Mea Culpa

Web of Dreams

Mx Hood, Burrke and Dr. Smith were relaxing at the station’s bar when it was discovered that someone at a nearby table had collapsed. The individual, an artist named Cillian Rourke who’d made an appeal to them for aid following the Pryxzod situation, seemed to be in a coma. Dr. Smith brought him to the station’s medical facility and found that two other people had similarly succumbed to an unexplained unconsciousness. After a series of in-depth scans, Smith found that there was an unusually high level of brain activity and a substance in the system that gave off an unusual energy signature that was throwing off the medical scanners. Smith provided the others with information about what was likely a drug in the patient’s system. Burrke used his contacts to learn that the drug was being distributed by a very tall alien from a room in the station’s community center. Mx Hood did a search for information about the drug’s energy signature and found that the type of energy – which had something of a phasing quality to it – was very rare, only showing up in situations involving ultraterrestrials.

Quite suddenly, Dr. Smith found herself falling through the air in a way very reminiscent of a dream she’d had recently. She and some of the station’s medical staff were falling toward a strangely-colored medieval landscape. But right before they hit the ground, they found themselves once more in the station’s medical facility. Burrke and Mx Hood encountered a similar situation when they met with Burrke’s contact Mickey on their way to the community center. A nearby storage compartment appeared to be a window into a Restoration-era boot shop. They had a brief conversation with the cobbler, then the vision faded. The cobbler (who now appeared to be a normal resident of the station) lay unconscious on the floor of the storage compartment.

Seeing that it was having hallucinogenic effects, Dr. Smith analyzed the chemical portion of the drug and concocted an antidote for it. Burrke and Mx Hood proceeded to the community center and found the tall alien they were looking for in a meeting room. In an effort to throw it off, Burrke immediately accused the being of trying to muscle in on the station’s drug trade. The creature was indeed taken somewhat aback, responding that the drug was being given freely to those who consented. He introduced himself as Arroloth. Mx Hood realized this was Arroloth the Executor, a solitary being from another dimension, known also as Arroloth the Undying, The Opener of the Way and The Custodian of Nightmare. Arroloth worked to convey the will of powerful beings known sometimes as the Outer Lords, most often one called The Binder on the Threshold.

Arroloth advised them the Binder was responding to the despair felt recently by the people of Mea Culpa in the wake of the Pryxzod incident, and was offering them an opportunity to join the dream reality of the Binder’s Web. He then tried to tempt Burrke to take some of the drug by showing him its potential to manifest his thoughts and dreams into reality. A vision of children looking up to Burrke surrounded him. He responded by attacking the imaginary children. Mx Hood saw the same vision before it passed and they found that Arroloth was no longer in the room with them.

In the medical center, which was now filling up with unconscious patients, Dr. Smith encountered another brief vision of the strange landscape she’d seen earlier – one she realized looked somewhat like Cillian Rourke’s paintings – but that too passed. She injected Cillian with her antidote. He awoke, but continued to hallucinate as though in a dream. He spoke of how much happier things were now that he’d entered the Web before going back to speaking to people Dr. Smith could not see.

Meanwhile, Burrke and Mx Hood did everything they could to flood the station with messages of positivity to counteract the station’s despair. While this helped, there was still great unrest as sections of the station continued to phase in and out of a dreamlike reality. Some of those whose minds were connected to the Binder’s Web were transforming into energy and moving completely into it.

At about this time, Ambassador Razan of the Flux, who’d arrived at the station earlier, visited Dr. Smith in the medical center. She called on them to help close the connection to the Web by drawing energy from the portal to her home dimension. Razan confirmed they could do this, sealing the portal in the process.

As this began, Mx Hood cobbled together an interface allowing them to briefly enter the Web. They found themselves on an underground island surrounded by a sea of napalm with coffins floating in it, much like the ones in the last dream vision they’d had. They followed through to the core of the station’s connection to the Web – Cillian’s dream (in which he was reunited with his family in the lands he’d created in his mind).

From that place, the Binder looked out at them and stated that they’d not interfere with Mx Hood’s actions, agreeing to let them exercise their best judgment over the situation out of respect for their people, but that future interference with the Binder’s work could have devastating effects on the balance of the universe. Mx Hood pulled back all the minds of those who still had physical bodies away from the web and back to consciousness.

