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 Post subject: [Actual Play] S/lay w/Me PBP #1 - Boulet and Troy
PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 4:48 pm 
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Markizo

Joined: Fri Apr 30, 2010 10:07 pm
Posts: 2174
This thread is an actual play-by-post (PBP) game of Ron Edwards' S/lay w/Me (SwM). SwM is a "twosie" game, meaning it is designed specifically for two individuals to play. A description of the game may be found in another thread [http://www.roludo.ca/forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=543].

The two participants in the game are Boulet, the "You" or hero player, and Troy, the "I" or GM-like player.

If you wish to insert a question or comment, please preface your post with [Comment] or [Question] so it is clear that it is not part of the game thread itself. If it is a general question/comment about the game, please post it in the other thread (above). Otherwise, if you have a specific comment/question on something we are doing in our play, go ahead and interject your thoughts. Please be brief, however.


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 Post subject: Re: [Actual Play] S/lay w/Me PBP #1 - Boulet and Troy
PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 5:11 pm 
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Kavaliro

Joined: Thu May 06, 2010 4:31 pm
Posts: 206
Location: Hartford, CT
I am a warrior, experienced and respected, but my hands are shaking. I am tall and emaciated, my skin colored with ash and ochre. My hair are short and I wear a loin cloth.

(Where?) The Troglodyte Realm where mushrooms are source of life and death.

(Goal) I want to see the Sun, though it may burn my eyes.


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 Post subject: Re: [Actual Play] S/lay w/Me PBP #1 - Boulet and Troy
PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 11:55 pm 
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Markizo

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Your life has been reduced to an endless lonely trudging through a carpet of phosphorescent spores. The greenish-yellow motes, normally dormant in the stuffy air of the caverns, flurry into small clouds as you pass. Days ago they mixed with the gore on your hands and legs to form oddly glowing boots and gloves of the softest faux-leather imaginable. Funny that the ugliness of the slaughter has turned into a subtle beauty like that. The troglodytes paid dearly for taking you as captive. They took your weapons, but killing needs no tools.

The dim glow shining up from the floor lights the massive forest of umbrella shaped fungi from underneath and casts weird shadows onto the roof of the endless caverns. It's a poor substitute for the world that has been taken from you.

Your soul aches for clear sunlight and a breeze of fresh air. Your mind begins to feed on itself with no one to talk to and you begin to worry that fate has decreed that a killer like you is no longer fit for the surface. You debate with yourself. Are your eyes too weak to bear the sun? Will the surface air penetrate your new second skin? Will a mountain stream wash it off as the tepid pools of the underworld have failed to do?

Then you hear the singing. At first it is so subtle you fear you are going mad, but as you move forward it steadily grows. The voice is a clear, high-pitched lilting jumble of endless vowels, one morphing into the next in a mindless but beautiful song.

The tunnels ahead open out into a wide and lofty cavern, dominated by the largest pool of water you have yet seen. The glowing carpet stops at the edge of the glassy surface, making the water appear almost black, like a hole in the earth. Only one thing is reflected in that black mere. It's the face of the singer.

She is an elfin beauty. A delicate, lithe form with skin of palest green. She "wears" only the lightest dusting of spores. She continues singing, unaware of you as you watch from yards away, behind a mushroom three meters tall.


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 Post subject: Re: [Actual Play] S/lay w/Me PBP #1 - Boulet and Troy
PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 9:53 am 
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Kavaliro

Joined: Thu May 06, 2010 4:31 pm
Posts: 206
Location: Hartford, CT
For days and days I've been but a chased animal, lost in unknown territory, trying to distance the hunt. And now my stiff body starts to dissolve at the sight of the stygian water enlightened by the beautiful apparition. My mind is suddenly silent, my worries irrelevant. The patches of vegetal light caress gently her lean face. She's like a goddess of yore, foresaken but by the fungus, whispering psalms of spores. She doesn't move much, just stroking something that I can't distinguish. Is it a doll? A pet? Her song is like a twisted lullaby that both arouses me and soothes me.

