Last time on Tabletop Garden: The Great Molasses Flood.
You notice a poster, an announcement from the American Anarchists, threatening to dynamite you if you don’t stop deporting anarchists.
I’m Lucy and I’m playing Harmony Wright. I will go to Purity Distilling. The main office.
I’m Jim and I’m playing Lorenzo Caligari. And I’m going to go over there and and talk to the folks who are guarding Purity.
I’m Melissa and I’m playing Sam Michaels. I will use my skill of ship engineering.
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. I don’t know if they just decided they couldn’t afford the good metal or just built it super cheap, or… if this thing is fuller than it’s supposed to be or it was built for something else or what. But it’s not gonna hold up too much longer.
And as you’re standing kind of looking at this tank and showing this this piece of metal off, a man comes out of that little office and and rushes towards you all and walks right up to you, Sam and tries to, like, knock the piece of metal out of your hand.
And and he says, “What the hell are you all doing snooping around here? We just had a an inspection. Everything’s fine. You don’t need to be… Are you, what, are you with the Fire Dep… Get Get out. Get out of here.” So this is the investigation attacking with a… Actually no, he says, “Get out of here or I’m calling the cops.”
Oh no, the fuzz!
So this is an attack of… I think this is just a straight attack against your nerve, boosted with hegemony, with the the edge of cops. So that’s a… that is a four, bold, and at the same time, Mr. Jell says to Harmony, “Now, you get on out of here, girl, or I’ll call the cops!” So you’re all getting a four against your nerve.
So this one’s easy. I’m going to use always composed to boost my nerve, which brings it to either six or seven. And so that’s blocked. Um, so I’d like to to just, I don’t know, dodge this attempt to take the metal out of my hand, to knock the metal out of my hand.
I’m an I’m a sturdy sort of person accustomed to holding on things in uncertain circumstances. And I’ll stay composed. I’ll keep a pretty, pretty blank face. I’m not trying to cause an overabundance of trouble. “No, sir. We’re here doing an inspection for the fire department. Thank you for accommodating us, sir.”
Do you handle things so well, Lorenzo?
So interesting thing is that I’m going to start start talking to him to convince him we should be here, which I shall I shall roleplay in a moment. My nerve is currently for because I had one more one where on my nerve. But I can boost because… with this, hopefully because I also have extra convincing. Extra convincing: you’re always boosted on challenges to convince someone or tell a lie.
Yeah. So so because you’re kind of… This is actively, like, you’re actively in a negotiation. Do you… how do you back… ‘cuz Sam’s already kind of been deferential. How do you back him up?
Well, I’m basically going to I’m going to say, “Listen, pal. We’re doing… We are here having to do our jobs because they’re… because we got we got reports of someone coming around possibly doing some tampering and we had to check it out. It’s a structural situation. You are aware that there are city ordinances about having to make sure that that the structure of all of the buildings, buildings are safe?”
All our permits were approved. I’m going to guess you’ve been talking to Gonzalez. He’s just a disgruntled former employee. Don’t worry about it. I I promise you. We’ve been… We’re working with the government. We’re making sure that everything’s everything’s safe. You don’t need to worry about any of these these anarchists bombing this this thing. Everything’s square. If you got an issue, you can talk to my boss, he’ll tell you the same.” How is Harmony doing?
Well, bad. Can I say what my common resource that I have during the session is?
So, I was thinking maybe it could be something like, just, I don’t know, I’m trying to work this out narratively. Y’all can help me if you can think of something better. But I was thinking I could have Favor… I mean, I was thinking anarchists, but I don’t know how that would make sense. Whatever it is, I wanted something that I can throw at cops.
Well, probably more metaphorically.
Could you have like, a patron of some sort? That that’s kind of… You’re you’re involved politically. Maybe whoever, you know, whoever funds the the political maneuvers, you’ll be able to say, “Oh, I’m working with so and so in the city council,” or something?
