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Episode One Transcript:
Michelle: Hi! Welcome to the first, real, episode of Serendipity City.
Before we jump into the action, I wanted to give you a quick chance to get oriented, and just kinda know what’s going on, especially if you didn’t listen to the World and Character Creation episodes, which are totally optional.
So, this is an actual play podcast, which basically means that we’re improvising a story together in a world that I have created and the story is told via the medium of tabletop games, that are played with dice. For this game, we’re using a combination of The Sprawl by Hamish Cameron, and Urban Shadows by Andrew Medeiros and Mark Diaz Truman with a few things added in here and there from Dungeon World by Sage LaTorra and Adam Koebel to fill in any gaps.
All of these are hacks of Apocalypse World. If none of this mean anything to you, don’t worry, you can absolutely listen to the story without having to understand any of the rules at all. It’s pretty self-explanatory. and we don’t get often get in the weeds about rules or anything like that. In case you didn’t listen to the World and Character Building episodes, which is totally fair I know that a lot of people will find those boring and some people will find them interesting.
Here’s what’s up: the main characters are a gang of questionable heroes, who happen to be freelance criminals, all living on the fringes, in a seedy 1920-esque metropolis with a magical underworld. There is Vex the witch, Fancy Nancy the Oracle, and Charles Chappelle the tinker. And I, Michelle Nickolaisen, am your host/DM.
One quick note before we really get started, you may noticed that this episode is marked explicit, that’s mostly due to language, although there is a lot of joking around about drugs and booze too. These are seedy criminals, after all.
In future episodes, if there is anything particularly violent or upsetting that happen, I will let you know at the top of the episode with timestamps so that you can skip it if you want. Alright, without further ado, let’s get this started.
Gloria: The sun is setting on another day in Serendipity City. Smoke from the metalworking factories hangs thick in the air, and high above in the skyscraper-pierced smog, other beings move about in the clouds, unbeknownst to the people below going about their daily lives. Back on the ground, noisy automobiles careen around the streets as people bustle by on sidewalks. Barges traverse the massive river that divides Serendipity City on their way to or from the docks and the warehouse district. Underneath the pavement, in an interlaced network of caves, creatures and people move around in the darkness. Some of them are metal. Some are spirit. Some are flesh. Some are a combination of all three.
Above that, in the magical slums that make up the Grammary District, your crew of freelance criminals is in your base of operations, the secret backroom of a speakeasy, which is itself, hidden behind a rundown watchmaker's shop. What are you doing?
Jennifer: Hi, I'm Jennifer Alexander, and I'll be playing Fancy Nancy Vanderbilt. I'll go by Fancy. I'm female, Caucasian, and I wear quite a bit of revealing clothing. I also wear glasses because I'm far-sighted. I am in a booth, probably doing a tarot reading. I have a bob, brown hair, and I am 5'5" and wearing semi-fancy clothing for what the 1920's considered it to be.
Gloria: Hi, I'm Gloria Walker, and I'm playing Vexville Mall. Vexville Mall is in her early 20's. She's a female Caucasian, curvy, about 5'10", dark features. She tends to wear darker ... She has a pale complexion, but she wears dark lipsticks and dark eye makeup. She wears a lot of dark clothing. At the moment, she's wearing shorts and a thigh-length coat. Earlier in the night, when she got there, she was in a hell of a mood. She'd already begun drinking. She has a bit of a drinking problem. Earlier in the night, she was at a booth, just doing shots by herself, flipping a coin, really thinking about her past. The more shots she gets into her, the more boisterous she is. At this point, she's at the bar shootin' the shit with the bartender when somebody next to her says something untoward, and now she's in an argument.
Evan: Hi, my name is Evan Moira. I'm going to play Charles Chappelle, or Charlie. Right now I'm in the backroom of the bar as well with everyone else. I'm having ... I'm sitting down drinking as well, because I've been in the shop all day. I'm wearing something like jeans and sort of a button-down shirt and an apron. I haven't taken off my jeweler's loop yet, and I'm just drinking with my friends.
Michelle: Iro and Fox would normally be with you, but they got a tip earlier in the evening from someone who had come in and said that they had information on the suspected human trafficking ring being run in the city. They are both missing right now or out on the job, and you haven't heard from them. That was earlier today.
You're all in the backroom. The bartender on duty wraps on the sliding panel that conceals the backroom, and then she opens it and sticks her head in. She says, "Hey, there's someone here to meet you. They say they've got a gig, something about a missing person." What do you do?
Gloria: Well, I don't know about you guys, but fuck this. I'm having a good time. I didn't want to go to work today. I mean, come the fuck on. We've got this asshole over here who's trying to tell me he knows more than me about fuckin' magic. Now these assholes show up and want me to do some fuckin' work? Are you kidding me? No.
Jennifer: Well, I guess I'm going to be wrapping up with this customers, but I mean, I am in the middle of something, guys.
Evan: Missing persons are usually pretty easy, and we could use the money, no?
Gloria: I mean, I guess you're right. I do need to tip this bartender at some point tonight.
Evan: That's right, we're not drinking for free.
Gloria: Yeah. All right, Charlie. I think let Fancy finish up what she's doing. Let's go see what this asshole wants.
Michelle: Okay. You guys wait a little bit, walk out. I'm assuming you'll leave the back room. You usher your customer out of the back room since nobody's supposed to be in there when you guys aren't in there. Waiting at the bar, there is a tall, thin, but muscular thin--that kind of thin where you know that they could kick your ass--woman. She looks like Lupita Nyong'o, so she has dark skin, dark eyes. She has curly hair that's been finger-waved, and she's wearing this dress that looks almost like an industrial flapper dress. You can tell that it looks that way, because it's been falling apart. But, she makes it look really good where there's some tatters. It's a gray dress with some shimmering in it. There's a couple pieces that are held together with safety pins or chains instead of fabric.
