F . L . A . S . H . T . R . A . I . N . S|
Bending Reality, Twisting Minds
near future cyberpunkish science fantasy gothic horror
freeform interactive drama live action roleplaying scenario
Brian David Phillips, Ph.D, C.H.
27 November 2010, 6:30pm
27 Nov. 2023
Today's USA Today had an interesting tidbit. The FlashTrain vapors have struck again. That's the fifth fatality this week and still no one knows what's causing it. The victims, a group of archeologists on some sort of high priority dig near New Knossos at Martian Prime in the American Sector, were the same as all the others . . . bodies dehydrated and drained of all saline . . . faces frozen in either terrified or beatific expressions. This time there was one difference, a young woman, punk miner or something like that from the looks of the photo, survived . . . of course, she's totally bonkers so she can't tell anyone anything . . . probably just another whackhead, the government really ought to do something about the drug trade in the colonies. Some ecohumanist groups are calling for the immediate closure of all FlashTrain sites until the vapors are further understood . . . of course, no one seriously entertains their flaky little naysays . . . the FlashTrains have to run or everything falls apart. After all, a few deaths is better than a planet dying. Of course it does make you wonder . . . what's an archeologist doing on Mars in the first place?
This "performance" of the Taiwan Interactive Theatre Society will be 27 November 2010, beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the Phillips residence (email or call for details if you don't know the location - make sure you have your role cast early so you can prepare your character, costumes, and any props needed). This is a dinner party event . . . potluck, please coordinate food and drinks with Lorraine Phillips.
NEW PLAYERS WELCOME!
The Taiwan Interactive Theatre Society, the premiere scenario-based theatre-style live action role playing costume game troupe in Taiwan, has been on hiatus for a number of years . . . this is our reboot season so new members are very very welcome! It has been awhile so we're ready, willing, and eager to have some fun!
If you are unfamiliar with interactive dramas, they are a hybrid between scenario-based improvisational theatre and live action cosplay role playing game. See the archives at http://www.interactivedramas.info for a lot of background and information.
The scenario for our playing pleasure will be FlashTrains, an original near future cyberpunkish science fantasy gothic horror interactive drama freeform live action roleplaying scenario written by Brian David Phillips especially for this event. If you're not sure what "near future cyberpunkish science fantasy gothic horror" means, don't worry about it, that's just a way of showing that this is a multi-genre scenario that doesn't fit into one story type . . . suffice it to say that this is really just a simple scenario similar in nature to the scenarios we're already familiar with. While it's set thirteen years into the future (for fun), it certainly won't be beyond the abilities of any of our players.
Near Future Cyberpunkish Science Fantasy Gothic Horror
Theatre-Style Interactive Drama Live Role Action Roleplaying Game
|Genre:||Near Future Cyberpunkish Science Fantasy Gothic Horror|
|Catharsis:||Anything is possible|
|Mature or Adult Concepts:||Some.|
|Religious Concepts:||Possibly, not focus.|
|Fun:||Lots and lots and lots|
|Director:||Brian David Phillips|
|Venue:||Phillips residence (not far from Shijr Train Station in Taipei)|
|Date:||Saturday, 27 November 2010, 6:30pm|
|Note:||This is a special Pot-Luck Dinner Party Roleplaying Inteactive Theatre Mystery Event - please coordinate food and drinks with Lorraine Phillips.|
Once Brian has definite casting information on who will be playing, he will put the publicly available character lists and scenario descriptions on the web page. As usual, this theatre-style live roleplaying event will be held in the Phillips residence (email or call for details if you're not sure of the venue).
If you want a specific character (or character type -- such as "burned out telemedia journalist" or "rough and drunken reporter" or "easy bisexual babe swimsuit model" or "cthulhuesque cultist brain-eating tentacle-growing choirboy" or "bookish prostitute" or "drug-pushing street punk" or "Gun-Toting Computer-Hacking Kung-Fu-Kicking High Priestess of Minos Temple Agent" or "Mr. Johnson" or "Federal Investigator Attatched to a Shadowy Government Agency" or "transient flower child" or "dabbling occultist" or "alien sex slave" or whatever -- feel free to be as bizarre or as mundane as you like, it's your character) or if you have a really kool cyberpunkish or outlandish costume you have been looking for an excuse to wear, then you'd best speak up quickly. Of course, you don't have to suggest a character type for yourself as Brian has a pretty good idea of what the plot needs so he can select one for you. If the slots fill and you still want to play, we can accommodate additional last minute characters (gigolos, enforcers, data runners, train cops, brothel slaves, and the like) who can play and fill in atmosphere but whose characters will probably not be very well developed or deeply involved in the major plots nor are they likely to be all that well written either -- Brian is happy to whip up additional characters for players as long as he has time to do so). Caveat: We need a minimum of six core characters for the event to proceed (fewer than that just isn't worth the trouble of trying to keep things interesting and busy -- Brian's not up to that kind of hassle).
