Jessy sits in the bedroom, confused, and listens to James run down the stairs. Carolina and Daisy immediately go to check on him. Realizing this situation might get out of hand quickly, Jessy hurries to catch up to James. He is on the verge of tears, trying to give Daisy a rambled recollection of what happened. He was terrified, stuck with suffering and pain for an eternity. No joy, no passion. He sought his god, and found only torment. Carolina and Daisy are shocked, but Jessy approaches and tries to mend her now ruined relationship with James1. She didn’t mean him any harm, she only did what she thought he wanted. She cares about James and making this right, but right now he needs to calm down. Carolina has already called Tan, recognizing the weight of what’s unfolding, so perhaps they should just wait for him. Daisy leads the temporarily placated James to a chair in the lounge, and when he asks for his 3DS she gets it for him from the staff lounge. They all sit down and wait for Tan, with the cheery sounds of Animal Crossing as background noise. Jessy’s mind is running at full speed, trying to piece together an excuse or explanation Tan might listen to.
The text on Jessy’s phone is clear. Carl wants to talk. Specifically, he wants to call her. With little time to prepare, Jessy grabs her headphones and sits down on the balcony in the cold afternoon. She’d rather not be overheard by Tan’s staff for any reason, and she doesn’t know if his camera surveillance also picks up sound. Better not take any chances. Carl and Jessy haven’t been talking, since his wife is apparently close to discovering his relationship with Jessy. Now, though, he is worried. Jessy has to explain to him how she got into the hospital and why she wasn’t registered as a student at the university. It’s all one big sob story, and one big lie. According to herself, she couldn’t keep her grades up and was forced to leave. Carl in turn tells her that he’s bought a place for her to stay, as he promised that he would. It’s up in Brampton, a bit far away, but at least she won’t have to stay with friends. Jessy isn’t nearly as excited about this as he would have expected, telling Carl that she’d rather not be alone right now. She explains it away with her wounds, which she still needs help tending to. Better to just stay with friends for the time being. Thanks anyway.
Poppy is a singer, songwriter, actress, author, YouTuber, model, and religious leader. That is what Wikipedia tells us, and it is quite a picture painted in just one sentence. She rose to prominence through a prolific YouTube channel full of surreal videos, where she among other things spoke nonsense and bled black sludge from her mouth. Her musical endeavors carried her to stardom, becoming not only a fashion icon but a literally worshiped pop idol through the Cult of Poppy. To look upon her is to look upon a personification of modern culture, of mass consumption and plastic appeal with a veneer of faux authenticity… but she is more. The casual observer might assume that Poppy is a puppet to some of Tiphareph’s servants, or perhaps (if you are truly deluded) an incarnate of the same. This is not only false, but dangerously so. No, the Truth of Poppy’s being and the path she has travelled is much more complex than that… and worrisome. We start from the beginning.
Finally. After a week at the hospital, though only half of it lucid, Jessy is allowed to leave. She listens, not patiently, to her doctor once again rattling off all the things Jessy needs to keep in mind with her injury. No strenuous activity, no alcohol, take pills daily, dress the shoulder wound once every two days, weekly checkups at the hospital. Not even her doctor seems too invested in the conversation, days of having to deal with Jessy enough to dampen the enthusiasm he usually has for his work. Tan, there to pick her up, has brought Jessy new clothes to leave in. The blood and filth-soaked ripped rags she came in with have been disposed of as biohazardous waste.
A warm summer day, window shutters clattering lightly in the breeze. MTV Cribs is playing on the TV, but Jessica is only half paying attention. She’s sat in her family’s old-looking but comfortable living room, flipping through a magazine her younger sister had brought home last week. It’s not particularly interesting to her, but it’s something to do. Marie, her mother, appears in the corner of her sight. She enters the living room, her glazed eyes slowly moving over all the details of the room, taking it all in with great, but sluggish, interest. Another one of her weird episodes. Jessica tries to get her attention, but she only half-responds with a dragged out nonsense sentence before finally snapping out of it and asking Jessica what she’s reading.
Hello, Kultists! Last year on this blog, I presented session recaps of my ongoing Kult campaign titled Jessy’s Story. It got so far as eight sessions in, when I decided that a hiatus was in order to allow my wife and artist some time to move on to other projects and commissions. At long last (read: a bit overdue), Jessy’s Story is finally returning! The preliminary schedule will be to have one session posted every three weeks until the campaign is DONE! There is quite a ways to go, so there is lots of content to look forward to if you enjoy Jessy’s descent into madness (and eventual rise to power). However, I imagine there are those who either haven’t read all the first eight sessions, or have forgotten much of the details. Not to worry – below is a summary containing some of the major characters of the story, and what happened in each session.
Hello! This post’s intended audience is Kult players and GMs with a competent understanding of the game’s mythos. It may feel very inaccessible to people outside that intended audience. You have been advised. 🙂
A discussion I see cropping up every so often is that of the Archons and the Death Angels, and how their Principles do or do not “match”. I always love when the subject gets brought up, because everyone seems to have their own view and vision of what this all means. It’s really enlightening to see people’s different perspectives on the Kult mythos, how Elysium keeps us imprisoned, and what ideals the Archons and Death Angels actually operate on, and their methods. There are many ways to read into this dark universe and make sense of it. In this post, I would like to go over some of my favorite Archons and their Death Angel counterparts, highlighting why I think their Principles are interesting to the world and stories told, and how they connect to and interact with each other.
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.
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.
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.