Mad City Nights
Jack had had enough. After four years of horror as airborne infantry in the Middle East and another year of madness resulting from crippling insomnia, he was going to end it all. He had seen it done on TV -- people jumped in front of the subway all the time. That was the way he wanted to go. Quick and painlessly. An end to all the memories and anxiety and crippling shellshock.
He walked up to the platform. People streamed about the terminal like ants. So much white noise to Jack. He heard the train coming.Just step off, Jacky boy. Step off into the night.
He leaned forward, fell. Gasps from the crowd. The tinkling of glass and sudden wash of red light.
Hm. He seemed to be lying on the floor inside a subway train awash with red light. He stood. Things weren't quite right. Outside there was a canyon filled with crying children; what Jack knew to be their mothers searched endlessly above.
He quickly limited his attention to the inside of the car. A woman was cooing a headless infant. A suit stood up on its own in the back of the train. The Conductor came, asking for tickets.
Shit! Jack rustled through the pockets of his coat. No ticket.
"No ticket!" *SMASH
* The Conductor had thrown the Suit out the glass window of the train, into an endless desert of red sand with an cream-colored sky.
Frightened, Jack stood up and ran to the restroom. He clicked the lock shut, but figured the Conductor was smarter than that. He unclicked the lock and braced himself above the door in the cramped stall. All those years playing at parkour seemed to suddenly pay off.
The Conductor knocked, opened the door a bit. Luckily the mirror was on the back of the door, and didn't give Jack away. After a moment the coast was clear. Jack lowered himself to the ground and stepped out just as the train came to a stop. He glanced out the window into a dense urban zone. The buildings were all smashed together, forming a vast landscape of rickety rooftops.
Jack quickly exited and found that the subway had stopped on top of a roof. Startled, he turned around. Where the subway should have been was a rusted out subway car, seemingly unused for decades.
"What the fuck
...?" Jack whispered, not for the last time.
My name is Jack Thompson
, and I was a soldier in Afghanistan. I just jumped in front of a train. I wanted to die. My years in Afghanistan stole my ability to relax, and eventually kept me from sleeping at all. My time in the service had broken me. Killing children. Friendly fire incidents due to miscommunications from on high. Watching my friends die all around me. So there I was. Trying to finally get some peaceful sleep. I didn't need to wake up.
My Exhaustion Talent is parkour
. My Madness Talent is Orpheus
, from the Don't Lose Your Mind supplement. Basically it lets me take shortcuts to anywhen via Hell. Sometimes I take a bit of Hell with me. I didn't really understand at first.
I had two boxes of Flight and one of Fight, but I switched that around after escaping Mad City for the first time. I figured that these fuckers in Mad City were the ones keeping me awake. I'd rather side with Hell than let those nightmares stalk the streets. At least Hell has a solid jurisdiction.
Oh man, did I fuck up.
The game went well. The mechanics are tight and Oliver is a good GM. We both suffered from a bit of "writer's block" when it came to incorporating the City Slumbering into events. We discussed having nightmares from Mad City follow players into the City Slumbering, which seems like a good fix for that.
I was confused at first and didn't add my Exhaustion dice to subsequent rolls after I gained them, but we fixed that after only a few rolls. Oliver also didn't spend any Coins of Despair, thinking about it too late for them to have any effect (we were near the end and I still had two Response boxes open, having gotten some good Discipline rolls in).
If people are interested in the rest of the narrative, I'll post the whole thing over on my blog
. Let me know what you think!