moptothehead: (how to top this time...)
Aoko Nakamori ([personal profile] moptothehead) wrote2013-08-26 10:30 pm
Entry tags:

Heartgame writeup!

WELL OVER A YEAR PAST THE FACT WHOOO

Okay so this writeup is going to cover the main, unfinished run over in [community profile] not_actually as well as the (also unfinished) private run done by CW!Kaito in AIM logs, though the order of areas is mostly going to follow the main run.

Onwards!

INTRO


It's all a little fuzzy. You remember being home (or what passes for home right now, for some of you) and going about your business as usual, only to have everything suddenly go white with no warning. Next thing you know you're staggering into a large room, plain and featureless except for a single bed with a body against the far wall.

You might have just enough time to realize that the body is a girl, perhaps even more specifically that it's Aoko — arranged in a sleep so deep she may as well be dead (but she isn't really, is she?) — before the room is melting around you again. A dreamy, distracted voice floats through your mind as the walls drip down into nothing...


.....I wonder... what ails the True Heart......?



...and suddenly, you're standing in sunlight.



Since this game took place through a wibbly-wobbly between-dimensions version of the Mansion over at [community profile] justonetruth, there are hints that influences from all of the relevant powers (Dream, Persona, and the Mansion) are present to some degree. These influences are partly the result of the participants' own past experiences with heart games. (If Mira's heart games had happened before I planned this out, her influence would have been included too, and wouldn't that have been fun. :D) The voice sounds not-quite like Dream and not-quite like Persona, and there's the typical abruptness of walking into the Mansion but with a bit more weirdness than usual. You're there, and then you're in the heart.

This is also the first hint to the participants that either something has been done to the heart or something is wrong with it that needs to be fixed. (Protip: it's the former.)

MAP





FRONT YARD


You find yourself on the front path of an upper-middle-class Japanese home, just inside a brick wall running around the perimeter of the property. Those who know Aoko well will recognize it as a spitting image of the Nakamori household. There's only two immediately obvious differences: the neighbouring houses on the far side of the wall don't match the ones that actually exist in Ekoda, and there seems to be an extra structure attached to the back of the house.

It's a clear, warm day, with still air and birds calling cheerfully somewhere in the distance. The front door of the house is closed, but doesn't look particularly foreboding. Behind you a gate interrupts the wall, but something about it seems strange...



...And everyone starts off right on the front path of Aoko's own house. Despite her experiences in the Mansion (which are also compartmentalized, mostly due to memory wipes which will be covered later), Aoko is still a very open and straightforward person! She is also firmly settled in her relationship with Kaito at this point and has sorted out her the majority of her tangled feelings towards her father's job, among other things. They're both heavily associated with "home", which she considers the core of her happiness, who she is, and where she belongs.

Home as a physical place has been changing for her, however, which is the reason for the extra structure at the back — those going around to the back of the house would see that it's actually fused in the middle with Kaito's house, half-and-half. This is because Aoko is in the process of moving in with him and it's slowly shifting her perception of what her "primary" home is. (Most things associated with Kaito and her current life are located in this half of the building, like the bedroom.)

So you get a warm, inviting combined house with an open front door. Other things that could be investigated were the windows along the front and sides (which allowed you to peek into rooms that represent, among other things, Aoko's relationships, which she's also very open about), and the gate set in the perimeter wall.

The neighbouring houses represent Aoko's sense of closeness to the people she knows, who aren't family — if anyone had find a way to get a good look at them past the mist, they would have seen the houses of Hakuba, Akako, Keiko, a few classmates, etc. Normally the gate is open as Aoko is very comfortable with reaching out to friends for help or companionship. Her heart instinctively closed it when the game kicked in, and then the gate got stuck. The mist was the Mansion's way of sealing out any outside help, and thus keeping Aoko (mostly) isolated inside herself (ie. unable to wake up) as well as preventing the participants from trying to get help from elsewhere. It was also actively trying to push its way in, so if anything dramatic had happened to the True Heart, there was a very real risk of a sudden mistsea swamping the whole yard and potentially most of the house!

There was also a very climbable sakura tree on the left side of the house. The tree is a direct route to a pretty important area, so you could only see it if you a) had already been to the True Heart, or b) came at it from a section of the house that had close ties to the True Heart and thus figured you were okay to go ahead.

Changes


Everyone: Shenanigans in the front yard! This gave Aoko a sort of vague, subconscious impression of the group as a whole. That impression is full of teasing and bullying as well as wariness and general disorganization... ness.
Hikaru: Tried to open the stained glass window, which leads to Akako's room. Will make Aoko think she should be more open about her relationship with Akako to other people!
Kit: Later went around back to the shed, but that'll be covered in its own section (since I forgot to break the thread properly in the main post oops).
Kaito: Tried to push the gate open, but it was already pretty jammed by the Mansion's mist (which is more solid than it looks). No effect, except for maybe a bit of extra True Heart frustration at being trapped.


ENTRANCE


The front door opens easily onto a typical tiled genkan, clean and empty. A cupboard stands to one side, featuring a few decorations on its surface: flowers, a lucky cat, a picture of Aoko and her father.

