So about Jason's playbook change ... [Prep] [Background]

I didn’t want to bury the lede over in the Zipper Merge thread, but it ties in with that in some important ways, so I want to get all the cards on the table. Esp. since it’s become an open secret in certain quarters (i.e., this household and with the GM, and, for all I know, is just as gobsmacking a surprise as Pidge coming out for everyone else).

My intent, post-Doom-resolution (however that turns out) is to shift over to playing the Reformed playbook … with Alycia Chin.

I have a number of reasons to do this (which I’ll probably talk at tedious length about downthread), but while I had a fantasy of a glorious reveal, I raise it now for three reasons

  1. It doesn’t moot the Jason Doom Patch, both because that impacts Alycia directly as well, and because what happens to Jason Quill is important to me and to the ongoing story. Is he dead? Is he a vegetable? Is well (or mostly well, or at least functional)? Is he skulking about the hidden tunnels of the Quill Foundation, Emilio Lizardo-style? Hopefully those are important enough questions to everyone else (not just me) to treat that process with care. I have, if things go well, some cool retirement plans for Jason that will keep him showing up as an NPC, so how that turns out has long-term impact on everyone.
    (Or, hell, if things go really south with the merge, and we do end up with some weird Jalycia cognitive chimera, then maybe it is “Jason changing playbooks”.)
  2. As cool as the unexpected reveal can be, this is something that will have an effect on all the characters, and I want the players to consider how their PCs will react (and how their extended NPCs might react, too). For that matter, if there’s something that Alycia (or her father, or both of them) did in the past that had a (probably negative) impact (“Allo, my name is Inigo Montoya …”), that’s something we can weave into the fabric of all this early on.
    The Reformed playbook is not meant to be a walk in the park, so I anticipate there will be some in-game friction over this.
  3. That means that when/however the reveal is made, it can be appropriately acted out. So planned reveal. Which is also good.

This is something I’ve actually been bouncing around with Doyce for several weeks*, originally from an off-hand comment he made (so blame him). If anyone has major objections, though, please let me know as soon as possible so we can try to address them.

------

* Actually found my first email on the topic to him, back on 1/1. Yeah, I know how to spend my New Year’s Day, amirite?

author: *** Dave H.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6103413

I am, as you know, down with this. I think it opens the door for some interesting stuff with a lot of the characters. Jason will still be a key character, obviously, and with Alycia in play, it will bring a second and different relationship to AEGIS for the team, which is also fun. (I think Alycia will get a different handler as well, just to mix things up.)

author: Doyce T.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6103737

So thoughts on “why,” just to share (some of) them out loud:

  1. It’s a perfect time, with major plots for Jason (largely) resolved.
  2. I have some “retirement” plans for Jason that will not only work well with NPCdom, but fit neatly in with his plots (and resolutions), assuming things turn out well for him medically (or even if they have a few hiccups). (Alternately, if this doesn’t work out, and Jason is still alive, coming out of retirement is always a possibility.)
  3. I’ve mined a lot of the Jason material I wanted to, which makes it apropos to move forward to something new.
  4. I am not tired of Jason being the butt of much humor, but I’m ready for a change in that humor.
  5. And I’m ready to play someone who’s a little different, a little less “me” (or at least a different aspect of “me”) (“Dave, you’ve got to get more in touch with your inner daughter of a terrorist super-genius”).
  6. I’m also ready to inject (I hope) a little tension within the group. We’ve all been very mutually supportive, opening, welcoming to each other, and that’s been awesome (and a reflection of the players). But while I don’t want to make this a PvP thing (not my cuppa), a bit of stress and prickliness in the interpersonal relationships might shake things up a little (in, I hope, a good way). Alycia Chin is (probably) a better person than she pretends to be, but she pretends to be a not very nice person – and she has, in fact, done some not very nice things. That’s the point of the Reformed playbook. I hope that makes for some excitement.
  7. This also opens the opportunity to get a little more in touch with the darker side of Halcyon City, in terms of people Alycia knows (and/or who know her), which opens story possibilities. Not that we have a dearth of story possibilities, mind you.

It’s not without regrets, of course. Playing Jason has been fun (esp. with all the other characters to bounce off of). And I feel like I’m leaving Summer in a little bit of a lurch in her subplot, though I think there are possibilities there, too (and it’s not like Jason, if all goes well, is going to vanish off the face of the Earth [now watch Jason vanish off the face of the Earth.]).

