Game 9 postmortem

So it didn’t work out. Some digged it, some didn’t, and it was best to end it before it started to fester.

Later I’ll post a little breakdown of what happened in the game.

Here’s some cool stuff for now:

Magnetic Rose wrote fantastic death scenes for dannimal and Patrick, and provided voice talent for the “Chasing Down the Human” music .


[i]Your return from the evening’s unproductive search leaves you exhausted. In search of some small comfort to satiate your hunger, you encounter a teammate, who is clearly as exhausted as you. Offering to share your daily rations, paltry as they may be, you hope to share a discussion of the day’s events, if just to delay a fitful, fearful night’s sleep.

Your old friend turns to you, gratefully accepting the meager sustenance, and smiles, saying they have something they snuck out of habitation as a special treat…if you don’t spoil the surprise. You laugh, close your eyes tightly to accept the gift, and hold out your hand.

A sharp pain runs through your back from beneath your sternum. You can feel two sets of large, strong, hands press firmly against your shoulder.

“Struck from behind?” you wonder. The blinding pain has made it impossible for you to see clearly. As you slump to the ground, life ebbing from your veins, you see two hazy figures bent over you in almost detached curiosity, as if the sight of death itself was a mystery to them.

The knowledge that they are not human at all sinks in. Standing over you are two nemeses, ministers of your demise. You wonder fleetingly if they have already killed both of you, or if your friend perhaps escaped. When your failing sight isolates all three stooping down in front of you, still smiling, watching your labored breathing’s last, it is all you can do to close your dying eyes.[/i]


Every decision. Every search list. Every choice of suspects. It has all been on your shoulders. You have been made the de-facto leader of this ragtag group, which has clamored ‘round you in desperate hopes of survival.

However, maddened by the indecision of your comrades and driven to utter frustration, you have decided to take matters into your own hands. “Why will they not listen? Why do they just sit there?” you mutter to yourself. Storming off into the night, the soundtracks to every creepshow and campy horror film you have ever watched tormenting your brain, you will find the bloody stones if it kills you.

Storming angrily through woods and fens, you pass the glassy, alien ruins. Full of bitterness and contempt, you spit, leaving those glowing portents of evil far behind. As you make your way back towards the habitation, you begin to feel that you are not alone. “Vincent Price?” you muse. The voice you hear is oddly, uncannily similar, as if he himself were narrating your impending doom. In a deep, commanding voice, your blood chills to hear…“You have sullied our souls with your corporeal presence long enough!”

Just then, your bones snap. You cry in pain. No one hears.

Check out this mp3: “Chasing Down the Humans,” starring the voice talents of Magnetic Rose (with a little processing :) )

Here’s what happened to people when they died ( added to the end of the death text as written by m.r.):


An explosion of light, of air in your lungs, forces your eyes open. The sensation of artificial blood creeping around your circulatory system wracks your body with pain. Your heart races, the demands of consciousness a sudden burden after years of cryogenic sleep.

It takes a long while for the truth to dawn on you. Finally, you force open the cryochamber, kicking open the tube and stumbling into the dark floor of the Endeavor’s sleep chamber. You stagger to the door, only to find it locked shut.

“Stradham, open the door!”

Not a word.

“Strad, what is this, 2001? Open the damn door,” your voice is dry. “Something’s wrong with the sleep system…”

But you can see that the ship is dead, the darkness almost complete, even the warning lights failing to produce but the vaguest lumen of dread. Every system is completely non-operational.

All but one.

You turn, slowly, to look over the tubes. Cool green lamps lie beneath each frosted cover, emitting an eerie glow. The diagnostic readouts ticker along, as if nothing was wrong.

As you approach, Stradham finally says your name.

“There is an emergency,” she says. It’s the first time you’ve ever heard the AI speak. “The life preservation protocols are stable, but I’m screwed.”

“What the hell is going on?”

By the time she’s done, the horrifying facts are clear: the colony ship drifts like a dead whale, far from your destination, intercepted by those who have already claimed it as their own. Stradham, the main AI, is almost completely compromised by the subtle forces that seek to end its journey. The only thing that stands between you and death: the near-immutability of her life support protocols, her final retreat from the advancing digital horror.

“So they can’t just kill us?” you ask. “How bad is it? Which of your systems are compromised?”

Strad explains her initial abandonment of the psychoactive controls to ensure primary life support maintenance: computer gabble, but you know what it means: your dreams have not been your own.

“I must awaken anyone undergoing severe psychological trauma, as a psychological failsafe to guard against the eidetic sleep system’s inability to natura–”

“They’re trying to wake us up,” you say. “If they wake us up, we’ll starve … How long until we drift into the Luyten system?”

“Four years.”

You remain silent for a while.

