The spectacle presents itself as a vast, inaccessible reality that can never be questioned. Its sole message is, “What appears is good. What is good appears.” The tautological character of the spectacle stems from the fact that its means and ends are identical. It is the sun that never sets over the empire of modern passivity. It covers the entire surface of the globe, endlessly basking in its own glory. The spectacle is the ruling order’s nonstop discourse about itself. Its never ending monologue of self praise, its self portrait at the stage of totalitarian domination of all aspects of life. The spectacle is capital accumulated to the point that it becomes images.
- excerpts from The Society of the Spectacle, Guy DeBord. 1967. Translated by Ken Knab.
All right, so you are in the middle of this investigation. You’ve just gotten information on Isaac Gonzales, who is a former employee at the at the molasses tank site, under Purity Distilling. And you’ve also gathered a bit of useful information from both from your investigations of Mr. Jell, who’s the manager of the Boston operation, and from looking around at the tank site itself. You know that the tank right now is not full. It’s not as full as it was when the disaster happened. You know that it is leaking heavily. And that it seems to be giving, like, shedding bits of metal. Inside, I think, was the implication, that like when they clean the inside of the tank, bits of metal come off. And they’ve gotten threats about anarchist bombings. And there’s been kind of a shifting level of concern about them. People tend to bring Gonzales’s name up as sort of an alarmist, but at the same time, there are clearly like armed guards on duty protecting this tank, because of bomb threats. So that’s a little, that’s a weird confusion.
And you know about this Cut-Up man going by the name of Ronald Reagan, who… It’s unclear to you, I think, at this point, exactly what he’s been doing. He seems to be going around and talking to people. And I think the most concrete examples you’ve gotten of what he’s done is just like, ask people if they have a cigarette, and then not smoke it. It seems to be very subtle shifts, here and there.
Now I have to figure out what my attack is. Because it’s the investigation’s term.
May I ask a clarifying question before you get started?
I didn’t quite understand… You said there was some kind of a tension about Gonzales.
Yeah, both Jell, who’s overseeing everything, and William White, who’s the sort of supervisor on site at the tank…
When y’all brought up like, “We’re worried there will be a disaster at the tank,” both of their initial reaction was, “You must have been talking to Gonzales.” As if like, he’s the only person saying that something’s going to go wrong, while at the same time, you know that they’ve gotten bomb threats. So they seem to both be downplaying and genuinely concerned about potential problems.
Thank you. That makes sense.
All right. It is now the investigation’s turn. And Harmony, you ended up leaving Jell’s office, right? You ended up departing once he got…?
Yes, I believe I stormed out.
Sam and Lorenzo, you’re, I think, probably outside the Block and Tackle?
And harmony. You’re walking back from Jell’s office, from the Purity offices that are further in town. And all of you see police cars kind of driving along relatively slowly as if they’re looking, paying attention. This is an attack by the the adversary and it is boosted…. This is a direct attack. It’s not a crisis attack. It’s boosted with kyriarchy, the ruling by the dominant people over marginalized people, with an edge of J’accuse. It’s an edge because they have evidence of you all doing something wrong. So that is a four against your wits, bold. This is to see if you notice these cops soon enough to be able to avoid detection from them looking for you.
Did you say Wits?
Yes. It’s on your wits.
And is the thing that that they have evidence of us sneaking in to the place?
Yeah, it’s it’s…
You know people are asking around and you’ve presented yourself with with credentials that you don’t have. Lorenzo totally does, but but Sam doesn’t.
I do not. Hmm.
And you did say bold.
Bold, yes. Coming in at a four.
I’m going to… I don’t need to boost. So I am taking a… one wear on my wits.
And I think Harmony is just in a state of focus. Um, she’s just very aware of sort of what’s going on right now. Especially after how poorly things went in Jell’s office. So she’s really being attentive to…
…what’s going on right now.
Do you like do you duck into an alley? Do you like hide your face?
Well, yeah, so for one thing, I am dressed differently than I normally am. So I am not like recognizable. I th… And oh, actually also, I have Innocuous…
…as well, which is a trait which I think means that I don’t I just don’t get noticed like that.
Yeah, you’re always boosted on challenges to avoid notice. So yeah, so it’s just kind of… Because you’re always not drawing much attention, you kind of have that extra time to be like, “Oh, they’re not going to notice me. So I can, I can just be discreet.” And the cop car drives on by. What about the two of you, Lorenzo and Sam, how are you dealing with kind of stepping outside this bar and starting to get the feeling that some cops are interested in you?
I think I have to take it. I can’t think of a way to boost my way out of it. Or to block the edge. So I’ll take a point of stress. And I’ll take the affliction… hounded? Is that appropriate?
Yeah, I think so.
So I have potential ways that I can boost this. Say, for example, if if Sam is preceding me out the door, where it’s something where we like, we see the cops coming, and I have to react quickly to try to try to react to it. And I kind of, I’m stepping through and I kind of sort of pull… sort of grabs Sam’s arm and kind of like, just sort of pull him back in. But they but they’re gonna spot him because Sam failed this challenge. But…
Well, I mean, that that’s a question. Sam, did they spot you?
Because you get to decide what that hit means.
Well, well, it’s not contingent on that the thing that I was going to do, so let’s find out if I can do this first.
Sure. Yeah. Lissa, Lissa can think on that.
Yeah. So my thought is to pull them back in quickly reacting quickly. If you would say that that’s reacting quickly, then I might be able to use my extra quick trait on that. Which is always always boosted on challenges to move or react quickly.
Yeah, I think that makes sense.
That’ll boost me to six.
Yeah, so you take wear on your wits and kind of manage to, if Sam’s cool with it, kind of pull Sam back into the bar. Did they catch sight of you, Sam?
