Here’s Rope Fiend, directly from the book:

Nadav mentions the Legendary Agent very off-handedly, as if he wouldn’t even have brought it up if Lily hadn’t talked about the topic of Evil Mystery Boss. In truth, he was waiting for a moment like this, to slip this bit of information in. I’ll need to explain why.

It’s the simple truth that any Syn Agent with some experience can easily come to the realisation that EMB must be very high up in the organisation. As with all things that a character should know but the player might not be aware of, there are several ways of handling this.

  • First, it could be that some player just realises this. In fact, I can tell you that Guy spontaneously realised that this is a possibility even as Nadav was describing the scene, but kept it to himself because it was only a vaguely formed notion. He quickly forgot about it.
  • Second, Nadav can introduce a subtle clue that will encourage a player to make the connection. For example, instead of skipping all direct interactions with other Syn Agents by way of quick flashbacks (as we’ve seen on page 1), he could have roleplayed Tzivh and/or other Agents, and engage in a conversation in-play, which could have easily shifted toward EMB theories, and from there, into quick realisation by a player.
  • Third, a player could say something along the lines of “This is suspicious, can I roll to see what I might think of this?”, in which case Nadav can then say “Sure, roll Smarts”, and provide some information. This was what Nadav was expecting to happen, truly; but it never did.
  • Fourth, Nadav can tell the players the information directly, since it’s just something they should know.
  • Lastly, he can wait, and slip the information during a discussion that touches on the matter.

Now, why would Nadav choose the last option over the others? In this case, for maximum shock effect. The important thing about a grand revelation of a supreme mystery is the dissonance between expectations and dramatically satisfying information. There’s already expectation – just look at Lily’s face in panel 5, she’s engaged, she’s in suspense regarding the capabilities, identity and intentions of EMB. To create a greater dissonance, and increase shock value, Nadav does not meet her where she’s at, with excited tones, animated body language, or detailed phrasing. He does the opposite, being nonchalant, bordering on encyclopedic, as he delivers the information.

Why now? Because it helps the players make the connection with the Zingamaian assassins, which is great, because he doesn’t want these sudden enemies to feel completely unrelated to anything.

For the foreseeable future, we give our patrons the opportunity to present our players with a weekly question, building on Rotem’s recent desire to start using this tool.

Two weeks ago, HurricaneHawk asked: “What’s the biggest personality whiplash that any of you have experienced from changing Crystals?”

Guy: Never had one, I always take the time and use the correct procedures as I meditate to help ease into the process.

Rotem: With the red Crystal, I expected a whiplash but nothing much happened; until the second time I slotted it, in the alien fox palace. It was a field-slotting, so maybe that’s the reason, but it made me feel feral for days later, and strangely more relaxed than ever before. Like, reduced inhibitions.

Lily: I had some… trouble with the first Crystal I ever slotted, during training. It was a weak utility thing, but it made me super hungry and encouraged me to make nonsense puns, and I felt so embarrassed after every pun, but still made them, it’s as if my regular personality – the actual me – was looking from the side and rolling her eyes and trying to push back all the time. I haven’t felt like this with the other Crystals, they’re more like what they make me feel really comes from me. Which means there isn’t any ‘real’ me? I don’t like where this is going.

Download the Crystal Heart RPG!

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