Go-Head! The senil fossils ruling the United States see red! Smelling their destruction they have decided to check the storm by passing the Deportation law affecting all foreign radicals. We, the American Anarchists, do not protest for it is futile to waste any energy on feeble mided creatures led by His Majesty Phonograph Wilson. Do not think that only foreigners are anarchists, we are a great number right here at home. Deportation will not stop the storm from reaching these shores. The storm is within and very soon will leap and crash and annihilate you in blood and fire. You’ll show no pity to us! We will do likewise. And deport us! We will dynamite you! Either deport us or free all!
– The American Anarchists, 1919
Hey, everyone, and welcome back to Tabletop Garden, the actual play podcast where we collaborate on short, self contained stories about interesting characters and do it with an agenda. I’m Gregory Avery-Weir and we are going to continue The Great Molasses Flood.
This episode will be relatively chill compared to some recent ones as the investigation gets started, and I hope that it provides a welcome change of pace. If you want to get the next episode a week early, you can support my work on patreon at patreon.com/GregoryAveryWeir. I appreciate it if you’re already a supporter. And if that’s not the way that you want to help out, I’d also appreciate you checking out my work at gregoryaveryweir.itch.io, where you can see a bunch of the video games I’ve made, and also a new release that is free. You, in fact, cannot donate for it at all, which is Waiting for Fiasco.
For a long time. I’ve had an in progress work that was a Fiasco play set for Classic Fiasco, where you are playing out an existentialist play. And you should check it out. I think it’s really cool. It’s very silly, but also weirdly appropriate to the setting. So check that out. You can check all my other stuff out at gregoryaveryweir.itch.io.
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So The Great Molasses Flood, as you may be aware, uses Rosette Diceless, which is a role playing system that Melissa and myself developed. You can check out more about Rosette Diceless at rosetterpg.com. And our agenda in addition to our normal one, which is to honestly portray diverse characters, pursue healthy play practices, and craft story with responsibility, for this campaign, we’re also trying to make our game consensus based, story focused, and improvisational. We now resume Tabletop Garden: The Great Molasses Flood.
So hey, how’s everyone doing?
I’m doing all right. A little sleep deprived, but life is generally going pretty well.
I got a B on my sleep score last night. So…
I got a C.
That’s a passing grade.
Yeah, C is rough, though. It’s rough when you get into C…
C is for “can’t sleep”. That’s that’s what C is for.
I’m gonna have to take a remedial course.
However, I have been- I have hit 10,000 steps two days in a row now. So it’s starting to become a trend.
So last time when we had stopped you had surv… well. You remember being killed in the great molasses flood, after which you woke up in 2019. And were told by someone named Ashley that you were to stop the efforts of the cut-up men from changing time.
You were sent back nine days to January 6. And when you read or heard that Theodore Roosevelt was dead, you all knew that your dream wasn’t a dream, or at least probably wasn’t. And you met up at the Copp’s Hill Burial Ground, which is overlooking this neighborhood and its massive building sized molasses tank that you now know is just days away from bursting.
We discussed your goal and consequence for this upcoming investigation conflict. So your goal is to stop the cut-up men’s plan. And the consequence if you fail is to be remembered shamefully by history.
And so before I… before we go into into the turn order, I want to real quick review the general clues that I think you have and if any of you have something that I don’t mention, feel free to hop in. You know that, that that tank which is run by Purity Distilling is was making weird noises for a while, kind of bubbling and rumbling for days beforehand. You remember that early beforehand, you saw what you believe is a cut-up man, speaking to George Lahey, who is one of the firefighters. And you know that you saw smoke coming out, a smoke or steam or something, coming out of the top of the tank just before it burst. It burst out and the roof kind of fell straight down. There was a an elevated train that just barely missed being destroyed. And its its driver ran back across the tracks to stop another train. But that the the tracks themselves were badly damaged. I think that’s about all the sort of clues and bits and pieces that you remember. Those of you who have been around the neighborhood know that the tank seems to seems to attract children. They seem to collect some. They go to the tank with pails and come back with them full of presumably molasses. So yeah, I think… Is there anything else that should be mentioned as like bits and pieces or clues? I think you’ve got a newspaper story that said that from the day after that said that there was suspected to be that this is suspected to be the cause of some sort of high internal pressure.
And we also if we have questions for the future, we can send a telegram to Ashley care of Rockefella… something.
Yeah, the Rockefeller Foundation is the…
…you’re going to send the bill for the telegram to them. And then you’ve got just a number. We’ll say that’s how telegrams work. I’m not sure that’s how telegrams work. You’ve got a contact… You’ve got contact information via telegram to send those.
It’s an email address.
I also would like to review that we as a team had a mantra.
What’s that mantra?
No project, no flood. Also fuck Roosevelt.
Okay, so Sam, you are up first. And with Rosette Diceless, folks are welcome to chat amongst themselves, set each other up for actions, all that sort of thing. So we can… you can certainly talk for a while before we have to make an action.
Okay. So what is a good avenue of investigation? So, do you know George, Lorenzo? George, the fire man. Fireman?
Yeah, that’s what we call him. He is the designated fire man.
So you’re, you’re acquainted?
Yeah, no, I know, George. He was… I remember he, um… When I’m remembering… If I’m remembering that thing that didn’t happen, I guess, right… There was we this guy we saw hanging out outside and George that he’d go and take care of it.
So he ran out and talk to him.
That’s all I know.
All right. We didn’t go by the tank or anything like that yet, right?
Yeah, you’ve only seen it from sort of outside of its fence with guards.
And there are guards there all the time?
I don’t know that you’ve casted enough to be sure. You can see right now that there are just a couple of… equivalent of rent a cops for the time hanging out outside. They don’t look particularly attentive but they are like right at the gate.
Since I blend in with folks who would be hanging out on the dock. Maybe I should give the area a good mosey and see what the lay of the land is. See if I see anything that looks out of place? Like, I don’t know some sort of contraption. or some sort of package or something that might be what causes this pressure to build up inside the tank. So what I’m going to do… So I guess we part ways here. I’ll take a look around and I’ll meet y’all. You all. People from Rhode Island probably don’t say y’all. I’ll take a look around and meet you back here in an hour or two?
So I’m going to…
Should we do a, you know, a quick hands in? No project, no flood! Before we go.
Like a sports team?
Yeah. Like a sports ball sitch.
We already draw enough attention, I think, without that.
So I’m gonna pass. For my own health.
Well, good luck, Sam.
Thank you. Okay, so. This is going to be, I think this might be a body attack.
This might be like perception, right?
Like me seeing as best I can see, mapping it out, you know, things like that. So it’s a body. I’m going to boost with… gonna boost with code switching.
Because I’m going to… I’m trying to blend in and look totally normal and not be, like: one, a black guy wandering around near a facility that is slightly secured; and two, “Don’t mind me, I’m just an old ship hand!” So going to boost with code switching…
And you’re walking in public areas? You’re not like trying to get in behind the scenes anywhere?
Yeah, public areas only.