I think they probably saw someone come out halfway out the door and dart back in. So if they’re like, “What’s… is there movement happening while we’re looking around?” Then they then they spotted someone being a little furtive.
Alright. So… and you’re… I think I’ll say that you’re you’re able to go out a different way. And and not, like… You don’t have to worry about like the cops coming… It doesn’t it doesn’t seem like they’re on a manhunt. But you all definitely get the feeling that, like the cop presence is more active than it was… and especially for for Sam and Renzo. Like, you two are pretty sure that you didn’t do anything to, like… White didn’t seem suspicious. No one seems suspicious. So it’s kind of… It is strange that the cops are more active now. You thought you your your con went better than this. Right. So what are the afflictions currently? Sam… that was…
I have hounded.
Hounded. Does anyone else have any?
I do. I have stymied.
I don’t have any right now.
All right. Harmony. You’re walking back and it’s it’s getting into evening at this point. Did you… I think y’all said that you wanted to meet up back at the at the graveyard, which you totally could at this point.
I think we had a… a long plan about where and how and when we were going to meet up. So I’m certain there’s a location and a time.
So do you know what you want your next action to be? Do you want to like meet up and compare notes first?
I think I would prefer to meet up and compare notes first. Although I am flexible.
Sounds good to me.
So you you all meet up in in the in Copp’s Hill Burial Ground. You’re in among those gravestones again. And it is the sun is is setting. And I think we can just say you share the the general stuff about what each of you did. You’re welcome to highlight if any of you as players have anything you particularly want to chat about feel free.
I don’t think so. So I have the name Angelico written down as the person who probably posted the posters.
This… an old Italian anarchist.
Who folks, folks think is is the one who probably put up the “Go-Head” posters.
And Angelico is a sweetie pie, though.
Sure. A sweetie pie who…
They wouldn’t harm a fly.
…threatens to blow things up.
I mean, words are important. And it’s important to inspire people to proper actions.
I mean, he’s kind of a Spitfire… if he were younger, I’d be worried about him a little bit. But you know, he’s not. So I don’t think he could really on his own…
Ah. Fair enough. So yeah, I don’t know that there’s anything else I would want to highlight, particularly.
I am wondering something. Because we we know that that tanks not going to need much help to go at this point. I’m wondering, is, it’s not full right now. Would there may be any merit in doing something if we have to, to keep it from becoming full, at least on that day.
You mean empty it out somehow?
You know, if we worsen the leaks, that will make it significantly… like, so they’re not going to get a shipment in that’s variable, right? The shipment’s planned. It’s 100 gallons, or whatever, 1000 gallons. That’s not going to change at this point, probably. Because it’s probably en route already.
Some stuff, you know, is is like as you’re being a ship engineer. A, we’re talking a million gallons.
B, increasing the existing leaks would be dangerous. There’s certainly ways you could empty it, but like, making it leak more the way it is, it would be mean like removing rivets and stuff, which would make it weaker.
Right, right. That’s fair.
But I think in general, your your thoughts are realistic.
But we know that the children are removing molasses from it. So you can remove molasses. Now, we’re talking about a lot of molasses.
And we’re talking about a lot of metal infested molasses. So we definitely shouldn’t be encouraging consumption or anything like that. But…
Well, I don’t know that they consume it. Who knows what they do with it.
I’m just saying that we do want to be careful. I’ve seen what happens when something like a little bit of rust becomes a whole lot of rust in, you know, water supplies, things like that. So reducing the amount of molasses is a pretty decent thing we could do, except that we don’t know where to put all that molasses.
It may be that this is what I’m gonna want to do for my attack. You can tell me if you think so, Gregory, but I want to try and… It’s weird to say “remember”, but I want to try and remember the last few or next few days, like… and if I can remember anything that happened that might be useful to us in sort of changing up the way things transpire.
Yeah, give me an attack for that. That’s almost certainly mind based.
Yeah, I’m thinking, I’m thinking maybe I could boost a mind attack with my skill at meditation?
Maybe hear… these ideas that I’m hearing from Sam and Lorenzo make me think about trying to remember the future and so I’m like, “Y’all can keep chatting amongst yourselves. But I’m just gonna, I’m just gonna settle down here for a few minutes.” And harmony will sit on a gravestone in the lotus position and do a few oms and breathing exercises and then… This will… My attack will be a bold eight. And an edge… Well, I mean, I do feel in a way prior research is relevant because I did already…
…live these days.
That seems perfectly reasonable to me. Are you… Yeah, you’re you’re probably like taking, you’re the sort of character who would like take notes and write stuff down, right?
Yeah, I literally have a fountain pen on my list of resources.
All right. so I cannot block that. So the investigation is going to take one point of stress and also take the affliction “timelined”. So you’ve got like, your notes on everything you can remember and probably pulling in some from from Sam and Lorenzo as well, on just like what happens when.
I think a big thing you remember is you’ve been talking about how much molasses there is. And you remember that on Sunday, which is the 12th — today is the end of Monday, the sixth — there was a big ship that spent basically all day Sunday moored, just like in the harbor, just outside the the tank. And you remember vaguely seeing tubes and stuff going to it. And your best guess and kind of describing it to Sam and chatting about it, you suspect that that is the molasses delivery. So the disaster happens, the 15th, that delivery arrives on the 12th and finishes on the 13th.
So that’s a that’s kind of a marker. The way you’re thinking about it is like, that’s probably the point at which, after that, you’d need to do drastic action to change the outcome of the situation. I mean, it would probably take drastic action anyway to change things. But at that point, it becomes even more severe.
Other factors… You do you do kind of remember a gradual increase in tension over the course of this upcoming week. As just there’s more news about more stuff anarchists have done, additional kind of anxiety about prohibition coming up, and about more news coming in from from the wrapping down of the war efforts. And so it’s… You’re kind of in a situation of: the closer you get to the date, the more difficult things are going to become.