With her is this ... She's very calm. She's kind of looking around observing and patiently waiting. With her is this ... She's probably, like, 25-ish. Let's say 25 to 30-ish, in that age range. With her is this much younger kid, probably like, 17 or 18. He's wearing high-waisted pants with suspenders and dirty work shirt underneath it. He is incredibly fidgety, where she is calm and reading the room. He is bouncing on his heals and looking around and looking kind of irritated that he's been made to wait. She's very clearly a little bit annoyed with him. Not a lot, but a little. I'm assuming you walk up and say, "Hi."
Gloria: Yeah, what's up, girl? What you need?
Michelle: Okay. Yeah, she says, "Hi, My name is Lashelle Maddox. I'm with the Bindle Punks. You might have heard of us." She kind of pauses and waits for somebody to say something.
Michelle: Okay. She says, "We're here because we thought you might be able to help. One of our comrades ... " Why am I having trouble with that word? "One of our buddies, Wyatt, has gone missing. He was undercover at Blair Metal. He was investigating their working conditions and trying to find sympathizers in the employees to see if we could sort of incite some unrest there and make them treat the workers better. He's been missing for two weeks now." This is when the younger, annoying kid ... Well, I didn't say he's annoying yet. Spoiler alert. This is when the younger kid pops up, and he's like, "Yeah, I think he's a deserter." The other girl just looks at him, and is very annoyed ... Clearly very annoyed, but trying to keep it under wraps. She's like, "Wyatt wouldn't do that. He's been with us for years. He's one of our hardest working members. Something has happened to him. I know something has happened to him. I need you guys to figure out what it was." The younger kid kind of pouts a little bit. He sort of crosses his arms and stares off in the corner of the room, like, clearly also annoyed, but trying to keep it ... Trying not to outburst in front of you. What do you do?
Gloria: Well, I think I'm going to talk to the little annoying asshole kid and be like, "Listen. Why do you think this person is a deserter? Obviously, you've got to have a reason to think that."
Michelle: Let's see. He thinks about it for a minute, and he's like, "I don't know. He just never struck me like he was the kind of guy who was in it for life. I know that when he was younger he didn't have it rough growing up like some of us did."
Gloria: Oh, so you're an entitled asshole.
Michelle: He shuts up and goes beet red. The woman, Lashelle, smiles at you and gives a half-wink, enough that if he's looking, he didn't see it as a wink. She's clearly in the same boat with you. If you ... I don't know if this touchpoint rings true for anyone else, but this kid is definitely giving off vibes like that 17-year old who discovers what crust punk is.
Michelle: ... and decides that they're the boss.
Gloria: I'm sorry. You like the Misfits? What are their top five songs?
Gloria: What album did they make the third album, but which one with this guy?
Michelle: Yeah. Yeah.
Gloria: I know a lot of those guys.
Michelle: Yeah. This kid is definitely that guy. Now that you've humbled him, Lashelle speaks up, and she's like, "Look, we can pay you. We can owe you a favor."
Gloria: Yeah, no shit.
Jennifer: We ain't doing this shit for free.
Michelle: She's saying that there can be some combination. The price can be negotiated on.
Gloria: I'll keep that in mind.
Michelle: She's not assuming that you would do it for free, but she's saying it can be some combination of favors and cash going on. Yeah. What do you do from here? Do you take the job? Do you negotiate? What do you do?
Jennifer: I ask if she has anything that belongs to the person.
Michelle: She thinks about it for a minute, and she says, "Yes, I can get you something. I don't have it on me, but I can get you something."
Jennifer: Okay, that'll be useful.
Gloria: How long has this person been missing?
Michelle: He's been missing for two weeks.
Gloria: Two weeks. Charlie, what do you think?
Evan: That's a long time.
Gloria: Sounds like it could be a really stale trail there. I don't know. I think that this is probably going to be pretty expensive one. I don't know if you can afford it.
Evan: Yeah. Where does this guy hang out? Where around town? Where do we have to go? A lot of traveling? Are we going out of town? What's going on?
Gloria: You know we have a per diem, right?
Michelle: She tells you that he is usually seen in the Industrial District with the warehouses. Blair Metal is on the west side of town. Blair Metal is on the west side of town. It's near the ocean. It's not on the other Industrial District.
Michelle: Oh, okay. Yeah. Blair Metal is on the west side of town. He's been there. He's been hanging out in some of the bars around there. The bars that are immediately near the Warehouse District aren't really the ones that are getting hipstery yet. When I upload this episode, I'll upload a map, and you, the listener can see what's going on. There is sort of a ring of gentrifying neighborhoods around the Industrial District. Some of them are still really rough. Wyatt would hang out in the bars that the workers went to after work, basically, trying to talk to them and figure out what's going on. He also would hang out ... There's a bar in the slums. Not the Grammary District proper, not the true magical district, but there's a bar in the slums that the Bindlepunks like to frequent, that's known as their bar. He would hang out there, and those are basically the two major haunts that he was at.
She does tell you that she had seen him talking to some dwarves at the Bindlepunk Bar, which is a little unusual, because the dwarves don't usually go to the bars that are not strictly magical. She didn't think anything of it, because they have ... The Anarchists have connections with the dwarves and make some deals with them sometimes. She assumed that it was about that.
Gloria: Is there a bar that the metalworkers hang out at?
Michelle: Yes. There's ... Let's see. If there's a bunch of bars around the Industrial District, there's probably a couple ... I would imagine that there's a solid five or six bars that the people who work at those go to, because there's the docks, the sewing factories. There's the metalworking factory. There's two bars that the metalworking people tend to go to.
Gloria: All right. Well, I think that we should probably go to either the docks ... But, see, here's my thinking, if we go to the docks and start questioning people, it's going to be more suspicious than if we just go to a bar and knock back a few with some people and make conversation and see what we can find out.
Evan: Right. I wouldn't know what to do at the docks. I would just be walking around. A bar, on the other hand, I could blend.
Gloria: Yeah. Yeah.
Jennifer: Just make sure you don't get too drunk, guys. I've already had some drinks tonight.
Gloria: Oh, you're not my mom.