Yeah. Or city council or even, depending on how far the reach is, like, if like someone in… What role would it be? I don’t know, we’ve been watching The Mentalist. Like someone who would be a defendant or a defender, like a lawyer that would…
…be on your side to discourage cops from prosecuting or something like… Depends on if one can hold both anarchist and… anarchist views and be a lawyer in the system. To which of course they can, but, you know. But that would be a benefactor. Group status is a common resource that you could leverage here. Or that could be the thing.
All right, I guess the lawyer idea is what I’ll go with. And so Harmony will say, “Call whoever you need to, I know D.A. Boss Person. And I’m not worried about it.”
Probably, let’s see, the person you know, let’s say is, is Jack Tully. He’s a he’s a, not a DA, but a notorious socialist-identifying lawyer that’s just like, is the person that like, the, the socialists will like, call on to sue folks for not matching regulations and so on, and, and he doesn’t win all his cases, but he makes it real inconvenient for people when he gets involved.
Perfect. “I’ll be on the horn with Jack Tully in two shakes of a lamb’s tail!” But I am having to take an affliction that’s “entangled”.
Okay. So you’re both entangled and…
Stymied. Alright, and it is your turn. You’re face to face with Jell. He’s heard the name Tully and he kind of… his hand was on the phone receiver. And he takes it off and crosses his arms and he says, “What is it that you want?” He says, “Take your… take your drugs back? What… Why are you here? What… I don’t…”
I’m having no trouble with a lawyer.
I can’t. I already crossed them off my sheet. You’re gonna have to keep them. “I already told you. I’m here to take a look at the books. I’m here to take a look at the books! Because I know you’re cooking them.
No! You’re some random person off the street claiming to know a lawyer. What do you… We’re not cooking any books!
I want to look around this room at papers or bulletin… This is like, have you seen The Usual Suspects?
Yeah, like in The Usual Suspects. And I’m trying to find a name that I can use. Something that seems like a powerful person who is above this person that I can name drop right now. This can be my attack if you want.
I think it definitely should be.
I am… this is definitely a mind attack. I mean, I kind of want to boost with my tie with Sam.
For like, you know, relying on their attention to detail and awareness of surroundings to like, help me make sense of this all in the moment.
So that last… that latest poem I wrote that was about one specific pipe junction down in the, on the third floor of the ship? Deck, that’s it. …inspired you to play play close attention to your surroundings?
Just so detail oriented. It’s inspiring.
Put everybody to sleep in the place.
Except for me.
Except for you, who, apparently, was paying attention.
And I’m wondering if I could use an edge of field work in this situation? Since I’m definitely making something impromptu here.
What… What did you do previously? Because field work is about you set this up already. What…
I thought that was prior research.
Prior research is you’ve done research on this, you know, you… Field work is the MacGyver edge. It is “something that I did previously in this scene set me up for this.” So what what was it?
Well, I mean, maybe it was my, like, careful dressing. And how I did that, because I didn’t just come in my anarchist clothes.
Okay, yeah, you dressed for for a con. So what was the number?
All right, he cannot defeat that. So he’s going to block the edge with his government connections. But you’ve done a point of stress against Jell. As you look around, and you notice a piece of, like a paper, an invoice from a boiler maker, boiler maintenance company called Walter W. Fields and Sons, and it’s got boiler maker John Urquhart, and it’s a an invoice for recaulking a tank.
So which of those names seems like the most important person?
Fields would be the the person who owns the company who he contracted. Urquhart would be the expert, who presumably was doing maintenance on the tank. So up to you, do you want… Do you want the head of the company he hired? Or do you want the technician who actually did the work?
The head of the company.
Okay. So Fields. Walter Fields.
I’ll say, Mr. Fields, specifically contracted me to come in and take a look and make sure the numbers all line up.
He, uh, He says…
Look, I’m tired of arguing with you. I’m an accountant. Honestly, I could be… What is it you guys say? …”making a living” right now. So could you just let me look at the spreadsheets or the ledgers.
