent is still a normal Transcendent, like it is from The Echo?

RICH: Mm-hmm, but you do also know that there are Transcendents who have said that they have manifested themselves or have memories from other realities that they have manifested into as well.

DC: This is conflicting.

KAT (as Polyp 39): I am resolved now. Let’s go talk to the entity, find out what it is, and see if we can send it home.

DEVON (as Many Homes): Or at least possibly discourage the thing trying to destroy the barricade, although the barricade seems to, in and of itself, be an issue.

DEVON: Says Many Homes, as there’s little plants coming out of her shell. Heh.

DEVON (as Many Homes): But I think that room is going to have to be the trap we trigger.

KAT (as Polyp 39): Probably the plants are hurting it. It is sad.

DEVON (as Many Homes): Maybe.

KAT: I share my full memories of what I have of them.

RICH: Okay. Your memories manifest themselves. You still had, at the time, when you first awakened, they have to fine-tune your programming, and before you get fine-tuned you have some semblance of freedom and awareness and emotions. You are afraid of whatever was happening to this thing, but it was in a room that’s adjacent to the room, out of sight, whatever it was it was out of sight in another side alcove corner that was being experimented on. You have an emotional memory of that fear of the unknown and the fear of what was happening there until they flipped off your emotion chip.

KAT: Yeah… Now I’m selfishly stomping down my foots. We’re gonna go help this friend. We’re gonna go free Willy. This isn’t fair.

DEVON: I am gonna give a slug that has Vista info to Traveler and then a slug that has 39’s memories to 39, and probably caution them that now is not the time to download that information.

KAT: Now is not appropriate! [laughs]

RICH: This looks delicious. Snacks before attacking?

DEVON: Now is not the time for snacks.

DC: Brain blast!

KAT: Last time that I had a memory there was no traumatic response at all!

DEVON: Yeah, I mean, you make your own choices, but snacks may not be the best decision at the moment especially brain snacks.

KAT: Well, thank you.

DEVON: But I think you should all be carrying the information you need.

RICH: Nice. You have now been in the castle long enough that the effects of the “Your friends do not have long-term consequences” from the roll from last game comes into effect, and I would like everyone to please roll Resist Corruption for being exposed to the constant amounts of corrupting radiation that’s in this area.

KAT: Ho! Oh no!

DEVON: Oh boy.

RICH: Oh yes.

DEVON: Of course I roll really well.

RICH: Devon, what did you roll?

DEVON: Twelve.

RICH: Nice! Twelve is, as you might suspect, a fantastic result.

DC: Oof.

DEVON: Did we all fail?!

DC: I rolled a 10.

RICH: On a 10+ the Corruption works its way deeper into your mind, body, and/or soul. Mark a Corruption.

DEVON: Alright. My track is full up.

RICH: Alright, so you clear your track. Normally what you would do, you have a community map, when you empty your track you would take a Corruption token and you put it on some area of the community that is important to you, and you can decide where that might be and how that might be affected, but as the Corruption moves forward it basically acts as our clock for various things to move forward. We’re not really using the map right now for a one-shot, so we’ll just keep that in mind. You clear your track, and then you pick one of the Corruption moves that you have. It’s a move that you hold, you pick it once and you can trigger it once at some point, and they let you do wonderful, amazing things that won’t hurt you. Kat, what did you roll?

KAT: Snake eyes.

RICH: Oh, you rolled 2. Very nice. Plus your Corruption that you had marked was 4, is a 6, right?

KAT: Yeah.

RICH: Okay, 6 or less, you are fine. You stave off the Corruption and you actually reduce your Corruption by 1.

KAT: Oh, okay. That’s not that bad.

RICH: No, that’s the best roll you can get, and considering you had 4, I’m surprised. DC?

DC: Yeah, I rolled a 10.

RICH: Nice. You had lost a Corruption from earlier, right?

DC: Yeah, I lost one, so I just have 1 now.

RICH: Perfect.

DC: Not too bad.

RICH: When you had previously come into this area to talk to a different Transcendent in that first session you were exposed to Corruption when you were here and it crept into your system, but you managed to clear that. Oh, also Kat, you mark a Harmony for that as well.

KAT: Oh wow.

RICH: Anytime you roll a 6 or less you gain a Harmony including on Endure and Resist Corruption.

KAT: Holy smokes.

DEVON: I took a really cool move. I don’t know if I’ll get to use it, but I actually love it.

KAT: I hope you get to.

DEVON: It’s cool!

RICH: The Corruption is here to help you.

DEVON: Uh-huh!

RICH: [laughs] Alright. Now you guys have decided that you are going to enter into this room to find out more. Alright. How do you want to do that, through the direct front route, or you had mention earlier trying to find some alternative route?

KAT: [sighs] Should probably try to convert that buddy in the front door.

DEVON: I can distract it, too.

KAT: That’s definitely the better plan.

DC: [gasps] What if-Oh no, that’s too risky, that’s too risky.

DEVON: No, say it, say it, say it!

DC: I was gonna say, this is really risky, but you could eat the slug and then psychically link with them and maybe that will shake them out of the thing.

DEVON: Or make them eat the slug?

DC: But then you don’t have the slug, and so this person…

KAT: …has all my memories.

DC: Right. To me, as both me and player and as Traveler, I’ve been watching you and I think that you are at a point-

KAT: “I WANNA DO IT. IT’ SO FUN.” [laughs]

DC: [laughs] You’re at a point where you’re the kind of person where your traumas are going to be the things that heal the people you’re trying to help.

KAT: yeah. That’s the way that… Basically Même gave me sensory overload, so this feels approximate. Let’s do it!

RICH: I love this.

DC: Also, I eat my slug.

[laughter]

DEVON: Just picture Many Homes in the background like [groaning] “oh my god, they’re all eating snacks.”

KAT: Chug a slug! Chug a slug!

DC: Slug chug! Slug chug!

DEVON: Slug! Slug! Slug!

[laughter]

KAT: I disguise myself and float on up into the thing and then reach out a tentacle, and… chug a slug, and yeah, try to psychically connect and then override.

RICH: [laughing] Hold up. One thing at a time. DC, Traveler consumed the slug that has all the data and information regarding Vista, correct?

DC: Yes. [laughs]

RICH: Okay.

DC: Something so bad that it has made a former Transcendent just go into a time loop.

RICH: Go into a, yes, a reflexive, defensive maneuver. That won’t at all have a problem. Roll an Endure and a Resist Corruption, please.

DEVON: You can eat it slowly. You can eat half at a time.

DC: Just nibble.

RICH: No, it’s all or nothing.

DEVON: It’s segmented so that you can eat a bit at a time. It’s like a gummy worm.

RICH: Segmented for your convenience.

DEVON: [giggles]

RICH: Yeah, actually, you know what, I’m not gonna have you Resist Corruption. Mark Corruption and then roll an Endure.

DC: I got a 5 on the Endure.

RICH: Wow. Mark another Harmony for all the times you keep enduring things.

DC: Oh, that’s full.

RICH: Okay, so you clear your Harmony track and you will be able to pick an advancement.

DEVON: Chug a slug!

RICH: DC’s contemplating, so we’ll go to Kat. So, 39, you consume this and you get an influx, basically a download of all of your memories and experiences including after they tried to figure out what was wrong with you. One of the Hermies that worked in this facility couldn’t take it anymore and decided they were going to out what was happening here to the rest of the city, including the Infiltrator program. You were tasked with, and succeeded in, tracking them through the city and assassinating them. They are in basically the equivalent of… You had their memory wiped. What’s your power again?

KAT: Transferable Consciousness.

RICH: There you go. You’re basically able to absorb everything that they knew so that they did not know it anymore and left them in a state where they could work at a different job but never really recover. This means you also downloaded, inadvertently, everything that they knew, which is why they wiped all of your memory of the situation. The thing that’s in there is a member of the aristocratic family that they were trying to make into a superhero, that’s what’s in this city, that’s what opened the gateway and door to some other physical reality at the far end of The Far Echo, and they had been using that individual and the immortal jellyfish, Vista, as a channel of the Corruption, an active, living use of the Corruption that bound itself to a physical living body in order to make the Infiltrators, and it’s still in there.

DC: They’re trying to use the Corruption to power themselves.

RICH: They thought they found a power that would help them become new Guardians and it ended up being a corruption that caused a chain reaction of problems, and now our current scientists in this city are taking the Corruption from the plants, as they are absorbing it and trying to contain it, they are taking it and incorporating it into technology. You’ve got all those memories. You were going to try to memory transfer into this other person?

KAT: Yeah. I wanted to do that in tandem with doing Transferable Consciousness to shock them out.

RICH: Perfect. That sounds like you’re trying to Do Something Wondrous, which is using your powers in an exciting and interesting way. Using your gifts in a spectacular way, you’re gonna roll +Drive.

KAT: That’s an 8.

RICH: Great. On a hit you describe how you accomplish your goal, but on a 7 to 9 you’re gonna choose one; you suffer a backlash, you lose control at the worst time, or you put someone else in danger.

KAT: Oh… I’m just trying to think what’s the most fun.

RICH: The most narratively interesting?

KAT: Yeah.

RICH: Of course.

KAT: I guess I lose control at the worst time.

RICH: Alright. We’ll talk about that in a bit. Tell me how it works. What happens with this other Polyp?

KAT: They’re doing their holding pattern, because I’m not a perceived threat until the moment that I touch them and then it’s too late, then they’re just getting a complete overload of information. Once they’re short-circuited they’re like off the grid, and I think that… they’re probably just hyperventilating and trying to process stuff, you know?

RICH: How does a Dumbo octopus hyperventilate? So, this is what I picture happens, too, if you don’t mind me adding to it a little bit. It tries to defend itself, because it has a similar power, so you guys are wrestling back and forth, like “whoa, wait a minute, what?” because you don’t usually attack each other, so you’re trying to shove memories into it and it’s trying to push memories back into you, and you’re going back and forth until you clearly win. Then, you dump all your knowledge and memory, and also the concept of freedom, into their mind which causes it basically just to lock up. It doesn’t know what to do. It has too much to process. It’s conscious, it’s alive, but it’s semi-conscious and it’s floating, it’s just kind of floating in the current now as it’s clearly, like, its head is twitching as it’s trying to process all this new information that’s going on in its head, but it’s not a threat.

KAT: Yeah. Bounce back, bounce back.

RICH: [chuckles] Do you guys want to get in the door? Même could open it for you.

DEVON: Sure. Is 39 gonna follow or does 39 look spaced out?

KAT: I’m probably a little spaced out.

RICH: Mm-hmm, but you’re okay, you didn’t take a backlash.

KAT: So I’m gonna lose control later?

RICH: I will tell you what happens with the lose control in a little bit. Right now you feel fine.

DEVON: I don’t know this, so I’ll probably hook one of 39’s legs so I can drag them and keep them close so that I can protect them.

RICH: Même hacks the door so the door can open, whenever you’re ready you can just give them the signal.

KAT: Yeah, then I’m okay. I’m a little spaced, but I’m okay.

DC: I walk forward and look over at Polyp.

DC (as Traveler): Whoa!

KAT (as Polyp 39): Whoa… Eh…

DC (as Traveler): Woo!

[laughter]

RICH: “That was a rush. I know kung fu.”

DC: I did learn something new.

DEVON: Thirteen of 39’s legs do a face palm, but there’s no face, it’s just eyes.

RICH: Does an eyepalm?

DEVON: Eyepalm. Yeah, no…

DEVON (as Many Homes): That was dangerous. Please use my gadgets responsibly. I might start putting that on them now. Même? Même, we don’t have a lot of time.

RICH: Même acknowledges and then the door opens up. Basically Même has become like Jarvis.

DEVON: Même is my co-pilot.

KAT: Aw.

RICH: Même is my co-pilot. [laughs]

DEVON: I want that on a sticker on my shell.

RICH: The door opens up and you guys go in. you see the Transcendent there. This is a very involved research area. There are some tubes, think Winter Soldier tubes, that are there. Some have Polyps in them, some of them are empty. You can immediately sense through 39 all of the uncomfortable pheromones and things that are floating around in this water, you’re now getting a very direct sense of what it is that 39 was experiencing. The Transcendent is not in this room, but you see that there is an archway that goes into the next room, which from 39’s memories you know is where they’re keeping this former member of this aristocratic family. You don’t see any other exit from here except for where you came in.

also in the room is In Perpetuum. In Perpetuum’s back is to you, or shell is to you I guess, and they are along a very involved Valve bank. It’s all glowing with this bioluminescent white-purple glow that is clearly part of the technology that they’re incorporating in, using the Corruption to power things in different ways, there’s something going on with what they’re pulling from this other dimension that they’re using to now power other objects that are not overloading another kind of living organism, and they’ve been studying this for 50 years now.

DEVON: I think over the psychic link, very quickly before In Perpetuum has a chance to turn around or even notice, Many Homes goes…

DEVON (as Many Homes): Oh no! …

DEVON: …and then psyches herself up and goes…

DEVON (as Many Homes): I ran away before, and it was because I was afraid that he was gonna say something that… I was afraid he is going to say something, and I’m going to believe him, and I’m going to do what I did before and go back to not seeing how horrible this is. I need to know that you won’t let me go back.

RICH: Who are you talking to?

DEVON: Anyone. I’m making a move. I haven’t said the name of it yet.

KAT: Is that the creator of the program?

RICH: He’s one of the highest ranking if not the highest ranking member of this individual private military firm. He’s the head researcher of many researchers. So, Many Homes is asking for help?

DEVON: Yep, I’m doing Fearless Together. When you tell a friend about a fear you hold ask them how they would help you face it. If they have a plan, you hold 1 maneuver, if they hesitate, mark Harmony and Resist Corruption.

KAT: I {blup} around.

KAT (as Polyp 39): No, he is horrible. You don’t need to listen to him. You are great.

DEVON (as Many Homes): Thank you. … You! Get out of our way! Move!

[giggling]

RICH: You guys come in. you’re around a corner just a little bit. You have this psychic conversation translated by Même, which again goes very quickly because it’s really transferring feelings and ideas fairly quickly, faster than a conversation. You see a bunch of eyes come up over the shell and look backwards, because the door opens. He’s just looking to see who’s there, and you’re all there. He turns around.

RICH (as In Perpetuum): [gasps] Many Homes! It was you.

DEVON (as Many Homes): Move out of the way. We’re going through.

RICH (as In Perpetuum): What? Going through to where?

DEVON (as Many Homes): To whatever is in that other room.

RICH (as In Perpetuum): Oh, you don’t want to go in there. You’ve never wanted to go in there… That’s not a place to go.

RICH: He starts moving forward toward you.

DEVON (as Many Homes): But it holds the truth. It does. It’s the source, and I think I can go see the truth. Thank you. Thank you, In Perpetuum. I think I can. Right? I can.

RICH: [laughing] It looks like you’re looking to everyone else.

DEVON (as Many Homes): [laughing] yeah, like I can, right? I can go see the truth.

DC: I’m like, yeah, you can do it.

RICH: “You can’t handle the truth!” I had to. Anyway.

KAT: Through the connection you feel “yeah, you got it, you’re fine.”

DEVON (as Many Homes): Yes. Move out of the way.

RICH (as In Perpetuum): Well, I could, but I have questions. Did you make the forest grow?

DEVON (as Many Homes): Yes, and if you don’t get out of the way I can do it again.

RICH (as In Perpetuum): Will you please? That’s amazing. Do you have any idea of how important this would be for our research to be able to have more?

RICH: He keeps going.

DEVON: Can I make the forest, the Leo Venus plants grow down and then just scoop him up and bring them back up?

RICH: Can you?

DEVON: I don’t know. Can I?

RICH: Sounds like you’re doing something wondrous to me, so I think you should roll with that. Roll +Drive.

