DRYH - The Unnamed

edited August 2007 in Out-Of-Game
I can edit the title to whatever we come up with, though "The Unnamed" has a kind of creepy sound to it. So, I'm going to buy the PDF soonish, but I'd like to get confirmation that we're all still on board, and any opinions about the shape the story could take, or what we're going to do sans GM.

Personally, I don't mind having my character take a back seat to providing antagonism for other players, it's just I've never played the game before. Maybe it could be interesting to have one person play the "Bad Guy", who's a character in his or her own right, but is also acting against the goals of the other characters, making for a natural "antagonist" character. We could even have kind of "teams" to work with that. How does that sound?


  • edited 3:29PM
    Posted By: Simon Cwho's a character in his or her own right, but is also acting against the goals of the other characters, making for a natural "antagonist" character.
    I'm not sure that suggestion fits well with the shape of the game as-written and the mechanics that support it. There are, for example, no rules for inter-character conflict, that I'm aware of (I don't own the book, just read it through once, and I've played a few times.) I also don't remember rules for characters cooperating, for that matter. I would say the game is very much about the character against Everything Else -- the subconscious Other represented by the Mad City, for example. Antagonism exists mechanically in the form of Pain Dice, which do not have to be tied to a particular character at all -- they're more about the situation in general, I'd say, the general animosity of the world as best fits the particular character's flags/madness. This is just my take, of course.

    Structurally/GM-wise, in my experience DRYH tends to play out as a series of thematically-connected-but-individual character arcs, which will eventually overlap in places, but definitely start out fairly self-contained and maintain a very character-centric focus even if there is bleed-over in terms of events and NPCs. I have no idea if this experience is typical, or a result of my group's idiosyncracies. But if that's an acceptable structure, I think the game will work quite well if every player plays 'GM' for another player's PC, in a fairly straightforward Polaris-style distribution.

    The idea of having a Madness narrator and an Exhaustion narrator is pretty cool too, but it seems to leave the PC's player with few opportunities to narrate the outcome of a conflict (the Discipline pool starts at 3 and can only go down, while most of the other pools will be rolling significantly more dice.) A variation could be: Player narrates if PC succeeds, GM narrates if PC fails, THEN whichever elements dominates adds an extra piece of narration, based on a wider distribution of roles. This keeps the PC and GM mostly in charge of the story, but allows other players to contribute important colour/tone/consequences as well.
  • edited 3:29PM
    I'm still in, I'm just quietly trying to absorb. I've never been in a game with multiple GMs/turn-based GMing or anything, but I'm up for it (anything).
  • edited 3:29PM
    Posted By: Daniel WI'm not sure that suggestion fits well with the shape of the game as-written and the mechanics that support it. There are, for example, no rules for inter-character conflict, that I'm aware of (I don't own the book, just read it through once, and I've played a few times.) I also don't remember rules for characters cooperating, for that matter.
    There are rules for helping out; I don't have my book in front of me, but as I recall, each helping player adds a small number of dice to the "primary" player's die pool, and then one person roles. Whatever pool dominates fully affects each character individually, as though they had rolled on their own, making it somewhat risky. It's true that there aren't any rules presented for pvp conflicts, but I don't see why it couldn't be handled with an opposed roll, substituting the opposing characters Discipline, Exhaustion, and Madness as normal for the Pain dice. However, I do agree that having a PC-style character acting as the antagonist is going to shift the game significantly, and I'm not sure what the benefit of it would be.

    I definitely agree that the game seems set up to have individual character arcs that crisscross without necessarily having a traditional party structure. We could brainstorm a "group goal", some sort of big story point we want to work the game towards to act as our ending, and then talk about individual character goals (which are defined in creation) and then mesh the two. Does that seem reasonable?
  • edited 3:29PM
    Ok, I can see how an antagonist character doesn't really suit the game. Something else I've been thinking about is that with around six people showing an interest, this game could get really confusing, with six different character arcs all in one thread. What if we split into two "teams", in seperate threads, and act as the antagonists of each other's threads. The characters can still exist in the same universe, and there can be cross-over, but it will keep things simpler How does that sound?
  • edited 3:29PM
    Hm, yeah, let's do that - that way, we can all be Player for one team and GM for the other team, and there's enough people playing and GMing that we shouldn't have to wait forever for anything.
  • edited 3:29PM
    I was figuring each character would have their own thread, from a bookkeeping point of view. I'm cool with two teams, or with a more checkerboard mix-and-match.
  • edited August 2007
    Yeah, I think one thread per player would kinda turn into six seperate games. This way, it's easier to have interactions between the characters. I'm in favour of building a kind of meta-story from the personal stories of each character, so how about we start posting character ideas in here, and kind of work it out from them? Agent Fresh, if you're reading, I think it would be fine for you to join as well, with the new two-thread arrangement.