Long minutes pass entranced with admiration. And it takes a few splashy sounds to make me alert and aware of myself again. Something is coming down the tunnel I arrived from. My hands are shaking. Again. I'm in a bad spot, hidden from the woman's sight but obvious to anyone else. I crawl away from the tunnel entrance and find a large boulder able to hide me. The lullaby is a gift that keeps on giving by covering noises.

I notice a skull turned to stone on my right. I could use an improvised weapon. I pick a few strings of thick mycelium and thread them through the eyes sockets and the nose cavity. It's a very archaic flail I got there. But at least I could trip or distract someone with it, and it gives me a little more range. Also it's something to cling to, to keep control of my quiver. My eyes switch between the lady and the entrance. My mind is filled with tactics. What is the best escape route? Is this pool deep enough to drown someone? Where to attack from if my green maiden was in danger?


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 Post subject: Re: [Actual Play] S/lay w/Me PBP #1 - Boulet and Troy
PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 10:05 am 
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Markizo

Joined: Fri Apr 30, 2010 10:07 pm
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[OTF = Outside The Fiction] Cool response. BTW, I forgot to tell you the Lover is a "2." I'm obligated to tell you that by the rules because it sets the maximum number of dice you can earn from acting toward the Lover. Any other dice you earn come from acting directly toward your goal in a negative or positive way. Also, I was obligated by the rules to bring in the Lover in the first scene but, as they say, "we need not rush." My mental wheels are spinning right now and I have some cool but conflicting ideas. I'll post later on and I may or may not introduce "The" monster in this scene. Whatever I do, obviously, I'll move the story forward and give you something to work with.


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 Post subject: Re: [Actual Play] S/lay w/Me PBP #1 - Boulet and Troy
PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 6:31 pm 
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Markizo

Joined: Fri Apr 30, 2010 10:07 pm
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Sitting there, gripping your makeshift weapon, you realize the awkwardness of your situation. You may escape the notice of the thing coming up the passage behind you, and yes there clearly is something coming, but there is no way it can miss seeing the girl.

She seems blissfully unaware of her surroundings. A melancholy note enters into the song woven by her clear, ringing voice, and then she carefully, slowly reaches out over the edge of the water. A limp, furry body is draped over her thin outstretched fingers. It is clearly some kind of beloved animal, now dead. You realize this only as it slips from her opening fingers and disappears into the dark water.

Only then do her tears flow. Perfect droplets of water reflecting the glow of the spores like tiny peridots. Her voice breaks and the song is swallowed up by the oppressive, stuffy air of the caverns.

Her grief is communicated to you across the intervening yards and your heart is gripped mercilessly by twin forces: empathy for her sadness and an icy fear of what is about to happen.

Out from the dark tunnel entrance a monstrous form steps. It is a ruddy, scaly thing, vaguely like a man but with thorny growths on its tough-looking skin. Surely it is a devil from the lower depths and you wonder if all this time you have been wandering downward, toward the inferno, rather than upward toward the surface.

As the monster steps quietly from the darkness he pauses and snuffles. He turns his head in your direction for a moment, scanning the area around you. Seeing nothing but a thicket of fungi that would rival the most elaborate structure in a coral reef and the fossilized remains of some long-extinct creature embedded in the wall, he turns and strides confidently toward the green maiden.

She startles and quickly stands, eyes wide. But she does not run away. These two know each other! She does not look happy to see the monster and she nervously glances around for an escape before she realizes it is pointless and sets her feet firmly apart, lifts her chin, and challenges the beast.

"Malhavok! Why are you here? I have told you I do not want your company. You are repulsive to me. Go away!"

All this would be more impressive if there wasn't a slight quiver in her voice.

Malhavok, for you can only assume that is the devil's name, replies in a gravely and yet sly voice. "Come now. My bride. My sweet. You were promised to me from the beginning. Surely you would not betray the word of your father. And there are ... compensations. You know my magic. I can open up the worlds of pleasure to you ... and pain, yes ... but are not the two so close to the same thing? Come with me now and fulfill your father's vow."