He sighs and says, “I am going to, once I have a moment, I am going to have a word with Walter. But for now, here.” And he he searches through his desk, he picks up that that invoice that you spotted, he like lifts it up, he pulls out the the carbon below it, he says, “I don’t know why your people didn’t keep proper records.” He says, “Here’s your invoice.” He looks through his… like, he pulls out a ledger and like flips through it. And he says… He shows you a page of the ledger which has, you know, this is the the money paid to Walter W. Fields and Sons, he like holds up the invoice, shows you that they match. He hands you the the carbon copy, and he says, “As you can see, everything’s in order. If there’s any further problems, then have have Walter call me up himself. This is very irregular.” And he is… remind once again of your afflictions?
Stymied and entangled.
Yes. He says, “Now that is all that you are entitled to at this moment. I have done as you asked. Now, I will kindly ask you to leave the premises or I will have to inform Mr. Fields that you’re trespassing.” So he is targeting your affliction of entangled and using the edge J’accuse.
Well, that all lines up.
You are rather accusable.
I say… First, I snatch the carbon copy out of his hand. And I say, “Well, capitalism sucks. Have a very nice day. Good day, sir!”
And he just is staring at you like he doesn’t doesn’t even understand what you said. Like just the the… You shocked him so greatly, this announcement out of con- the context that he thought this conversation was, that you are able to make a very dramatic storm out. And the the receptionist kind of is, is startled as you… Are you leaving entirely? Leaving the building?
I get out there and then I say, “I said good day!”
Uh-uh. Uh-uh! And suddenly, we’re in the world of Stacking.
And she she rushes into the office, and you hear her like apologizing preemptively as you make your way out.
Oh, my god.
So Lorenzo, you have just confronted and and and started the talking to to this to the site manager.
So I have… so I have a thought of where to take this next. Before I do, would you could you remind us how the how the antagonist, how the…
The adversary, that’s the word I was reaching for! How the adversary is doing.
The adversary has taken no stress directly. It has spent some stress to create some extras and experts, which it’s going to be doing more of in a moment.
And it otherwise is unaffected, but it’s it’s it’s down three stress total from from those activities.
Okay. Is this is this fellow, we’re talking to one of those?
I’m looking for a blank index card. None of these cards are blank. All of these have things on them. We are back. Alright, so yes, this, this guy is an expert.
Okay. So, what I’m about to attempt to do is to… Before I before I proceed here, is this someone that I’ve seen around?
Um, yeah, vaguely. He doesn’t… he doesn’t seem to… You haven’t, like, seen him out and about much, but he looks familiar.
Okay. All right.
He’s clearly, like, he’s got a he’s got a, he’s got kind of the blue collar person’s suit on. He’s clearly like, the boss, but not… You know, he clearly does paperwork. But he’s not the… you know, not one of the one of the managers.
Okay, all right. No, that’s fine. Yeah. All right. What I’m about to attempt to do may involve turning him as into something of not necessarily an ally, per se. But someone who, who I’m hoping will, in the near future, be able to help us. Because, since I’ve, since I’ve started my tirade, it’s going to continue a bit. And I’m going to point to the, to the metal object that he snatched out of Sam’s hand.
I think, Sam, Sam dodged it. But you can… so you can point to…
Oh, okay, but he was going to. I’m going to point to that, and I’m going to point to other areas just sort of around where I, you know, we’ve been looking around where I think they’re probably about. And he’s going to say, “With the structure of this thing being being the way it is, by the way, with the reports we’ve been getting. That there is a there is a possibility with with some tampering, I don’t know how much longer this thing, how much longer this thing is going to hold, if people keep coming in here and messing with it. There is or there are reports… We have someone. You, you know. if you, if you’re worried about you know, we’re hearing about what anarchists or whatever… There’s a… We’ve had reports of a fella who’s going around in this gray suit. We don’t know exactly what it is yet. We think and I don’t know, we think it might be tied to the anarchists, we don’t know. But if they’re doing uniforms or whatever now, which is… Which to me just doesn’t make sense. But you know, whatever. The these this gray suit with these stripes…” and I will describe the man as someone that is dangerous and needs to be looked out for. And just saying, “Because when I do my report about all this, we’re gonna have to make damn sure that this thing is still standing at the end of the day,” He says, pointing to the to the tower.