    So, character ideas?

    EDIT: I am the happy owner of one DRYH PDF bundle!
  • edited August 2007
    I'm still reading and still interested

    I'm cool with the two threads and sharing GM'ing duties with two questions:

    What's the procedure for working out when different folks on the same "team" GM? Is it first come first serve?

    What about folks who don't have the book and/or aren't comfortable enough with the rules to GM? Can they just hang back from GM'ing until they feel ready?
  • edited 3:29PM
    I don't see why you couldn't take a back seat with GMing until you feel more confident. In terms of not having the book, the PDF's only eight bucks, but I understand that's a bigger hurdle for some than others.

    First come first served works for me, but we could divvy up narration by what dominates the scene if we wanted to. First come first served would decrease wait times too. I suspect that we'll develop some protocols, or at least some GMs will take more interest in some characters than in others, just as the game progresses. It's no disaster if it doesn't work out perfectly, we can always reassess later, and split off threads if we need to.
  • edited 3:29PM
    I'd suggest each group of GMs start up their own whisper-thread for coordination, 'claiming' scenes, suggesting bangs, etc.

    For character brainstorming, can someone with access to the book maybe list off the Character Questions, and everyone can go from there?
  • edited 3:29PM
    Are the questions you're talking about these from the Character sheet?

    MY NAME IS...

    AND I AM...





  • edited 3:29PM
    This is just to get the ball rolling. I'm happy to change any details to fit in with other people, but I thought it would be cool to have something for the other players to bounce ideas off.

    My name is Frank Baum, and I'm a Police Detective with the Metropolitan Police Department. I've been on administrative suspension for three weeks following an incident in which I discharged my firearm in an unlawful manner. Someone was hit. They told me it was a little girl. But that's not what I saw. I saw something else. At least, I thought I did, but now I'm not so sure. They showed me pictures of the body. A little girl, only five. I wish I could figure out what really happened in that house, the one just by the underpass. But I've been taken off the case, shut up on leave pending an investigation. So all I can do is lie here in my dirty apartment, stare at the ceiling fan, and try to get some sleep. How long has it been now?

    Frank is a tough-talking, no-nonsense police detective. He's good at his job, and he prides himself on succeeding through old-fashioned legwork, following leads, grilling witnesses, making connections. None of this nonsense with labs and chemicals. He's good at his job. Some of the older cops still call him "Spooky", a nickname he earned from his seemingly imossible intuition, his hunches that lead to the solving of several impossible cases. But he hasn't been in his prime for years. Frank's got an ex-wife and a kid somewhere out there, but he hasn't had much contact except for sending the alimony cheques, regular as clockwork every month. He's been drinking more than is good for him, and his hands have started shaking a little when he tries to hold them steady. He's to scared to see a doctor about it, because he knows they'd take away his gun for sure. In all his years on the force (he's fifty something now), he's used his gun just three times. The first two were strightforward self-defence. The suspect drew a gun, and Frank drew faster. The last one though, is not so clear. Frank's not quite sure what he remembers. He was investigating a missing persons case. A little girl was gone. He'd followed it up to an abandoned house just by the underpass. There was a man, or a thing, and it came for him, and so he fired his weapon. And now the little girl is dead, and Frank's suspended. He's been in his apartment for three weeks, going quietly crazy. Now he's going to find out what happened in that house. FInd out what happened to the little girl, and make it right.
  • edited 3:29PM
    I'll go question by question -- I don't know how familiar everyone is with the game, so if anyone is unsure about how a particular question might be answered, in general, let me know and I can do a brief rundown.
    Posted By: AgentFreshMY NAME IS...
    Chester Reed.
    Posted By: AgentFreshAND I AM...
    A high school junior in a semi-rural suburb.
    I have a brother, Brian -- he's in the army. Or was, I guess. He's dead, but nobody else knows yet. I know, because last week he showed up in a dream and told me so. He was sitting there across from me, on his old bed. "Shrapnel," he said, and pulled up his shirt so I could see. I didn't want to look, but I couldn't help it. There wasn't much of him left under there.

