Doubled Love Balloon

This week we set sail once again on the Love Balloon by Ray Chou and came together for hijinks and romance. Julie Plover is our airship’s Activities Director, working to ensure everyone enjoys the cruise. Staying in the Presidential Suite are Dane Cabot, a charming playboy out for fleeting romance, and Eris Show, a shy professional performer who’s living a double life. In three single suites are Terry Spear, writer of paranormal holiday romance novels about wolf billionaires; Blake Duran, a has-been action celebrity looking for a way back to relevance; and Hermes Diabolite, a stage magician whose memory is beginning to fade and whose sleight of hand is no longer so sleight.

Our story begins with Julie escorting Eris, overcome by the crowds at the mooring station, through the back halls of the airship to her cabin. Dane will apparently join her later, as he is too busy charming Hermes while securing a dove that threatens to fly away from the aging magician. At one of the airship’s bars, Terry runs into Blake and gushes over his past triumphs and suggests that he would be perfect to play a werewolf billionaire in an adaptation of her work. As the airship flies on to our first port of call, our cast tumbles into each other some more. Hermes runs into Blake and they discuss their respective histories in the movie and entertainment business. They bond over Blake’s films (Vital Organs and Bloodsport 7) and their near-miss collaborations over the years, so Blake asks Hermes if playing a billionaire werewolf would be a good career move. Meanwhile, Terry bumps into Eris in the airship’s library, who they mine for story ideas before pressing The Wolf King of Passover into the young woman’s hands. In a dining room with a lounge piano, Dane is chatting with Julie about her life and her work until he decides to sing her a song.

The Love Balloon, a game of ... hijinks, humor & romance appears in the left hand corner with two figures dancing the Charleston to the right in a field of soft pink.

At the Seven Geysers, Blake leaves the ship and runs into Dane camped out behind the observation glass as they wait for the famous 49-minute geyser to erupt. Blake is obsessed with how to reinvent and reinvigorate his career, throwing multiple ideas (playing Corazon Aquino, releasing an album) at the young man, but Dane suggests he doesn’t need reinvention but new additions, to expand himself rather than begin again. The old actor is quite taken in by the interest the young man shows in him and expresses his hope to see him again as the geyser erupts. Earlier on the ship, not long after most had gone ashore, Julie encounters Eris in the ballroom dancing alone, suggests she consider going ashore, but ends up dancing with her to help the young woman learn the foxtrot. Overcome, Eris dashes off to her room.

Back sailing the skies, there is a masquerade as the airship heads back to port. We begin with Julie talking about the cruise and whether the aging actor has found what he seeks, until Eris interrupts on her way inside. Blake asks Julie to show Dane to his table when he arrives and heads inside. Julie discovers Eris in the restroom and asks her to come out and dance, but doesn’t notice when Dane emerges from the bathroom, so gives him her kerchief and directs him to Blake. After a brief talk with Blake, Dane asks him to get some drinks and disappears. When the foxtrot starts, Eris dances with Julie, who notices her neckerchief sticking out of the girl’s pocket, and tells her not to shut herself away. When Blake arrives, Eris runs away and Dane returns still with Julie’s neckerchief and when a dancer bumps into Dane, knocking his hat and mask off, it’s revealed that Eris and Dane are the same person.

Crying profusely, Julie pulls Eris away from the crowds and tells her that she is nice no matter who she appears to be. Blake suggests her two parts need to be brought together and explains how much he’s learned from the roles he’s played. They agree to meet to watch an animated film tomorrow morning when Julie has downtime before the ship approaches its destination. After the cruise, Blake provides the voice for an animated series about a billionaire werewolf in which Eris gets a voice role too.

September to May on the Love Balloon

Tonight we also played, in a separate breakout room, The Love Balloon by Ray Chou & Vincenzo Ferriero of Mythopoeia Games on board the Cloud 9, a cruise dirigible about to set sail into the sky. Our crew member is the ship’s bartender Natalie, who always has a kind word and seeks out fun wherever she flies. A pair of criminals disguised as musicians, Sarah and Gary, are staying in the Presidential Suite, with very different intentions. Henley Howard is back aboard the Cloud 9 in the Single Ensuite; he’s a salesman with a heart of gold and a never ending sales patter. In the Bachelor Suite is Al Own, a slime ball and inept pickup artist, who really just fears being alone. And in the Balcony View Suite is Jane, a dentist from Ohio, who has recently begun to lose her memory and wants one last chance at adventure before she can no longer travel.

The Love Balloon, a game of ... hijinks, humor & romance appears in the left hand corner with two figures dancing the Charleston to the right in a field of soft pink.

Our story begins with Natalie welcoming Jane aboard and giving her a tour of the Cloud 9’s many attractions on the way to her cabin. Henley Howard pitch meets Al and manages to sell him breath mints and shoe polish to help him in his attempts to woo the woman of his dreams. When Gary and Sarah check into their suite, it’s clear that Sarah calls the shots and is packing heat for protection, but Gary is the one paranoid about being found out. They’ve made off with the money from Gary’s employer, but have very different ideas about what to do with it. Sarah sends Gary off toward the bar while she plots alone.

Natalie and Henley have a nice chat outside the ship’s theatre, but he fails to sell her a retractable screwdriver, a pair of dice, monogrammed napkins, sunscreen, or a joke book, but she does decide to buy the coin changer and puts in an order for a set of decorative silly straws for the drinks. Al meets Sarah at the buffet, but she sends him packing easily enough, and he beats himself up over something silly he said about a spoon. Gary and Jane meet on the top deck and despite their difference in ages (he’s 28 and her 59), an easy rapport quickly develops between them.