I think this will be a good time.

author: *** Dave H.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6103878

Summer wanted to be a supportive friend to Jason. If he is cured of what ails him and is off finding himself in a positive manner, she will consider that mission accomplished, and focus her time on new things. She will always be around if he needs, naturally.

author: Bill G.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6103894

… and might make a really nice foil/frienemy/something for Alycia, from all the way back to the Travelycia/Numina word-association thing, thought he Sepiaverse scene, and something new.

I mean… she gets to work the whole Alycia/Jason thing from another awkward angle.

The main challenge being to make sure they pass the Bechdel test regularly as well. :stuck_out_tongue:

author: Doyce T.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6103923

Doyce T. said:

The main challenge being to make sure they pass the Bechdel test regularly as well. :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m ready for this. :slight_smile: One of Summer’s openers on initially talking to Jason was “you can talk about Alycia no more than three times” because god damn the boy had it bad, and it’s often useful to force someone into other mental channels for awhile. Talking to Alycia might get her a similar Jason quota, and it might be zero.

So what else do they have to talk about?

  • Like Jason, Alycia had what I’d call a “shaped” upbringing - she was made to be something. Summer is sympathetic to how that works.
  • Alycia is probably just as desperately in need of a normal everyday friend as Jason was.
  • I won’t say Summer wants to get more dangerous or action-y per se (she’s still working on what she does want), but the Sepiaverse got her thinking about that, and now here’s a role model for that style if it ends up being interesting.
  • If Dr. Chin did work with Rossum, and if Alycia was involved in any of her dad’s dealings, then it follows she might know more about Rossum or his own holdings and activities, and that’s always interesting to the Snow/Newman group. Talking about Rossum is technically talking “about a man”, but I feel strongly that the spirit of the Bechdel Test is okay with this.
  • If Alycia is uncomfortable being under AEGIS’ constant surveillance, Summer inherited Leo’s memories of it and how to cope, and everything Pneuma remembered about helping him through it too.
  • Similarly, if Alycia rubs someone on the team the wrong way, Summer can try to act as mediator.
  • If Alycia-as-Reformed does intend to interact with Halcyon’s underworld, it might help to have a partner along. If Summer does some work on her new shell, that partner would be alternately bulletproof, super-strong, able to fly, turn near-invisible, or make themselves look like other people. Not a bad power package for a bodyguard.

That’s just what I can think of now, without having some early interactions to spark further ideas. So I’m not at all concerned about them being independent of both Jason and Leo.

author: Bill G.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6104017

Whatever Alycia’s feelings toward Jason, don’t expect her to be mooning about (Jason-like), waiting for his call, thinking about his dreamy eyes, etc. I don’t expect there to be a Bechdel test problem from her.

From Summer is another problem. :slight_smile:

The above bullets are all good, Bill. But don’t expect Alycia to throw a pajama party with her bestie on Day 1. She’s not going to come out of her shell that fast (and her shell is prickly).

author: *** Dave H.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6104034

*** Dave H. said:

The above bullets are all good, Bill. But don’t expect Alycia to throw a pajama party with her bestie on Day 1. She’s not going to come out of her shell that fast (and her shell is prickly).

As expected. :slight_smile: Summer’s in this for the long haul - it took Leo & Pneuma weeks to stabilize their friendship post-breakup, and they were on good terms, so she’s prepared. And I saw you called out team friction as a goal for the Reformed. Leo won’t be having any of that nonsense, so he’ll need to be worked on too.

But eventually…?

Alycia: “Do you… do you like ponies?”
Summer: “Yes!”
Alycia: “Me neither.”

author: Bill G.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6104065

And I saw you called out team friction as a goal for the Reformed.

Not specifically. It’s not a goal for the playbook – or even (except in self-defense) for the character – but I see this particular character adding friction to what has seemed a pretty well-oiled machine by her very nature. Which Space Dad will try to put a stop to, no doubt. :slight_smile:

author: *** Dave H.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6104644

Space Dad poses its own challenges. Leo’s pretty safe (emotionally and otherwise) against the usual sorts of tricks Daddy’s Little Villain could bring to bear, so if Alycia needs to get a handle on him, all I think she really has is his own troubled past and darker impulses. But he’s also going to need to find a handle on her, without going through Jason if possible, and that could prove similarly difficult. So I imagine it’s going to be a race to see who gets Influence first.