DEVON: Okay. I’m just gonna get him out of the way.

RICH: And your move allowed you each to hold a Maneuver. Is that correct?

DEVON: Mm-hmm.

RICH: Okay, so you and 39 both have an extra Maneuver, and you each started with 1 Maneuver at the beginning of this as well.

DEVON: Oh-[into hands] I rolled a 1 and a 2, and then I added 1 for my Drive, so…

RICH: If other people want to describe how you help move this Hermie out of the way and help Many Homes with this, you can each spend a Maneuver, including Même, which would add 3, and that would make it a 7.

DC: I can do that, and then also I can use More Experience Than Luck to double the bonus.

RICH: Excellent. Tell me how this works for you.

DC: You start moving the plants, I’m gonna use my Matter Manipulation to make it so that instead of them just having plant things they have tentacles that can grab so it’s a bit easier for it to actually hoist, so if they try and move away or resist or something it’s actually being held much more securely. And, I have to roll to see if my bonus is more. I got 10.

RICH: Nice. This is the way that I see this happening. This is a lot about Many Homes’s confidence in herself, right, and I see this conversation that you guys had where she was like “please tell me this won’t happen again, please tell me I won’t become this person that I accidentally became and I’m trying not to be,” and 39 helped encourage her to do that. I see that as an opportunity for Traveler to have been sharing some life experience at the time.

DC: Okay. I’ll drop some life experience. We’ll have a time slowdown where we enter the Dumbledore realm or whatever.

[laughter]

DC (as Traveler): Many Homes, I’ve traveled very far, seen a lot of people, a lot of civilizations, and one thing that remains true about people and their fears is that they become what they choose to become. You made the choice to become strong, and now you are strong.

RICH: Bam, +2.

DEVON: Hell yeah.

DC: And I disappear. [laughs]

RICH: For the last one, to make it a 7, either 39 can participate or Même has some things that Même can do as well.

KAT: I don’t have to physically do something? I can work with mental support?

RICH: It could be mental support, it could be actual physical support, helping someone with something. You describe how you work together as a team in some way to help them succeed at their goal and spend a Maneuver to increase their roll by 1.

KAT: I would love to just talk her up… The first thing that I do is really figure out a new aspect of our Même connection where I’m like, huh, she’s not making the best use of her new ability, and I just shoot over my HUD so that she can better use the plants.

RICH: [laughs]

DC: Use the Force.

KAT: Yeah. “Just grab him here. Why aren’t you grabbing him here?” And then she can, and use a load-bearing vine.

RICH: Seeing all the weak points or the easiest places to grab and lift up In Perpetuum.

KAT: Mm-hmm. We start to become a superhero team.

RICH: How does the fact that she has 37 eyes affect the look of the HUD?

KAT: Ohh…

DEVON: More data. I can process more data.

KAT: Yeah! It probably becomes really efficient!

DC: Ultra HUD!

RICH: [laughs]

DEVON: There’s like one data stream per eye, so it’s like 37 data streams.

KAT: Yeah, you can categorize.

DEVON: It’s 37 different scouter readouts, but all overlaid.

KAT: And then I tell you all of these catty things that he did from my memories.

KAT (as Polyp 39): This one time he said that Polyp 32 was a little stumpy, and…

DEVON (as Many Homes): That’s really mean!

KAT (as Polyp 39): It was really mean, and nobody liked it.

DEVON (as Many Homes): Oh no…

KAT (as Polyp 39): So, he wasn’t as nice as you thought he was. He wasn’t as nice.

[laughter]

RICH: You’ve made it as a team and discovered new things about yourselves. I love it. You have successfully gotten a 7. On a 7 to 9 you succeed at your goal, you pull him and move him out of the way, but you do need to choose one; you suffer a backlash, you lose control at the worst time, or you put others in danger.

DEVON: [groans]

RICH: I have an idea if you would like. You move straight past him into where that space is. You see a Grimp. The Grimp is on the older side. It also looks drained. It’s floating in an area like an orb that’s got it restrained and held, and inside the orb are little chitinous looking little arms that periodically go off and draw samples from them and transfer it into this other series of tubes and things that are being transmitted out. You see a large growth area of plants, of Leo Venus plants, that are the rare species that you were looking for, and the Transcendent is there. The Transcendent turns, and floats-actually doesn’t turn, because they have eye spots all around their body with a neural network inside, turns their attention, maybe I should say, towards you.

As you come into the room, you see what’s happening, and then you hear behind you a vibration, a scream. You turn around and the 1000 series that Kat reprogrammed is now awake. They’ve come into the room and they are in an absolute rage. This is 39’s losing control of their powers in a way. They shoot directly toward In Perpetuum who is restrained on the ceiling and unable to defend themselves, and this thing piles straight into him and grabs onto them with all of its tentacles, and Kat, you know that it is doing all kinds of aggressive, assertive, memory manipulation on this thing in anger. It can’t do anything much to defend itself at the moment because of the restraints that are on it right now. Many Homes, how does this make you feel?

DEVON: Bad.

RICH: This is the backlash. I’m gonna have you roll an Endure.

DEVON: Okay. Nine.

RICH: You’re gonna choose one. You can mark a Condition, you can mark a Corruption, and the other thing is the trauma damages you in some way. You can take -1 ongoing and remain in pain, distressed, or distracted until you receive help as defined by the narrative.

DEVON: Ooh. That’s upsetting. I think I might go for… I feel like if I was to do Corruption she would have a very, oh no, I feel bad, but also be kind of cruel about it, so I don’t want to do that.

RICH: Hmm, if you take the Corruption? I see the definition of that, yeah.

DEVON: Yeah. I don’t wanna-I think that’s where I would go if I was to choose that, but I think in that context I’m not a fan of that. Oh, I have so many Conditions. Ugh. Angry makes sense. Yeah, angry does make sense. Never mind. I’m just going to take -2 to everything and I will be angry.

RICH: Excellent. You’re gonna mark a Condition, Angry?

DEVON: Yes.

RICH: Okay. Alright. Kat, you also see the results of this as well, 39 does.

KAT: Yeah…

RICH: This isn’t necessarily you suffering backlash, this is just what’s happening, something that 39 might need to process at some point.

KAT: Yeah. It makes sense, honestly. If that person had been around me when I had gone through that I might have done something similar. I see that now. If we had time I might go try to stop them and explain to them that they’ll probably be sad about it later. I don’t think we do have the time.

RICH: You don’t, and you don’t because Traveler now sees what’s going on in the room with the other Transcendent, and that is, you notice that this Transcendent, this group of plants that it has gathered, it makes a psychic connection with the bank of valves and you see the plants start to dissolve…

DC: Oh shit.

RICH: …and you see this bioluminescent glow release into the world, uncontrolled, and it hits a few more things, and more of these plants are now starting to break down at a cellular level and releasing the thing that they are holding, and it is being drawn up into a small ball, it’s being drawn to itself, and it is holding it in a container. You see that it has figured out how to break these plants down at a cellular level without destroying the Corruption that they are holding.

DC: So they have a collection of it?

RICH: They do now.

DC: [sighs] Alright.

RICH (as Transcendent): My friend, you’ve arrived in time. It’s time to change the world. What’s more interesting than that?

DC (as Traveler): That’s a really compelling argument.

RICH: [laughs]

DC (as Traveler): But, you know, one of the most interesting things about being Transcendent is that our will is the will of the universe, so even though you’re choosing to do that and it’s just as much happening as me choosing to do this…

DC: I put out a tentacle, and I want to use Matter Manipulation, and I want to destroy the machine that’s making this happen.

RICH: Okay. I have no issue with that. Actually, I was gonna say it’s Unleash, but it’s not. I think it’s really Doing Something Wondrous, so let’s roll +Drive. I wanna see what happens there.

DC: Nine.

RICH: Ooh, interesting.

DC: Is there any way I could get one more?

DEVON: Yeah. Do you want a 10?

DC: Yes?!

RICH: Yes, yes they do.

DEVON: Okay. You have been around when I build similar things… This is where I learned how to do it, so you have that knowledge.

RICH: I love it. You get a 10. Describe to me how this thing tears apart.

DC: I think when I reach out initially I’m just about to destroy everything and then this knowledge of all of the, like, these things need to go sort of thing happens, it becomes this very precise thing, and it’s just like these black holes almost where (it pulses and fires) but in an array and they happen all at once. It just starts breaking down this whole area. There’s no anger or emotion going on, it’s just this is a thing that needs to happen. While it’s happening, Traveler is just looking directly at the other Transcendent.

DC (as Traveler): Now the will of the universe is having an argument. Let’s see what happens.

RICH: Nice. Since you rolled a 10+ there’s basically no personal consequence to that. You can feel anger coming off of this Transcendent. You feel pain and frustration. You feel things that you have never felt off of a Transcendent before. It moves forward towards you like it’s going to physically attack you, but then it stops. You can kind of sense it’s scanning the room and sensing what’s going on around the room, seeing the three of you there, seeing from behind the three of you this 1000 series now come from behind you guys, up and hovering over you with anger and violence in its… eyes? Yeah, they have eyes. It calms itself and says:

RICH (as Transcendent): The universe doesn’t argue with itself. We can argue with it. You are choosing to argue with the inevitable. We will see how that argument ends.

RICH: You feel a rip in reality as it pulls itself, what looks like, directly into and through The Echo and disappears.

DC: While it’s doing that can I use a move?

RICH: Sure.

DC: I want to use my new move.

RICH: What’s the new move?! Do it.

DC: Truth Seeker. I want to look into his future. [laughs]

RICH: Whoa. Tell us about that.

DC: Your instincts are honed through experience and survival allowing you to read the flow of The Echo around creatures and objects. When you examine an important object or creature roll +Hope. On a hit you may ask the Guide a question about the past, present, or potential future of the target and the Guide must answer truthfully. On a 10+ you gain +1 ongoing in regard to the revealed information.

RICH: Okay. Make that roll.

DC: I wanna read this thing’s future. [laughs]

KAT: Yeah!

RICH: Do it. Great way to wrap up. Amazing.

DC: I get a +1 to this one… which is exactly a 7. I got a 4 and a 2.

RICH: Nice. That’s okay, 7 is a success. What do you get with a 7? You just don’t get the +1 ongoing? Perfect. What’s the question?

DC: Is it aiming to destroy what’s here?

RICH: You have a vision of a future, a potential future, you know it’s a potential future, probably fed by this thing’s desires for the future, the image in vision that it has of the future. You see it envisioning this world engulfed and changed and manipulated into something else that will allow life that is not currently here to now live here in this reality.

DC: That don’t sound right.

RICH: That is its overall goal.

DEVON: It’s a terraformer.

RICH: You also see hundreds and hundreds of Transcendents like it in its vision… and then it disappears through that hole in The Echo. I think we are going to say… Welcome to Midnight.

DC: [laughs] This is the best and worst day of my life!

RICH: Fantastic.

DC: Oh no…

RICH: Congratulations. You got all the information and data that you needed. You stopped what this Transcendent was doing. You found out what it’s going to do in the future. I’m sure it will all be fine.

KAT: [laughs and groans]

DEVON: Nothing bad could happen.

RICH: Under normal circumstances what we would do is you guys got your connection, which is very cool, but if we were going to continue this in a campaign what I would do is also get you guys what’s called a Sanctuary. The Guardians use a Sanctuary which is a physical space within the city but also has a reflection within The Echo. What we’d do with that is we’d open up and close each game with you guys reflecting on how this Sanctuary that you use as a base of operations, it could literally be like a superhero base or a rescue facility or just a home that you guys live in-

DEVON: Or an apartment with too many people.

RICH: Or an apartment with too many people. The echoic reflection of the emotions and what not of the people there also get reflected there, so at the end of the game we would do a little meditation on how that echo or spiritual psychic landscape changes with how you guys have changed as the game goes on, and each session we would visit that and see how that evolves over time with your characters.

And that’s it. Thanks so much for joining me, guys. Well done. I would love it if we could go around again and just remind people who you are and where they can find you, and if you wouldn’t mind just telling us something that you enjoyed about the game. We’ll go backwards this time, I’ll be last, so we will go with Kat.

KAT: Thank you so much for having me on, Rich. This was wonderful.

RICH: Of course. It’s my honor. You know how much I love you.

KAT: I love you very much, too. I’m Kat Kuhl. You can find me online most directly on Twitter at @Kat_Kuhl_. I also do the Autonomic podcast which is a family friendly actual play fantasy podcast, and you can find that at AutonomicPodcast.com. That’s me.

RICH: Fantastic. Can you tell us something you enjoyed about the game that we played?

KAT: Yeah! I enjoyed so much. There were two phases, so there’s world-building-and I really love world building-so it was cool how much of this was just that and always meant to be that, for me, because not every game is just like, nah, we’re gonna world build and you have to. It is inextricably a part of the thing, so that was a real blast. The second half of that was pulling together our puzzle pieces to bolster each other. It feels good. It was good, man. That’s what was nice to me about playing this game with all of you. [laughs]

RICH: [laughs] Fantastic. Thanks so much for joining us, Kat. DC?

DC: Hi. I’m DC. All the stuff, you can find me at Dungeon Commandr on Twitter, on Itch.io. I made a game. Is it not as cool as this? I feel like it’s not as cool as this one. [laughter] I’m gonna say, my game is really, really good, but this game is ridiculous.

RICH: Ah, DC, that’s so kind of you. Please.

DC: That truth just hit me. I was like damn, actually, maybe I like this more than {mine}. I’m not saying mine’s bad, I love it to death.

RICH: What?! [laughs] Your game is amazing.

DC: This is really good. Yeah, find me on all the stuffs. The thing that I love about this game the most is that it’s… fish, big fish.

[laughter]

RICH: Fish crime.

DC: It’s really, really interesting to, instead of finding the relation-this is why I say I kind of like it more than my game, my game takes mutation and says this is how you can demonstrate your humanity but it’s still tied to human as a base core. In this game, when you become a fish, which is right at the beginning, your world changes in ways where… I fill in things, you know what a city is, yada-yada, in this game it’s like wait, what is a city when you’re a fish? All of the things that you think you know about the world completely shift, so the world building ends up happening on this level of continuous surprise. Oh, I go through this door, wait a second, what would a door be like if I was a fish? Wait, up-down, left-right, all these things start to change and it continuously does that process over and over, so I don’t think it ever could get boring as long as you keep running into those things in life where you’re like, well, this would work differently. There’s a lot of other stuff, but that’s definitely my favorite.

RICH: That’s awesome. Thank you so much. Devon?

DEVON: Hi! I’m Devon George. I’m an artist and a storyteller. You can find me on my website at DevonGeorgeStudios.com, Devon like the place in England, George like the monkey. [giggles] You can also find me on Twitter and Instagram at @DGeorgeStudios, and also find all my art there as well. Both Kat and DC took the stuff I was gonna talk about. I love world building. I feel like if you talk to me for a hot second you know that’s all I do. I enjoy world building. I love the fact that it’s not humans, because humans get boring sometimes. Yeah, just reiterating what you said. I think to take it further… Those are my top two, and then this is my third. I like how spiritual this is. It’s very spiritual and very emotional, and yet you’re playing things that don’t resemble you at all, and I think that’s very fascinating and a good exercise in empathy, because I don’t think we get that enough with the classic games. You don’t get to inhabit something totally different than what you are and learn to build up that empathy with something… out of this world.

RICH: [laughs] Thanks so much, Devon. I appreciate that, and thanks guys, so much. My name is Rich. I have been your Guide. I am one of the Co-Designers and the Concept Lead for Descent into Midnight. Thanks everybody for joining us for this amazing world that these players created and this adventure that basically I just led them through that they also created. I appreciate everybody’s time joining us for the game, and Welcome to Midnight.