Mm-hm. Seeing what I can see. Especially since I’ve seen it from up on the hill. I should be able to kind of see the lay of the land based on that former perspective that I had, hopefully. Use that to my advantage. And something I have not done, still, that I need to do, and I’m going to look them up right now is the default body edges. Concealment, cover, and drama. Hmm. Okay, so I don’t know if concealment applies here. The way concealment is worded is, “Gives you an edge when attacking a target that is unaware of your presence. Is blending in…
Yeah, I think that’s…
You haven’t done anything to make them really notice you.
Yeah. So that is going to be a six bold attack with an edge.
Okay. Is that against wits or vigor, do you think?
Probably wits if if you’re… You’re blending in so that seems more witty.
Yeah, it also depends on how it’s trying to hide, I think. That’s maybe a weird thing, but like…
Yeah, yeah, how the mystery…
If it’s trying to hide by barrier. Yeah, yeah, then it that’s more vigor-y. If it’s trying to hide by looking inconspicuous, then that seems like wits.
Okay. Let’s call this wits. And I’m going to boost wits with the Anarchist Suspicion skill and block that.
So you you take a stroll around and you can see kind of immediately… You you’ve been to various ports. This place is a place that they’re worried– that like is being protected and they’re actively worried about someone messing with. Like usually industrial yards are, like, you know, folks can wandering and out of. And you know, kids are even, you’ve seen that kids can sneak in and out of here.
But as soon as you start strolling by, the guards just clearly are, you know, they’re they’re just maybe off duty cops or or veterans or something. But they they’re clearly paying attention to you. Like, they don’t, like, they’re not immediately suspicious. Like they don’t spot you specifically as an issue. But they one of them like sets their hand near their hip. And the other one like stands up off of their stool and leans against the fence. And there’s this, this, this metal fence with a with a locked gate and you’re… you stroll on past and they don’t, they don’t ask you what you’re doing or anything, ’cause you’re just walking down the street. But you’re able to to kind of do a circuit around and you don’t notice anything immediately unexpected.
There is a a freight yard next next to it, and you can see some some folks working. There’s one guy who’s who’s, who sets something down, and then like, makes some weird gestures to one of his co workers that you suspect is some sort of sign language. You see that there are naval ships out in the harbor nearby. You can definitely tell that when you look closely at this tank, when when folks aren’t looking at you, it’s leaking. It’s painted dark brown. But there are drops, like long, sticky drops of molasses coming down the sides and there’s like, a decent amount of it. You can tell that it’s been cleaned relatively recently…
It it coming from the top, or is it coming from the middle…?
Out of the side, like out of the… like between sections of the tank.
Oh, so it’s like if there were vertical slats, it’s…
…seeping through. Okay,
Yeah, it’s like this tank isn’t quite sealed all the way. And it’s just kind of oozing and you can see puddles of brown in the dirt underneath the tank.
And then as you complete your circuit, you notice a poster that’s been put up. Just a real cheap, pasted up poster. Clearly, maybe, well, maybe printed on a on a, on a cheap press, or maybe kind of laid out and then mimeographed. And it the there’s big words at the top that say “Go-Head!” And this is like just on a brick wall kind of nearby. And it’s like a, an announcement from the “American Anarchists” threatening to dynamite… unclear what? But threatening to dynamite you if you don’t stop deporting anarchists.
So does it say “Go ahead”, or does it say “go head”? Does it… is there an apostrophe before the H?
It’s G-O-dash-capital-H-E-A-D-exclamation-point. And there are other places where like, they’re clearly like letters missing. Like they say, spell senile without the E. They leave out the N in minded…
Hm. We got a code.
So this is sort of a sloppy job.
Or a code! Okay. So I will get back to everyone else. I don’t know if this is… I don’t know what y’all are doing while I’m looking very normal and unthreatening. I’ll get back with y’all and say, “Well, there’s definitely something weird going on. There’s… the tank is already leaking. There’s already molasses seeping out of the tank. There’s a poster up there that I think, you know, this isn’t really my forte. But you know, you see this thing in the Navy, sometimes. I could have sworn it with some sort of code. Either these people, these anarchists, are real bad at spelling. Or they’ve got some sort of secret message up. So someone who’s who’s got a little more experience in that sort of thing. might want to take a look at that. But the guards, like, you know, they didn’t… They didn’t come at me or challenge me. But they definitely, they definitely noticed me going by. So any sort of, unless we have some sort of credentials or papers or something. We’re not getting into that location in a standard way.”
I might be able to help with that if we can get a case for there being aa possible hazard in there.
There’s definitely a hazard in there.
If you’re saying it’s leaking that might be… might maybe be an in? I may have to talk to some some fellows.
Maybe, yeah. And the poster mentioned bombing. If people didn’t stop deporting anarchists, so…
Well, now that’s just true. I mean, people should stop deporting anarchists.
But if there’s going to be a bombing, then…
And y’all know that there was already an anarchist bombing of a police station, several months back. So this is not an idle threat.
Yeah, so if there’s if there’s gonna be more of that, you know, maybe that’s what the the tank situation gets pinned on and we can… I dunno. I don’t have ties to more than a couple of anarchists. Certainly not politically. So…
I mean, I know some anarchists. And when I say “know”, I mean, I’m an anarchist.
You’re one of the ones. So you got some sort of secret code that y’all are putting on posters?
I mean, there’s a reason I write all of the pamphlets. Lots of my colleagues are notoriously bad spellers.
All right. All right.
So maybe it’s nothing. Honestly, there’s several people I have really put off of these duties entirely. Because I mean, it’s true that vowel sounds are tricky, but goodness.
So I think that kind of after your initial look around and chatting amongst yourselves, there’s probably at least some feeling that you have that, like, you just don’t have quite enough information. There’s just, like, basic stuff about the… just, like, what does this tank do? What’s its circumstances? Who all is… What’s going on in the neighborhood? That you don’t know.
So… how do I make this an attack, though? This is going to be a little weird, kind of a weird attack, because it’s not going to be clear to y’all exactly how this skill and edge apply. But there’s just some things that are muddying the waters for how you might be able to understand the situation. So this is a crisis attack by the investigation. This is, I guess, the, this is the cut-up men’s, investigating the cut-up men’s plan. This is a mind attack boosted with recuperation with a an edge of propaganda. And that is a six. Y’all can decide how you deal with this lack of information. You pick which defense you’re defending against the six with, and tell me how you deal with this ignorance that you’re facing.
So the attack is a Mind attack, and it’s boosted with… what again?
With an edge of propaganda.
Yes. recuperation being the assimilation of countercultural art and thinking into service of the hegemony.
I’m going to workshop something. Y’all tell me if this doesn’t work. I can probably do something instead if this is no good. But I’m thinking of boosting my vigor with my quirk of… that I have called Midnight Toker and pulling out a joint. And…
Where are we?!
…lighting it up…
Oh my god!
In this park.
In a graveyard.
It’s not illegal. This isn’t 2021. This is 1919. We’re chill.
It is, like… a well spoken white woman doing this in public is a little weird. But, but only if you know, you’re not a bohemian.
And I’m going to light up and find some, like, next level ways of contemplating this information. And all the ideas are just going to start to coalesce in in ways that make sense to me.
