Impractical Applications (Plot-Vital)

This week, I riffed on plot-vital possessions. To be honest, I’m likelier to see plot-vitals than actually use them; I prefer plotting around people or events to plotting around things. But I once played in a game that soon turned out to hinge on a plot-vital possession—when the plot-vital possession wasn’t even in the players’ possession!

The possession: an odd statuette sort of thing, originally belonging to a family that had once had a great deal of political power. One of the PCs was aligned with the family and trying to get the thing back, as it had recently been stolen—the rest of us also got in on the recovery effort, though in our case it was less a matter of loyalty and more a matter of rewards, blackmail or both. Its importance to the family in general was what got us onto this plot, as it was our job to bring the silly thing back.

By the time we found it, though, we’d been betrayed by pretty much all sides, so we decided to hunt down the secret ourselves. It tied in with a ring that had been slipped into one PC’s pocket (she was entirely too good at people sneaking things into her pockets, that one), a knife that had originally been kept in a hidden compartment in the statuette itself (and was in its own right a murder weapon), and another Thing People Were Seeking that had been hidden in the case that originally housed it.

And oh, the twists. It got stolen twice (after which it ended up quite firmly in my character’s hammerspace pocket to avoid a repeat), the case went missing midway through and didn’t turn up again until the end, nobody was quite sure which part of it was more important, and the story grew to include a missing princess, a girl with powers nobody quite understood, various political double-dealings, an army sitting outside the city walls, a couple of weddings and something vaguely squidlike and seemingly invincible.

What made this possession interesting was one part symbolism (to the PC aligned with the family), one part value (to the rest of us), a little bit of intellectual curiosity (particularly on the part of my PC, who was practically a walking incarnation of the desire for knowledge) and a very large part “Someone else wants it, let’s beat them to it.”

The rest was all story. And what a story it was.

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