Game Closet 67 – Adira Slattery

Game Closet 67 – Adira Slattery

5Calls.org: https://5calls.org/ – Stance: http://takeastance.us/ – ResistBot: https://resistbot.io/ – Swing Left: https://swingleft.org/

This show is a proud member of the Stop, Hack, & Roll podcast network.

This episode of Game Closet was edited by Taylor LaBresh. Show music was composed by Corv Leary.

Game Closet: interviewing LGBT+ people in tabletop gaming, creators, fans, anyone! Interviews talk about personal experiences, games with (or without) LGBT+ representations or themes, or using queer content in gaming. Are you queer or LGBT+ and want to be featured on Game Closet? DM me on Twitter @LeviathanFiles! You can also check out a curated collection of queer/LGBT+ roleplaying resources.

Links:

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BONUS EPISODE: Descent into Midnight Actual Play Special (p 1)

BONUS EPISODE: Descent into Midnight Actual Play Special (p 1)

5Calls.org: https://5calls.org/ – Stance: http://takeastance.us/ – ResistBot: https://resistbot.io/ – Swing Left: https://swingleft.org/

Welcome to a special episode of Game Closet! You won’t hear your normal host’s voice on this one, but stay tuned!!!

Taylor’s been working as the Design Lead for Descent into Midnight for a good amount of time now and the Kickstarter is ongoing! While you listen to these special Actual Plays, go check it out at DiMRPG.io/ks.

Session 1

Show Notes

Rich Howard guides Kat KuhlDC (Orion)Devon George, and Richard Kreutz-Landry from a sitcom beginning to the research facility where the team hopes to find answers about Polyp 39’s past, and what happened to Vista, the baby immortal jellyfish Transcendent.

Session 1 MP3 (163MB, 1:58:59)

Transcript

RICH: Hi everyone, and welcome to our first session of Descent into Midnight. If you haven’t heard our character and world generation episode you may want to pop back in the feed and check that out to see how this incredible world the players created came about. Before we get started though, let’s go around and remind people who we are and who we’ll be playing.

My name is Rich Howard, he/him pronouns, and I’m the Concept Lead on Descent into Midnight, and I will be your guide today. Next up, Devon, why don’t you introduce yourself and tell us a little about who you will be playing today.

DEVON: Hi, my name is Devon George. I’m an artist and sometimes a game designer. You can find my work over at DevonGeorgeStudios.com and also you can find me on social media at @DGeorgeStudios on both Instagram and Twitter. I draw mostly fantasy and sci-fi illustrations. You can actually find some of my work in Descent into Midnight. My personal pronouns are she, they, or he, I don’t really have a preference, and Maybe Many Homes is she/her.

RICH: What playbook are you playing?

DEVON: Yes. I’m playing the Cultivator playbook. My character’s name is Maybe Many Homes. She is a hermit crab inspired character. She’s got a lot of legs and a lot of eyes, not all of them originally her own. She has got impenetrable armor and technopathy.

RICH: Can you talk a little bit about what a Cultivator is? You can just read the opening paragraph at the top if you want, or explain to us what you think this Cultivator is like.

DEVON: Oh, yeah. I was gonna talk about that when I got to the garden.

RICH: Oh, perfect. Okay.

DEVON: I was gonna say, she has a garden in a pocket dimension in her shell and she takes care of that, and both uses it to make basically the equivalent of gadgets, except the gadgets aren’t made out of metal, they’re made out of stuff you’d find in the sea and chemicals and things you could…

RICH: They’re bioengineered.

DEVON: …yeah, you could bioengineer. So yeah, that’s what she does.

RICH: DC, why don’t you tell us about yourself and who you’ll be playing today?

DC: I am DC. My pronouns are they/them. I am going to be playing the Traveler playbook, and my character’s name is Traveler. They don’t have any pronouns. I myself am a bit of a traveler, in my mind. I make the games, I’m a game designer. I create worlds and settings, and theories and things. I also do a lot of writing and community-building things. I’m very scatterbrained, and all of the things I do are scattered across the nine realms.

I am excited to play this game, because the Traveler is a character who has lived a very interesting life, going around and exploring, whether that be within the city or out in the world. My particular Traveler, the way that we’ve cultivated the story, has come from the interdimensional ether space, kind of like agents from The matrix, but not bad. It’s like you’re here, you have a job, you know what it is, kind of. Go do things, whatever feels right. You’re kind of coded for something. Traveler is an immortal jellyfish who has gone and explored out in the world and is now back in the city hanging out with some of the members of this crew.

RICH: Outstanding. Kat, wanna tell us about your adorable little murder machine?

KAT: Mm-hmm. Hi everyone. I’m Kat. My pronouns are she/her. I am the host and narrator of the Autonomic podcast which is a very intentionally family friendly actual play fantasy show that is, you know, it’s set for children of all ages. I’m gonna pull that old board game phrase out.

RICH: [laughs] That old hat.

KAT: That is my primary passion. I am playing, I have the privilege to play Polyp 39 who is a little cephalopod anemone who was created by something corrupted or some influence of corruption as a weapon and had their lifeóthey use they/them pronounsócompletely reformatted after running into someone who would become a friend, and they decided no more being a weapon. They are living the path of the Redeemed, something that is very near and dear to my heart, because I often think of myself as the redeemed path. I messed up a bunch in high school and got a bunch of people hurt, and since then being someone who is bad became part of my fundamental identity from age 15 and I took a lot of inspiration from the character Zuko from Avatar: The Last Airbender, and was just like “I’m not going to do bad things anymore.” So, I really love this character type, it means a lot to me.

RICH: Excellent. Last but not least, Richard.

RICHARD: Alright. I am Richard Kreutz-Landry. I am the Project Lead for Descent into Midnight. I am an origami artist, a game designer, and in my day job I get to write code to make math puzzles for kids to do online, which is friggin’ amazing. Today I’m going to be playing a character called MÍme. They use they/them pronouns, I use he/him. MÍme is essentially a group of plankton that was hanging out in The Echo and sort of coalesced, popped into this particular world, and then encountered Kat’s character, Polyp 39. Basically what this species does is they float through The Echo, they pop into a world, and they can take on the shape and quality of the things that they find, and when they found Polyp 39 they sort of imparted some of their own consciousness and was able to help break that programming that they were under and give them a little bit of a taste of free will.

RICH: Outstanding, and you now look a lot like this species we’re gonna talk about, right? You have manifested yourself into looking similar to Kat’s home species, which I’ll talk about in just a minute.

RICHARD: Mm-hmm. Yeah.

RICH: Thank you guys. Last session, we created an advanced civilization in an alien ocean. The metropolis in which these stories will take place is an enormous moss ball, tens of miles in diameter, which means the inside volume is enormous. It’s floating in the open ocean a hundred or so meters from the surface and is riddled with tunnels and caverns that are filled with a bustling civilization. The main two sapient species that reside in this incredible concept the players came up with are the Hermies, beings as we mentioned that look similar to hermit crabs on Earth, and a species we’re calling the Grimps, beings with a similar body type to the Dumbo octopus, kind of young medusa style that Kat had mentioned earlier. In addition to that, there are periodic… travelers? I don’t know. Do we have a name, DC, for your species? Did we come up with one?

DC: I don’t think that we did. Give me like 14 seconds as I attune.

RICH: No worries. I do want to mention that they are active members of the community as well, they just seem to be smaller in number, and as DC had mentioned in the last session they appear to have any kind of job. As they mentioned, one could pop into existence and say I’m here to take care of kids, this is what I do.

DC: They’re called Transcendents.

RICHARD: Ooh.

RICH: The Transcendents. Ooh, I like it. Alright. At the center of this massive moss ball city, it used to be a district that was inhabited largely by, what we were callingówe’re not sure yet, a meritocracy, aristocracy analogóthe closer to the center of the moss ball, the higher in status individuals in this particular culture have, but some 50 years ago the city became unstable for reasons that we have yet to understand and the central structure of the moss ball suddenly and inexplicably became the home of alien plants that manifested themselves directly from The Echo, the dimension that surrounds the physical world. This event forced the aristocracy, meritocracy from their central homes out to a farther out ring to be replaced by scientists, cultivators, and researchers causing an upset in the social structure. Lastly, there is a central shaft that runs from pole to pole through which light is brought to the rest of the city. The central shaft that we are calling The Speakeasy is an area of the city more permeable to The Echo. From the central shaft, also, a complex of bioengineered fiber-optic cables spread out throughout the city along all the tunnels and caverns, carrying light, allowing the city to grow and thrive from the inside out.

Unlike other Descent into Midnight games, there are no currently established Guardians of the city. The Guardians are a historical organization that, for one reason or another that I don’t know if we’ve established yet, no longer exists. Does anybody have anything to add from what I brought up from last time?

RICHARD: One of the things we talked about very briefly at the end was a cultural ritual, and we decided that when someone is born they go to the outside of the moss ball and actually braid some of the seagrasses that live on the outside of the ball, and then when they die, as part of the funeral rite, you unbraid the grass.

RICH: Yeah, I remember that. That’s fantastic.

DC: That’s beautiful.

DEVON: Did we ever find out if that also applied to Transcendents?

RICH: We’re gonna ask DC about that.

DC: I don’t think we do that.

RICH: They’re immortal. [laughs]

DC: Just because the concept of death, yeah, it’s like oh that’s cool. This is great, y’all.

DEVON: There’s a braid out there maybe somewhere else that represents them that will always exist.

RICHARD: Somewhere in The Echo?

RICH: It will never become unbraided.

DC: I think there would be some kind of, like you’re saying, there would be a general one, this is the thing in the city that’s like the Transcendents’ braid, because we don’t go and get one, but we want to…

RICH: Honor you in some way.

DC: yeah, like you’re a part of our culture.

RICHARD: Oh no. I just realized, so when you’re born it’s not your birthday, it’s your braid day.

[gasps, laughter]

DC: That’s so beautiful.

RICH: Happy Braid Day.

DEVON: Oh my god. Happy braiding.

DC: Yeah, Happy Braid Day.

RICH: I love it.

DEVON: One more thing. The Grimps have long tentacles, right? Maybe it’s like on your Braid Day you have to wear three of your tentacles all braided up so everyone knows it’s your Braid Day.

DC: Aww.

RICH: It’s your Braid Day.

DEVON: It’s your Braid Day! Happy Braid Day!

RICH: I love it.

DC: That’s awesome.

RICH: Alright. A couple of other basic things that we established was that Many Homes used to work in the central research area and no longer does. Many Homes has met and has a dynamic of some sort with Polyp 39 who I think we established are living in the same home. Is that right?

DEVON: I don’t know, but it can be right?

DC: Roomies?

KAT: Yeah, I don’t know either. I guess it depends on whether or not I’ve been given any other home, otherwise I’m very happy to live with Maybe Many Homes.

RICH: I don’t think you’ve been given a home. My feeling is that this break down, like there are still other Polyps that are under control and new ones being made, your number is actually relatively low, like 39 is pretty early on. That’s my thought process, so there are others, but you have been retired. I’m getting a feeling that you were not voluntarily retired, your whole series was discontinued.

KAT: That makes sense, if we had such an obvious defect. Right?

RICH: I’m thinking that discontinued means something not great and that you avoided that fate. That’s what I’m feeling. How do you feel about that?

KAT: That checks out.

RICH: That math checks out? [laughs]

KAT: That’s only logical. I’m onboard, and very sad for all of my fellow Polyps.

RICH: I’d say the whole 100 series, so everything from 100 down were all discontinued when this thing happened that they could not understand where this corrupted programming came from, [clears throat] Richard.

[laughter]

KAT: [whispering] It’s your fault.

RICH: So they were discontinued. I think you may know a few that managed to get out or escape before being permanently discontinued, but maybe not too many.

KAT: yeah, it’s probably a small number.

RICH: Maybe you’re hiding out with Many Homes who now…

DEVON: Yeah. I have like a small studio apartment or something, I would imagine, because she’s not being paid veryóor whatever would give her status, because I imagine we’re not using… We’re not using money.

RICH: I don’t know. It depends. You guys are all creating this culture as we go, so you tell me.

RICHARD: Are we using Bivalvecoin?

[laughter]

RICH: Oh. The other thing that we had established was that the psychic computers that are used in this particular advanced civilization are integrated, psychically linked bivalve structures, like complexes that you can hack into.

KAT: Whatever our money is has to be called Clams.

RICHARD: Oh my god. Yes!

DC: [laughs]

RICH: For sure.

DEVON: I feel like there was an internet web thing where you collected clams or something.

DC: Instead of Fiber it’s Valve.

RICH: Yeah.

RICHARD: Oh no… Yeah, yeah.

[laughter]

DC: Just 60 Clams a month for Valve internet.

RICH: Yeah, for sure, this is all canon now, this world’s canon.

DEVON: It’s on auto-Clam repay. It’s fine.

DC: It took us about, what?

RICH: It took us ten minutes for the puns to start coming.

DEVON: I’m sorry!

RICH: You don’t need to be sorry. If it wasn’t you it would be Richard, so I’m glad it was someone else this time.

RICHARD: yeah.

DEVON: I imagine right now Maybe Many Homes is basically freelancing.

RICH: That’s what I’m thinking.

DEVON: Yeah, because she went from being like “I’m not controlling what I’m working on” to being like “my mentor was a bad person and I want to make sure I work for people that I’m choosing,” and that’s why I imagine she’s living in a smaller apartment and is like “I’m happy to open my home to you.” I don’t have many homes, but I’m more than happy to open my home to someone else who also got kind of screwed over by this.

RICH: Maybe Many Homes, though.

DEVON: But I definitely imagine that it is small.

KAT: I was wondering, can we live in your shell or is it not that big a space?

DEVON: I can imagine that small things, like things that are smaller than my mass, can live in it. It’s a big garden, and I imagine that Vista stays in that a lot of the time. Vista like a vista, not the computer, we’re totally not referencing that. What I imagine is that’s not where a lot of people live because when it’s in subspace you’re like on pause, it’s not really like a home.

KAT: Hmm. Gotcha. Yeah.

DEVON: When you’re in the subspace and it’s part of my shell you’re on pause, but when it comes out you’re unpaused, so it’s not really like a home, it’s just kind of like storage.

RICHARD: Interesting.

KAT: yeah, not a place to live.

RICH: Oh, interesting.

DC: That’s dope.

RICH: It’s really cool.

DEVON: I keep all my tools in there.

RICH: It’s my toolshed. So, does this extend to MÍme too? Now MÍme and Polyp 39 have a dynamic as well. Are we talking this is like Three’s Company and you’re all living in the same apartment here?

RICHARD: I kind of love that idea, honestly, because MÍme can take on, one of their Gifts is Material Mimicry and Phasing so they can just turn into different materials and just go wandering around, so if they want to look like other creatures they can. Keep the neighbors guessing, you know? They’re like waitó

RICH: How many people are living in that apartment?

RICHARD: Yeah, exactly. It’s like a clown car, right?

DEVON: [laughs] I imagine it was one of those things where 39 came to Many Homes and was like “I don’t have a home,” or Maybe Many Homes went to 39 and was like “hey, I have a place and I want to get back to you, I know you don’t have a place,” and then MÍme shows up and Many Homes is like “who is this? Who is this person? Why didóAll of a sudden did I invite everyone?”

RICHARD: [laughs]

DEVON: She’s very nice though. She’s like, “oh, it’s totally okay,” but I also imagineó

KAT: We haven’t quite worked out how to live together yet.

DEVON: Yeah.

DEVON (as Many Homes): Did you guys pay me each 10 Clams for the Valve?

KAT (as Polyp 39): I do not use the Valve, so I will not be paying.

[laughter]

DC: You’re that roommate.

DEVON (as Many Homes): Listen. This is a lot of search history that I don’t think is mine. Is this yours?

RICH: It’s gotta be MÍme’s.

