[Scions of Time] The Crystal Sphere

Due to the blizzard two Mondays ago, we tried to have a make-up Scions of Time game this past Monday. That wound up being me, Nonny and Munk due to scheduling. So we had a mini adventure in which Munk’s incarnation of the Time Lord, dubbed Challenger because no one’s come up with a title they like, met Stacy the airhead car hop waitress at a dusty drive-in somewhere on the Extraterrestrial Highway in Nevada in the 1950s.

As he ordered a milkshake, Challenger and Stacy got to talking about going places and doing things beyond Nevada. She’d started in Chicago and headed west, intending to get to Hollywood to become famous. When a pair of soldiers from the nearby base showed up to apprehend Challenger, he fled to his ship outside, taking Stacy with him on the promise of taking her to Paris.

Where they wound up was the USS Paris, a scout ship orbiting a crystalline stellar object sometime in the future. They explored the ship a bit, met the crew, were brigged for a bit and then discovered the star system was entirely enclosed in a crystalline sphere that hadn’t been there a week ago. The sudden appearance of the sphere alone was interesting enough to attract the attention of a scout ship. The odd crystal object orbiting one of the inner planets they discovered once they burned their way in was even more interesting.

We left off with the crystalline object reacting rather poorly to Challenger and Stacy’s EVA. I’m not sure if we’ll ever get back to that cliffhanger, as we’re not likely to have just Nonny and Munk at the table again. Maybe a future or past set of characters could happen across that moment and cross their timelines for some Blinovitch Limitation Effect fun.

This session highlighted something about this group that we need to work out: everyone has a reactionary play style. I’m reactionary in that I feel I’m at my best when bouncing back from what the players do. And these players seem to wait for things to happen to them. This runs counter to my own conceptions of how an itinerant Time Lord behaves: being nosy, taking the lead in interactions and so on.

So there’s a gap between expectations here. We talked a bit about it after the game, how it’s in genre for more proactivity and nosiness on the players’ part. To my mind, landing on a ship orbiting an interesting thing should be more than enough to get player characters curious, but I am steeped in the many veins of lore of Doctor Who, in which “wander around and get captured” is a valid method of information gathering and getting captured means the Doctor runs rings around his supposed custodians. That’s not every player’s style, though. My hope is that these things will emerge and even themselves out in play.

And I will continue to fight against the GM ADD that whispers in my ear, “Hey, why not switch over to that other campaign idea? That’d be fun and everyone would dig it way more than this Doctor Who mess.”

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3 thoughts on “[Scions of Time] The Crystal Sphere

  1. I’ve found, at least in the RPG circles that I run, that most players are passive “lean back” players than active “lean forward” types.

    If one person in the group is active and basically takes on the role of the main protagonist/party leader, then it’s fine if everyone else is passive. But it is a problem when everyone is passive. At that point the groups temperament is better suited to a more railroady game.

    Most entertainment is passive (Books/TV/Movies/Theater) or very prescribed (Video Games) and so to really grasp the idea that you can do anything, that it really is a sandbox, is a mode of thinking that most people haven’t done since childhood, hence the “sandbox” type of game.

    Then you add in the fact that most gamers don’t even know how to articulate what they really want out of a game experience. Most people, to my own personal horror, don’t endlessly reflect on the aesthetics of the experience they are having. They actually just accept whatever is handed to them, with some vague sense that this or that genre, tone or feel is or isn’t something that they like.

    And then you have the reality of “I want to hang out and game with this particular person, but our tastes clash… how can I force the square peg into the round hole?”

    It can be a big mess if you are trying to aim for a specific outcome, with the easiest solution unfortunately being to lower your expectations on what can be achieved.

  2. Wow. Killing me. The Crystal Sphere is the name of a screenplay I’ve been sitting on for 12 years, set in space. Not necessarily the way you describe though, so that’s good. 🙂

    This means I better get to it quickly, you’ve motivated me. 🙂

  3. Pingback: [Scions of Time] Ladies and Gentlemen, the Star Children « Held Action

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