Afterward, Arroloth presented Mx Hood with the box he’d been carrying (which contained DNA samples, infusion devices for the drug and a dimensional interface allowing access to the Dream Web), advising them that the minds of Mea Culpa would be their responsibility now.

NAMED NPC ENCOUNTERED

Arroloth the Executor – a being who acts as an envoy for the Binder on the Threshold and the other Outer Lords
Cillian Rourke – an artist who lives on Mea Culpa
Dr. Damian Joshi – one of the doctors in Mea Culpa’s medical facility
Ambassador Razad
Mickey – a well-connected smuggler of artisinal goods

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Meeting Notes, June 23, 2018

Recorder: Jim

Pre-Game

Agenda:

  • Reminder: When you get an edge from a rare resource, the attack is boosted.
  • Softcover Release Date is July 25th! Two rounds of proofs are to be ordered, the first arriving by July 4th. There will be a PR focus leading up to the release.

OOC Logistics:

  • It was confirmed that we are still using the technique of asking for assistance at the start of a turn if we are not sure what action to take.
  • It was confirmed that we are currently in a Hard Conflict.
  • It was reiterated that even if you know you are going to fail on your turn, you are encouraged to still have your character make an attempt to do something. Failure is okay.

Story Goals & Plots:

  • Melissa’s Plot. (Hard Conflict, finish dealing with the Pryxzods)

Character Intentions:

  • Jim wants to reveal a Secret for Psi
  • Lucy wants to reveal a Secret for David
  • Greg wants to reveal a Secret for Burrke

Post-Game

Character Development:

  • Kartesh – New Secret: How bad could Kartesh get? (known by Psi)

Story:

  • Beach episode is still available
  • Greg has a vague story idea, but wants to see what happens when the current political situation settles
  • Jim should be able to get his “Weird Thing Comes to the Station” plot ready for the next session, pending dealing with upcoming schedule-based distractions

Agenda:

  • The softcover book proof should be in hand for the next meeting!
  • Lucy will run the next meeting
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Meeting Notes May 23, 2018
I wrote these on paper and then typed them!

1. The Rosette book is in progress with (perhaps) final edits. Yay!

2. One thing unsaid that is now said is the issue of pacing. We discussed how conflicts sometimes drag, especially when resources are running low. We wondered if the problem was a focus on mechanics over narration, although it was also suggested that people might use their sheet as a reminder of how to play the character.

We focused on a few action items:

  • At the end of every turn, something should change.
  • Maybe we should avoid pre-planning, especially too far in advance. Something is changing narratively every round, so you shouldn’t be able to plan even two turns in advance.
  • We are going to try thinking about whether we are in a “solo” or “collaborative” mode and use verbal cues to indicate our disposition on each turn.

3. We finished Greg’s Mars bubble plot.

4. This might be posted elsewhere, but I just found out, so. An attack by the adversary on individuals (previously a “pain” attack) will now be a normal (default) attack. The attacks formerly known as “tension” attacks are now crises or crisis attacks. (Editorial note: I like this change.) Strain is now wear.

5. We are doing Melissa’s pryxod plot next time!

6. Agenda items:

  • We are going to look out for opportunities to stand up/LARP.
  • We are going to discuss the issue of failing at conflicts.
  • We are going to revisit and check in on the pacing issue. Thoughts after last game? Moving forward?

7. Lucy runs next meeting.

Doodle.jpg

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Through the Mirror Darkly
from September 2017

Mx. Hood, Kartesh, and Burrke were gathered in their usual gathering spot at the bar when Davey approached the group to inform them that she had been asked to check into a situation with an alternate universe that the theoretical physics lab was investigating. No one had any curiosity about this phenomenon, so Davey went alone into a portal to an alternate universe created by the theoretical physics department.

