Friday, January 18, 2008

The Midwives Crisis

The Continuum RPG has a GM's section, which covers "known history" of the setting, from the founding of Antedesertium (17,997 bce) to the wild Interregnum where mankind is nearly driven extinct (13,557 to 12,969 bce) to Joan of Arc's attacks on enemy weapon depots at the end of the Hunt of the Sun (4316bce) to the release of the Continuum RPG (in 1999 ce) to the elimination of childhood (2218 ce) and beyond into inheritor time-space. As you can see, this timeline has some pretty odd entries on it. One of my favorites reads as follows:
5762 [bc] Midwives' Crisis: All leveller mothers begin birthing twins
That's it. No cause. No motive. No explanation. No details. No end date given. "Further information is not available here." Further Information (the book by that name, it's a Continuum Supplement I don't have) may tell more, but I don't have it so I don't know.

I'd noted this odd cryptic entry when first considering what I'd do if I ever ran a Continuum game. I definitely wanted to touch on supercool concepts like the Macro Computer (part of "The Hunt of the Sun", the plot to convert the sun into a time machine and thereby destroy the future) and the inhuman nature of The High Kings of Antedesertium. I wanted to involve the battles between St. Germaine and Joan d'Arc. I wanted to include Inheritor spaceships and alien Greys, and Atlantis. I had all these awesome huge epic plans, but no way to condense them into the scope I'd have time for, especially not with PCs being Span One.

That's where the idea of Izzy's Tour came in. I could briefly flirt with all the big secrets of the setting. I didn't have to focus on any one of them, or make solving such things the point of the narrative. If I was going to do that, I could name-drop like crazy, and even spend a session or two on kooky little red herrings like the Midwive's Crisis. What fun!

As if on cue, Amy and Kevin asked if they could join our Continuum game. Kevin's character concept was a little odd. His PC, Kail, was a mirror twin. It's a rare real-world condition, where otherwise-identical twins are born as mirror opposites, with reflected assymytries of the face, moles on opposite limbs, etc. In folklore, this means there's a good twin and a bad twin.
His backstory involved the murder of his twin, and him taking that Twin's place. I didn't want to work that in too deeply to my scenario, 'cause I knew they'd be moving soon, and I didn't want to derail things. Conveniently, I was able to get the party to the time of the Midwive's Crisis on the last session that Kevin was able to play in. In my campaign, the line read more like:
5236 bc - height of the Midwives' crisis - due to antedesertium magic/meddling, all leveller mothers birth mirror twins, and Brock (the background villain who chopped off Dale's hand) is somehow taking advantage of it.
It was, I admit, a little dirty to do this. Poor Kevin must have felt like he was moving away from a campaign that was on the verge of being all about his character. I'm a horrible, terrible, evil GM, and that's why you all love me.

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