You are here

Galactic Peace: the Murkcap

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.

Department: 
Actual Play
Games: 
The Pool
Attachments: 
PDF icon starting murkcaps.pdf

Comments

Helma's picture

Given that in this game not only the characters but even the players both form and operate from their very own perception of reality I hope the others in this group will add their own take on the session.

Ducun, Dyvyd and Nurun leave the laboratory to visit the Senzu-Zone. I imagine transportation like riding on a weird liquid monorail train weaving through realities with the three of them having a luxurious ride on the inside. On arriving at the Senzu-Zone station – which is a little outside of the settlement – it becomes apparent that things have changed a lot there since Ducuns visit. The environment seems oddly disstorted and deconstructed, the settlement less organic and more industrilized. When descending from the station to the settlement traces of fights can be seen as well as huge signs whose messages are unclear to the Murkcap. At the outskirts of the city they are met by some kind of border police that harasses (Nuruns impression) them and insists on taking tissue probes. In a rather crude and offensive procedure, first conducted on Dyvyd, that nearly gets Nurun to back out and leave. They are informed that in the Senzu-Zone the release of spores and the use of substances is forbidden, especially if the Senzu around have not consented to being exposed.
In the end all of them enter the settlement where they find Voov rigged into a rather uncomfortable looking contraption of metal pipes surrounding him like a cage, some of them sticking into him. With him are some Senzu who tap substance from the pipes attached to Voov. One of them has a curious apparatus that he seems to use to analyse the substances before they are traded of to the surrounding crowd. While Ducun and Dyvid try to figure out what is going on Nurun tries to get the Senzu with the apparatus to explain and show her how that works. While he seems somewhat open to the idea of experimenting together he insists on her seeing Izavik and get a proper permit before they start exploring a possible cooperation on analysing and enhancing substances (and maybe spores).

They get pointed to an administrative building where they are met by Izavik and Kazi, a Sensu priest at the front door. Seems like the Senzu don't want any Murkcap inside the building to prevent accidents. While Ducun, Dyvyd and the two Senzu try to figure out what is happening with the reality the Senzu-Zone exists in Nurun gets more and more impatient – in the end she basically blurts out what she wants, a permit that would allow her to collaborate with the analyser she had met at the central place and understand how his apparatus works.

They get interrupted when Ducun (there was some roll involved but I can't remember the details) suddenly partly disintegrates, emitting spores and conjuring two missformed, monsterous Murkcaps who are intent on destroying everybody and everything around them.

The three Murkcap scramble to contain and defeat the monstrosities. Nurun asks permission to release spores and takes the confused cries of the Senzu around her as a yes. She ingests a sample of the stuff she used to enhance her abilities and shape the reality of the new laboratory, and emits her spores directed to engulf the two into a spere of some unknown material. Ducun manages to insert some kind of lightning into the sphere that disintegrates the monstrosities. Dyvyd meanwhile seems to be infected by the same malady that previously had affected Ducun and starts to change.

If I remember correctly this is where we ended the session.

Ron Edwards's picture

Thanks Helma! I've added my summary into the playlist as well.

Ron Edwards's picture

Here are my preparation notes for session 12:

Ron Edwards's picture

The Murkcap story finishes in its own way. I couldn't recall the quote quite correctly during play, but here it is, per Aldous Huxley:

If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.

The direct link to the video is here. I'm a little surprised the situation concluded in just three sessions, but as far as play goes, they were very packed, very rich sessions ... and they could not have been about anyone except the Murkcap, as Renee conceived them and as we did our best to pick up and expand upon.

We have one more segment to embark upon, returning to Jerry's original character Hiver and opening up the new Hive characters created by Renee and Helma.

Ron Edwards's picture

Session 13 preparation notes:

Add new comment