Truth & Daring & Meteorites

Tonight we played Truth & Daring, Tim & Kristin Devine’s hack of Lasers & Feelings as a group of nerds and geeks called the Gravity Gang. We are the adventurous new-kid-in-school Juliet; trouble-making, brainy science kid, Mack; cautious geologist rock collector, Brian; daredevil inventor, Jet; straight-A theater kid, Steve; and serious, ambitious team-leader, Ines. We each wear a pocket protector with the atomic symbol on it and meet in a treehouse in the woods behind the school outfitted with all manner of tools and a special puzzle box to keep our secrets safe.

Sale flyer for Truth and Daring game stating its for fans of Goonies, E.T. & Stranger Things. Made with love and laser feelings by Tim & Kristin Devine.
Image courtesy of DiceUp games via DriveThruRPG

Our story begins the week before school starts back when we’re hanging out in the treehouse discussing Jet’s recent findings when a loud thunk sounds and the tree begins to sway. A meteorite has struck it, but Jet soaks it with his super-soaker putting out any possibility of fire. Juliet touches it and declares it ice-cold, but there seems to be no way to get it unstuck from the tree. Next week, in gym class, Mack excitedly tells us about overhearing Vice Principal Smith discussing the meteorite falling to someone in conspiratorial tones and their plan to retrieve it later today. We decide to hide the gem as best we can and create a fake crater to fool the VP. Juliet, Mack, Brian, and Jet skip their next class to complete the trap but run into VP Smith when returning to school. He challenges us about being absent, but we bluff our way back to class.

Later, we meet at Brian’s house to discuss the tests he’s been doing on a small sample of the rock he took and learn that when electrified it phases through the table, but Brian warns that too much energy causes it to explode. While some of us return to the woods, Brian and Steve stay behind to create a model of the tree for further testing in how to extract it. Back in the woods, Jet, Ines, and Juliet aren’t sure if we’ve found the fake crater but think it must have worked since the false meteorite is gone. Checking out the tree, the poster we hid it behind is torn, but there is no sign behind it that the rock was ever there. Ines feels the tree is cold, so we attempt to open the tree using Jet’s screwdriver set. The screwdriver gets stuck and the tree grows around the pocket knife we try extracting it with, so it seems the rock has given the tree self-healing powers.

After further testing, we decide to shock the rock out of the tree using a chemical bath and the knife and screwdriver as conductors to get the electricity inside the tree. With Jet and Ines helping, Brian successfully electrifies the rock, which shoots out of the tree at an angle and embeds itself into another tree. Ines extracts it before it can burrow inside again, ruining her sweater. After much debate, the group breaks off a chip from the rock for each of us to keep safe and put the main body into our locked puzzle box. Fade to black.

Until We Sink into the Sea

Tonight we played Until We Sink by Magnus Jakobsson in which we play the natives running a hotel on a small island slowly sinking into the sea and the guests who visit the hotel. We are Martin the hotel caretaker, Belinda the hotel’s owner, Gordon a retiree and guest, Dwyane Stone a geologist guest, and Orana the sun worshipping guest.

Our story begins when Josh the sport fisherman guest is found dead below the cliffs. Martin and Stone suspect foul play immediately while Belinda and Orana think it an accident, but Gordon insists they recover the body for a proper burial. The next day, after they’ve put his body out to sea, the small cross put up in his memory has the word “SWINE” painted across it. To many, this suggests that the death was murder, but it leads them to search his room and find a map with an X marked on a small, nearby island labeled Atlantis. That island is visible from the cliffs above where Josh’s body was found. The next day, we discover, carved on a tree, “Orana, we meet again.” She insists that she’s never been here before but consults an astrological chart to see how the moon may be connected. Belinda explains from her previous travels, how spirits have visited the island. No one takes Orana up on the suggestion that we should all stay in one room tonight for protection.

