Resisting the Empire:
The plucky Protagonists and fearsome Adversary now all exist. But how do our heroes resist? At what price is the Adversary’s defeat?
• Choose a Protagonist. Play out an initial moment of resistance against the Adversary’s empire for them. Imagine what makes this character just say “no” to an overwhelming dictatorship and then take up arms against it. The Protagonist will succeed at doing one of the following:
–Resist a Minion
–Resist a Symptom of the Adversary’s Keep Others in Line
–Recruit an Ally to the Resistance
[Let’s grab Dirk first. I’m going to think of Dirk as kind of like a rogue noble turned bandit, with a gang of insectoid horsemen (knights?) who surround his roving legged palace. Spinox has learned of Dirk’s location from the Vanishing King and heads off to the plains to capture him. He and his army have hoversleds (those are cool… and a must-have), so they whiz on over to attack the horsemen. Problem is: the hoversleds have to be relatively low to the ground, so the horsemen still have a fighting chance against them. Dirk embarks on his horse and lays into Spinox’s goons. To help him, one of his fellow knights Maraud does some crazy stunt-riding (i.e. wielding two swords on a horse) and manages to hold him off. Now I can only choose either “Resist a Minion” or “Recruit an Ally,” so I’m going to choose “Resist a Minion” to put Spinox down for now, knowing full well I’ll get a chance to “recruit” Maraud to my side later.
• Do the prior step for the second protagonist. Please choose a different option from the list, so as to create some variety, and play out the corresponding scene.
[Then I grab Botkin, who is meanwhile toiling away in the bowels of some factory. I’m going to choose “Resist Symptom” and say the Symptom is effectively the internal ‘Net within the Vanished King’s palace that keeps tabs on the robots’ programming. As a big fan of the role-playing game Zero, I take a page from it and just have Botkin suddenly drop from the ‘Net. Just like that, his digital mind is severed from the collective and begins to act independently using all the skills downloaded into him. Botkin begins to actually learn the ins and outs of the palace, noting not only the patterns from his subroutines but anomalies as well. The chinks in the Vanished King’s stronghold are found.
In summary: Dirk’s looking to end the source of his misery, and Botkin’s learned how.
Also keep in mind — they haven’t met yet. Be thinking of ways to plausibly get them together now.]
• The Adversary now gets a scene of his own. Let the effects of the two moments of resistance become abstract-but-troublesome variables with which he now must reckon. He now will apply the pain to each Protagonist in a direct and hostile fashion. In addition, or as part of this pressure, the following happens:
–One of the Protagonists may get a new Ally as a result of this redoubled oppression. As with other Allies, the Manipulator must decide if they see this ally fighting to the death for his Protagonist, then marking an X or O in the box on that side of the big Character Roster sheet.
[Botcruel introduces this scene by bringing a “malfunction” to the Vanished King’s attention, Botkin dangling from his arms. The Vanished Prince orders the robot destroyed; a fairly simple proposition. To spare Botkin an early and easy death, I as the Manipulator take the Ally and claim Botcruel as my Ally. I write him down as an Ally and decide he’s a little too jaded for that mushy “sacrifice” stuff – X. So Botcruel takes Botkin off to be “destroyed,” but actually uses this opportunity to slip him additional secret programming and has him shipped off to the Plains to gather forces for his own coup d’etat! Botkin now has Botcruel’s eyes in the palace, and Botcruel his unknown programming variables in Botkin…
The Vanished Prince, meanwhile, summons Sinuet from his usual project of converting resistance leaders into spies and double agents to find Dirk and defeat him… with his own army – bwa ha ha ha!]
Keep tuning in!