Okay. Okay. Okay. I get it now, y’all. I totally understand what we have to do next. Anybody else wanna want want some?
Uh, uh. No.
No, thanks. I’ll drift off later.
So while harmony is contemplating in a cloud of cannabis smoke, what are y’all’s approaches? And you can certainly, like, part of your defense can be canvassing people or interviewing someone or something like that. You don’t need to be… you don’t need to stay here to do it.
So this… I’m gonna perceive this, especially given the propaganda angle, as a bit of a nerve attack. Attack on my nerve, and I’ll, I’ll highlight my Old Timer quirk.
I have seen a war. My literal parents have seen slavery. And that war. There is no propaganda. There is no BS that the government and/or white people can wander around and try and pull one over on us and it work. I’ve been around, I’ve seen it. No, thank you. So I blocked that. But I do take wear.
Okay. And probably kind of, as part of that your read of the situation is that the the guards and the suspicion and so on around this this tank… You’re likely to feel much more suspicious of the company that’s running this tank, then the non white people they say that they’re afraid of, right? Like…
Right, absolutely. Yeah.
It’s it’s almost certainly Italians that they’re worried about in about the anarchy.
And so like,
That’s, that’s who are anarchists right now.
I mean, I might have concerns, but clearly…
And this but this is like…
These guards are guarding a facility in Italian neighborhood.
Like you’re currently standing in a graveyard, seeing laundry hung up on clothes, lines, hearing Italian drifting out of windows. And…
This feels much more like we’re protecting something in a bad neighborhood rather than we think there’s an active threat.
I mean, they probably think there’s an active threat, but it’s because you kind of have this this feeling like okay, this is this is racism.
Yeah, I hadn’t realized that we were in an Italian neighborhood. Okay, yes, that definitely puts a different slant on things.
All the apartment buildings here are. All the kids running around. All these people are are Italians. And they’re… I mean, there’s some there’s some white folks and black folks. And and a few occasional folks have other other ethnicities around. But predominantly, this is an Italian neighborhood.
Okay, so yeah, and for… Does this feel like…? So, we know that this is not bog standard stuff going on, right? Like we know, we have time travel involved. Does this feel weird? Like does this feel alien and out of time? Or does it just feel like they are successfully hooking into the current culture?
You’ve still got a little bit of that feeling you felt earlier slash later of, “Something’s not right.” But everything you’ve seen so far is like, yeah, this is this is normal. This is just how…
I think Darmony, I’ll say you, you now are like, “I probably know exactly who put those posters up.” Or at least like what, what subgroup locally put those posters up. And, and sort of what what motivated them. It’s up to you whether or not you want to… how much of that you want to share. But like part of your looking at things holistically is like, “Yeah, yeah, it’s…” You’re like, “That’s this person’s style.” What is what is Lorenzo doing the deal, doing to kind of initially gather information?
Trying to figure out things that can be used to block the edge, that’s all. In case wear is going to be caused if in case I succeed here.
If if you succeed at blocking the attack, you don’t need to block the edge.
Here’s the thing, though. It’s going to cause wear, because the edge is used, right?
It causes wear because the attack is bold, because they used the skill.
Because the attack is bold. Okay.
Yeah, you can’t resist the wear unless you’ve got a trait that says that you’re immune to wear on a certain defense.
All right. Okay, that makes that makes more sense. Okay. So I’m wondering, first off, as as it’s just been introduced into the… in here, and as far as just being name checked. I am wondering if the Italian neighborhood is something that I might be able to make use of as a common resource?
Sure, yeah. You can, once per session gain a common resource. So if you want to just, like… boy, what would it be? Just just like, folks, you know, or being able to fit in?
Yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s basically, yeah, I think I think it’s, I think knowing people is basically it’s like knowing the neighborhood type deal. It’s sort of what I’m kind of looking at. And if you can remind me, with resources… Can resources be used to, to boost when you have something coming in like this?
Resources, either grant edges or block edges.
Okay. All right.
You can sacrifice a resource to to get a boost or succeed depending on the resource, but…
All right. Okay.
That would be a bit drastic, I think.
All right. That’s good to know, then in that case, I won’t. I won’t immediately claim it but that may be something I do. Because I’m not going to use it right here because of course, it’s it’s not going to be useful in that aspect. So it’s only in… I think what I’m going to be be looking at doing, then… So this this document that has been has been located. We see a lot of these in this neighborhood? Is this, is this frequent?
You get… Yeah, you get similar stuff put up. Usually they get torn down. This one presumably just someone missed.
Okay. And does it look the same as the other ones that I have seen historically here?
Yeah, it looks, you know, probably, you’re probably not a an expert on printing tech, but it’s like, yeah, yeah, that’s the style.
Okay. Okay, work with me here. I have a I have a quirk of of troublemaker. And what I am thinking of is that perhaps that might extend to my having some clue as to the sorts of people that typically that I might know in the neighborhood who typically do this kind of thing. And my thought is that as as as if this is coming in, it’s like, I’ve got a lot… I have the weight of the of the of the world on my shoulders right now, because of this, this doom that we are trying to stop. And apparently, people from the future are involved. This poster was put up by people that I know that are not from the future, or at least people that I… not that… when I and when I say people that I know, I’m not talking about people that I have dinner with necessarily.
You hope not.
At least… Well… no, anyway. Um, but it’s the sort of thing I… where I know the type.
And it’s like this type is not the type that is going to necessarily be… turn out to be a time traveler.
This is not something we have to worry about. This is not something I should I should be letting get on my nerves.
Well, you can use a quirk by highlighting it, which is doing what the quirk says, you can defy it by saying, “Oh, I’m going against my typical nature,” or you can introduce it, which is like you can narrate something that explains why the quirk is relevant. And I think any of those three, I can see a way that that works.
Right. Well, I’m in the process of attempting to, to, through narration make Troublemaking relevant.
Whereby Lorenzo probably, perhaps see a little montage of him going around, and just just just asking a couple of folks, “Hey, you know, those kids are getting… post… putting these things up again, you know, is it the same same kids? Same kids?” You know, that kind of thing. And just sort of as he knows who the troublemakers are, and in that sense, I think, uses his knowledge of such things to basically calm himself down with this so that he knows that this is not just another thing on top of what they’re looking for. Does that make sense?
As he’s going around and chatting with people, therefore, using, forking in charm on top of his nerve, which would then bring it up to eight.
One second; I need to use a name generator. So, Lorenzo, you ask around. You know, the folks you know, just being like, “Hey, do we need to worry about this?” And, you know, that like, it’s only because you’re Italian that these folks are talking to you. They tend to like stay within their their groups. But, but you see a woman at street level, hanging out some some laundry to dry and you kind of lean on the on the railing and, and chat with her. And, and she she leans out the window and she’s speaking Italian. She says, “Yeah, don’t worry. I saw some, some old man and a kid are going around hanging those up. They’re just they’re just rabble rousers, troublemakers. They don’t mean anything by it. They’re not they’re not you know, they’re not the real rough ones. They’re not mafioso they’re not… I mean, you know, they’re anarchists, but they don’t, they don’t get into that sort of trouble. They’re just angry.” And you sort of think around and you think you probably know the old man she’s talking about?
