And The Rockets Red Glare – Reflections

Welcome to Reflections! This is a blog segment in which I hope to explore some of my thoughts on stories I’ve shared in the past. This may include musings on the creative process, fun anecdotes from live sessions or downtime, mistakes I hope to never repeat or anything else I think is worth saying about a scenario. These segments may not be suitable to read if you are a Kult: Divinity Lost player who does not have insight into the game’s mythos.

This post concerns my playthrough of And The Rockets Red Glare. You can read the recap of that here.

When the PDF of And The Rockets Red Glare was first made available, I bought it without even a second’s hesitation. Something as baffling and internationally impactful as American politics deserves to be explored in Kult, and especially so the 2016 election. Bryk (the author) makes no effort to hide her feelings about the Trump campaign, and the scenario is much better off for it. By presenting Donald Trump and Mike Pence as literal inhuman monsters, Rockets Red Glare taps into the shock and horror that some portion of America felt as Trump won the election. As delightful as the subject matter is, however, I’m not a political blogger and would never aspire to be. Instead, I’d like to explore the scenario’s presentation, and how I went about running it.

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The last days of Zoe Riemann

This post contains self-harm, dead bodies and gore.

Also available as PDF and EPUB.

Zoe wakes up as her snoozed alarm calls on her for the third time this morning. She grabs her phone, rolls over, and fails to get out of bed. Her feet are cold, and she can hear the wind screaming outside her rattling window. There’s no burning desire in her to get out of bed to deal with that. Instead, Zoe spends what’s left of her free time in bed, reading an anonymous poster’s second rate creepypasta. When she hauls herself out of bed, kicking dirty clothes into a corner and pushing aside two empty cereal boxes to grab a pop tart for breakfast, it’s already time to leave for her work at the morgue. Same as yesterday, Zoe forgets or simply doesn’t bother to brush through her short black hair. A foul mood has already taken over when she leaves her old, dirty apartment building to face the icy streets of Toronto.

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The last days of Zoe Riemann – Reflections

One November Sunday, me and the wife were bored. Slightly stoned and with nothing planned for the day, I suggested we bring out the Kult tarot deck, perform a reading to create a character, and play a zero commitment one-shot scenario over the next few hours. The result of this experience was The last days of Zoe Riemann, which you can find a recap for here. This was a revelation for me. In the past, I’ve always strongly believed that I require at least some preparation in order to perform as a game master, especially for a game with as involved a mythology as Kult, but in just one afternoon I proved myself wrong. This may seem silly to some of you, as I imagine some amount of my readers are far more versed in Powered by the Apocalypse and this approach to roleplaying than I am. I come from a traditional-esque Dungeons & Dragons background, and so my deep dive into Kult: Divinity Lost over the past years has broadened my horizons. Like, a lot.

Welcome to Reflections! This is a blog segment in which I hope to explore some of my thoughts on stories I’ve shared in the past. This may include musings on the creative process, fun anecdotes from live sessions or downtime, mistakes I hope to never repeat or interesting paths left unexplored. Being a game master is challenging, so by sharing my experiences I hope to both gain a new understanding of my own work and share something interesting for readers to digest. One note is that these segments are not suitable to read if you are a Kult: Divinity Lost player who does not have full insight into the game’s mythos. Lore spoilers ahead.

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And The Rockets Red Glare: November 8th, 2016

This is a session recap for the Kult: Divinity Lost scenario And The Rockets Red Glare, written by Jacqueline Bryk. The art is by my excellent wife. Me and my three friends played this scenario in two sessions over voice chat. This post contains spoilers for the entirety of the scenario’s story.

This post contains suicide, murder, and homophobic and racist slogans.

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It’s well past midnight. Kate, Blake and Ian cannot sleep. Blake is pacing around the condo, at one time trying to lay down, at another stress smoking by the window. Bad things are happening and he feels horribly powerless. Ian has turned inward, consumed by a gnawing madness. He stares at Gavin sleeping in the bed next to his and considers but briefly a sacrifice. To what end or dedicated to who, he cannot say. Kate, feeling the weight of the last few horrible days and the stressful months before, wants to ground herself with a tarot reading. Yes, it’s late, but she can’t sleep anyway and tarot has helped her calm down in the past. She sends Ian a text, telling him that she’ll head to a break room in the southwest corner of their floor. If she’s not back by morning, please come looking for her. She doesn’t risk disappearing without a trace, and it does feel like a risk.

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And The Rockets Red Glare: November 7th, 2016

This is a session recap for the Kult: Divinity Lost scenario And The Rockets Red Glare, written by Jacqueline Bryk. The art is by my excellent wife. Me and my three friends played this scenario in two sessions over voice chat. This post contains spoilers for the entirety of the scenario’s story.

This post contains violent, racist imagery.

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The interns for the Trump campaign wake up early, same as every day. The sun is just about to crest over the horizon and make everyone’s morning miserable with its burning light, but they have little time to dwell on their frustrations. Today, there is to be a press junket in Mr. Trump’s penthouse. Both him and Mr. Pence will be there, answering questions for a battalion of reporters. This has to run smoothly and there is no room for error. Everyone working on the campaign needs to be on full alert, ready for anything. One by one they head up towards the penthouse suite, most of them for the first time.

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And The Rockets Red Glare: November 6th, 2016

This is a session recap for the Kult: Divinity Lost scenario And The Rockets Red Glare, written by Jacqueline Bryk. The art is by my excellent wife. Me and my three friends played this scenario in two sessions over voice chat. This post contains spoilers for the entirety of the scenario’s story.

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A mostly unfurnished condo on one of the upper floors of Trump Tower is brought to life by a cacophony of cell phone alarms. It’s six in the morning, and while the November day outside the black-glass skyscraper promises warmth, the people waking up in the condo have no time to be excited about it. They’re interns, working for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. They’ve been at it non-stop for months, long grueling days running errands or staring at a computer screen as the internet slows down yet again. Just three more days until the election. Once they get out of their cots and folding spare beds their entire day will be dedicated to Make America Great Again.

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