Good morning, agents. You can call me Agent R, or Control
for short. I'll be processing all potential clearance upgrades for you today. That includes yours -- yes you. If you want to get out of your routine of sitting in front of the computer all day, alt-tabbing between whatever paperwork project you're working on and whatever gossip rag web site you've got bookmarked, then you want to talk to me. If you've decided you need something a little more exciting, with a little more leg-work, detective-work, and dream-work... then you want to talk to me. Yeah yeah, I know, the work you do is really important... that's why you're here. Because you enjoy being a desk jockey. Certainly not because you want to play Mystery Agent.
Let's see if we can get you cleared for Blue-level,
Can I get you anything before we begin? Coffee, chocolate? You won't be diving
quite yet, relax, you're allowed to let that heart rate climb, ha ha. Nothing? Then let's begin your review.
I'll turn on the polygraph now.
Lacuna, Part 1: The Creation of the Mystery and the Girl from Blue City (second attempt)
Let's start with a refresher course. The Company consists of two branches presided over by the Directorate answerable to Control. Not me, another Control. Actual Control. Anyway, those two branches are Special Company Services and the Mystery Agents. SCS is made up of Agent Training, which you're familiar with. It is also made up of Mnemonic Engineering -- responsible for Agent Monitoring -- and Mythography -- responsible for documenting our work. The Mystery Agents... well...
Please review this file
to reconfirm your interest in the operations, investigations, and mission-statement of The Company.
I'll wait. Are you sure you wouldn't like a bagel?
All right, now that you've read the file, let's discuss it.
You've done good work at Green-clearance. You've got someone's attention. You're being considered for upgrade. If you leave this room, and I have all of the right answers penned in on this review, you'll be on your way to the big times. You'll be entering Blue City
and handling the big cases. You'll be putting those talents of yours to good use, fixing things here in the real world
even as you do your police work there. That got your attention, I see.
So, the psyche-evaluation, physical portion.
Do you have any reservations or misgivings about the Experiment and its use of drugs/code-triggers to induce REM sleep, or any health conditions that would restrict you from projecting your senses into the subconscious 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 mental diseases?
Are you prepared to risk your own mental 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?
Very nice, very nice. Looking good. Is this your first time applying for upgrade to Blue-clearance? I mean, do you know how all of this application stuff works? If so, you can just pull your file
up out of the system and we can proceed from there.
If this is your first time, well I've got some paperwork for you to go ahead and fill out. Here it is:
Mystery Agents are assigned a pseudonym upon joining the company. All names are English-language occupational titles derived from Anglo-Saxon. (ie, Fletcher, Archer, Shepherd, Chaplin, etc). Roll d% or 2d10 and consult Page 13 of your Company Handbook, or share your Agent # with me and I'll look up your name on your behalf.
All Mystery Agents are skilled, competent individuals who have been conditioned to physical and mental fitness-for-duty. Their abilities are graded from 2 to 4 in three areas: Force
, corresponding to their physical fitness and ability to interact with others and Blue City; Instinct,
corresponding to perceptive abilities, reaction time, intuition and detective work; finally, Access
, corresponding to their inter-departmental clout and Company records for use in requisitioning equipment and information while in Blue City.
No Agent is perfect and they will either be competent across the board (3/3/3) or exhibit specialization (2/3/4 in some order).
All Mystery Agents have a knack -- a particular trait or quirk that makes them a primary candidate for this job. Without such a skill, they are not even considered for the job. Mystery Agents have one of these Talents, each of which gives a perk to a particular field of ability:
Force Talents: Aggression (kill, destroy, damage), Athletics (movement, chase, escape), Strategy (incapacitate, subdue, capture, process)
Instinct Talents: Investigation (search crime scenes, analyze evidence), Communication (interrogate, persuade, subterfuge), Intuition (sensing an ambush, following hunches)
Access Talents: Logistics (weapon and equipment acquisition), Intelligence (information retrieval), Navigation (information about zones, ejecting from Blue City)
All Mystery Agents have undergone specialized training at the beginning of their career with The Company. In addition to general training, every agent is paired with a Mentor to specialize their skill sets and show them the ropes. These Mentors, furthermore, give The Company a human face for agents to interact with. Every Agent is shaped to a degree by whoever their teacher may have been -- what Techniques you're trained in is informed by your Mentor, as are what Techniques you can learn with your experiences in Blue City. Roll 2d10 to determine who trained you.
2-3, Agent Gardiner. KIA. (Grants: Achievement; Skill Techniques.)
