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Old 06-26-2017, 01:30 PM   #1
L.J.Steele
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Default Some help with Timewatch's Free RPG day Font of Knowledge

SPOILERS AHEAD for this adventure.

I am planning on running Font of Knowledge for my group next month -- all newcomers to Timewatch and to Gumshoe.

The pitch:
Time-traveling saboteurs just snuffed out all human life with Comic Sans? You're a member of TimeWatch, an elite organization of time cops who keep history safe. Find out what happened, track clues forwards and backwards in time, and save true history from those who try to erase it -- like the hyperintelligent AI BREEN, which has distributed itself throughout time. Good luck, Agent. Everyone -- and we mean everyone -- is counting on you.


As I started prepping things, I found the adventure has a structural problem.

There's a briefing room intro -- a bit low energy -- trying to decide if I can start things at the end of an action scene.

Scene two is in the alternate time-line Florence, late 15C, height of the Medici, with the evil AI having suborned a young Leonardo DaVinci and Florence a clock-punk paradise full of Medici's Mechanical Men and Pazzi's ParaPeople doing all the labor. The location and the changes are themselves interesting, as will be the investigation.

Scene Three is a trap -- the PCs are sent to after the robot uprising, where they must survive an ambush and escape. Combat! Again high energy.

Then the energy seems to drain out of the adventure.

Scene Four is going back to 11th C Florence, where it is a tiny town to stop an AI-infected evangelist from replacing Gothic lettering with Comic Sans and encouraging the Church to promote mass literacy. As a setting, 11th C Florence isn't all that interesting and the AI is not that powerful at this point. As written, fairly dull and lacking a strong foe.

Scene Five (optional) is going back further to the Year 900 to stop the AI's nanobots from disburing. Again, there's a technical issue, but nothing to fight or outwit.

Scene Six (coda) is the PCs stopping the AI, by keeping a kid from plugging in an old computer with a copy of the AI on it, which will let it reboot, create its nanobots, and send the back to 900, where they eventually infect the prophet in 11C Florence, who then changes things so that Florence is clock-punk in 15C, and the robots rise up and kill everyone in 16C. Again, there's no real foe here -- the AI is inactive, and the computer is in the hands of a kid who should be easy for trained agents to handle.

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So I think I need to restructure. The energy as written is in Scenes 2 and 3 -- I need to build from that to something even cooler, but I'm trying to decide what.
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