[Lacuna] For the First time

edited August 2008 in Actual Play
Control: MZRyan
Players: Jason, Joe, and Mike.

None have played or even read Lacuna. I specifically asked them not to.

Introductory Email sent to players 2 days before the game.

Subject:Lacuna Part I. The Creation of the Mystery and the Girl from Blue City (second attempt)

1. I have a few requests for this week's game. They may seem strict and/or arbitrary, but I would beg your indulgence. There should be no drinks or snacks for the first bit of the game. Later we can relax this.
2. There is no need to bring anything. I will provide all necessary gaming materials (including pencils, paper, and dice). I fact there should be nothing on the table save what I provide.
3. The tone of Lacuna is serious. While humor is a natural reaction to horror, let's keep OOC table-talk to a minimum.
4. Evocative images and music can be found at [private directory here]

Thank you,
[The directory in item 4 included:
  • "Information" by Course of Empire,
  • "Is there no help for the widow's son" by Laura,
  • "Unspoken Path" by Tribes of Neurot,
  • "Terrible Canyons of Static" by godspeed you! black emperor,
  • "Everyone Alive Wants Answers" by Colleen,
  • "Intructions From Control" --nothing more that the sound of dialing through the AM band on a radio.
  • Four pics of rain in cities from flickr and Deviantart.

Response from Mike was: "Sweet...Holy Crap."


  • edited August 2008
    Game Night:
    Each player was provided with a #2 pencil, a bottle of water (label removed), 5 plain d6 in a plastic baggie that read "made in China," a file folder containing a printed one-page profile of their target. Paper clipped to the front of the folder was a character sheet printed on green paper.

    Case # 1041, Harvey Petersen
    Agents had a rough insertion and suffered temporary amnesia upon awakening in Blue City. All they could remember was their own name. Fortunately they had all inserted into the otherwise empty men's room of the Plaza Hotel. I had each player role d100 (Control had the only set).
    Jason= Agent Faber
    Joe= Agent Glover
    Mike= Agent Carver

    I allowed that they know three facts:
    1. You are in a place called Blue City.
    2. You are an agent of some intelligence or law-enforcement agency.
    3. Your mission is to apprehend someone named Harvey Petersen.

    Agent Glover felt for any Identification, but had none. Agent Faber opened the small frosted window to peek outside. It obviously opened onto an alley. In his limited view there were a few trash cans and a security door. The Agents felt a sort of hypersensitivity. "You can see the texture of the bricks across the alley, if you concentrated you might be able to count the raindrops, you can discern between the smell of the cleaner and the pine-scent added to it."

    There was one door out. Beyond it they heard a phone ringing. When they exited the restroom they found themselves at the end of a ten-step hallway that extended left to the lobby of a nice hotel. Directly across the hall was a door with woman's silhouette and some script they cannot read. Agent Faber examined the text on the door and tried to concentrate, wondering if the unreadable script was an after effect of his apparent memory loss. He was unable to read it.

    The phone continued ringing in a phone booth built into the wall of the hallway. Agent Glover picked up the receiver.
    "This is Control who is this?"
    "Agent Glover"
    "Is everything okay? Did the insertion go smoothly?" the voice of control was smooth and professional.
    "We seem to have had a problem. Our memories are..."
    "Amnesia? Yeah, it looked like you might have had an amnesia event. It's not unheard of. Do you all remember your names?"
    "Do you remember your target?"
    "Yes, but that's about it."
    "Alright, go next door to the Tea House and order a cup of Lemon Herb Tea. The amnesia is temporary and should clear up quickly. The Tea will help. Contact us when you have had the tea and we'll assess the situation."
    "How do I do that?"
    "Um, contact you?"
    "Shit, you guys really got it good. Tell you what, I'll give you some time then call you back. If a phone rings near you and no one else is going to answer it, it will be me. Control Out."
    "Glover Out"

    The agents went to the Tea House and drank some tea.
    Suddenly they remember being in a white room. they are sitting in uncomfortable desks. A paper and pencil are on the desk. At the front of the room a man in suit is saying, "...so because of this physical strength, reflexes, stamina, are largely irrelevant. Instead we measure you in Force, Intuition, and Access."

    [At this point we add attributes and talents to the character sheet. I also allowed them to open the folders and look at the case file.]

    Agent Glover: Force 3; Instinct 4; Access 2; Athletics
    Agent Carver: Force 3; Instinct 3; Access 3; Intuition
    Agent Faber : Force 3; Instinct 2; Access 4; Navigation (by virtue of age, Faber is designated lead agent)

    Control calls them and explains how to mentally ping control. When they receive a ping, Control will call them as soon as possible. They can also call Control directly from any telephone.

    Agent Faber makes an access roll to determine the locations of Blue Star Diner and City Tool & Die, both in Abattoir District. [The case file lists three locations within Blue City that the target, Harvey Petersen, is known to frequent, the third is Slick's Pool Hall, Glassworks District.]

    After taking the tram and arriving at the Blue Star Diner, the agents enter and order "The Special." They ask the waitress if she knows Harvey, claiming to be old acquaintances. She says he is probably at work. It is also clear that she is Harvey's girlfriend. As the conversation ends, the waitress repeats the same phrase, verbatim and seemingly unaware, three times. On their way out the each grab an umbrella from a stand by the door.