DEVON (as Many Homes): That’s 15 Clams. Listen, if you can’t pay it now, it’s fine. I’ll cover it for now, but just in the future, if we’re both gonna be using the Valve, you know. Also, who ate my kelp salad?

[giggling]

RICHARD: I think MÍme slowly turns into kelp, all of the little component parts, like that’s how they flush.

DEVON: [laughing] What are you talking about?!

RICHARD: So like, you know, instead of their cheeks flushing or getting embarrassed, or blush or whatever.

RICH: Oh, that’s how they blush, okay. You said flush, and I was thinking something… else.

RICHARD: Ohó

DC: I was like, oh, just right in the shared water, huh?

RICH: An aspect of Descent into Midnight we have not directly covered in the rulebook.

DC: [laughs] Not yet.

RICH: Where does poop go? The never-ending Aquaman question.

DEVON: Are we all swimming in fish pee? How does this work?

RICH: So now that we’ve established the hilarity that is this apartment, Traveler and many Homes, this dynamic that you have because Many Homes has found or acquired in some way, brought with them, her? It’s her, right?

DEVON: Her or they, yeah, I think they’re both pretty good.

RICH: Did you rescue Vista? This little, ancient, immortal jellyfish precursor? Did you rescue it and bring it with you?

DEVON: Yeah. I thought that Vista was also one at the lab and some of Vista’s programming is what ended up going into the Polyps. Is that correct?

RICH: I think that’s part of it, and I think that maybe they were studying this immortal quality in a way that they could do it without actually studying Transcendents, because that would be problematic ethically.

DEVON: Yeah. I imagine that this was around when Many Homes found out and was leaving, and was like here’s my two weeks, and then the night before was like, this is a child. I don’t necessarily know if it is a child, DC might have more information, but I think Many Homes specifically sees Vista as a kid, as a baby, like I have to take care of this because this is not good.

RICH: Right.

DC: It’s likely a defense mechanism. It restarted its cycle so that it’s as close to a… like, it would be recognized as a baby so people would have their natural response of “I have to save that baby,” and that was the way it saved itself.

RICHARD: Ooh. Interesting.

DEVON: Heh. It worked on many Homes. Many Homes was like that’s a child and I have to protect that kid.

RICH: The question of this was, the link between the two of you as well had to do with, Many Homes has an item from your homeland, what is that item’s significance, and also kind of linked together with this, you have this, you’re taking care of the last of this species. I’m just checking in, because it sounds like there isn’t another one of this thing around, that you’re aware of.

DC: Nope.

RICH: This is an ancient thing that was kept there and was being researched and experimented on never-endingly.

DEVON: Yeah. I imagine that Many Homes has gone a couple times to Traveler to just be like hey, I’m checking in, I want to know if this, like what’s up, and I don’t know if we figured anything out or what DC’s character Traveler had told me about it, but I know that Many Homes sought out Traveler specifically I think, I’m not sure why, to be like hey, can you tell me what’s up and if I can help this little bean.

DC: yeah. Traveler doesn’t really know, because we kind of just know what we do and we don’t what we don’t, but we can learn things a lot, so it’s like sure, this seems interesting, I can probably go to some places and find some information on people who have interacted with this super old Transcendent that’s like a real old computer, basically.

RICH: I’m picturing the Transcendents as well having a bit of status, like you’re kind of in the community but you’re† not of the community, you are there and people see you as… not revered, but you get a lot of natural respect in some way because of who you are and where you come from. The Traveler playbook itself has a lot to do with knowing and understanding things either through research or actual travel, or in your case seems just manifested knowledge almost. How long has Traveler been manifested on this planet?

DC: Probably like 800 years, probably not too long.

RICH: Okay. So you manifested and you have literally traveled all over the place.

DC: Yeah. I think that 800 years is a medium amount.

RICH: A medium age? You’re middle age?

DC: Yeah, probably like 36 in Traveler years. Oh yeah, you’ve been around, but you still got a lot of things to learn.

RICH: You still got things to do. Okay, I gotcha. I’m gonna say that Traveler and Many Homes have actually only recently met, so you’re having these conversations. In addition, I think Many Homes has known Polyp for a little while, but MÍme has only just kind of come into the equation. Does that track with everyone?

DEVON: Yeah. That’s why we’re still figuring out who owes what Clams.

[laughter]

RICH: Exactly. You haven’t gone through the finances for the month yet. So, Many Homes, one of the things that you have been trying to do is try to understand more about what happened to Polyp 39. There are a thousand to two thousand of these Polyps, there’s ten to twenty series that were run of these Polyps, and Polyp 39 was a very early development, but the entire 100 series run developed this same problem that didn’t seem to develop in some of the later series, and you’re seeing a level of independence in Polyp 39… the independence that were bred into them, they’re supposed to look like other Grimps, and they’re supposed to act like other Grimps, but you’re noticing it’s not like they’re roleplaying being a Grimp anymore, there are emotions and feelings and things that they’re processing that they won’t know how to work with yet. You don’t understand where that necessarily came from.

When MÍme enters the picture, MÍme, how do you bring yourself into this space with Polyp 39? How did you bring yourself into this dynamic with the apartment? How much do they know?

RICHARD: I think MÍme literally just appears inside the space at some point, basically just phasing through the wall, and just wherever Polyp 39 is hanging out basically MÍme literally just comes through the wall on the other side like a mirror image and just hangs out until someone says something.

RICH: [laughs] Okay. Many Homes, you’re our every-person it seems like for this particular culture, as everyone else around you are quite unique in many ways. How does Many Homes react to MÍme as a creature that exists? This is something that you are not familiar with, this being.

DEVON: Unsure. One of the things is, although Many Homes is the every-person trope, she’s worked with a lot of people that are unusual and individuals that don’t fall into the mold, so it’s not super unusual for her. She’s like, I’ve done this, I literally worked with alien plants, that I actually have a name for.

RICH: What are the alien plants named?

DEVON: They are called Leo Venus plants, Leo as in the constellation and Venus like the planet, Leo Venus.

RICHARD: Ooh.

RICH: I love it.

DEVON: She’s worked with those plants and she’s also helped assist some adjacent Polyp stuff. She was never really directly involved with that. So, she has an understanding of it and is confused and I think curious what MÍme is, but also very wary, because this is how it all started before and I don’t think she’s interested in repeating the past, so she’s trying really hard not to approach things as a scientist and trying very hard to just approach this as… a human being doesn’t work because she’s not a human being, but trying to approach this on a personal level as much as possible. Oh hi, you know, I’m your friend, and trying to keep that out of it as much as possible, but if she’s asked, can you help me figure this out, she’s going to help, she just doesn’t want to volunteer that scientific aspect of herself because she’s afraid she’s gonna come off as what her mentor was.

RICH: Gotcha. Traveler, when you’re not spending time with Many Homes and this entertaining crew, what does Traveler do?

DC: Right now, I think Traveler’s just come back from a long expedition, I want to say three or four hundred years. They were probably observing a civilization as it continued to grow and was like cool, I have enough data, I’m basically uninterested now but not in a negative way. Once Traveler loses interest that is a sign to them that they’re done with that particular thing, because they’re like if I’m part of the consciousness of The Echo then when I become… these are the sort of things that Transcendents think, if I’m bored then I must be done here.

RICH: Yeah, not doing the thing I’m supposed to be doing and go off to do whatever the other thing is, what draws you.

DC: Right. The city is like home base. They don’t know what’s gonna happen next, so whatever happens next would be the most interesting thing, whatever piques their interest. I feel like Transcendents have a reserved home area that maybe is super empty, maybe it’s full, just over the years “hey, there’s one, cool, I’ve never seen one before.”

RICH: I think there’s a whole Transcendent district, because this happens. Some Transcendents come and they do a job, and that’s the job they love, and they do it for a very, very long time, and some Transcendents just come and go, and it’s not like there’s a real estate agency it’s like no, this is the district, this is your home whether you come back in 300 years or you come back next week or you just go to work for the day. You have this space and it will be yours forever, they just have to have a space that’s like that in this. How do you feel about that?

DC: Yeah, that makes sense. I was gonna say as well that they get free Valve, so if y’all just want to come over to my place, you know, you can use free internet.

DEVON: We’re gonna have a LAN party.

RICHARD: Is it kind of like the USO as the airport lounge where it’s like if you happen to be a Traveler you can just go hang out in there?

DC: Probably. There’s probably a lot of stuff like that.

RICH: I think the district would be close to The Speakeasy, close to the central shaft, I think it would not be far from there. You were saying that new Travelers periodically manifest within the shaft, right? Within The Speakeasy?

DC: Yeah, new Transcendents will just show up, like boop. They might

RICH: New Transcendents, sorry, yeah.

DC: They might just move into a place, they might just leave.

RICH: Okay. Here’s the deal. Many Homes, you have been researching, you have been freelancing, and between freelancing I see you with all of your arms out doing things, growing and attuning to things but also psychically dropping into the Bivalve computer that you have. You have an office space?

DEVON: Yeah. I have the equivalent of seven monitors up on a wall.

RICH: Right, exactly. They’re all bioluminescent plankton that actually glow and move themselves into three-dimensional holographic shapes that are all around.

DEVON: In the water! Yes!

RICH: Yes, in the water, around in each different little area, so you’ve got all of these basically what looks like screens all over you.

DEVON: Yeah. I can take two claws and just go like (zoop) and zoom, and it goes all into the molecules.

RICH: I also see the walls, you know how they have soundproofing on walls, right, like the baffling? That’s kind of what it looks like, but it’s all bivalves of different sizes and shapes and colors that are all over this room that all psychically link into this space. One of the things that you’ve been doing is trying to help Polyp with memory issues, because you know that there are some memory pieces that are missing but you can’t tell, it’s hard, you’re dealing with cognition in a way that these Polyps have never manifested before so you can’t tell what they weren’t taught by the matrix, like what wasn’t programmed into them and what was, and is it a missing memory or just something that they never learned, that kind of thing. You’ve now made a breakthrough.

The first thing I want you to do before we get too much farther in is I want you to take a look at your move Seafoam Green Thumb. I’m gonna assume at the beginning of the game you’ve taken time to cultivate your garden, so I want you to go ahead and make a roll on that move and see what you’re starting with here. It’s a roll +Altruism.

DEVON: Ooh. Hmm. Fun. That’s not good.

RICH: What did you roll? I love it.

DEVON: I rolled a 5, in total, including my bonus.

RICH: Including your bonus? Alright, great.

DEVON: Yes. I’m a bad roller.

RICH: That’s fantastic. I love it, though. You’re gonna mark Harmony to start off with, because you rolled a 6 or less. On a 6- your garden’s Liability has blossomed and it cannot benefit you until it is tended. The Guide will give you 1 to 4 conditions to fulfill in order to return it to its abundant state. So, this is what I think happened. I think this breakthrough happened because you had drawnóone of your Benefits is Bioelectric mainframeóI think you have depleted so much of the nutrients in your garden, kind of jacking into the system to get deeper and deeper into the citywide mainframe, to try and uncover this information. Your liability is Hungry, for your garden, meaning that you are going to need to find ways in which to reestablish this garden with nutrients that you can’t afford because you don’t have enough Clams right now.

DEVON: Definitely not. I also want to say that a bunch of my garden is actually the Leo Venus plants as well.

RICH: You’ve incorporated the alien plants into your garden?

RICHARD: Oh-ho-ho.

DEVON: Not on purpose. I went into the garden one day and there was one there, like genuinely. She probably picked it up when she was there.

RICH: Oh… interesting.

DEVON: You’re welcome.

RICH: I love it. Thank you. So, one of the things that you need to do is you’ve gotta obtain some extra cash, some extra Clams, to be able to afford to actually get just basic things that you need to do to feed that garden. You are feeding for 100 really in your apartment. That’s probably one of the reasons why your apartment is so scarce too is that you need to spend that money doing some other things within your garden. In addition to that, I actually want you to roll a Resist Corruption, which is fantastic. What you’re going to roll is 2d6 plus the amount of Corruption that you have in your track. All of you are starting with 0 Corruption on your track, so right now you have none. It’s just gonna be a straight roll to Resist Corruption.

DEVON: I rolled a 6, because I don’t have any Corruption to add to it.

RICHARD: That’s good.

RICH: Oh, that’s fantastic. On a 6 or less you mark Harmony, just as you normally did, so you’ve now marked 2 Harmony, and you manage to hold onto yourself. Normally you would also reduce your Corruption score by 1, but you don’t have any. This is what happens:

DEVON: Wait. Is it good to roll lower?

RICHARD: On that.

RICH: It is. The higher the Corruption you’re carrying, the higher the number you roll, the worse it gets for you, so you’re good.

DEVON: Oh, okay. Sorry. I think I only had to roll for Corruption once before when I played, so I…

RICH: That’s alright. No, it’s perfect. So, what’s happened is this: You have tapped into some things, and one of the things that you did when you were running low on that psychic energy that you needed is you drew on one of these plants, the Leo Venus plants. There’s a bit of energy that comes from these plants that you know and you’ve studied in the past but you’re not sure how to qualify it or quantify it, and you decided to take a chance. You tapped into the plant, you got the energy that you needed to the kind of psychic rush, it’s almost like a caffeine dump from it, to be able to break through a little bit of defenses that the mainframe was putting up in the central research core that you used to work at. What you have found is this.

There is a piece of memory, you find an actual recorded event, a psychically recorded event in the computer that involved Polyp 39. It’s Polyp 39 in a meeting, and in that meeting is your former mentor, and the recording itself is a little bitósince you rolled so low on your gardenóit’s a little bit corrupt, but you know that Polyp 39 was given an assignment and the only thing that you know of was that the assignment was not outside of the city, a lot of the Polyps are sent outside of the city to infiltrate and spy on other places, this was inside the city, and Polyp 39 was assigned to murder someone.

DEVON: Oh… Okay. Alright. Solid.

KAT: [laughs]

DEVON: Good times.

RICH: You come out of your little room, exhausted. Polyp 39 is surreptitiously eating your kelp salad.

KAT: I do not need to eat!

RICH: I’m kidding.

KAT: [giggling] As soon as she comes in, I hide it.

RICH: Aw. You just kind of pull it into yourself.

DEVON: Is there anyone else there?

RICH: MÍme is there.

RICHARD: Yeah. I feel like MÍme just makes one of their tentacles turn into kelp, like just the edges of it, so it looks like they’ve been eating it and give Polyp a sly look, like you’re good.

DEVON (as Many Homes): It’s fine. The kelpman is delivering the kelp tomorrow. It’s fine.

DEVON: The kelpfish, there we go. That’s better.

DEVON (as Many Homes): The kelpfish is delivering the kelp tomorrow. It’s fine. I know, it’s fine. Do you really not think I have a monitor on…

DEVON: …the fridge? The cool water place? I don’t know.

[chuckling]

KAT: I have basically a sea anemone on my head, and it just wilts.

DEVON (as Many Homes): It’s fine. It’s fine. I’m not mad at you. I’m just disappointed.

RICH: Ouch.

KAT (as Polyp 39): That is worse.

RICHARD: At that, MÍme just turns transparent.

DEVON (as Many Homes): I’m generally not great, I’m very tired actually, but I think that… since you seem to be liking it so much we’ll just get kelp takeout.

DEVON: I’m gonna hand some Clams to MÍme.

DEVON (as Many Homes): Go get some takeout.

RICHARD: Just through the wall, gone.

DEVON: Awesome.

RICH: But the Clams don’t go through the wall.

RICHARD: No, no they don’t.

RICH: They fall to the floor.

[laughter]

RICHARD: And then a couple seconds lateró

DEVON: We put it out the window.

RICHARD: Yeah, MÍme comes up to the window, because this happens often. [laughs]

RICH: You’re like, “Vision, use the door!”