A couple of things. So once again, I am attempting to convince someone, perhaps even lying of it, which would make me boosted using once again extra convincing. I would like to, if I may, since I am… I have potentially what’s what may be credible evidence of these things falling off of the potential for it for doing harm tampering. I’m wondering if I could use J’accuse here levied against the man in gray.
I will point even well, while j’accusing him.
I think you’re targeting… you’re targeting the superintendent, so
I’m targeting the superintendent…
But but you have you have evidence that he, you’re you can accuse him of kind of the negligence and maintenance and stuff problems.
Well, that too. Yeah. Yeah. And in and of itself will be something.
So what was… that’s the edge, what was the boost again?
The boost, again, comes from extra convincing,
Okay, so you’re boosted, you don’t do wear unless you actually spend something.
But yeah, so that what’s that number?
Okay, so that’s gonna come out to a six.
All right, six on… Is this more nerve or wits? Are you… you’re you’re kind of tricking him, you’re kind of convincing him.
It’s the the the this is my eternal problem. This is it’s everything I do. It’s like line… is on one line or another. I think first of all, you you mentioned, this gentleman does look like somewhat of a someone who does the paperwork.
But he also just seems like someone who has a certain degree of nerve given what he did just now.
Yeah, he seems he’s he’s kind of got an indignant air about him. He, he you’d probably peg him as a little a little more enthusiastic than he is clever.
Okay. So yeah, I think then I’m going to lean… I’m going to try to lean more into wits where I’m talking about it not necessarily as a thing where I’m trying to get him to blink, but hence the mentioning of the paperwork, hence the mentioning of the problems with the structure, hence the mentioning of the report.
…I’m going to I’m going to have to give about all of this.
That there are dangerous people about and things need to be taken care of. And so we’re attacking his wits.
He’ll he’ll take that. He cannot… he cannot block that on wits. And he thinks… he’s listening. He’s like, “Well that… that doesn’t make much sense. I mean, that sounds like you’re talking about Ronald Reagan.” You’ve never heard this name before. He says he says…
He said he was with the government agency helping with the securing of the facility but… you’re saying that he might be someone trying to pull a fast one over on us?
Well I can tell you, as far as the as far as the g…. as far as the government people been telling us, I don’t think that guy’s for real. I mean, what kind of a name is Ronald Reagan?
He says, “I dunno, it sounds…”
It’s not a good one.
Sounds a little young for him, honestly, but…
“I don’t know. Listen, I know you got your concerns but we just had this thing recaulked. My boss, Mr. Jell, personally approved the plans. It’s been standing just fine. I had loads in and out of it for years now. I’ll help you with dealing with this problem as much as you like. The… you know, I can give you a call at the fire station if if Reagan shows up again. But in the end, this this isn’t like… I’m just I’m just trying to run a site here. Get molasses delivered to the tank, get molasses out of the tank. I don’t know that there’s there’s much for you to be doing here.” So he’s going to… he’s attacking your nerve again.
With… boosted with not my problem, so that it is an attack of four.
Okay, did I take… did I take wear on my nerve before? I actually don’t think I did. I think you’d said that… that there was… I have went one wear on my nerves.
I think you should have taken a second…
Should I have taken thing… I can’t remember if there was something where you said that someone was not using an edge but I can’t remember if it was the one on me or not. But if I took a second, then I shall reflect that on my sheet.
It’s whether the attack comes in bold that it matters.
No, that’s r… I keep messing that up! What’s wrong with me? Don’t answer that. There are too many answers to that. Let’s see. Okay, so if I have, if I’m two down then my ner… my current nerve is three, how much is… four?
He’s coming in with a four.
Okay. See what we can work in here. I can see the danger, though of what of the the edges of trying to just use something like extra convincing because if… I can understand it encouraged me to use like, “Okay, well, I can just talk.”
Yeah, I don’t think extra convincing applies here. Because…
You’re not trying to convince them of anything at the bone. He’s trying to get you to leave.
Oh, yeah, he should be coming in with an edge too… Obligation!