As a player, my other major hope is that forum side-stories and shenanigans continue in some form, whichever characters might be involved. :slight_smile:

author: Bill G.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6104994

I fully expect Jason to remain an active NPC in team Shenanigans wherever they happen to happen, unless he’s living like a mole person in the steam tunnels underneath Gardner Academy when this is all said and done.

author: Doyce T.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6105013

As far as any tension Alicia might introduce to the team, I’m sure some of that will come from personal history and personal temperament, but I honestly think much of it will come from people representing her previous life and others who might want her head on a platter for various reasons. The team might take some heat for example for harboring a known terrorist, even if it’s all under the Aegis of Aegis so to speak. And for that matter aegis is probably going to end up providing some of that team pressure.

I like the idea of Alicia’s past and various entanglements exposing the team to different aspects of the city in the world, not least because it ties in really nicely with the team becoming more involved in other aspects of the world in terms of international politics and just larger power structures. It won’t sell it be because of her, but it will follow the same kind of theme that I think the team in general will be exposed to.

It’s all pretty exciting cuz I really feel as though the team is moving into a new chapter with a different or at least wider frame of reference?

author: Doyce T.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6105033

As a player, my other major hope is that forum side-stories and shenanigans continue in some form, whichever characters might be involved. :slight_smile:

I fully intend them to happen. :slight_smile: I’ll have to figure out some different vectors – though an encounter between Alycia and Travelycia must happen at an early date. Oh, and with AI Byron, too. I’ll sell tickets.

(I’m slightly hampered at the moment with Jason side stories based on 27, given that some fundamental issues won’t resolve until Charlotte and Jason’s post-26 stuff is resolved. I’ll see what I can do. I’m holding off on writing anything (public) for Alycia for the nonce.)

author: *** Dave H.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6106107

Leo’s pretty safe (emotionally and otherwise) against the usual sorts of tricks Daddy’s Little Villain could bring to bear …

Oh, my. Please be sure and use that epithet at some point. Please. :slight_smile:

author: *** Dave H.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6106110

It’s certainly the trope name (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DaddysL…) but Leo knows he’d be skating on thin ice by bringing up bad guy parents. If things get heated, something like it might slip out. That said…

*** Dave H. said:

a bit of stress and prickliness in the interpersonal relationships might shake things up a little (in, I hope, a good way).

This statement is what I meant by “team friction as a goal of the Reformed”, and I’m all for it. What does that look like for Leo?

  • “You need to not casually knee-cap prisoners to make them more compliant.”
  • In general, he’s going to take a hard no-kill stance, though he’ll have no problem with non-lethal ammo, stun weapons, or the like. I wonder if this is going to feel like a Batman-Red Hood type thing…
  • He is not a pacifist (if that needed to be said), but if called on to articulate his particular limits, he might have trouble. I’ve got it worked out at least.
  • He is going to see a lot of his potential self in her, and that will scare and worry him. This is who he could have been, and there’s a voice in the back of his head that’s still his father’s son. He’ll be more critical of her than other members of the team, and that’ll be evident, but the reason might not be.
  • Any kind of “Alycia interacts with supervillains” thing is gonna have Leo looming ominously in the background, trying to second-guess her motives or look for signs of trouble. Once he comes around, he may realize she’s a better instrument for villain rehabilitation than he is, if she’s interested, but that’ll take time.
  • Did Alycia believe that Jason was in charge of this team? If so, will she accept Leo taking a leadership role? Leo assumes the answers are “yes” and “maybe”. Sol is already making him feel guilty and thinking Jason could have done better, so he might have a complicated reaction if she challenges him.
  • Would Alycia change Leo’s relationship with anyone else in the team? Probably not for the most part - that’s coming from elsewhere. He’s worried about Concord and wants to reach out to Ghost Girl, but may be alarmed if her “I stand for the dead” comes off as “screw the living”. He’s not worried about Mercury himself, but will worry about his state of mind with his dad in the hospital.

author: Bill G.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6106598

Both the player and the character are still working out those internal rules. She has some (which was itself a character development over time), but they’re probably not what you want to parade in front of TV reporters at WCYN just yet.

I actually suspect it will be less the landmark rules (“Killing: when is it okay?”) and more the casual habits. Alycia’s sensitivity to violence and inflicting pain and emotional manipulation and such has been dulled during her life (by design) – or, depending on your philosophy of human nature, intentionally stunted and left immature.

(Chin’s raising of Alycia bears some resemblance to Palpatine’s raising of Anakin, only less diplomatic and more angry.)

The parallels, analogs, and differences between her life and Leo’s will almost certainly be a bundle of issues that I look forward to tackling.

author: *** Dave H.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6106994