DEVON: I like how this has just become, it’s gone from Lord of the Rings level epic to just like Charmed.

RICHARD: Yes.

DC: I feel like it’s getting to Full House.

DEVON: Yeah. Full House is a better example.

RICH: It’s the DiM sitcom.

KAT: The corruption becomes our landlord.

RICHARD: Yes!

RICH: Play to find out what happens.

RICHARD: Everywhere you look!

DEVON: Everywhere you fish!

KAT: I’ll blub over.

KAT (as Polyp 39): Hey. Why are you tired?

DEVON (as Many Homes): Well, I’m not really tired, my garden’s tired. I’m totally tired. So… You know how we talked and you mentioned that you weren’t remembering everything?

KAT (as Polyp 39): NoóYes. I do remember that. Yes.

DEVON (as Many Homes): Yes. Yeah.

RICH: I don’t remember that I don’t remember everything.

DEVON (as Many Homes): Yes, no I understand. I tried to take a look and see if I could find anything for you, because you deserve to have all your memories. I found something… it’s not great, because I finished up a big project recently and it made me really tired so I didn’t have a lot of stuff to sink into it, but I did find it. Unfortunately, I think that it would be best if we could retrieve it directly, because then I can directly give it to you, and I think that you deserve to have all of your memories, but I think we might need to go to the direct source to get it without the corruption. I don’t mean corruption with a capital C, I mean like corrupted file. Don’t panic, it’s okay.

RICH: There is no knowledge of a capital C Corruption yet, at least to public knowledge. Also, Polyp 39, you have a move called Sense Weakness.

DEVON: I am very weak right now.

RICH: In her weakened state right now would be the perfect time in which to kill her.

DEVON: Oh, straight up, I am very weak.

KAT: Ohh…

RICH: Your psychic heads up display is giving you this important information.

KAT: Yeah. My HUD is very, very useful. Thanks, HUD. [laughter] I nod. My little ear flaps do their acknowledgement indicator.

KAT (as Polyp 39): Where would the direct source be in this case?

DEVON (as Many Homes): It would be the lab… but I don’t want to take you back there if you don’t want to go. That’s not my choice to make.

KAT (as Polyp 39): I will require time to think about this.

DEVON (as Many Homes): Okay.

RICH: Traveler, you’ve shown up at the apartment for your weekly visitation of Vista.

[laughter]

DC (as Traveler): I’m here. Where’s Vista?

RICH: I brought anchovy pizza.

DEVON: Is it MÍme and Traveler? They both got anchovy pizza?

RICH: Not yet. MÍme’s not back yet, but Traveler shows up.

DEVON: Oh man. Where is Vista? I feel like the shell is like the equivalent of a baby Bjorn. I imagine that there is a small equivalent of a pen, like how you put little kids, sometimes you wall off certain rooms just to make sure that the toddler doesn’t go outside of the room, like that kind of thing.

RICH: Inside your shell, inside your little pocket dimension?

DEVON: No, my shell is the baby bjorn, so they’re out somewhere. I think I go to the equivalent of a spare bedroom or something and take the filter off the door so that Vista can come out.

RICH: Vista comes roaring out past the little net that was put up to keep Vista in their little side room and grabs Traveler by the face. Traveler, can you describe for us again, you’re immortal jellyfish looking, is that correct? You’re also a jellyfish-like creature.

DC: Yes. It would be like… I can change forms, so I think there’s a humanoid form that I have because I’ve been spending so much time out and about, but I still look like a jellyfish in that the central bulb of the jellyfish body just turns into a humanoid shape and then all of the tentacles turn into arms and fingers.

RICH: Like a Grimpoid shape, you mean?

DC: Yes, “the Grimp.”

RICH: A Grimpoid shape. Got you.

DC: Very Grimpy.

DEVON: The night the Grimp stole Christmas?

DC: Fishmas.

DEVON: I’m sorry. The night the Grimp stole Braidmas.

RICHARD: [laughs]

DC: Yeah, I look Grimpy at the moment.

RICH: Got you. Vista comes out and is very excited to see you. All kinds of bioluminescent lights and all along their neural net that is just inside the dome of their medusaoid form is just glowing with these beautiful, beautiful colors as Vista sees you.

DC (as Traveler): Get ahold of yourself.

[laughter]

RICH: Vista does not. Vista smothers you in love whether you want it or not.

DC (as Traveler): Alright. I tried.

RICH: That’s your parenting technique? “Eh, I tried.”

DC: I move Vista over to my shoulder so that I can see.

DC (as Traveler): It seems they’re doing fine.

DEVON (as Many Homes): Yeah. They’ve been eating the food you mentioned, so I thought that was doing alright. Have you found anything else?

DC: Um… Let me see. [laughs]

RICH: Do you want to use one of your moves? Hide and Seek?

DC: Yeah.

RICH: Okay. Whether through education, training, or social graces you know how to find the most elusive creatures and information on them, so when you seek to gain information about a plant, animal, or an inhabitant you roll +Drive. This is you filing through your memory.

DC: Alright. I enter my mind palace.

KAT: yeah!

DEVON: Wait. Isn’t a mind palace just The Echo?

DC: Pretty much. I think it’s like an internet, like psychic internet. You ask a question, like Ask Jeeves, and you can just get anything.

RICH: Basically. That’s kind of how The Near Echo works, The Far Echo gets a little wackier.

DC: Alright, 2d6, right?

RICH: Yes, 2d6 +Drive.

DC: Okay, then I got 11.

KAT: Good roll!

RICHARD: Yes!

RICH: You got an 11? Nice. On a 10+ you choose three and you gain a +1 ongoing when acting on the information that you uncover. The choices you have are: you discover the general direction and distance to your quarry, you discover a little-known secret, you are able to approach your quarry without complications, or your inquiries don’t attract unwanted attention. In this particular case, I’m going to say that you can pick the little-known secret one twice if you want.

DC: Oh. I’m gonna choose it twice then, if you’re offering.

RICH: I am.

DC: I’ll take a seat at that table.

RICH: Yes, absolutely. The other one you’re gonna choose is your inquiries don’t attract unwanted attention?

DC: yeah. We’re already a full house, soó

[laughter]

RICH: Full House is a different show.

RICHARD: And if we’re busting into the lion’s den, so to speak, it would be nice if they didn’t know we were coming.

RICH: Okay. This is what you’ve done. You have gone out and tried to do research on this ancestral being, this creature that is a relative of yours but has not been seen in literal thousands of years. At first you thought maybe it manifested itself directly from The Echo in some other way, but it hasn’t, it didn’t, it is native to this particular planet. In your research, what you have found are a couple of things. Vista was found as part of one of the aristocratic families’… what would you call it, a zoo? In the central core. When the aristocracy were forced to abandon the central core that became the research industrial complex that exists there now, a lot of their homes were actually… I don’t want to say raided, but the scientists went into the homes to research things and found this in one of the aquarium equivalents there and began to do research. You still don’t know where that aristocratic family got it from, but you know that’s where they originally found Vista.

You also found out that, as we had mentioned before, Vista had been experimented on extensively and its genetic material, its regenerative qualities incorporated into the Polyp series giving them some of their resistance, abilities, and their ability to kind of mimic other things. Their regenerative powers to mimic other things is part of what came from Vista specifically.

You also know, as you mentioned earlier, you get confirmation that Vista keeps continuously putting themselves into self-defense mode, into the young body. It doesn’t let itself get very old before it triggers a regeneration into a younger form again, and that’s not okay.

DEVON: So basically they have anxiety, kind of?

RICH: Yes. It’s a PTSD reaction of trying to just trigger itself back into a younger form to say, let’s just do this, I don’t like this, I’m doing over again, I’m going back to a previous save game and we’re gonna try this again. It was stuck, almost like complex PTSD, in a situation it couldn’t get out of until now. The upside is it’s reset, even though it does have some memories of previous things, when it does reset† not all of those memories come with it, so it does get some relief each time, but the fact that it keeps having to do it over and over again does not make you feel good.

DC: Yeah, that’s not how that’s supposed to work.

RICH: You also got this information. Your inquiries don’t attract unwanted attention. The reason you got some of the information is you went to the central core and asked questions of a particular Transcendent who is a researcher that works in that particular area. At first you were asking around to non-Transcendents and they were not answering you, and you found a Transcendent who had been there for not a very long period of time. It’s a younger one, more like a teenager, but came into manifestation directly to do research in this specific area, it says, not just research in general, research here in this city, in this place, in this spot, and it shared with you the information that it had. You’re confident it’s both accurate information, genuine information, and that it has no interest in sharing your inquiries with other people.

DC: Great. I feel like that’s probably a general thing with Transcendents. We don’t really lie to each other.

RICH: Why should you?

DC: Yeah, right. We’re all kind of the same person.

RICH: It’s not a thing. Yeah. Exactly. That’s the information that you have come over to share.

DC: I relay that. I just kind of pet Vista.

RICH: Vista is almost ironically joyful after sharing this information with Many Homes.

DC (as Traveler): Progress.

DEVON (as Many Homes): I don’t know if I can fix this. I can help if they’ve messed with something physically on Vista, but as you know I’m not very good at the rest of that. I don’t know if that means they need more time around you. I don’t have any plans for treatment, if that makes any sense outside of the physical. If it’s a mental issue, if it’s something that… We’d have to find a specialist, unless you know…

DC (as Traveler): The only thing that I could recommend would be pretty much to, in terms that would make more general sense, re-uplink Vista. The connection, nothing’s lost, The Echo is everything, has everything, and they could likely restore themselves, but if Vista’s not prepared for that to happen there would likely be a feedback and Vista would return to The Echo.

DEVON (as Many Homes): Would that be a good thing or a bad thing?

DC (as Traveler): Good or bad is subjective.

DEVON (as Many Homes): That’s fair. I don’t know how to proceed. I don’t know exactly what happened to Vista. I can try to reverse engineer. I would have better luck if I knew exactly what happened. I can see what I can do physically, because I know that something was experimented on and I think there’s a possibility they were physically altered which might make it harder for them mentally to come to terms. Apart from that I can’t do anything. If they have to return to The Echo then I guess they might have to.

RICH: You do know that, again, this is a creature who is a species who is native to this world, and returning to The Echo is passing away and a species will go extinct.

DEVON: Oh, right, okay. Cool. I didn’t know if that meant popping in and then popping back out or something.

RICH: No. In many ways, The Echo is like outer space. It’s a place… In many ways, Descent into Midnight inhabitants think of The Echo as this dimension, it’s the dimension next door, but some inhabitants will explore deeper, far echoes, and go into different worlds and different dimensions through The Echo as a pathway. It also happens to be, The Near Echo is how psychic powers work, how computers work and connect, how the internet works, it’s kind of like the electricity and the TV and radio waves you don’t see pass through The Echo like currents and tides. A physical body manifesting from The Echo is kind of a thing that’s unique to this particular game, which I think is very, very cool, but in this case where MÍme or Traveler that are beings that manifest into this world from The Echo itself, creatures that evolve here or develop in this physical world, when their physical body ends their spirit might move on, but the species here on the planet might be done.

DEVON (as Many Homes): Okay. To clarify, when you mean they’re going to hook up to the mainframe or something, do you mean as in reconnect to The Near Echo, mentally?

DC (as Traveler): Yes. It would be not as simple as using the Valve, but it would be an intense process, specifically for Vista. The rest of us, it’s just what we do, especially when we go to The Speakeasy. Deep in the levels of The Speakeasy I could easily communicate on that level, but Vista is pulling themselves away from being able to be in a mental state to do so, so unless that’s resolved I feel like it would be a dangerous action to take if they intend to remain here.

RICH: As you’re speaking of that, MÍme returns.

RICHARD (as MÍme): Lunch?!

DEVON (as Many Homes): Thank god. (om-nom-nom)

RICH: Do you use the door or the wall? Is lunch outside in the hallway?

RICHARD: I think they start to and then they come up through the window.

DEVON: Which we now leave open permanently.

KAT: [laughs]

RICHARD: Yeah.

DC: Peter Pan.

KAT: I appear immediately next to Maybe Many Homes.

KAT (as Polyp 39): You should eat first. You are very tired.

DEVON (as Many Homes): I am very tired, yes. Yeah, the number 5, the number 5 is mine.

DEVON: They know my order. [laughs]

RICHARD: [laughs] Yeah.

DEVON: I am a freelance human being who doesn’t know how to cook. Maybe Many Homes is well-known at many places.

RICH: Number 5 is ramen? Is it just ramen?

DEVON: Number 5 is ramen. Number 5 is kelp which is just ramen.

DC: Kelp noodles.

RICH: MÍme, you actually heard that whole last part where Traveler was talking about going to The Speakeasy and hacking into The Echo and doing this crazy linking almost to the source as opposed to into the equivalent of the Valve.

RICHARD (as MÍme): So, are we breaking in somewhere? To The Echo, or… what’s going on?

DEVON (as Many Homes): I don’t know. Traveler, are we? How do you think best to proceed here?

DC (as Traveler): I don’t have any opinions on how to proceed, because I don’t have any desire for any particular result. I’m just giving you information based on what you would like to do.

RICHARD (as MÍme): It sounds like it would be dangerous to Vista if we took them there. They don’t seem right.

KAT (as Polyp 39): However, Vista does not have all of their memories.

DEVON (as Many Homes): No, and also is possibly not physically in the best situation.

RICH: Here’s another thing that you question about Vista. You are not entirely sure whether or not Vista is sentient, like animals, or was sapient, like the rest of you guys in having higher functions. It is possible that the species was sapient at some point or to some level at some point in the past, but Vista, this may be part of what Vista’s issue is. You get a sense that there’s something more here than a pet level of intelligence, but it’s possible the trauma and the rebooting and all of this stuff has caused the problem that we’re talking about.

RICHARD (as MÍme): Have we gone and… I mean, we don’t really have the records for what happened to Vista, but we could look. It would be dangerous, but…

DEVON (as Many Homes): We would have to go to the source. I may have, this afternoon, taken a peek through some of the records, but they’re all pretty deep and I don’t have the resources to get in remotely, which if you let anyone know that I hacked in remotely me and 39 will be living alone in this apartment, MÍme. Please don’t tell anyone that I hacked the government.

RICHARD (as MÍme): I mean, that just sounds like fun.

DEVON (as Many Homes): [exasperated] Yeah. Yeah, it would be fun.

RICH: [laughs] This is the thing that I think you two connect on. MÍme is absolutely fascinated about jacking into your room. I think MÍme’s been sneaking into your room, actually, into your computer office.

RICHARD: Every once in a while you just see one of the valves starts looking around with an eyeball in it, and you’re like hey, hey.

DEVON: Yeah. I would like to remind you that Maybe Many Homes literally I think I said had 30-something eyes. She knows. They know. It’s fine. It’s like that thing where “Am I gonna be mad about this? Not today. I’m not gonna be mad about this today.”

RICH: [laughs] Not today. Don’t have enough energy.

DEVON: Not enough energy.

RICHARD (as MÍme): Is everything okay, Polyp?

KAT (as Polyp 39): I… am coming to terms with what we are going to do. We are going to go back to the source.

DC: The Traveler moves over to Polyp and puts their little tentacle things out just sort of near you, not super close, but at your field of self.

DC (as Traveler): It’s quite possible that because Vista’s adult form was used to create a part of your composition that the data we find about you and Vista would allow us to help Vista return to a form at which they were when the experiments occurred.

KAT: I mirror your movement so we’re hovering near each other with our tentacles outstretched.

[laughter]

DEVON: I’m heavy. I’m down on the floor.

RICHARD: I was gonna say, MÍme is on the other side of the room just kind of doing the same thing, but just kind of off into the water by themself, not really with anybody.