You also remember that over the course of the upcoming week, there’s going to be a lot of talk in the local leftist community about plans for a strike in Seattle coming up: a general strike. And kind of the general attitude is, “That sounds very neat. That wouldn’t work in Boston.” So that’s sort of another another bit of factoid that’s like, in the… it’s going to be in the mood. That’s something you could affect. So the adversary now has networked and timelined. Networked being that you you now have kind of a network of people you can talk to to gather more information.
Ah, well, after I come out of my meditative state, I will share the things that I have rememoried with the two of you. That is a allusion to Toni Morrison’s Beloved.
Thank you for that.
Do you think there’s any chance we could talk the dockworkers into striking? Because if we had a general strike here, then it’s possible the boat couldn’t even dock and certainly the molasses couldn’t be transferred if there were a strike.
But doesn’t that just delay it?
I mean, delay, one, seems good, right? And two, we’d have a general strike, which honestly, that’s something that we really have been working toward, so…
Well, not sure about the political part. But I mean, we could.
I mean, if we could think of a way to stop the boat from docking in the first place, I mean, that would be good.
I’m not sure. Yeah, like…
it’s, it’s got to be something that interferes with shipping lanes or the ability to transport it once it’s at the dock or something and… You’ve got a good point. Messing with personnel is a solid way to do that.
I mean, we could probably blow up the dock, but…
No. I’m not.
Lorenzo. It is your turn. Your you’ve got the next spotlight for processing this information. Or you could go and we could follow a different thread.
Hmm. As a quick reminder, I know you recently just went over things. But can you remind us how the adversary is doing right now?
Yeah. So it’s… the adversary has taken two points of stress out of nine. And it’s got three other boxes tied up in in NPCs, some of which have been taken care of, some of which I have set aside because they’re not currently they’re not in the initiative order right now. So it’s got four boxes open. And it’s got the afflictions networked and timelined. In the sense that you have an information network, and you have just sort of a general layout of like, here’s the sequence of events, that’s going to happen before the before the fifteenth.
Okay, before I suggest a thing in character, I just want to have a quick meta-question here for folks. Do we think there might be value… Before we before we I do something that might continue us down this this path that we’ve been talking about, which I’m not ruling out in any way… But I’m wondering, do we feel as though there would be value in trying to hunt down Isaac Gonzales? As someone who might have more information, or might have seen something. It’s really just a hunch more than anything else right now. But it’s a name we we picked up from there.
Yeah, we’ve got his number. I think it could be useful to talk to him. Especially if he knows an alternate, like another way to disrupt things that doesn’t involve the…
…a full strike. I mean, I think we can pull a strike off, like with the networked affliction, and some other social stuff to to do it technically. I think we can. We might be able to hound people into doing it, but he might be like, hey, go pull this plug. So yeah,
yeah, okay. Okay. And we’ve got his… Oh, that’s right. We do have his number, don’t we?
Mm-hm. We got it at the bar.
The bar. Okay. All right. So I think what I’ll, I’ll say at this point, is, “Okay, okay, before we get into possible logistics of that, which I can’t believe is something I’m even considering right now. But, you know, given the circumstances, I guess that’s where we are.”
Sometimes I guess we have to be a little bit of a group of anarchists, I guess.
I can’t believe this. I cannot believe this. Okay. All right. All right. All right. All right. Now…
You read one poem. And…
…the next thing you know…
I have several pamphlets, if you’d like to do some reading.
Not just right this second, thanks. Listen. Before we before we start getting into the possibility of blowing things up or whatever you are, at the very least organizing some kind of a… something, can we at least try calling this Gonzales? Because this is… You know, I figured he might you might have seen something, might know something about what’s going on here. Maybe. It’s the only lead we’ve got aside from you know, Ronald Reagan, and that’s, you know…
That’s such a weird…
Somebody who’s going to be hiding out from us.
Yeah, with that sci fi sounding name who needs…
I think that’s a great lead to follow up on Lorenzo. I think it will also give you an opportunity to really contemplate the benefits of a general strike.
“Great. Yeah, wonderful. Win all around. Okay. I I’m gonna I’m gonna call him.” I think Lorenzo would probably feel safest using the phone in the firehouse, probably.
Yeah, the only the only factor there is just you know, your coworkers knowing that you made a call.
Yeah, there is that. I don’t think they’re gonna mind if I bring these folks in necessarily. As you know, people, people walk in and out of the firehouse all the time. Kind of a deal there. They’ve probably… some of the folks in the firehouse have probably seen me talking to Sam from time to time. So I mean, it’s not a big deal. They might not be as cool with Harmony?
Yeah, I think I’m gonna say that that the the dual thing of you bringing in a woman and them recognizing… them maybe recognizing her as, as someone who hands out pamphlets. She, I mean, she they probably wouldn’t kick her out. But…
I am dressed very differently and innocuous. So… I don’t know.
Yeah, this is true.
Also, Lorenzo. I was really hoping I’d have an opportunity to slide down that pole, is that going to be an option? It looks like fun.
I mean, we let kids do it sometimes.
Would you… Maybe if you’d like you can just introduce me as a writer, which is true.
I gotta say, I think… some of the fellows there have heard of some of the stuff that you’ve circulated around. So I don’t know. If that kind of profile is one we want to keep right now, you know what I’m saying?
Well, I don’t… I’m good I’m trying to say is… You do not have to say that I’m an anarchist writer if you do not wish to do so.
I can be doing a human interest piece on the wonderful firefighters who protect our city. That sounds like woman’s work, don’t you think?
Oh my god.
Does the Boston Globe hire women?