After an undetermined amount of time and out of concern that Davey was out of contact, the theoretical physicists sought additional assistance from Mx. Hood, Kartesh, and Burrke. This time they agreed to investigate the situation and learned that the theoretical physicists had been researching a quantum leak for some months. Quantum power was being leeched from our universe to this other universe, and the theoretical physicists, appreciated by literally no one, found a way to travel to this other universe. Mx. Hood, Kartesh, and Burrke entered the portral to the alternate universe and soon discovered that they were able to re-establish communication with Davey. They also found that this counterpart station, in contrast to their Mea Culpa, was poorly lit with scorch marks emblazoned on many walls. They soon stumbled upon a ragtag crew of former university members and other Station personnel led by Alter-Davey, Dr. David Smith. David, gaunt and serious, shared information about the scarcity and danger faced by station residents. She also shared that this station was not called Mea Culpa but Libenter. When questioned about the quantum leak, she felt certain that Alter-Mx. Hood would know something of it and directed them to the center control room of Libenter.

As they traveled through the dark and dilapidated station, they soon sensed they were being followed. A group of beings in cloaks soon came upon them, fell to their knees, and cried, “Hood!” Though they were made to feel unwelcome, they continued to follow the group at a distance.

The circuitous path to the central control room eventually led them by an area that on their station would have been the docking ring. Here, though, they discovered that Libenter was entirely enclosed inside some sort of helometric shielding, a shielding that was requiring immense amounts of power to maintain. Upon even closer observation, they noticed that millions of tiny metallic balls were trying to pierce the shielding… Pryxods!

Sobered by this finding in an already sobering locale, they continued to central control, where they encountered a crowd of dozens of small children. These children all turned to face Mx. Hood,Burrke, and Kartesh and spoke in unison. “Why have you come here?”

Mx. Hood immediately began to scan the room, searching for their counterpart. And finally they saw them, and Alter-Mx. Hood rose dramatically from behind a panel. Alter-Mx. Hood wore a cloak and hood made entirely of metal and feigned ignorance of the quantum leak. Alter-Mx. Hood ultimately directed them to what would be Mea Culpa’s commerce area and the Coil.

After an exchange between Mx. Hood and Alter-Mx. Hood, the group continued. As they proceeded, they noticed more scorch marks that seemed fresher. They also noted the scent of burning metal.

Once in the location indicated by Alter-Mx. Hood, they found that the area had been cordoned off and signs were posted: No Humans Allowed. Naturally, they entered the location anyway, and found a Coil community led by Alter-Burrke, who wanted nothing to do with any of them, though he didn’t seem to mind Burrke very much. Here, they discovered that Alter-Burrke was building a community that he believed might be able to leave Libenter, despite the great setbacks, and he held the humans responsible for the plight of his people. After all, it was the humans that the Engines sought to annihilate. It was the humans the pryxods were out to destroy. The Coil would, once again, be casualties of human destruction. In the end, out of desire to get of rid of them but unwilling to harm Burrke, Alter-Burrke told them that Vickram was the one to talk to and directed them to the Atrium.

As they traveled to the Atrium, the scent of scorched metal became more noticeable. And then did finally find Alter-Vickram, who, in a villainous monologue, admitted to setting up the quantum splice. But she did it, she insisted, to save Libenter and all of the people on it, who would be destroyed by the Engines, who had already committed genocide on the human population of Earth. Alter-Vickram was not without back-up. A tall figure with a ball of fire balanced on their hand entered the area to aid Alter-Vickram. Kartesh quickly realized that this terrifying visage was their alter-self.

In an effort to avoid a protracted physical interaction with Alter-Kartesh and having backed Alter-Vickram into a rhetorical corner, the group ultimately decided to help Libenter. In order to end Libenter’s reliance on the quantum splice from their universe, they used their knowledge of pryxods to reprogram the millions of pryxods surrounding Libenter, sending them back onto those who had sent them: the Engines.

They reconnected with Davey,Kartesh shared a final moment with their alter-self, and the group returned to Mea Culpa, where they insisted that the theoretical physics department sever the link and encouraged them to find a new field of study. Anything, really, besides theoretical physics.

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Meeting notes, April 28, 2018
A day late, but 5 dollars long

Pre-game

OOC Logistics:

  • Lucy is out next game, probably

Story goals & plots:

  • Jim’s plot

Character intentions:

  • Lucy wants to drop a secret
  • Potential Burrke secrets: Does he have anything on the side?
  • Hood: what’s under that hood? What happens to them afterward? Why are there different Mx Hood over time? What is Mx Hood’s mandate?
  • Kartesh: Most questions were civilization based. The big secret is already a secret.

