[AW] - The Chateau: Spector (The Savvyhead)

edited October 2010 in Out-Of-Game


Spector wears utility clothes -- rubber boots or home-made sandals, multi-pocket white coveralls that a local woman makes just for him and clear, thin plastic ponchos when it's raining or he's in the fog -- he seems to have an unending supply of these, somehow. He's a plain, middle-aged man with calm eyes and a wiry build. He likes kids and sometimes shelters young people who need help or a place to stay. There are rumors that this arrangement is not entirely wholesome, but no problems have really come up and it's probably just people confused by generosity in these troubled times.

People respond to Spector in different ways. And almost no one has no opinion. Some just think he's a little odd. Others think he's a creepy fuck who should keep to himself up there in his weird little farmstead. But with some people, he just gets along and they enjoy his company. Even those who are uneasy with him, acknowledge his value. He makes plants that no one else can and gives them to the locals -- or trades them if they're something special. Most of the good crops don't breed true these days, so the people have to keep coming back for stock. Spector has also been called on to adjudicate disputes among the common folk -- he knows things, people come to him for advice and sometimes groups seek his judgement.

Spector lives up the side of the mountain in an old-time building from before the shit. It's small, but there's an incongruous steel vault-door in the cellar, beyond which stairs lead into his workspace -- a gene-lab with arcane tools and machines: some of Spector's own assembly and some from before -- with brand-names and everything! His homestead is above the fog, and often enough, just below the cloud layer. Spector keeps livestock at his place -- a flock of chickens, a few dairy goats and a pet dog named Sheriff. He rides a fine horse named Mendel that was traded a few years ago for enough blueberry seedlings to change the diet of everyone around. There are also a couple of bunk-houses that are sometimes inhabited by those in need.

Cool -1, Hard 0, Hot +1, Sharp +2 , Weird +2

Moves are:
Oftener right
Reality's fraying edge (the eight-hundred year old shrine above the actual lab is a conduit for augury)

Hx: Gritch -2, Navarre -2, Lars +1, Marlene +1, Spec Whitfield, June 0, Di +2, Sketch -1

Workspace is:
A state of the art gene-lab including a controlled growing environment, a relic of the golden age and Pamming, my skilled assistant.

Pamming is the only of Spector's foundlings who stayed. Her family were killed during a battle of some kind a few years ago and she found her way into his care. She took to working the equipment and the farmstead and he realized she had a gift with the plants. Also, they fuck.

There is a path down to The Chateau. It's not far, but when the fog rolls in, it can feel much longer than it is. Spector likes that Lars has set up shop in The Chateu, but wishes that Lars would renovate and repair the finery. Spector has been an avuncular authority figure in these parts for a long time -- never commanding anything or anyone, but offering help and advice to the locals. The recent wars that have sprouted up tarnish Spector's bucolic fantasy of what life here should be like. He has mixed feelings about the soldiery, but there's nothing to be done about it and he's good at going along to get along. There's maybe a bit of friction with Gritch even though he seems like he should be an ally. It's troubling when he talks about "killing" the ghosts of the fog. Why would he want to do that when they're both interesting and full of useful information?

What else am I missing? What needs explication?

For my reference: Uncle Lars (yellowparis), Gritch (Saint Erebus), Navarre/Fido (cwilbur), Marlene (Nuclear Bob)

Experience: (X) () () () ()
- Artful and Gracious (from the Skinner)
- Spooky Intense (roll+Weird when doing stuff under fire)
- Things Speak (roll+Weird to fix things or perform psychometry)
- Lost (from the Skinner)
- +1 Sharp

a small utility knife - nothing special
A couple of rifles
Mendel, a quite nice horse
a farmstead w/ a couple bunkhouses, some chickens and goats
my lab/workshop
2-barter worth of productive plants (1-b destined for Boo's memorial herb garden)
1-barter worth of fine baubles (maybe costume jewelry, scarves and such)
a pistol taken from Frankie
A magnum taken from Panzer, reloaded and approved by Lars


  • "What else am I missing? What needs explication? "

    For the most part, this will do. We can scrape more details out while we play.

    However, since you're sort of up the hill a bit, I am kind of curious about how often/when/why you'd be in The Chateau. Do you do business in the market?

    And, since you're not far, but kind of away from The Chateau (especially when the fog gets thick), do you have any sort of protection for your house?

    How old is Pamming? Is she one of those kids or is she older?
  • Yeah, I wonder if I've placed myself too far out of the loop. If you (anyone) thinks that's a problem, I can rework some stuff maybe. Most of that character background stuff was derived from the pictures I found, sort of Everway-style.

    Let's say I use the marketplace to distribute my wares. Also, I think it's important for the kids that I shepherd to have social interaction, so I bring them down to get to know people. Also, if it's good with yellowparis, I maybe advise Uncle Lars (oftener right) when he has issues which helps us weave together more.