All right, so it sounds like she’s gonna end up in the in the firehouse. But no one gives you a really hard time. Lorenzo, you’re able to kind of go into the semi private room that where the phone is. It’s probably like… The phone’s probably in the room where like, there’s also cleaning supplies and stuff. Just to let people have have private conversations.
Cool. All right.
And you ring up Gonzales, and a woman picks up the phone. She says, “Isaac Gonzales’s place.”
Hey, this is Lorenza Caligari with the over over at the firehouse? Yeah, the city has got us doing some checking around about some things. And I understand that there were some concerns voiced by Mr. Gonzales about some some issues in one of them nearby buildings. And I’m just trying to gather as much information as I can about it and I was wondering if it’d be possibly possible to talk to him.
We’ve tried to put that whole mess behind us. But I’ll tell you what: he’s he’s, he’s eating right now. But if you want to stop by after dinner, I mean, guess there ain’t no harm in talking. You know where we are?
Let me just make sure. Can I get that address again, just in case?
Yeah, she gives you the address. It’s quite a few blocks away. It’s a it’s a mile or two away. It’s a real long walk.
Okay. “Thank you. I appreciate it.”
“Sure thing.” So are you headed over?
Yeah, I’m gonna come back and basically, let them know I’ve got the address and that we can we can go and chat with them after dinner.
I don’t suppose either of y’all has a caaaahr that we could… take?
Oh, no. Suddenly we’re very in Boston.
Sorry! I’m sorry. I listened to I listened to Car Talk again today. And it just it’s, it pervades me more and more each time we do this.
You can probably get a cab or something.
Yeah, I don’t think they’re gonna let us take the wagon on this one.
Taking the fire truck might be a bit much.
Before we leave, though, what did we decide about this pole situation? It’s for the it’s for the human interest story. I want to end the article with a banger.
I think it’d be just just narratively speaking, I think it would be amusing if someone like Paddy just is, like, lets her slide down the pole while I’m having a phone conversation.
Yeah, probably probably as you’re hanging up, you hear like shouting and a cry. And you know, this is this is the 1919s and she’s sliding down a pole as and then like some applause in the in the firehouse.
I’ve got quite a rush from that.
And now you can just erase innocuous from your sheet.
Yeah, innocuous didn’t… stopped applying very, very early.
Slide down the fireman’s pole innocuously!
As soon as you shouted, “I want to go down the pole!”
Maybe it was a mistake for me to play this character.
So with the hubbub caused by all of that, and the time that it would take to find a cab at this hour and so on, still faster than it would have been walking. But it takes a little while for you to get over there and it’s it is solidly nighttime. By the time you you get up to to Gonzales’s place. And as you get there, you hear footsteps on the fire escape of the building. And you see a figure dark out of an alley and start running back east back towards…. kind of basically back the way you came.
Lorenzo, what do you do? This is… this will be your attack, your reaction to this.
Okay, well, that significantly adjusts things. So I’m like.. So I imagine we’re sort of come up to the building, sort of looking back and forth. Sort of… we hear this sort of clatter from the fire escape. I just sort of look over. I’m just like, “Okay, I guess we’re doing it this way!” And he’s gonna run after him.
Okay. Give me an attack.
Okay, so, once again, I’m extra quick. So I am boosted on this challenge to move or react quickly. And let me see…
If you’re just straight up chasing, that’s probably a body thing. And if you use your trait, you’ll be boosted. But you won’t do wear unless you spend something else.
Yeah. Okay, may I ask, am I targeting the adversary? Or am I targeting something else?
You’re targeting this person, who is an expert.
And you certainly don’t have to bring in anything to boost if you don’t want to.
Yeah, I mean, I don’t know enough about it yet to really know what it is that we’re dealing with. Yeah. Tell me if Tell me if this qualifies. As basically, I feel like there is perhaps a chase a chase scene that is going to occur. Whereby, as we’re both sort of sort of starting to run through the night, I have to jump over, I have to like jump over a barrel. I have to grab, as we’re heading around the corner, I have to sort of as a trash can gets kicked down in front of me, I have to kind of either jump over kick another one out of the way, and try to get at it. I’m sort of afterwards. I’m just like, “Hey, Hey, buddy, we just want to talk!” And I’m wondering if that qualifies for the use of the drama edge.
Sure, that sounds totally appropriate to me. So that’s… what’s your number? This is presumably versus vigor? That sounds like it’s…
Yeah, this is probably versus gonna be versus vigor because I’m trying to overtake him. So that’s boosted. So that’s going to be a six with an edge.
Okay. He’s going to use his running skill to boost that so… you aren’t doing wear. So that means that he manages to avoid the attack entirely. And that he’s boosted his defense up to an eight — he’s very vigorous — and he he kind of looks behind him, and you get the impression as he keeps running away from us… You’re you’re chasing and you’re keeping up with him, but you haven’t caught up with him. You have the impression that maybe he wasn’t fleeing until you started shouting and jumping over stuff. And maybe you spooked him. But now now he is fleeing you. And he is going to try and shake you. Just, just to kind of give you understanding of the scene in my head, Sam and Harmony. Are you also chasing or heading into the Gonzales place or what?
I’m wearing heels.
I’m too old for this shit. Sorry, we now have Danny Glover in this. I’ll head towards the house. Yeah, I’m not chase fucking people down. No.
I’ll go with Sam.
Yeah, head towards the house.
Okay, so you’re heading in to this this tenement building as Lorenzo chases. This person is going to try and shake you, Lorenzo. He’s going to duck into an like, side alleys. He seems to know this route well.
You definitely get the feel of like, this person runs through here a lot. Like he really somehow knows… He knows the parkour route through this area.
It’s kind of…
I mean, jogging isn’t really a thing yet. So it’s, that’s, that’s a bit weird. So this is he’s going to be using his caution skill. And he’s making a bold attack of six against your wits with the edge of drama himself. Actually, no, I think this is concealment, because he’s like trying to break line of sight.
