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New Official V5 Away Thread
Handler: DocBallance
Dates Away: May 31st.
Days Away: 1 day
Reason for Away: Going to be out until early in the morning on the 1st at Rockfest.
Characters: Alda Abbate, Joachim Lovelace.

V5 Seventh Announcement
Requesting a four day extension for Alda. I have unexpected company coming in over the weekend and it's thrown off my ability to plan a bit, so I'd appreciate some extra time to mobilize.

Roll Nulls
For me, the issue with roll nulls isn't just their somewhat toxic effect on the community, though think that's really important as well. Just about everyone's done a better job of covering that than I could, though, so I'd like to look at what I feel is the other major issue with nulls: game flow.

As Toben points out,
The payoff for Nulls is that they're a lot of fun for the person using them/getting saved by them, and they in theory provide more community/intentional direction to the course of the game (which is actually a huge deal and part of why Hero cards are so important; without anything of the sort the game is completely random, which will likely result in much less satisfying stories).

Nulls exist in the same sort of space a heroes and swaps, allowing handlers to control the thematic direction of the game to a degree. The problem with nulls, for me, is that by nature, they simply nullify the result of game mechanics, and that can be problematic.

When you play a hero card or a swap card, you're trading a character for a character. Rolls functionally continue as if nothing happened, everybody dies, the game goes on. Nulls, on the other hand, are like a get out of jail free card. Rolls functionally are one character short, and while that's not a huge impact on its own, it adds up. V5, for instance, has had 8 BDA contests, I think? And it will probably have at least 3-4 more. If we were still giving out roll nulls for BDAs, that'd be up to twelve nulls all together, enough to cancel out almost a whole month of rolls at this stage. Will that create a gigantic impact? Probably not, but it creates a noticeable one. Assuming that all nulls are used or are required to be used in the version they're given out in, they're going to artificially lengthen the game by a noticeable amount.

This issue can be mostly corrected for if you make roll nulls much, much rarer, say handing out only 3 or 4 per version and not allowing them to carry over, but you still run into the issue of "trading something for nothing," from an in-game perspective. Nulls, to me, are just intrinsically more susceptible to deals and knee-jerk reactions due to the fact that the null itself is the only cost for playing them, rather than the "save+character" cost of a hero card. Even in this rarer state, nulls are a less efficient means of thematic or "quality" control than hero and swap cards because they simply don't require as large an investment from the handler in question. That's not to say that nulls have necessarily been used poorly, just that they have a much higher potential for abuse with a much lower potential for return. I think we're better off without them, personally.

Something Something Movie Reference
((Joachim Lovelace continued from Schwarze Rosen))

It seemed, in their search for shelter, that they had stumbled upon a burial. An interesting concept, here. Not a terribly realistic one, but interesting nonetheless.

Joachim kept the faithful knife in the palm of his hand as they approached through the grotto. He expected little trouble for anyone with enough concern for the dead to bury them at this stage, but here, exposed, with renewed purpose, it paid to be cautious. He would rather scare a jittery pall-bearer away than join the body in the grave.

"Are we interrupting?"

BDA Quote Nomination Thread #7
"Don't you want to live?"-Jessica Murphy

"Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuckin' heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelp meeeeeeeeeeee!"-Rutherford Roger Jr.

Kill All Motherfuckers
It wasn't really Kathryn's blunt, dumbass summary of what happened when Alda and Iselle carried weapons that hurt the most. That only confirmed what she already suspected. She was prepared for it. It stung, but it wasn't a surprise.

What really floored her, though, was Iselle. Her frustrated sigh at the thought of bringing weapons. Her strained, pasted on smile as she explained why they should leave them here. Her dismissive little wave to the stairs, as if to say "Go on, be a good girl and listen." It all added up to one sinking realization.

Iselle didn't trust her. She wasn't acting as her friend, or even her captain anymore. She was just holding her leash.

Her face twisted into a pained grimace as she seized the cat and her scavenged kukri from her bedside. She didn't fire off a retort. She didn't scream, or glower. She just started running. Down the stairs, through the door, past her scarred tree, through the gate, farther, farther...

She didn't know where she was going, and she didn't care. She just couldn't stay here anymore.

