Mythic style games seem to work backwards from a typical role playing game. The overall plot or scenario is not actually known until the end, though to write it down you have to put it first – as if it was known all along and you were working towards it. The reality of this type of collaborative story telling game is that you muddle along making stuff up and then weaving it into a coherent plot after it has happened. It is a conscious piece of legerdemain that you play on yourself, pretending that there is something to be uncovered: it is just a matter of putting the pieces together in the right way. All of the background only fell into the place part way through the session – for the early scenes we were in a process of discovery, both about the setting and location, and also our reason for being there.
Background. (Savage Worlds setting) Slipstream
We were Parnassos and Danton, lieutenants of the pirate captain, Magdelene, on a mission to the planet, Barter, from our home base of Vitin. The pirate captains of Vitin had been prevented from joining forces by queen Anathraxa. What they needed was a powerful ally who could challenge her, or at least take the heat off their sector of space long enough to enable a gathering.
Levitos was a high tech city-ship whose engines were in a state of disrepair and short on fuel. Anathraxa taxed the Levitosians in dark-matter to deliberately prevent them from restarting their engines and recovering their potentially vast power. In secret, the pirates of Vitin had been creating a stock pile of dark-matter. This was to be used to sweeten an alliance with the Levitosians, who would in turn furnish the pirates with advanced equipment and join the fight against Anathraxa.
To achieve this, the shipment must not be detected, and the Levitosians must be freed from surveillance long enough to allow repairs to occur. So, Parnassos (Greg) and Danton (me) were on Barter to sow false information in the hope of directing Anathraxa’s attention to a sector far away from our theatre of operation. Barter was a desert trading world where the scum of the universe gather to make deals, double cross and murder each other, and sell each other out to Anathraxa’s spies. The local police were corrupt, and spies were everywhere.
Scene 1. An airship ferrying people to the city from the space port located out in the desert
Conscious that Barter was rotten with Anathraxa’s spies (exactly what we wanted as we had false information that we wanted to plant), we scanned the crowd till we found a likely candidate. We found him nursing a drink and looking mournful. He was a Peter Lorre type of character, probably an Anarch from Scar. We settled into a booth near him and allowed him to overhear our conversation which concerned our meeting at a particular tourist spot with a Dr Baffle (The Conundrum Scientist – an entirely fictional character who we intended to make real to the security service: a sort of ‘Man who never was’). We had information for him concerning an operation called The Paradox Projector.
Scene 2. Next day, in a skimmer car heading out to a well known ruin where tours were often taken
As we approached the site, we saw that our bait had already been taken. The area was surrounded by squad cars and paddy wagons. Local police, directed by Anathraxa’s agents, were rounding up everyone at the site in the hope that one of them was the terrorist: Dr Baffle.
We pulled to a halt and scanned the scene with binoculars, but were observed in turn. A squad car speed after us in hot pursuit. Since I was an expert driver I headed to another ruin outcropping and then in a spectacularly believable stunt, crashed the car. Parnassos ripped a jacket and dropped the first of our data crystals with carefully crafted false data. Then we hid in the ruins.
The agent from the airship (by now we knew his name was Deyvour) climbed from the car, along with a statuesque woman of extreme beauty. This agent (we later found out) was called Chilax, and she was as ruthless and efficient as she was striking to look at. She quickly found the dropped crystal and viewed its contents on a portable holo-projector.
Once we were certain that she had seen the info (an unmistakeable 3D map of the city of Mechanos) we started shooting in order to dissuade them from trying to capture us. Instead, looming clouds on the horizon told a story of a coming sand storm. Abandoning the chase, they sped off.
Later, in the midst of the storm, the convoy of paddy wagons passed. We jumped onto the running boards of the last car and hurled out the driver to make good our return to the city.
Scene 3. A gambling house
We played Babes, a traditional card game with four suits: Vagitatus, Fabulinus, Cuba, and Domiduca. Since we were both expert card players we managed to convincingly lose badly and were dragged into a back room for a tune up. After being roughed up a little, we offered the second data crystal, claiming that it was valuable information. Sinon, a well known information broker, was called in to verify the data. When he saw that it was the biography of a certain Dr Baffle, who he had been detailed to look out for earlier by Chilax (we calculated) he paid the price and took it.
Scene 4. A cafe
We found Deyvour at a cafe drinking coffee and pretending to read a paper. I slipped the waiter a fiver and pretended to serve Deyvour his coffee, while at the same time slipping him a message printed on Imperial stationery. It instructed him to go to planet Krieg and meet with contacts concerning the Paradox Projector being smuggled into Mechanos. Such a message could only have come from Chilax, we hoped he would reason.
As Deyvour prepared to leave, Parnassos slipped into a chair behind him and advised him to tell no one, “No, don’t turn around.” This mission was critical, Parassos told him, and at the same time he dropped the last data crystal into Deyvour’s pocket.
Scene 5. The space port
We allowed ourselves to be followed to the space port. We knew that Deyvour was aware of us, and we detected that both he and we had tails. Inside the ship we eluded the agents and made our escape out of the cargo loading hatch.
Alone on the tarmac once the liner had taken off, we imagined the surprise on Deyvour’s face when Chilax had him searched, only to find the data crystal. A data crystal that gave dates and times for hiring a hanger on Mechanos where a device was to be built. The device was an obedience override that would scramble the minds of the robotmen of Mechanos. Chances are they would fly into rebellion against Anathraxa. The mysterious Dr Baffle was to activate the device from a secure location on Krieg.
Deyvour would know nothing, and he the note he thought was from Chilax was clearly not. Was Deyvour the mysterious Dr Baffle himself? That was what we hoped Chilax would ask herself.
We also hoped that she would send out an alert for Anathraxan warships to make for Mechanos, far from where we planned our rebellion on Levitos.
And so ended Episode 1 of The Elusive Dr Baffle.
Potential recurring characters:
- Chilax, senior agent of Anathraxa who is now on our trail
- Deyvour, junior agent and traitor to his Anarch people. He has a score to settle with us because we set him up to come under suspicion from his boss, Chilax
- Sinon, information broker on Barter