A wood-floored hallway stretches ahead of you and then disappears down a left turn. There are two doors spaced along its left wall, and three on the right. All of them are open a crack, except for the very last room on the right-hand side.



The genkan is the public entrance of the home and thus represents how Aoko presents herself and her family to the outside world. Right now it's still technically just her and her father, the memory of her mother (the flowers), and a little bit of good old-fashioned Japanese superstition.

The genkan's maneki-neko, or lucky cat, is a white one meant to bring in good luck in general, and is representative of Aoko's hope for an overall good, happy life. One of the (many) beliefs is that a maneki-neko's raised left paw attracts luck, while a raised right paw protects it. (The most common belief is that one paw is for wealth and one for luck, but Aoko doesn't care so much about wealth, so it doesn't apply.)

The cupboard contained slippers for family, friends, and guests and wearing them would have given you dere/acceptance points, but no one did. If there was a pair that fit you exactly, that meant you were someone she was used to "letting in" on a regular basis.

Changes


Everyone: A bunch of you guys walked all over the house without taking your shoes off. Rewd. :E Anyone who did that created the impression that they don't respect Aoko all that much as a person (and her dad by proxy).
Isa and Kit: Raised the cat's left paw! This increased Aoko's urge to be more open with others and as such decreased some of the security on the front door. When Isa checked the door it had two deadbolts, one above and one below the door handle, and she didn't have to unlock it to open it. Before Kit moved the cat's paw, the door would have automatically locked behind them. (They were able to get in in the first place because Kit was with them and the door always opens for Kaitos.)
If the left paw was up and the right paw was down, the door would have had one deadbolt, and wouldn't automatically lock if it was closed. If both paws were down, the door would be single-locked but would automatically lock when closed. (Basically the left paw being up determines whether the door is unlocked by default — how welcoming it is to outsiders — and the right paw being up determines how many locks the door has — how protective it can be of what's in the house.) You'd have to fiddle with the door a lot to figure out the effects, which no one did.
TL;DR Aoko will now be slightly less protective of her relationships against "outsiders".
Kaito: Actually took his shoes off, ty bb. Increased sense of his respect for her.


LOFT


As you reach the top you discover a warm, brightly lit loft area. The ceiling is low and the room is small, but the far wall is comprised entirely of windows, letting in streams of dappled sunlight that give the loft a cozy feel. The dapple originates from the leaves of a tree growing immediately outside the windows, its branches stirring slightly in a light breeze. Muslin curtains hang loosely in the corners, and the only sound comes from the tree and wind outdoors. Any noise from the rest of the house is muffled and pleasantly distant.

A small bookcase sits against a wall, filled with novels. A small velvet box rests on top of it, next to a brightly coloured vase of flowers, and a framed document hangs above.

A kotatsu is set out to one side, a sketchbook and various art supplies spread across its surface. Its blanket is neatly folded and tucked in a corner to await less favourable weather. A blue bean bag chair sits in another corner, a photo album resting on the floor beside it. A small boom box sits on the other side, a handful of CD cases stacked neatly next to it.

Other than that, the loft is strewn with pillows, scattered this way and that and all looking very comfortable.


After the True Heart, the loft is probably the most representative of Aoko as a person. It's full of things that are a) favourites of hers, b) personal to her, or c) both. These are the things she turns to when she's down, or having a tough time. Damaging it would have seriously interfered with her ability to cope with feelings of unhappiness.

Due to the loft's importance to Aoko's personality, the sakura tree to the True Heart is easily accessible from here! The little beckoning sparrow showed up partly because Kit was with the group, and partly because everyone was being friendly and not causing any harm.

Changes


Kit: Flipped through the sketchbook: slight increase in Aoko's desire to draw.
Flipped through the photo album: slight increase in Aoko's desire to stake out a favourite park or cafe or sthng while drawing.
Played Mai Kuraki's Always on the boom box: slight increase in desire to stake out favourite park while drawing and listening to— you get the drill. (Also increase in dere feelings for Kaito due to song choice.)
Flipped through The Book of Heroes: She'll feel the urge to get through the next few chapters when she has the time.
Flailed over the engagement ring with Isa: Going to be a bit more flustered about declaring her engagement to Kaito next time it comes up in public!
Isa: Also flipped through the photo album: even more urge to relax in a favourite place.
Hikaru: Flopped on bean bag: increased urge to relax, period!
Kaito: Poked his head in but didn't actually do anything.


ROOF / TRUE HEART


Up here it seems to be the very definition of "living high". While the house didn't seem higher than a story or so from the ground, up here it feels like you can see everything. Neighbouring houses are in full view, and you can see every inch of all of the yards — including the cherry tree you just climbed up, and a large shed sitting at the far end of the back yard, tendrils of mist curling around its back wall. Unfortunately, you can also see the area of gray nothingness that runs all the way around the perimeter wall, cutting the house off from its neighbours.

Despite the shingles under your feet, there's the vague sense that you can 'see' inside as well. Whether there are people moving around, which rooms are smaller or larger, and if there are visitors. It's odd, but not particularly unsettling.

On top of all this, there's the weather. It's gorgeous up here, with a light breeze and the sun beating down on your head, and a sparrow sings cheerfully from the top branches of the nearby tree.


