Friday, October 15, 2010

The Dragon and the Phoenix: Episode 8

Episode 8: Silent Lucidity

Tara: Wow. Who knew Miss Kitty could quote Shakespeare?
Willow: I am still having trouble getting past “
Who knew Ms. Kitty could talk.”
- Willow and Tara: The Dragon and the Phoenix, Episode 8 "Silent Lucidity"

March 24, 2003. 

Dawn’s emergent psychic powers traps the cast in her nightmare.
More than a week later and things have cooled down, a but only a little. At least everyone is agreeing to watch a movie together. It’s a Japanese-monster horror film and Xander has to remind Buffy that it is not a training video. Dawn begins to emerge as a powerful telepath and psychic, but not before she traps the cast and herself in the Dreamlands. The Cast must work through there own subconscious issues before they can escape. Willow and Tara’s issues with each other (loss and power), Buffy and Spike’s issues (trust and obsession) and Anya and Xander’s (fears of commitment and rejection). Dawn is dealing with the issues of constantly worried that she nothing more than Buffy’s shadow or even less. All the while Glory taunts her in her dreams.
Story Arc elements: Dawn focused, but also focused on the interplay of the cast.
Game Design elements: Non-magic psychic powers, rules for play in the Dreamlands, Bast for Cinematic games. Introduce Miss Kitty Fantastico II as a Bast. Have the Vampire Chicas come back to town. While the Cast is “sleeping” Dawn’s friend is killed and Faith dies in the hospital.

Notes and Comments:
Given that I was going to college in the 80’s and 90’s I am allowed to name one adventure ever my entire life after a Queensrÿche song. This is it.  I am also allowed to do one "dream" episode.  This is also it.

Ok. So. I killed Faith here.

Of course I have her appear in Buffy’s dreams and up the bi-sexual attraction she has for her. Mind you YEARS before it ever showed up in any comic. But I was careful not to repeat the cliché of a girl showing interest in another girl and have end her up dead (see “The Celluloid Closet” and the "Evil/Dead Lesbian Cliché"). I have Dawn watching all of this in her dreams, but unable to hear anything. She is taunted in her dream by Glory (really just the manifestation of her own fear) with the fact that she is no more real than Kara was and it is only a matter of time before Willow screws up something and undoes the magic holding her together.
I’ll be honest here, I liked Dawn. I always did. So she gets a chance here to shine (figuratively and literally) in the next few episodes.  We had built up her power slowly over the course of the season and this was the episode we let it cut loose.
This episode was very interpersonal. Very little in the way of combat. Most of the creature in the dream lands were Bast (which you have seen some of those in the past here). For the others I used some creatures that later would go on to be in Ghosts of Albion.  I used my old copy of Call of Cthulhu for ideas, but we never really ran into any mythos creatures other than seeing them in background or "through the veil of other dreams".

For the confrontations in the dreams, the cast were paired of (though I was still having trouble getting and keeping a regular Anya player) to deal with their issues.   For Willow and Tara's case, Willow agreed to basically "re-learn" magic from Tara.  If this had been earlier in the season then I would have dropped her back down to Sorcery/Magic 0 and work back up. But we didn't have that benefit.  Plus the next episode I needed a magically potent, if wounded, Willow.  Tara forgave Willow for her dabbling in "dark magics" and agreed that learning magic together would be the best for them both.

The cast finds out Faith died while they were sleeping.  I have a cut scene at the end where a coroner played by Zach Galifianakis performs Faith’s autopsy while Angel waits. Thought it was appropriate if morbid.

The cover of this does not quite represent the agnst of the episode, but my mandate was Willow and Tara on every cover and this was the one I liked the best.

Next up: The New Marvel Girl


Unknown said...

You know, I *just* realized that you wrote the The Dark Druid. I ran that episode for my cast early in our first season of Slaying Solomon (we're now in our sixth and final season). Anyway, I really need to look over these Dragon & Phoenix episodes to see what I can adapt to a different cast. I've only glanced over them thus far but I've liked what I've seen.

Timothy S. Brannan said...

Yup that's me!

Hope like these Dragon and the Phoenix adventures. One of the truly epic games I have ran.