Directorial Control [They Came from Beneath the Sea!]

They Came From Beneath The Sea!

They Came From Beneath the Sea! art by Aaron Riley

Many features of our Storypath games contain similar effects, but go under different names in different contexts. For example, Scion’s Twists of Fate have characters calling on divine energies to twist fate in their favor. The Trinity Continuum’s Dramatic Editing has Talents subconsciously tweaking probabilities in the fabric of reality. I thought it might be fun to check out how They Came from Beneath the Sea! contextualizes the same thing:

A Special Case: Directorial Control

If you’ve activated a Trademark and have some successes left over, you can perform a special kind of Stunt: telling the Director to change things in the story itself. Each success spent on Directorial Control can add or remove one detail from the scene. An alien falls through the (suddenly weakened) floor, a rescue plane appears on the horizon, your character mysteriously understands an alien language, and so on. Think of it as the actor that portrays your character asking the director of the movie to change the scene so she looks better.

Be careful, though: You can’t ask the Director to undo something that’s already established, but you can change something that exists or create something that hasn’t previously existed. It must make sense within the story, after all, regardless of how far-fetched it is. Having a handful of thugs run out of ammunition is fine, but you can’t say the thugs surrounding you suddenly don’t have any guns at all.

Think of all the unlikely coincidences you’ve seen in movies like those in our inspirational media. Some examples of scene details you can change with Directorial Control include:

  • The power pack on the alien device suddenly runs out.
  • Sirens are heard in the distance as the police arrive on the scene.
  • The first sequence of numbers randomly punched in to stop the missile launch happens to be the right one.
  • A character under the control of the Director is suddenly revealed to have been the love child of a human and an alien.
  • The damaged car engine suddenly turns over, allowing the character to escape.
  • Reading the headline of a newspaper from a park bench reveals a vital clue.
  • The aliens suddenly develop a weakness to an Earth disease, like the common cold.
  • A previously-silent extra develops the capacity to speak; they were just staying quiet the whole time.
  • The evil computer develops a logic fault, unable to reconcile an obscure (and previously unmentioned) bit of its programming with the current situation.
  • The character starts to sing, lulling the alien to sleep.

The Director may decide that some details require more successes than others, but in general it’s one success for one scene change. Nothing created or removed via Directorial Control lasts beyond the current scene.

Example: If Gail had activated Bobo’s Trademark in the previous roll, she could have used the last success to change a detail in the scene. Gail couldn’t say the aquatic alien never appeared, but she could determine that the fight caused the alien to accidentally stumble into the pantry, burying it in a cascade of boxed ingredients and canned goods.