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I'll put something more exciting here later.

In the meantime, have a beverage and relax. It could be awhile.

What beverage would I suggest?

  • A nice sangria.
  • An old fashioned.
  • A Long Island Iced Tea.

Lacuna RPG GM Notes: Character Generation (Clearance Review and Orientation)

This a GM ONLY Post! If you'd like to play Lacuna Part 1: The Creation of the Mystery and the Girl from Blue City, please do not read. 

While the Missions themselves are made up of briefings and notes, I wanted a script for character generation (I held a clipboard). Starting immediately as an obnoxious, condescending agent whose communication dripped with artificial sugar both set the tone and encouraged the players to feel as though the game had already begun. And in fact, it had. 

*Portions taken directly/adapted from the RPG book itself, as well as the first post in a 2012 Penny Arcade Forum PBP thread. I loved Alfred R.’s intro and decided not to reinvent the wheel. (http://forums.penny-arcade.com/discussion/166046/lacuna-part-1-im-sorry-communication-has-been-interrupted-please-hold).*

Clearance Review & Orientation: Blue Level

[Sickly Sweet Condescending Tone] Please remove everything from the table. Yes, everything does mean everything. You may use only what is provided by Control. (Distribute CharGen folder, #2 pencil, 2 d6 and 2 d10 to each Agent)

I'll be processing all clearance upgrades for you today. Let's get you cleared for Blue-level, shall we?

We’ll start with a refresher course. The Company consists of two branches presided over by the Directorate answerable to Control. Those two branches are Special Company Services and Mystery Agents. SCS is made up of Agent Training -- which you're familiar with-- Mnemonic Engineering -- they cover agent monitoring, as well as the technical and organizational aspects of the dives -- and Mythography -- they analyze and document our work. 

Mystery Agents are an elite force viewed with admiration and respect by everyone in The Company. As Agents, you’ve give up all memories of your past, including your name. You’ve completed a rigorous training program -- the Baxter Bible is quite innovative-- and done well at Green Level. A few questions and a little paperwork and you’ll be Blue Level Mystery Agents in no time. Okay? Okay.

You may all answer the following questions as a group. No need for individual responses. (I did have players who chose to answer "incorrectly". I responded in character by raising my eyebrows, pursing my lips like I'd eaten something sour, and jotting "notes" on this sheet. At the end I emphasized the "Wonderful" and made it clear their actual responses meant little.)
Do you have any reservations or misgivings about the Dive and its use of drugs/code-triggers to induce REM sleep in order to project your personality into the collective unconscious topography codename: Blue City?
Are you prepared to risk non-corporeal life and limb in pursuit of the subconscious projections of sociopaths, mass murderers, terrorists, serial killers, and worse?
Do you consider yourself possessing of enough restraint and skill to tag -- not kill -- these Hostile Personalities for treatment of their criminal disease?
Are you prepared to risk your own well-being interacting with Personalities and Blue City, potentially blurring the lines between what is and isn't real?
Do you trust The Company and Control with your life, knowing that on the other side you may experience certain...difficulties...processing friend from foe and that you will have to believe we have only your very best interests at heart?
Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?

Wonderful. “The criminal mind is a disease. One with a permanent cure.”  Your work will help provide “a better, safer world.”

Let’s move on to the paperwork. Please open your folder and remove the Agent Personnel Record. You will be granted Blue Level clearance upon completion of this process.

-Agent Personnel Record, Attributes, Talents, Dice Roll Mechanic, Heart Rate, Mentors, Techniques, Age, Gender.

You’ve achieved Blue Level Clearance. The only change in the required uniform of identical black suits, black shoes, and black hat is the color of your necktie. Your green ties will be replaced with blue ones you’ll find in the briefing room, along with your Lacuna Devices. Remember these are personalized and may only be operated by the agent to which it is assigned. As you know, the device looks much like an oversized lapel pin (round with a large question mark in the middle). You will, in fact, pin it to your lapel until such time as it is needed. When you find the Hostile Personality, you will pin it to them and then turn it clockwise. It takes three seconds to activate. The HP will then be dispatched to the Lacuna, the team will eject, and the subject will be awoken from The Slab cured and ready for a “better, safer world”.

Some of you look as though you’re hearing this for the first time. Memory lapses are frequent with lower level Agents. Do not be concerned. Control will fill in the gaps as needed. 

The Slab is a rather crude term for the padded tables where the doctors induce the REM sleep needed to insert subjects and agents into The Blue City. Monitors work with each team and are available for information and equipment. They keep an eye on the team during missions: charting your locations and keeping you apprised of situations as they arise. Some use the term “Slab Jocks” when in the office, but when on Mission you will refer to them only as “Control”. They report directly to actual Control, but for organizational and security reasons, Control must always be used when in the field.

They will contact you by telephone while you are in the Blue City. If a telephone rings nearby, pick up. If you wish to speak to Control, you can send a mental “ping” of sorts that they can pick up while monitoring. This is an easy way to request equipment. If you need to speak with Control you can find a telephone or send a ping and wait for one to ring nearby.

As Green Level Agents you’ve participated in general research and fact finding dives in conjunction with The Nasrudin Institute. But you’re about to make your first dive into the Blue City to locate and dispatch these Hostile Personalities. Remember, Deep Blue Level is for Senior and Special Agents only, although Blue level Agents have been know to receive temporary clearance in certain situations. If you wander into a Deep Blue zone, do not panic. Contact Control for further instructions. Do not under any circumstances enter Black Level Zones. White Level is reserved for members of Control. There is no Wine Level Clearance. Please disregard.

Your briefing will begin momentarily. Please enter the room across the hall, exchange neckties, and collect your Lacuna Devices. They will be labeled. (She exits the room. Agents head to the room across the hall, stopping in the bathroom if needed. Bio break opp.)