Jennifer: What a cranky wizard.
Gloria: I'm not cranky, I'm just independent. Fuck all y'all. Okay. I think that's what we're going to do. We should probably ... Fancy needs to get out of her fancy clothes before we go to a bar with a bunch of metalworkers. Otherwise, it would be very suspicious.
Evan: And dwarves, right? There's dwarves?
Michelle: The dwarves she saw him meeting with were in the slums that are just north of the Grammary District, which is different than the bars that were around the Metalworking District.
Evan: Okay. All right, so the Metalworking District then. Are we all getting on your motorcycle?
Gloria: I don't ... Do I look like I can take three people on my motorcycle? Somebody's going to have to hoof it.
Gloria: Fancy has a bike.
Michelle: Do you have a car?
Evan: I'll take a cab, how about that?
Michelle: Okay, we'll say that there can be cabs.
Gloria: You know what? I have a fuckin' sidecar, okay?
Evan: You have a sidecar?
Gloria: Now I do. This is fantasy land. I can have whatever the fuck I want.
Evan: All right. Dibs on the sidecar.
Michelle: Okay, so you get changed.
Michelle: I'm assuming you all ... Actually, who wants to roll for "get the job?" Somebody needs to roll 2D6.
Gloria: I'm sorry, they came to us, and we have to roll. They should roll if I want to do their fuckin' job.
Jennifer: I got a one and a three.
Michelle: Okay, so that's a four.
Gloria: That's how math works.
Jennifer: That is how math works.
Michelle: Yeah. If I hid ...
Gloria: We didn't get the job, did we?
Michelle: She definitely negotiates you down. Let's put it that way.
Gloria: Oh, fuck this.
Michelle: You start out playing hardball, and she manages to negotiate you down. I don't know if it's the alcohol that you all have been drinking or if she's just a really good negotiator, maybe a little Column A, a little Column B. You take the job, you do get the job.
Evan: I thought she was hot.
Michelle: Yes, that might also be a factor. You're drunk and she's hot.
Gloria: You know what? From now on, let me do the negotiating.
Evan: Sorry. It's a lonely life as a clockmaker.
Michelle: You do get the job. You do it for substantially less than you normally would. She told you all of that information already. I probably should have given you less information than that, but since it's the first thing, I wanted to give you something to start out with.
Gloria: I mean, she wants us to fuckin' find him, right?
Gloria: Why wouldn't she?
Michelle: Yeah. She can't tell you the names of any of the bars there. She can't tell you any of the names or the exact locations of any of the bars that the dockworkers and industrial workers hang out at. She can, of course, tell you where the Bindlepunks Bar is at, because why would she not know that. But, let's say that you know that there are bars. You aren't sure with one the metalworkers hang out at. There's, like, six to choose from.
Jennifer: Looks like we're bar-hopping tonight, guys.
Michelle: Fancy goes to get changed. Do you have a change of clothes at the bar, or do you have to go back to your place?
Jennifer: No, I have a change of clothes at the bar.
Michelle: Okay. That makes sense. While you're getting changed, and you guys are figuring out the motorcycle situation or whatever, Lashelle leaves and comes back. Oh, when she comes back what she says is, "I went to his place just now to try and find something of his, and it's been ransacked. Just completely trashed, so I don't have anything. I have to figure out ..." She's panicking. She's definitely lost some of the cool that she had earlier in the night. She's like, "I don't know who this was. I have to figure this out. I'll bring you something later or tomorrow or whatever." She-
Gloria: Were there tiny footprints?
Michelle: There were no tiny footprints. Everything had been ransacked, just completely trashed, but nothing was stolen. It's as though they were looking for something.
Gloria: Uh-huh (affirmative).
Jennifer: Could I put my hand on her and try to "skim the surface?"
Michelle: Yeah. Let me see. You roll for that while I read the description.
Jennifer: Basically, can I figure out what's going through her mind at the moment?
Jennifer: I had a four and a three.
Michelle: Okay. Seven plus two, that's nine.
Michelle: That means you get to ask one out of "What is your character thinking right now," "Who are you protecting," "Why are you keeping secrets," and "What is your character's hidden pain?"
Jennifer: I guess I'll ask "What is your character thinking right now?" She must have some idea if it got ransacked. What's going through her mind?
Michelle: What's going through her mind is that ... She ... You can tell that she cares deeply about this guy. No romantic history, but they're just ... You can tell that they were friends going a long way back. They've been friends for, like, five to ten years. This panic that you're seeing is definitely real. She's definitely, truly freaking the fuck out about what has happened to her friend. She's also feeling conflicted, because the kid, who I didn't even bother to name because he's her sidekick--he's fairly irrelevant and not there right now ... She ditched him when she came back. The kid is convinced that Wyatt was a deserter or switched sides, like got bought out by the company, and has been feeding them information. She's, like, 99% sure that the kid is full of shit, but the fact that he's disappeared and now his apartment has been ransacked, she's starting to wonder if maybe he's right. Maybe her friend isn't who she thought he was. She's genuinely panicked, upset, very stressed out, and starting to have doubts about her friend. That's where she's at right now.
Gloria: Okay. Okay, y'all. Can y'all just chill for a minute? I need to go take a shit. I tell them all to chill, and then I go ... I'm assuming this is how it works. I go through the backroom, and there's an alley that I can access in the back.
Michelle: Yeah. Let's say there's an alley.
Gloria: There's an alley. I go out, and I whistle. From around the corner, it's all dark. There's fog and stuff. You see this figure walking up. The shadow is really big, and as it gets closer, it gets smaller and smaller and smaller and smaller. You realize that it's an 11 year old boy, and his name is Bugsy. I'm like, "Hey Bugsy, here's what's going on." I tell him the whole story, and I'm like, "I need you to help me figure out what's the bar that most of the metalworkers hang out at? I don't want to go bar-hopping. You need to help me. What are you hearing on the street?"
Michelle: Okay. I think ... Let me check the moves. I feel like this should be a roll.
Gloria: He's an extremely knowledgeable assistant.