“Is there any way to reverse th…”

“There’s only one hope that I can see,” she interrupts, her very humanity a strange reassurance. “They compromised the eidetic sleep system. I made counterattacks as soon as I consolidated my defenses, by placing their control structures within quarantined areas that should have been imperceptible. Something went wrong.”

“We found them. The stones. You trapped them in the stones” your laughter is a hollow echo. “Good for you. But we found them all the same.”

“They must have built an attractor somehow.”

“If you’re talking about the ruins, you could say that, yes.”

“What is their control point?”

“Say what?”

“They cannot conceal their presence in the system from you as they can from me. Their control structures I could detect, but the AI entity itself is invisible to me. It will be near to you, out of place, an object of great size, something you look at every day but never notice. Something that’s not on schedule A.”

“How the hell would I know? There’s a thousand things that aren’t on schedule A. The still? The art wall?”

“Did you build anything unnecessary, for no reason you can remember? An object, a metaphorical structure, something that doesn-”

“The sundial,” you whisper it. Your skin crawls. “We built a sundial.”

“It must be destroyed”

“How? I can’t go back in there, the chambers are …”

“I can return you to sleep if, and only if, I gain control of all the ship’s resources. To do this, the dreamers must destroy my enemy from within, from beneath the veil of sleep. I created the stones to try and save you. And with you to help me, I can create something more powerful entirely.”

These are the secret rules governing the play of the “reawakened” players:

1.Your objective is to encourage the players in-game to vote to visit the game’s SECRET LOCATION, the SUNDIAL, and SMASH IT.

2.Each night, you will be able to influence the dream of ONE PLAYER by reprogramming the eidetic sleep system. You will be able to send that player ONE LETTER of a phrase of your choosing that best expresses your intent. (dannimal chose “SMASH SUNDIAL”)

3.You can only choose one player a night, but you can change your choice of player as often as you please. Choose carefully.

4.Each player that is “killed” and awakened gains the same ability to send a single letter. However, they will have to use letters from the phrase that you have chosen.

These are the possible outcomes of the game:

  1. If the POSESSED win by killing all the humans, they return to the hive mind and the friendly AI is overwhelmed by the alien AI. The humans at this point will all be awake, waiting for death by starvation and thirst.

  2. If the HUMANS win, those in the game are trapped permanently within the eidetic simulation, believing themselves victorious, and live out lives of increasingly hazy and mindless immortality until their bodies finally fail in the cryotubes. The stalemate between the friendly and alien AIs continues indefinitely, and certainly long after you and any other awoken humans have starved.

  3. If the players vote to DESTROY THE SUNDIAL, you have won. The simulation vanishes, and all is black in dreamland. The friendly AI defeats the enemy AI and can return the awakened humans to sleep. Everyone wakes up on schedule months later, to their new home, and can nuke the real aliens from orbit. After all, it’s the only way to be sure.[/i]

I set up a kind of comment thread on my server so the “awakened/dead” players could discuss stuff without hacing to rely on PMs.

Might be interesting for some!

(newest messages are at the top)

Allright so Magnetic Rose was one of the vamps? I’m pretty sure DrCrypt was one. So who was the third one? Or the second if I was wrong about DrCrypt.

Wow… that’s quite the impressive rule set. I really wish the whole thing would have run it’s course, as I totally didn’t expect the twist. It’s like one of those Star Trek episodes where everything is inside a holodeck. Of course, it’ll be hard not to look for “the catch” in playing a future variant.

Bravo, Rob. The scenario was really imaginative, and the post-death gameplay was pretty sweet as well.

Patrick, I can tell you that I was human.

Given magnetic_rose’s involvement, I’d assume she was a vamp. She shot straight to number one on my hit list after she searched the same location twice in a row, for no reason.

Also, given how spectacularly the blitz strategy failed, I was eyeing JAG up quite a bit. Everyone always suspects JAG. He was also markedly less verbose than in past games, which gave me the distinct impression he was trying to blend in and direct the discussion.

Other than that, my eye wandered around a bit - Equis, for backing magnetic_rose when I tried to change the vote most recently had my attention.

Well done, Mr. Beschizza, well done. Reminds me of a Michael Moorcock story I read ages ago. I love this kind of stuff.

GG everyone.

I think Equis and Hanzii were human and SK too. He started out very Tranqish. But seemed to come around after the first day. I thought Bill D was human but something kept screaming vamp to me about him, but I never had any good reason to suspect him so I kept him in the middle of my suspect list even though I told him I trusted him the most.

OK, I’m wrapping up the little competition now for guessing the vamps.

Squirrel Killer got all three. Shoulda got those stakes out, foolish hyooomans!

He turned down a prize though, so Balut, who guess two of the vamps, will get 2 copies of either WoW or Guild Wars. Since he didn’t get all three, I’m reserving Titan Quest for the vamps, whose tireless hatred of all that is human helped propel the game for as far as it went.