He, he said he’d help you out.
That’s true. That’s true. That’s fair. That’s fair.
Okay. So you can boost and block this. You’ll just take more wear.
We haven’t discussed a scenario once you have more wear than you have stat.
I think it just keeps working the same way it always did.
It’ll hit eventually.
Because it’s gonna…
Once you go in negatives, it’s gonna be hard.
If I take this, it’s gonna flip in a second. And it’s gonna flip from two wear to three wear and I’m going to have a lower nerve than anything else. So I’m trying to decide if strategically the best thing is to go ahead and is to try and block it. Or if I should go ahead and take the stress, which would also be an issue. And I’m feeling almost a little afraid to take stress because of you know, having… because of recent death by molasses. So it’s an interesting question. Yeah, we’re so early on, I’m gonna… I think I’m gonna have to, I have to take more wear. So let’s see, what shall I burn here? To boost? I guess I could use bargaining. If I really… I really don’t want to give it up so early! I say it’s early. It’s just because we haven’t done any damage to the antagonist yet. Okay. So he was he was just basically saying, okay, no, it’s okay. We’ll take care of it. He was ready to basically placate me into leaving. And actually I mean, I’m almost at this point inclined to go ahead and leave. Because I I’m, I’m starting to think there’s, there’s not a lot we can get out of this. So the funny thing is, in the fiction, we might be about to do exactly what the guy is saying.
Yeah, but whether you need to take the stress for it…
You could introduce one of your quirks.
Yeah, okay. I’m gonna sort of distract him a little bit here. In an attempt to invoke my quirk of family person, right?
And he’ll say, “I mean, look, fella. I I’m not trying to get… I’m not trying to harass you on this, you understand. This is, I mean, it’s… I I got all the respect in the world for the product that you folks put out. My ma uses it in a recipes all the time. So it’s not something… we’re not we’re not looking to… We’re not not looking to buffalo you here.” I don’t know if that’s an expression yet, unfortunately. But insert era-appropriate word for “buffalo” here in the sense of trying to bull rush… Which I think it might actually be okay. But anyway, I digress. “Not trying to knock you down here or anything. We just want to make sure everyone’s… everybody is going to be safe, of course. And then that all the all the i’s are dotted and the T’s are crossed. Because, as I’m sure you know, paperwork begets paperwork, right? But…”
He says, “Ah, yeah, that’s the truth.” He gave you… When you said your grandmother used the product in cooking he gave you the weirdest look. And you get the feeling…
In her recipes. I said in her recipes.
You get the feeling that maybe the product made… Any product that he knows about isn’t to be used in cooking but also that maybe he’s like, “Ah, dude is just flattering me.”
There’s metal flakes in this molasses.
You don’t use molasses in recipes? Am I…?
Not ones with metal flakes in it. I don’t recommend putting that in your food.
Yeah, that’s fair.
Apparently. They don’t sell molasses. They use molasses.
Oh, that’s fair.
Yeah, that’s true.
He says he says, “Yep. Yeah, you sure are right. Hey, any paperwork you can save me, I’m happy to have your help.” He says, “Just let me know. Take all the time you need. I’ll be, I’ll be in the office.” And he is turning as if to if to head back.
So take the additional wear on your nerve.
And Sam. This guy’s heading back. You can certainly just let him if you want.
I think so.
Is there anything else you you want to get done?
I don’t know that there’s anything else we want to do in here.
I can’t think of anything.
Yeah, we’ve examined the structure. We don’t…
We got a name.
We got a name. Yeah. Okay.
Unless we can find some other way to look for any tampering that Mr. Reagan has done.
God. Fucking hell. I’d already forgotten that Ronald goddamn Reagan was here.
And you, you also have gotten the name Gonzales as a as a disgruntled employee.
That’s true. That’s very true.
Did they… Okay. Hmm. So did they say were Gonzales would be?
He didn’t. That’s that’s something you could… That would be good attack, I think.
Yeah, let’s find out find out where this legitimately and understandably grumpy soul is. Because capitalism. So I’ll nod my head: “Do you want to you want to head out? We can, um, we can maybe wander a bit and find some info?”