    Since then I can't sleep. I don't talk to Mom, Dad's never home. Every time I think about what he showed me I want to throw up, and sometimes I do. But it's only a matter of time until we get the visit, and everyone knows. Maybe then he'll leave me alone.
    Posted By: AgentFreshWHAT JUST HAPPENED TO YOU?
    He keeps talking to me, telling me things. Mostly things I don't want to hear, like what it's like to die. Sometimes he talks to himself, or to his girlfriend, Shannon. Sometimes it's just screaming, and I have to scream too to drown it out. But tonight was different, Brian was real calm. He wanted me to do something for him.

    It took me an hour to dig it up, under the oak tree in the lot behind the tireyard, like he said. It was this huge green trunk, rusted all over -- I couldn't even lift it. Even before I opened it, I knew I didn't want to.

    I found his dog tags inside, and his gun. And he was there too, inside the trunk, pulling up his shirt to show me where the shrapnel went in. I could see his heart under the mangled ribs, the mess of his shredded guts. "Take it," he said, and I put my hands in him and took out his heart, and there was blood everywhere, and it tasted sweet.

    When I got back to my room the blood was gone, but the gun wasn't.
    Posted By: AgentFreshWHAT'S ON THE SURFACE?
    Chester (his brother calls him 'Chess') is a pretty unremarkable high school kid. A bit of a skatepunk and a bit of a geek, he gets okay marks and skates around town with his friends, getting into generically-teenage trouble. He lives in the absent shadow of his older brother, Brian, a genial jock who joined the army straight out of high school.
    Posted By: AgentFreshWHAT LIES BENEATH?
    Chester's not too happy about something, and it gets under his skin. He's not really sure what, but he's pretty sure it involves this crummy town, his well-meaning but clueless friends, his Mom's two crap part-time jobs, and the fact that his brother willingly signed up to be shipped halfway across the world to die for no goddamn reason anyone can explain.
    Posted By: AgentFreshWHAT'S YOUR PATH?
    Out of this hole, one way or the other. And if he can get his Mom through the anyday-now news of Brian's death, so much the better.
  • edited 3:29PM
    So the 'What Just Happened To You?' question is, I think, quite literally supposed to translate into your first scene. It's a Kicker, for those who speak Sorceror. I'm not sure Chester's quite qualifies, maybe it will have to be backtracked a little, so that something happens when he climbs out of the ground with his brother's gun.

    Similarly, I'm not sure if I can see what just happened to Frank -- I feel like the incident with the girl is a very strong 'why I can't sleep' sort of thing, but maybe there could be something that just happened that is going to kickstart him really looking into this thing, instead of wallowing sleeplessly in his apartment (as he's presumably been doing for the last three weeks)? Simon, thoughts? I may have misread the chronology of motivations and the like.
  • edited 3:29PM
    No, that's a good call, Daniel. He needs a lead. How about: he's just seen the same little girl ducking down an alley behind his local liquor store.
  • edited August 2007
    MY NAME IS...Leo Bennett

    AND I AM...the aritst/writer behind the hit indie comic book "Velocity Rose." At least I was. Before the accident. About a year ago: my motorcycle v/s an SUV. It lost.

    I lost my right arm and Chelle', my girl friend, lost her life. Since then, I can't draw. I'm trying to write, but it's not coming easy.

    WHAT'S BEEN KEEPING YOU AWAKE? These damn phantom pains from the arm I no longer have keep me up nights. I ain't gonna end up strung out on OxyContin for the rest of my life, so I try to tough it out. The frustration at not being able to draw doesn't help. I have all these pictures in my head, but no way to get them out.