DEVON: You’re T-posing in the water and I’m just like “I have forty legs…”

KAT (as Polyp 39): I am well aware, which is why we are going, however… I have no guarantee that I am not going to revert and kill all of you.

DC (as Traveler): That’s fine.

RICHARD (as MÍme): I mean, you’re welcome to try. I mean not really, but… you know what I mean.

KAT (as Polyp 39): Well, are you certain that you will be able to take me out?

RICHARD (as MÍme): Hmm.

RICH: That pause means no. [laughs]

DEVON (as Many Homes): I would say, where it comes to my own safety, I am willing to help you even if it might mean… I’ll try to do my best to have contingencies in place in case that occurs, but I’m not worried about my own safety.

KAT (as Polyp 39): That is foolish of you.

DEVON (as Many Homes): I will be keeping Vista in the baby bjorn, though.

KAT (as Polyp 39): Aside from Vista you are the weakest of all of us, Maybe Many Homes.

DEVON (as Many Homes): Ow. Um…

RICHARD (as MÍme): They’re not wrong.

DEVON (as Many Homes): I really don’t need this tonight. I am trying very hard, and I don’t need this tonight. What I’m saying is that if I get hurt I accept responsibility, 39. That’s what I’m saying. I understand that there is a… It’s okay. Nothing bad will happen.

DC (as Traveler): I have currently no reason to resist death, so if you were to begin attacking me with the purpose to kill I would return to The Echo from which I came, so feel no wrong in doing so.

KAT: Polyp 39 reaches out a tentacle to bap Traveler on the noggin.

KAT (as Polyp 39): This world is very interesting.

KAT: Then I sulk off.

[laughter]

RICH: Alright. What I hear is three different potential things, or at least two. Finding out some more information about Vista, sounds like you kind of incorporated that into the idea of getting more information about this memory of Polyp 39. The other thing that still needs to be done at some point, or kept in mind, is that you need to get extra Clams to be able to get the supplies necessary to reinvigorate Many Homes’s garden to a place of usefulness for that.

RICHARD: Oh, that’s easy.

DEVON: Also, no one else knows that, they just know I’m tired.

RICH: Yes, but just as a group, keeping it in mind.

RICHARD: Mm-hmm.

KAT: Cool.

DEVON: Yeah. I’m sure I can, I don’t know, contact someone who’s been like, hey you wanna do this job, and I’ll be like [breathy] yeah.

RICH: It sounded like MÍme was saying something was easy.

RICHARD: Yeah. Like, what do you need?

KAT: From my corner I harrumph over.

KAT (as Polyp 39): We should leave as soon as possible then, however we must fix that one.

DEVON (as Many Homes): [sighs] Ow. I need some food.

RICHARD: MÍme goes and digs through and gets another number 5, and just sort of, eh?

DEVON (as Many Homes): I’ll eat two of those. It won’t be good. I’ll have trouble swimming later, but I totally will. Yes, thank you.

KAT: [laughing] “I’m gonna break out!”

DEVON: “I’m gonna get barnacles!”

[laughter]

DC (as Traveler): Don’t worry about swimming. I can assist you in movement.

DEVON (as Many Homes): No, it’s not food for me, it’s food for my garden.

RICHARD: MÍme just wanders off through a wall… because we’ve seen what you feed the garden, right?

DEVON: Yeah. I was actually gonna ask Rich if you have any ideas. I’m trying to think, but all I can think of is horrible options.

DC: Souls!

DEVON: Yeah, that’s what it was gonna be, like people.

RICH: What’s wrong with horrible options?

DEVON: Soylent Green is people!

RICH: That’s right. This is the flaw in the garden. This is hungry, hungry meaning not like… yeah, it needs to eat a lot, but also probably it needs to eat something particularly unique that’s difficult to get ahold of for when it gets triggered. What do you think that would be besides necessarily people?

DEVON: Yeah, I don’t want to feed it people.

RICH: It may also just be something that’s in a hard to reach location, say something that you would have to travel to the outside, or you’d have to travel outside of this city, or you’d have to travel to the center, right?

DEVON: I have two instincts. My first instinct is I actually feed it information, but it’s a very temperamental thing and it decides what kind of information it wants. Oh, I want agricultural information about the left side of the Marimo moss, and I’m like why specifically that. Or, it needs sunlight.

RICH: Oh, actual sunlight.

DEVON: Actual sunlight, which means we’d have to go up, because we’re at the point where there’s barely any sunlight. And actual sunlight, not like the filtered stuff, like genuine sunlight. Those are my two.

DC: That grade A.

RICH: I have another idea. You said that you have Leo Venus plants in your garden.

DEVON: I do.

RICH: I think they need to return to the central core periodically.

DEVON: So then that would wrap everything into one heist. We’re gonna fish heist this.

RICH: I’m thinking that works for me. What do you guys think?

RICHARD: I’m imagining, what if it’s, you know how trees and stuff can have differently gendered pollen where you have to have trees of certain kind, of each kind, and then the wind or whatever spreads it around? It could be something like that where you have a certain kind of plant that is in the garden, a certain kind of them, but they also need to interact with others of their species.

RICH: Yeah. There isn’t just one type of Leo Venus plant. Maybe Leo Venus is actually the general term; there are Leo plants, and there are Venus plants, and there are Leo Venus plants.

DEVON: It’s a biome, and I have only a fraction of the biome, and for the biome to continue I have to go back there and exist in it for a little for the plants to be like “oh, I’m okay.” Or, maybe at some point I just have to transfer the whole biome into my shell, and that might end bad. Yay.

RICH: I’m sure it’ll be fine.

DC: Open a rift in space-time.

DEVON: Yeah. I’m sure it’ll be fine!

DC: Then we’ll put Vista in there and Vista will return as a golden god.

KAT: [laughs] Yeah!

DEVON: I’m okay with that. That’s actually really good.

DC: And be like, I am now… 8.

[laughter]

RICH: Awesome.

RICHARD: I think MÍme comes back into the thing with a bunch of clippings of different things and some spare Clams and just a bunch of random stuff that they think is what the garden needs.

RICHARD (as MÍme): I can get more.

RICHARD: Not realizing what they actually need.

RICH: I think that works great for a whole lot of the garden, I think it’s just…

DEVON: Yeah. It’s like, ooh, this is the equivalent of a magnolia tree, I need one of these, but… Also, where did you find these Clams, and who did you kill?

RICHARD: That’s not important. [laughs]

DEVON (as Many Homes): Yeah. This does help me, thank you MÍme, but it’s specifically for certain plants. The plants I have need to be in the core for a little bit, so if you give me a little bit once we get there I will not be as weak as I am now, the way you put it, 39.

[chuckling]

KAT (as Polyp 39): You seem sensitive about this.

DEVON (as Many Homes): I am sensitive about it, a little.

KAT (as Polyp 39): You should become stronger.

DEVON (as Many Homes): Okay. I’m trying my best.

RICHARD (as MÍme): Why is this different than everything else? You seem sensitive about a lot of things, if we’re honest.

DEVON (as Many Homes): Wow… So, I’m gonna go to sleep and we’ll do this tomorrow morning. I think that would be the best. [laughter] Hey Traveler, do you have somewhere to stay? You have the couch if you’d like.

DC (as Traveler): I have a large estate over in theó

[laughter]

DEVON: Traveler has a mansion.

DC: I can’t even say it seriously.

DC (as Traveler): I have a large estate over in the Transcendent district that has enough space to hold… me.

DEVON: Wait, let me pitch something real quick, because we could operate out of your… Your mansion could be our heist planning spot and that would be very funny, but just saying. Or, actually even funnier is the tiny apartment.

KAT: This is the more defensible location.

DEVON: That’s true, and we can have aóI don’t actually know the name of itóbut the Pepe Sylvia meme, all those walls, just everywhere.

DC: The red string. Yeah.

DEVON: Yeah. [smiling] I only know it as the Pepe Sylvia meme.

RICH: Oh! You mean a conspiracy board?

KAT: Conspiracy board, yeah!

DC: “I went into the source and I said Carol, Carol! But there is no Carol at the source.”

[laughter]

RICH: I just see Many Homes going “How did my life get so weird?” and going to bed. “Why do I not have any normal friends?”

DEVON: Oh, I mean, she’s enjoying herself, though not tonight, not so much tonight.

KAT: Poor buddy.

RICH: Alright, now as a seed of a plan is planted and everyone is getting some rest that needs to sleep, except maybe creepily not 39 in some way…

KAT: Yeah, I don’t think I need a lot of stuff.

RICH: Okay. It’s the next time cycle, whatever that is. The next day?

RICHARD: We’re only 100 meters down. We’re fine. Days work.

RICH: Oh yeah, that’s true. That’s right. Days work. Many Homes, you feel worse.

DEVON: No…

RICH: Your garden has been fed, at least most of it has been fed, but you’re feeling like the Leo Venus plants are drawing nutrients from the rest of the garden to just try and stay ahead of the drain that you imposed on them. You wake up and you look like you haven’t gotten any sleep at all. you’ve got bags under 89 of your 100 eyes.

DEVON: Does art imitate life or does life imitate art?

[laughter]

RICH: How many eyes do you have?

DEVON: I have only two that you can see.

RICH: You have 100% bags, like me? Is that what you’re saying?

DEVON: Yes, I have 100% bags. No, okay. Are there any mechanics to that or is it just aó

RICH: Nope. It’s just still hungry and you’re feeling driven now. Alright, so you’ve gotten some rest, sort of. What is your next step? MÍme, you see that she does not look good. Actually, Polyp 39, you may not even have to kill her. Just wait, she’ll justó

KAT: Yeah… So, I figure I don’t sleep a lot.

RICH: That tracks.

KAT: I don’t think I eat a ton either. I think I’m fairly efficient. I figured that I was spending the night trying to effectively meditate to see how many synapses I could repair memory-wise. I know that I know Maybe Many Homes from somewhere. Have I seen the garden?

RICH: I don’t know. This garden is interesting to me. Your garden is in a pocket dimension that you access through the inside of your shell?

DEVON: Yes.

RICH: Do you come in and out of your shell? Do you put your shell on and off like a jacket? How does it work?

DEVON: I can come out of my shell. I can be open. [chuckles] When I am just doing research or whatever, I have access to it, but I’m not tending it, if that makes sense. It’s like stored data, when I have my shell on. If I need to tend to it or fix it or change the code that it is, quote unquote, then I have to take my shell off, I have to come out of my shell, and turn it inside out. I imagine that’s why there’s a spare room, that’s my room that I go to. You can setup your board games in there, but you have to move them out when I need that room, and we have to move Vista into a different room because I have to go over there and I need to set up my thing. I’m sure that y’all have wandered through it once or twice. It’s not a very common thing, it’s just when I have to go and… You know how they make bonsai and they train bonsai by putting wire around them? I have to do the equivalent of that, but I imagine that’s more of a genetic engineering aspect of that, but I have to train my garden.

RICH: But you said it was in a pocket dimension, right? Or like it was stored?

DEVON: Yeah. Most of the time it’s stored.

RICH: Are you opening a door into this space in which you keep your garden?

DEVON: No, I turn my shell inside out.

RICH: Oh, okay. [laughs] As one does.

DEVON: As one does. I’m not sure exactly what it looks like, but I know that my shell becomes the garden, and when I need it to be a shell, you know [claps], and it becomes aó

RICH: Your shell is a transformer that folds out into a larger space when it’s folded out than it looks like when it’s folded in. Got it.

DEVON: yes, and then it becomes a garden, so the whole room is a garden.

RICH: And a garden that other people can see?

DEVON: Yeah. If you’re in the garden when I fold it up, you’re part of it, you become stored data, you become part of that. That’s why I say that I can put Vista in there and then just put it back together. That’s the baby bjorn.

RICH: Interesting, protecting Vista, got you.

RICHARD: Amazing.

RICH: This all started from Kat asking about whether or not she’s seen the garden.

KAT: Yeah, I’ve definitely seen the garden. [laughs] Cool. The thing that I was doing was not in physical space but in my mind, making the equivalent of a conspiracy board, and trying to see if, by following back different memories, I could get the old ones to re-up, trying to connect through different paths to figure out why I know Maybe Many Homes and where the information would be stored for our little buddy Vista and what about this home and space would be an in for us. I wanted to know if I could make some sort of roll to see how much of that I can actually accomplish.

RICH: Yeah, absolutely. What it sounds like to me you’re doing is a Basic Move called Reaching Out. When you ask for help from nature or your community, so reaching out in this meditative state that you’re having and reaching out for a deeper meaning or understanding of something, right, from your natural state?

KAT: Yep.

RICH: I would do that. You’re gonna roll +Hope.

KAT: Okay. That is 10 exactly.

RICHARD: Nice.

RICH: Oh, very nice. On a hit your pleas are heard. Describe what it is that you see and how this deep meditative state looks for you and we can work together on the answers to your questions.

KAT: I think it’s mostly… I know there’s something wrong with my memories, and I know that something has severed the connection between them, so the way that I’ve regained memories so far is by having enough information in context in the world and then thinking through all of my related memories, and if you have connecting threads it will open up a new possibility, and then I have to reckon with that shown memory and see if that opens anything up after I deal with it and process whatever potentially traumatic information is there. So, I think I’ve done this in a few different pockets, trying to remember bits of Maybe Many Homes in this space, so I remember seeing them out of a tube in an area where lots of bio-machines were being made. At one point I get little bits of the facility, not a ton, but different connected rooms, so I think I’d know that the plant stuff is relevant, and roughly I have an idea ofóif we’re inówhere that is.

RICH: Now I’m picturing you as the Winter Soldier coming back to get reprogrammed. I think one of the things that you note, too, is that these plants are everywhere, they’re all over the place, and this research area is huge. There are scores of research facilities that are owned and operated by a range of private and public interest groups. So, one of the things that you do know for sure is that the facility you need to get into is privately run, but it is a military organization that gained its power and reputation from the creation of this post-Guardian defense program that you became part of. You did see Many Homes in the past, but it was peripherally. She was never really in the core of the reprogramming process. It was like when you were returning from a mission you would see her on the outskirts and you recognized her. One of your Gifts that you chose was Transferrable Consciousness, right?

KAT: Yes!

RICH: You have this kind of awareness of yourself and of others that others don’t have, kind of this self-analysis piece, and going into this deep meditation you kind of recognize where you might need to get into, you recognize the particular plants that Many Homes has within their shell are not common, it’s actually a relatively rare plant version that is found in the core central area of this research facility where you would go to be reprogrammed.

KAT: Oh, okay.

RICH: If that’s part of the problem, if part of her garden’s issue now is that this plant has become almost parasitic to the rest of her garden and she needs to get it exposed to some kind of food process or something that has to do with these other plants, you’re gonna have to get pretty deep in the core, physically, to actually get to the plants. As far as information is concerned, getting information on yourself and your history, you might be able to, when you get close enough, be able to hack in without getting necessarily to the central core, but for her garden she’ll physically need to get into a pretty deep area of the complex. Does that kind of answer your question?

KAT: Yeah. That’s pretty much what I was looking for. I’m really worried about her, so as soon as I focusó

RICH: She is weak.

KAT: Yeah. She’s way weak, doesn’t make any sense, bad. [laughs] Yeah, so knowing roughlyóDo I know this building amongst other buildings? Do I understand things to that degree?

RICH: Yeah. We speak of buildings. When I think of buildings within this giant moss ballóWhat was the name? What are they called? You guys had a name.

KAT: Like a Marimo?

RICH: A Marimo? Is that what it’s called?

KAT: Uh-huh.

RICH: It’s so joyful.

KAT: Mm-hmm!