Michelle: He's a very good boy. I mean, kind of.
Gloria: He's not a good boy, but ...
Michelle: He's a very good ...
Jennifer: He's good to you.
Gloria: He's a good boy to have on my side.
Michelle: Okay. I think ... Sorry, I'm trying to figure out which of these is the most interesting move right now. Let's do ...
Jennifer: Would it be more of a roll just to see what he knows?
Michelle: Well, yeah. There's specific moves. The problem with this is it's, like, he's technically an NPC, but he's also sort of an extension of Gloria's character. I was trying to figure out what move makes the most sense ...
Gloria: I mean, I think just do a straight up ... If we do a straight up-or-down roll to see if it's a success or not ...
Michelle: Yeah, let's do ... I think this would technically be research, which is when you investigate a person, place, object, or service using a library, dossier, or database. Which, Bugsy is the database.
Gloria: Basically, Bugsy is my ability to research things without having to be there.
Gloria: My perception check without having to be there.
Michelle: Yeah. You will roll for research, which is a mind. Roll with that. Let me know.
Gloria: Three plus one. I got four. That blows.
Michelle: Okay, so-
Evan: Three plus one is four.
Gloria: I'm doing so much math. I'm so good at remedial math.
Michelle: It's such a mystery. Yeah. With the four, what he tells you is that ... He says, "Well, I can ..." He's like ... I need a voice for him.
Gloria: Don't look at her. It'll be easier. I think his voice should be something like this.
Michelle: Okay. No, wait.
Gloria: That's pretty close.
Michelle: He says, "Yeah, so I know that all the dockworkers hang out at this one specific bar." I don't have a name for it, but he tells you where it's at, right? He's like, "I think that the metalworking people hang out like two bars down, but I don't know the name. I can tell you where it's at." He gives you this extremely convoluted ... You know how you get directions from somebody, and they're not like, "Go up to Congress, and take a right." It's like, "Yeah. You're going to go up half a mile, and then there's an oak tree that's been split by lightning, and you're going to hang a slight right there. Then, a little bit down the road, there's ..." He gives you this very convoluted set of confusing directions based on landmarks and not street names. You do get the answer, but it's not quite as specific as you would have liked.
Gloria: Okay. I'm like, "Good boy, Bugsy," and I give him a hard candy.
Evan: And a pat on the head.
Gloria: I give him a little noogie, and I'm like, "Get out of here."
Michelle: He waits just a second to make sure you aren't going to give him anything else.
Evan: Aw, little guy.
Gloria: "I'll see you at the end of this adventure, when I have some money. I just spent all my money on Tequila."
Jennifer: Yay for giggle water.
Michelle: He kind of does a, "Yeah, that checks out."
Gloria: "You know I've always got you, Bugsy. You know I'm good for it. I'm good for it."
Michelle: He pops the candy in his mouth and runs back down the street.
Gloria: Okay. I walk back inside, and I go to the bathroom and wash my hands. I come back, and I'm like, "Okay guys. I’m ready to go."
Jennifer: All right, guys. Let's blow this place.
Gloria: You know that nodding doesn’t happen on audio.
Evan: Yeah! Let’s blow this place.
Jennifer: Sorry I’m looking at my cheat sheet.
Evan: Or, we could blow this place or I could use snoop. I think I’d like to roll for something, can we do that?
Gloria: Do you want to snoop here or do you want to snoop when we get to the bar?
Evan: But I’d like to snoop there maybe because …. one of my power is… do we live there?
Gloria: I mean, it’s like our hideout.
Jennifer: Yeah, do you want…?
Evan: Our place has been ransacked? I thought…
Gloria: Oh, you want do go to Wyatt’s place?
Michelle: No. The dude's place has been ransacked, but you're currently at the Speakeasy. Do you want to go by his place before you go to-
Jennifer: Yeah. Can we figure out where he lives?
Michelle: Actually, yeah. That makes sense. Let's say, for that interaction ... I am going to have to get those character sheets back from you in a minute. Let's say, for that interaction, she comes back from the bathroom. You've been ...
Jennifer: Trying to console her.
Michelle: Yeah, that's exactly what I was going to say, because I feel like that makes sense for your character. You're trying to calm her down, because Lashelle is still, like, very freaked out.
Jennifer: It gives me an excuse to put my hands on her.
Michelle: Yeah. You're patting her on the shoulder as she's [crosstalk 00:33:25]. She's fairly composed. You can tell, given how panicked and upset you could tell that she was when you did your fancy magics. It's surprising that she's this composed, but she's till clearly shaken.
Jennifer: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Michelle: The bartender kind of noticed that she's freaked out, and gave you a half shot of whiskey or something to ...
Jennifer: Some giggle water.
Michelle: At what point are you like, "Hey, maybe we should just go check out this guy's place?" How does this interaction go down?
Gloria: Okay, the scene is I come back from the bathroom, "Okay, you guys ready to go to the bar?"
Evan: Oh, well, first of all, I want to know how everything came out.
Gloria: Let's just say, "Don't go in there."
Evan: Noted. I'd really like to go to this guy's place and see if we can find out anything more about him than they're willing to tell us now. They didn't hear me say that.
Michelle: I was going to say, did you say that in front of her?
Gloria: I mean ...
Evan: I said it with my eyes.
Gloria: I mean, okay. I just really want to get to another bar, because I'm starting to lose my buzz, but yeah, let's go. That makes sense. Let's go.
Jennifer: Could I ... It says, "Why are you keeping secrets?" Is there a way we could find out without asking her?
Michelle: I will tell you ... I'll just give you a freebie. She's being upfront with you.
Jennifer: Okay, because I consoled her.
Michelle: Yeah. If you ... If she was keeping some kind of secrets, you would have been able to tell when you sort of saw into the state of her mind.
Jennifer: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Michelle: She's being pretty upfront. She hasn't told you that she's now doubting her old comrade-
Jennifer: Yeah, but I felt that. I knew that.
