Crescendo is a mythological fantasy roleplaying game. Characters play out a spiritual and psychological story like the ones Gene Wolfe, Neil Gaiman, George MacDonald, and Ursula K. Le Guin tell. They must navigate a world of immortals, who are enacting their own schemes and plans, and find who they were meant to be in a world of death, drama, and hope.
Any creative project I undergo there’s always a song with it. That’s probably not atypical, but I especially find that true of GMing. Eventually I’ll find a song (or several) that sum up what I want the game to feel like. But until then it’s kinda like I’m inching along, trying to feel out exactly what I want, as a player.
I’d been writing for months. I’d gotten some playtesting in. But I still hadn’t really nailed the feeling down. It would be a few months before I started playtesting again, I knew, but I always had that nagging feeling in the back of my head, this dread that I really didn’t know what the hell I was doing. I didn’t really have a song I was going to, and man I was missing it.
And then one evening it came crashing in, as Alessia Carey and The Warning released their cover of “Enter Sandman”
Heresy time: I’ve never particularly liked Metallica’s Enter Sandman. The music has always clashed with the lyrics, which I find menacing as hell and badly in need of different music for them. So, on just a musical aesthetic, I vastly prefer Alessia Carrey’s and The Warning’s version. It’s not a night terror, but a sickly sweet beckoning into the unconscious, the dark, the hidden, but certainly not the quiet. And yes, the terror does come, but I’ve never found horrible things approach you roaring. They sneak up. They get your ear first. And then oh God, how they scream after that.
But the thing that hit me the hardest was the video. Folks, that’s Crescendo. That’s fantasy and mythology at its peak. If The Warning is a party of player characters then Alessia is the immortal, singing her tune in the background, augmenting and suggesting and poking and prodding. The two parties may not even be aware of each other, but they’re connected and building something far grander than they could have alone. The arc of the video is very similar to the one I have been intuiting for Crescendo. I mean, I didn’t envision folks winding up rocking out in an abandoned building, but I suppose you could that if you wanted to.
I’ve probably listened to this song, watched this video, hundreds of times since it debuted. Every note, every frame, has defined the text and the game, as a whole. It’s such a part of my thoughts on Crescendo I’ve half a mind to just tell people to watch the video in the actual text of the book. It’s certainly simplier than telling them to read The Iliad, Odyssey, or Aeneid. Hell, definitely don’t watch most of the adaptations of those three works, you’re better off just watching The Warning’s video, cause that’s much more mythologically accurate.
So, I mean, I don’t have much more to write about this. That video is as close to what I have in mind for a game of Crescendo as you’re liable to get in a consumable format. It’s nice to have something that’s actually viewable.
I promise I know what I’m doing!
If you want to see where Crescendo is currently at, c’mon over to the Discord. Stay and chat a moment. We’d be happy to have you.