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Scene six, seven, eight and nine have been posted, but I couldn’t allow scene seven to stand without further comment.

I was completely at a loss going into the scene in Courqan’s office. For the first time in this process, I knew exactly where the next scene was going to take place and what was going to happen in it, so I didn’t exactly need Mythic for anything. And yet, I wanted to involve it somehow, so I started asking questions and along the way it got a little complicated. Although this is one of the reasons that there’s no exposition about the scene inside of Courqan’s office, hopefully the explanation below will give some insight into the greater plot and also how I’m using Mythic.

First, I checked for an altered scene and received a negative response. Then I asked if Courqan was going to punish the boys and Mythic responded in the positive and tossed a random event at me.

The random event was NPC Action (Attainment & Pleasures). To me this meant that Courqan would force the two boys to go on an unpaid job, but I needed more information, which meant more questions. Next I asked if the pleasures Courqan was seeking were illegal. Mythic said yes. Then I asked if the illegal pleasures were drugs. Mythic said strongly no but popped up another random event.

The second random event (which I took to be just more color on the existing scene) was NPC Action (Create & Friendship). Because of the previously established details, I took this to mean that Courqan was looking for a prostitute, but to make sure it was illegal and also unsavory, I decided that the prostitute should be a very young child.

This I felt would be completely unacceptable to Sen and I asked if he would quit on the spot as soon as Courqan explained himself. Mythic said yes. I also wondered if Goran would follow suit since I was hoping that he’d have some sort of moral compass. Mythic said no.

So now I had Sen quitting and storming off and Goran staying in the office. I had just a few things that I needed to know. I asked if Courqan would seek vengeance on Sen immediately. Mythic said yes. Then I asked if Courqan would exact his vengeance using Goran. And, of course, Mythic said yes.

This is where we joined the story. With Goran being manipulated into chasing after Sen with no clear orders. I suppose I could have explored the scene inside the office, but on some level I think I like the abruptness of the scene transition. I’m also a little unsure about exactly how evil and cruel I want to paint Courqan in the narrative at this time. There’s no doubt about who and what he is after this behind the scenes look. Rest assured that if I was actually going through this playtest with other players, we would have roleplayed the scene in full, but here I think wasn’t really as necessary.

Scenes four and five are now up in the actual play section.

A quick note on the interaction between Sen and Cyese in scene four:
Going into the scene, I had intended to have a much more meaningful interaction between Sen, Hoda and Cyese, but in keeping with the goals of the project, I left a lot of the decision making about the conversation to Mythic. So, realizing that Sen was surprised by Cyese’s presence and that he was already stressed about the way the night had gone, I asked if Sen would lie to Cyese and Hoda. And, Mythic gave me an exceptional success.

Now, Sen is a decent liar, but not a great one and yet he managed to pull off a bluff check (15 vs. 14 & 12). This is where Cyese decides to cut his losses and just ends the conversation. I think clearly Cyese suspects that Sen is hiding something although he doesn’t realize the extent. Hoda knows that Sen is hiding something, since he and Sen have spoken about trancing before. I don’t think it’s a question that Hoda will fill Cyese in completely (if he hasn’t done so already).

What I think this does is set Sen up for a bit of a surprise if and when he arrives at Salmera University and Cyese already has a good idea about his capabilities. Although, with Mythic, nothing is set in stone, the story could take a wild turn between now and then.

Details about the player characters and non-players characters have now been posted and scenes one through three are now up in the actual play section.

You may have noticed that the non-player character page of the Actual Play section doesn’t include any stats while the player character section does. This is completely intentional. I don’t want the reader to have any insight into the relative power-level or skill-set of particular NPCs, I want the reader to be as surprised as the main characters are when they discover things about the NPCs. That’s not to say that I won’t be posting stats in the Behind the Screen segments, because I most certainly will. I’ll likely be posting full stats, or interesting snippets as the story goes on and as NPCs pass out of the story. Just as I intend to keep die roll information out of the actual play narrative, I want to keep the NPC list (which might get quite long) free of non-story information.

A quick note on format:
I’m writing the actual play narrative in a bit of a mishmash of styles. You’ll notice that I tend to leave a lot of detail out, but sometimes I’ll increase the granularity of the scene and break out actual dialog. There’s a few reasons for this. Chief among them is the fact that I’m both the GM and the player which means that for the most part, the details can remain unspoken because they’re in my head. But it’s also because I’m going to focus in the direction that moves the narrative along. If the event focus that comes out of the emulator and the character action point in the direction of detailed dialog, that’s what I’ll be writing.

