Tonight, I took my friends on an RPG trip to the world of Asdar. We used virtually no game mechanic structure at all. Angie and Eric developed their PCs (Player Characters). Angie’s character is Gabriel Zafy, a Madagascarene Foreign Student working on a master’s degree in Computer Science at the University of Toronto. She speaks Malagasy, English, and French and likes dolls, math, and techno. She is 28 years old. In addition to Canada and Madagascar, Gabrielle has lived in France. Eric’s character is Gareth Jones, a professor at the university who teaches Criminal Science and martial arts. His background is in the Canadian military.
It is summer and Gabrielle has enrolled in a martial arts course in the fall to balance out her master’s work. She see Professor Jones in the hall, introduces herself, and asks some questions about his martial arts course. He answers her questions and she tags along. They are walking in a tunnel and see a detour through a newly dug tunnel, evidently due to the summer excavation for new construction. The two see a strange luminescence down the tunnel and hear a man shouting. They investigate, but see rough gravel and a film of water on the ground. They back out to get help, but find that the tunnel they came through has completely changed. Rather than the squarish shape with the temporary wall panels they saw only minutes earlier, they find a semi-circular shaped tunnel with cobblestones embedded into the interior wall, lined with strangely shaped light fixtures that glow an inconsistent brilliance. Realizing they are lost, they go back down the tunnel and see that the strange light they saw only moments earlier is gone. They double-back and proceed in what seems to be the direction they had originally come in and find the tunnel proceeds about forty more feet, entering into an underground station with a crowd of people. There are people in unusual costumes ambling about or waiting. There are two depressions with what appears to be rail tracks. The chamber is evidently a stop for a subway train. The people look European but speak a language that Gabrielle and Professor Jones have never heard before. It sounds almost like Irish. There are signs on the wall in a foreign language that resembles a cross between Devanagari and Arabic, unlike any language they’ve seen. In addition to obvious humans, the two find squat men with great beards, dressed in a livery. Eric’s character, Professor Jones, attempts to speak to a dwarf in a service box, but they do not understand each other. The dwarf gives him a train schedule. In a tunnel, the lights of a great metal machine accompany the sound of an immense weight making its way along the tracks. When it emerges into the station chamber, the visitors see what is evidently a train engine with cars behind it. But the first conveyance, the engine, has the metallic likeness of a dragon’s head on the front of it. The engineer is a dwarf and the conductor emerges from from one of the cars and shouts out an announcement in the same foreign language. Among the people, they see a confident man with a distinctive skull cap and robe.
At this point, Professor Jones realizes that something extremely unusual has happened to him and Gabrielle. They look for an exit from the chamber and see stairs on either end of the station. Heading for one, they step up about forty feet to the surface of a city they’ve never seen before. The buildings are faintly old European, but the exact style is not recognizable. The characteristics are something akin to a fanciful mixture of French Baroque and Art Nouveau. In the cobble street, they see carriages, carts, wagons, and riders on horseback. The two unwitting visitors press down the street. Gabrielle wonders whether they’ve stumbled onto a high-budget movie set. They see a glittering aerial conveyance, similar to a winged zeppelin, gliding above them about one hundred feet in the sky, vanishing over the buildings. After they walk several hundred more feet, discovering they are in a truly great city, they realize this is surely not any movie set and are flummoxed.
Five men in tan colored robes pass them on the promenade. Professor Jones approaches them in desperation. The men attempt to speak to him in their strange language. One of the men seems genuinely concerned about the two visitors’ plight, trying to understand. Gabrielle feels a conscious presence just outside of her mind and shouts out instinctively, “Get out of my mind!” Sensing something at work, Professor Jones looks at the robed stranger and forms an image of the city of Toronto. In his mind, Professor Jones hears a mental reply from the robed man that he has never seen the place before. Professor Jones feels a great sense of helplessness. The robed man senses his plight and invites the two strangers to accompany his fellow. He tells Gabrielle and she agrees, but says she’s ready to run if they need to. They follow the robed men for about a half an hour through the huddled streets of this foreign metropolis, encountering dwarves, halflings, and seeing a class distinction among the humans between commoners and privileged. At length they arrive at the stone portal to an old stone building. Their new found friend ushers them in and he has a heated discussion with a robed man in the foyer about the visitors. Prevailing, the visitor’s friend leads them down a hall into a simple but comfortably furnished room. They again attempt to communicate, but make some headway. It becomes clear that Gabrielle and Professor Jones are not from this world. Their new friend introduces himself to them as Ithrave, an Incarnandist Monk of the Order of Saint Kerimond the Disciple. He leaves and returns with a higher ranking monk of the order, Gorrig. At this point, Professor Jones and Gabrielle can hear his thoughts distinctly and a fluid conversation emerges. Gorrig explains that they are in the city of Trevirs in the Empire of Magdala. Professor Jones asks if this is normal for people to show up in his world. Gorrig explains that it is very unusual, but not entirely unheard of. Gorrig further says that there is a force, magic, that some use to bring such things about. Gorrig explains that he and his fellow monks, however, use powers of the mind, called energism. Gorrig asks the professor where they entered his world and the professor visualizes the place in the tunnel where they emerged into this strange world. Gorrig explains that he will have some monks investigate it. Professor Jones expresses his overwhelmed frustration and asks if there’s anything he can do for them. Gorrig says they are here to help and they they will take things one at a time. He tries to assuage the fears of the visitors.
A crash and shout are heard outside, followed with the sounds of a ruckus. Gorrig explains that times are difficult and many people are unhappy with the present order of things.
The RPG session ends.