This game of The Pool began with the peace conference as presented at Galactic peace Pool, in which the player-characters were various aliens conceived by the players: the Avix, the Murkcap, and the Hive. That was four sessions. We decided to continue playing by focusing on each of those alien species to see what happened among them after the conference. In the first sequence, we retained Helma’s character Qixakol, Jerry and Renee made up new characters based on their interest in the Avix, and we played it for six sessions, as presented in Galactic peace: The Avix.
Now, we move on to Renee’s original character, Dukun, to see what the galactic peace has brought for or to the Murkcap people, and Jerry and Helma have made up Murkcap characters. As Helma had done for the Avix, Renee described a little bit more context for the planet systems and policies of the Murkcaps prior to the peace conference, and also what changes they’d made upon the curious agreement that concluded it. She said that the Murkcap did not colonize other planets in an explicit governmental way, unlike the other species, but inhabited a single star system’s single planet. It’s their influence that made them a peer among the imperial forces, an empire of insidious chemistry rather than fleets and battles. The policy change was to be more open and to encourage two-way contact rather than just influence, but she also mentioned that some powerful Murkcaps were already engaged in efforts to alter the other alien species via direct infestations and psychogenic effects and were therefore subverting the peace in the name of their peace.
The characters are attached: Dukun, now intimately tied to the Hive and considered by the other species (by the way, there are many of those, not just the three represented by the player-characters) to be a powerful presence in the new balances and definitions of power across the vast galactic reaches; Nurun, a dedicated but playful researcher who provides samples at parties; and Professor Dyvyd, a xeno-pharmacologist who seeks cosmic insight by crashing realities together. They present a rather focused collective concept compared to the wide social range of the Avix characters.
As you may recall, the Murkcap are very trippy and change reality by warping their own and others’ neurological experiences. Or maybe they just think they do, but around them, in the clouds of emitted spores and concept, you think they do too. Or whatever. This poses a very different context for play from the hard-core physicality and social history of the Avix. I knew that I conceived of Murkcap life as a vast matrix of interconnected reality-nodes, defined by direct interactions, compromises, and passive acceptance among them.
I decided to fold “reality shift” into every confrontation or conflict, in that narrations should describe not only X or Y being accomplished, but how the entire local situation is altered to favor the outlook and context of the succcessful character. In the case of the big, big Murkcaps Renee had talked about, whom I named and thought about in terms of their varying and compromised goals, that’s some serious dimensional messing-about. With only this one session so far, I’m still finding my way toward establishing what “is” so that our shifting-stuff isn’t taking place in just a haze, or rather, how we do it will evolve through the net effect of all of us describing things and narrating outcomes.
I can’t go into everything here, as our hour and a half of play was exceptionally dense and dynamic. The one detail that came into my preparation only a little while before we started, and which has turned out to be my most strongly-felt anchor as GM, is the presence of the Senzu. I liked a slightly more humanoid fungus-y community picture I’d found (it’s in the video), and thought that a guest settlement on the Murkcap planet made sense in terms of the recent galactic peace. I found this picture for them and made up a few details. I didn’t really expect that they’d become as critical a nexus point for a reality-war, or that I’d inadvertently create such a theological and cultural crisis for them, not only ideologically but in terms of their genuine circumstances of existence.
So, we’re embarked on a strange brew of policy, philosophy, power, and discovery. I plan to focus a bit more on the concrete elements of the situation, so that we build a fuller and more common notion of the setting and the society … but it’s not going to be anything like the normal we know.