This guy named Angelico, who’s kind of, he’s, he’s the sort who will, like, be in the bar telling stories about the glory days when he used to, to cause trouble. And you know, probably knows some some actively rough customers, but right now is kind of more talk and incensing passion, then then doing much else.
So Harmony. You’re sort of leaning against a gravestone, presumably? Smoking. Sam is standing clearly, like out of odor range. And Lorenzo is started, like, looking around chatting to folks in the neighborhood. What are you up to? Once you’ve sort of had this… gathered your thoughts?
Sam, I think it would be problematic, if not a downright injustice for anarchists to be blamed for what The Man has perpetrated. I think we can both agree.
Well… Sure, sure. If that’s what’s happening, then yes.
Yeah, that’s definitely what’s happening. I’m gonna find out some more about this Purity Distilling. It sounds suspicious from the outset.
I mean, usually when folks are concerned about purity it doesn’t go well for some of us, right?
You’re not wrong.
What… I have out of character question. What did people do in 1919? They didn’t have cell phones! Do we just say, “I’ll meet you back here?!”
That’s what I did!
Yeah, you picked a place and time.
Or you could you know, you could leave a message or place whether that’s like,
I’ll leave it at the bar. Like leave it with this bartender or whatever or I’ll leave it at your place or like you could set up a dead drop even, if you wanted. Like, “I’ll put it under this rock! Under this tree!”
You lived in the 90s, Lucy.
The only time in my life I haven’t had a cell phone, I was a child!
Fair, but still.
I just… I remember I guess what I did when I was a kid but I never had to plan anything then. Like, how did my mom manage?
Oh, my god.
I don’t have any idea. I guess I could call her and ask her. She’s probably not up.
She’s tired from having done all that planning when you were a child.
Probably so! I am now very sympathetic.
You make plans with people! You agree to meet at certain times. You write things down. And yes, you have people in common who you know who you can ask around, “Hey, have they’ve been by?” That’s it! It was a very disorganized time, I will admit.
Yeah, it just doesn’t make any sense. I am going to go do a little investigation and I will… meet you… later.
When the sun is just above the horizon, we don’t even have clocks!
When the shadows grow long…
1919 is a different millennium… well, I mean, actually…
I mean, it is, but…
It actually is.
My bad. Carry on. Smoke signals, right? That’s what’s next?
Oh my god.
No, we’re good. I just got to go pick up some semaphore flags and we’re good.
My attack… my attack is planning out how we are going to communicate in 1919!
No, you’re good. I think I want to fast forward past the setup of how you are meeting up and just assume that you figure it out, because the three of you know how to do it. So, after you’ve done that, what are you…?
I am I am going to go by my house and I’m going to put on my one good dress. It has a car… a collar and buttons.
Um, and I think I probably have one good pair of shoes and I will wear those and then I will go to Purity Distilling.
To the main office.
All right. So you probably find a phone book. Look up their info. This the the tank is is not… there’s not main offices there. Like there’s like a little shed, basically. But their main office is several blocks away. So it’s a perfectly easy walk. You head in there. And I think I’m going to introduce an extra which is, there is a receptionist there who… This is this is like in a… there… This is on a site where there are other industrial buildings. So there are a few other, like, there’s smoke coming out of a thing and there’s some clearly like… They’re clearly doing some sort of minor chemical work here, although not a whole lot. But there there is just a front like door with… that folks can walk up to with a sign for Purity Distilling and so on. Not a guarded gate like there was on the north end. And when you head inside, there’s a there’s a woman in a, I think, probably given that you just spent a lot of time being like, “What’s what’s my… I have one good dress.” She’s not wearing an expensive dress, but this is clearly, like, this is her work uniform. And it is, it is… she doesn’t have to patch it up as much as you do. She probably earns a decent living. And she says, “Yeah, can I help you?”
My one good dress is actually pretty good, though. Just for the record.
All right. This is the one you sit you kind of tuck away and don’t don’t need to mend much?
My goal is really just to sort of not really engage with her at all. And try… Is there like a door to walk through?
This is this like, front room is relatively small. You suspect that, like, a lot of the people who come here are like, hey, I’ve got a delivery, where should I go to deliver it? She’s probably here to answer the phones. There is a back door behind her. That’s that’s going into a into presumably a deeper in office. But she has sort of an edge of… a bit of caution about her. Like when the door opened she immediately like looked up and paid attention to you, so she’s clearly like, at least cares about who comes in and out.
Hello, um, I’m just here to reconcile the accounts. I normally work in the other office so if you could just point me in the right direction, I… I’ll be quick about it. I’m quite efficient.
All right, so that sounds like you’re doing some sort of wits attack to to lie your way past her.
I am. I…
How good are you at lying?
I’m not much of a liar. I really wasn’t planning a deception attack. I really just wanted to use my more of my research abilities, but…
Or you could say, “Oh, I’m sorry, it’s… I… Wrong address,” or something if you want.
But I think what I will do is, um, this is a Wits attack, I mean, a mind attack. And I am going to boost it with my quirk of Writing the Great American Novel…
Which is kind of lying.
I’m going to imagine I guess that I’m the main character of my book who is much bolder than I am.
Yes, that’s what I’m going to do. And I will use as an edge… I have the resource, a very nice fountain pen…
You won’t need an edge on her.
She’s just an extra.
Okay. I will not. I will not use an edge.
Okay, what’s the attack?
She can’t defend against that. So you, you kind of approach with confidence and she’s like, “Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t recognize you. You need to talk to Mr. Jell to get the numbers?
All right. I’m sorry. What was your name again? I…
Bomb th… this whole bomb threat thing has gotten to me. Harmony Wright. She, She… Hm. Does she have an intercom?
She just gave her whole ass name. Just her real, gov’ment name. This is how we go down with the history books badly.
She stands up and knocks on the door and, and opens a little bit and says, “Mr. Jell, Miss Wright’s here.” And kind of gestures you in.
I’m the accountant, yes, the accountant.
I do accounting.
You’re able to head in. You step into the office of a… I’m gonna say someone you immediately peg as a capitalist. A capitalist middle manager.
Sounds about the size of it.
He’s in a good suit. He looks very, very busy. And he, he immediately like, looks you up and down. You can see like, his eyes glaze over like he’s put you into a category. And as the receptionist closes the door behind you, he says, “You’re not one of our accountants.”
I’m here from the other office to go over the numbers.
In the name of efficiency. You know who sent me, your numbers aren’t lining up…
I don’t know who sent you!
And I’m here to go over the numbers.
“Who, who sent…” Okay, so this is… he is attacking.
This is a charm attack.
Should he be using middle management or deflection? Probably middle management. So this is a charm attack of six. It’s probably against nerve.
Yeah, that makes sense.
So six against nerve with an edge of money.
Of money. So I cannot block that. But I’m trying to think of a way that I can use one of my resources to block the edge of money. And the thing I can think of to do is I yank my pouch of cannabis out of my satchel. And I toss it on to his desk and I say, “How do you explain this?!”
Oh, my god!