Michelle: Right. You could feel that. She's not keeping anything big from you about his home or about other stuff going on.
Michelle: She's not preparing to double cross the Anarchists or anything like that.
Michelle: I'm assuming ... Who comes over and clues Nancy in to this new plan, because you guys were talking, but you were away from her.
Jennifer: Yeah, because-
Michelle: You have to ask in front of her.
Evan: Oh, right. Well, everyone's looking at me.
Jennifer: What was your plan?
Evan: Well ...
Gloria: I think I'm probably more likely the one to do, because I'm just kind of irreverent, and I don't really care that she's in a state. I just walk up, and I'm like, "Hey, we decided that we're going to go to his house, so can you just tell us where he lives?"
Michelle: She looks a little taken aback, and then she's like, "Yeah. I guess that makes sense if you're looking into him." She gives you an address. His house is in the ... It's in the slums, the non-magical, but magical adjacent slums. Honestly, it's actually on the way. Let me see the map again. Yeah. It's basically on the way to the Industrial District. You realize that it will be pretty easy to do a straight shot basically. She tells you where it's at, and she's like, "Yeah." She starts to tell you where the key is at, and then she stops and she's like, "Oh, well, I guess you don't need a key, because they busted the damn door down."
Gloria: "Well, that's pretty cool. All right, thank you."
Michelle: Yeah. She turns around to the bartender and orders another whiskey. The bartender, who you're all good friends with She overheard you talking to the bartender ... The bartender overheard you talking to Charlie about being out of alcohol. She stops you on the way out the door and very discreetly passes you a flask.
Evan: I like this game already.
Gloria: I think that she should have a name, because we're probably going to interact with her a lot.
Michelle: Yeah, let's give her a name. I've given her character traits. Names are usually-
Jennifer: Can she be Delores?
Michelle: We can name her Delores.
Gloria: Okay. She hands me a shot, and I say, "Damn Delores, you're just always there for me."
Jennifer: See! It works. It's great.
Michelle: Yeah. The bartender is a mixed ...
Gloria: Why is that so funny?
Evan: Thanks damn Delores.
Jennifer: Damn Delores, thanks for the giggle water. You're always there for me.
Michelle: The bartender, by the way, has medic training, which I'm sure will come in handy at some point, just for future reference for Delores.
Gloria: Is she a vet ... When you're watching all the mom movies, it's like they always take you to a vet.
Evan: Oh, right. You can't go to the hospital. You go to a vet.
Michelle: Yeah. She's good friends with Fox. She's been at the Speakeasy since the beginning. One of her parents was a magic worker, and the other one was a fae. She has some secrets that maybe you don't know about as far as, you kind of get the impression that maybe she's a little more than meets the eye, but she's always been-
Jennifer: And she's working her way through medical school, which we don't know about.
Jennifer: She definitely has some skills.
Evan: Why isn't she friends with me? I work across the wall from her.
Michelle: I'm sure she's friends with you too.
Gloria: I think she's friendly with everybody, but I think she's deep friends with ...
Evan: With Fox.
Jennifer: Because he owns the joint.
Michelle: Yeah. I think we ... I don't know if we established it-
Gloria: It's just like, you always think you're friends with the bartender.
Evan: That's true.
Michelle: Yeah, you should know that more than anyone.
Evan: Well, I guess, but you know ... I've been thinking about Delores a lot lately, and I'm annoyed that she's not more my friend.
Jennifer: He likes her.
Gloria: I always tip her so well.
Michelle: Poor Charlie.
Evan: Charlie doesn't have feelings. He just drinks.
Gloria: Okay, so cut scene.
Michelle: Cut scene. Yeah, I don't think we need to do anything for ... You navigate-
Gloria: You mean, we don't need to have a motorcycle riding montage?
Evan: I hear the Benny Hill music.
Gloria: No, no, no, I'm thinking more 80's power ballad at night.
Evan: Oh, yeah.
Gloria: We're all just like ... There's lights and it's dark, and it's like...
Jennifer: -are the only ones on the motorcycle.
Gloria: No, you're on the back. He's on the sidecar.
Jennifer: Oh, right.
Michelle: You all managed to cram-
Gloria: I could have a car, but I chose a motorcycle. I'm just going to put a sidecar on there. Fuck it.
Evan: You can always take the sidecar off.
Evan: Just pop it on and pop it off.
Evan: I've got wrenches.
Gloria: Pop it on for me.
Evan: I'm always there for me, sister.
Gloria: "You're always there for me, Charlie."
Michelle: I love how the character voice started sort of sexy Nawlins, and then it's gradually getting more like angry Boston.
Michelle: Okay, so you have you're super 80s motorcycle montage, where you're going through the streets.
Jennifer: When we edit it, we should totally add in like .... music and stuff.
Gloria: That's what I was just doing with my mouth.
Evan: Yeah, why edit it. I hear ...
Gloria: Motor ran ....
Evan: Yeah. I hear Miami Vice or something.
Michelle: Or like the beginning of Stranger Things, that whole 80s ....
Evan: Oh my gosh.
Gloria: There's definitely a part where the guitars come to a screeching halt after the motorcycle hits a pedestrian, like a sick fast and the furious turn in slow motion, and get through the intersection.
Gloria: Charlie falls out of the sidecar, but then I spin it around and he lands directly back into it.
Evan: As I fall out, I kind of mutter to myself, typical.
Michelle: There's a freeze frame and we here, that.
Gloria: Get in losers, we going snoopin'.
Michelle: Okay, so you get to the place where this guy lives, it is a very run down apartment building. I don't know if you've seen any shitty apartments from the 20's, but they are very shitty apartments from the 20's.
The stairs, the apartment is on the second floor, there's like a stair that you have to skip on the way up because it's just completely missing.
Evan: Jeez, what a dump.
Michelle: There's somebody sleeping ....
Gloria: Whatever, I've lived in worse.
Michelle: I mean Nancy over here lives in ....
Gloria: I’ve only seen three rats, I used to live with 100 rats, I got it worse than everybody, why do you think I'm so bitchy.
