You eat cold pizza and leftover brownies for breakfast. It’s so good that you take awhile to realize a bunch of people are dead. But hey, more food for the rest of you.
- PTA Sharon (Spookyfriend) has died. She was the REGULATOR, and a WOLF.
- ThoughtsThoughtsThoughts has died. She was the TECHNICIAN, and also a WOLF.
- Alyson TODAY 3-9PM PICKUP WALL MAP DECORATION (Spiny Creature) has died. She was the FORECASTER, and TOWN.
“Oh shit, fam,” says Evan.
“Pizza,” says Caesar Man. “I mean, shit, I mean, ‘Awww.'”
You’re getting pretty good at digging graves at this point. You bury the three of them next to former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in an overgrown lot. Li’l Rex stays on top of Tillerson’s grave, sobbing frog tears, and refuses to come with you.
You are finally into downtown Cry’ville. Tree roots have shattered and shifted the asphalt to the point that it’s like you’re walking on uneven flagstones. Here and there are cars, their metal rusting, their plastic body panels bleached by the sun.
It gets steadily warmer as you walk through the ruins of town, until finally it’s hot. Hotter than Alaska should ever be, even in summer. You see young palm trees mixed in with the deciduous overgrowth. Lizards scuttle away from your boots.
On the far side of town is a collapsing chain link fence, with a rusted sign that says IDADYNE CRYOLITE PILOT PROJECT #1. You walk over a fallen section of the fence and into the main building.
Inside is Clive. He looks younger.
“Hello,” he says to all of you. He looks at Betty. “Did you ever remember?”
She frowns and shakes her head. “I chose not to. I don’t want to be part of whatever this is.”
He shrugs. “As you like.” He pushes up his glasses and looks at the rest of you. “Betty was the Leader of expedition 55. Before that, she was the director of the Northern Limit. She came it here because she wanted answers. She left, and erased her memory, because she found them.”
“That makes sense,” says Red.
“Which one of you is from Deep North?” asks Clive. Big Jim puts up a hand, to his surprise. “Really? I didn’t know we were recruiting that old. No offense.”
“Whelp,” says Big Jim, “I was actually the Duplicator. Then I messed up an’ copied the Placebo. So I asked a magic hole in the ground for a do-over, and it gave me someone else’s memories. So I’m the Arbitrator.” He spits. “I didn’t get to Arbitrate shit.”
Clive perks up. “So you’ve met the Zone in person! Have any of you taken to the glow?” Half a dozen hands go up. “Excellent!
The CONVERTS win. They have tied with TOWN, 5/5. The final Deep North agent (WOLF) was Dr. Nick. The SERIAL KILLER was Jake.
“What you encountered was the same thing IdaDyne miners ran into on May 10, 2015. They broke into the top of a geode fifty miles wide. Things are different down in there.
“Are there crystals?” asks Persephone, hopefully.
“It’s all crystals,” says Clive.
He walks over to a window, and gestures out to the overgrown quarry. The pit is too deep to see to the bottom, but you see a violet light coming up from somewhere down below.
“The Northern Limit keeps sending people, because they think Zone Z is dangerous. You probably won’t be the last. The original version of me still doesn’t get it, even though this time he tried to convince you not to all kill each other. Of course, the people he gave that warning to were the first ones you killed. Typical.
“Deep North, at Central, mistakes this place as a threat. They sent in Dion, the Revigator, to blow it up. He didn’t, as you can see. He realized what a lot of people do: It’s better here than it is out there. People stay because they like it.
“Those of you who want to leave, can. Say ‘hi’ to Veronica on your way out. But I warn you that time passes differently in Zone Z, and it will be much later when you get back than when you left. The rest of you, come with me. Your friends are waiting.”
You look at each other for a long time, then spit up into two groups. Those of you headed back toward the border do your best to ignore the violet light behind you, and the sweet saxophone solo echoing up from the pit.
- E-Dog – True Receiver, TOWN
- HolsGG – Little Caesars Mascot, TOWN
- Capt. Lindsay Funke – Medic, initially Town, then CONVERT
- Admirax – Arbitrator, WOLF
- Doctor Nick – Duplicator, then Placebo (both Town), then Arbitrator, WOLF
- Flubba Gunto – Placebo, TOWN. Found a booklet on Day 1.
- Grumproro – Tetrachromat, TOWN. Offered the chance to become a Convert, turned it down.