"I will not!"

"You think you will not, but perhaps I will find a way to persuade you."

"You cannot. I have nothing ... now. There is nothing you can take from me except my life, and I count that a small price to avoid your groping claws."

The two stand staring at each other. Both breathing fiercely through flare nostrils.


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 Post subject: Re: [Actual Play] S/lay w/Me PBP #1 - Boulet and Troy
PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 6:33 pm 
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Markizo

Joined: Fri Apr 30, 2010 10:07 pm
Posts: 2174
[OTF] It's both hard and fun to try and figure out where to stop one's "Go." I tried to leave this at a cross roads and you can do with it what you will. I am playing to see what will happen and have no preconceived notions about whether the monster will leave ... for now ... or take a more aggressive stance. It's your call. Have fun.


Last edited by Troy on Wed Sep 01, 2010 11:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: [Actual Play] S/lay w/Me PBP #1 - Boulet and Troy
PostPosted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 12:15 am 
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Kavaliro

Joined: Thu May 06, 2010 4:31 pm
Posts: 206
Location: Hartford, CT
I raise on my feet silently as I absorb every words of the dispute. I can barely control the shakes spreading to my forearms. Not now, not yet dammit! The adrenaline flows in my vein as the maiden's rebellion echoes mine. A few circular movements of my shoulders should relax my limbs.

Malhavok isn't clueless. Even if he didn't notice my presence before I was close enough to swing the skull at his head, he manages to switch his weight on his left leg. The attack doesn't connect. It doesn't matter, I am one step ahead of him. My foot springs powerfully and projects him at the edge of the pool. Before he can regain his mobility, the skull comes down on his face. Thump.

"She told you" Thump "she doesn't want" Thump "Your company!"

Her eyes show disbelief and some disgust. She tries to talk but breath eludes her.

"I'm looking for the surface. Come with me." I say as I extend my hand. A glance at the creature. He's not moving.

"Better get going" I add.

[OOC] I took action toward the Lover. I'm not sure if the Go counts as an action toward my goal though but I doubt it. One die.

5

(I did a 2 dice roll just before if you look at the invisible castle logs but I dismissed them because I realized the action toward the Goal wasn't there, yet)


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 Post subject: Re: [Actual Play] S/lay w/Me PBP #1 - Boulet and Troy
PostPosted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 10:36 am 
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Markizo

Joined: Fri Apr 30, 2010 10:07 pm
Posts: 2174
[OTF Post]

I hope no one minds, but I am going to push a few of the discussions about the rules that Boulet and I are having by email. I think they form an interesting parallel to the fiction. If you want to just read the fiction, avoid any post or paragraph in a post that begins with OTF (Outside the Fiction).

Boulet: I am a bit puzzled by the rules after reading them twice. A Go (mine or yours) doesn't have to consist of an Action, like in our first posts where you introduced the Lover but didn't take Action and neither did I. [Note: "Action" denotes something in the fiction of a specific nature defined by the rules that necessitates a die roll.]

I can imagine extreme cases where one side takes many more Actions than the other. If it is I it's not problematic (though a bit strange): the I stack could reach the Monster size before You even rolled any. You's apathy lead to a dead end where neither Goal or Lover will be secured.

The other way around puzzles me: You could accumulate dice like crazy without I making significant moves with the Monster. There doesn't seem to be a cap on how many dice You could accumulate (except for Actions toward the Lover).

My first understanding was that the game was to be played aggressively between the two players. Now I see a path where I could be playing soft with You and let the fiction be a cake walk. Which might be intended by design. Or more probably I've misunderstood something about the game. What's your view? The corollary of this question is: is it a dick move to take two actions in a row while the other player was taking a slower pace toward to play the Match?

Troy: I see a Go like this. It does not have to contain an Action, but it does have to contain an Advance (something that moves the story forward). And a single Go should probably not contain more than one significant Advance. That is, neither of us should fly past two or three major events in the story without giving the other a chance to interrupt and take the narrative reins. All that is a bit grey, since an advance is not a cut-and-dry element. But our story-telling sensibilities will sort this out, I think.

