Brindlewood Bay: questions about Jim Rockford move

I’m playing and running Brindlewood Bay for the first time. One player has picked the Rockford move:

Jim Rockford
At the beginning of each session, the Keeper will narrate an answering machine message you have received. The message is always from the same unknown person, and they will always ask you to do some particular task, often unrelated to any active mystery. When you complete the task (whether in the current session or a future session), mark XP. The messages and tasks will get increasingly strange and disturbing the more marks you have on The Crown of the Void. No two Mavens can ever have this move at the same time.

I’m not super familiar with this genre so maybe I’m missing something obvious.

  1. Does anyone have examples of tasks they’ve used?

Did you do something seemingly random: get into a fight and lose? Or more like get on Bus 23, sit in the curb side seat, third from the back, and scrawl on the window “She’s alive” when the bus stops on Huskerson Way at dusk? Or a puzzle like: fix Hobart’s leaking basement with only items found in isle 3 at Jenny’s?

  1. How straightforward were they to fulfil?

Like, do you expect players will have to do more than just say “I go do this?” Do you expect a roll or something? Do you have in mind something like the AW Savvyhead Workspace move? So like pick one: you’re going to need help, first you’re going to have to figure out…, you’re going to expose yourself to serious danger, etc.

  1. How do you come up with tasks?

Do you have any tools or ways you come with ideas? Like a random generator or genre fiction to draw from? I haven’t seen the Rockford Files but the phone messages from that show seem pretty different to this move. Maybe this is aiming for something more like X-files or a spy thriller.

  1. Did you try to have ideas of who the caller is, their motives, their connection to Dark conspiracy, and how the tasks were useful to them?

I’m old enough to remember ‘The Rockford Files’ the premise of which was that every episodes inciting incident was an answer phone message.

I’d suggest tuning in to the ‘cosy’ atmosphere at the start so … taking cookies to a sick old man, or something else related to the maven’s cosy activity.

Then, as the mark the Crown of the Void, use the hint on those steps to colour the activities with increasingly sinister shades.

I would read them as ways to narratively deepen the sense of the town by introducing side characters or locations … mechanically it may distract from the current mystery but it:s that kind of game.

The move says the caller is a mystery so I’d leave it like that.


Thanks! Sounds like you’d make the tasks pretty easy and straightforward.

Good reminder to keep it cozy.

Hmmm, but I figure they’re following instructions from an unknown caller because it’s pulling them out of their coziness.