((Alda Abbate Concluded in Glass))

Schwarze Rosen
(Speeding up the exit to avoid explosions)

Trust. What an interesting development. Joachim had assumed Paris appreciated him, found him useful enough to replace Cho, perhaps even enjoyed his company, but he never would have considered that Paris trusted him.

As he tugged his collar forward slightly and Joachim found himself following along in obedient lock step without conscious thought, he concluded that he trusted him as well. His sheer confidence and assurance was almost infectious, given the circumstances. On most people, this far into their captivity, it would register as weakness. A simple misunderstanding of their situation. He knew that Paris understood, though.

Cho moved through his mind. Her uneasiness with his presence. The panic when she'd woken him up. The blood spilled over her betrayal. Paris's calm, easy reassurance over his culpability, never once stirring from that pleasant, confident demeanor he'd maintained since they first met.

Yes, Paris understood their situation, and while Joachim didn't quite understand him, that was enough. He knew that whatever their ultimate goal was, Paris would direct him appropriately.

As thanks, he would follow to the best of his abilities, and attempt to die at the appropriate time.

((Joachim Lovelace continued in Something Something Movie Reference))

V5 Seventh Announcement
6. Hansel Williams (NotAFlyingToy)

Hahahaha nope.

Heroing Alda Abbate for Hansel Williams. Gonna shop around an idea depending on how the rest of these rolls shape out, but feel free to send me death ideas!

Kill All Motherfuckers
Alda grew quiet under the light-hearted argument. She didn't speak or move until Kathryn was already moving for the stairs. For a moment, she almost ran with it. What she had to say would spoil the mood, and only remind them of what she'd done, and she was tired of thinking about it.

But then four names flashed back through her mind. Then two more were added. That was enough.

"We should take the weapons," she grumbled quietly, still staring at the floor. Slowly, she moved her gaze upwards and looked at Iselle, her face wrenched somewhere between pleading, defiant, exhausted, and pensive.

"We don't know who could be out there."

A lie. They both had a pretty good idea of who could be out there. Andi, Ian, Rosemary...plus their friends, or allies, or anyone who gave a shit about Sven or Meera. There were probably a few of each left. Even one stumbling on them would be more than enough to cause trouble, if they were caught defenseless in the right situation.

Schwarze Rosen
Joachim wondered what qualified as good. It had been an effective conversation. An enlightening one. An illuminating discussion. But it hadn't been pleasant, positive, or any of the other numerous descriptors one could use to quantify "good."

It would give him something to reflect upon, at least, and to be fair it was merely a simple, offhand question. So he nodded. "Yes. I think we understand each other a little better, now."

He held a firm, formal posture with his hands clasped in front of his waist as he considered their situation. The entire encounter, coupled with the discovery of Jaq, left him feeling distracted, perhaps even a bit disgruntled. It was improper, if fitting. Here, inside the dome, the consequences of being distracted by Rosemary were on clear display.

"How should we proceed, Paris?"

I have some big issues with the first bit that I don't think have been touched on much yet, so I'll add my two cents.

The fundamental problem with a lot of escapes, that I've read, is that people are approaching them from the OOC perspective that they want to succeed. It completely consumes the characters involved, and often throws a very weird group of people together that really either don't belong together or aren't being written as a cohesive unit with purpose, but instead a group of individuals standing around waiting to escape. This leads to a lot of character stagnation, and the escape itself becomes the character we're following and reading, rather than the individuals involved with it.

The idea that a successful escape attempt would nullify a character being rolled basically personifies this issue. I'm going to choose to interpret this as something other than an attempt to circumvent the rules of death within this game and instead see it as an attempt to continue and support the escape despite complications. This is actually where the much bigger problem comes in, because it further relegates the characters to being vehicles of the escape. They don't live because they should live, or because it betters their story, but because for the escape to work using survival as a success/failure metric, it needs them to live.