Michelle: There's somebody sleeping in the hallway and as you're talking about the rats, they like roll over and give you a dirty look and then fall back to sleep.
Gloria: And I say, "hey dude, what's up"? You sleepin' over there?
Michelle: I was.
Gloria: Hey have you seen anything weird going on over hear? Did you see anyone ransack a place over hear?
Michelle: That's a really specific question, I feel like ...
Gloria: I feel like if you would have seen it you would have known, how is that so specific?
Evan: Did you hear any ransacking?
Evan: Did you hear a ruckus?
Jennifer: What does a ruckus sound like?
Evan: Do you want me to describe the ruckus?
Evan: Shuffling about, banging, cursing.
Gloria: Things falling.
Michelle: Banging like, somethings fallen, or like what two people do when they’re alone?
Gloria: Well I mean, I'm not trying to kink shade anyone over here. I'm not the kink police.
Evan: People can do what they want to do.
Jennifer: A paper rustle in there, ya know.
Gloria: I realize this isn't the best place where all the weird stuff is happening, but this would have been weird stuff coming from the same place and the same time and you probably would have heard things falling, doors opening, probably people muttering, "where the fuck, is it, where the fuck is it?" You hear people muttering that?
Michelle: So the guy, stops and looks at .... where do you have the flask?
Evan: Yeah, are we on the second floor?
Michelle: Yeah, you're on the second floor.
Evan: Which one of these doors has been kicked in?
Gloria: Oh, yeah, but I'm trying to figure out of they've seen him, are they dwarfs or are they, you know.
Evan: I just want to get into that room.
Gloria: So I have the flask in my back pocket and I pull it out and I just kinda shake it out between two fingers, like, I mean, if you got any information, I have a little hooch here.
Michelle: He's like, give me the hooch and I'll give you some information.
Gloria: No, it don't work like that.
Michelle: Give me half the hooch first and then I'll give you the information.
Gloria: Tell me if you've seen anything and I'll let you have some hooch and then you can tell me more.
Michelle: I did seen something but I'm not telling you more until I have some hooch.
Evan: Jesus, give the fucking guy some hooch.
Gloria: This is the last of my hooch Charlie, I'm not just givin' it up for nothin', he could be lyin'.
Evan: Delores, gave you that for free, we'll get some more hooch later.
Gloria: Alright, here.
Michelle: He's like .... in mid air ....
Gloria: Here, wet you're whistle.
Michelle: takes a small swig first, and then he says, yeah, I saw some people. They was dressed like, you know, they were dressed like how rich people think working people dress. So their clothes were working clothes but they were too clean.
Gloria: So they had like jeans that they bought with ripped holes in them, right?
Evan: Those are called posers.
Michelle: They didn't have holes in them. Evan, the poser police.
Jennifer: Fashion holes.
Gloria: Ya fuckin' poser.
Michelle: They had work shirts but they was too nice, you could tell that they never seen a day of hard work, there were pit stains, no grease stains, I don't know, this character is going back and forth.
Jennifer: Just go with it.
Michelle: Italian and Ozark's, I don't know.
Evan: Just go with it, yeah.
Jennifer: Kinda country but not, you know.
Evan: He's just waking up, he's just waking up
Evan: His voice is changing.
Michelle: So, they kicked in the door and there was yellin', I heard all the stuff coming from inside, there was bangin' but not the fun kind of bangin'. There was papers thrown all over the place. I think, one of them punched a hole in the wall at some point, because the hallway started shakin' and then they just left and they looked pissed, and that's all I got.
Then once he finishes telling you the information, he takes another swig and then he hands the hooch back to you.
Gloria: Thank you bub, I'll remember this. Alright, you get back to sleep, don't let the bed rats bite.
Michelle: And he says,"yeah, I'm gonna do that, and he rolls over."
Evan: Vex, don't forget to wash that flask.
Gloria: No shit, son.
Michelle: It’s too bad they don't have hand sanitizer in the 1920's.
Gloria: I'm not gonna try and drink out of some hand sanitized flask, I'm just gonna wash it.
Alright, Charlie, lead the way you're snoopin' for us.
Evan: So ....
Michelle: There's door at the end of the hallway that has clearly been kicked in.
Evan: It'S the one at the end of the hallway?
Michelle: Yeah, it's at the end of the hallway.
Evan: Well, that's easy. It's the door at the end of the hallway that's been kicked in, lets go inside.
Gloria: That's why you keep us around, you let us see things you obviously wouldn't have seen without ya.
Evan: That could possibly be true, now that we're inside the apartment, I would very much like to snoop, so I can find out what has recently happened. Seven.
Michelle: Did you add what you actually rolled with?
Michelle: Here hand me ... okay, you rolled with mind, so you rolled a seven and then you add two because that's your plus, that's your mind.
Evan: Yeah, in my estimation, that's nine. Math!
Michelle: So that means you don't have to ask that question right now, you can ask it as you look around. You might want to wait until I describe the place in more detail or you can ask it right now. You get to ask one of these questions which is, ‘’what's my best way in or out’’, ‘’who or what here is not what they seem’’, ‘’What happened here recently’’, ‘’what here is the greatest danger to me’’ and ‘’who's turf is this’’.
Michelle: So you walk in, and it's basically exactly what Lashelle and the bum in the hallway told you. It’s a very small apartment. Like, I don't know if you've ever seen these apartments. My friend in LA lived in one of these apartments where it was basically a studio but it was technically a one bedroom. It was the size of this living room, which for the listeners is probably like 400 square feet, with an incredibly small bedroom off on the side.
So, it’s small, it’s run down, there is indeed a hole in the wall that matches the hallway but it doesn't look like it's something done intentionally, it was just like, somebody punched a hole in the shitty plaster walls because they were pissed off.
Everything is a total mess, there were some dossiers that have been kind of like scattered. In the bedroom, the bed has been flipped over, the mattress has been slit, somebody has been looking inside it. There's not anything that's immediately obvious.