How did you guys get here so fast ide. Congrats on getting right to the heart of the matter! /shot for lame pun

Unlike most True Hearts, Aoko's isn't a room — it's an open rooftop, another representation of her openness with others, as well as her own personal sense of freedom. The faint sense of "seeing" inside is due to her self-awareness; True Heart Aoko herself has an even clearer view of what's going on inside the heart, though even she can't see everything. (Hence why she can tell that the Mansion is influencing the interior of the heart somehow, but not exactly how.)

The weather is heavily indicative of the overall state/mood of the heart. At the beginning of the run Aoko was worried, but still very optimistic and glad that people were there to help, so it was mostly calm and steady.

There are two direct ways to and from the roof: climbing the sakura tree (either from the loft or another room that reveals it), and a trapdoor that leads to the bedroom representing her relationship with Kaito. Pretty self-explanatory.

Changes


Kit: Got into an argument with Hikaru and had Brotherly Feelings everywhere. Aoko will more instinctively associate them as having a strong brotherly relationship if she runs into them again.
Also insulted both Isa and True Heartko and got smacked, but that's pretty much par for the course anyway so no change. (Maybe a bit of nostalgia...)
Isa: Super determined to fix what the Mansion's doing and be safe about it! +10 trust in her Mansion alternates, particularly Isa. Also had a talk with Hikaru (and sort of Kit) about not being Kit's Aoko, resulting in a bit of increase in sympathy for the hardships of other Kaito/Aoko couples in the Mansion (like she needed more of that).
Hikaru: ...G-gave True Heartko a makeover after getting her dressed up in the outfit she wore for a Valentine's Day date with Kaito (which resulted in them having their first time...). Moderate increase in Kaito dere/desire and urge to look pretty for him, particularly with some professional help (more particularly with Hikaru's help).
Will also possibly think Hikaru's a pervert when meeting him in person without knowing why. ( '-')
Kaito:


BEDROOM


You make your way into a large, fairly normal-looking bedroom. There's a queen bed situated in the center of one wall, with pillows for two and warm, comfortable covers that are just a little rumpled.

On one side of the bed is a one-drawer nightstand, a bowl of chocolates and a lamp sitting on top of it. On the other side is a dresser, with a framed sketch and a dove plushie sitting on its surface, bits of confetti scattered around both of them.

A large window dominates another wall of the room, bordered by loose, colourful curtains that let in plenty of dappled green sunlight, shining through the leaves of the tree outside. The next wall holds a door and a small bookcase.

The last wall of the room holds a closet door and has a punching bag suspended from the ceiling. The ladder comes down between them.

The entire room is enveloped in a feeling of comfort. Like the loft, it's warm and quiet, cut off from the rest of the house and the bustle that might be going on there.


Throughout the whole house, there are four common representations across all the relationship rooms: room size, windows, outdoor view, and curtains.

Room size: The general size of each room relates directly to how well Aoko's known the person and for how long, reflecting how much she's explored and expanded their relationship. Therefore Keiko, Kaito, and Ginzo get the largest rooms, while Akako and Hakuba get smaller ones, and the shrine room is smallest.

Window size: The number of windows and the amount of light they let in refers to how much happiness Aoko derives from her relationship with that person.

Outdoor view: Certain rooms provide a view of either the shed, the sakura tree, or both, depending on Aoko's willingness to let that person be privy to her worries/problems/fears or true self, respectively.

Curtains: The curtains reflect Aoko's sense of privacy regarding her relationship with that person; tied closed means she'd be very private and reluctant to let other people know about it, while tied open means she'd be very open. Changing them isn't a permanent effect, unless they're somehow rigged to stay in place (eg. by nailing them or tying a very tight knot).

The bedroom is Kaito's room, so unsurprisingly it's large, has a massive sunny window, a view of both the tree and the shed, and curtains that are generally open. It also has:

A bowl of chocolates. There are five flavours, representative of Aoko's most common feelings towards Kaito: peppermint ("cold but sweet"), dark/bittersweet (sadness and worry, but not without affection), milk chocolate (happiness and dere), spicy (irritation and anger), and strawberry cream (desire). They're self-replenishing, but it takes time, so eating them can affect her emotions for a little while.

A lamp on a side table. The lamp represents her willingness to be Kaito's anchor and wait up for him to come home, especially in regards to heists and magic shows/tours. Whether it's on or off doesn't actually have much effect, but whether it's plugged in (or in the room or not) does. The side table has a locked drawer that nobody checked (and contains some of her, ahem, more intimate memories of Kaito).

A framed sketch of Toichi playing with child!Kaito. This is a sketch Aoko drew and gave to Kaito as a birthday present, and it represents her sense of his support of her art.

A dove plushie with a ticket reading "One admittance to the premiere magic show of Kaito Kuroba". This represents Aoko's love and support of Kaito's career in turn, as well as her optimism for the future. The ticket doesn't have a date as he hadn't had his first professional performance yet, but once he does, the date will be filled in.

A small bookcase. The books here represent things that Aoko has learned from (or alongside) Kaito, and include Kaito's hobbies (magic, bird care, makeup and hair), things to do with learning to live together (finances, homeowning), and... sex ed, among other things. Writing in them would influence her knowledge on those subjects and furthermore would make her think she'd learned the new info from Kaito.