RICH: So, this Marimo of a city, “buildings” quote unquote, there could actually be physical structures that are built and grown within, but it would be within these giant caverns that have been grown out. You were talking about bonsai trees, Devon. It’s cultivated and cured into these areas with ledges. It’s an underwater labyrinth of tunnels and caves and openings and areas. The central core area, how I imagine it, if you’ve watched a show like Babylon 5 or something where there’s a station that’s circular, you’re looking out through and gravity is weird, so buildings are built on the ground and on the walls and on the ceiling and upside down, and yes there is gravity but buildings can be grown and cultivated off the ceiling just as easily as they can grow up from the bottom.

DEVON: Yeah, I was gonna say, especially where it came to maze, you could have openings upward too, not just downward or the sides.

RICH: Exactly. The inside volume of living space within this thing is hard to even comprehend, but in that central core area where it used to be these beautiful gardens and all of this grown area that the aristocracy, the meritocracy resided, a lot of these homes and buildings have been walled off or they’ve been covered in domes, areas that make it difficult to get into and out of, these plants are all over the place, glowing almost crystalline looking plants are all over the place. They’ve tried to cut them back and to cultivate them, but they just keep manifesting themselves past barriers. They’re still having a hard time, even after 50 years, trying to understand what it’s doing.

In fact, at one point, they cut back a whole bunch of areas, and Many Homes would know this, they started to cut back a whole bunch of this area and the city started to destabilize again, so now they’re trying to live in this balancing act between living there and researching it and still not even sure if it’s affecting anyone around them in negative ways over long terms, and trying to research them and back and forth. There’s a lot of researchers that live in this area and a lot of people that go into this area, but not many people go into and out of the area, once you’re in there you kind of stay in there for long periods of time. They’re trying to keep it balanced between quarantine and research and getting what they need, so it’s a pretty heavily secured area.

DEVON: I was gonna ask about whether quarantine was a thing that they were worried about or if you have to be scanned before you leave.

RICH: Yeah. They do not want it to potentially spread out, so the fact that you have one out… not great.

DEVON: Well, mine was in the pocket space, so I imagine you can’t necessarily scan for that.

RICH: Yeah. I think that’s a unique thing of yours as well. There may be some others that have developed this technique, but I think you learned this technique from someone else.

DEVON: If we want to continue making this dramatic, it can just be my mentor, my parental figure, because then it’s tinted where I’m using this for good but I don’t like that this is what I’m using.

RICH: yes. Yeah, because a lot of the study has to do with The Echo and the ability to pass across the boundaries between The Echo and the physical world, because that’s where these plants appear to come from. Alright, so that’s the situation.

RICHARD: Yeah.

KAT: Cool.

RICH: You guys get together. You just inform everybody else of this?

KAT: Yeah. I guess we have a tactical brunch, and I check for everyone’s permission before beaming the information into their brains.

RICH: Nice. What’s the next step?

RICHARD: I think MÍme transforms themself into a map of the area, so it’s like that whole, was it the sand from…

RICH: Black Panther?

RICHARD: Yeah, from Black Panther, except they are the sand. There’s a little miniature version of the four of them that forms up on one side and it shows a pathway through there.

DEVON: I can help correct anything that looks off, because I’ve been in the complex before.

RICHARD: Ooh! Yeah, okay! Yeah, I think they’re going off of the cues that Polyp 39 and Maybe Many Homes are giving them about what’s there and everything and adapting as tough they were one of the holograms. They actually have a move called Get the Job Done. Nothing distracts you from the task at hand. When you Scan the Environment you may roll with Calm instead of Community. Additionally, when you Act as a Team to prepare for an infiltration of, a rescue from, or travel through treacherous or unpredictable locations, add Calm to the result of your roll. On a hit you and your allies gain access, but it’s up to you to get out. Then you get to pick some options as far as what consequences you avoid. I think sort of like Blades in the Dark or something we’re just gonna jump into it rather than creating a plan and we’ll see what happens as we roll?

RICH: Yeah, exactly. Do you want to make that roll then to Act as a Team, Richard?

RICHARD: yeah, let’s do it.

DEVON: I do want to make one thing before we jump in there, though.

RICH: For sure.

DEVON: I just want to use a move and have a gadget on me.

RICH: Oh, for sure, you can do that at any time.

DEVON: Whenever that’s applicable.

RICH: Perfect. Acting as a team, when you face a challenge as a team choose a team leader then answer the following questions. You’re gonna roll plus questions. The questions are: Are all the team members pursuing the same resolution? So, what is it you’re trying to do?

RICHARD: I think I’m trying to get the memories for Polyp specifically, and if we can get more information about Vista then great, but I think because Vista has such a time scale, it’s like we could do this 100 years from now if we’re all still around and probably be okay provided nothing else went wrong.

RICH: Okay, so priority is getting memories for 39?

RICHARD: Yeah.

RICH: Okay. Does anybody have a different goal than that?

KAT: I feel certain that Maybe Many Homes is going to die if we don’t fix that problem, so…

RICH: Fix the garden problem?

KAT: yeah, so that’s mine. I think I’m also a little scared of getting my memories back as much as I know it’s necessary, so I’m gonna focus on the Maybe Many Homes problem.

RICH: Okay. Perfect. I love it.

DEVON: Yeah, I was gonna say, Maybe Many Homes has three. [laughs] Herself, Vista, and 39, and I think that they’re all relatively even. Actually, I think that Vista might be a little bit more for her, but 39 and Vista are about the same. The thing is, she’s also afraid of what will happen when that happens, but she feels like she owes it to 39 to find that, but also Vista’s will have less negative things happen, maybe. Then herself, she’s like whatever, I’ll figure it out. It won’t hurt me.

RICHARD: I love it. That’s exactly what that question is for, right? We’re all kinda doing stuff.

RICH: Exactly.

RICHARD: What about Traveler? Are they just rolling with it?

DC: Traveler is focused on getting Vista up and running as best they can.

RICHARD: Alright.

RICH: Yeah. Sounds good. Did the team take time to prepare for the challenge ahead? It sounds like you guys are sitting down, you’re making a plan, you’re gonna be thinking about some stuff, you have some people who have been inside the facility to give you ideas, etcetera. It does sound like that, so you’re gonna add 1 to the roll. Does at least one team member not trust another team member? Does anyone not trust another member of this team?

RICHARD: Ooh.

DEVON: I feel like Maybe Many Homes doesn’t know very much about MÍme, but I don’t think that means she doesn’t trust them.

RICH: Yeah. This is definitely a deep, fundamental mistrust, like “I feel like you’re gonna betray us,” or “I feel like you will not have my back,” kind of thing.

DEVON: No.

RICHARD: The only one I can think of is maybe Kat, if 39 doesn’t trust themself.

KAT: Yeah, I was just gonna say, I don’t think that 39 trusts themself, but I don’t know if that counts.

RICH: According to the question as we have it, I’m gonna say that does not count, so not trusting yourself is a little different than watching someone else that’s gonna turn on you.

KAT: Yeah, no.

RICH: Is every team member suffering the penalties of one or more Conditions? None of you have any Conditions marked, right?

RICHARD: Not yet.

RICH: Perfect. You’re gonna be rolling +1, and you get to actually add your Calm as well.

RICHARD: Yep. We’re actually looking at a +3 on this guy. That’s a 12 altogether. [laughs]

RICH: Fantastic. On a hit each team member holds 1 Maneuver. You basically have a resource you can now use called maneuver, and you can spend that Maneuver at any time to add or subtract one from one of your rolls as you see is beneficial. You can do that with friends as well. So, if for example Many Homes is making a roll and rolls a 6, and you really want a 7, one of you can spend a maneuver to increase that 6 to a 7 and describe how you’re helping them as a team member. In addition, on a 10+ the team leader chooses one team member to hold 1 additional Maneuver. Each of you has 1 Maneuver, and then MÍme gets to choose someone to give them a second Maneuver as well.

RICHARD: I think I’m gonna give the extra Maneuver to Traveler, because I know they’re going there to get stuff for Vista, but I think they’re probably the most detached from it emotionally, I feel like. They’re going to have more perspective than I think the rest of us will who are sort of in it.

DEVON: They’re the most Jedi.

RICHARD: [laughs] Yeah.

RICH: Alright. In addition to that, you also get to choose three from your list, from Get the Job Done.

RICHARD: Alright. Oh geez. No one knew we were coming.

RICH: That’s good.

RICHARD: Our way out is uncompromised, and you have what you came for, so we’re going to be able to find the stuff, it’s actually there. The thing that I did not choose is you or your friends don’t suffer long-term consequences, so we’ll see how this goes.

RICH: Excellent. Describe to me how you guys get into the central core.

DEVON: Me and DC have a thought.

DC: Because in this culture the way that Transcendents function they can ask for things, and they have to be given them because whatever they’re doing is a part of their journey, so if it’s I need to go in here and I need this person specifically, there’s a bureaucracy sort of thing where it’s like, okay you have 20 minutes or something, where I have to scan a little card.

RICH: Got it. You can ask for something that you need.

RICHARD: It’s like a reasonable accommodation type thing? Oh, you’re a Transcendent, it’s like yeah, okay.

DEVON: You’re a Transcendent and therefore whatever you’re doing is ultimately going to benefit everyone around you, so of course we’re gonna let you in and we’re not gonna ask you to explain everything, because you’re a Transcendent.

KAT: So it’s like diplomatic immunity? Is that the idea?

DC: Yeah, that’s the perfect way to put it.

RICH: [laughs] Nice.

RICHARD: Cool.

DEVON: I’m the “I have to come in with this friend” and I have everyone in my garden, in my shell.

KAT: yeah!

DEVON: You all are in the baby bjorn. I imagine that I am at capacity, because Vista, we don’t want to leave them at home.

RICH: Yeah, I could see that.

DEVON: We’d have to get a babysitter, and I don’t have the Clams for it, unfortunately.

RICH: Yeah. You barely had Clams for those two number 5s.

DEVON: Oof.

[laughter]

RICH: You get into the central core area, and where you get to is now in the military complex, so this private military complex area. You’ve gotten into the central area and you guys see all of these crystalline plants everywhere. Sorry, Many Homes does and Traveler does. You can, if you wish, be psychically linked. In other Descent into Midnight games, when you’re already a Guardian group, you actually are linked through your sanctuary to one another. I’m gonna say that you guys are already developing this connection, a familiarity you guys are building with one another, psychically, so that you can kind of see a little bit of what’s going on outside. Each person knows what anyone else wants them to know about what’s happening with them no matter where you are in the world.

So, you get into that space, into that area, and you get to the military complex. The military complex itself, even though you’re a Traveler and you have asked for access into the research, the whole central core is not a problem, into this military facility with someone that does not have clearance is going to be a little bit more difficult. This is a private facility that’s highly secure and secretive. In fact, the only reason you guys know that the Polyp program exists is because you know 39 and you know Many Homes. A lot of people feel like, in the general community, that there’s just this time of peace. “Oh, we had these Guardians, they’re not around anymore but that’s okay, because… nobody’s attacked us and nobody’s had any issues, and we haven’t had any diplomatic problems with other cities. Everything’s great in the world.” They’re just taking it at face value and not understanding that the Winter Soldier is out there taking care of business before it becomes a problem. It’s a combination of Winter Soldier and Insight Program is what’s happening right now.

You actually get up to the dome that covers an area that was one of the highest, or most central I guess, aristocratic areas. It’s domed off with a permeable, almost a jellyfish membrane that’s covering this area that prevents people from going in and out except through actual checkpoints.

RICHARD: I’ve got this.

DEVON: Alright. I’ll let everyone out.

RICHARD: That was part of the plan? Yeah.

DEVON: Everyone’s out now that we’re in, and I’ll swoop Vista back in.

RICHARD: So, we knew about this, this is all part of the plan, so MÍme is actually going to split themselves into a sheet of plankton or whatever and go and, they have material mimicry, so they transform into the same material that the bubble is and start to work themselves into it and basically form themselves into a small ring and just start opening it…

RICH: Ah. Interesting.

RICHARD: …and create an opening, and that’s how they’re going to attempt to ëHack the World.’

RICH: Oh! Excellent. What is Hack the World?

RICHARD: When you attempt to bypass a location’s defenses, roll +Drive.

RICH: I love it.

RICHARD: Ooh, and that is a 7, so we’re at a 7 to 9. The access is limited or temporary, the bypass was more difficult or challenging than you anticipated and mark a Condition, or our entry had unseen consequences. I’m gonna say limited or temporary. I feel like that’s the right thing, because it’s gonna close behind us and we’re gonna have to figure our own way out later.

RICH: Yep. That’s exactly what’s gonna happen. If you had not chosen that then you might have been able to make a permanent weakness in the dome to be able to get back out again.

RICHARD: Mm-hmm.

RICH: Once you get outside of this military complex you guys have an escape route out and you have no problem getting out of the secure area. In fact, your papers have been checked multiple times since you’ve been inside, but you’ve gotten past any other issues that you’ve had pretty easily. You do, you guys bypass into this dome. You are now inside a military facility, and there are people everywhere. There are Hermies and Grimps all over the place. You even see a Transcendent or two in the facility area as well moving around and doing research. The central part of it looks like… The only thing I can picture in my head here is it’s Cinderella’s castle. This was an elaborate home, and there are other buildings that are built around the outside of this thing, but this home looks like it’s been heavily locked down.

DEVON: For visual’s sake, becauseó

RICH: Because you’re visual.

DEVON: I see many things. I see many homes. I imagine that it is like Cinderella’s castle but it’s like upside down.

KAT: Oh…

DC: Oh shit.

RICH: Oh yes.

RICHARD: Oh my gosh, yeah.

DEVON: Yeah, because that way you have the downward pointing triangle, and that means bad.

RICH: That means bad. [laughs]

DEVON: I can talk about the psychology of why, of shape design, but it means bad. It would be best if it was upside down. Just saying.

RICH: I want to have that conversation.

DEVON: I will also send you a PDF that just has the info, too. It’s really cool.

RICHARD: So, how would people feel about wearing bits of MÍme as a disguise?

KAT: Whoa.

DC: It’s fine by Traveler.

RICHARD: Okay. Just to look a little differently, you know like you change your profile or wear a mustache or whatever, because MÍme can turn themself into whatever material people are made of.

RICH: Oh, that’s right, you have material Mimicry, right?

RICHARD: Yeah, so they can turn themself basically into a prosthetic thing to just change the look of people if they want it.

RICH: [laughs] You can absolutely do that if everybody’s okay. I need you to make a roll on Do Something Wondrous, though.

RICHARD: Drive, okay. That’s a +1, and that’s an 11.

RICH: Very nice. On a hit describe how you accomplish your goal. On a 7 to 9 you would choose a consequence, but you do not have one. Tell me what you’ve done.

RICHARD: MÍme essentially splits into three and they all float toward each of you.

RICH: Can I toss out something real quick?

RICHARD: Sure.

RICH: This is a research place, and remember this is an advanced civilization, so it’s not just people walking around naked or whatever. They’re carrying things, there’s the equivalent of the Descent into Midnight clipboard, you know, people wearing glasses, pocket protectors… There’s people wearing identification, other kind of clothing, body paint, whatever it is that you happen to describe, there is all kinds of things going on. It is a research facility. Things are being carried around like giant clamshells that are used basically as security boxes or crates that are carrying things from place to place. There are shipments going in and out. Imagine it very active.

RICHARD: Yeah. Basically, MÍme becomes uniform/extra arm/whatever it is to fit in and disguise the distinctive look of, let’s say, Many Homes’s shell, that sort of thing.

DEVON: Yeah, turn the shell into looking like something else, because that’s a very… I am one of the only hermit crabs.

RICHARD: Yeah.

RICH: So, elaborate on that. Hermies are a fairly common species in the city, but you’re one of the only ones that has a shell?

DEVON: Yeah. The Hermies look like hermit crabs without the shell, but what they do is they specialize in something to the point where they will change their physical form to make it perfect for what they do, so hers is changed where she biologically engineers things and the way she does that is she has all this stuff from the garden that she can pull nutrients from and whatever, and she created the shell so that she could carry it with her, so that’s how she’s specialized.

