After a few weeks with game cancelled thanks to the swine flu flattening everyone in my house, (kids — little bioweapons! I’ve got a cold, now, thanks to one…) we were finally able to play last week. It was mostly following up little character interaction vignettes, but there were also a few big “push” scenes that advanced the arc:

Our CAG (a PC) has been prone to divine visions throughout the game (he’s the son of an oracle), and has been delving into the Sacred Scrolls, but also the “Aurelian Heresies” — an apocrypha that appears to predate Mankind on Kobol, and possibly even the Lords of Kobol themselves. There are more ties to the Titanomachy (the period of the Titans, only mentioned tangentially in the TV series), and he delves into the Eleusian Mysteries with one of the cults that use the Heresies –which they call the Aurelian Prophecies. One of the introductory rituals is the use of kykeon — a combination of ambrosia, chamalla, and other things that produces a strong hallucinogenic brew. Lucky (the CAGs callsign) takes part and has been having more intense visions of The Blaze — the jealous god that started the war between the Lords and Man. (It’s a toss off line they cut from the Kobol episodes, but became a central theme for the campaign.) The Blaze seems to the “God” of the Cylons, but is also venerated  by the Eleusinians as part of their cycle of death, discovery, and rebirth. During his vision, he is escorted by a minor NPC, his young chaplain’s mate who appears as a winged creature of light. He has the vision of the two and ten vipers, slithering into fire, but only one survives…could that be him? Is he destined to destroy the Blaze?

At this point, the Blaze “sees” him. There is a psychic connection of some sort and he realizes that the Blaze, his gleaming diamond-like spacecraft, are one and the same — some kind of incredibly powerful and intelligent creature or machine, but not God. And this thing has been retelling the story of Kobol, the Colonies, and Earth for thousands of years. To break the cycle, they need to destroy the storyteller…but what is helping him to do this?

The second push moment was a hypnosis session between Lucky and the lawman Chaplain (a PC), and Boomer. They are attempting to help her assimilate her Cylon and “human” personalities and memories. They rolled incredibly well and manage to pull it off — Boomer is Sharon Valerii, now, but her Cylon memories and personality have been integrated. She’s smarter, harder, but the “human” personality is dominant. She offers to help them find the Tomb of Athena, where they can get their roadmap to Earth. The humanoid Cylons (now confirmed to have come from Kobol and are “humans” that followed the Blaze after the War with the Lords) know where the Tomb is, where Hephaestus’ Forge is, have investigated the halls of Olympus, which overlooked the “City of the Gods”, but they cannot access the many of the places the Lords of Kobol left behind. They can only be opened by the faithful; Cylons, the automated systems kill. She can take them there, but she cannot enter.

The end of the session had the crew starting to look for transmissions from Kobol, hoping to develop a better picture of the tactical, political, and societal situation on the planet.

The goal has been to use the show as a jumping off point, to take the elements that caught my imagination and use those to tell another version of the Cycle of Time, linking it to an interesting idea from Zachary Mason’s excellent The Lost Books of the Odyssey — the idea Phaedrans had that every person’s story was a tale told by someone else, and if you could find the storyteller (and kill him) you could be free of your story to live as you pleased. The idea of escaping the predestination built into the Galactica universe was, to me, an interesting one — free will versus divine will. So the game has become focused escaping the Cycle of Time (as, to a lesser extent I would propose, was the bringing Cylons and humans together in the show.)

My hope has been to accentuate the themes of the show, while taking a new and fresh direction, and allowing for moments of “fan service” where the players think they know where the game is going (“Oh, this episode is Bastille Day!”) but then letting them change the outcomes.