Friday, February 22, 2013

Melancholy of the Sea: A Cat's Dream

Found a neat little game today, over at Tagsessions. Inspired by Studio Ghibli films, and trying to capture that feel, the game (a solitaire RPG requiring a pack of cards and a single D6) features the premise that a person follows a Cat into the land of dreams, doing so to fulfill a desire that's key to the character. It's a bit unpolished, and a few times I was left scratching my head.  Do I think I've captured the feel of Ghibli in my story? Not at all, but check after the jump to see what I DID get.

While the game suggests 10 to 15 scenes, I settled for a relatively short 6 scene dream to test the system.  Now that I've played it, I think I'll return to finish the story...

 The Melancholy of the Sea

Character: Uriah, a lonely clockmaker living  in a village overlooking the sea.
Desire: "I want to matter" Uriah, a recluse by nature, has few dealings and no friends.
Total Scenes: 6
Dream setting: Mysterious Underwater Ship, finding a magical artifact.

(to determine the setting, you roll a D6 three times. Nice amount of choices, and quick to spark the imagination.

Introductory Scene:
Following a stray kitten through a previously unknown door at the base of his lighthouse home, Uriah finds himself in a domed cathedral, its glass ceiling revealing water and sealife
passing by. On a pedestal in the center of the cathedral is a pocket watch with
too many hands, an hourglass embedded at its center.

First card: Get Lost: Hope 3 
Hope Action Result: Knight of Cups (Ally: Elemental, Does not talk, knows about journey).

Taking the watch, Uriah begins to explore the ship. Unfortunately, the twisting, turning corridors soon leave the man helplessly lost. Well and truly lost, he sinks down. "I wish I knew the way to go..." Opening his new-found watch. Within the hourglass, a tiny face takes form, sculpted from the grains within the glass's upper chamber. The sand forms an arm, pointing down a corridor, Uriah is no longer lost! Maybe...

Second scene: Dead End: Hope 3
Hope Action Result: Failure, tried again, rolled dice, succcess, discarded card from deck as result.

Following the sandthing's guidance, Uriah comes face to face with an impasse. A metal face, stern and serene, bars the way. Metal eyes follow his approach, and metal lips silently quirk into a knowing smirk. 

"I really am lost, aren't I?" Uriah asks his silent watch, "And I thought you knew the way."

"Trusting to time?" The metal face asked in a booming, brassy voice. "A fool's errand. Cast it away, oh man, for what good is time in this place?"

"I'm... sorry." Uriah folds his hands around the watch, "I'm lost. I just thought it-"

"That a loathsome demon bound to a broken watch would guide you true?" The face's expression turns cruel, "Perhaps you seek to free the thing?!"

"Wha-? I d-"  uriah's protest, however, is cut off. Lips peeling back to reveal fanglike teeth, the fanglike teeth. A roar, and it vomits forth some murky creature, like a conglomerate of seaweed and shadow.

Third Scene: Scary Monster chases you! Fear Challenge!
Draw Result: Queen of Cups, Hope.  4 of coins, fear.  Knight of wands, Strength.
Not sure how to handle this one... Assume two allies? Right then!
Queen of Cups: Scary elemental who can change shape
Knight of Wands: Animal Elemental who says only one word, recognizes humans.

Fleeing in terror, Uriah dashes through the labyrinthine corridors of the ship. Drawing ever nearer, the creature released by the face snags Uriah about the legs with long, slimy tendrils of seaweed. The smell of rot strong in his nose, Uriah falls forward, covering his head in terror.

A nearby bulkhead explodes outward, two hounds, one of clear amber crackling with electricity, the other of stone, leaping to the attack. The stone hound, letting out a booming howl, shifts into a monstrosity somewhere between hound and man. The amber hound takes a protective stance before Uriah, ccrackling bolts of lightning striking the thing, shriveling it even as the stone beast rends its bulk.

"Undone." The amber hound  muses in a clear, crystalline voice. "Undone."

Fourth Card:  Riddle too tough, discard ten cards (ouch).

After a silent eternity and a few prods from the stone thing, now bearing a roughly humanoid shape, Uriah shrinks back.

"Undone." The amber hound informs him, sniffing at his feet.  Drawing his feet back, Uriah shakes his head, "Undone? I don't...What's undone?" Spying the stone thing, he starts, scrabbling away.

Fifth Card: Safe Journey: Hope 1
Result: Success!

Looking one to another, the hound and stone maiden usher Uriah along, guiding him through the bulkhead.  "Undone." The amber hound murmurs plaintively. Realizing how little harm the two actually mean, Uriah allows them to guide him down halls lined with murals.  A woman of sand, governing the ebb and flow of a world. THe murals go on to portray the woman of sand being trapped by a clockmaker, bound into a watch and cast into the ocean. On the world above, the murals show time standing still.

Sixth Card: Make new friends.

Finally, the two creatures lead Uriah to a small cathedral, twin to the one he originally found himself in.  Within, several things lurk in the dim light. They shuffle forth to meet Uriah, beaming with friendly, hopeful faces. 

And there, Uriah finds himself starting awake, safe in his own bed as the clocks in his home strike midnight...

So there you have it! I like the idea of revisiting the dream sequence, seeing if Uriah gets his wish.  Everything I wrote tonight (sloppy and poor as it was), was inspired purely by the results of my dice rolls and card draws. Hopefully, the game's creator will polish a few of the rough spots (if not, I might tackle it myself...). In any case, hop over and check it out Cat Dreams, you won't be disappointed.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for trying the game out. Admittedly, the game is a very rough idea, but it was something i could not help but want to create. I felt very happy that my friend asked for this specific request.

    And admittedly, I think you played it just right! I wonder though if I could have made the Try Again kinder.

    Thank you so much for blogging about this!