Oculus Pathways

If I have to rank who my favourite game developers are, Genesis of Legend is in the top five. They have a priority of RPGs that have story over mechanics, which I always like. Not only that, but they also have a knack to incorporate team-based storytelling to ensure that everyone tells a story. They’re a good company to follow and I highly recommend them.

Fun story, I managed to buy the entire catalogue Genesis of Legend-created games in a single purchase. Long story short, the shop I bought Spark from also threw in Posthuman Pathways for free. Posthuman Pathways is a storytelling game without dice and is uniquely packaged in an envelope.

Now, like the name implies, Posthuman Pathways is about transhumanism and transformation. It’s told in three acts and is a pretty good RPG with exactly three players. Doing the game solo will be a little challenging, since it depends on three players, each doing a different role. To resolve this, I’m asking our good ol’ buddy Oculus. Hey, we’re going into the viewpoint of a character, so we might as well use that.

The game has three roles; Trailblazer, who starts the scene, Voyager, who guides the central character, and the Guide, who manipulates everything around said character to force them to make a sacrifice. So, if Oculus is our Trailblazer, then Rory’s Story Cubes will be our Guide. Now, to make our character. We’ll let Oculus roll a few concepts up for me and I’ll write around it.

Alright. First off, we establish where we are. So… Country is America, City is New York, and our places include Time’s Square and Central Park. So our character is…

  • Status: [Solve Ancient] Archaeologist
  • Identity: [Social Allies] Friend To Hundreds
  • Vision: [Secrets Conscience] Mind Reading
  • Ritual: [Conflict Task] Bar Fights

Well, we have an interesting character here. So Jonny Indianapolis it is! So, this will be the RPG where I realize what people mean by “Solo RPing is just you wearing different hats”, as I have to use different roles accordingly. First is the Trailblazer. The Trailblazer’s job is to answer a question that’s been presented to it. The first question will always be: What augmentation technology changed everything?

[Oculus: Victory Exchange]

A History Changer meant to challenge Jonny’s status as an Archaeologist. I like it. Interesting. Now to Blaze the Trail.

[Oculus: Social Unnatural]

Our story starts in a pub by Times Square called Jimmy’s Corner. Our hero, Jonny, was sipping on his beer when the news comes on, explaining a new invention that allowed people to effectively change history and cites Jonny to be one of the people to start testing the device.

Now it’s the Voyager’s turn. It’s the easiest job since all I do is react to what’s happening. So I’ll have Jonny begin to consider going through with the History Changer device and perhaps save some relics lost to history. Now that I got that move done, the Guide gets a turn establishing the pressure.

[Story Cubes: Castle, Keyhole, Abacus]

So I can definitely see this guy be a Character Pressure in the form of one of Jonny’s friends. He works in the government and this technology could help change history to make it more favourable for America. Like, rewriting history so that they would win the battles that they had lost. So he talks with Jonny about possibly using the History Changer to fix some of the mistakes America made, and he says it with a threat that if he doesn’t comply, there will be trouble. This, sadly, gets in his way of wanting to use it to make the lost artifacts more findable.

So, ultimately, the choice he has to make is whether or not to abandon his friends for his ambition. Identity vs. Status. Well, I could feel that Jonny isn’t that kind of guy to be a wuss and bow to peer pressure, so he breaks up ties with his friend and burns his bridges with all his other friends so they don’t take advantage of his connection.

Alright, good. Now the Trailblazer asks a new question.

[Oculus: Learn Myth]

What new discoveries will be made with the new tech?

To which I’ll answer Lost Alien Tech. Because we need more transhumanisms in our transhuman RPG. So our hero became a well known tester of the History Changer, making small, unremarkable changes like “what beer to drink that night” or “which seat do I take in my friend’s car?” before moving onto the bigger stuff like “what if Pompeii didn’t get burnt up” and “What if those three hundred Spartans managed to defeat the Persians?”

