Good on you who recognised Ego!

Here it is, so everyone can be on the same page. The specific page is 206, from the Crystal Heart RPG.

One of the things I like about Crystal Heart is how Crystal-carrying villains, who are the most powerful and interesting story-wise, also have perfectly convincing reasons to give long monologues or behave irrationally. Disposition, fam! Even if you’re aware of it, it still happens to you. Like real-life mental disorders! Such is CH, you play and learn.

Pacing information to motivate behaviour

Nadav was suspecting something like the happenings of this page might happen, which is why after the players separated, he kept pointing the spotlight only at the dinner party (he only told Lily to make some roles, but hasn’t narrated her at all until now). The shifting of the spotlight is used to emphasise and inform: Yes, this is Durrita; yes, she’s definitely working with, or as, the murderer.

In this group of players, they don’t really like keeping secrets or taking someone to another room to tell them something that the others are ‘not supposed to know’ (in the past we talked a bit about it from a different angle) so Nadav needs to manage the delivery of information using some other ways, like being selective about the spotlight and doing some careful scene pacing. He wanted to keep the tension high and give Durrita’s reveal some impact.

But now imagine that instead, Nadav would have pointed the spotlight on Raf from the beginning, and she would read the file before the others even arrive at the dinner party. All the players would hear what’s what, so they would all have been doubly suspicious of the pink-haired woman which Nadav describes as nothing more than a caretaker. If Nadav wanted to have a final showdown in the manor, that would be a great way to do it. Remember this? A dinner party that turned into a brawl, and everyone was expecting this. It’s easy to make thing blow up if you set your players to already be itching to pull out weapons. But if the set up is civilised, a little surreal even, then even the reveal that there’s a killer among us doesn’t immediately shift the tone. Players feel weird about disturbing the established atmosphere, their natural dramatic sense pushes against it (not for all of us, not all of the time, but generally speaking).

Oh, hey, I have a podcast in which I talk about these sort of things all the time, consider giving it a listen.

Wanna play Crystal Heart yerselves?