I’m also going to have to take an affliction here.
Yeah! Seems appropriate!
Maybe something to do with exposure, or…
I think my affliction is going to be unnerved? Well, no, that’s not good. I’ll take, um, I want to do something like… I don’t. I don’t know how to answer his questions. So…
Okay, stymied. Stymied is good. So that is how I respond.
He stands up and he says, “What, so…” So is this this is probably like a paper packet. That’s like, maybe even labeled from the pharmacy?
This is… what is… I don’t… I didn’t order this! What? What are you…? Who are you and why are you coming in here throwing medicine on my desk and, and claiming that there’s some problem with the books? There’s nothing wrong with the books.
Meanwhile, Lorenzo, what have you been up to while Darmony is away?
This is a good question. I was so enraptured by that that scene, I was not thinking about what I should be doing.
You know you have a, you have a lead on kind of the identity and you kind of know where to track down an anarchist that might be involved. You work across the street from the tank. So there’s a certain amount of like, just personal experience you have or folks you know, that might come in handy. You’re also a fireman. So you’ve got more kind of authority and access than some other folks might.
There’s also George Lahey.
Yeah, that’s true. That’s true. There’s, there’s… there is the need to to try to talk to him and see if he knows anything. And I think that’s probably actually, just character wise, I think that’s the most immediate thing I think he can go to. The thing that he’s sort of trying to bounce around in his head, and it’s difficult because we don’t have years of time travel fiction to… over a century of time travel fiction to fall back on here as far as the tropes go. But he is sort of trying to work out that whole thing about, like, “am I checking too early? I don’t know. Hopefully, not. The guy in on the baseball diamond, or the person on the baseball diamond should have known where what they were doing and known that they were sending us to a point where we can look at stuff. They they wouldn’t have sent us here before the stuff happened, would they? Well, wait, isn’t that the whole point?” And you know, it’s this whole sort of circle going around and in Lorenzo’s head.
But yeah, I think he’s, I think Lorenzo is gonna first talk to Lahey and see what he… See if he can just turn up any sort of information that way before he starts going down the avenue of like pursuing potential anarchists or anything like that. Because in his mind, he’s already kind of dismissed it a little bit. It’s like that they’re they’re not involved in this as much maybe, or they might know something or… And I mean, actually that that gentleman that you described, Angelico, might actually have an ear to the ground somewhere. So maybe it would be worth talking to him at some point. But it’s a sort of a bookmark in the back of Lorenzo’s head.
So Lorenzo is going to go back to the fire station and see if he can… see if he can… see if George is around and try to talk to him about this. Now, I don’t know if talking to him would be the attack or not. Because obviously it depends on how involved George is?
To an extent. But if you think that fruit can be born from my talking to George, then I would I would put an attack in here.
Yeah, I bet the attack…
Some sort of social nature.
You can have the attack be sort of like trying to figure out the shape of this if you want. Yeah. Otherwise, we could just have you talk briefly to to George and, and move on. Because what, what, what… First, what approach are you taking with George?
The approach is basically to go up to him and ask, “Hey, I’ve been seeing… I think I’ve been seeing this guy around. I don’t know if you happen to know this guy.” And I’m gonna describe the the the, I think the man in gray, I guess? I think I think it was a… Was it a man? Or was it that I as far as I can tell?
Yeah, dressed like a man at least.
You’re kind of seeing in a little bit of distance.
And yeah, just sort of like, “Did you see this guy guy was walking around? I I can’t remember exactly where he was. But he was wearing this grey suit. He was the… he was kinda like…” You know, and…
Yeah, I remember that… That guy. Weird, weird guy. I don’t know. Feel like maybe he was in the war? And, you know, you ever seen those pictures of folks have gotten their… They got real hurt in the war and had to have the… that new surgery to like, fix their face?
Something’s up with that guy’s face. It’s like, yellow and looks weirdly stiff. I don’t know. Poor guy. He He’s strolled by a few times. I think I’ve seen him talking to some of the folks from the chemical plant. The, you know, the the tank.
He asked me for for a smoke a few times. And and yeah, he seems friendly enough. Weird thing is I’ve never seen him smoke it? Like he’ll say, “Hey, can I borrow a smoke?” And I’ll say, “Yeah, sure.” You know, I you know, I’m a nice guy and don’t have that much to spare. But sure, I can spare a smoke. And he says “thank you” and he leaves with it. Doesn’t light it up or anything. Even offered him a match, and he said, “No thanks. I’ve I’ve got my own.” So.
So you’ve got… you talk to him at all for a bit? Does he? Did he say his name or anything?
No, no, just just just occasionally ask for a smoke. Seems to sometimes hang out across the street.
Okay, that’s, that’s fucki… It’s just freaking strange. And, by the way about the tank? I don’t know that I’ve been hear… Is it… Is it just me or is it been leaking?
Oh, yeah. Yeah. Do you remember…? I think a couple year or two ago, something like that, it used to be gray? You could really see it back then. It was it was just seeping out. I don’t know. Some of the local kids, they sneak in and collect the molasses, you know, kids, They like sweet things. I mean, I asked one of the guys that’s that’s guarding and they say it’s fine. So you know, apparently that just happens. Tanks leak. There’s enough in that thing, I’m sure they’re not missing much.
Probably not. Yeah, I just got a feeling there’s… I don’t know. I can’t I can’t quite put… can’t quite put my finger on it. But there’s… I’m a little worried there might be some…
That thing makes the damndest noises.
Yeah, yeah. And it’s, has it been getting worse recently or is that also my imagination?
I don’t know. I figure it’s just something settling or something like that. It’s not too full at the moment, I don’t think. I haven’t seen a ship come through in a bit.
“Yeah, should should have a chat with him,” I say point pointing randomly at someone in another room who is perhaps coming down the staircase or walking up a staircase. Whom I will not interact with directly. But one of the other firemen whom we know to be someone who is more into the whole, the whole physics of how to stop fires and structures of buildings and things like that, and whom I do not have a name right immediately to hand but perhaps I’d say, you know, indicate that name. “And maybe I’ll have a chat with him at some point. some point later, if you can pull him away from his books, you can sort of see, see if he’s gotten the odds on that, you know what I’m saying? All right. Thanks, George. Thanks.”
“Appreciate it.” And I’m gonna, I think I’m going to head what was the place he said, he said it was across the street. That was what kind of place Did he say it was?
Oh, the I mean…
This fella keeps…
Oh, he was going into Purity. Like he was going into the, to the yard where the where the tank is.
Okay, that was… so that was mostly… Okay. All right. Well, then, that that makes it easier, to an extent. Oh, man. It’s gonna be hard to… Okay. Um, I think, if I can, if Sam is around, I’d like to bring Sam with me for this attempt.
All right. Let’s, let’s do it.
If need be, I will get Sam a coat. For this. Hopefully, I will not need to. But…
Like a firefighter coat?
Perhaps, yes. Or, you know, the, the need not be on duty. So it doesn’t have to be. But it could be.
Yeah, you can, you can certainly like, you know,
Just gonna grab like…
Just give him my coat.