4-5, Senior Agent Chambers. KIA. (Grants: Training, Asset Techniques)
6-7, Special Agent Miner. MIA. (Grants: Endurance, Cover Techniques)
8-9, Chief Agent Wagner. Deceased. (Grants: Training, Skill Techniques)
10-14, Senior Instructor Snyder. Active. (Grants: Meditation, Skill Techniques)
15-16, Senior Agent Baxter. Active. (Grants: Meditation, Cover Techniques)
17-18, Agent Duke. Active. (Grants: Endurance, Asset Techniques)
19-20, Vice-Director Forester. Active. (Grants: Achievement, Asset Techniques)
Meditation (spend a Commendation Point, reduce Heart Rate by 1d6)
Training (subtract 10bpm from Heart Rate)
Achievement (start each mission with 1 Commendation point)
Endurance (extend Target Heart Rate 5bpm up or down)
Asset Techniques: agent must spend a commendation point to use
Bulletproof (ignore 1 point of Force attribute loss)
ESP (ignore 1 point of Instinct attribute loss)
Armed (agent has a +0 weapon in her possession, +1 per Commendation point)
Driver (agent has a black four-door sedan)
Caller (agent can communicate with Agents and Control without an Access roll. does NOT use commendation points)
Skill Techniques: agent must spend a commendation point to use
Writer (agent can understand written material in Blue City)
Doctor (agent can restore one lost attribute die in himself or others)
Thief (agent can access restricted areas in Blue City)
Judge (agent can detect falsehoods when questioning a suspect)
Spy (agent can disguise or hide herself from Personalities)
Cover Techniques: agent does NOT need to spend a commendation point to use
Identity (agent has a cover ID in Blue City)
Documents (agent carries official-looking identification)
Credit (agent can acquire provisions and equipment in Blue City, using his Mentor as a reference)
Contact (agent has access to a friendly contact known to the agent's Mentor)
Safe-House (agent has access to a safe, secret location set up by his Mentor)
All Mystery Agents must put their medical history on file for The Company to pull, copy, and use as it deems fit. These records are necessary to ensure the safe insertion and safe ejection of all agents prior to and following mission completion. This is done through analysis of an agent's heart rate.
All Mystery Agents are between the ages of 21 and 60. Roll 2d10 to determine your base age, and add that to an additional 2d10. This will determine your Heart Rate.
Your Heart Rate determines how long an agent can operate in Blue City. Every stressful action taken while under increases a Mystery Agent's HR from its Resting Rate, to its Target Rate and -- if you're not careful -- up to its Maximum Rate. All missions are begun at Resting Rate through the use of chemicals and psychological trigger-phrases. Through repeated action, those Rates climb. In their Target Range, agents are lucid enough to perform impressive feats of skill, power, and confidence within Blue City... at the risk of pushing themselves too far. When an agent's HR reaches its Maximum, complications can occur -- killing the agent in the real world. It is every Mystery Agent's personal responsibility to eject themselves and end the mission should their HR begin to approach its Maximum. Failure to do so may result in an ordered ejection by Control or the mission's Lead Agent. Insubordination will not be tolerated.
Age 21-24, Target Heart Rate 100-150
Age 25-29, THR 98-146
Age 30-34, THR 95-142
Age 35-39, THR 93-138
Age 40-44, THR 90-135
Age 45-49, THR 88-131
Age 50-55, THR 85-127
Age 56-59, THR 83-123
To determine Maximum Heart Rate, subtract your age from 220. (ie, MHR for 21 is 199; MHR for 55 is 165, etc)
The Company is an equal-opportunity employer that does not suffer gender discrimination in the work place. To this end, all bathroom facilities are unisex and all agents are issued standard dress uniforms consisting of black suits, black flat shoes, black neck ties, and black sunglasses. This uniform makes it possible to instantly identify another Mystery Agent while in Blue City, and maintains gender equality in the work place. The only difference recognized between Genders recognized by The Company are the differing Resting Heart Rates of male and female agents.
Male Resting Heart Rate: 70
Female Resting Heart Rate: 75
Got your file all sorted out? I'll just take that. Medical Records, Service History, Personnel File... the evaluation I just conducted. All right, seems everything is in order, agent. Thank you for your cooperation and patience throughout this process. Oh, one last psych question, agent.
What's your most recent childhood memory that you can recall?
Take this paperwork, and your psych answer -- go ahead and hit Post to submit those to your supervisor. I'm only looking to upgrade the status of three agents, so let's hope you gave all the interesting answers, ha ha, right? Just go ahead and !Sign
your name at the bottom.
Thank you for your time, agent. There's still some coffee if you want it.
Oh, let me turn off that polygraph.
So, to clarify: what's happening is I'm going to run a game of Jared Sorensen's surrealist science-fiction RPG Lacuna, Part 1.
It's like Adjustment Bureau and Dark City, and The 13th Floor and 12 Monkeys, and The Matrix and Inception, and The Cell and MiB. You're agents, you go bump in the night, you dive into the collective unconscious to solve crimes, and there's The Mystery but fuck if you know what it is. It's dark, it's surreal, it's detective-work, it's actiony, it's philosophical, it's weird, and that's before Bad Stuff Happens and before you don't know who to trust. Also, it's fun and easy to play. You can either click one of those links above for an instant pregen, or follow the directions in the spoiler to make your own. Both are acceptable as long as you give me your agent's most recent childhood memory.
I didn't say any of that up top because Lacuna is a weird RPG. The more you know about it, the worse of a candidate for play you are. Its "The Game You May Already Be Playing." If we were in real life, I wouldn't 'walk you through character-creation,' I would walk you through this paperwork. We would already
be playing it before you finished your characters. So... The above. Lacuna has started. Apply below with characters. I look forward to playing with three of you, hopefully.