We join him at the research center over by Silicon Valley (I know, long stretch) where he makes this discovery of Atlantis having had alien technology with them before their ultimate sinking at the hands of the mythological Leviathan. Changing Atlantis’ history, let alone letting anyone know about Atlantis or its tech will change the world forever.

Jonny’s overtly excited by this and begins to change history… But…

[Story Cubes: Batman, Sheep, Sleepy Head]

He began to start having nightmares over how freaky the Leviathan was. This is the conceptual pressure known as Nightmare. No one can put a finger on it… not that they want to help him considering how he pissed off a loooot of people. In time, the nightmares began to get worse and worse, and eventually, his own status as a world-famous archaeologist is put into question and eventually he is forced to spare Atlantis because of the great potential humanity could have. In his nightmares, Jonny is given a choice from a psychic hologram of the Leviathan:

He can give into the madness and doom Atlantis, with his reward being that he will be able to read minds or he can fix history, save Atlantis, and be regarded as a hero. In short, Status vs. Vision. … This is a tough decision for me… On one hand, I wanna see where the mind reading can go… On the other hand, I can seriously make humanity better with Atlantis’ technology…

However, if I know anything about ancient alien technology, it’s that mankind shouldn’t temper with it. So mind reading powers it is. Thanks, not-Aboleth! Jonny goes about dooming Atlantis by changing history around Atlantis so much that stopping those changes will wind up unravelling the timey-wimey ball. In short, he literally created Fixed Points In Time. So while I doomed Atlantis and got kicked out of the History Changer project, I got bitching sweet Mind Reading powers. Alright, so final scene. Everyone wants me dead, I presume… So, what’s the new question?

[Oculus: Victory Reward]

In what way is Atlantis’ demise beneficial to humanity?

I already said that they were aliens. So anyways, despite dooming humanity’s last chance to have sweet gadgets, it turns out that Jonny wound up saving people because they just found out: “Oh hey, Atlantis had a giant nuclear mecha underwater! And it’s still functional after Atlantis got screwed up! Boy, if they were alive, they’d probably roast us!”. But, like always, they don’t thank Jonny because Jonny be a bad boy.

Jonny is back where it all started: the bar. He’s annoyed with his powers because all he can read is “Cats cats cats cats cats cats cats.” He hears of the robot being extracted from the deep waters and he is drunkenly disgusted.

[Story Cubes: Shooting Star, Arrow, Plane]

That’s when Jonny could hear the mind of someone.

[Story Cubes: Camera, Map, Puzzle Piece]

It’s people discussing plans of taking the robot and using it for their own schemes. His mind could see that they had a treasure map in hand and several shots of where they’d be going. Now he has a choice. He can go into a bar fight to stop them now, but get overwhelmed, or he could try to follow them to where they will lift up the robot, thus acting on his mind reading but leave his bar fights behind. Vision vs. Ritual.

On one hand, it’s better to stop them in a place where it’s not crowded. On the other, if I let them go, it’ll probably be too late. I decided, screw it. They have to be stopped, but not here. Jonny leaves them be, forgoing his ritual as he bides his time to strike.

So now I talk about the epilogue. Our hero is a fallen archaeologist who is without any friends and has given up the one thing that makes him alive. However, he has set upon a path of redemption using the mind-reading powers he got from the Leviathan. It’s time for him to stop these people before they cause trouble.

And that’s where we’ll end the session. The game lasts longer than the three scenes I presented, but the thing is that it always results in changing roles, so I’d have to be the Guide, Rory will have to be the Trailblazer, and the Oculus would have to be the Voyager. It’d be a bit much, especially considering how I haven’t even experimented with emulating players through engines and drivers (Though the closest I had to one would be A Flower For Mara), but I could see it get executed well. Maybe another day.

For now, however, this sets up a scenario for my next RPG session: that full on Oculus game that I mentioned in the Solo Engine RPG Battle Royale Week. Bon Voyage, Gamers!

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