You’ve got the sort of code that firemen wear. And you can hand it off.
Yeah, yeah. It’s basically and they’re, they’re actually I mean, back then it was very basic. It was sort of a dark, either a black or a dark blue. I think. I can’t tell because the picture is in black and white, but it was a long dark button. Buttons down the thing. And… “Would you be up for seeing having a little look around in there?”
Definitely. Let’s do it.
“Alright.” So I’m going to have my… I don’t know if we actually had… Well, if we have badges, it’s probably going to be on my hat. I’m gonna have…
Yeah, you have that seal.
Like in my hand, yeah, the sort of the seal. And I’m going to go over there and and talk to the the folks who are guarding… guarding the… guarding Purity.
Yeah, so let’s pause real quick. So one potential challenge that could be here is you convincing them that a black man is allowed to be involved with firefighting and and be part of your group? Is that something that we want to have this this attack be? Or do we want to… do we want to have them… not particularly curious about that and, and just have it be like, to have the challenge be just, “Hey, we want to take a look around for fire safety.”
Hmm. I’m inclined… I don’t have strong feelings about it. But I’m inclined to say not the race angle.
Okay. So this is just, you know, there’s, they’re, they’re around a lot of workers, lower class people. So they’re going to, you know, in this culture, that’s who… That’s where you would mostly run into folks that aren’t white. So they’re, they’re used to it. So yeah, so you come up with with Sam, who they… they seem to… the guards seem to recognize you, Lorenzo. Just like they kind of give you the nod that is like, “Oh, hey, it’s someone from the fire station.” And they sort of, don’t give the same nod to Sam but they don’t seem to like, be immediately on guard.
Excellent. Since I was just walking around earlier.
Like, how can I help you, offi… Do you call you call firefighters officer? What do you… what do you… What’s your name? What’s your name?
How can I help you, Lorenzo? I’m… call me… call me Robert.
The title is Fire Man.
Yeah. Yeah, I just, man. I mean, you know, call me a fireman like anybody else, but… This this… You know what, this might be nothing, could be nothing, but it’s sort of incumbent on us to checks such things out. We got, we’ve heard, we’ve been hearing about a fella have a doing some suspicious activity around here. And you know kind of how the city is they want to make sure that everything is… We got to we got to hunt things down and we want to make sure that things are safe. I mean, and so, what I’m saying is we’re going to need to is… Would you mind we come in just for a second and do a safety check, make sure that that they… you know, they’re not doing anything to undermine the structure of your facility?
Give me… Give me the attack to see how they respond.
I think here you’re attacking this guard.
Yes. Let’s see.
He’s an extra, so don’t worry about an edge.
Okay, I shall attack Robert with my charm. I’m going to do this as more of a sure attack. I’m not doing this. I’m not coming in bold, necessarily here. So right now I’m just sailing it forward with a charm of three before I decide if I want to try to boost it with something.
Okay. Are you… what… Sorry, what defense were you attacking? Wits or nerve? These folks seem probably a little more a little more stubborn than clever.
Yeah, I think I think we’ll go… Well, yeah, that that being the case, I’m probably going to try to attack wits with this.
All right. So you’re coming on wits with a three. I don’t think they can block… they’re not… they’re not… their skill is not to to challenge legitimate authority. So they they’re not going to boost and so you hit. They… the… Robert says, says “Yeah, you can head on inside. They’ve been doing safety checks a lot. I guess they must have had another one of those bomb threats. Gonzales kept, kept warning them about it. But But I guess they, they’re finally paying attention.”
Yeah, you can’t be too careful. And you know, mean, last thing we need is another repeat of what happened to the police station, you know?
Yeah, yeah. I mean, something… something must happen for Mr. Jell to start being worried. But yeah, head on in.
“Thanks, Robert, it only… We’ll only only be a little bit.” And we head in.
And he just doesn’t really acknowledge Sam.
That’s, that’s my preference. Just gonna get in here before we start making trouble.
Alright, so I think this is a good time for us to chat a little OOC.
So we are telling a story in 1919. Turn of the 1920s, which is a time which I think we think of historically in a bunch of different ways. I think I’m interested in talking about the weird dichotomies that I think we sometimes have in our head when talking about this time because I think generally we think of like: World War One was a bad war, right? Like it was it was… A lot of people die needlessly; chemical weapons; it was awful. And, and yeah, isn’t a “just war” in the way… or, people don’t tend to think of it as a just war in the way that people tend to think of, say, World War Two, as a just war.
And at the same time, I think we think of like anarchists of the era, the people who were tossing bombs and so on, as, as also kind of a uniquely bad thing, even though they were the anti war people at the time. Like, they were the people pushing against this, this thing, and I think in a lot of ways we we have this similar weird, competing, competing viewpoint. You know, this is a time when labor is rising up. And yet we we tend to think of it as also a time of of, you know, great, great riches and, and the golden the Gilded Age and all that. Like, I think we see it as this time, where people were making great strides in realizing these great like social ills that were present. Our desire for war, our exploitation of workers, sort of simmerings of issues of race and gender and even, you know, with the sexual revolution that is happening, the time issues of, you know, how people interact and, and so on. But at the same time, I think we think of this is it time when we accomplished a bunch of stuff, and then we congratulated ourselves and moved on. But I think that there are definitely echoes of what was happening in the early 20s right now. And are there other parallels that you’re, you’re, that especially come to mind between some of the stuff that is coming up in the campaign and some of the stuff that’s going on today?
So I just taught Walt Whitman today, since… this is why this in my brain. But Whitman was very interested in what he called the merge, which is a human ability to, I guess, heal divisions that they sense psychologically, politically, socially, but to heal, like to put them together in your brain. It’s kind of a, it’s sort of a cognitive dissonance, right? That Whitman is interested in the way that you reconcile things that aren’t reconciled in the world in your brain. And I think he saw it as sort of a strength of people to be able to do that to be able to merge ideas that are sort of dissonant. But I think there are some times in history, when that merge, when that dissonance just becomes so great, that like, you can no longer sort of bear it socially or psychologically. And I think maybe the teens of that century was one of those times. And I think now is one of those times too, right? Where you… For us today, like people are starting to grapple with concepts of capitalism that I think previously have gone unexamined, in a lot of situations. And under the pandemic, and the George Floyd protests over the summer, like, people, like, they can’t bear what’s happened socially anymore. It’s not sustainable. And I don’t know, it seems to me like a similar period in that, you know, where previously people were able to merge all those ideas and be able to exist, this is a time when when the dissonance is… is great.
Something that I see happen a lot. That was also happening then. And to be fair, this is something humanity has always done. So I don’t know if it’s relevant, pointing out this parallel. But there were a number of difficulties at the time, and… that people were exercising copious amounts of blame displacement with. This, I mean, we saw people looking for any excuse to say things were the fault of anarchists, or of certain racial groups. And nowadays, anyone who’s spent a few seconds on social media will see that… any any number of problems that are happening, generally the people who are who actually have the ability to do something about it believe that it is not their fault or responsibility. They will instead point to people who are not in any position to do much about it.