A queen-sized bed, extremely cozy and comfortable. The bed represents Aoko's level of comfort and intimacy with Kaito, the slightly-rumpled covers showing casual ease (and frequent use). It can also be used by heart adventurers (especially Kaitos) to get moderate-light healing for injuries if they rest in it long enough. Memories could be found underneath it, but again, no one checked there.

A punching bag. Representative of how irritated she gets with her bff sometimes! Setting it swinging would increase her irritation, while actually punching it would decrease any irritation that she might have (or just make her more zen in general).

A closet full of various kinds of clothes, from casual to fancy. The closet represents her sense of how she appears with Kaito to the outside world, as well as a little bit of how Kaito perceives her when they're in public. Most of the outfits are the sort of cute, casual everyday stuff that she normally wears, as she's past the point of being self-conscious about how she looks when she's out and about with him. The fancy dresses are partly connected with past dates/events, and partly just because she does like dressing up in pretty things every now and then when they go out. The closet also contains a photograph with pictures of her and Kaito together in childhood, and hides a large painting of Toichi at the back that leads to the secret room (partly because Kaito's identity as Kid is something she wants to hide from others, and partly because by now, for her, Kid is mostly just an appearance that Kaito and Toichi present(ed) to the public).

A dresser full of... very intimate underthings. This is Aoko's sense of how she appears (and wants to appear) to Kaito in private, and wasn't locked because it's Kaito's room and why would she want to hide this stuff from him, that would defeat the purpose. The dresser also contained (mostly unused) makeup and other styling tools, due to the fact that Aoko doesn't care about that sort of stuff when it comes to the general public but does like using it every now and then to get a reaction out of Kaito.

A door to the hallway. The door is locked by default (she isn't that big on letting people interfere with her relationship), but is fairly easy for Kaitos to pick from the outside — the more familiar with the Kaito she is, the more it feels like a lock they've picked somewhere before. (For her own Kaito, of course, it barely takes any work at all.) The door can be left unlocked, but it wouldn't stay that way permanently unless jammed open.

A ladder to the roof. The trapdoor to the roof is lockable mostly as a defense measure, but as with the room's door, is easily pickable for any Kaito.


Changes


Kit: Ate one of each chocolate type. This is actually a pretty even change overall and at most will make Aoko more even-tempered towards Kaitos for a little while. T-then he joined Hikaru in lingerie rummaging, so there's a distinct sense of "Kit is a pervert" and the impression of him wanting to nose around in her and Kaito's private relationship.
Isa: Went into the secret room through the closet; will assume Isa knows about Kaito's identity as Kid and will feel comfortable talking to her about it.
Hikaru: Rummaged through all the lingerie and showed it to everyone scree. Will feel a lot more embarrassed about dressing up sexily for Kaito and is not mentioning it to anyone ever not a chance. Also not helping those "Hikaru is a pervert" and "Hikaru is nosy about personal relationships" impressions. Presumably Hikaru closed the drawer after himself (or Kit did), but if he didn't, she's going to feel the urge to dress up sexily for Kaito more often despite being horribly embarrassed about it.
Also tossed most of the casual clothes out of the closet and onto the floor, leaving Aoko very confused about how she should appear in public with Kaito and whether maybe she should just... stay home for a while and possibly not bother with getting dressed or go out in something fancy. Gg.
Kaito:


SECRET ROOM


The portrait swings shut behind you with a quiet 'click', and you find yourself standing in a cramped, windowless room, filled with all sorts of strange things.

There's a mirrored cabinet to your left, wall units with blueprints and electronics and tapes to your right, and a work table and tool set and large trunk scattered elsewhere. One wall features a pinball game with silently blinking lights, and an inflatable dummy in a white suit and top hat is leaning against it.

Every spare surface seems to have some sort of monitor or television on it. They're all showing different angles of what looks like the interior of a public building, and the feeds have the grainy monochrome tint of a security camera.

There's an uneasy and furtive feel to the room, like you shouldn't really be here...



This room represents Aoko's relationship with Kid, both as a character and as an aspect of Kaito's life! This was actually one of the more interactive rooms in the heart, with items that could be used to ease progress in other areas. It contained:

The car. Because you can't not have the car.

A mirrored cabinet containing the Kid outfit.

Several televisions and monitors. These are the way to interact with one of the heart's NPCs — Kid. He won't appear for any Kaitos (this is their room; they aren't supposed to need any help, after all), but for everyone he can show up to either help or heckle, inasmuch as he can. His main purpose is to protect the items in the room through distraction, but he can point visitors to other NPCs for help. He's also interacting with the Ginzo NPC behind the scenes, which is why he's constantly darting between monitors, evading detection — if all the monitors but one were unplugged, Aoko would be left with a very severe sense that Kaito's getting trapped as Kid and might be forced into a confrontation with her father.

A wall unit with blueprints, electronics, and tapes.

An inflatable Kid dummy.

A pinball game.

A trunk full of disguise accessories.

A work table with various heist tools.

