To set up, it's necessary to generate seeds. I wanted a shorter game, so I chose six. I use Rory's Story Cubes for my idea generator.
Given the character generation, which produced a conflict with Wianar, I went ahead and put his name in the Who position of the plot. This also facilitated my shorter game. And with only six starting seeds, it won't feel like such a panic to obtain three more answers. It was also fine to begin already with some danger (one step up on the DL), and close to the next phase of action.
Here's the first play sheet:
Starting with one of the Big Questions still left the phase in the Something Amiss phase, which targets the PC’s goals rather than the PC herself. I choose the hamster wheel for my scene’s obstacle. I knew Aleena would start by seeking out the last priest of Mystra there to protect and question him. I interpreted this event as a distraction (having Aleena “running in circles”). By the time she dealt with that, her target was already captured by someone. Taking the bait is very much in line with the idea of an intersection — an interpretation that has the potential to push the narrative in a new trajectory.
The action pushed on from naturally from there. But since the heroine was clocked on the head, it denied her being able to pose a Story Probe. I interpreted this as a setback for her, which raised the Danger Level. Although I didn’t have a second BQ yet, I felt justified to moving into the Rears Its Ugly Head phase. There was a good chance that whoever took Iankul would also be interested in Aleena as well.
Onward with scene two:
In this scene, Aleena finds herself a captive. I chose the scary skull (that Fright set of Rory’s Story Cubes is the bee’s knees!). I decided to interpret this as the cult’s scary leader and his countenance granted by his freaky mask. I also mixed up the order of things, so asked the Story Probe first, before jumping to the intersection event.
I came up with a bog-standard goal for the baddies, and got a “Yes” due to adding when to the die throw. Then, having my answer, I knew they were going to sacrifice the two Mystran priests for their nefarious death god.
A daring escape ensued, and I had some fun.
As an aside, FU is wonderful for those times when one really wants to delve more into story, because it really gets out of the way by the virtue of being able to resolve any big action in a single throw of the dice. Perilous Intersections is a bit demanding on the brain, and focusing more on its twists and turns it’s pushing than the system I’m using is helpful. Having said that, any rpg system that allows for twists and turns, like FU or Fate, adds to the experience.
Now I had a new BQ answered, but by implication, it also changed the Who. The subject of the plot was not confirmed by my probe, so is marked “u” for unconfirmed, and is subject to amendment during the Big Boss Fight. With one BQ answered (What) and one amended through guessing and clarification (Who), this balanced the DL, meaning no change for the next scene.
On to scene three:
This scene proved t be all too brief. I chose the tiger for my seed. Interpreting it gave a head scratcher, so I went with my immediate reaction. I knew Aleena wanted to take Iankul out of town for safekeeping and some questioning. However, I felt as though the intersection event had to come first here.
Yep, a rakshasa!
What did he want? First I had to see if Aleena could resist his powers. Nope. She was magically compelled to perform a task for him. The probe is as seen on the sheet. What could it be? I searched the events from before and decided it was that scary mask the leader of the death cult wore (that would eventually be my adventure’s namesake). What did it do and what was its significance? I had to play to find out...
For now, that was enough to deduce that the cult was going to use the mask in some sort of rite to achieve their ends. But why? That remained to be seen. However, it was enough to raise the DL to its highest level. Things were getting difficult for poor Aleena! Also, not being able to act autonomously from her role as stooge for Relajii the rakshasa made life much more difficult.
In my next post, we examine scenes four and five, and things get turned completely upside down...