Wednesday, January 9, 2013

System Shopped: The Shadow - Lacuna

The Shadow from Wraith: the Oblivion
System Shopped: Lacuna, The Birth of Mystery and the Girl from Blue City
by Tobie Abad

These are two of my favorite games.  

Wraith: The Oblivion is one of the darkest games I have had the pleasure of running.  It is also one of the games where I had mistakenly crossed a line which led to a five-player game getting cancelled within its first session because three of my players were crying (for real) and one was yelling at me (while I was shadowguiding) then called for a time-out.  Admittedly, we were young then and I made the mistake of letting my players play themselves in a game where they all die in the first act.  Yeah, like I said, we were young and foolish.  But man, we still think it was awesome.  Just something we should never do again.

Enter, Jared Sorenson's Lacuna.   I first encountered Lacuna while hunting online for suggestions on what would  be a great game for a solo-session.  A game I was to run with three players had two suddenly rain-check, which left me and my friend still wanting to have a game.  But clearly we wanted something that was new.  Or at least different from the usual fare.  A number of sites I found mentioned Lacuna and when I read the brief intro in the site itself I just realized I had to try it.  I didn't get to buy it that night, but eventually I had three players who wanted to game, and I had enough cash to make a drivethrurpg purchase.  Next thing you know, 24 hours pass and I've run the game TWICE.  Barely a month passes and I've run it for two more groups.  Lacuna is the bomb.

So here's me feeling utterly evil and combining the Shadow of Wraith into Lacuna.

The What?
The Shadow, in Wraith is the dark bitter side of you that wants you to let go.  It is the side of you that deeply wished you did NOT live on as a ghost.   So it whispers.  It screams.  It talks to you.  It gains power as you gain power (aka, yes, it has its own character sheet and gains experience).  It tempts you.  It seduces you.  It tries to get you to die.  Again.

In Wraith, Shadows have certain archetypes on how they act.  Here are some to whet your imagination:  
Abuser, Beast, Bully, Dictator, Innocent, Lover, Martyr, Parent, Perfectionist, Pusher, Teacher, Torturer, Victim.

The Shadow acts in accordance to its archetype.   The Parents scolds you for failing to be worth anything.  The Teacher reminds you everything bad is a lesson you deserve.  The Bully taunts you and goads you to give up.  Even worse, some of them can affect you through other supernatural ways.  And they grow stronger as you get weaker.

Why Lacuna?
Because in Lacuna, the Blue City is filled with so much potential and so much fear, I just could not help but want to add a new layer to the game.  And given the hints of "what's really going on" as stated between the lines in the book (especially in that page).  So given the nature of things, why wouldn't something... from deep inside... start talking?

Best part.  You don't even have to explain its the Shadow.  Given how Lacuna runs, it will be a perfect addition to the madness Lacuna brings.

Callers
Callers have it worse.  Bad enough every Mystery Agent has a voice whispering to them why they shouldn't try to fight to survive.  Or judging them for their actions.  Callers have it worse because whenever they call for Control, they can't tell if its the Spectre answering.  Or maybe they can, but they rather they heard Control.  

The Temptations
The Shadow can offer Shadowdice to the Mystery Agent, whenever it wants to.  Shadowdice are dice that have two uses:  The first is, they can add to any roll save for Access: Logistics and Access: Intelligence even if the Mystery Agent has not reached his Target Heart Rate.  This means, the Mystery Agent is pretty much able to succeed in everything.  These dice DO NOT ADD to the Mystery Agent's Current Heart Rate.

They do, however, reduce the Mystery Agent's Maximum Heart Rate.  And yes, you should not explain this to them, unless that rating has hit the upper limits of the Target Heart Rate.  Yes, the Shadow wants you to go out in a blaze of glory.  It is... kind?

The Thorns
Secondly, the Shadow has powers called Thorns, which allow it to manipulate the world even if it has no physical body.  Samples of thorns include being able to have Hostile Personalities back off, or being able to "gift" the Mystery Agent with a weapon or a tool he desperately needs (provided these are things which the Mystery Agent once owned or had lost in life).    Some can even allow the Mystery Agent to see things he normally cannot.  Or do things he normally cannot.  One Agent might suddenly discover Documents in his pocket to help explain who he is.  Another might discover he actually has become bullet proof somehow.  

These Thorns are gifts the Shadow gives without the Agent asking for them.  As to how it can afford it, or why it would be so willing to do so, the Shadow alone knows.   I'd say more but t██t's beyond your Clearance Level.  A Statc seems    so I   this █ █  of Lacuna █ █ █ █ █ █ into █ █ the █ █.

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