Brainstorming Help: Non-literal Disease Vector?

  • 6 Replies
Brainstorming Help: Non-literal Disease Vector?
« on: March 14, 2016, 02:57:53 AM »
Hey everyone, I'm running a 1st edition game of AW, and I'm having trouble pinning down what an NPC's deal is. I'm pretty sure she's a Grotesque: Disease Vector, based on her actions so far. She left her cushy high-ranking position in an enemy holding to run away with the Operator for apparently purely heart-based reasons, which leads me to believe she "craves intimate contact."

Normally, I'd say she's just carrying some sort of literal disease and be done with it, but I've been specifically banned from using any plague or contagious disease by a player who gets too real-world freaked out by that kind of shit. So now I'm trying to figure out what kind of figurative or mental disease she could be carrying that's in the spirit of the Threat type, but won't be upsetting to my player.

(Alternately, she could be some other threat type, but willingly ceding power makes me think she's no Warlord, and she doesn't seem fucked up enough to be another kind of Grotesque.)


Re: Brainstorming Help: Non-literal Disease Vector?
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2016, 04:47:02 AM »
Delusion: Follow your heart. Abandon your responsibilities.

Maybe it doesn't "infect" the Operator per se, but it could certainly permeate around their crews once they see how happy she is.

Re: Brainstorming Help: Non-literal Disease Vector?
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2016, 06:12:18 PM »
Hmm, that's an interesting thought. I hadn't considered having her be part of an Affliction instead of being herself a front. That specific delusion doesn't fit, I don't think, since everything went totally to shit as soon as that happened, on like three different levels, so I don't think anyone's going to see it and think "oh yeah I should do that too." But it's an interesting start; I'll see what I can come up with in that direction.

Re: Brainstorming Help: Non-literal Disease Vector?
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2016, 06:13:12 PM »
Yeah, what Tim said. Impulsive action, obsessive love, foolish belief that everything will work out OK. Or maybe she has some more complex belief system that just looks like this on the outside, but will emerge more completely in time.

Re: Brainstorming Help: Non-literal Disease Vector?
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2016, 02:01:45 AM »
Oh sure, the disease or whatever that she's carrying would normally be a whole other threat. I think? So, it could be that she's possessed by a maelstrom spirit that likes making things go all to hell, and that craves physical contact to jump from one body to the next. Or... why did everything fall apart and go to shit? You imply it had something to do with her decision to leave. Can you make another threat out of that?

Re: Brainstorming Help: Non-literal Disease Vector?
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2016, 10:04:02 AM »
Thanks for the insight, guys! I'm doing a mid-campaign reconfiguration of Threats right now, since most of them have been resolved, one way or another (this is a large part of why things went all to shit). And I realized I'm totally wrong about this character--she's not a threat to the Operator at all; she's now a part of the Operator's makeshift Family. She's a threat to anyone that wants to fuck with her new girlfriend, like the Hardholder who wants to use her as a bargaining chip in his conflict with the Dictator she defected from in the first place. So it turns out my original question is moot after all, but your answers were still really helpful in thinking about what this NPC's role in this world is.



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Re: Brainstorming Help: Non-literal Disease Vector?
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2016, 03:58:40 PM »
One other thing to consider is that memes and ideas are viral - they pass from one person to the next. So maybe her disease isn't a physical malady, but rather this absolutely fucking crazy idea that all people should be treated equally in the eyes of whatever passes for the law. Or that people should be able to say whatever they want to figures of authority without fear of reprisal. Or that slavery is bad. Or that people have the communal right to self determination.

It may seem obvious to us, but to people raised in a post-apocalyptic society where these sorts of ideas may not be the norm these concepts may seem utterly alien or new or revolutionary. And what are your players going to think when her revolutionary ideas start spreading and causing problems?