2011-10-17 : Going Into Darkness

or: the only way I know how to explain things is by designing a damn game

Late in the autumn of 1786, a horror came to Boston. Like all of its kind, it preyed by night upon the weak. It butchered a drunkard in the alley off H—St. It forced the window of a sailor on M—St and took his two children in their beds; when his wife surprised it, it tore her face and fled. She afterward described a frightful creature, like a wolf in the muzzle and shaggy back, like a madwoman in the eyes and limbs, hung with rags of filthy silk and lace. A possible sighting put its lair somewhere about the Copp's Hill grounds, but an investigation there discovered nothing, and an official statement blames desperate vagrants.

Last night, this horror attacked a second drunkard, who managed to fight it off and survive. This drunkard was one of you.

This is what happened next.

Going Into Darkness

Creating Characters

All the PCs have reason to hunt this monster. As you create your character, consult with your GM to arrive at one.

One of the PCs must create the drunkard whom the monster most recently attacked. Volunteer! As you create your character, be certain to choose all the options marked with an asterix (*).

Which of the following has your character suffered? Choose any or all, but at least two:
- Personal violence, like an assault or attempted murder.*
- Conscription into military service.
- The impersonal violence of war.
- The death of spouse, children, or both.
- Arrest and imprisonment.
- Forced labor.
- The loss of land, property, and good name.
- Cruel punishment, like whipping or branding.
- Lasting poverty.
- Drunkenness, gambling, and moral degradation.*

Your character is desperate equal to the number you've chosen. However, if you've chosen more than 6, your character's still desperate equal to 6.

Your character is patient equal to 8 minus desperation.

Which of the following has your character seen? Choose none, one, any or all:
- A man or woman laid open by wounds or by a surgeon's hands.
- A ghost.
- A miraculous healing by the grace of the Almighty.
- A midnight convocation of persons unknown.
- A carriage, unlit, racing the city's streets by night.
- The birth of a child.
- A vision of the future, which proceeded to come to pass.
- A nightmare creature in the waking world.*
- A vision of a loved one far away, found later to be true.
- Initiation into Freemasonry, the priesthood, or an antique cult.

Your character is cautious equal to the number you've chosen. However, if you've chosen more than 6, your character's cautious equal to 6, and if you've chosen fewer than 2, your character's nevertheless cautious equal to 2.

Which of the following can your character do? Choose any or all, but at least one:
- Fight in soberness with sword and pistol.
- Fight in rank and good order with musket and bayonet.
- Fight with fists, knives, throttling fingers, and murderous intent.*
- Ride a horse well and at speed.
- Create beautiful things with your hands.
- Sing, or play beautiful music.
- Read.
- Stitch closed a wound and set straight a broken bone.

Your character is brash equal to the number you've chosen. However, if you've chosen more than 6, your character's brash equal to 6, and if you've chosen only 1, your character's nevertheless brash equal to 2.

Your character is strong equal to the greatest of desperation, patience, caution, and brashness.

You'll roll your character's strength in fights and other direct physical confrontations.

Disarmed, your character is dangerous equal to 1.

Armed appropriately, your character is dangerous equal to 3.

Armed but inappropriately, your character is dangerous equal to 2.

Next To Come:
Going into darkness;
Using caution, skill, or care;
Threatening or intimidating another;
Enduring duress;
Keeping faith.

1. On 2011-10-17, Kit said:

Now I want to play Poison'd again. (As in, want-again, not play-again.)


2. On 2011-10-17, Jonathan said:

Nice. Poison'd + Afraid = ???


3. On 2011-10-17, Alex Abate Biral said:

or: the only way I know how to explain things is by designing a damn game

Well, that is the best way to explain things. At least, the best that I know of. That said, what are you planning to explain with this game? Does this have to do with the "Lamentations of the Flame Princess is made of lies" post in the forge?


4. On 2011-10-18, SDLahr said:

I love these little (or not so little) explain-a-thing games! This one looks like fun...


5. On 2011-10-18, Julie, aka jrs said:

I so want to play this game. I've already started making up a character.


6. On 2011-10-18, Marhault said:

"The future, in fiction, is a metaphor.

A metaphor for what?

If I could have said it non-metaphorically, I would not have written all these words, this novel; and Genly Ai would never have sat down at my desk and used up my ink and typewriter ribbon in informing me, and you, rather solemnly, that the truth is a matter of the imagination."

I read The Left Hand of Darkness in high school.  I can remember fuck-all about it aside from this quote from the author's introduction which has stuck with me.  This is what art is all about.


7. On 2011-10-18, Gregor Vuga said:

Holy shit is that a horror hack of Poison'd.

(Of course it is.)


8. On 2011-10-18, Timo said:

When I read the intro blurb, I hear it narrated like the intro to "Law and order."  Dunh-dunh.


9. On 2011-10-18, cc said:

Brash looks a couple short?  How about:
- Curse like an Irishman
- Drink a Scot under the table

I've just been reading about the period, more possible if you want any.


10. On 2011-10-18, David Berg said:

- Stare down a [guy who'd mess with you if you didn't look tough]


11. On 2011-10-19, Vincent said:

CC, David: Brash could use a couple more, probably, yes, but let me tell you what I'm going for with that list. I'm going for things that reveal dedication, commitment, practice and followthrough. You've put in the hard work and the humility, undertaken the rigors of an art, failed often, perhaps under pretty intense circumstances, and now you're able to act from that position of experienced confidence.

CC, your drinking one isn't totally off, in those terms, but I think I'll leave drinking only as a thing you suffer. I'll see how it settles with me.

I thought about I dunno "sail a ship" or something, and maybe there's something there, but it didn't materialize in punchy enough form.

So yeah, if you think of anything that fits, suggest away!


12. On 2011-10-19, Weeks said:

Lead an enterprise: military or commercial, with the fate of others resting on your shoulders.

Something like that?


13. On 2011-10-19, Vincent said:


It's larger-scale than the others, they're all only personal-scale, so I think it'll nudge characters too far into self-determination for this game. It'd equip them for long-term success in their world in a way that being able to fight or sing or whatever doesn't quite do. Interesting!

I'll see how it settles with me too.


14. On 2011-10-19, Alan said:

How about:
Journeyed off the edge of the maps and returned.

For those confident with the unknown and frontiers types.


15. On 2011-10-20, Neil W said:

Sailed Round Cape Horn?


16. On 2011-10-20, Vincent said:

Remember that they're things you CAN do, not things you HAVE done.

Not as easy as it looks, huh!


17. On 2011-10-20, cc said:

Yeah its trickier than it looks. Similarly, I was going to suggest:
- Sail the oceans and round the capes
- lead a crew of scurvy dogs


- survive the winter in the Wilderness
- navigate by the stars and the land
- cheat at games of skill and chance
- create an artisan's Masterwork
- carry yourself as a beau or dandy

Also wanted to suggest, for Desperate:
- defended your own or someone else's honour in a duel
...but you may want to limit them to 10.


18. On 2011-10-21, Mathieu Leocmach said:

Sooo great !


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