RICH: Oh, nice.

DEVON: She has a bunch of arms so that she can do a bunch of engineering things… I’m not sure what it would look like underwater, but you know what I mean. That’s why she looks the way she does, because this is her special field, and not many other people have that shell. They have something adjacent or similar, and I imagine that there’s some kind of clothing.

RICH: They must look very unique and different in many ways. Interesting.

RICHARD: I wonder if you’re a clamshell driver, a crab or whatever, where you’re sort of attached to the outside of this big, giant clam that opens up for people and you can hang out in there, and it’s all plush and luxurious, and has mint flavored spurts of water or something. [laughs]

DEVON: Yeah, but you would have a shell that was kind of like that, or hook up specially for you and it would be your specialty. Every Hermie looks very different.

RICHARD: Cool. Yeah, so MÍme sort of takes on some of that to disguise Many Homes’s shell.

RICH: Yeah. What about Traveler and 39? There are a lot of Grimps around, and 39 appears to be a normal member of the species in general, until terribleness happens.

KAT: Yeah. I think my disguise is pretty simple, right? It’s just to make me look like a slightly different, basic Grimp. It’s just changing my eye color and maybe giving me a distinctive accessory, doing that psyops thing.

DEVON: A big sunhat.

KAT: Yeah. There’s now… So, all Grimps have basically a little sea flower in their different types, and then they do things to them to make them fancier, so mine’s normally an anemone but now it looks like a coral riffle with a bow.

RICHARD: Ooh.

[giggling]

KAT: As soon as that happened, I completely changed my personality. (switching to Valley Girl accent) “Oh my god, guys! We HAVE to go down the hall now!!”

[laughter]

RICHARD: Amazing.

KAT: Really getting into it. Yeah.

RICH: I love it.

KAT: Basic protocols.

RICH: Amazing. Alright Traveler. You have some shapeshifting ability as well, but you still tend to look like a jellyfish, yeah?

DC: I think that Traveler just stays the same and just has an imposing look on their face. [laughter] They’re just going around like this walking with the rest of you.

RICH: That walking with purpose? “That person must belong here.”

DEVON: Yeah, we all walk like we have somewhere to be.

KAT: Your disguise was a clipboard.

RICHARD: [laughs] Amazing.

DEVON: Aw man. I want to say that most people can swim, but I love the idea that you guys are all swimming beautifully through the water and Many Homes is just (scratching) across the floor, like god damn it.

[laughter]

RICH: I definitely think that’s the case. Right?

RICHARD: Yeah.

DEVON: Loud scrabbling sounds.

RICH: And there’s a lot of Hermies of various kinds around that are all doing that scramble.

RICHARD: So at this point, the garden of the Leo Venus, is that outside of this building?

RICH: They have covered this building. This building is encased.

DEVON: Where would be the mainframe? Like, where could we most directly access things? That’s a little bit more what Maybe is focused on, I think.

RICH: Sure. The mainframe, you know of one of the offices that you could go to that’s outside of this home that’s been almost sealed off by the Leo Venus. You know the office that you can go to that you should be able to hack into without having to get too much deeper into what’s happening, but to get what you need for the plants that are in your garden you’re going to have to get into that building, into that home.

DC (as Traveler): We can get in there.

DEVON (as Many Homes): I have to go in there, but if you don’t feel like it’s safe for you I’m not going to ask you to come with me.

DC (as Traveler): I’m generally not concerned about my safety. This is very interesting.

DEVON (as Many Homes): Okay. It’s weird in there, it’s really weird.

DC (as Traveler): Your words excite me. Let’s go.

RICHARD: [laughs]

DEVON: Okay. [laughs] I’m glad we’re on the same page.

DC: I’m going to use my Movement Manipulation to make us just move generally quicker.

KAT: Ooh, that’s cool.

RICH: Great. What does that look like?

DC: I think it’s like an Echo-touched thing, just a very small, tiny… like it almost feels like someone’s gently pushing your back, but in a comfortable way, like when you’re on a swing and you’re like, oh, yay. [laughter] It’s like that. I just sort of flicker my eyes for a second.

DEVON: And we scuttle.

RICH: Are you trying to get into the office that Many Homes was talking about, this office where she might be able to hack into the mainframe?

DEVON: I’m going into Cinderella’s castle. I’m going into the center. I would say that I would tell everyone this is where the office is, there’s probably not gonna be anyone in it if you want to wait for us, I’m not gonna ask you to come with me because there’s a chance we’re gonna get caught, so this is your choice. If you just want to go for the data, this is where the data is. I have to go there so that I can then go back to the office and do a deep data dive, but where you guys go is up to you, but I’m going into the center so that I can help you guys.

RICHARD (as MÍme): Yeah, we can stick together.

RICHARD: Everyone hears that, because there’s bits of them on all of you, [laughter] so your hat’s just like “yeah, we can stick together.”

DC: MÍme, can you just yell Gryffindor for me for a second, one time?

RICHARD: Yeah. What is the situation that we have to get past to get into the building? I think that’s the crux of it, right? We’ve gotten into the area and then we’ve gotten into the perimeter, and now we just gotta make it past something. What do we think that is?

RICH: Where are you guys right this second while you’re having this conversation, while you’re deciding what to do?

RICHARD: Are we hidden in the bushes, basically? Like if the big building is all dangling down all these plants, did we just find something and climb up into them so we’re hidden from view?

RICH: You’re hiding in some of the overgrown Leo Venus plants?

DEVON: I think we’re going near them. I kind of have a move that I can do… not a specific move, a basic move, nothing too special. I think that Maybe Many Homes has worked with these plants enough where she could reach out to them, if that makes sense, and ask them. Do you know where there’s the least amount of people? Can you give us a boost?

RICH: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

DEVON: She’s literally been living with one, so she can reach out to these crystal plants and be like, hey friend.

RICH: I’m up for that.

DEVON: I believe that would be Reach out with your feelings, or what’s it called?

RICH: Reach Out. [laughs] Reach out with your feelings.

DC: Reach out and touch plants!

RICH: You blow up the building with your mind.

RICHARD: [laughs]

RICH: Yes. The Basic Move is called Reach Out, and it’s when you’re psychically or socially reaching out to your community or to nature for aid.

DC: Wait a second. Can I help you? I have a move that helps people.

RICHARD: Ooh.

RICH: Maybe.

KAT: Yay.

DEVON: Sure. I have a +0 in it, so…

DC: Fantastic.

RICH: What’s the move?

DC: More Experience Than Luck.

[laughter]

DEVON: I feel like that’s valid. That’s really valid.

DC: So, I can share an experience with you or give you skilled advice, and I roll +Drive. My experience is applicable to the challenge, and then I can spend Maneuvers to grant you the double bonus.

RICH: Ooh, nice. You can also wait to see what she rolls before you decide to spend a maneuver.

DC: Okay cool.

DEVON: It will probably be bad. I rolled a 7.

RICH: Right, so on Reach Out, on a 7 to 9 your Guide will describe how the help is temporary, unstable, or threatening, but you do get help.

DEVON: Yeah, so the only way to get it to a 10 is to get a +3, so it’s alright.

RICHARD: Which we can do. We’ve got the maneuver to do it.

DEVON: It’s true. Do we want to try and not get in trouble right now, or do we want to wait until we actually are in trouble and then use this?

KAT: [laughs]

DC: I like having a complication right now. That sounds fun.

DEVON: Yeah. I feel like we’re in a spot where we’re a little floundery. [drum crash]

RICH: So, you hack into, you psychically link into, some of these plants that are around you. Now, the plants that are around you, these Leo Venus plants that are around you, are not the same specific species as the one that’s in your garden, so you’re kind of taking a chance and seeing what will happen. You link with them and you can get the feel of them. It’s almost as if your mind’s eye switches from seeing this glowing crystalline plants that are all over this building… Everything that’s not the plants fades into this dull black and white, and the plants get much brighter. As you’re reaching out to them and more like feeling them you’re asking the question but it’s more like you’re projecting empathically to them what it is that you’re looking for. They show you a path through them. Other parts of the plants dim a little bit, there’s a little bit of a brightness to a path, and it goes around to the back of this huge mansion, which is all I can describe it as, and there’s an area where the plants are that highlight what you feel might be an entrance that’s around the back, may have been a service entrance of some sort. When you do that, after you get that sense of where you might be able to go, all of the plants come back into brightness so bright that it almost blinds your mind’s eye. You can see with your eyes, but your brain is not processing the visual information, and you reel back from it. I want you to take a Condition.

DEVON: Rad.

RICH: There’s an emotional backlash to having a connection to this much of this plant that you’ve only had a little bit of link with. I want you to mark Isolated.

DEVON: Oh. So I feel like I’m isolated away from them?

RICH: There is something that’s now deep inside you that you feel like these plants, even though they’re covering everything inside this central core, there is this universal, almost crushing loneliness that they’re feeling, like they do not belong where they are, and you are now carrying that with you.

DEVON: I am now the parent of an entire species of plants. They are now my child.

RICHARD: [laughs]

DEVON: Okay. Well, I’m gonna show them the path, then, sadly.

RICHARD: Aw.

RICH: So, you come out, Many Homes comes out of this psychic vision that you had, and as you do, even though these plants are everywhere, there are roads and pathways that are through there, and of course it’s a 3D environment so individuals can just be swimming back and forth without too much of an issue… You open your eyes and you look out, as you’re blinking your hundred eyes trying to get your visual cortex of your brain to start working again…

DEVON: I like how I have more eyes every single time we say how many eyes I have. It’s good. I love it.

RICH: It’s a thousand eyes, right? That’s what you said?

DEVON: [smiling] yep, it’s a thousand eyes.

RICH: I can’t remember how many eyes you said. There’s a lot of eyes.

DEVON: It’s fine. We don’t know how many. She doesn’t know either.

RICH: They keep coming out and coming back into the space, andó

DEVON: No one canóYeah. Some of them are now MÍme, so we don’t know.

RICHARD: Mm-hmm.

[laughter]

RICH: Exactly. You open your eyes, and as you do, you guys are looking out and you guys are focusing on Many Homes and seeing what she’s doing, and there is a lot of traffic of course going up and through the water as well, and you look up and you find something to focus on. It’s kind of a turtle analog that’s used for carrying and dragging objects, it’s like a beast of burden, that comes through this area. There are multiple Grimps swimming around it, and on the back of it are two Hermies, and one of them has a shell, and that Hermie, when you’re finally focusing on what’s going on and your mind’s eye starts to clear, you realize that you’re locking eye to eye, to eye to eye to eye to eye to eye… [laughter] with your mentor. At the same time, one of the Grimps turns, kind of breaks formation, and starts heading in your direction, and you Polyp 39, your psychic heads up display starts analyzing this Grimp, and you realize quickly that this Grimp does not have any easily visible weaknesses…

KAT (as Polyp 39): [softly] No weaknesses.

RICH: …which tells you it’s one of you…

KAT: Yeah.

RICH: …and heading in your direction.

KAT (as Polyp 39): Um, guys, like totally we have to like prepare for battle.

[laughter]

RICH: And that’s game.

RICHARD: Amazing.

DEVON: I knew you were gonna bring in the mentor. Ugh.

RICH: I see the two Polyps trying to analyze each other and it’s like this battle of psychic war trying to figure out a weakness and then realizing, wait a minute.

DEVON: “What are their power levels?!”

KAT: “It’s a… It’s a me!”

DEVON: Yeah. It’s just a DBZ scanner. It’s got the heads up. I actually imagine it’s like a cat looking at their own reflection, like “[startled grunt] … No weaknesses!”

[laughter]

KAT: Puffing the tail!

DC: “This can’t be possible! Their power level–!”

DEVON: “Masaka!”

RICH: Alright. Perfect. Thanks so much, guys. Let’s go back around again and introduce yourselves and where people can find you out in the world. I’m Rich Howard. I was your Guide for today in this fascinating game of Descent into Midnight, and you can find me online, you can find all of the creative team actually at @DiMRPG, that’s Descent into Midnight RPG, or you can find me at my personal Twitter account @UmbralWalker. Devon?

DEVON: You can find my artwork and projects at DevonGeorgeStudios.com. You can also find me on social media at @DGeorgeStudios, on either Twitter or Instagram. If you want to take a look at what I’m actually working on like right now at this moment, I am working on the art for a card game called Valhallamas by Fidget Creative, so if you want to see me draw a bunch of… llamasó

RICH: A thousand llamas.

DEVON: Just so many llamas. Yeah, you can go check that out.

RICH: Awesome. DC?

DC: Hello. …

RICH: [laughs]

DC: I am DC. I just have to say, the amount of times I do that across so many different interviews and streams is absurdly high, so if you’re following that bizarre path that I’m walking, there’s another one. You can find me on the internet as Dungeon Commandr, without the E in Commander, on Twitter, on Twitch, on just about anything. I am a game designer, I am a consultant, I am a writer, all sorts of things, and a community activist?

RICH: That sounds right.

RICHARD: Mm-hmm.

KAT: That is right.

DC: I kinda don’t like self-prescribing activism, that feels weird to me, but anyway.

KAT: That is what you do. [laughs] You’re an organizer. Sorry!

DC: Yeah, I’ll use organizer, I’m a community organizer. If you want to check out all of my cool stuff, follow me on Twitter, that’s where all of the information goes.

RICH: Fantastic.

DC: Thank you all. You’re amazing.

RICH: You’re amazing.

DEVON: Thank You.

RICH: Kat?

KAT: Thank you so much for running, Rich, this is really fun, and thank you everyone for playing with me. It was really enjoyable. I am Kat Kuhl. I am a podcaster, game designer, and voice actor. You can most easily find me online on Twitter at @Kat_Kuhl_, and you can also find my favorite thing that I’m working on at AutonomicPodcast.com with Autonomic spelled like the nervous system.

RICH: Awesome, and Richard?

RICHARD: Alright. I’m Richard Kreutz-Landry. You can find me pretty much all the time on Twitter at @RKreutzLandry, or you can check out my origami and a little bit of my gaming stuff at OrigamiGaming.com.

RICH: Fantastic. Thanks everybody else for spending some time with us as well, and Welcome to Midnight, everybody.

Game Closet 66 – Austin Ramsay & Beam Saber

Game Closet 66 – Austin Ramsay & Beam Saber

5Calls.org: https://5calls.org/ – Stance: http://takeastance.us/ – ResistBot: https://resistbot.io/ – Swing Left: https://swingleft.org/

This show is a proud member of the Stop, Hack, & Roll podcast network.

This episode of Game Closet was edited by Taylor LaBresh. Show music was composed by Corv Leary.

Game Closet: interviewing LGBT+ people in tabletop gaming, creators, fans, anyone! Interviews talk about personal experiences, games with (or without) LGBT+ representations or themes, or using queer content in gaming. Are you queer or LGBT+ and want to be featured on Game Closet? Check out our Contact Us page! You can also check out a curated collection of queer/LGBT+ roleplaying resources.

Links:

Austin on Twitter

Austin on Itchio

Beam Saber Kickstarter

Beam Saber Discord

Forged In The Dark

Sean Nittner

Battletech

Evil Hat

Songs for the Dusk

Sasha Reneau

Vincent Patrick

Beam Saber Merch Store

Anna Kreider’s KS Budgeting Tool

Party of One

In The Air Tonight

Tomb of the Gods

Stay Puft Marshmallow Man

Find your local food bank – USA

Find your local food bank – Canada

Gundam

Char’s Counterattack

08 MST

Stardust Memories

Beam Saber: Cenotaph

Mouth Moods

That Scene From Miami Vice You Know The One

Pronouns (D10 table!)

Playtest Descent into Midnight!

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