Basically, like I said, it just looks like what everyone told you, it’s just a ransacked apartment that's kind of like a shitty 1920's apartment.
Gloria: Um, I want to go look and see what's in the general vicinity of where that person punched a hole in the wall.
Michelle: So ....
Gloria: Like maybe they saw something in the area that pissed them off, or they're just pissed off because they didn't find anything.
Michelle: Yeah, there's nothing around the hole. You can take a look inside the wall, and you know it’s very hollow and thin plaster, it’s like an inch and a half of drywall over like shitty wiring and it's just clean punched through. There's not anything that you can see. You can tell that after they punched it through, they did kind of like had the thought to look inside and see if there was something hidden in there and it’s not, it’s just a hole punched in the wall.
Gloria: There's nothing laying on the floor around there, there's no like furniture, like in that like specific like area, is it next to a desk or something?
Michelle: Um, so there is, there is a table, not like a true desk, but there is a table that you're guessing from the way the papers are scattered, at one point, did have dossiers on it. The papers are like, all over the room, some of them have footprints on them, some of them have been ripped. There is like a trash can full of paper, that's .... well I guess it wouldn't be smoldering, but there's like a small trash can that's been stuffed with some of the dossiers that was torn up and attempted to burn.
Gloria: I want to look at those.
Evan: I, in my life, have never owned a dossier of any type.
Gloria: It’s a little suspicious.
Evan: Let's take a look at these dossiers, shall we, what do they have in common, who are these people.
Gloria: Yeah, let's see what they were trying to burn.
Michelle: Okay, so, I think you might need a roll for that.
Gloria: One second .... okay.
Michelle: Let me see if you need a roll for that.
Gloria: Investigation check.
Gloria: If we were playing Dungeons and Dragons, I would know what to role.
Michelle: That's an assess, so role with mind.
Gloria: That's a big ol' eight.
Michelle: An eight. So you can spend one hold from the list below, I can hand you one of those. What potential complication do I need to be wary of, what do I notice to spite an effort to conceal it. How is blank vulnerable to me? How can I avoid trouble or hide here. What is my best way in, way out, way past. Where can I gain the most advantage? Who or what is my biggest threat in this situation and who or what is in control here.
Gloria: Okay, what do I notice despite efforts to conceal it?
Michelle: So you dump out the trash can and with some very careful piecing together of some of the .... because, I don't know if you've ever tried to burn paper but it can actually be surprisingly difficult to get a clean burn and clearly the people that were in here before were in a hurry, so they did not stick around to make sure that everything was actually burned, they like actually tore these paper into four pieces, threw them in a trash can and thew a match in and peaced out.
So, there is enough left on the burn papers for you to be able to piece something together and see. There's a couple of pieces of paper that have a name of Monte Amano, they also have Blair Metal on there. So, Monte Amano, Blair Metal and there's a couple different sheets. There's also something, there's another name...Narvy.
Michelle: Hey listen .... listen Taranto.
Gloria: Narvy, what?
Michelle: It’s just Narvy.
Michelle: Something that you do know, is that some of the people .... something you do know is that most of the people that go by one name are typically not human. So, there's the Monte Amano on sheets that reference Blair Metal and also reference the Bindal Punks.
Then there's some other sheets that say Narvy and have what look like, from what you can see, it looks like ledgers.
So you have two different names, their never mentioned on the sheet together and both of them, the notes about Monte and Blair, are more tech space, they don't look as much like ledgers. It's kinda like you can catch words here and there like start .... he was keeping track of when he started at Blair Metal for some reason and has a couple of names of the people in the Bindle Punks, and are his members and listed them as anarchists in the sheets. Those also seem to be group of papers and then there seems to be another group of papers which is mostly like Narvy and then has like ledgers of ..... you can't tell what it was that he was tracking because it was never stated, but it’s very clearly like paid X,Y,Z on this date or like gave X.Y.Z on this date.
Michelle: Do you want to spend your hold now?
Evan: Yeah, I think I do. So, what I would really like to figure out is the people who broke in and ransacked, were trying to destroy something or recover something?
Michelle: Let me see your sheet again.
Gloria: Also, how many holds do we have?
Michelle: So, most of the moves, like if you roll a seven and nine, you get one hold. If you roll a 10 plus you get three hold and the rest is applied to the questions, which you can ask any point.
Gloria: Okay, so if I do channeling, I get a plus one hold. If I get, if I need one hold, to go up another, or if I want an additional hold, then I ....
Michelle: Yeah. So, let me see the sheet again. So for, I believe channeling, is .... so for channeling the hold goes toward ....
Gloria: My magic moves?
Michelle: Yes, your wizard moves. So, you would do channeling if you have elementalism, memory wipe and shielding.
If you wanted to memory wipe the bum in the hallway. I was thinking about that on the way out.
Evan: She was thinking about that too.
Michelle: Yeah, so you would roll channeling first, and then if you had one hold, you would be able to spend it to do that.
Michelle: With the roles that are about investigation, hold gives you more questions. With the roles that are about magic, It gets you more magic power.
So hold, is just a general, in game term, for like a point basically, for which you can then spend in various ways depending on what moves it is.
Gloria: We're not using the harms right?
Michelle: Um, we are using the harm, but since were not ....we are using the harm mechanic but not fighting anyone yet so it shouldn't....
Gloria: It just says if, whenever I roll for channeling on a ten plus, I get a three hold. On a seven to nine, I get three hold and I choose one from the list below which is take, minus one ongoing until you rest, which is .... is it just minus one on my rolls? Or, suffer one harm, or mark corruption. We're not doing the corruption stuff?
Michelle: We're not doing the corruption we’re doing harm.
Gloria: Gotcha, I'm sorry, continue.
Michelle: Okay, so your questions, give me you're more specific question again.
Evan: Okay, my question stated more specifically is, did the people who broke in, want to take something or did they want to destroy something? It seems like they didn't succeed either way, but there was some attempts on trying to destroy things and also nothing was taken.