Post-game

Character development

  • Major shift in Kartesh/David tie
  • Burrke <-tie→ Psi (co-parent)
  • Psi: new secret: Why does the Alliance have Psi at Mea Culpa? (Burrke)
  • Mx. Hood: What is Mx. Hood’s mandate? (Psi)
  • Burrke: What is Burrke’s relationship with the Coil separatists? (Psi)
  • Kid Magnet: Coil/Isovern babby wants to hang out with Mx Hood

Story:

  • Next session: Greg has a one-off bubble plot.
  • Pryxzods the session after that.

Advice:

  • Melissa will use a whiteboard for pryxzods

Agenda:

  • Jim might know folks who we can run games for on their Twitch channels
  • Who runs the meeting: Brandon
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The Festival of Renewal

Ambassador Psi-Nano-32 invited Mx Hood, Lakshmi, Burrke, Kartesh and Dr. Smith to the Festival of Renewal, a celebration held every few years on Psi’s home planet Isovrys Prime. For the first time in a century and a half the Isovran government was opening the festival to participation by outsiders.

The Psi Unit with which they were familiar would not be available for much of the festival’s duration (having to go through an extensive decontamination process due to recent exposure to temporal energies), but another Unit from their Collective (Psi-Micro-128) would be on hand if assistance was needed.

They arrived at the city of Unizoa, where the celebrations would be taking place, on the evening prior to the festival. They were greeted by Psi-Micro-128 and escorted to the Interplanetary Alliance building, where a state dinner was being held. There, they met several Alliance representatives, including the heads of state of Infinitron and Ujarak. There was some quiet unrest when the dinner was joined by Duchess Melirra Taranath, niece to the Empress of the Yaroveshi Empire.

Just before dinner, the party was approached by Rosun, a Heptascidilian who had been appointed the Festival Administrator. He asked them to meet in private the next day before the start of the festival.

The meeting took place in one of a number of sound-proof portable suites built for the Ceremony of Joining. Rosun explained that a source of his had indicated that the Duchess was using the festival as a cover to meddle with the Alliance, and that she seemed to have allies within it. Not knowing who to trust, he turned to the group from Mea Culpa for help discovering what was happening.

On the first day, during the Ceremony of Harmony, Dr. Smith began investigating by questioning different individuals. She spoke with Dr. Prism of the Infinitrons and discovered that Actuator Regulus (leader of the Infinitrons) had been considering talking to Duchess Melirra, but Prism, fearing treachery on her part, persuaded the Actuator otherwise. Burrke made contact with the Duchess’ head of security, Lord Commander Ceonid Elbarith and offered potential assistance. Elbarith was persuaded, agreeing to make contact later and providing Burrke with a communication device. Kartesh took part in that day’s ceremony and interacted with other Alliance members.

Later in the day, members of the group discovered they were under surveillance by city security. They made this known to the officers in question in no uncertain terms and the surveillance globes appeared to keep their distance from that point on.

After this, Mx Hood used the secure communicator Burrke was given to break into the communication log of the Duchess’ ship. It turned out that the only non-Yaroveshi contact within the last few days was with the aide to the Ujarak President.

On the second day, during the Ceremony of Creation, Dr. Smith visited Councilor Lakuz of the Flux in the city’s Crystallarium. Lakuz was willing to admit something was going on with respect to the Alliance and the Duchess, but that it was nothing to be concerned about. Burrke took the opportunity to enter one of the booths provided for the day’s ceremony and used the technology (meant originally to analyze a DNA sample and determine if any elements could be copied over to create a new Isovran Collective) to create a new life form from his own DNA and Psi’s. The new Collective was quickly brought up to speed on the situation and determined that the entire Alliance structure could be involved in the ongoing situation. Meanwhile, Kartesh used their arcane abilities to locate an unusual container hidden beneath the city’s music hall. It appeared to be used to transport something the size of a person.

Shortly afterward, everyone received a message from Rosun stating that there was a new development and asking to meet again. When they opened the suite where the meeting was to take place, gallons of water came pouring out along with Rosun’s limp form. While Mx Hood and Burrke managed the crowd, Dr. Smith and Kartesh administered aid, allowing Rosun to breathe again. A medical team arrived and transported Rosun to the hospital. They stated later that Rosun was in a coma. Smith set up a rotation to watch him. Burrke convinced Rosun’s Eldoryn assistant, Saran (the Chief Coordinator for the Festival) to provide a copy of all of Rosun’s files.