    The agents go to City Tool and Die. They decide to act like police detectives investigating a crime perpetrated by someone wearing one of he City Tool & Die uniform shirts. While watching from across the street they hear a phone ringing. It is inside the women's clothing store behind them. Agent Faber enters and answers the phone.
    "This is Control"
    "Agent Faber speaking."
    "Agent Faber, how is the mission going?"
    "Fine. We've been to the diner and about to check into the Tool & Die."
    "Do you need anything?"
    "How about police badges and whatever else would help us act like police detectives?"
    "Agent, is that a coy way of asking for a firearm?"
    "Um, ha ha, no. We're still suffering a little from the amnesia event."
    "Alright. Give me a second and I'll see what I can do."

    All three roll Access and suddenly feel a badge and handgun materialize beneath thier jackets.
    As Agent Faber exits the clothing shop, it transforms into a pet shop. The front window filled with birdcages and puppies.
  • A little shaken up, the agents enter City Tool & Die and speak with Lester Henry, owner and boss. He tells them that Harvey called in sick. The agents speak to the 3 other employees. Steve Gonsalves dislikes Harvey. He is the waitress's (her name is Vi Williams) ex-boyfriend and thinks Harvey is wrong for her. Ivan Slovasky, an intimidating Russian knows Harvey and likes him well enough. Ivan has been in Blue City for six months, a refugee from The Conflict. Marcel Chevalier is a tough Frenchman (re Jean Reno) who thinks Harvey, Steve and Vi and all shit. "Fuck the _______" is his response to most questions. The learn that Harvey has recently moved and is now staying at the Rocking Chair Hotel.

    [Note: while the book suggests that businesses with Blue City are named eponymously, I decided to go a different direction. I tried to use simple names that felt noir-ish. I also decided that agents can ping Control and control will call them. The only method of direct communication with control is by telephone. There were no cell phones.]
  • The Agents proceeded to the Rocking Chair Hotel, but Agent Faber was approaching Max heart rate and didn’t want to roll Access. Instead they asked one of the guys at City Tool and Die. It’s on Station and Canal streets in Abattoir.

    Having gotten off the tram at the Abattoir station, they presume that Station street is near there and surely Canal street is near the canal. Unfortunately they can’t find it without asking a personality for directions. The poor sap doesn’t have an umbrella and Agent Faber gives him his. The chap, Mike Sellars, is quite grateful [and likely to become a recurring personality].

    They find the Rocking Chair Hotel and enter. A public phone in the lobby is ringing. Control accosts them and accuses them of dawdling, but stops short of being downright contrary. They ask the mumbling ancient clerk for the key to Harvey Petersen’s room using the badge to convince him.

    Upstairs they find Room 214. The HP is not there, but there is a slept in bed, a small bureau, a sink with a used razor, a table and chair, and a pair of shoes.

    Agent Carver goes to check the bathroom at the end of the hall. It is occupied. When the door opens, it is Ivan Slovasky. After a split second of recognition, Ivan runs. Agent Carver tries to tackle him, but misses. Agent Faber booms out a command to halt, leveling his 1911 Colt at the running man.

    They questioned him in Harvey’s room, but were only able to determine that Ivan had some connection to Harvey that he now dismisses.
    “You could let me go,” said Ivan. “I wont try to be warning Harvey again.”
    “Why?” said Agent Faber.
    “Because he is wanted.”
    “By who?”
    Ivan, laughing, said, “By you.”
    He offers them a drink from the bottle; then laughs. “I guess you can’t read it can you?”
    As they question Ivan, the building across the road becomes engulfed in flames. No one seems to notice, but the agents.

    They leave him tied up in the room and head toward the diner again. Several personalities had mentioned that Harvey picks up Vi from work at the end of her shift.
  • edited August 2008
    Agents stationed themselves around the diner and watched for Harvey to arrive. They noticed the same pattern of cars repeating every few seconds. Then it flipped and the southbound cars are now northbound, and vice-versa.

    Harvey arrived and entered the diner. Agents Carver and Faber palmed their Lacuna devices and entered and sat down in the same booth as Harvey. Agent Glover entered from the back and proceeded through the kitchen.

    Agent Faber asked if the target is he was Harvey Petersen. He answered that he was. Agent Faber planted the Lacuna device on Petersen, but before he could turn it Petersen’skin exploded and a monstrous centipede-like creature with huge snapping pincers and a mouthful of needle-like teeth appeared. It snapped at the agents and they all made an instinct roll to see if this freaked them out. Only Agent Faber, the lead agent, was shaken. Agent Carver scrambled from the booth as the diner’s few customers and workers screamed and scatted. Shattered glass covered everything and the rain flew in the windows. Agent Glover ran forward with his device ready. Agent Carver tried to plant his device and missed. Finally Agent Faber regained his wits and activated his device (despite being planted on Harvey Petersen, it was still stuck to the torso of the monster).

    They ejected and the session ended.

    Final Static 13.
    Everyone's BPM was past Target. Two hit max when they ejected.
  • edited August 2008
    Everyone enjoyed my tabula rasa beginning. Everyone suspected an alt-reality or dream setting by the end. They interpreted the surreal static events as indicators that time was running out.

    I tracked static with white "mana" beads. As others have said, tracking static openly freaked my players out. We stopped a little early. I revealed what agent scuttlebutt would know about Nasrudian Inst. and the work of Mystery agents.

    Thank You Jared, we had a blast.

    Next week, back to Blue City.

    Player handout here.

    My notes here. I varied somewhat from my Static events.
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