Yeah, yeah. I can’t think of anything else to go at here and I mean, you know, we know a little more than we did.
Unless they’re hiding people in their office or something, you know?
“I mean, maybe. Who knows? These people.” Let’s see if… Do we know the name of a bar? The bar? That…
Oh, that that Irish pub, maybe?
the one that…
I was gonna say..
Yeah, the one that collapsed? What’s its name?
Oh, god, am I coming up with it? I don’t know that I know of any Irish names that don’t just sound like horribly stereotypical.
I mean, it could. It could be. It could be a nautical name. It could be like The Easy Berth. No, that’s too punny.
The Hoof and Mouth…
The Comfortable Berth… the, uh…
Oh, with an E. Okay. I…
I was confused!
The Tipsy Wench.
No Wenches. The Tipsy Berth.
Now googling fish varieties…
Ah, let’s see. Let’s go for…
The Block and Tackle.
You know what? I like Block and Tackle. That’s sufficiently silly. What time of day is it?
I’d say about noon. You’ve spent most of the morning…
That’s right, yeah.
…casing this place and… Maybe early after-, little after lunch.
Okay, so gonna go in… I guess order a beverage of some sort. “Hey there, sir. Can we can we see your… your phonebook?” I don’t know that… Okay, honestly, I don’t know the state of telephones at this point. Is this the time where you have to like, talk to an operator to…
…call anybody or like… Okay.
Yeah, you have to give the exchange number, the exchange number even the exchange name of the exchange, which is usually the probably the neighborhood you’re in. And then like the… you get like four digits, I think still. But, uh…
We’ve established that there’s some sort of phone book or something.
At the moment.
So yeah, he says, “Yeah, sure thing,” and he sets it on the on the bar. And I’ve you’ve probably… You’ve drank here before. You ended up with a favor from this dude in the…
…previous time through this week, so…
So he’s he’s seen you.
Okay, how many Gonzalez is are there, in…?
I think give me….? I don’t know, some sort of canvassing attack or something? Because there aren’t many, but there’s more than one.
Okay. I’ll also ask the barkeep like, hey, you’re right here this place?
Oh, yeah, sure.
Did you ever see someone come in?
Right, so, a combination of both the paper and the… and that.
The barkeep’s gonna be more hand- handy than the phonebook here, probably.
Okay. So I think what I’ll do here is highlight my… I think I’ll use my Always Belowdecks quirk here.
…to be like, you know, there are plenty of things that make us different however, we’re all just working Joes here. I’m just trying to help this person out who hates their damn job.
I’ve been there, look at me. Like I… do I look like I’ve had an easy life working on ships? You know, like just like that camaraderie of just like being a normal dude who’s not above anybody else. And so that is going to be a four charm attack, I think? With an edge from… I don’t think any of the standard charm edges apply. I’m gonna use… Whoa. Can I use a negative trait as a Useful Trait?
Huh. Uh, I guess? I don’t I don’t I don’t think we specify you can’t!
We definitely did not.
I like the idea of it!
Okay, so I have not so attractive as a negative trait, which means I can’t boost challenges related to first impressions or physical attraction. And so… I think I want to use this as an edge in the sense that like, to reinforce the… like, I’m just a dude, I’m not there’s nothing about me that’s particularly smarmy, or, like, you know.
Also maybe wants to get rid of you.
Ha, yes! Get this ugly fucker out of my bar. So yes, that’s a four charm and I assuming this is against the mystery, the main…
Yeah. Is this this is is this nerve or Wits? Are you? Are you? I think its Wits right?
I think so. Unless Unless Gonzales is hiding scared, maybe? Then it becomes nerve? But… yeah.
All right. I will take that because I don’t think I have a skill that will help. I’m going to take an affliction of Networked, in the sense of like, you now have various people you’ve been talking to you that’re willing to give you information.
Is that your first affliction?
