Friday, March 16, 2007

Breaking Ground

Tuesday was the pilot episode of Terrior, our Primetime Adventures game about wine and magic in Santa Barbara County. If the rest of the season is half as fun as this session was, we’re in for a great ride.

The episode opened with the basic ingredients we’d agreed upon: Ted’s character’s wife (who had been cheating on him with the tasting room manager) died, leaving him controlling interest in the family winery. The twist was that she’d been murdered, as some unknown magician had left a charmed bottle of wine under the seat of her car, causing her to become intoxicated and to drive off the road. Because there were no player characters in this scene (which was effectively the teaser before the main titles), I decided to actually script the scene in Final Draft. I printed out several copies and had Roy and Christina read the parts of the doomed lovers while I read the action. I was a little worried it wasn’t going to work, but everyone said that it helped set the mood really well. It was only five pages long, so that probably helped.

The rest of the episode introduced to our protagonists. Steve (played by Ted) is the winemaker from and now majority owner of the Caire Winery. He’s also the most magically-inclined of the three. Andy (played by Roy) is his brother-in-law, who turned his back on the family business to make his own way. Despite his tremendous business successes, it’s gone badly for him recently, and he got the call notifying him of his sister’s death just as he was about to complete the paperwork finalizing his separation from his wife. Finally, Lena (played by Christina) is the young, new-promoted tasting room manager, who is trying to make sense of post-college life. She’s the only one of the three that doesn’t know about the magic yet, but she’s beginning to suspect something.

Overall, things went really well. We seem to have caught right on to the scene-framing style and to the basic mechanics. There weren’t that many conflicts in the session, primarily because we were still establishing who the characters were. There was plenty of fan mail getting tossed around, which is definitely good. And we also had some brilliant scenes, my favorite being the cross-cut flashback scene in which we learned why Andy hasn’t wanted anything to do with the winery and the lengths to which Steve is willing to go to ensure it carries on. We also got some clues as to who the murder is, but nothing conclusive.

The only unfortunate part is that we can’t play next week, which means I have to wait two weeks to get my fix.


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