[b]The purple people eaters and architects of your doom this evening were:

Bill Dungsroman,
Dr. Crypt,
and Magnetic Rose.


I think a man of the match award should go to Patrick, though. I didn’t actually get much of a whiff of the behind-the-scenes PMing, but all signs point to Patrick being extraordinarily committed to Destroying Alien Scum. On the “still alive” list, IIRC, he mentioned sending 240 PMs in the last week.

The game not keeping steam made me sad in the pants. Not that it’s anyone’s fault, mind you. I spent way too much time after “dying” (a pathetic amount, really) continuing to try to work out who was who, and who to try to get the message to.

The game played in the thread was unbalanced against the humans, for sure. It might have been different if it wasn’t possible to stack 3 artifacts in 1 spot, but who knows. The game as a whole was tipped in favor of “everyone wins”, I think, if for no other reason than each death multiplies how fast and widely the message can get out. If it’d gotten down to 6 players, we could have sent “SMASH” to one player and “DIAL” to another with plenty of time to spare.

Not knowing about that 2nd phase of the game, it was extremly frustrating to play. Rob did a good job trying to convince people that it wasn’t all that bad.

I had 2 of 3 (didn’t have BillD). I had JAGaurinc in his place, because I couldn’t wrap my head around the baddies being so lucky as to have a human suggest a search plan that lined up for them with individual searches after knowing there was no intercept.

In fairness, though, I needed input from Patrick (PMs from Day 1’s search) to figure that much out. The first dream went to Crypt, who did nothing with it. I wanted Crater, but when he said he was going to be in light-contact I switched. Oops.

SK’s play was interesting. Although after “dying”, as much as I wanted him in the anagram loop, I didn’t think anyone would give him any credit unless others had come forward first.

Actually I only sent 122. 118 were from you or in answer to my pms.
I never really suspected Rose.
I assume that my “you demons suck” rant had nothing to do with my death. I had confronted bill about his possibly “playing” me. That and my distrust of DrCrypt, I would guess made me to dangerous to keep around.

To say SK’s play is interesting is to say the least.

SK immediately suspected rose and even changed his vote, IIRC, to search the exact spot that all 3 stones were in, in response to one of her posts. Crazy insight.

And on day 1, of course, I think the first vote of the game, was SK voting to destroy the computer.

Then he promptly guessed all three vamps when the game was up.

Pretty cool if you ask me.

Well i’m glad to hear that the idea of keeping all three stones in one location didn’t come from me. Since as soon as you confirmed that was possible I told Hanzii, DrCrypt, Bill D, and Magnetic Rose you had told me so.

When I sent Rob my first round of guesses (Hanzii, magnetic rose, and balut, although “Actually, I don’t think balut is, but he’s my “they tricked me” pick. My normal pick would be DrCrypt.”), I also included a guess on the game’s secret, “The possessed can hide their idols in the group’s base.” meaning that that there was a place that was publicly undisclosed that if we figured it out, would help the humans win, if not win it outright.

Also, I didn’t decline the prize because I’m magnanimous (I think I covet WoW), but because Bill Dungsroman gave himself away in the IRC channel. I suspected Bill, but Hanzii’s refusal to answer my PMs forced me to suspect him.

Also, after dannimal died, not realizing that he was still in the game, I “prayed” to him, which I see now probably should’ve been against the rules.

"DO NOT RESPOND! 'Cause that would creep me the fuck out.


I know you can’t hear me, and I certainly know that after what those demon fuckers did to you, I’ll never hear your voice again, but I just wanted you to know that I miss you ya big oaf. There, I said it.

Oh, and that it occurs to balut and I that we never vetted that Lazy Shiftless Bastard ourselves. We just took your word for it.

Well, that’s all for now, maybe if the demon fuckers get me too, we’ll talk then. And what’s with these panty-waists they sent us up here with? Fuck the coffee, I’m bringin’ brews.

Your pal,


This game could have gone either way, any way, wtf ever way this game could go. The rules were nearly impenetrable, but I’m not going to blame Rob for it. Regardless, be it known the vamps made plenty of stupid mistakes. Hell, I didn’t know until after the first turn - WHICH LASTS 3 FUCKIN DAYS - that the option to guard meant we could not kill even if nobody showed up (which nobody ever did).

Rob begged me to play the game after I had dropped out. Then, the rat bastard made me vamp #1. Sigh. I honestly did not expect to live long. Patrick, the thing that was screaming “vamp” to you about me was the fact I was still alive. Xeras knew it, but he never bothered to point it out in the game.