Changes


Isa: Opened the costume cabinet and spoke to monitor!Kid to get some hints on where to go next. Also tried on the Kid hat, but put it back and closed the cabinet again. No permanent changes.
Kaito:


SHRINE ROOM


The room you step into is small and quiet, with only a tiny square window on the far wall. Dark curtains are drawn over it; the only source of light is a standing lamp in the corner nearest the door, emitting a soft but encompassing glow.

Against the left wall, a small family shrine is erected. It's simple and plain, but well cared for. The wooden doors are drawn back, and on the shelf is a photograph of a middle-aged woman with dark brown hair. Simple vases, each holding a single flower, are arranged on either side of the picture, and in front of the shrine is an offering table covered with a patterned cloth. In its center is an incense bowl filled with sand, surrounded by unlit incense sticks, candles, and a plate of mikan. A convenient lighter is set in front of the arrangement.

A second offering table is set against the right-hand wall; this one is sans shrine, but has its own framed photograph, this one of a man. A few flowers are laid in front of it, without vases, and there's another smaller incense bowl with sticks and lighter.


The shrine room represents Aoko's mourning for important people she's lost, specifically her mother and Toichi Kuroba. It's a fairly straightforward area with only a few things to do — tend to the altars (which summons Chikage), and play with the window/lighting.

Chikage can be either a helpful or a defensive NPC depending on the behaviour and intentions of the people she's interacting with. Aoko strongly associates Chikage with Toichi and being a protective mother figure (both to Aoko and Kaito), so this is her room, and she will scrutinize newcomers quite thoroughly. She also knows quite a bit about everyone and everything that's going on because that's Aoko's impression of how she is in real life! Despite that, due to being an NPC, Chikage can't know anything that Aoko doesn't (or at least has a hint about), and she has a penchant for teasing and riddles.

Changes


Kit: Opened the curtains. They were fastened shut, as Aoko is usually very private about the topic of her mother's death, and Toichi's. Will make her (temporarily) more willing to broach the subject in public.
Isa: Lit the incense on her mother's shrine and Toichi's shrine, calling up Chikage. Made Aoko feel that Isa has respect and sympathy for Aoko's loss, which makes sense since she's... herself...
Hikaru: Banter banter banter. Just the feeling that Hikaru and Chikage would be a terrible teasing force against Kaito if they teamed up and that is not necessarily a bad thing.
Kaito: Actually the first room he stepped into! Also lit the incense on both shrines, calling up Chikage. Same effect.


KITCHEN


The door opens onto a spacious, brightly-lit kitchen, stocked with all the major appliances an at-home cook would need: a stove with an oven, fridge and freezer, large sink, dishwasher, cupboards, small broom closet, rice cooker, coffee machine, full knife set, spice rack, and more. There's a homey feel to it as well — colourful curtains are drawn back from the large window over the sink, there are drawings and photos affixed to the fridge with magnets, and a well-worn table with three mismatched, comfortable chairs sits in the center of the room.

Food is set out on a few surfaces, all looking fresh and smelling delicious. There's a plate of omurice on the table, complete with vegetables on the side and a hot bowl of miso soup. On the counter, a batch of mochi sits in a dusting of rice flour, and a bowl of walnuts is placed near the sink with a simple nutcracker.


The kitchen is Ginzo's room! It represents Aoko's home life and relationship with her father, and as such is very large, warm, bright, and welcoming. If this had been earlier in canon it would have been more cold and lonely-feeling, but at this point in her life she's come to terms with Ginzo always being at work.

Touching just about anything would bring in NPC Ginzo, who, while helpful, is extremely protective of the heart and will cross-examine the hell out of anyone he doesn't recognize. He's not particularly aware of going-ons elsewhere in the heart, but he can employ defensive measures and help with tasks.

The magnets, photos, and drawings on the fridge are all memories. The table has three chairs instead of two because Kaito is pretty much an inextricable presence in Aoko's relationship with her dad now, but in a welcome sort of way.

The food on the table is fresh but a little lukewarm, like it's been sitting out for a while; it represents Aoko's willingness to wait for and support her dad. Tasting it would give you a feeling of patience and welcome.

The mochi comes in three flavours: pink, white, and green, each one representing a different positive emotion Aoko has for Ginzo. Pink is cherry, "a warm, happy feeling of familial love and cherishment, strong and unadulterated". White is plain, "quiet feelings of contentedness and belonging". Green is green tea, "a feeling of gruff affection and dry humour".

The walnuts represent Aoko's sense of her dad's stubbornness and are really hard and frustrating to crack.

The kitchen connects directly to the Police HQ area through what looks like a broom closet; it isn't a proper door because while Aoko knows her father's work is an intrinsic part of who he is, she can still get a little grumpy about it. And the mun didn't want to make it too obvious

Changes


Kaito: Ate all the positive feelings mochi and alerted Ginzo to the situation in the heart, who then led him into the HQ area. Aoko will feel a bit neutral or even exasperated with her dad for a bit, but the feelings will replenish quickly, and she'll also feel like he's been trying to protect her.


POLICE HQ


Upon opening the closet door, you find that it's... not actually a closet after all? The door is narrow all right, but on the other side is the regimented bustling of police headquarters in full swing, with officers and administration hurrying about. Ginzo is nowhere in sight.