And say that it’s their fault. And so that is, that is a theme that I am seeing that we’ve encountered a little bit in the the game we’ve been playing. And that is still something that is sadly alive and well today.
Yeah. So when I think about this era of history, I think about the course in high school that I took, that really focused on the rise of the nation state and the rise of nationalism and how that is the backdrop. What populism means, which is not kind of what I… what I think I came out of civics class thinking populism meant was something positive. Something unerringly positive, I should say, because the… you do what the populace says! Like a very like weirdly literal interpretation of the word. And so, you know, when you look at the sort of calcification of a national identity, and what that leads to, in terms of: what does it mean to be American, as opposed to Italian, as opposed to whatever? And how nationality and ethnicity get tangled up together. And how that can manifest in in bizarre ways, especially when you have people that are not… that are displaced. So if you’re looking at immigrants, then like, if you’re looking at especially second generation, third generation, etc, like… What are you talking about, go back home? Right? Like, that’s still just like a thing. It’s still a thing. Go back home? What are you talking about? My great grandma moved here! Or I’ve been here 400 years, like what’re you talking about? And so I kind of think of that as the backdrop.
So when I, when I think about things like prohibition or, or various class warfare, anarchy, like it’s, it’s in this backdrop of places trying to cement an identity for themselves by saying, “This is our moral sand, this is what we’re standing on. Alcohol is this or, or anarchy is this. And we must have imported this because it wasn’t, it’s not part of us,” you know? And we still have that, to a certain extent. Differently, I think, I think differently. But I, you know, I just can’t not think about that larger picture, international scale of what’s happening. And that, like we happen to be, we’re set in America right now, we’re set in one of the most like quintessentially American cities, which I should visit someday, but… But this is happening everywhere… Many, many places in the world, I should say that, that are sort of brought up in that class.
And, and that time is, and I guess we have all learned this in the first three weeks of 2021. Time is seamless. It doesn’t start and stop either at the turn of the year, or the presumably, also, at the turn of an election, or inauguration. And so there aren’t really discrete periods of time, even though we tend to think of “the 20s”. World War One is like this thing that started and stopped and stuff happened before and after. It doesn’t work that way, like these, these trends, kind of rise and fall. So yeah, it’s… so it makes it hard for, for me in this setting, I think, a little tougher for me to just sort of drop in, like, “What does 1919 look like?” Because I’m thinking like, what are the Russians doing right now? And what are they? Like? There’s like so much going on in the world. And I am only remembering snippets because it has been mumble-something years, since I looked at history closely at that time. So it’s like, what is a snapshot look like right now? It’s tough because it’s, you know, it’s a set of discrete events that we have of when things are happening, but… But obviously, there’s a lot more than that.
And there’s definitely a lot going on for our characters, right? They’re in the middle of all this and they don’t really know like, what, what’s going to be up with prohibition? How is the world war one going to actually finally end? How… there’s a general strike ramping up, how– in Seattle. How is that going to change things? How are the the labor wars in the Appalachians going? And…
I think a thing that’s… Oh, I’m so sorry.
No, go ahead, Lucy.
I think another thing that’s very difficult for us to conceptualize is just the way people thought, you know? I mean, I was thinking about futurity today. And the way we imagine the future. But it’s very hard for me to think about how in 1919 somebody was imagining the future, you know? But in a way, that’s what we’re grappling with.
Yeah, and I mentioned I mentioned Glieck’s Time Travel and, and that book does a very good job of, of, like, making it clear that the thought of the future as… as something more than posterity? As like this, this place you could imagine, was relatively new at this time.
Did y’all listen to Amanda Gorman’s poem? She was the…
…poet, uh huh…
I have not yet.
…at the inauguration?
I heard it was good.
Yeah, it’s it’s really good. But it really also, I mean, because she talks about history, she alludes to Hamilton. “History has its eyes on us.” But she…
As one must, I think.
Yeah, she’s she’s 23, I mean…
Um, I think like her the way she talked about history, and the way she talked about futurity was a very… it situated her work in in 2021. In January of 2021. In… like… it… I mean, of course, if you’re the poet at an integration, you are situated, historically. But it’ll be interesting to compare that work with some other inaugural poems, I think, that are less specifically of that moment.
Yeah. And I struggled also, speaking of mindsets, like, casting back. So there’s, there’s like, the very micro. Like, my character specifically chooses to be at sea. Like to just like, be, like, deuces, I’m out of here. Which has the… I mean, it’s a typical role playing problem of like, why do you have a character that’s disinterested in what’s going on? Like, you have to do the work to make them interested.
But also, there’s just like, from my perspective, there’s a complete dearth of information available to people in 1919, as compared to what we have access to now. So what opinions does someone have about something going on when one, their news is old as shit, they are not getting it same day. And two, they only have a source or two, for that information that isn’t like, their neighbor. Maybe it is their neighbor and one other source. And so I don’t know, like, there is a skill in the ability to consume and process and internalize information and to filter it into buckets and sort it, right? Like it’s a thing…
…we learn by virtue of our culture. And by virtue of school, it’s like a it’s like a thing, right? Like, it’s literacy? Maybe that’s just literacy. I don’t know. But it’s something that we have now, better, more, I think, because we are accustomed to varying degrees of dailies of information. In 1919, presumably, they aren’t. And I don’t know how to step into that mindset of someone who only like knows two pieces of information about something. Not to say they’re dumb, like not at all.
I just struggled with it in character a few minutes ago, because I had to think of how to get this information. And I had to go to a place! Like…
…it was all I could think of to do is physically go there, which like, what?
I have a computer right here. And, you know, I’m used to playing in a sci fi game where we’re just like…
Oh, yeah! We just…
I get it on my device.
It’s like nowadays, I’m just so used to going on Wikipedia, sometimes it’s easy to forget that in, you know, before, before we had Wikipedia, the if I wanted to find something out, I had to schedule time to go to the library.
To the library, yup!
And actually look it up.
Maybe the fire house has an encyclopedia that’s 15 years old.
Yeah. And I mean, that’s the thing.
You would hope you would hope that if you don’t have a set of encyclopedias that you know someone who does. Because this was, this was a primary way to figure things out. This is why encyclopedia salesmen were a thing. Because this was one of the few ways to actually to actually know some of this stuff, just in general about the world. And that information, of course, was very old.
I was about to say say, and think how wrong those encyclopedias were.
Yeah! Oh, yes. Each edition is written from with a different agenda in mind. I remember going back at at one point, just even my mother commenting on this whenever when we got in a new set of encyclopedias. We… it’s like we switched from Funk and Wagnalls to Britannica, I think. And so this was this was in the 80s, right? So this was a while ago. But I remember her reading through the encyclopedias because she… This is what she would do for fun. And she was complaining about the fact that it’s like, “Yeah, no, I can see what they’re trying to do. They’re trying to take some of the… they’re trying to level everyone out as though as though some of history’s… some of the people in history who have done terrible things, they’re they’re pointing out some of the more of the of the good things, they did more. They’re trying to balance that out more. And they’re taking some of the people who have done good things in history and trying to point out more of the bad.”