Michelle: So that sounds like, for your move Snoop, that sounds like what happened here recently, that sounds like a more specific version of that question. Can you remind me what you rolled, was it an eight or a nine?
Michelle: Okay, so I'll give you a little more detail then I would for lower rolls. A little bit of both, they were clearly looking for something. When they could not find what they were looking for, they decided that their best bet would be to try and destroy the information, but they also had some place that they needed to go back to.
For whatever reason, they needed to get out of this apartment. They did not have infinite time in this apartment to destroy everything thoroughly, so they were looking for something, they could not find it, they decided a last ditch effort was to destroy things instead and they kind of did that on their way out the door, they were not that concerned about the information.
Gloria: We need to get the fuck out.
Gloria: Before we leave, I wanna channel, because I want to be able to memory wipe the dude.
Michelle: Poor Harold was just sleeping in the hallway.
Evan: Yeah, but bums don't get hallways usually, that's suspicious. Bums get dumpsters.
Jennifer: This is true.
Evan: Like a hallway, that's kinda luxurious.
Gloria: Alright, I'm going to roll my channeling, eight. So, I get three hold and either one ongoing or suffer one harm. I don't really know what .... so one harm, like do I have hit points?
Michelle: One harm, let me see your sheet again. So, see those five boxes under harm? Basically you have five, you get to mark five total, you get all the way up to five, you die.
Jennifer: You just die.
Michelle: There's various you can yeah .... so there's various things in the harm mechanics, so you would mark the harm under faint. Then you would have four more harm boxes, you do heal about one harm a day naturally, so this amount of harm would be like, you got a migraine and a nose bleed or something.
Michelle: Which might effect, I wouldn't give you a minus one to future roles, but like it might effect some of your performance in the future scenes a little bit, like depending on how you rolled.
Gloria: Yeah, if you gave me minus one I should have just taken the minus one.
Michelle: Yeah. So, you heal one harm a day naturally, so It would be yeah, like a really bad migraine or something.
Gloria: Okay, I will take the harm.
Gloria: So I have a migraine, which means I just need to drink more, I'm going through withdrawals.
Michelle: You do have that flask but it has been bum touched.
Gloria: I like me a bum touch.
Jennifer: That's great.
Evan: Doesn't everyone, just.
Gloria: So I have three holds now.
Evan: So you get to memory wipe Harold.
Gloria: I'm going to memory wipe Harold the bum.
Evan: I'll be Harold for this if that's .... are we doing that?
Michelle: Sure, do you want to be Harold?
Evan: Sure, are we doing that?
Gloria: Hey bub, how ya doin', how's that hooch holdin' ya over?
Evan: Oh, you guys again. I'm really good for hooch right now, I really don't have any more information either.
Gloria: You know what, I wasn't trying to get any information from you, I was just trying to say hello, you could be gracious, I gave you that hooch.
Evan: You can see that I'm trying to sleep here. It’s not like I have any place to be but I do like my sleep.
Gloria: It’s the middle of the night, so of course you're sleeping, of course, you know?
Evan: So, what can I do for you?
Gloria: Ah so, I have like one of those retractable batons except for it's a fucking wizard staff, so I pull it out and I just like have It in my fist and I jam it and it comes out on both sides, so like ....
Evan: Oh God, what the hell is that?
Gloria: I close my eyes and mutter some magic words which are, hatchie matchie, and his memory is wiped.
Evan: Okay, well anyway, I'm going back to bed, I don't know what just happened, this is weird.
Michelle: So Harold passes out in the hallway, there is a bright flash of light, Harold mutters something and like passes out.
Gloria: Alright guys, I covered our tracks. I think now we gotta go talk to some metal workers at the bar.
Michelle: Okay so at this point It’s about one in the morning and it’s a dark summer night. You can see the moon, of course, and some of the stars, but a lot of them are drowned out by the city lights that are all around you.
To get from the magical adjacent slums, where Wyatt’s apartment was at, to bar district, you’ll be heading North and then West and then crossing the Western bridge that’s near the warehouses and the docks.
You weave your way through the traffic and you can see the stars and the moon reflecting on the massive river below you as you’re on the bridge. Traffic is almost at a standstill, but you can zip through on your little motorcycle, and you can even see a freighter headed down the river, with a late night delivery.
It takes a little bit longer than normal because traffic is busier than it should be for this time of night but eventually you get there and once you arrive you’re staring down a street full of seedy speakeasy fronts. Don’t forget, you don’t know which bar you’re going in.
Listener, do you think they managed to find the right bar? Or do you think they managed to make a right mess of things? You’re gonna have to tune into the next episode to find out!
Michelle: Thanks for listening to the first episode of Serendipity City. Once again, our players were Evan Mora, Jennifer Alexander, and Gloria Walker. If you want to follow them on Instagram or Twitter, I’ve put links to those in the episode’s description along with mine.
Our audio editor is Brendan Hutchins and you can keep up with him at podcastadvocate.network.
You can find us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Tumblr, all the links for those are also in the description.
Once we wrap up this job, we'll be doing a postmortem episode, so if you have any questions about the characters, or the world or how they approach things, anything like that, feel free to send them in via one of those channels and we’ll answer them on-air!
We’re going to be releasing on a bi-weekly schedule on Tuesdays so our next episode will go up January 16th.
If you want sneak peeks, behind the scenes contents or other bonus stuff, make sure to check out the Patreon, the link is in the description and on our site which is at serendipitypod.com
Sound effects and music were a combination of public domain and free to use music, including a lot of tracks by Dee Yan-Key from the Free Music Archive - full track list in the episode description, and Battle Bards.
Also, if you’ve listened to the World building episode, you may have noticed that Iro and Fox didn’t appear in this episode. Unfortunately, Nick and Diego, who were going to play these characters, had to drop out due to time constraints. I totally understand this because they are both in grad school and also planning their wedding this summer, so that’s fair! The characters do still exist in the world though, you will just have to listen and see what happens to them.
Alright, I think that’s everything, thanks again for listening and have a great day.