The officers don't seem to be paying much attention to you — one or two receptionists nod in a friendly way as they rush past (you've been to HQ before, after all), but it's clear something is going on.


The Police HQ represents Ginzo's work ethic and how it affects Aoko, as well as Aoko's need to stay balanced between her loyalty to her dad and her desire to keep Kaito safe — it's very easy to mess up if you're not careful. The HQ is actually in constant interaction with the Kid NPC in the Secret Room — if anyone looked up the details of the heist being tracked in the HQ room, it would match Kid's surroundings on the monitors in the Kid Room, and the Task Force's pursuit is why Kid can never stay in one spot and is constantly running around even while talking to visitors. If left alone, neither will ever be close to overtaking the other.

Asking about some details of the heist, such as the district and the target jewel, will result in vague or changing answers since it's a general representation of all of Kid's heists, but the setting (museum, art gallery, store, etc.) will always match the monitors in the Kid room no matter what.

Ginzo can also assign 'officers' from this area to investigate and even defend other areas of the heart, though their effect is very limited.

Changes


Kaito: Gave a few details and asked a few questions about the mysterious effect the Mansion was having on the heart, making Ginzo determined to find it — unfortunately this had little effect as half of the Mansion mist was located in areas that Ginzo couldn't get to (the shed). He might have been able to point Kaito towards the first source if Kaito had checked back a little while later, but that didn't happen. No permanent effect!


DRESSING ROOM


You step inside and find yourself in a small, crowded dressing room, with barely enough room to take more than a few steps. There are no windows but there are plenty of hiding places — and there's a faint air of unease to the place, as if something might jump out at you if you let down your guard too much.

A narrow closet is crammed into one corner, with random items such as books, handcuffs, climbing gear, art supplies, a metal-tipped mop, and more strewn about every available surface. The only clear part of the room is the large mirror covering the right-hand wall... but something's off about it. If you look into it, the person looking back has your face and follows your movements, but they aren't quite you.


The first Mansion room! All of the Mansion rooms share a door with an "everyday" heart room, and just like going to the Mansion is a (mostly) random occurrence, whether you get a Mansion or a regular room in the heart is up to a random dice roll. If you don't get the room you want on the first try, you have to keep opening and closing the door until you do. (NPC Chikage knew this, which is why she specifically told the players to "double-check everything".) On top of that, Mansion rooms only share doors with rooms of people that Aoko has also met in the Mansion; so Ginzo, Akako, Hakuba, and Kaito (sort of) have one, and non-relationship rooms (and Keiko) do not. Chikage doesn't quite have one because the room is also heavily split with Toichi and Aoko's mother, who Aoko's hasn't met in the Mansion (plus the rooms are thematically linked and Aoko hasn't experienced personal loss in the Mansion either).

The Dressing Room shares a door with the Bathroom, and represents Aoko's impression of her Mansion alternates in relation to herself. It's uneasy because the Mansion has proved by now that not all alternates are friendly, and a few are downright unnerving or even threatening. Despite that, the room itself isn't a danger zone.

For those who have been to the Mansion, every new glimpse in the mirror will show one of their alternates as their reflection, perfectly mimicking their movements if not their expression. For those who haven't, the mirror will simply show potential alternates of who they could have been, based on some of the differences Aoko has run into in the Mansion (eg. zombie apocalypse world).

Each item in the room represented one of Aoko's alternates that she's met, and touching them would give you her feelings/impressions of them.

Handcuffs - Thusia verse!Aoko, an older policewoman. (untouched)

Climbing gear and field notebooks - Tomb raider!Aoko, an older adventurer. (untouched)

Creepy Correspondence Book - Fallen London!Aoko. "A lingering feeling of awe and humility, and more than a little nervousness. Something like admiration for an animal you know is very impressive and just as dangerous." The book itself confers a few effects of the Correspondence if you try to read it, namely headaches and nausea.

Art supplies and sketchbook - DNAngel verse!Aoko, a dedicated artist. "There's a sensation of gratitude, curiosity, and professional admiration."

Metal-tipped mop - Isa, from Thusia. "A feeling of shock, sadness, impotent anger, and uncertainty, and beneath it all a wobbly current of wanting to help but not being sure it will be welcomed..."


Changes


Kaito: Saw his tomb raider, 1412, kitsune, and Aather alternates in the mirror; no effect. Took the Correspondence Book out of the room, which will reset Aoko's impressions of her Neath self to neutral until they next meet.


STUDY


As you enter the room, the first thing you might notice is that it's dim, if comfortably so. The window on the far side is of average size and isn't letting in the greatest amount of light, even though the curtains are open. The sun outside is at the wrong angle for it.

It seems to suit the room regardless. It's a quiet place, interrupted only by the steady ticking of a clock on the wall. The carpet is plush and dark, and the furniture — a pair of high-backed arm chairs, a number of book cases, and a large, expensive-looking desk and chair — is professional and impressive, in an old English kind of way.

There's some minimal, organized clutter, mostly on the desk. A brass lamp illuminates folders and stapled stacks of paper, photographs attached to them with paperclips, and there are a few small handbooks. A golden pocket watch sits in the middle of all of it, face closed. Either it's silent, or its ticking is so perfectly in time with the wall clock that it's impossible to hear any difference.