This is kind of disheartening to me, because I think really good, realistic escape plots can be written, if you assume the escape will and should fail because these are untrained, exhausted, terrified high school students. Actually escaping is a really neat idea, but if you want to talk about realism, realistically we're dealing with a group that's handled this situation multiple times, has almost complete control of the flow of information for it, and controls all of the assets that these kids are going to have at their disposal. Escape should not happen without outside assistance. So what would be really refreshing is seeing people write escape plots that are intended, 100%, to fail. To try to legitimately approach insufficient the resources and knowledge that our students would have focused through the lens of their increasingly chaotic and fragile mindset and watch the entire thing unironically flame-out in glorious failure. Don't try to create an attempt that's actually going to work using OOC resources, don't try to lobby back and forth to survive, don't plan around rolls and try to hero out "important" members to keep the escape alive, let it dissolve into the unabashed clusterfuck that it would almost certainly be in this scenario.

In short? Use a story to serve game mechanics, rather than trying to bend and lawyer mechanics away to get the story you want. Embrace them, don't break them. Regular escape attempts are a great idea. Regular successful escape attempts, however, are poisonous to the tension of the game and in my opinion we'd be better off if we didn't see one for a couple versions.

V5 Character Themes
Joachim Lovelace: Blank and White, by Marilyn Manson

Schwarze Rosen
Without a word more, she was gone.

Some small, curious part of him hoped that he would never see her again. They could avoid the almost inevitable conflict rising between them. This was the second time he'd let her walk away not only unharmed, but with gifts. First, he'd given her a weapon. Now, a kiss.

It would reflect well on her gratitude if she had the courtesy to die elsewhere.

So he didn't call out for her, or watch where she went. He listened, waiting for her footsteps to echo back towards him, either for an explanation, an attack, or another bizarre attempt at comfort. They did not come, though. He was alone.

Satisfied, he turned away from their resting place and wandered of in search of his other companion. They enjoyed a simpler relationship. One where certain...necessities, were understood.

"Paris," he called out softly, "anything to report? Rosemary...left. It's just us now."

Just us. As it should be.

Schwarze Rosen
((Joachim Lovelace has been adopted at handler request.))

In movies, these awkward, fumbling moments were always portrayed as endearing, even enchanting. The first, wobbly steps of young love. Shaking bodies slowly entwining with a few clever, romantic words, and then...passion.

In reality, there was nothing magical about it. Not for Joachim, at least. This was less romantic and more...dutiful. Stabilizing. Rosemary needed this, it seemed. Demanded it, in a way. So he pushed through his discomfort, slowly moved his lips down, and silenced her soft curse by pressing against her mouth.

His eyes shut as the kiss pressed tighter. Visions of the next steps danced through his mind, not exactly passionately, but without too much beckoning. He saw them together, wound tight and gasping. His hands brushing through her hair, twirling, spinning, easing down along her shoulders. Tracing softly along the curves of her neck. Wrapping around them, curling together until they began to squeeze down. Her gasps turning more ragged, pleading as she struggled below him. Hands clawing for futile release as her eyes bulged up at his idly thoughtful expression.

A shudder ran through his spine as he pulled away from the kiss. "I...I can't do this," he stammered out, gazing at the floor. He'd killed her. Only in his mind, but that was inconsequential. The mere thought process had reminded him of where they were. Who he was. He'd sought to bring Rosemary joy and fulfill the debt he owed her, but there was only one service he could provide. People came to Joachim for one thing. With Paris, with Cho, with Jaq, Carmina, Adonis...he either killed for them, or he killed them.

Rosemary wasn't going to ask him to kill for her. So that left only one option. An option that he wasn't ready for.


Kill All Motherfuckers
On the one hand, going outside, exposing themselves, or even just moving were the last things Alda wanted right now. She didn't want to deal with the world out there, or the people in it. Eventually, one of them would remind her that Paulo was dead, and she'd killed someone because of it.

They'd remind her of how much she'd wanted to kill a couple other people along the way. That somewhere out there, Rosemary probably wanted to kill her. That Andi might want to kill Iselle. That seven had become four had become three and one, and that the number might only get smaller.

On the other hand, she was tired of stewing with all of it. She wanted something real and physical to distract her again. Something to let her fade out of all of this and focus on the ache in her muscles, the sweat on her brow, and the sun on her back. So getting out of this shit-hole of a mansion started to rate pretty highly, in retrospect.

"I've still got a baseball from that stand in my bag," she grunted out as she shifted up off the floor. "We could use that."