Author Topic: Playing with the maelstrom  (Read 1862 times)


  • User
  • Posts: 92
    • View Profile
Playing with the maelstrom
« on: July 27, 2010, 05:41:38 PM »
Our first two sessions of In The Wake have been relatively low key in terms of plot advancement; I am still in the process of revealing all the places the PCs are not in control and building PC-NPC-PC triangles.  It may be that I am not pushing enough.

In any case one of the things I am really enjoying about the game so far is AW's psychic maelstrom in play.  There is already good textual guidance on things the MC can do when characters open their brains to the maelstrom but maybe we can collect additional instances from play in this thread.

One thing you can do is use the player's response to the question you ask them to frame your response for the reason they're tapping into the maelstrom to begin with.

An example from our last session:

The brainer Jackson is being tailed by Torn, a workspace assistant to the group's savvyhead.  Jackson ducks into an abandoned storage facility on the docks and opens his brain to the maelstrom.  He wants to know about why Torn is tailing him, what harm he intends.  Jackson hits with a 10.

I ask Jackson, "What's the worst thing that's ever happened to you when you opened your brain to the maelstrom?"  Brendan thinks for a few seconds and describes a time when Jackson was relatively young and some dock roughnecks held his head underwater and he opened his brain, how trapped and helpless he felt, etc.

I interpret Brendan's query more more broadly as wanting to know more about the whole conspiracy behind Torn's following him.  His roll gives me the opportunity to convey it.  I describe how Torn feels trapped as he follows Jackson, that he has a similar feeling of being held, of being violated against his will.  (He is an unwilling agent being directed by another NPC)

Part of the reason Torn is following Jackson is connected with two men from a rival hardhold being held prisoner in the nearby tower of Sagrada.  I hadn't thought previously to the specifics of where they were being held, but now I know; they're being held in a cell under the surface of The Wake, the "Under" regions of Sagrada.  Through the maelstrom Jackson can see them now.  They too feel trapped and helpless.  Their cell window looks out into black waters.  He can feel their fear.  They are close.

So basically immediate reincorporation if the player's response to your questions seems fruitful and relevant.


  • User
  • Posts: 335
    • View Profile
Re: Playing with the maelstrom
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2010, 07:12:30 PM »
Rock on. That's part of what I love about ApW, the mutual reinforcement of MC generated fiction and PC generated fiction.