Okay, let me take a look here. I cannot block it.
Okay, that’s two stress coming your way. Does he manage to shake you off entirely? Are you keeping up with him?
I think that given the circumstances, given a couple of narrative things… I think maybe I’d like to spot or see something that perhaps I don’t know what it means yet.
But I think he gets away.
If that makes sense.
Okay, um, you kind of as he’s turning a corner, he happens to like, have to duck through a streetlight and you see his face. You don’t recognize it, but you’ll be you’ll definitely be able to recognize him again, if you see him.
Okay, great. Let’s see I have to figure out the name of… Some of the afflictions that I could take here I realize I can’t so much or it’s not as appropriate because I still have the the boundless endurance.
Right, so you can’t be like winded.
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. That was exactly what I was thinking of taking for a second and I was like, “No, wait, I can’t do that.”
Disheveled or something that’s like…
…more social… or, yeah, frustrated.
I’ll go frustrated if I can.
Okay. So you take one of those stress on your on your track and the other one is an affliction. And you clear any wear that was on your wits.
And meanwhile, Sam, we are… to go a little frame by frame. You’re now a black man and a white woman late at night, coming up to a stranger’s apartment. You have called ahead, but you’re not the people that called.
Right. I’ll pause. I’ll look down the way Lorenzo hauled ass. I feel like he’s pretty fast. He’s… does all right.
Yeah, that was quite the speedy exit.
He left us in the lurch with the great quick-atude.
Maybe we should have had you call.
You know… wait, is Halloween a thing? In 19…18?
We are standing here like to children. afraid to go to the door and ask for candy.
You should just… Well, no, I guess I should. All right. This is…
I believe in you. You’ve got this, Sam.
Hmm. All right.
May I just briefly mention that I don’t know how long the chase will necessarily take. But depending on how long you… this conversation of yours takes, there’s a chance I might be back by the time you get up there.
That’s true! Just dawdling on the sidewalk.
So what’s the plan, Sam?
I knew someone was gonna say that at some point in this campaign.
This this is I will say this is a lower class neighborhood. So you’re probably less out of place than you would be…
…in a more well off area.
I mean, I guess I mean, what’s the worst that happens? Right? This whole this whole thing ends poorly. Alright. I’ll, I’ll go up to the door and knock relatively gently.
Okay. So you’re kind of going into this this building and going up some stairs because this is a this is a full apartment building.
And, and you know, you’re you don’t… Kind of your your general like, “is this a safe place?” thing is like, “Yeah, yeah, I’m probably okay here.” Like, you’re not getting the feeling that you’re, you’re dangerously out of place and you knock on the door, and it opens and there’s a woman there. And she kind of looks at the both of you and says, “Oh, are you the… are you the one I spoke on the phone? You didn’t sou… I mean…”
Are you the one I spoke to on the phone?
No, Lorenzo is chasing someone down right now. Literally. I don’t, ma’am. I’m not entirely sure what that circumstance is. But we’re with with Lorenzo… who is the one that called you.
Oh, well. Yeah, yeah. I’m afraid Isaac’s headed to bed. How how urgent is this? I can I can get him up. I forgot to ask how long y’all’d take.
It would… hold on. Okay. So what is the date today?
Today is the sixth.
It is late on the sixth. Okay, so you’ve got a you’ve got a week.
Before like, stuff starts popping off.
Well, ma’am. This This could wait till morning. That’s you know, it is it is relatively late. Didn’t mean to disturb you or anything. But we could. Maybe, maybe Mr. Gonzales could come with us for some coffee in the morning?
Give me give me an attack, I think. For this whole general thing.
So I’m going to save networked. Because I still think we might be doing a general strike. And I think networked is going to be good that that happens.
And I think you’re you’re I think you’re targeting an extra here.
Oh, okay. Who… Is she the extra?
She’s the extra, yeah. Just generally like, is she going to be extra cooperative or just polite?
All right. I will. I think I’ll use my tie with Lorenzo here.
Lorenzo got our foot in the door or to the door. So this will be a charm attack. Bold, boosted with my tie and I will use an edge…
It’s it’s an extra so you don’t need to use an edge.
Oh, you’re right. Thank you. So that’s a four. Not, although…
Actually, I will, I should ask: is this related to first impressions?
Yeah, you’ve been talking…
Then it is a… It is a two.
Oh, cuz you can’t… because you can’t boost on first impressions.
Yep, there’s a previous one I shouldn’t have boosted and I did but we’ll we’ll do it here properly.
All right. So so she doesn’t need to boost at all to block that. So she she says, “Yeah, yeah, I’ll let him know… he doesn’t he works afternoon shift. So yeah, if you stop by in the in the morning, get coffee, that would work. Are you thinking you want to be out, or…? I mean, y’all can stop by here.”
Oh, we don’t want to be in a trouble, ma’am. We can we can take him out to… I raw there was a…
I mean, I can I can just… Alright. Okay, okay, I’ll, uh, I’ll let him know. I’ll…
We’ll meet at nine o’clock.
Is this is this with the…? This is with the fire department?
Ah, yes, ma’am. They are investigating some concerns that Mr. Gonzales had around the molasses tank. So we just want to you know, make sure we we hear his side of the story and make sure people are being as careful as they should be.
All right. Well, I guess he’ll be happy to hear that.
Rounds like maybe he hasn’t. He hasn’t been listened to the way he should be. So…
That’s that’s how he’d he think about it. You all have a safe trip home.
Yes, ma’am. Thank you.
She she closes the door. And probably you come down the stairs about when Lorenzo is is trudging back.
You did great, Sam.
Lost him on a cut back in that in those damn alleyways.
