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Eternal Lies - Visions of Mouths

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I’ve talked in the past about how useful it can be to build a second track of events into your campaign. Although Eternal Lies does not contain a fully-developed second track, it does include a large number of what it calls “floating scenes”. I’ve broken these floating scenes down into two types:

FLOATING SCENES: The ten floating scenes can be freely dropped into most or all of the locales in the campaign. Their primary function is to allow the GM to flexibly play out the cult’s (increasingly hostile) reactions to the PCs. This is particularly useful in Eternal Lies because the various locales are non-linear: By divorcing these floating scenes from any particular location, the authors allow the GM to independently ramp up the pressure being placed on the PCs. This is both naturalistic and effective storytelling.

SOURCE OF STABILITY SCENES: Eternal Lies doesn’t specifically separate these scenes from the other “floating scenes”, but I’ve done so for utilitarian purposes. The Source of Stability scenes are generally designed to be used between the various locales visited by the PCs: They’re the interactions they have with their friends and loved ones during their moments of respite. (Although, of course, many of these scenes are specifically designed to threaten that respite.) In my running of the campaign, these inter-locale scenes were played out either via PBeM or as a sort of “before the credits” montage at the beginning of the next session. (Or some combination thereof.)

The primary reason I separated the two types of scenes is that it made referencing the floating scenes during play easier: I wanted to be able to quickly reach in and grab a floating scene whenever I needed a cult response or a thematic cattleprod. And I didn’t want to have to sift through the Source of Stability scenes (which are generally not designed for mid-session use) in order to find what I wanted.

Go to 2.1 Bangkok

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3 Responses to “Eternal Lies – Act II: Floating Scenes”

  1. GeekSpeaker says:

    This is a really cool concept. How do they make the scenes independent of the setting?

  2. Justin Alexander says:

    I think of it as two separate “tracks” along which the adventure is running. The word “track” can carry with it a sense of linearity, but I’m thinking of it in terms of tracks at an academic conference: Multiple things are happening simultaneously and you can swap back and forth between the tracks.

    So the primary track in Eternal Lies takes the form of the investigation. Along this track the PCs are going to Los Angeles, finding clues that point to Bangkok, going to Bangkok, finding clues that point to Ethiopia and Malta, deciding to go to Malta first, etc.

    The floating scenes represent different reactions of the cult to their investigation. These primarily take three forms: Cultists threatening them. Cultists threatening their loved ones. And manifestations of the Mythos entity they’re trying to shut down.

    So a GM might decide, for example, that the floating scene featuring nightmares being visited on the PCs via a cultist’s spell should be used at the first location they visit. And then he’ll escalate that by having physical manifestations of their nightmares appear around them at the next location. It doesn’t matter if the group goes from Bangkok to Malta to Ethiopia or if they go from Ethiopia to Bangkok to Malta: The floating scenes will slot into whatever location they go to.

    (Another GM might decide to use the physical manifestations first and then have the nightmares crop up as a grim reminder of how badly their psyches have been shaken.)

  3. Deep One says:

    I just want to chime in to say how impressed I am by the effort you put into your games. I just called a co-GM of mine to talk about starting a CoC campaign because of your posts. :-)

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