All posts by crossmlk

John Lees

It wasn’t that long ago that I would never have imagined that so important of a friendship could be struck via the internet. Maybe that’s the way the future will be. That sounds like something that John and I would discuss via our almost daily emails. We talked about what the future would hold as much from a sense or curiosity as the desire to flesh out what had become our joint passion the Twilight Sector Setting.

At first it was odd that someone would buy into something not of their own creation with such passion. But that was a clue revealing the true genius of John. For it was in the perfection of the form not necessarily in its creation which was his special skill and frankly I’m not sure I could imagine any human who could be better at that task.

It was the happy accident of a chance internet encounter that lead to our friendship as well. I only had the pleasure of meeting John in person twice. Both occurred at GenCon, once in 2010 and again in 2011.  It was there I learned much about the man. As much as the internet has extended our reach so that a man in Flint, Michigan and one in Kansas City, Missouri might meet and exchange ideas I believe it is by meeting someone in person that you can take their true measure. It was here that I was introduced to John’s warm nature, quick wit and a palpable intelligence that could not be denied. I’ll be the first to admit that John could be prickly at times. His opinions he held dear but the beauty is that he always approached them with a determined logic. It was often disagreements that lead to our best work.

We were in the midst of just such an occurrence this week shooting emails back and forth discussing how best to approach a design issue. I received his last email at Midnight and by the next morning my colleague and friend was gone. John D. Lees passed away on October the 2nd, 2012. For me the world is a much dimmer place. A man who might have been unknown to many but who is the very embodiment of the best that is tabletop role-playing has left us.

Abella Conchita Aguliar Reyes

Players’ Information:
Abella is a freelance flash journalist*. She was once a well respected journalist who won a number of prestigious awards for her reporting. However she was caught up in a manufactured story scandal (Referees insert an infamous scandal from your campaign here. Anything from fake product testing on the latest grav car to planting a false story about a contender in a political contest.).

Next she found herself caught up in a scandal regarding some rather “intimate” recordings, flash journalist style, she made of the famous Tri-Vid star Stronham Harper.  Now she finds herself reduced to working for information outlets like “The Casual Observer” an electronic version of a supermarket tabloid.

When the players encounter her she is recruiting for an expedition into an uncharted jungle on Kutadis (Foreven 2937). She is very tight-lipped about what exactly the story is she is working on.

The story is one on precursor artifacts.  She has information on just such an artifact, an ancient stone monolith in the jungle. She needs the players to help her reach her goal. Hazards could include hostile jungle plants, animals and primitive natives.

Abella Conchita Aguliar Reyes
Abella Conchita Aguliar Reyes: by MuYoung Kim. Copyright Terra/Sol games. Used with permission.

Referee’s Information:
1. Everything is as presented above. When the expedition finally finds the monolith it is unclear if it is actually an ancient precursor artifact.  Dating of the stones materials and analysis of the hieroglyphs on it are inconclusive. That doesn’t stop The Casual Observer from trumpeting the find as historic and a groundbreaking step in our understanding of the precursors.

2) As #1 but throw in a competing expedition of yellow journalists who will stop at nothing to get the exclusive.

3. As #1 but upon discovering the stone monolith it is clear that it is a cheesy fake.  With some good photography it might fool the tabloid consuming public.  Which is exactly what Abella sets about doing.
Referee’s note: If the players go along with this they might become infamous later when it is discovered the story was a fake. It they instead blow the whistle on the story they will have made an enemy of a powerful yellow journalism outlet.

4. After traipsing through the jungle for several weeks the expedition finds nothing.  The players get stiffed on the back-end of their compensation payments.  If they make waves they’ll have made an enemy as in #3 above.

5. The Monolith is the real deal. The players become famous for having been on the expedition and can make quite a fair bit of profit guiding tourists to see the thing.

6. The Monolith turns out to be more than expected. It is a psionic artifact that affects people’s minds, driving some to madness and the whole expedition devolves into a fight for survival.

* Flash Journalism is a method of recording an event in first person usually via a holo recorder the lens for which is implanted in the journalist’s retina. The visual as well as other senses (sound, smell and even touch) are recorded on the users wafer jack and then can be broadcast either in real-time, as a recording or both. The quality of the playback depends on the capabilities of the consumers equipment and can range from visual only to the whole suite of senses recorded.