Changes


Kaito:


LIVING ROOM


You enter a large, comfortable-looking living room. Two armchairs and a well-worn couch sit in the center, draped with pillows and a blanket or two. One of the blankets matches the kotatsu table, which is currently set up for summer. A large bowl of popcorn sits on the table, the kernels glazed bright colours. There's pink, green, yellow, blue, orange... and they sure do smell warm and sweet. A couple of soda cans sit near the bowl, with a universal remote and various hair accessories scattered around them.

On the wall opposite all of this is an entertainment unit, complete with a large TV, DVD player, and sound system. The bottom shelves are stuffed with DVDs in pink and white cases with handwritten labels.

A few lamps are situated around the room, all of them turned off. This is because the large windows on the far wall let in more than enough sunlight, the curtains drawn back to let all of the warmth in. You can see the yard outside, along with a cherry tree and, in the (surprisingly) far distance, what looks like a large storage shed.


Changes


Kaito:


STUDIO


This time you step into a studio, quiet and brightly lit by lamps and sunlight coming through a large window. It's a well-used workspace, clean but cluttered, and oddly divided down the middle — even the window's curtain is split, tied open neatly on the right-hand side but closed on the left side.

On the left side of the room is a drafting table and paint-spattered easel, covered with various works-in-progress on art grade paper and canvas. Pencils, pens, inks, rulers, screentones, brushes, acrylics, and watercolour pencils — all Aoko's favourite mediums — are scattered about the surfaces, lit by flexible lamps affixed to random table edges. Other supplies are tucked away in neat boxes against the walls or under the table, similar to the supply boxes from the art rooms at her university. Photographs and reference books are pinned or propped on every remaining bit of space; most of them are of animals, vehicles, and scenes with a lot of shadows or unusual perspectives. You might even recognize a few of them as subjects Aoko's been struggling with lately in school.

The right side of the room is much cleaner. Devoid of paint splatters and graphite smudges, it displays a number of finished works on easels or in wall frames — though all of them are arranged around a large red question mark painted in the center of the rightmost wall. There's a clipboard hung in the corner with a number of papers attached to it, and a small table covered with open books sits among the easels.


Changes


Kaito:


DINING ROOM


This time the door opens on a massive room, with buffet tables of food spread out along the right-hand wall. A large pantry — with a space for dirty dishes — runs along the left-hand wall, but it doesn't come anywhere near to reaching the top of the vaulted ceiling, or covering the whole of the wall. Smaller tables with chairs arranged around them dot the center of the room, each place set with a meal and various items. Finally, the back wall is dotted with tall windows, each showing a narrow line of sunlight between the mostly-drawn curtains — hardly a problem, given the bright lighting overhead.

Unlike the dressing room from earlier, this place is immediately recognizable as the Mansion's dining room.


Changes


Kaito:


QUIET ROOM


The door sticks a little at first, though it isn't locked, and finally swings open on a familiar room. It's dim in a cozy sort of way, lacking windows of any kind and lit only by a few low lamps and a cheerfully crackling fireplace. A plush couch, threadbare but looking incredibly comfortable, is arranged behind a low-slung coffee table in front of the fire. It's flanked by two heavy and equally threadbare armchairs, and a number of scuffed bookcases line the walls, interrupted by a single writing desk.


Changes


Kaito:


INFIRMARY


Instead of the study's carpet, your feet fall on hard white tile, and you're suddenly inside an infirmary, stark and lit by fitfully flickering fluorescent lights. There are counters with a stainless steel sink, a cot with a medical tray, a blood transfusion rig, and a number of cupboards and drawers. It's neither clean nor sterilized; used medical supplies lie scattered around on random surfaces, many of them in poor shape. There's the distinct sense that all of them are useless.

On one counter is a wrist splint, its casing cracked and the straps tangled. Dirty bandages are tossed everywhere on the counters and floor, bloody and torn and looking like they were trampled on. Next to the sink, a bottle of vitamin A ointment is overturned and leaking. On the cot, a bloodied red scarf is bundled up in a heap, staining the sheet. A thin knife sits on the medical tray, the blade dark with dried blood. The blood transfusion kit has been used and not cleaned; clotted residue clings to the inside of the bag and tube.


Changes


Kaito:


HOTEL ROOM


Strangely, the doorknob isn't locked this time when you try it, and it swings open onto a hotel room with a very familiar layout. There's a queen bed, nightstands, a generous bathroom, a TV, comfy armchairs, and so on. Warm tropical beaches can be seen through the open windows and balcony doors, and the room is airy and light.

A number of objects lie scattered about, some more out of place than others. A dark red rose and a cup of steaming coffee sit neatly on a table by the armchairs. A child's drawing done in crayon rests next to them. A pair of children's mittens are draped over the (cold) radiator, along with a wrinkled dress that looks like it was soaked and then dried. The carpet is littered with kids' toys: a sandy plastic shovel and bucket, a plastic ice cream cone, a couple of towels tied into mini-capes.

A string of tiny little LED fairy lights are hung along the bed's headboard. A ball cap emblazoned with a logo reading 'ShinRa Electrical Corp.' is hanging from a dresser knob, and a stethoscope is strewn across one of the night tables. Finally, a pair of crutches leans against a spare bit of wall.