First affliction and first point of stress that y’all actually dealt to the…
…dealt directly to the adversary. And he says, “Oh, yeah, yeah, Gonzales. Uh, Isaac. Guy by the name of Isaac Gonzales. He he worked at the at the, at the tank up there for years. When he had one too many he kept saying that the whole thing was gonna break apart or burst open or something? He’d say that it wasn’t safe. From what I hear he he quit back in September. Couldn’t take it anymore. Kept talking about how his boss wouldn’t listen to him, his boss’s boss wouldn’t listen to him. He doesn’t live too close. But…” He he flips through the through the phonebook. And he’s like, “Yeah, there. I. Gonzales, right there.”
Jesus. All right. That’s a that’s worrying. It’s, you know, I mean, I guess it’s good he had an eye out, but just like a just like a manager not paying any attention, right?
Yup, well, one of the nice things about this place is I don’t have to worry too much about bosses.
Sounds great. Just the tax man, I guess. Right?
Yeah, well, that’s always gonna be problem. Plus, you know, Prohibition coming up.
Oh, yeah, that’s…
Can’t be more than a year or so left in this place.
That’s rough. That’s, that’s rough.
I think if y’all are down, I’m interested in an OOC chat before we call it?
Okay. All right, I think we should have an out of character chat.
So one of our three agenda items for this campaign is to be improvisational. Support each other to create the story in the moment and set other players up for interesting story. And that’s sort of a core concept of Rosette Diceless. Is to, to kind of… We talk about spotlighting characters and and letting everyone have narrative control over what’s going on, and presenting opportunities for for the narrator and for players that aren’t currently the narrator. And we’ve definitely seen some of that here with with the the different character stories interacting and, and some of the more… Especially, I think Harmony has been pretty provocative with some of the stuff that that she’s been doing. How do y’all… What do y’all think about how that agenda item has been going? Does that feel easy? Has it been challenging?
So I have not been role playing as much in this last, let’s say year that it’s been exclusively online. We took a long hiatus from our regular space station sci fi game until like, August.
Yeah, our home game of Rosette Diceless.
Exactly. And so this is probably only the fifth or sixth kind of session in this past year that I’ve played of a role playing game. So I find it more awkward. In many of the ways that people who do podcasts that I listen to talk about how it is more awkward this year. So you know, there’s nothing surprising here. It’s just a little a little harder to know when to jump in, or how to signal or if I’ve missed anything, and, you know, like, if I zoned out for a second, like, Did I miss a clue? And how awkward will it be if I ask or whatever. So so there’s that. Like, just the mechanics, I think of video stuff I’m just less skilled with. I think I’ll get there. But that’s what it is. But overall, like, I think it I think it works okay. It’s a little harder to know, for me as this character, kind of how to jump in. Like I’m not sure that like diving into a scene in which two people are trying to convince each other of something is the right move necessarily. You know, like in this this last scene we were in. I figured quiet and unobtrusive was probably the better way to go. But it did make for complete silence from from this side of the mic.
Yeah, I mean, the general, the general Tabletop Garden principle of honestly portraying diverse characters kind of weighs on Sam, because Sam is in a position where historically it’s it’s kind of dangerous if he tries to hop into an argument between two white guys, or even…
But… but Lorenzo is Italian, he’s doing it, right?
So that’s all this is like running through my head on like, what’s this versus that? And then also, though, keeping up enough with what’s on my sheet and so on, like, if it would be worth it, then I’ll do it. You know, there’s also that like, OOC component of, of, I’ll absolutely do it. So. So yeah, I think it’s it’s interesting. It’s more… It feels like more work than sitting at the table does. Like, than being in person.
Which is interesting.
More attention required.
Yeah. Yeah. New experience.