More mysterious notes appear the next day, when an envelope is found in Josh’s room that contains his tickets to the island, reservations for the hotel, and a note telling him to enjoy the vacation, write something great afterwards, and is signed “A fan.” Josh, it turns out, was Josh Carpenter, the famous horror writer. On the envelope itself is scribbled, “Looking forward to meeting you.” That night, Stone sees a figure in the storm near the cliffs. Gordon had walked the perimeter of the hotel to assuage Belinda and Orana’s fears, but had returned indoors when the storm came. After much speculation about ghosts, screams, and what’s reality, the group agrees they should stick together and prepare to sleep on the porch tonight and will investigate the cliffs in the morning. The next day, while Martin discovers an ancient fishing rod on the cliffs, a pair of drunken teenagers greet Orana on the docks and disturb the group for most of the day before sailing away on their power boat. Orana notes a tag on the rod that is a Shinto symbol for warding off evil spirits.

The next day, a cataclysm, as the island finally sinks into the sea. Orana believes the sea has come for her and all the happenings on the island are about her. But Martin reveals that he had invited Josh Carpenter to the island because, as the only one who’d lived here his entire life, he knew the island took people, that its spirit would appear and take people to sustain it against the sea. But Josh wasn’t enough spirit for the island to hold off the sea, not with the sea’s avatar, Orana, on it. Orana feels that she must give herself to the sea to prevent this from happening again, but Belinda convinces her to join her in opening a new hotel on another island, perhaps the Atlantis marked out by Josh on his map. Martin and Gordon agree to accompany them, at least for a time.

The Final Girl Makes a Call

Tonight we played The Final Girl by Bret Gillan in a secluded research facility that receives a genetically perfected humanoid subject for testing. Our story begins with Walden the lazy office administrator, Tracey the focused project lead, Edgar the traitorous supervisor, and Carson the talkative assistant receiving the experiment on the loading dock, which they transfer to the observation room. In the observation room, Krysten the unscrupulous researcher, Tilda the aggressive researcher, Troy the nervous biologist, and Leopold the naive intern discover the creature is genderless and extremely powerful when it destroys a box to get a food. Leopold suggests talking to it more, but the group decides to replace the simple box with an indestructible puzzle box for the next experiment to test its thinking ability. At the pool, Marie the athletics researcher runs the experiment through a battery of swimming tests against a couple of human volunteers: always-angry Stacy and always-jovial Verona while Neil the buff janitor cleans some vomit in the corner from an earlier test run. The volunteers get freaked out when the experiment swims at them aggressively and at tremendous speed. Later, Neil and Richard are killed at the water cooler when the experiment breaks loose and attacks.

In the offices, Walden, Edgar and Krysten are discussing a possible food shortage for the test subjects, but Krysten suggests lowering their expected intake to match the food stores. The experiment arrives in all its shining glory, a perfect human specimen, grabs Walden and snaps their neck. In one of the labs, Tracey and Carson are interviewing Verona about her experiences in the tests when the experiment bursts in and throws the lab door at Tracey but it flies over her head. It then picks up an entire lab bench to throw at them all, which again misses, then it grabs Carson and throws him into the ceiling, snapping his spine. Tilda, Stacy, and Leopold are arguing about whether to continue the tests in light of the attacks when the experiment leaps in baring its fangs at Leopold before grabbing Stacy, this time anticipating the dodges that she would make. Back on the loading dock, Edgar is preparing to leave but being confronted by Marie about why he’s bugging out early when Leopold runs in hysterical from the last attack. The experiment arrives and simply grabs Edgar and crushes his skull, the rips the fork off a nearby lift and impales Marie upon its tines.

Watching from above, Krysten, Tilda, and Tracey are very excitedly taking notes and discussing the next steps they should take with the experiment until it comes crashing through the windows of their observation deck and tosses both Krysten and Tilda behind it to their deaths. Tracey runs for the exit, joined by Leopold and Verona at the front door. But the experiment is too fast by this point and before they can unlock the facility to escape, it arrives and smashes the electronic keypad. It grabs the exposed wires and Tracey at the same time, shocking her to death, then brings the ceiling down on Leopold and Verona. It walks out into the woods that surround the secluded facility. Moments later, Leopold manages to pull himself from the rubble, pulls out a phone, dials, and reports: “It’s done.”