Monday, February 21, 2005

Unseen - Pilot

Here's some spiffy stuff for the game:
Unseen Graphic/Unseen Theme (Composed by myself and James)/Cast Photo

What follows is the write-up of the pilot episode. If you want to read about further episodes, here are links to them:

Pilot Episode - The Hanged Man (scroll down)
Episode 1 - An Unkindness of Ravens
Episode 2 - Lost in a Forest
Episode 3 - Coming Soon

Last Friday night I finally ran Primetime Adventures. What follows is a rough outline of the story. Be warned, it is LONG and probably tedious.

What is Primetime Adeventures? It's a roleplaying game where you create a TV show, where the characters are protagonists in said TV show. A very cool game indeed.

The show is set in modern-day Chicago, and features a group of protagonists with psychic powers. We decided that we wanted the powers to be a bit subtle, and that psychic stuff is not generally known to the outside world. Our idea was to have the characters be a group of investigators who look into strange happenings that are psychic and supernatural in origin. Here are the characters:

James plays Virgil Ellis, a police detective who has acute mental focus. Randy plays Lewis Worth, a man on the run from the government. Lewis is a natural genius when it comes to electronics and gadgets, preternaturally so. Tammy's character is Robyn Tamlyn, a runaway who Virgil has been trying to set on the right path. She is telekinetic and spends most of her spare time hustling pool.

Unseen -- Pilot Episode -- "The Hanged Man"

We see a women leaving her office. She is a tarot reader named Celestia Morgan. The camera follows her from her office, down some stairs, to an alley where her car is parked. She hears a strange noise from behind her and turns towards it...

Robyn is leaving the arcade after having won about $50 from some frat boys. It's late, around 10:00 p.m. and it's a school night. She takes a short cut through an alley and finds a women lying behind her car; the tarot reader from the previous scene. There is a pool of blood around the woman's head, and both of her eyes are missing!

Opening Titles and Theme Song

Crime scene. Virgil shows up and sees Robyn being questioned, but does not go to her yet. He talks with an officer on the scene, Officer Rubens, and examines the body. He searches the victim's purse and finds out her name and profession, and that her office is the building next to him. Virgil fishes the keys out of her blood and he and Rubens enter the building. He searches the office and snags Celestia's appointment book. He sends Rubens away and sets up his mental focus. He hears a noise from above, the 4th floor. He quietly heads up to the forth floor.

Lewis is on his way home from working at the local electronics shop and sees the crime scene. He pulls out his tablet computer that is hooked up to some surveillance cameras located on buildings in the Waterford area (Waterford is the neighborhood where they all live and where the murder took place.) He finds one that covered the alley where the murder took place. He accesses the footage from about an hour ago and sees the murder! But, he can't seem to get a good view of the man. He does see that the murderer is using a curved knife, wears a long black coat and has dark hair.

Robyn wants to get out of there before Virgil comes back. She knows he's gonna chew her out for being out so late. She wraps up giving her statement to Officer Quinn and slinks away and runs into Lewis, who is preoccupied with trying to get a better view of the murderer. She dashes off to her apartment.

Just as Robyn leaves, Lewis notices an unmarked, black sedan with tinted windows pull up. He hides, watching the car. Two agents get out of the back of the car and head towards the crime scene. Lewis gets some of his cameras trained on the agents.

Back in the building, Virgil is on the 4th floor listening for the sound he heard earlier. He opens a door to a room where the noise is coming from. In the dim light, he sees an old woman in a rocking chair. "He can almost see now," she cackles. Officer Rubens is shouting for him from below, and Virgil calls out to him. He turns back and the rocking chair is now empty, and not rocking. The back of the chair is damaged and looks to be all scratched up. Rubens shows up and tells him that there are Feds on the scene.

We cut to a basement somewhere, lit by dozens of candles. Symbols are painted on the walls, arcane symbols. There is an alter, and we see a figure kneeling before it. A hand lowers two bright blue eyes on the alter. Celestia Morgan's eyes!

The next day, Virgil is waiting at the arcade for Robyn when she gets out of school, and he questions her about what she saw and why she'd been out. They shoot a little pool until Robyn uses her TK to pull of a pretty impossible shot.

Virgil and Robyn are in Lewis's bus. Lewis has an old school bus converted into his computer nerve center. It is full of servers and screens. He is connected. Big time. They're eating Chinese carryout, trying to put together all the info they have. Lewis is running a face recognition scan of the faces of the two agents he saw. Virgil pulls out Celestia's appointment book and reads the last entry. It is a series of roman numerals. Robyn suggests that they might be tarot cards. Sure enough they are; Hanged Man, Hierophant and Empress. He has a hunch that the killer might be this last reading that Celestia did. As the scene ends, Lewis learns the name of one of the agents -- Thomas Severin. More info about him is available, but Lewis will have to hack into a high security government site first.