I’ll say that, for my part, the improv factor… Mostly when I’ve been getting stuck, I’ve noticed in this game has usually just been when I am looking for something mechanically to use. Because then I have to shift my brain to that gear, where I’m looking at a list of things. And I’m trying to decide strategically…
…what, what to do and then figure out. It’s like, Okay, well, once I’ve narrowed it down to the set of things I want to do, how shall I spin it to to make it work? I think once I actually start talking, I’m fine. For a given value of fine because a lot of times that also involves, as those of you who’ve been who’ve heard any of this podcast will realize: Usually I ramble until I hit the thing that I want to hit. It’s been my improv style for some time since a, since I started doing improv in, in theater. It’s one of those things where I’ve been lucky enough to been able to do in my streamed games, regular playing of games for a while, it’s been less more recently. But that is starting up again. The… I think it’s mostly when I have to switch gears that I have difficulty with it. And I do agree that improv-ing with people is easier when you are in their presence.
Because you can read all of the micro signals, if that’s a word, that you can’t otherwise read quite as well, even if you’re looking at them on video. You can see their entire self and glean things from that. So it’s it… There is I agree a challenge with respect to that.
Yeah. You mentioned the the sort of mechanics, how mechanics interact with that improvisation and, like, ideally, the mechanics of an RPG are providing, like, prompts and information that can that can prompt that improv. But then there’s also the flip side of that, is that like, you can’t just freely improv because then, you know, you can easily go like, “Oh, I’ve got a great idea, improv, improv!” and then you like realize, like, “Oh, my numbers don’t support that.” Which is the classic problem…
…that shows up in RPGs all the time or someone will have a brilliant, clever social interaction with their character and then realize that their character doesn’t have a skill that would let them be that personable.
I have had one challenge, which is figuring out whether things that I want to do or say are like, historically accurate. And I know, like… I mean, maybe I should worry about it less. I don’t know.
I think we’ve tried to push for like, we don’t need to, like we’re fine being flexible with that. That’s one of the things that we we started off with. But that’s still hard to do, because everything is so interconnected, right? It’s like, we talked about, are there phone books, what do phone books look like? Right? And like, on the one hand, you can hand wave that and be like, of course, there are phone books. On the other hand, it’s like, wait, what does that say about the world if there are phone books when there weren’t historically? Yeah, I know what you’re saying.
It just sometimes it makes it like harder to figure out how to interact with people in the environment, because it’s like an additional layer.
I mean, I think it’s good. I think it’s a good challenge. Like, I think I like it. But, um, it does, I think it is an additional thing in between just tossing something out there or responding.
Yeah. And the fact that we’re deliberately interacting with history in this way, like, you know, if we were doing a Call of Cthulhu game, and in… set in the same time, we probably wouldn’t worry as much about it, right? Because we’re concerned about if we can track down the shoggoth, not how to find a worker who quit in a city.
I will say though, now I’m concerned that the worker is going to turn out to be a shoggoth. I’m very worried about that.
That’d be a twist.
I also just… oh, sorry.
No, I was gonna say that would be a hell of a twist. You said this would be weird fiction, but… If it goes that direction…
As someone who’s been teaching via Zoom for… since March, I think y’all are like a ray of sunshine. Like how you say things, and communicate, I think is great. So, I mean, great job, everybody.
I mean, a lot of… That’s, like, a lot of the technique of improv is staying engaged and active. Like, that’s, I think, why the mechanics can sometimes be be tricky, because when you’re looking at your sheet, it’s harder to, to kind of keep that patter going back and forth between between players.
So does this mean we should throw our sheets out and freeform roleplay forever?
I do like, this new sheet.
One of the things I’m interested in, with, with Tabletop Garden is how, like, how the rules interact with that storytelling. Like, even even if it’s sometimes you know, if it sometimes it makes it more challenging?
It’s, it’s, I find that that friction interesting. Not that I don’t love some freeform roleplaying.
I’m going to remember this conversation when we see the shoggoth come burbling up out of that molasses tank. I’m just saying.
You can say I told you so.
We can freeform scream our ass out of this town.
How’s that for free form?!
Thank you very much.
Next time on Tabletop Garden: The Great Molasses Flood.
Also Lorenzo, I was really hoping I’d have an opportunity to slide down that pole. Is that going to be an option?
Sometimes I guess we have to be a little bit of a group of anarchists, I guess.
Before we start getting into the possibility of blowing things up, can we at least try calling?
You see a figure dart out of an alley and start running.
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