- Smapti Jones – Endocrinologist, Town, then CONVERT
- ThoughtsThoughtsThoughts – Technician, TOWN
- Spookyfriend – Regulator, WOLF
- Owen – Chemist, Town then CONVERT
- Spiny Creature – Forecaster, TOWN
- Happiest Man – Partner, TOWN
- Forget It Jake – Lepidopterist, SERIAL KILLER
- April Ludgate-Dwyer – Partner, TOWN
- Robert Post’s Child – Aggregator (False Receiver), Town
- Mello Yello Enthusiast – Wolf, Accountant
- Banner Thief – Keeper, Town then CONVERT
- InDEEEEED – Casualty, TOWN
- Zecko – Differential, Town then CONVERT
- The Receiver was a vanilla detective.
- The Little Caesars Mascot had no powers, but had ridiculous constraints. Hols suffered with grace.
- The Casualty was invincible for the first four days, but would die Night 4 unless cured by the Chemist, or if they could make someone else voluntarily switch with them. InDEEEED was able to get cured, and was vanilla town thereafter.
- The Endocrinologist could swab people’s cheeks as a night action, and could see whether or not they had the glow.
- The Medic could bring the most recently deceased person back to life with whatever alignment they’d had. When I brought Lindsay back (by popular demand!) I didn’t make her choose the most recent person, and the resurectee would become a Convert if they hadn’t rejected the glow completely
- The Accountant and the Differential were the same role, for wolves and town, respectively: Someone kept appraised of how many of each faction there were.
- The Arbitrator could resurrect a dead townie as a wolf.
- The Placebo was vanilla town. I realized after I started the game that I had straight-up forgotten to put in an important power, which was the ability to learn about roles. I gave him the choice to pick up a magazine (he did) which had the roles of the previous expedition. This ended up being more interesting, if also more complex than I’d intended.
- The Keeper was a vanilla jailkeeper.
- The Regulator got a one-shot night kill the night after town lynched a wolf. Amazingly, the town never lynched a wolf.
- The Chemist made pills that could cure the glow (and also the Casualty). If given to a Convert, the pills would have been lethal.
- The Tetrachromat had “insights.” The first one of these was that time was different in Zone Z, but after that they were about who could who. Wolf kills )made using Agent Chartreuse) were greenish-yellow. SK kills (made using a chemical for butterfly killing jars) were blue.
- The Forecaster was a specialty jailkeeper. Every night the Forecaster correctly chose who would die in the lynch, they would also get to jailkeep someone. Unlike a regular jailkeeper, the Forecaster could also keep the same person multiple nights, and keep themselves.
- The Lepidopterist was a vanilla SK. Jake nailed the first two wolves the first two nights, forcing me to add Lindsay back as a wolf on the third day. Jake also got Spooky this past night. That’s amazing, considering that if things had gone a different way, there could have been as many as five wolves.
- The Technician could hand out guns for one-shot vig uses. Thoughts chose not to the first two nights, then asked the pothole for a paintball gun. The pothole changed ALL her guns to paintball guns. Then she died before she could hand any out.
- The Partners were lovers with a complication. Their job was to try to convince nobody to kill each other. That WAS an option, and if the game had made it all the way to the mine without anyone dying, a sort of special ending could have been achieved, about tolerance in the face of confusion, and not treating the unknown as hostile.
- The Aggregator was called the False Receiver in most of my internal documentation, and I only realized late that I hadn’t actually given anyone that job title. (I think it was originally supposed to be attached to Flubba’s magazine power). The Aggregator was the same as the True Receiver, except that their questions went not to Clive but to the wolves. The wolves, in turn, actually chose to answer truthfully the first two nights, then lied about Nick being town after he’d been turned. The Aggregator also heard bits of crosstalk from the wolf QT, which was supposed to tip them off that something was up.
Motivation for the various factions can be found in their QTs:
- Graveyard: https://www.quicktopic.com/52/H/iHMYJzJmSQd5H
- Wolf Chat: https://www.quicktopic.com/52/H/SUbVpFcgfFX
- Convert Hive: https://www.quicktopic.com/52/H/ZJ6wKE6me7x
- Hols’ personal QT, which is amazing: https://www.quicktopic.com/52/H/VX7fwmNQ2dkX
Various story influences were the Southern Reach books (plus the movie version of Annihilation); Stalker, the works of Phillip K. Dick (i.e., you take a drug at the beginning and don’t know what’s real after that); Zack Parsons’ Liminal States; and the classic film The Core, in which the characters do indeed find an enormous geode deep inside the Earth.
I’ll answer any other questions you have in the comments below.
Lastly, I’d like to remind you that Lovely Bones’ Society game is still taking sign-ups, and will start streaming on Rabbit in an hour. After all this, it will only have to start a day late.