    I figure there are several basic weapons around the homestead. Is that what you mean by protection? Also, I sort figure that I'm a bad target because I work so hard to help neighboring communities that someone would have be a real jackal to try to take me out.

    The more I write about Spector, the more I'm imagining someone who kind of rejects that we're living in Apocalypse World. That's interesting.

    Pamming is maybe sixteen. But who counts that carefully these days? She *was* one of those kids and now we're sort of peers.
  • Gotcha.

    I don't think your location is too far out of the loop, so long as you're not the "lonely hermit on the mountaintop" and instead someone who's constantly engaging with the Chateau and other peoples in the area. Sounds like this is the case. So, we're good.

    As far as protection, I meant more in the sense of defense against possible raiders and whatnot. I like the idea of using your status as leverage for people not to fuck with you, so let's run with that.
  • Tell me more about this shrine. Where is it located specifically? What does it look like? Does anyone have problems with you using it?
  • Oh, the building that Spector lives in (the one in the picture) was erected in the distant past as a shrine of some sort, but Spector's been living in it for ages. It wasn't supposed to be referencing a separate resource. (That image is a shrine in the French Alps and has a cross at the peak of the roof, so I just ran with that.)
  • Oh, I see, I see. :) Got it.
  • Could it be that, in addition to the mutual respect you two hold for each other, and the fact that you two consult with each other, there are things which you want from each other? For instance, Spector's farm could be one of the primary sources for food in the Chateau. Maybe regular farming doesn't work anymore, except in Spector's place, for whatever reason. Maybe fishing supplements it, but the fish sometimes are...well...let's just say inedible and move on. So Uncle needs Spector and his farm, and knows Spector's the only one who keeps it running. Likewise, though, maybe Spector draws power from the generators located in the Chateau, or something, through wires that run up to the farm. Just a thought.
  • I'm thinking Spector's farm is actually really small. A hobby farm to test the seeds that he engineers in the lab, as much as anything. But The Chateau has some agriculture narrated so maybe I advise on how to keep the vineyards and orchards productive. Also, I think Spector "owes" Lars tribute. What form does that take? Sound advice? Help with his agricultural concerns? Something else? That'll help tie us together.
  • Yeah, I like the idea of Spector maybe being an overseer of some sort over the crude farming that The Chateau has... Maybe some kind of arrangement on that level?
  • edited October 2010
    I don't think Uncle really demands tribute from private persons ... he demands tribute from entire settlements, and it's up to the settlement to make sure everyone in the community is kicking in. Sending around tax collectors to hit up specific people is too resource-intensive.

    Is there some reason Spector would owe Uncle, personally? No problem with having a deal going on, but I'm not sure that Spector really needs anything that Uncle provides. Possibly Uncle could expand his line of guard pickets up to cover Spector's place.

    Or it could be more rent than tribute. How long has Spector been here? Could be Spector lives close enough to the Chateau to be on the lands Uncle claims. Spector arrived and discovered that the chapel would be useful for his purposes, but also that it was on Uncle's claim. Or Spector was already here twenty-odd years ago, and he negotiated a deal to avoid eviction when the Riders took over. Uncle has, apparently, been here long enough to raise one or two children to adulthood, so that's probably twenty-some years.

    The hold's farming is crude, spotty, and not really overseen by Uncle (or anyone). Could be, though, that Spector is talking to the quartermaster, Rice, and they're working on something. Proper cultivation of the vineyards, with an eye toward formal wine production?

    But that wouldn't be paying Uncle. You could be growing something in small quantities that the settlements around here can't grow at all ... either the soil just isn't right for it anymore, or it just wouldn't normally grow in a temperate region. And that could supply some vice of Uncle's. Coffee beans? Poppies? Coca? Cocoa?

    Or, how broad is Spector's knowledge? Uncle's had a few children, but he's personally lucky to be literate, and a lot of his men aren't even that. Spector might have done some teaching? I'm presuming that Spector 'likes' kinds, but is sufficiently in control of himself that he wouldn't have done anything stupid. In that case, you're the man who taught my kids algebra, which makes you good in my book.
  • I'm imagining that Spector has been here twenty or thirty years. Let's say that I predate Lars, or at least Lars settling down as the Hardholder. Also, I think it would be best if I were paying protection as a small settlement. And it's ideal if our understanding is that I pay by educating your kids and occasionally helping out with other stuff. I don't just advise all your people for free, but I do you...or something like that.
  • For some reason, I'm really digging now on the idea that Spector is the "teacher on the hill" for the Chateau. He's the tutor that everyone hopes to send their kids to. Maybe that's excessive, or more than had been meant by some of the descriptions so far, but particularly with Nuclear Bob saying "What's the word around the Chateau about him and kids? If Uncle trusted him enough to put his under Spector's tutelage, then Marlene would probably feel okay about doing the same, but if there are any whispers that things maybe aren't so wholesome, she'd keep her clan closer to home," it just fed into the idea that Spector fills in a significant teacher role for the 'hold. Which is awesome, particularly because it leads me to see Spector eventually coming to have his own gang, or cult, or something. Of child students. Awesome. But then, of course, all of this is conditional based on whether Christopher likes it or not. I just think that this would give Spector a very clear, and very interesting role within the Chateau as a whole.
  • edited October 2010
    I agree!

