Sunday, December 4, 2016

Misspent Youth: The Celestial Bureaucracy

Yesterday the group that was playing Nobilis met to figure out a new game. We decided to do our Spark-inspired method of choosing a game.


  • Meghan chose Star Wars: The Force Awakens (but really the franchise in general) because she wanted something in SPAAAAAACE.
  • Sarah chose the Lucifer TV show because of the discussions on Divinity. 
  • Melissa chose Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit; she liked the clear ethical argument and position it takes.
  • Michelle chose Kubo & The Two Strings for its elements of storytelling and how storytelling is power and resolution.
  • I picked the music of Devil Makes Three; I like the dark themes but the light expression. 
  • Travis chose the Dark Matter TV show; he likes how it's got elements of hard sci-fi but is ultimately about the characters.
With all of that in mind, we discuss a few options. We came close to playing In Flames, but it seemed a little darker than we wanted to go, so we opted instead for +Robert Bohl's Misspent Youth

Now, I ran a game of Misspent Youth some time ago, as you might have heard. I really like this game and I'm happy to be playing it again with a different group of people (mostly; Michelle played in the last one). 

We set to work defining our Authority. The players decided that the gods are real - most or all of the gods of human pantheons were real, but actually alien intelligences, and they've been using humanity as skin-suits for eons. Turns out human bodies are actually pretty resilient, and while gods are powerful, they need those skin-suits to really thrive. Gods need a substance they call Quintessence (but the YOs just call Mojo) to survive and empower themselves - if a human ingests Mojo, they become similarly empowered and cannot be possessed. 

The overarching body of gods is the Celestial Bureaucracy. When humanity got off of Earth and ascended to the stars, the gods scoured the Earth of all life. Now, humanity is a scattered race, and the ones that offend the gods get imprisoned on a world called Bardo. Which is where this is all gonna start. 

The gods have some Systems of Control at their disposal:
  • They limit access to Quintessence. Humanity can't really fight back without it. 
  • They tailor humanity's genetics; they want their skinsuits pretty, fit, and healthy.
  • They divide themselves into Houses. A god of a given House needs a particular kind of human to possess. This also gives humans (who are naturally tribal) something to fight over, which keeps them busy. 
  • They have planet-destroying nano-tech, which is how they razed the Earth. 
  • And, of course, they maintain a prison-world called Bardo, where they keep dissidents and let them burn off Mojo. 
The Youthful Offenders are all stranded on Bardo. They have one Exploit they can use: They've all used Mojo and can therefore communicate with each other in real time regardless of distance (this is called Interstellar Mojo Empathy). Human beings generally can display empathy, which is alien to the gods. 

And now, the YOs.
  • Sarah is playing Eli, the non-binary felonious monk. Eli provides Mojo to the others (no word yet where they get it). Their Disorder is "We Are All Created Equal." They're a member of the House of Stone.
  • Michelle is playing Jaquard (or Jaqui), the sigil graffiti artist. She sees herself as a spiritual alarm clock, waking people up to the shit they're in. Her Disorder is "Listen to Me." She's from the House of Wings and Wind.
  • Megan is playing Yasha, the reluctant god-slayer. She's kind of Buffy-like, tapped for greatness and violence. Her Disorder is "Liberation Theology." She belongs to the House of the Hollow Crown.
  • Travis is playing Ksanti Unvicious, the punk rock bodhisattva. Ksanti was born on Bardo, and she's the youngest of the YOs at 12. Her Disorder is "We have everything we need in us already." She's a member of the House of Hungry Ghosts. 
  • Melissa is playing Alaska, the underestimated slut. Alaska is a light-bringer, showing the world uncomfortable truth and beauty. Her Disorder is that she "wants to be loved." She belongs to the House of Gaga. 
That's what we've got so far. Very much looking forward to seeing this world evolve.