About weapons:
In the Great City, there are very restrictive laws about armaments. For the common man in the city, there are only two things to be concerned about: no man can carry a blade longer than his hand-span (thumb tip to pinkie tip when the hand is splayed) and no man may carry a cudgel longer than the length of his forearm (elbow to the tip of his middle finger). The glaring exceptions to this are officers of the law (who carry long rattan canes (and occasionally crossbows) and nobility (who are allowed to wear swords). In practice, however, these laws are flaunted all the time. And, I’m not just talking about Sair Courqan’s penchant for wearing a small sword. Rather, most well-to-do citizens who care about personal safety have taken to carrying metal tipped canes (some of which conceal swords), and almost everyone else carries an over length swagger stick if they’re expecting trouble. In addition, enterprising members of the criminal element have realized that not only do hatchets and hand axes don’t violate either part of the law, but many common tools make effective weapons while not attracting any attention.

I’ve decided to couple my solo Mythic campaign set in the Great City with a series of “behind the screen” posts. There are a few reasons for this. First, I wanted to give a clear view into how Mythic works without actually inserting metagame information into the narrative of my actual play report. Second, I want to provide regular insight into the larger world behind the game, again, without breaking the flow of the narrative. Finally, I realized pretty early in my experiments with Mythic that exploring my interactions with the system might illuminate something about my game mastering style, and I wanted to follow that train of thought.

It may end up that writing a series of Behind the Screen posts in addition to my actual play narrative is just too much work for me to bite off, but I’m interested to see where it all leads.

When I was throwing characters together at the start of my actual play experiment, I came across two problems with Fluidity Project.

The biggest problem was that none of the characters I created had enough skill ranks to go around. To solve this problem, I proposed that every time a player spends CP on skill ranks, instead of getting one skill rank for 3 CP during character advancement, they receive a number of ranks equal to their Intelligence bonus. Although high level characters will have more skill ranks and thus higher skill bonuses than their d20 counterparts, I think that after a certain point a high-int character will  just stop buying ranks and focus on Skill Level instead. I’ve found, so far, that the characters built using this change sink a more appropriate amount of CP into skills which allows them to be far more well-rounded.

The second problem is something fundamental to making a point-buy version of the d20 system. In short, the system is geared too much towards combat and there are far too many fiddly pieces that are essential for survivability. Although I though that the biggest hurdle with FP would be min-maxing playing buying too much BAB and gaining access to powerful feats at game-breakingly early points in character development, the opposite is appearing true. I feel that there is a serious risk that players will neglect vital areas of their character like hit dice and saving throws in order to gain more utility and ‘coolness’ through feats and skills. More playtesting will reveal the truth, but I think that characters with crippling weaknesses have the potential to make the game un-fun.

As much as it pains me to move away from point-buy, to solve this problem, I proposed a level-based system that retains the core ideal of Fluidity Project. At character creation, players choose their character’s level load-out. CP are earned as described in the Fluidity Project rules and every 20 CP characters gain a new level. Each level characters gain increase statistics just like normal d20.

Starting characters have a baseline of: d4 hit dice, 1/2 base attack, 1/2 base defense, all poor saves, 4 skill levels and 2+int skill points. Characters have a total of 8 upgrades to raise their level-based statistics. Upgrades are cumulative, so d4 HD to d12 HD costs 4 upgrades. The upgrade cost for each statistic is listed in parentheses below:

Hit dice (full hit points at first level): d6 (1), d8 (2), d10 (3), d12 (4)

Base attack: 3/4 (1), full (2)

Base defense: 3/4 (1), full (2)

Fortitude save: good (1)

Reflex save: good (1)

Will save: good (1)

Skill points: 4+int (1), 6+int (2), 8+int (3)

Characters get 2 feats at first level and another feat every level.
Characters have one class and one class only, no multi-classing necessary. However, each level, characters get to swap one upgrade. So, a character with full base attack and d6 hit dice could drop the base attack to 3/4 for a level and pick up d8 hit points for a level. The following level, the character could keep the 3/4 and d8, change them back or change something else. If a character doesn’t opt to swap an upgrade, they can’t save the opportunity: either they use the swap or they don’t. Characters can only swap one upgrade per level.

I really like the way core FP handles skills, to port that over use the following: Skill level becomes equal to character level plus 3 (4 at 1st level, 23 at 20th). Characters start with skills ranks equal to Intelligence bonus and increase as so: 2+int (1), 4+int (2), 6+int (3). I think very quickly characters will max out their desired skills, so some combination of skill tricks from Complete Scoundrel (each trick costs one skill rank) and high DC/penalty skill challenges (from Iron Heroes) should be used to provide an outlet for excess skill ranks.

I haven’t been in a good headspace for design lately, and since I haven’t been able to do any playtesting, I’ve had to seek alternate means to explore Fluidity and other projects. What I’ve come up with is a solo campaign using Fluidity Project as a base for character creation, normal d20 conflict resolution and Mythic GM Emulator to handle the campaign setup and play.

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