Cypher Chronicles, vol. 3-2019

Death, love, and a hope-filled future. Where do these fit in our own lives, and in the stories we tell through gaming? Let’s begin with a duel, to the death.

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Yesterday in the Actuality, Nolette was prepared to die.

A secret, vislae: you can summon (preorder) the Black Cube right now in our store.

Nolette, an Established Compassionate (Empath) Goetic who Breathes Runes, is my character in the internal MCG narrative of Invisible Sun. She is the bright, hopeful sun to the cool moon of The Cicatrix, my character from The Raven Wants What You Have. Yet, even Nolette can be moved by the frustration of a bad day. And so she found herself preparing for a duel to the death with Sandrine, a pistol-wielding, feisty young Vance.

Yesterday in Shadow, beloved poet Mary Oliver passed away, leaving a good portion of the MCG team heartbroken. Shanna introduced me to Mary Oliver only a few months ago. You can read Shanna’s own words about the impact of Mary Oliver on her career as a poet in her recent Patreon post.

I’ve been thinking about this final line from Mary Oliver’s beautiful poem, “When Death Comes.”

“I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.”

Our time is so very limited, here in Shadow. What goals, people, hobbies, and stories do we want to entwine ourselves with, given the precious nature of that time?

Starting tonight, catch Callisto 6 Season 2 streaming Fridays at 4 p.m. Pacific on Twitch and Project Alpha.

Many RPG narratives begin in darkness and end with a glimmer of hope, Gina and Amy from the Callisto 6 cast told me. Where are the stories that grow a shard of hope into a better, bright future? I effusively gushed that Numenera Destiny is a realization of that idea, for me. It’s a corebook that gives you tools to answer the question: “So you’ve found wondrous artifacts of the past; how will you use those discoveries to build a better future?”

I’m asking myself which themes I would bring into Season 2 of A Woman With Hollow Eyes (on Kickstarter now), the One Shot Network’s streamed Invisible Sun narrative that I guest GM. Invisible Sun is a game where character death is a very real possibility, but it isn’t the end. NPC write-ups in the Black Cube discuss their struggles with depression. Character arcs suggest stories dealing with love, grief, parenthood, starting businesses. What balance do I want to strike between the exciting danger of classic RPG stories, and the more tender real-world elements of broader human storytelling?

Nolette readied her pistol, her summoned ghost guardian, donned her magical armor, and breathed an assistive magical rune. The “second” of each dueler met to discuss terms. Upon the return of her apostate friend Dalarys (played by Bear), the terms of the duel had changed. Nolette walked away from the duel with her life, and a romantic date.

Even at the precipice of darkness, hope and light can spring, but it remains up to the characters (and players) to choose those paths. I think that is the balance I want to strive for.

  • There’s still plenty of time to join New Gamemaster Month and learn to GM Numenera, RuneQuest, Unknown Armies, or Trail of Cthulhu! Experienced and budding GMs, join the conversation with #NewGmMonth and on the Facebook group.
  • Sean recommends, “If you have a gamer friend who is visually impaired, engineer Ingo Dellwig made a 3D-printable braille d20 you should check out!”

  • What’s the Loudest Sound in the Universe? Monte says, “The thing I love about this article is not just that all these people gave completely different answers, but that every answer is so very cool and interesting.”
Darcy Ross
Darcy Ross

Darcy L. Ross, Community Relations Coordinator for Monte Cook Games, is a storyteller, scientist, and community organizer. Across media, she aims to highlight people doing good things in the gaming community and to bring new people into gaming. She co-hosts the podcast Cypher Speak, has blogged for the award-winning Gnome Stew, and has worked to support marginalized voices in gaming with ConTessa. Darcy lives in a small but powerful aldeia of tabletop creatives in Hyde Park, Chicago.