Virgil checks around and finds the name of a reputable tarot reader named Madam Rosa. The gang heads to her office. Virgil tells her about the crime and the cards and asks for her help. She shuffles her cards and has them each cut the deck and draw a card. As they each do she takes their hand. First, Lewis turns up the Empress, Robyn the Hierophant, and finally, Virgil the Hanged Man. When she touches Virgil, the card, which shows a representation of Odin as the hanged man, begins to morph. It becomes the killer! Virgil commits the man's face to memory. One thing that is the same between Odin and the killer, they both are missing one eye. The image on the card focuses on Virgil and says, "I see you!" Madam Rosa drops the card, which is now smoking.

Later, back at the bus, Lewis is trying to find out more about Agent Severin. He does some hacking and finds out that the man is part of a special unit that investigates strange phenomenon, sort of X-Files-ish. Severin is currently assigned to a case codenamed "Odin." Lewis finds out that Odin had murdered others. Always on the New Moon, a year apart, as close to the vernal equinox as possible... Chicago, Charleston, St. Louis, Cleveland, Chattanooga, and now Chicago again... he brings up a map on screen and traces lines from one city to another. A large pentagram appears on the map...

Virgil is taking Robyn to the mall so she can spend some of the money she won playing pool. There is a call from dispatch, Lili (one of Virgil's connections.) There has been a homicide. Madam Rosa.

Back at the bus, Lewis is gathering info, trying to predict where the killer might be. He cannot get a specific location, just several possible sites. Something is going to happen in 12 days on the Full Moon. He is sure of it.

Virgil and Robyn went to Julie's Place, a coffee shop, diner, and Virgil's personal set. The scene opens with Virgil on his cell with Lewis as Lewis gives him the rundown on "Odin." Coffee-guy, one of Virgil's connection is there. Coffee-guy is a strange, enigmatic guy who makes cryptic statements that sometime have relevance to what is going on. Virgil sketches Odin on the back of a place-mat, and asks Coffee-guy if he'd heard about a strange murder 5 years ago. He talks in circles, but says an astrologer was murdered about three miles from here, her eyes cut out.

We see a small military base. An office. A phone ringing. A man picks up. He is the Colonel, Lewis's nemesis. The man on the line tells the colonel that there has been activity on #439, server Watchdog 3. The colonel turns to a computer screen and the map that Virgil had made, the map with the pentagram on it pops up. "What are you up to Lewis?" the colonel muses.

Virgil and Robyn go to the location of the first murder, the astrologer. It is a new age store with businesses upstairs. After asking around, they find that it took place upstairs where there is a feng shui practice. They meet Phil Erickson, the feng shui guy. He had been friends with Karen, the murdered astrologer, and took her office to try to dispell the negative energy from her murder. Virgil asks what Phil does; detect light and dark chi, energy is his short answer.

The alley where Celestia was murdered. Virgil, Robyn, Lewis and Phil are there. Phil gets a trail of dark energy and leads them to the back entrance of a closed down department store. Virgil, with gun drawn, enters the storeroom, filled with mannequins, and heads down to the basement. Lewis follows with Robyn in tow. Phil will not enter and wishes them luck.

The basement. Candles. It is the same location from the earlier scene with the shrine and the eyeballs. Virgil hears a voice. It is the voice of the old women from the rocking chair. "My son. Finally he will be able to See..." Virgil is pulled (via magic?) into a pentagram on the floor. He is out of it and seems to be held up by an unseen force. Robyn and Lewis see a shadowy figure with a dagger coming towards Virgil. Robyn has a great line at this point. "You guys take me to the best places." Lewis tells her he will distract Odin, and that she should use the gun with he TK. Lewis steps out of the shadows and begins critiquing Odin's interior designs ("early Satanic") and Robyn reaches out for the gun. Problem is, the girl has never used a gun in her life.

Lewis's distraction is enough for Virgil to come around. He reaches for his floating gun, unlatches the safety, and unloads the clip at Odin, who somehow dodges all the flying metal. All the candles flare up, blinding them, and Odin is gone... Lewis helps to steady the still shaky Virgil...

A rainy day. Cemetery. Funeral for Madam Rosa. The gang is there, as is Phil and a lot of others from the new age community. Nine days until the Full Moon.

The Colonel's office. Agent Severin drops a file onto his desk. Photos of Lewis. The Colonel smiles an unpleasant smile...


Next Time on Unseen

The interior of the bus. Lewis looks at a monitor and sees a black sedan driving up a street. A second monitor shows another sedan on another street. A third monitor shows yet another. "What the...?"

Virgil talking to Phil, the feng shui guy. "I hate to ask you this man, but we flushed him out. He'll be looking for a new location."

Robyn with a look of panic on her face. "Pop quiz?!"

Close up on Odin's face as he says, "So tell me girl -- what do you See?"

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