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Episode 1582: Hot in the City

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Eclipses are dramatic, so have come to be used in fiction both as a metaphorical symbol of darkness descending (as we have here), and also as a story-relevant sudden darkness event that unleashes malevolent forces that would normally be held in check by the pure light of the sun. It's become a bit of a cliché, but you can make use of it within your games too - if you don't mind clichés.

Just be aware that in any vaguely realistic setting, players will complain about the bad astrophysics unless you set it up correctly. Safer to use it in fantasy settings where nobody knows how the sun and moon work and magic or the gods can be responsible.

Tip: When describing the total annihilation of a large area of land (or space, or water), describe it with both as much technical detail and literary language as possible. Being too technical will sound cold and detached, and being too literary and metaphorical may come off as too fanciful and not grounded in reality.

Think of it this way: If you were to see such a thing live, your eyes would be wide and your mouth agape. It would be both wondrous and terrifying. You want your players to feel that too, otherwise the point of "showing" them the destruction is lost.

Assuming there is a point I suppose.

And as a side note, I have to say that so far this film has some really excellent shots. I'm somewhat disappointed now that I didn't get to see these images in theatres.

— aurilee

GMs, remember this. If your characters are too focused on the old sub-quests and side plots of an old city, destroy the city. No one will bother to go back and search the wreckage for the now dead quest giver. No one will go back and search for the ancient relic.

Oh wait, this is player characters we're talking about. Of course they'll search the rubble.

The GM's description in panel 2.5 does sound beautiful. Of course, if you realize that he's describing the outward explosion of the ground that used to be underneath the city taking it with it, you also realize that it's horrific. And the picture in panel three... looks less than beautiful.

But no one asked the GM what "actinic" means. Is this word really that common in Australia?

For that matter, where are they playing?

— Keybounce

Transcript

Galen: The accompanying files contain full technical specifications for Project Stardust, and its integration into the Peace Moon.
GM: Kyle, as you peer at Jedha City out the window, a bloom of light spears downwards from the eclipsing body.
GM: Danuta Plateau erupts in a massive conflagrating rosette.
Kyle: Goodness gracious.
GM: Jedha vanishes behind an expanding wall of rocks and debris. The upper strata of the land peel away in an expanding ring of skyborne terrain. Orographic thunderheads spontaneously form, creating sheets of lightning that illuminate the roiling topography in an actinic glow.
{shocked faces of Chirrut, K-2SO, and Cassian}
Kyle: Oh, it's beautiful!


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Published: Sunday, 03 December, 2017; 02:11:02 PST.
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