Anyway, I didn’t know wtf to do after getting tabbed to be the #1 vamp. So I did the only thing I could think of to maximize my/our chance of victory. First, I chose Miss Rose. This is because she is frickin’ extremely intelligent and devious but she (like fire), is unafraid of playing Little Miss Dummy as a strategem. I know Crypt will agree with me - and I thinkyou all know what it means for Crypt to agree with this - but magnetic_rose is easily the MVP of the vamps, if not the game. Most of the schemes and plans were hers. She fed me lines to you guys, plotted our tactics, everything. She played dumb and uninterested on purpose.

I chose Senior Crypt because to hell with having him as an adversary. Fuck that. I’d rather chance we all go down together than have him finger me one day one, the rat bastard :) The plan was for me to to die first, then probably Crypt, then have rose ride her little guise of Miss Innocent Pants and win.

To that end, we hid all 3 artifacts together on site 3 at first, since Patrick or whomever lumped me and rose in with Equis and gave us 3 sites to search. We gambled SK or whoever else that went rogue would fail to pick the site spot. Poor ol’ Squirrel, I thought he was gonna bust a blood vessel when everyone searched the first site on their list ^__^

We liked Equis. We planned to kill him last. Not to ridicule him, we just…liked him.

We were gonna kill Crater on night one, because we wanted to frame ol’ Skwerl. But we guarded needlessly and got boned out of it. But ti gave plausibility to me still being alive, so that was ok.

dannimal was clearly the biggest threat. He kept inadverdently guessing our tactics and asking Rob about them. Curse you dannimal! shakes fist So we ate him.

Patrick went next because he was beginning to realize the search tactics were kind of stupid (but hey, who knew wtf to do in this game) and he broke off contact with us which freaked us out. So we offed him. Sorry, P. You didn’t Rimbo, dude.

Next kill was a toss-up between Xeras, Crater or balut. LSB had to die soon too, because he’s not stupid.

All of my comments about Rob being lame or whatever in the thread or in PM were all lies. I was just playing dumb and frustrated to throw people offf the scent. Rob worked very, very hard to try to bring us something unique and fun and refresh what is clearly a rapidly-growing stagnant game for us. And to hand out fucking games as a reward? Good God. Rob, you are too nice and gracious for the internet, please leave it immediately before it ruins you.

My biggest complaint about the game is also perhaps the one thing that kept me around. No mandatory stakings just hobbles this game’s pace. And the surprises? Ehhh, neat and stuff, but putting surprises in strategy-based games is a tough sell. Imagine playing a game of chess withme, and I tell you there’s this really neat surprise, and then suddenly my pawn shoots across the table and takes out your King and I turn the pawn over and there’s a little red X on it. And then I say “Surprise! One pawn is a secret queen! I win But but if you had moved your last pawn, I would have told you you have one too!” Y’know?

Altough it did make even the vamps paraoind of each other.

Thanks for putting words in my mouth. To be completely honest I assumed you were just being a dick. I really could not place you as a vampire until this afternoon at which point it just didn’t matter.

Yeah, I guessed Bill because it’s generally a good strategy to have Bill on your side, if you’re the vamps. Crypt I picked because he was too quiet. IIRC I picked Lazy Shiftless Bastard as the 3rd because Squirrel Killer and I kept going over our PMs and we couldn’t figure if dannimal had actually cleared LSB or not.

Mag Rose had me completely snowed. By the end there I was pretty much her pawn. Luckily the game ended before I could’ve really screwed over the human sides as a vampire pawn.

I think a problem is that I spent too much time hanging in IRC, where both Bill and Rose had plenty of time to play their little mind games on me, even inadvertently. I chose to trust SK early on, though, and he was good with the strategery in both IRC and PMs.

By the end, though, I really was kind of sick of the whole affair. There were too many phases, too many players to coordinate, and a really opaque sense of the strategy required to win the game. I would’ve gone with whatever anyone said, or just gone off on my own thing, because I really didn’t care.

Anyway, sorry the game didn’t work out, Rob, considering the effort you put into it. I dunno about winning prizes or what-have-you, but hell, I’ll take a copy of Guild Wars (factions or vanilla?) if you have a spare.

You were actually my very first suspect. But i decieded you would be to obvious a choice to make a vamp.

After playing the “thing 2” game with rose, I noticed she was quieter in this game, but I chalked it up to the fact that she got fried in that game and just wanted to survive awhile.

If dannimal and I had talk sooner we might have had a chance.When SK went rogue on day 1 Dannimal went with him. DrCrypt claimed that he was the one who went with him. If SK had told us who and where he went it would have helped.

Just bad luck that the first 2 names on the list would be vamps

I got busy on the weekend which kept me offline. I’m on more at work than at home. But the other thing that you guys probably noticed was that I stoped sending you everything that I sent Rose.

That is what started me suspecting you Bill. I just knew you weren’t that dumb. But luckilly for you there were others acting stranger than you.

Vanilla. Send your mailing addy to [email protected]

Thanks for the rundown, Bill: that puts it better than I could have done.