And it was something that she thought was was kind of an almost I don’t want to say a propaganda thing. To an extent she sort of thought it was… a…
like the tack they were taking, it… yes. They… She felt like they were kind of trying to be manipulative through certain things. I remember myself reading, the the thing being, I remember myself reading through those same encyclopedias for specific things I was looking for. And it just, I remember one instance, very specifically, where I looked up an entry on Lewis Carroll. And I, because I needed a source to find out about his drug problem. And it was not in there. Nary a mention. And it’s, it did seem to me that they were, while what they were doing was it seemed like they were trying to bring out certain things, level the playing field, they were perhaps ignoring other things. And so it’s really… The the issue of being history essentially, is written by, you know, whoever’s, at that point, you know, has the privilege to hold the pen.
And this was up to a certain point, what we knew. We didn’t get people’s own stories outside of things that they wrote, put in newspapers, put in journals. Up until very recently, we didn’t get that instantaneously. So it was very easy to believe pretty much whatever you wanted.
People still have very little trouble doing that still today.
I feel as though…
At least there is writing to the contrary. Yes, we do have do have evidence otherwise. And stories otherwise.
The evidence piles up a lot better today.
We have Wikipedia compared to encyclopedias. I mean…
It’s a big difference.
It’s huge. Although when I was a kid, there were always two things I wanted. One of them was a complete encyclopedia set. And the other was one of those like massive, like, Larousse French dictionaries. It’s like the equivalent of like an Oxford English Dictionary, but in French. Those are the two things that I was like, “Hey, parents, if you’re going to spend hundreds of dollars on me on something, I’ll take this instead of a car.” And my parents were like, “What the hell? Like, no.” I never got either Well, I got a smaller Larousse. But no big one.
So I think that that’s a good time for us to return to our characters trying to find out information for themselves.
Oh, God. “Wiki-pedia.” We’ll send a telegram…
Remind me some time to show you that the… I’ve got an unabridged dictionary. And I think in the next room, and you could kill someone with that thing. It’s freaking massive.
So Sam, you have just, you and Lorenzo, have just entered this industrial yard. This is a big fenced in area that has kind of just kind of dirt on the ground, mostly. It’s almost entirely occupied by this enormous tank. You’re almost directly under the elevated train track that’s the that’s the public transit. And then there’s a track running around the tank that also connects to some of the tracks that go into like city freight sheds and and various other industrial areas. You can see a small like, just basically field office that’s presumably where they the you know, the, whoever’s the, the foreman on site is. And this is mostly just just this enormous, building-size tank and pipes coming in and out of it. It looks like it’s loaded mostly via a pipe coming from the harbor. And it’s unloaded into, into train cars, presumably. And it’s looming above you. You can see the slight gleam of the molasses that isn’t dry that’s leaked out of the seams. And you can hear sounds of folks working on nearby sites. Sounds of the neighborhood children. What do you do?
Okay. So first I think I should mention, remind you, that I have plagued by nightmares.
Which means that my secrets can be used as an edge against me, and… Oh, you have my character sheet. So you also have my, what my secret is or, you have my question, right?
I have your question, yeah.
Which is “Why do they spend so much time at sea despite the difficulties?”
Correct. So, while I’m in here, what do I want to do?
I guess I should also mention that you smell molasses. And that probably kind of brings up some weird, dreamlike memories for you all.
‘Cuz this place just reeks of it.
All right. So the walls of this tank. What’s the material?
It’s made of metal.
But metal strips. Or something. If there’s if there’s molasses seeping through.
Yeah, like big big plates of of sheet metal that have been bent and riveted into place. And it’s it’s sort of the the seams between those that you’re seeing just little beads of, of molasses that have formed these streaks down the sides and the tank has clearly been painted molasses brown in a way that makes it a little less obvious that it’s leaking.
The old “wear a red shirt when going into battle” thing.
Yeah. Does it look rusted? Is it oxidized? Like, is it… Is there wear and tear here? You know what I mean? Like where the rivets are?
Give m… Do you have an attack that’s related to sort of examining the construction?
Yeah. So I think this will be a mind attack. And you know, I took I took a quirk, it means one thing and it can also made another. I will use my skill of ship engineering. And an edge from my experience with commercial shipping. Maybe. And that’s a total of a four, bold. But yeah, if this requires subtlety, I guess that’s fine. But I mean, we’re kind of here under the auspices, but like… Something is weakening, right? Like this thing probably hasn’t been… maybe it’s maybe it’s always been leaking. Sugar’s corrosive. Metal oxidizes. I know what happens when metal stays wet forever, because that’s what happens on ships. Although I guess, molasses is hydrophobic?
Mm-mm. It’s water soluble.
Yes, right. So…
But it’s probably pretty… ah… not sure.
Not a lot of sh… molasses hanging out on ships.
So it is going to… What can it boost with here? You’re coming in with a four; it can block that… Okay, it is going to sacrifice its edge of anarchist postings in order to block this. As you’re looking at this at this tank… This doesn’t help you gain any clues to the to the Cut-Up Men’s plan. But as as you’re looking at this thing, you become increasingly sure that there’s… this thing doesn’t need a bomb.
It’s it looks like it’s been mended like recently someone’s gone over in like, done a good job at treating the seals, like… at treating the seams. So someone has clearly you can see like fresh work done to like patch anything that that holes in and stuff it’s still like shiny and new. And yet it’s leaking already. This thing doesn’t seem like… it’s huge and like, when you tap on it, it doesn’t sound sturdy enough. Like it’s clearly held together for a while now. But it looks like they built it on the cheap or in a rush. And you see kind of in a in a bucket off to one side that’s got a rag in it that was presumably used for… You know, you’ve worked on on ships, you know, kind of the you needed to clean the insides of boilers and fuel tanks and things like that. So it’s got a rag out of this clearly used to as part of the cleaning process the inside of this between loads maybe. And there are bits and pieces of metal in there that have just, like… flakes that have come off of the inside, which to you sounds like spalling. It sounds like whatever… the amount of shifting that this thing is doing with temperature and pressure and whatever is enough that like little bits of it are flaking off, which is not good. Not what’s supposed to be happening.
Not for… Yeah, so I’ll lean in to Lorenzo….
So you you did more wear on its wits.
Okay. Lean into Lorenzo and say, “Hey, this this place doesn’t even need a bomb. Look there’s… it’s recently sealed but still leaking. It’s in bad shape. Look, there’s metal shards flaking. This place this place doesn’t need any help.”
It was gonna happen anyway!
Next time on Tabletop Garden: The Great Molasses Flood.
I’m a I’m a sturdy sort of person. Accustomed to holding on things in uncertain circumstances.
When he had one too many he kept saying that the whole thing was gonna burst open or something.
Because when I do my report, we’re gonna have to make damn sure that this thing is still standing.
Capitalism sucks. Have a very nice day!
Rosette Diceless was created by Future Proof Games and can be found at rosetterpg.com. Our theme song is “Great Molasses Disaster” by Robin Aigner and Parlor Game, available under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial Sharealike 3.0 license. You can find more on tabletop garden at tabletop.garden and you can support my work and get episodes early at patreon.com/GregoryAveryWeir
Transcribed by https://otter.ai