Starting Characters in a Less Developed Recursion

Some recursions are simply repeating scenes, populated by inhabitants that almost robots, mere shadows of real people. But in these recursions, there may still be a small percentage of inhabitants with the potential for the Spark. What happens when one of these shadows 'gains the spark?'

I just started running a wild west game (Texas circa 1851), and decided that the starting characters would be natives to a fictional leakage recursion. I decided that they would "gain the spark", or "Awaken" when exposed to the Strange, either through a cypher, through contact with a non-native ability, or prolonged contact with someone who was Quickened. Prior to the awakening, they would largely be repeating events, trapped into reliving each day as if it were the first time, completely unaware of the passage of time. They have backstories, but the reality of their histories are... metaphysically complex.

This created some interesting story challenges: for example, the characters believed themselves to be in a real world. One of the characters was a foreigner who emigrated to the USA after a personal tragedy. The recursion, however, is really only 90 miles across, encompassing fictional pieces of Texas (the Rio Grande, the Alamo, etc.). I had all of their back stories occur in their 'fictional' histories, which is to say, that they remember everything. Once they "gain the spark", they remember the repetition, and they now know intuitively that somehow, their characters had really always been in Texas, trapped in these repetitive scenes. Where did they come from? Are their stories real? Are they real? Are their histories real?



  • I like the existential crisis aspect of it. If one of the characters decides to travel back home to find family, only to come to the edge of the recursion and look out into the Strange.

    That setup reminds me a lot of the movie Dark City.
  • I set up something similar for a game that, unfortunately, didn't get off the ground. Two players were natives of a tiny recursion. One of them had traveled to the city that is the recursion from another city that is outside of it. Their characters had played out a repeating story until someone intruded on the recursion and altered events to the point where the characters didn't die when they were supposed to. The moment they were alive longer than they should have been, they gained the spark.
  • I was thinking of doing something similar.
    All the starting PCs are from an Earth recursion where an alien invasion has taken place. (Think a mix of Independence Day + Robotech Invid Invasion)

    One of the motivations is to "save" their home recursion.

    However Im not sure how this would play out
    In a way I want players to not know at all that the world their characters believe is "real" when in reality its fictional leakage


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  • Since Recursions can have traits, you could have a selective-amnesia-like trait wherein the inhabitants, upon learning about the fictional leakage nature of their world, begin to forget that, passing it off as a passing fancy or dream. I would consider making that a slower process for those with the Spark, and maybe the Quickened are immune.
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