(strong accent) You sure are fast!
It’s an infection.
The accents, the accents!
It’s the Good Will Hunting infection.
It’s still what Boston people sound like in my head. I don’t know if it’s even… I suspect it was a terrible accent.
I actually can’t remember. It’s been a while.
I just remember it being very strong.
Yeah, I remember. I do remember there have been jokes about that. Yeah, that have happened. I’m realizing it must have been… there must have been issues.
I mean, homeskillet was like 12. So it could only have been so good at doing accents.
So we have… so we have a coffee appointment with Isaac Gonzales tomorrow morning. He had a he’s already headed to bed. So, you know.
I figured we shouldn’t, you know, shake him out for this.
Yeah. I wasn’t really sure who that was back there. I saw his face. But that was about it.
I was wondering if it’s Isaac, but I don’t know, she’s, she probably didn’t have too much reason to lie. Especially if we’re there to hear the poor guy out. So…
Everybody has a reason to lie, Sam.
It’s… Yeah, you’re right. That, yep.
Before the adversary acts again, I think this would be a good time to chat OOC for a bit.
So I think this is a good time to talk about a topic that’s dear to, I think, all of our hearts: capitalism.
There’s there, there are concepts in situationist thought that are surrounding the concept of spectacle, that are recuperation, or co-optation, and detournement –detournement? I’m bad at French — which is the idea of like this art and and other concepts, art that has attempted to be revolutionary, kind of being reclaimed by the capitalist system and and kind of interpreted in order to be actually supportive of the of the system. And that that detournement is sort of the the opposite action of that it is a way to take the art produced by the capitalist system and turn turn it towards a revolutionary action.
And a lot of the work of… detournement from the from the middle of the century kind of became culture jamming and so on. And if you think of the art of Banksy, that’s sort of what in my head, like, a lot of the detournement stuff has become, is is something which has a very revolutionary feel to it but also is a little bit… seems a little bit defanged.
And that puts me in mind of sort of the the cycles that role playing games go through where where we see like a lot of very dramatic attempts at shaking up the status quo of doing like… Let’s take this thing which was this very like commercial war game product and like make it up more about feelings. Make it make it different and indie and we see these these indie movements in role playing games to shake things up and then see those get adopted back into sort of the the mainstream stuff. Where D&D is now doing things that came out of the Forge.
And, and kind of what we’re doing here is, I think subject to that same challenge. Which is: how are we able to tell a story about this weird time in history that was about real people without buying into the to the narrative that has come out of it, which is that there’s this this spectacle that, that… Thank goodness, it’s over. How do we how do we interface with that?
I mean, I guess there are a variety of lenses through which you could think about games. But for me, a thing I find useful… Well, I guess I’m sorry, I have to back up a moment and just say, I think one of the difficulties of talking about things like spectacle, and you know, whether things are subversive, or whether they’re subverting or upholding the status quo. I mean, all of that kind of stuff is very complicated. Because when you’re inside an institution, when you’re inside a structure or a system, I mean, it’s, I mean, it’s difficult to say. Like, most of those things are a part of that system.
But I often think it’s really useful to think about the ways in which capitalist mindsets permeate our behaviors and our systems. One of those things is transactional… Thinking about how the way we engage with other humans are transactional or not. And one of the things I like about Rosette is the way in which Rosette is less transactional, right? It’s more collaborative and consensual, and not a particularly transactional system. So I think there’s a sense in which playing this sort of game in a consensual, collaborative system is doing more than… I don’t know, trying to suss through, like, what element of the reflection, you know, are we the thing being reflected? Or, you know, or Oh, you know what I mean? Yeah.
Yeah. Is the is the transactional thing, like, the idea of there being a Game Master who says, what happens and players who say what their actions are? Is that the transactional like, the the dynamic that’s being, that’s different here?
Yeah. I mean, often in like D&D type games, there are literal transactions, you know? Like…
You’re literally spending coins and power points and so on?
Yeah. And then also, the behaviors are often transactional, as well. So you have, you know, the reverberations of that cycle, in those kind of games.
And sometimes when I think about transactional components of systems, I think about like, less that sort of big stuff. And sometimes things like, this is a this is a subset. And I like everything else, this is not dogging on the system, but the God Machine Chronicle, World of Darkness, where you have the short term goals, these long term goals, or whatever they’re called. And you’re kind of like, weaseling your way into checking these boxes…
Where you’re like, oh, if I can say I’m doing this thing, then I get a point.
Exactly. Right. And then there are other systems, and I can’t think of any specific ones, I think there’s there’s been one played on Friends at the Table for sure. Where if you fail a certain way, you get an experience point. Right? And so making even failure transactional, like, I see where it started, which was, let’s make failure a thing, because failure is interesting, but then you make it transactional. And it’s like, you put it right back into the framework.
Where you can actually fail at failing.
Right. Which, again, all these systems are cool. This is not me, like, you know, ragging on anything in particular. But like when I think of transactional things, in systems, it comes down to some of these mechanical choices that are innovative, and potentially subversive, and are in some ways queering and are subversive, but… I find myself when I interact with some of these, having played a God Machine… God Machine… what did you call it?
Chronicles of Darkness is the current…
…name of it, they’ve changed the name of the system several times due to trademark stuff.
You know, when I’m in that system, I find it frustrating to engage with that. Where, you know, but then there are other transactional systems I like! Where like, I think… Rosette Diceless, the way it handles afflictions and stress and kind of the haggling over how you’re going to put your afflictions in place versus your stress and can you get an edge and can you block the edge… Like some of that is, is kind of crunchy in a way. That is that is somewhat transactional. And there’s haggling over…
…how can I boost? Can I successfully arrange what boost I want? Because it’s so soft and kind of flexible, it opens it up to being somewhat transactional. It’s not like… you lose something if you fail at that, really, but I don’t know. It’s It’s messy. But so yeah, there’s there’s that around systems is what I would say on that regard.
