Thursday, 13 May 2010

And for a break

Ok, next big thing I want to talk about is how magic will be presented in the show, however I just have way too many ideas and can't seem to organize them. So, instead of doing that, I'm going to post a bit from Unknown Armies that I really love.

It's a short scenario from Hush Hush - the Sleepers sourcebook (I gave a general idea of what they are in the themes post) called Showdown. I'm not sure if it's something that could be done in this series, but I just like to so here we go. I will give a short explanation of the terminology used in this after the thing.


The word is out in the underground. Two Avatars of the Masterless Man, both adepts, both getting close to Godwalker status, are calling each other out. It promises to be messy.

Everybody's talking about it, but few have the real story. Facts are hard to come by in the underground and your average duke's knowledge of Avatars and Clergy business is spotty at best. What's clear from the initial rumors is that two powerful adepts are planning to have it out, it's going down soon, and they don't care who sees it.

Finding out who, when and where are the priorities of the Sleepers. Enough drink-buying, data-sharing, and leg-breaking will produce more information, though it's not necessarily reliable. (It's a showdown between TNI and the Naked Goddess crew. It's a grudge match between Paragon of Team Salvation and a self-styled supervillain. It's between two rival Iconomancers, each claiming the supremacy of their chosen idol.) Whoever the combatants are, the clock is ticking.

Complicating the Sleepers' efforts to pinpoint ground zero is their own reputation. Few underground-dwellers are eager to deal with the Sleepers or be labeled as snitches and informants. If the investigation team plays it cool, either trough deception or assurance of anonymity, they will find the occasional adept willing to talk. The local 'mancers aren't exactly thrilled at the prospect of the showdown waking the tiger. With enough guile, style, or force, the Sleepers will eventually uncover the true worst-case scenario: one Avatar is a chaos mage, the other a sterno. A duel promises lots of explosions and casualties. High profile.

The Sleepers will also get a name, not of either duelist but of someone who knows their
identities: Amy Swarzkoff, Avatar of the Chronicler. Amy's keeping the information to herself; she's got a shot at chronicling a major event and doesn't want anyone, especially the Sleepers, to rob her of the opportunity. She knows who's involved, where it's going down and why. Strong-arm tactics won't get much play; Amy's devoted to her Archetype. Trickery has a better chance of succeeding, and negotiation is perhaps the best. Amy doesn't care where the fight happens as long as it does, and that she has a ringside seat. If the Sleepers can convince her they only want to confine the action to a private venue, and give her access, Amy could talk.

The fur flies at dawn: a main street in the downtown core during morning rush. The combatants are both in the low 90s of Avatar skill, meaning they're both closing in on the current Godwalker; not only is secrecy irrelevant to them, it's actually a hindrance to demonstrating their desire for the title. The bigger the show, the better the winner's chance of taking down the Godwalker later on. The combatants are:

Marcus Renault, Annihilomancer and Avatar of the Masterless Man. He doesn't take orders from anyone, and that includes the sleeping tiger. He'll level city blocks to reveal the truth as he sees it - that he's the biggest badass that ever walked the land.

Stanislav Orzewski, Entropomancer and Avatar of the Masterless Man. What greater risk could there be than going toe-to-toe with Renault in a public place, slinging spells in his Archetype's name for everyone to see?

If the Sleepers identify the duelists and contact either of them prior to game time, the team has two obvious options: talk the boys out of it or kill them. The first would require a Herculean feat of persuasion and cunning. The second is even more difficult: both guys are extremely powerful and opt for escape over making a stand, since they've got a better match waiting. If the circumstances warranted, the duelists would even ally against the Sleepers to guarantee their duel. Any attack against either Avatar has a chance of being as big a spectacle as the one the Sleepers are trying to prevent.

Here are some terms explained, in case you didn't do as I said and hunted down UA.

Avatar: Someone who is channeling the power of an Archetype - a sort of general behavior found in human culture.

The Masterless Man: An Archetype, mostly associated with the Japanese roning or the western gunslinger. Tough guy working for a world that has no place for him. Big on showdowns, duels and face to face combat.

The Chronicler: Archetype that focuses on writing down and preserving important events, without interfering in them.

Godwalker: An Avatar who has achieved 99% in their Avatar skull, thus becoming an absolute physical incarnation of their Archetype. If they manage to defeat the Archetype, they can ascend and take it's place in the Invisible Clergy.

The Invisible Clergy (The Clergy): All the Archetypes in the world that exist in the plane of existence know as the Statosphere.

TNI: The New Inquisition, an organization the Occult Underground, led by billionaire Alex Able.

Sect of the Naked Goddess: Cabal in the OU, followers of the Naked Goddess, a porn actress that has ascended to the Clergy during one of her movies.

Adept: A person who can use magic by bending reality to his will.

Iconomancer: Adepts that gain magical abilities by worshiping famous dead people (JFK, Merilyn Monroe, Che Guevara and so on)

Annihilomancer (Sterno): Adepts that use magic gained and geared towards destruction of anything you hold dear. Very flashy effects - lots of fire and explosions.

Entropomancer (Chaos mage): Adepts that gain magic trough taking risks for the sake of risk, thus gaining the ability to later manipulate chance in their favor. Not as destructive as the Sternos, but can cause lots of collateral damage around themselves.

So why did I make you read all of this crap? Because I personally find the entire situation very very interesting, and this is the kind of thing that might be the point of several episodes from the series - the buildup towards and then - the even itself. Plus, the aftermath of something like this will be huge.

Anyways, enough for now - will try to organize my ideas for the way magic works (which is more or less one of the core things that need to be cleared in this) and then post it here.

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