Players will receive general character type and descriptions within a week of reserving a slot in the cast so that they can begin working on costume or props (feel free to be as simple or as complex as you like, but we do ask that participants at least give it a proper go . . . there will be a Best Costume award in addition to the Best Roleplayer award.
Complete personal character descriptions will be emailed at least a week and a half prior to play.
If you wish to join us, you need to let Brian know A.S.A.P. to reserve a character (actually, he needs to write the thing so you'd best let him know earlier rather than later to get a "good" character -- that is well-written rather than thrown together at the last minute albeit a few rare characters will actually be morally upstanding individuals).
If you're going to play and you want a character, please let Brian know ASAP! Regular cast and newcomers, it would be very helpful if you could let the Director know whether you wish to play before November 17, even earlier is much much appreciated (an immediate conditional reply now would also be appreciated so HIT THAT MAILTO LINK NOW! - especially if you wish to have a character with more motivation, goals, character, and meatier things to do).
The year is 2023
and the government's been using FlashTrains to run folks to and from the mining colonies on the Moon and Mars for almost ten years now. Development really picked up eight years ago when they discovered huge deposits of coal and oil beneath the ice on Mars. The question of why and how it developed didn't matter to anyone as much as the economic boom the discovery has fueled.
FlashTrains are a bit of a strange fluke in technology. Back in the early nineties, some flake of a physics student was fooling around with a quantum accelerator and managed to accidentally prove that Schrödinger and his buddies were not only right but that artificial wormholes could be created between dimensions that could then be used for cost effective and fast travel . . . it's a lot like bending the ends of a string so that the two ends touch and the traveler simply steps from one end to another rather than walking along the entire length of the string. To control the process, one needs to have transmission and receiving transport stations at both the source and destination (or you can blow up an entire city -- which is why New Los Angeles now has a rather grim memorial stadium built over the rubble of what was once the UCLA Physics Labs. Of course, the acceleration and deceleration processes still take a while but that is really next to nothing when you compare a six hour FlashTrain trip to what the journey would take by conventional space travel.
Part of the premise of the scenario is a Murder Mystery Whodunit in which players take on the roles of suspects in a murder (this is not all there is to it as there are also several subplots that you'll be involved in as each character will have his or her own personal goals to accomplish during the scenario run). You will be given character briefings that have information about yourself and others. In the course of the
game, you will ask questions of others and be asked questions. Unlike other games of this type, while the "Murderer" may lie, all others DO NOT HAVE TO TELL THE TRUTH either. Yes, it's just like real life in that anyone you speak with could be lying (albeit they will be doing it in character).
During an investigation, a detective must answer three questions in
order to catch a murderer:
- MOTIVE - Who had a reason to kill the victim? Does any particular person benefit - for example, financially or romantically - from the victim's death?
- MEANS - Who had access to the murder weapon? Does any particular person have the unique knowledge, skill, or physical ability necessary to use the murder weapon?
- OPPORTUNITY - Who had a chance to kill the victim? Is any particular person unaccounted for (has no alibi) during the time the victim was killed?
Your challenge is to use these three elements to form a hypothesis about
the murder, which will result in an accusation. Keep these questions in
mind as you pursue your investigation. Good Luck!
In general, costumes should be fairly simple since this is a "near future" piece so contemporary clothing can easily be adapted to our needs . . . be playful and have fun with your character type and costume.
Obviously, you can feel free to adapt your costume as you see fit in
terms of items you can get readily as long as it captures the mood of
the character. Although this is a science fiction piece most folks shouldn't
have too much of a problem finding something to capture the essence of
the character (it is a near future setting, so stylized contemporary clothing will be fine). Personally, Brian is a big fan of the Minoan style dress as well but then that tidbit is rather a no-brainer.