I feel like with Rosette specifically, that the way in which we do that haggling is very, for me, at least reminiscent of the way that it happens also in Fate, where you have these aspects that you have created, that are there. These phrases that you generate when you build your character, that help describe what kind of person that character is. And they are ways to help remind you to roleplay the character the way that you had… to hit on the themes that you wanted to hit on. And reminds you to play the character in the way you were thinking you were wanting to play them.
The I think that it’s productive in that case, the the sort of trying to figure out how things fit. There is a certain degree of, well, let’s see, if we turn this properly, we can slide it into this, we can slide it into this slot this way. But at the same time, I feel like… You know the the skills that we generate in Rosette and the you know, the the different edges… They are they are loosely defined enough that I think that it encourages and generates story as a result of that. And I think the same thing happens with Fate. It’s like, I need to figure out a way to use this this aspect. Well.
Let’s Let’s narrate it this way. And I think that does work out. In that sense. It’s it’s haggling for good rather than evil, I think.
That’s what all capitalists think they’re doing. No, I’m kidding.
Yeah, I know, right?
It is different, though, when like you can feel like you’re acting in support of other people, and of the community, you know? Or the story that you’re communally building. I do think that is sort of a different act, in many ways, than, like a strict individual transaction. Hey, by the way, I’m wearing my Bernie Sanders mittens. So I came really prepared for this capitalism session.
Now all you need is a beanie, right? Get a hat on.
I think that even like… The three of us have been playing this system for years now. And I think that even we still kind of struggle to to get into that communal mode. I think we, often, our first instinct, when we’re not narrating, is to treat the narrator as the game master and ask the narrator for permission to do a thing a certain way.
And I think we all do a good job of like, trying to make that conversation to reach consensus, where it’s, instead of being like, “Oh, narrator May I please use this skill?” It’s more like, “Do we think this skill applies?” But that’s still, I mean, in the, you know, the ways that that the transactional mode of thought takes us over, like, it’s, it’s hard to get out of that mode of, of Mother May I? with the, with the narrator.
Yeah. And I’m, I’m definitely prone to having like a, like a default setting, right? Like the early systems I played… well, we’ll scratch Palladium off that list. But early other systems I played, we kind of consider the baseline, right? And then everything else is kind of kind of diffed off of that, to use the technical geeky term. But like, what’s, what are the differences in combat? What are the differences in skill usage? “Oop, there’s not a list, I will get to make my own!” And that’s, that’s just that’s hard to break. Someday, after, I don’t know, maybe five years of not playing any D&Ds, maybe I’ll… Maybe I’ll have broken that habit.
I think it’s also really good to recognize that it’s not a switch that you flip, either, right? Like all of these are like spectrums and behaviors and to want to dichotomize things even into capitalism and anti capitalism is really, like, not accurate or helpful.
Well, thank you all.
So. I have… before I do this attack by the adversary, I want to slow down and check in with Lissa. Your character has the hounded affliction. One form that could take is having police pressure, more police pressure. Do we want to… Do we want to push ahead with that? I’m not thinking of violence or anything like that. But is that something that it sounds okay with everyone to to push forward with?
Yeah, I think so. Yeah, that’s that’s a…
…pretty logical conclusion.
All right, then. I guess I guess another thing I’ll ask permission for… Lucy, it seems like Harmony sort of has a mystical approach to things in certain ways?
I would agree with that.
Can give her Can I give her a dream or something?
Sure. I mean…
It could probably be like, when she’s doing shrooms or something that.
Okay. I mean, if there’s a hallucinogen involved, excellent. That works perfectly.
Yeah, she’s almost definitely hallucinogen-ing.
Okay. So for the adversary’s attack, it is going to target each of your afflictions.
Sam. I think this is probably against your nerve. You hear some, probably in your in your half awake state, hear some some noise downstairs. You’re… I assume you’re probably pretty restless sleeping on land.
Yeah. Nothing feels right.
Yeah, you hear some voices downstairs that that, at too early of an hour. Nothing seems to come of it. But a little while later, there’s a polite knock on your door. And the your, your landlord, who’s basically just an old retired sailor, says, “Hey, Sam, just wanted to let you know. Some cops came by asking to see if there was anyone that met your description. I told him, there wasn’t anyone around here like that. But…”
Just giving you a heads up.
That’s targeting your hounded and your nerve. Coming in with a, this is a an edge of enigma. Because the adversary knows something you don’t. Which is what their plan is.
So, can I block that edge of Enigma? I don’t think I have anything that can. I still only have my two starting resources. So I think I take take a point of stress. I think it’s… I only have to take a point of stress? Or I only have to take…
Yeah, there’s one. There’s one point of stress coming in, but you can take an affliction if you want.
Yeah, let me take another affliction. So I’ve gone from being hounded to being… I mean, hunted is kind of a logical progression… escalation, rather. It’s also not very interesting.
Would you have a kind of a psychological reaction? Would you be paranoid, would you be…?
Why did… I took extra comp… I took always composed and not so attractive, and that is proving difficult to roleplay.
Cagey? I think you can be composed but still, like kind of shut down socially.
Yeah, I’m thinking I’m thinking about the shutdown aspect of like, like grittily determined.
Yeah, fatalistic. Like, I might not escape this.
But we can at least we can at least do the work that needs to be done.
Harmony. You are… are you… you’re classically educated, right?
When you say classically…?
Like Greek, you would’ve learn Greco Roman myths and so on in your writing?