Changes


Kaito:


BATHROOM


This time you step into a moderately large and exceptionally grand bathroom powder room, decorated all over with bright lights, rich accents, and tasteful architecture. The room is dominated by an ornate vanity with an oversized oval mirror that rests upon swivel hinges. The vanity's surface is covered in so many letters and small gifts that they're at risk of spilling over onto the floor, and the whole room is permeated with the scent of an alluring, feminine perfume.

Shelves adorn the walls, neatly packed with various glass jars and bottles of all shapes and sizes. They give way to racks of fluffy, luxurious towels on the other side of the room, leading to an alcove housing a large European-style ivory tub with clawed feet and golden taps. It's filled to the top with faintly steaming water, with rose petals drifting lazily on the surface. In the corner next to it is.... an equally elegant cauldron?

The whole scene is dressed in sparkling, dancing colours thanks to a tall stained glass window in the outer wall. Diamond-shape panes lined with lead throw a harlequin pattern into the basin of the ivory and gold sink fixed below the sill.


Changes


Kaito:


SHED


The backyard itself is large, stretching away for over two dozen paces of rich grass before it ends in a wall. In the middle of said wall sits a large Japanese-style shed, fit with double doors and no windows. The outbuilding looks even bigger from back here, square and fat and almost two stories high. The doors are locked, fastened with a heavy length of chain and a tough padlock. They feel cold, and if you stand still long enough you might notice that the grass does as well.

Inside, the shed is cold and dark — the only light comes from a single tiny square window high in the back wall, providing just enough illumination to see that the building is piled high with wooden crates.

They come in all sizes and states, some old and weathered while others are new and sturdy. They're piled somewhat neatly, standing in irregular rows to either side of a center aisle leading out from the door, and with just enough space between them to feel like something could be lurking behind every corner...

As soon as you let go of the doors and step inside, they slam shut behind you like they're spring loaded. The building is immediately thrown into darkness, only the tops of the crate piles visible in the cold light from the window.

You run several steps, then several more, but there's no sign of the doors, or even a wall. Your footsteps echo strangely among the crates, and the room suddenly feels cavernous, like the shed has become a warehouse.


The heavy chain and padlock on the door are the first indication that this isn't a place Aoko wants people to go, both for personal reasons and because it's a danger zone. Those checking the coolness of the grass in front of the doors would notice a cold breeze rolling out from the bottom crack — invading Mansion influence number two! (Though like the dining room, you have to be on the Mansion side to address it.)

The default shed represents Aoko's fears and how she presents them in her day-to-day life, and the whole place reflects that — it seems small(ish) at first, unassuming to outsiders, but when you step inside it becomes cavernous, cold and dark and very easy to get lost in. The doors shut themselves and are heavy to move, indicating both Aoko's reluctance to share her fears with other people, and the difficulty she has getting out of them sometimes. Each crate holds an object representing a specific fear, and how tightly they're sealed and how close they are to the top of their pile indicates how often they tend to cross Aoko's mind. Bottom-pile fears are ones she's mostly addressed and conquered, but opening them and/or moving them to the top of a pile could change that...

Opening a crate releases that fear and leaves it free to wreak havoc on Aoko's conscience until the crate is sealed again. Because there are so many fears and a great many of them deal with the safety of her dad and Kaito against the Black Organization, this is the second-most dangerous area of the heart.

The small window at the back represents Aoko's stubborn determination to cling to hope even in the worst circumstances. Even so, it's high and difficult to reach, and would be quite a squeeze as an escape route. Outside it the mist from the Mansion can be seen, but there's a gap between the mist and the wall of the shed, as the mist is being staved off as an outside influence and the shed is a part of the heart itself.

Fears that were triggered:

Nightmare's Mask - A top-resting crate with a loose lid. This is actually a couple of compiled fears: Aoko's fear of what the death of Jack Connery might do to Kenta, and the fear that Kenta might someday find out what really happened and blame Kaito for it. The crate below it was a paired fear (in the form of a chunk of the mask with a card from Kaito's gun embedded in it), of how the whole incident might affect Kaito given his own losses.

Changes


Kit: Knocked down the crate with Nightmare's mask and briefly opened the one with the mask and the card. The mask and card's crate had the lid replaced. The thread was never finished, but presumably Kit stuffed the mask back into its own crate as well and resealed it. If he didn't replace the crate back on the top of its pile, both it and the mask and card fears will remain equally prominent in Aoko's mind for some time.
Hikaru: KICKED THE DOORS. Gave Aoko the impression that he's immaturely prying at her fears.
Kaito:


THE MIST


There's no darkness when you step inside this time — instead there's nothing but fog, thick and swirling as high as your knees, graying out any details farther than a few feet. You feel tense and uncertain, and before you can really get a hold of your surroundings the doors slip from your grasp, slamming shut behind you with a metallic clanging sound.

The double doors have transformed into black, spiked, wrought-iron gates set in a matching fence. The bars are too close for a person to fit through, but the fog moves easily between them. You can't see anything on the far side other than more fog.


Changes


Kaito:


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