    And it's even better given that Spector is kinda creepy. At least maybe. Or is he?
  • edited October 2010
    Spector, tell me more about these dolls you use for exorcism. I get how they work. More specifically, I'm interested in their connection to the psychic maelstrom and what would happen if someone opened their brain to a doll that was host to a spook.

    Include with your explanation any custom moves that might occur.
  • The psychic maelstrom is the presence of the lost souls chilling out in our plane of existence rather than moving on to wherever they used to go. The dolls are used to contain lost souls that are particularly malevolent. When we open our brains -- so far as I can figure it, we're talkin' to one or more of these souls. I imagine that if you tune that contact to one specific soul -- made easier when it's trapped in a poppet or somesuch, then you would have the chance of getting specific information. But I'd hate to mess that up 'cause these guys would rather be in a living body and they might just find a way into yours.

    When you commune with an unknown, trapped soul, roll+Weird and ask it a question and get an answer from the MC. On a hit, take an Hx of -3 with the soul. On a 10+, you get just what you were after, with honesty and no strings attached OR get a vague read on the soul and improve your Hx with it by 2. On a 7-9 the MC chooses one:
    - the answer is technically true, but misleading
    - the soul has what the character is after but requires payment of some kind
    - the contact freaks the character out; she takes -1 forward to her next Cool and Weird rolls
    If you miss the roll, scoot over, the soul is now sharing your body. The MC gets a new avenue of fuckery until you do something to change the situation.

    When you commune with a specific soul that you know, roll+Hx and have a chat. On a 10+, hold 3. On a 7-9, hold 1. Spend your hold one for one to:
    - answer a question posed by the soul -- improve your Hx by 1 (up to +3)
    - ask a short question and get a short answer
    - offer the soul a deal
    - (anything else?)
  • Good shit. Thanks!
  • edited October 2010
    The way I'm thinking:

    Anyone can commune with the souls, via opening your brain. However, those specific custom moves from Spector's thread are for when you have a way to harness the psychic maelstrom, either through augury or when there's a soul trapped in something (like a person, or doll) that makes them physically present somewhat. Not just anyone can trap a soul like that.

    So, if you open your brain, you're allowing yourself to commune with potentially any soul that is close and willing. It might not be a good thing. There are some malicious entities out there.

    If you have some sort of focus, like the Savvyhead's component to his workspace, the Hocus' followers as an antenna, or successfully trapping a specific soul into a doll or animal/human, then you can get in tune with a specific soul.

    Marlene, when she opens her brain, she might be in tune with Barney. She might not. Maybe she isn't, but she thinks its him. She might have to go to Spector and get his help with augury to truly know.

    What do you guys think?
  • I favor people coming to me for help contacting the dead or advice in general -- it keeps me interwoven and I bought those moves for that purpose. But I'm also *all* in favor of people carving out more cool aspects of the weird maelstrom that we've built up here. I agree with your read on the specificity vs. general soul-contact/brain-opening. It would be kind of neat if Barney's soul lived on in his namesake vehicle. A vessel as a vessel. :)
  • Right. That's the thing. If that were the case, it could be that Barney's soul is connected with his vessel. However, Marlene can't be for certain without someone that has a focus actually confirming it. So, yeah, I agree.

    As an analogy, I'm thinking of Spector like the psychic who leads the seance to help others talk with their dead ones. Anyone can talk with the souls, but they can't be for certain they are talking to the right souls without a professional. As far as Gritch, I'm imagining his connection to the maelstrom different, almost like he's forcing it to bend to his will. This allows him to use his direct-brain whisper and deep brain scans, etc... and kind of gels with his whole "kill the souls" thing. It's in direct contrast with how you handle it, seeing the souls as a resource.

    Correct me if I'm wrong guys. This is how I'm reading and looking at it.
  • That's spot on, from my POV.
  • Heh. Gritch is the dim-witted, strong-armed thug of the psychic world. Love it.
  • Sounds about right. :)
  • That's how I'm seeing it. And, the MC gets to ask questions, which is basically the dead/souls/ghosts/etc... looking into a piece your own soul.
  • You're still opening your brain (and susceptible to all that entails), so yeah. Everything works the same, except your roll Sharp instead of Weird, right?
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