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Roleplaying Sense8 part 2

This is the follow on post to last weeks introduction http://www.ppmgames.co.uk/2017/08/14/roleplaying-sense8-universe/.

The biggest standout feature of the Sense8 world is ‘Visiting’ where each character astrally projects themselves to any other Sensates location when they think of them. The visitations start as short and disorienting ‘visions’ but all members of the cluster soon adapt. Simple tricks like sharing a phone number and then calling it prove that the experience was real and not imagined. It was almost a case that the more faith they each had that the vision was going to work on demand then the more likely it was to work on demand.

So how does this work in 3Deeps game mechanics? Does it complicate the game?

No it doesn’t. In fact no game mechanics are needed at all. As all sensates have the same powers and abilities no rules are needed. The visitations initially happen only at the GMs instigation and he or she slowly hands over control to the players. As long as no player decides to try and break the universe and go off the genre material, and that is just down to the GM to enforce.

How do you play a sensate visit?

When one character jumps into the space of a fellow sensate then although the world (and any NPCs) see the original person, all stats and skills of the second sensate are the ones used in the scene as long as they are there. So you can have one character with a strength of 2 and no combat skills replaced by a character with a strength of 12 and +4 in combat. For the duration of the visit then the warrior type will do the fighting. In terms of game mechanics the only apparent difficulty is the characters speed. If one character acts on round 3 and 6 and the second character acts on 2, 4, and 6 when do they act if they are swapping in and out during the same turn? The answer is they can act on their round regardless. It is as if both are there and acting independently but occupying the same point in space.

What about damage?

The sensate who is actually present will take the damage but the effect of the damage is applied to who ever is currently acting as long as the physically present sensate is still conscious. So in the example above with a strength of 2 and 12. If the 12 strength sensate is fighting and takes 8 points of damage to their strength then they continue fighting but with a strength of 4. If they were to swap out then the current strength of the sensate would drop to -6 (2 minus the 8 damage).

If a third sensate wanted to join the fight and jumped in then they would have their full strength until they took some damage.

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Roleplaying the Sense8 universe

Sense8 is a visually stunning science fiction series from Netflix in which 8 individuals from around the globe find themselves mentally linked. Initially they only experience violent visions from each others lives but those connections develop to the point where they can step into and out of each others lives and are able to share skills and literally put words into each others lives.

Turning this into a role playing game is a challenge for any GM but the crux of the story telling in Sense8 is about skills and natural strengths and abilities be it Will’s experience as a Chicago cop or Sun’s kickboxing.

Everyone has their own story

As each sensate can see, hear and experience everything that every other sensate experiences and can set into their life at any time what you as GM need to do is run eight interconnected plots at once. Sense8 had a single season long story arc that ran though each each of the two seasons. Within that each character had their own lives; Wolfgang is involved with the Berlin underworld, Van Damm is struggling with drugs and gangs in Nairobi.

So to play this you can start with the birthing of the cluster. Maybe start each player in an individual adventure but then invite another player along. From that point on role play each players character in their own stories but each player can swap roles at any time, they just take their character sheet with them. One second their character may be cracking a safe in New York, the next second they are having to fight corrupt prison guards. As you introduce new members to the cluster then you run more parallel adventures and anyone can hop into anyone elses adventure.

At first it will seem chaotic but this is role playing like your players will never have experienced.

Sense8 was such a ground breaking series that even after the show was cancelled (each episode cost $9Million to make) the fan base protested to the point where a 2hr finale special is going to be make to finish the story.

The two season cannon means that you can easily binge watch the entire story to bring yourself up to speed before attempting this.

As a roleplaying challenge it is a once in a lifetime experience and this is exactly the sort of challenge that 3Deep was written to make possible!