Into another game of The Pool, this time with Jerry, Renee, and Helma. I’ve been prepared for this one for a long time, with a lot of accumulated images. You’ll spot the particular sort of pop science fiction right away: tons of implausible aliens as stand-ins for human concerns or outlooks, a completely transparent political moment, and an attempt to be one step beyond what current TV/film tech can currently do, visually.
I began by passing out the attached file, which includes the instruction to make up “whatever” along the lines of the images in there. You can see the wonderful characters they made in the attached file of that name. Renee, I think, wins the “here comes trouble” award by describing her character as a fungal Timothy Leary.
Jerry’s character, Hiver, raises an issue that I only just realized and intend to resolve before our second session tonight: that traits work best when they are literally right there in the paragraph (“story”), not derived from it in new phrases or terms. As I see it, it would even be best not to list traits separately at all, but to identify them only by underlining in the paragraph, and to put the bonuses right in there via parentheses.
During play, I also shared the little graphic I’ve been using for The Pool, slightly improved through use and re-drawing:
You’ll see a couple of places where I refer to it directly. My job for myself was to focus on the strength of arrow #4, regardless of the roll’s success or failure, and regardless of who narrated. In other words, whether it succeeded or failed mattered as such, and what was stated during narration does occur, but the fact that we rolled dice at all means that arrow #4 is different – a change – from arrow #1. Here and there you’ll see different people experience the learning curve for the system, specifically not to backtrack from arrow #2 to #1, and not to leap ahead into #3 while still in the arrowhead of #1.
As I’ve written elsewhere, I’m not interested in faithfulness to any specific text for The Pool, which existed/exists as a series of posts and files across a couple of years. What you’re seeing here is simply what I’m doing with it at the moment. The main difference from the attached text is that we won’t use the harsh restrictions on the “save vs. death” roll, which I think are simply poor design, and we’ll start each session by adding one die to each character’s Pool.
Other things you can see me working on, more generally, is not to talk over people, which unfortunately does happen at one point.
Also generally, our first session served as a nice recovery moment for me, given stressful or at least somewhat draining play on-and-off for the past year. It’s not just an easier time with The Pool or the specific people, but evident in the third and fourth sessions of Vampire: the Requiem as well; something seems to have relaxed or recovered lately.