Later, Mx Hood examined the transport container Kartesh had found and determined it was old and meant to carry, charge and program some kind of robot. They took parts from the case and used them to cobble together a device to detect the mechanical being. After a few moments, they located a figure running from rooftop to rooftop. They chased the figure until it reached the cliffs on the north side of the city and hit a place it could not scale. Lakshmi produced a weapon and shot the robot down. Mx Hood called city security. They retrieved an information chip from the robot’s head before security forces arrived. They described what had happened and that there was a potential government-level security risk. City security accepted this explanation and took the robot in for evidence.

The following day, during the Ceremony of Joining, Dr. Smith confronted the Quenduril Councilor, Tephasragoth, to find out what was happening between the Alliance Council and the Duchess. The Councilor advised there was nothing to be concerned about and suggested that if Dr. Smith was looking for trouble, she should look to whoever set her on this course of inquiry. After discussing this with the others, Burrke laid out all the information he’d gathered and tried to find a pattern. In Rosun’s files, he found meetings at key times with an Isovran Collective called LTZ-601, whom Burrke quickly discovered was also known as the Storyteller – an entertainer who’d appeared during the latter part of the state dinner the group had attended. Further research revealed that in prior centuries, the Storyteller had been a propagandist favoring isolation and had also been the last Knight Commander of the armed forces of the Isovran Protectorate (before it went through a change of government and helped form the Alliance).

Kartesh then confronted the Storyteller and demanded to know what was going on. The Storyteller revealed genuine concern that the Yaroveshi Empire might have sent the Duchess as part of a plot to destroy the Alliance. When pressed about the attack on Rosun, LTZ-601 was quick to point the finger at the Duchess’ forces, but it was clear they were lying.

Later, around dusk, the constant rain above the dome ceased for a bit and the group witnessed the Duchess’ security force heading quickly toward the western edge of the dome. There, from a distance, it appeared as though someone matching the description of the Duchess had been lying dead out in the rain. The security force quickly covered the body as a crowd started to form. The group kept the crowd calm and managed to convince them that the Duchess was simply engaging in some kind of publicity stunt, ultimately getting them to disperse as Elbarith quietly collected the body and moved his people away.

That evening, Mx Hood investigated the data chip they’d extracted from the robot earlier and discovered several details. Apparently this was an old model of Yaroveshi assassin robot and had been reprogrammed using an outdated ISD hacking tool. The robot had been instructed to sabotage the environment controls on Rosun’s suite. It seemed as though the reprogramming of the robot’s AI was done by someone familiar with but not used to technology.

On the fourth day, the Ceremony of Retirement began. A long procession led into the caves at the city’s north end and through a chamber where the remains of inactive Collectives were housed. During the ceremony, the group found Councilor Lakuz and pulled them aside. In a desperate effort to get Lakuz to reveal the truth, Dr. Smith revealed to her companions and Lakuz that the intelligence with whom she shared consciousness (as a hybrid being) was what seemed to be a copy of the Engine known as Mother. Lakuz, recognizing this and fearful of what might be about to transpire, raced forward and enveloped Smith, temporarily sending her to a different layer of reality.

Deciding it would be safer at that point to confide in the group, Lakuz guided them through the caves up to the entrance to an old observatory that sat on the cliffs, outside the dome. Then from out of the observatory came Lord Commander Elbarith.

The two of them explained to the group that the Duchess was still alive and that her double had been poisoned. The poison was Teleeenu in origin, likely coming from a faction unhappy with the fact that they had recently been drummed out of the Alliance (which in turn had probably reprogrammed the robotic assassin and had also been working with LTZ-601). The Duchess was seeking to break with the Yaroveshi Empire and join the Interplanetary Alliance and was here to negotiate in secret with the Alliance Council. The Councilor asked if Mx Hood and the others would be willing to help with the negotiation that evening. They agreed. Lakuz returned Dr. Smith once she had regained control of herself.

Over the course of the negotiation it was determined, among other things, that the Duchess would have to end the practice of indentured servitude on the planets she controlled and that her home world of Aratraxis would not be made a member of the Council without a vote of the General Assembly.