    Also (and nobody but me and the four walls know this), I feel guilty about Chelle'. See, we were driving to our house from a party when we had the wreck. If we had made it home, I was going to break things off and leave. And I was dreading that, see. It's complicated between us. I based "Velocity Rose" on her and we had all the same friends and were so tangled up in each other that, earler in the week, I had actually had the thought that it would be easier for one or both of us to just die than have to go through the break up.

    Be careful what you wish for, right? Makes me wonder if it was an accident...

    WHAT JUST HAPPENED TO YOU? Keep in mind I'm not strung out. I self-medicate with a little smoke and a little drink now and then, but I keep my senses about me. I'm not strung out and I'm not crazy.

    OK., I'm laying awake in my bed, and I hear this racket in my studio down the hall. I walk in there with my baseball bat and see that the big mason jar I keep all my pencils and pens in is on the floor, shattered. Glass and pencils everywhere.

    So, I think, obsessive fan upset over no new books or somebody trying to steal some original art for eBay. Sounds crazy, but I'm hurting and scared and it made sense at the time. So, I go through the house, checking doors and windows. No sign of anybody or no break in or nothing. So, I go back to clean up the glass in the studio.

    And that's when I saw it.

    On the drawing table. A freshly penciled page from the last "Velocity Rose" script I wrote. A script I hadn't ever showed to anybody that I remember. Done in my style. Looked identical to my work. If somebody besides me drew it, I couldn't tell the difference and I'm me!

    Then I heard a sound in the bedroom...

    WHAT'S ON THE SURFACE? Early 30s. Good looking, if a bit skinny and scruffy. Dark haired, blue-eyed artist hipster type. Cool, witty and aloof. Dime a dozen, really.

    WHAT LIES BENEATH? The pudgy, somewhat geeky 12 year old that grew up outside Chattanooga, TN is very much alive just under my skin. Shy. Insecure. Looking for acceptance but expecting rejection.

    WHAT'S YOUR PATH? Get all this doom and gloom behind me and get back to creating something. Get sane and either learn to draw southpaw or learn to write for other artists. Get back to where I trust myself around other people.
  • edited 3:29PM
    Awesome! That's three characters. At this stage, I'm a little worried that there's nothing really connecting these characters. One common thread though is the "mystery" kickers. I think it would be cool if the GMs could work towards making the solutions to our mysteries tie in together, such that we all end up with pieces of the puzzle. The theme I'm picking up is "why me?", in that we've all had inexplicable things happen to us, for seemingly no reason. It would be cool if playing the game reveald the reason behind it all.

    I think from here we can post the more "rulesey" stuff for our characters, and then get to actually playing. Over in another thread, George has given an incredible example of a first post, outlining what he expects in terms of format. Without a GM, it's going to be tough to do the same here. I figure we'll try to follow the example of whoever posts first?
  • edited 3:29PM
    Posted By: Simon CAt this stage, I'm a little worried that there's nothing really connecting these characters. One common thread though is the "mystery" kickers.
    I'm not too concerned about it, but it's true. For the record, my aim with Chester was for something less about a mystery and more about psychological breakdown. There certainly are mystery elements, though (where did this gun from, is it actually his brother's gun? Is his brother actually dead? Etc.)
  • edited 3:29PM
    Bleh, sorry it's taking me so long to catch up, had a very busy few days. I can put together a character tomorrow.
  • edited 3:29PM
    No worries on my end -- I'm pretty scarce until the end of the month, since I am moving (and therefore packing & cleaning & panicking) until then.
  • Here's the "game mechanic" stuff for Frank. I'm just going to go ahead and start playing soon, and see what happens. Feel free to start GMing for me, post your own character's stuff or whatever. We'll see what happens.


    Discipline: 3
    Responses: Fight 2, Flight 1.
    Exhaustion Talent: Eidetic Memory. Frank can recall snippets of conversations, re-read a newspaper he glanced at days ago, remember facial expressions, and notice previously irrelevant details.

    Madness Talent: Perfect Insight (as per the book). Frank has the ability to understand a situation intuitively and instantly, to determine the perpetrator of a crime based on a quick scan of a crime scene, to deduce someone's history from a moment of conversation, to pick up on subconscious clues, psychic emanations, or some echo of the Mad City and piece together a correct interpretation.
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