The pacing is something we work out together. I'm thinking/hoping the dice will take care of themselves. I guess if I see You quickly amassing 3, 4, or even 5 dice I can just get super aggressive with the monster. Frankly, I think it works both ways. If we both played aggressively, for dice, the story would be over QUICK! I think that's why he reiterates "we need not rush" in several places. We could also both play slowly, but the dice towers indicate progress and they are visible, so one player really can't "steal a march" on the other. There are only two bits of hidden information. The first is the hidden score of the Monster, which can trigger an end game. The other is the You's ability to topple the tower, which an trigger an end game. I think this is important and intentional so that we can both trigger the end game when it is fictionally appropriate and yet the end game can also be a surprise. You know its coming, but the exact "when" may catch you a bit off guard.


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 Post subject: Re: [Actual Play] S/lay w/Me PBP #1 - Boulet and Troy
PostPosted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 11:18 am 
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Markizo

Joined: Fri Apr 30, 2010 10:07 pm
Posts: 2174
You race up the tunnel, finding new energy in your lean frame despite your infrequent and unsatisfying meals of toadstool flesh. (You only know of one kind that is not poisonous and are unwilling to take the chance on other varieties except as a last resort.) You have the green girl grasped firmly by the wrist. Her smaller frame can't match your speed and so you have drag her through a series of bends and twists, going upward as best as you can tell.

You gave Malhavok a severe beating with your makeshift flail of ossified bone, but you doubt that he will be so easily dispatched. A demon from the lower pits isn't like the flaccid troglodytes you slew by the dozens to make your escape.

After a few minutes you can feel the girl pulling against you, and you stop for a moment to check on her. She is staring at you with a mixture of awe and trepidation.

"You. You are not real. You can't be. I have seen your face in the pools but you are only a dream. A fancy like the other visions I see in the pools. And yet ... your cruel grip is hard as iron. You must be real. I don't understand, but I accept.

I have seen you in the pools, wandering, a stranger to our world. And now you have done something foolish, though I thank you for it. Malhavok is dangerous, yes, but he would not have hurt me without my permission. He would not dare."

You thought her fair skin could not be bleached further beyond its current state of beauty, but you suddenly see the remaining faintest tint of light green drain away from her face.

"My father! He will be furious with me ... and with you!

Oh what have you done! If my father finds us he will surely kill you. You have to get away. You must leave me. Now! Your actions show that you are noble and kind, but they have placed a sentence on your head, if I know my father. He does not suffer others who thwart his will.

Please, go. Leave me and find your surface world. Father will not follow you from these caverns though he also once lived in the world above. I will distract Malhavok and he will forget you soon enough."

At this she trails off, an unhappy and resigned look coming over her face.

[OTF] I agree with your assessment that you triggered one die for acting toward the Lover but not a die in regards to the Goal. I think acting toward the goal would be more obvious. At the very least, it would be something like introducing a change in the environment that indicates you are getting closer to the surface ... a ray of sunlight through a tiny hole, a change in vegetation, etc.

I'm finding it a bit hard to find my own opportunities for dice. I wasn't sure if I was "acting as the Monster" yet in the last post. In fact, I was trying to keep a bit of ambiguity in the situation as to who the monster was. Up to this point, the monster could be the father, Malhavok, or even the girl, though that seems unlikely. (I strongly considered making her the monster when I first introduced her. I thought she might be something like a siren or the salt-vampire in the first episode of Star Trek TOS.) At this point, though, I think I'm willing to say that the monster is the father and Malhavok working in tandem. (The rules aren't clear whether I need to openly declare the monster, but it seems implied as rolls are tied to him/her/it.) The father is the primary villain, as you will see, and Malhavok is his agent. I think I am being influenced by Shakespeare's The Tempest a bit. In any case, I am going to retroactively take a die for acting as the Monster and threatening the lover in my last Go.

Hero
5

Monster
1 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/2671905/)

That's a great roll for you, since all your dice except 1's will be "good dice."


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