Now he’s my real brother
Playing Shock with (nearly) total strangers. We’re doing it old-school, so we secretly pick issues and then brainstorm a Shock that fits, instead of the wussy Shock-first approach. We choose overpopulation, cultural extinction and plagiarism, and decide on a dystopian future where ideological groups struggle for dominance in society.
The Shock we come up with is a technique to implant value systems (culture, beliefs, ideology) in people. It’s extremely widespread, so most people in society have been indoctrinated with the value implant of their faction, known as a Root. People who don’t have one, or whose Root has started to fray are derisively called Weeds.
I’m loving it already, but then we add one more juicy bit: you can’t just make up the value templates, you have to copy them from people who have those beliefs (like we said, plagiarism). And when you do copy it, you brain damage the source. So if you want to make a thriving tribe of Communists, you first have to lobotomize Chairman Mao. Way to honor your leaders.
So part way along, one of the nicer characters is trying to unite all the warring factions (that’s her story goal: end the divide and unite all the value systems), and she’s trying to bond with her estranged brother who now leads one of the gangs with a different Root than hers. He lets his guard down after a tender moment and, wham!, she backstabs him with a new implant, wiping his value system and overwriting it with her own.
The rest of us are like, wow, you’d brainwash your own brother, that’s cold, and the player looks up calmly and says “Now he’s my real brother.” Snap!
many more details in the excellent Roots & Weeds game summary Susan wrote up