When the ship docks at a Sky Castle, Henley encounters Gary at the end of the organized tour. Gary keeps buying everything the salesman offers and even insists on overpaying. He buys disposable cameras, perfume bottles, artificial flowers, gift wrapping and bags, and offers to finance the salesman’s supply runs. In return, Henley invites Gary to join him and upgrade his travels: “I’m not a traveling salesman as much as a wandering nuisance.” Meanwhile, Sarah and Jane meet at the ship’s pool and Sarah tries to dissuade Jane from pursuing Gary, despite having and wanting no claims on him herself. Jane, having little time to waste, just wants Sarah to let Gary make his own decision. Later, Al meets Natalie while crying into his beer at her bar. She tries to convince him that he’s trying too hard and needs to be more curious about the woman and more humble about himself if he wants to ever succeed in getting a woman’s attention. Natalie agrees to a walk later around the deck so he can practice being a genuine person.

As they walk along the deck, Al asks about her day and her trip, and after replying, she says he’s pretty fun when he’s behaving himself. Henley shows up and offers to sell Al a series of self-help books and women’s magazines to help him improve and learn more about women. Then Gary and Sarah arrive, and Gary gifts Al the package that he’d had been hesitating to spring for. When Jane arrives, Natalie and Al walk on, while Henley runs interference with Sarah so Jane and Gary can steal away to talk. It’s quickly apparent that they’ve developed feelings for each other, but before she can accept him, Jane confesses to Gary about her impending memory loss and the likelihood that if he chooses a life with her, he’ll end up spending more years taking care of her than adventuring with her. He replies, “I’d rather have memories to forget than no memories at all. Taking care of you doesn’t sound bad at all.” And they share their first kiss under the moonlight.

Each of them depart the ship, Al hugging Natalie for all the help and true friendship she’s given him, Sarah pretending to be as happy as a clam, and Henley leaving a case as a gift for the new couple. Natalie hands over the case to Jane and Gary as they come down hand-in-hand. Inside are books on memory loss & retention, a camera for freezing time, and brain teasers and puzzles to keep the brain limber with a note stamped “Paid in full”.

The Love Balloon

Tonight we played The Love Balloon by Ray Chou & Vincenzo Ferriero of Mythopoeia Games. We are the guests and a crew member of the majestic airship Cloud 9 on a peripatetic voyage through the Caribbean to Paris. The ship’s Gopher is Percy Winthrope, a young man with more energy than time determined to make everyone else happy. Staying in the Presidential Suite are George Dogwood, an elderly widower who lost his passion for life when his wife Becky passed away, and his caretaker Beatrice Clover, an aging divorcee who is tired of caring for others and needs time for herself. Henley Howard, a young, inveterate salesman running away and on the lam, has a room with a balcony view. In the Bachelor Suite is John Smith, a gorgeous hunk of man trying to travel incognito for a change. Dwight Forte is a middle-aged detective of paranormal activity determined to find romance, so he’s booked the Single Ensuite.

The Love Balloon, a story game of ... hijinks, humor & romance is printed on the left-hand side with two dancers doing the charleston to the right.
The Love Balloon logo and art from Mythopoeia games on Itch.io.

Our story starts at the Embarkment as we all board the ship. As Percy shows Henley around the ship to help orient him, the salesman refuses to take no for an answer and sells him a variety of trinkets and tchotchkes. After Beatrice gets George settled in his room, the old man heads for the bar, but she keeps reminding him to only have one before dinner. Dwight goes to the gym shortly after boarding asks John how to operate the treadmill, hoping to strike up a conversation and perhaps more, but his hopes for an accountability partner are not met tonight.

Our first Day in the Clouds aboard ship Henley meets George at the bar and guesses his initials, while George buys him a drink and a bottle of memories (lily perfume) from the salesman. Dwight meets Beatrice at the Buffet where they discuss their work woes, so after asking for relationship advice, Dwight agrees to take George to the casino so Beatrice can get some time to herself. Percy crashes into Dwight coming from the buffet and the passenger complains about the lack of service and cleanliness of his room. Dwight tries to get a free pass for the buffet, but Percy personally escorts him back to the buffet to restore his plate of shrimp.

At our first Port of Call in Antigua, Beatrice, John, and George ride into the Cavern of Reflection. John stories of his youth on the island, and convinces the two to splash themselves with water from the cave to rejuvenate themselves. In the Sky Tower, Henley offers Dwight a wool scarf but Dwight is disappointed that he isn’t offering anything more personal than various items stolen from his employers stock. They take in the sites and discuss visiting Paris until Dwight asks for a kiss, to which Henley replies he’ll put together a Paris date package for Dwight to purchase. John Smith lounges at the beach and Percy assists him by putting sunscreen on the bombshell’s back, gaining his attention and approval.

Line drawing of the dirigible air cruise ship the Cloud Nine with it's deck and pool visible on top of the air hold, the conning tower toward the rear of the ship, and gangplanks leading up inside the main body of the ship.
Image of airship Cloud 9 courtesy of Mythopoeia games.

During Night with the Stars the group walks together along the top desk and realize they have become friends during the voyage. Under the Moonlight has Dwight finally getting his kiss from Henley, though still only on the cheek. George tells Beatrice that he’s ready to get on with living now they’ve finished the trip, and offers to give her some money when they get back home to try something new in her life, since she’s grown tired of always being at someone else’s beck and call. John Smith asks Percy if there is anything he can do for the Gopher, and they go walking off together, hand in hand.

During Disembarkment, George and Beatrice thank Percy for all the help and George asks Percy to tell the Captain that his dad enjoyed the cruise. Henley and Dwight depart together talking about their forthcoming adventure in Paris, and Henley gives Percy a black silk rose to woo John with, free of charge. John departs the ship, looking back at Percy holding the rose.