Impractical Applications (Putting Up a Rumor Cloud)

A while ago, my solo game called for a rumor cloud. The people who were talking were nameless NPCs all working at the same factory, and being eavesdropped on, so I really didn’t have to worry about whether or not Kiriko would trust her sources, nor what could go wrong in a conversation.

My main point: Kiriko was looking for Kiara, who at that point was incognito as a hunter specializing in chaos-twisted things—I wouldn’t call it a common profession in that part of the world, but it wasn’t exactly unheard of. So one of my random rumors was about the brother or somesuch of one of the workers having been saved from something “with too many heads, and not near enough mouths—not that he was complaining, mind you, one was enough!” by a relatively new hunter. Another point—people disappearing in the area she was occupying (dying, sure, people died there all the time, but the fact that they weren’t leaving bodies or ghosts would be notable) was not a hint, but a side effect of her efforts—she wasn’t fond of people leaving ghosts, and I could see her doing patrols to deal with potentially ghost-causing bodies, which due to her powerset tended to involve getting rid of the bodies as well.

I included two random side things. One was a brief cameo appearance by Luath, just passing through on the way to something unspecified—I didn’t refer to him by name, just mentioned someone who turned a wheelbarrow of cucumbers into something that reminded everyone of iced desserts. The other was a vague reference to a biggish-name, if eccentric, political figure buying up demon-warding talismans—in this case a hint to the fact that someone, at least, had the contacts to know that something to do with demons might be going on in the near future.

Then to top of it off, I referenced a discussion on various entertainers.

A scene or two later, I followed this up with another set of summarized conversations, in Kiara’s actual location (though she was absent at the time); since this one was more localized, I figured they didn’t know as much, so I used a much higher noise to signal ratio. There were references to the new hunter again (speculating on “his” odd accent—I suppose the combination of odd accent and said hunter being apparently male were why the player didn’t investigate this further), rumors about a long-running point of speculation, various references to the local laws, what people’s children were doing, and discussion of whether or not the river was getting cleaner.

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