Happy New Year everyone!
Here is a little something I wrote in the afterglow of New Year's Eve.
Happy New Year
A mixtape track copied by Staffan Andersson
Inspired by ABBA - Happy New Year (1980)
No more champagne
And the fireworks are through
Here we are, me and you
Feeling lost and feeling blue
It's the end of the party
And the morning seems so grey
So unlike yesterday
Notes on the track
This is a short track, suitable as an introduction mystery or a short seasonal interlude. It is set on New Year’s Day in the aftermath of a mysterious explosion. Many details have been intentionally left vague to facilitate a remix or adaptation to your own mixtape.
Introducing the Kids
The introducing scenes from Everyday Life are all set during New Year’s Eve. How do the different Kids celebrate? What are their joys and troubles?
Some elements that could be present in these scenes:
* "Grevinnan och betjänten" ("Dinner for one") has been an institution in the new year's celebration in Sweden since 1976. Swedish TV shows the 1963 version (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lzQxjGL9S0).
* My 80's cook book have some suggestions for festive new year's food: Pepparrotskött (Horseradish meat), Foliestekt abborre (Foilwrapped oven-baked perch), Hummersallad (Lobster Sallad) or Smördegsinbakad fläskfilé (Puff Pastry Pork Tenderloin). Brie cheese or oven-baked Pickled Pears with After-Eight Mints are two standard desserts.
* The public reading from Stockholm of the poem "Nyårsklockan" ("Ring out, wild bells") by Tennyson leading up to midnight, broadcasted on TV. In many homes, this has been, and still is, the official countdown for the New Year. The actors Georg Rydeberg (1980 - 1981) and Jarl Kulle (1982-1989) read the poem during the 80's.
After midnight, most people leave their houses to toast each other outdoors with sparkling wine, cider or soft drinks, such as Pommac and Champis. Fireworks are commonplace - where Kids usually have firecrackers and the larger rockets are handled by not so sober grown ups.
Most of the fireworks are fired around Stenhamra and Färentuna, but at some point during this stage something also explodes in the sky north-northeast of Stenhamra. It looks almost as fireworks, but just almost. Both colours and explosion patterns are off. Some, or all, of the Kids see this during their introductory scenes. A skill roll in CALCULATE would give a good idea about where the explosion occured.
Introducing the mystery
The Kids meet up in the grey morning of New Year’s Day. The sun rises just before nine on this hazy morning. Grown ups are even more distant than usual, staying indoors being tired and/or hung-over. This is a time for exploration where spoils from yesterday are waiting to be found. Un-exploded fireworks, cigarette lighters, soft drinks and half-frozen bottles of wine are just some of the potential treasures. However, the mysterious explosion seen in the night excites imagination and should spark a proper treasure hunt.
Solving the mystery
This stage follows the journey of the Kids towards a fallen treasure. It should progress from an Everyday atmosphere to something stranger and more threatening. This will not be too serious as this is just a calm introductory track. Here are some suggestions for scenes along this journey:
* The Kids explore the neighbourhood, find interesting remnants from yesterday and use the INVESTIGATE skill. They find a big un-exploded piece of fireworks and perhaps use TINKER to make it go of in a not to dangerous fashion.
* A group of older kids show up, probably driving mopeds. There is some teasing and perhaps also bullying. Play on relationships to already established rivals or take the opportunity to introduce new ones.
* Anton, that old man living in the shed outside of Sockarby, shows up with his scruffy utility bike and tries to interact with the Kids. He is dressed in old, dirty military surplus clothes. He is drunk and generously offers some foul-smelling brew from his flask. He might tell the Kids more about the nightly explosion if they use CHARM or EMPATHIZE in suitable ways.
* A dark blue Volvo car comes driving along the small road that the Kids are following. It slows down and one of the passenger windows slides down. A stern looking middle-aged man in a suite looks out at the Kids and asks whether they have seen or found anything "peculiar". He is willing to reward them for their assistance and shows a crisp one hundred kronor note to stress his point. He will stay polite regardless what the Kids suggest, within reasonable limits, but they don't have anything that interests him at this point.
* The Kids pass a small house where a woman is bringing out trash from yesterdays celebration to the rusty garbage can by the road. She greets them and asks what they are up to. If the Kids are polite and use their CHARM, she can tell them that something apparently fell down in the woods last night and point them in the right direction.
* The Kids leave their bikes by the road and follow an overgrown path into the woods. The dense fir trees cast dark shadows. Some of the treetops show signs of damage. Skill rolls for INVESTIGATE and/or CALCULATE could be helpful for finding the right way.
* Strange shadows can be seen moving in the dark among the trees. Are there strange creatures about or is someone following the Kids? The Kids try to find their way but also avoid pursuit. This could be a time for using TINKER to set up a trap or just MOVE to stay ahead.
Finally, the Kids find a small clearing in the woods, made by the impact of some metallic object. The surrounding trees are damaged by the impact and there is a crater in the centre of the clearing. The crater is about two meters in diameter and perhaps one meter deep. A half-molten lump of metal is buried in the centre of the crater. It is easy to enter the hole and CALCULATE to explore the remains. The contraption is too damaged to comprehend, but there is apparently a still working electronics device flashing in there. It would be quite possible to TINKER and remove that piece. The Kids would probably like to take it as their prize.
At this point, the older kids arrive. They obviously want to claim the find. The older kids will try to overpower the Kids and force them to retrieve and hand over the device. How that conflict plays out depends on what the Kids do and they might very well succeed to escape with their prize.
If the older kids gain the upper hand, they will gloat for a while. Just before they leave, one of them will step behind a tree to relieve himself. Suddenly, terrified screams can be heard as he is attacked by something unknown. The ensuing chaos provides an opportunity for the Kids either to just grab the device and run or to assist in scaring away the shadowy assailant.
The Kids will once more meet the mysterious man in the Volvo on their way home. He will once more ask if the have found or seen anything. If they hand over the device, he will calmly give them a one hundred kronor note. The window will close and the car will drive away. Lying to the man would require a CHARM roll, although a failure would have no immediate consequences. The Kids could keep the device for the moment and maybe it would be a suitable trigger for a future Mystery.
It's the end of a decade
In another ten years time
Who can say what we'll find
What lies waiting down the line
In the end of eighty-nine