On morning of the fifth day, the Ceremony of Renewal took place. All Isovran Units on the planet retreated to their Collectives to renew and reaffirm their identities. That afternoon, Psi-Nano-32 returned, having been fully decontaminated and renewed. Before leaving the planet, they visited Psi’s home, a plateau housing a large, amber lake containing all the organisms of the Psi Collective.

NAMED NPCs ENCOUNTERED

Rosun, Festival Administrator
Melirra Taranath, Yaroveshi Duchess and Regent of Aratraxys
LTZ-601-Micro-256, Storyteller and Former Knight Commander of the Isovran Protectorate
Lakuz, Flux Councilor of the Interplanetary Alliance
Tephasragoth, Quenduril Councilor of the Interplanetary Alliance
Ceonid Elbarith, Lord Commander of Duchess Melirra’s Security Retinue
Regulus, Actuator of Infinitron
Dr. Prism, Biophysicist
Afl’Vog, Aughen Council Secretary
Orl Karby, President of Ujarak
Saran, Chief Festival Coordinator
HDG-842-Nano-64, Master Sculptor
Alpha-Nano-32, Isovran Councilor of the Interplanetary Alliance
SQY-997-Nano-32, Security Chief for the City of Unizoa
Ankli Chanon, Aide to President Karby
KAG-338, Festival Supply Coordinator
Lambda-Micro-128, Premiere of Isovrys Prime

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Meetings Notes April 14, 2018

April 14, 2018

1. We have agreed to officially add the discussion of character development and ties to the after meeting.
2. The Rosette book is still in progress; there is a new tech in progress. There will be cool fonts.
3. We are finishing Jim’s Fuck Festival ™ plot.
4. We talked about clarification of the end of meeting. The initial discussion of ties, character development, and secrets is really narrative in focus, then we move into xp, which is more out-of-character. Then purchase of skills, traits, quirks, etc. is appropriate here. Of course, you can do whatever. This is just the organizational structure.
5. Lissa introduces a headline for another plot: Earth will be enforcing invasive scans of ships moving through their borders.
6. Clarification: Mars is not ruled by the Engines. A human society is there.
7. No agenda items.
8. Lucy will run meeting. Google docs automatically made a cool reminder. This is pretty rad.

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Meeting Notes March 17, 2018

Recorder: Lucy

We are still playing with the attributes rule change today. After game we agreed to keep the cap of 7 on attributes.

Rosette Diceless is out. Yay! It looks beautiful.

Plot: Greg is finishing the time travel plot. For the rest of the session, if we have more than an hour, we’ll do a beach episode. If less than an hour, we’ll improv at the bar or whatever.

Lucy is playing a new character: Dr. David Smith.

Jim points out the turn spotlight system encourages collaboration and teamwork. Actions relate to narration, not so much player conflict.

Next session’s agenda items:
New printed version of Rosette Diceless
Maybe character sheets

Who runs next meeting? Brendan

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Meeting Notes, March 3, 2018

Opening

  • Recorder: Melissa
  • Agenda:
    • Attributes: B has concerns about balance, math, and TPKs. J suggested getting rid of attribute numbers and going to tiers. We agreed to test the new rules in this story.
  • OOC: Greg and Melissa will generate a new version of the book
  • Plot: Time travel from Greg
  • Characters: Mx Hood has a new secret

Closing

  • Next session:
    • Finish time travel
    • Maybe a tiny pryxzod plot
    • Maybe a beach ep
    • Maybe Jim’s little story
  • Next sessions agenda? None.
  • Next person running? We didn’t decide!
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Meeting notes, Feb 17, 2018

Opening:

Agenda

  • Not a new player, but maybe a new player – low key when Jim gets time/energy
  • Attribute scaling solution – unsolved as of yet
  • Alien page transformation – Gregorz will do it

OOC logistics & things unsaid

  • March 3 – Lucy is out
  • Majesty of Colors: Feb 28

Story goals and plots for the session

  • Acts 2 – 4 of Lucy’s magnificent story

Closing:

What story do we want to pursue more and where do we want to take this session’s story?

  • This session’s story is dun!
  • Lucy will tell us when the sun explodes.
  • Greg: less nascent time travel plot
  • Melissa: see where we are in wmds
  • Jim: nascent plot

Next session’s agenda items

  • Attributes

Determine who runs the meeting

Brendan

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