Crewing a Hovership

October 10, 2008

Before making characters, choose one player to play the ship’s operator and another player to be the ship’s captain. If you like, also choose a player to be the weakest link. It’s probably better to start without one of the characters being The One. You should also choose the name of your ship, preferably something mythologically significant: the Nebuchadnezzar, the Osiris, the Logos, Mjolnir (a.k.a. the Hammer).

The ship’s operator was born in Zion, so they cannot enter the Matrix. However, an operator is a critical member of any crew since they patch crew members into and out of the Matrix, hack the code if necessary, and take care of their crewmates’ bodies while broadcasting. Additionally, the shades ritual works differently for the operator. Normally, the operator does not wear shades. The only time the operator wears shades is when Agents have appeared, since the operator is responsible for playing Agents. The job of the operator’s player is to make things action-packed and dangerous for the crew while they are in the Matrix (acting in the interest of the Machines) while pretending that they are trying to help and occasionally throwing them bones (as the operator).

Oh no! Agents are coming! I don’t know, they just came out of nowhere! And the nearest exit is on the far side of the mall, a pay phone in the food court! Here, I’ll send you a pilot program for that Kawasaki Ninja they’re raffling off at that sporting goods store!

The ship’s captain is responsible for pushing drama in the real world. Captains are generally arrogant and brash, following their own instincts and ideals instead of the best interests of their crew and humanity. The captain’s player, with the help of the other members of the play group, should brainstorm the captains personal quirks, background, and ideology, since they will doubtlessly come into play and will effect all the other characters. Each player should also come up with a tension that exists between themselves and the captain, but then a complementary reason that they haven’t abandoned this ship for Zion or another, hopefully less crazy, captain. The captain’s personal White Whale can lead to missions and conflicts both in the real world and in the Matrix, but it should not be the focus of every scene. Take time to show the other characters reacting to the captain’s craziness and also pursuing their own potentially disruptive goals.

The weakest link is a character who is close to betraying everyone to the Machines, Cypher-style. They don’t have to be on the verge or even have considered going that far. Just, if someone’s going to break, it’ll be them. Most likely, their tension with the captain is almost as strong as their reason for staying. Additionally, they may have tension (unrequited love, jealousy, etc.) with some of the other crew members.

The other characters are free to be determined. Make sure they have badass hacker names.

3 Responses to “Crewing a Hovership”

  1. DevP Says:

    Once for a Firefly LARP, I was GMing and (when I had my hat on) was the Captain, and I drove folks hard for conflict. As a result, I think there were lots of people lined up to kill / not kill me, and otherwise I think I got some real drama going on.

    So yeah, the job of the Captain is to aggro Drama.


  2. Have you seen the Mission rules for Bliss Stage? The Anchor/Pilot interplay might be worth stealing from for this game.

  3. Jonathan Walton Says:

    Coincidentally enough, Seth, I’m about to run Bliss Stage for Dev and some other local cats starting this Thurs, partially because I wanna steal ideas from it for running the Matrix. So, yeah, you and I are definitely on the same page there.

    Can you imagine threatening ‘Agents,’ making a player spend double pluses to have them not show up? Sounds pretty good to me.


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