In your education? So you’ve, you’ve taken mushrooms as part of your regular devotional, and you have this this vision in your head of like, the surface of what is around you peeling away and you see it as this as this tapestry. And you you immediately are drawn to the to the spinning of the fates. But you’re seeing this tapestry being spun around you splitting. Like the the cord that it’s made out of splitting in two and going into two different tapestries that lump together and get tangled. And you can tell that something is happening that is that is ruining the way things are supposed to be or planned to be or the way you thought things were going to be. And it’s like things are continuing to fork and fragment in a way that for at least some people would be very unsettling. Like reality itself is, is getting getting torn up by whatever it’s being put through. So that is targeting your stymied and I think this is also against nerve. I think these are all going to be nerve.
So that’s going to hit again with Enigma, you don’t know what, what it is that is changing that’s causing this to happen.
All right, well, I am going to take another affliction. And I think it’s gonna be… Maybe I’ll take sort of cynical or doomed or something like that.
Which, which of those?
Which do y’all like better? Would you prefer harmony to be cynical or doomed? Which sort of harmony sounds fun to be around?
Doomed has a certain, like, Greek tragic air. You could be like…
…dramatic as hell about it. Cynical sounds like you would stop being an anarchist, which I think might be too fundamental of a shift.
No, I’m not going to stop being an anarchist. I’m doomed.
And… oh, no, does that mean you’ve become an accelerationist anarchist? Or were you always one?
Um, I don’t think… Harmony’s not an accelerationist, I think.
Okay. And Lorenzo, yours is relatively straightforward. I’m, again, I’m targeting your frustrated. As when you wake up, and you look outside, there are extra guards on the tank now. And you see, like, clearly, you don’t know whether they’re Pinkertons or something. But the security has been beefed up. And you think you see some suspiciously well dressed folk out like on the docks, too. So that is targeting your frustrated. So again, since it’s an affliction, it automatically hits with an edge of enigma. And it’s, it’s, it’s on your nerve, so any wear on your nerve is wiped. And you have one point of stress in the end coming towards you.
I was thinking about trying to go in and try to suddenly conjure up a common resource, which I haven’t taken yet, to try and block the edge real quick.
I don’t I haven’t been able to think of anything in the amount of time that we’ve had yet.
I mean, you for the… hmm, for blocking enigma.
Yeah. Like, I don’t know. But well, actually, here’s the thing. So I did not take the I did not take the knowledge of the newspaper article as a common resource. And that might even be something I could use as a rare resource, possibly. But would that be something that would be situationally appropriate? If I’m like, thinking back to that? And I’m like, wait a minute!
I think so. I think I think that would work. You could take just kind of like evidence, the knowledge from the from newspaper articles, a common resource to basically use to block… kind of edges that rely on you being confused about the sequence of events.
Or if you wanted to have written a telegram, to to Ashley, that would be another kind of another approach to getting that.
I think story wise, it probably… Lorenzo hasn’t panicked enough yet to…
…to to write the telegrams. So I think what I’ll do, if I may, is I’ll go ahead and take the knowledge of the newspaper article as a common resource. And then just sort of be like, okay, now I can put this into a context.
Vague though it is, it at least gives me something.
So you don’t take any stress. But that that newspaper article sticks around, it’s not used up, but you won’t be able to use it to gain an edge later on. It only is for blocking for this scene.
Yeah. And does that… because that didn’t get through? Does that still? Does that still wipe the the wear on nerve? Or is the wear on nerves still there?
Yep. The wear on nerve is still wiped because it hit you but didn’t end up doing anything. Because of your blocking of the edge.
Gotcha. Excellent. Cool.
So you all have have woken up. Harmony’s turn is next. And I think you have plans to meet up with Isaac for coffee. I think we’ll say that you decided on a coffee place if you just want to meet him there. Is that…?
Yeah, I think I said there was a place around the corner that we saw on our way up or something.
Okay, and so you all meet up there. Did you did you want to do any planning beforehand or do we want to set this scene there?
Is there any particular angle we want to take on this?
Yeah, I mean… This is out of character, like, I’m not sure what angle we’re planning to take with this person, so that it’s my turn is feeling a little bit alarming to me right now.
So we can either meet IC, or…
You probably chat as you’re walking because you’re all heading the same direction.
Part of the framing was I was thinking you would be using your interviewing skills to sort of try to… try to talk to him and find out things, but that’s just my own imagination.
That makes sense. Yeah, we need to tease out like, what the story is, as well as whether he’s trustworthy. That’s all interview-y shit.
Also, how does he feel about strikes?
So, that was a lie, when I said I was a newspaper reporter. I have never interviewed anyone except for I guess, like, the person who sells me cannabis who I guess I’ve quizzed a little because I think it’s important to get you know, from sustainable sources.
But um, maybe there’s another angle that I… like…
Good at getting people on our side, maybe?
I think I think there are some options. Let me let me frame the scene a little bit more and I think maybe some opportunities will will arise if that’s cool?
All right. So you all get to this to this coffee house which is I’m I’m I don’t know how historically accurate this is. But I’m imagining sort of it being kind of diner-y. It’s a place where where there’s someone going around with pots of coffee and and they also serve, you know, breakfast foods, bacon and eggs and and all the all the standard stuff. You step inside and at a… sitting at a table and just sort of general dockworker’s clothes or someone who who moves stuff about and maintains stuff is… There’s a guy sitting at a table and Lorenzo and he recognize each other at the same time. This is indeed the guy that you chased down the street.
Next time on Tabletop Garden: The Great Molasses Flood.
Support around the tank has increased even further.
If a wall gets put in front of me on this, we’re gonna knock it down.
I am literally a labor organizer. So I’m definitely trying to lay down some logical, rational arguments here, not just being cute.
He takes a moment and shaves and changes to something that’s, like, a little more femme, a little less hard, a little less traditionally masculine. Also: feels comfortable.
As you’re considering this, the man steps out of the wall.
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