Those who might feel weird walking the streets of Taipei in their
costumes should feel welcome to bring their outfits in unmarked brown
paper bags and change at the venue prior to the start of game play.
Folks, let me make a couple things clear real quick . . .
You don't have to know what "cyberpunk" or "gothic horror" are to understand or enjoy the game. Since I plan on taking elements from various genres to build the plots, knowing too much about the source genres or having too many expectations will probably spoil it for you . . . having few expectations and a genuine willingness to have fun is really all you need to have a great time with this.
On another note, while some of the "example character types" may seem to be "adult" in nature (prostitutes and the like), this is NOT an "adult" game. While it may address some mature themes in the character backgrounds, that will all be character past, not present or active. The scenario would best be characterized as a "PG" game (not simplistic or innocent enough in backstory to be a "G" piece, but certainly not enough to be classified as "R" . . . we're not quite ready to break that window . . . yet). I don't want anyone to get the wrong impression.
Here's an update on the FLASHTRAINS scenario so far. Things are shaping up very nicely with what looks like enough players to allow for plenty of nice little subplots and twists to give everyone plenty to do. While you do still have time to join, here are some character types submitted the first time I ran the protoscenario upon which the current FlashTrains interactive drama scenario is based upon (ages are for "characters" not "players" - character numbers are just references for design considerations - contact me soon to reserve a character role - please understand, I will try to accommodate players as much as possible but roles assignments are more of a first-come-first-served affair - in some cases, character age and-or gender may be adjusted to accommodate player assignments):
- Mr. "Johnson", M, 45, Assistant Vice President of Internal Security Affairs, Mars Mining Company.
- Felicia Farnsworth, F, 36, Archeologist.
- Philip L.C. Howard, M, 40, Author.
- Viper, F, 30, Mr. Johnson's Bodyguard.
- Morgana Seer, F, 35, Information Specialist. This role is reserved for Lorraine Phillips.
- Laura Ai, F, 25, Private Investigator.
- Suzy Toyota, F, 20, Data Retrieval Courier.
- Violent Violet, F, 19, Professional Personal Escort-Entertainment.
- Ripper, M, 30, Convict in Transit.
- Beta 7693, F, N.A. (appears 30), Police Cyborg Unit transporting prisoners.
- Fyre, F, 27, Corporate Negotiator.
- Eyece, M, 29, Corporate Enforcer.
- Moonbeam Jones, M, 33, Mars Mining Engineering Crewman.
- Theodore Thistle, M.D., M, 50, Mars Colony Coroner and Infectious Diseases Office. This role is reserved for Michael Cheng.
That's it for now. I will keep you posted as things develop. If there's something you would like for your character, feel free to let me know (not all of these folks are what they seem to be . . . in fact, a few of them will be downright different or perhaps even alien). Some of you have already contacted me about your characters and I've tried to incorporate your suggestions and desires into the characters and plots as they develop (more will come later, this is just the teaser).
If you're not on this list of players/characters and you would still like to join the game, please email the Director (that's me, Brian David Phillips) at firstname.lastname@example.org (the sooner, the better so I can write the character into the plots). Feel free to consult the troupe web page at http://www.interactivedramas.info/taiwan.htm for more information and future updates.
If you have not contacted the Director by emailing email@example.com with a request for a character assignment, then please do so now! Players under the age of eighteen need to have parental permission to play and should contact Lorraine with contact particulars (she needs to confirm with your parent or guardian - no bid deal, but we do need to cross our t's and dot our i's with underage players; minimum age for membership in the troupe is sixteen - like many troupes of this type, actual player age range is very very wide from high school students to university students to career professionals and beyond . . . we are all brought together through our common enjoyment of the activity).
If you have not yet joined the troupe's Facebook troupe at http://tinyurl.com/tindrama do it now. Also, be sure to mark yourself as Attending on the scenario event page at http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=138613636159738 although that alone is not enough, you need to contact the Director as soon as possible for a character assignment.
More information to come as we have a better idea of who will be playing and as Brian makes it up.
Until then, see you on the flashtrains . . .
Taiwan Interactive Theatre Society