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.

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