How to Talk Good: New Taglines for The Gaean Reach

Whoops, totally neglected by blog again.  At least part of this was due to going on holiday (my first ever trip to Japan!).  The rest of it was just laziness.

I mentioned in my last post that I’d been writing some new taglines for use in my ongoing Gaean Reach campaign, and that I’d share them on the blog, in case other GMs found them useful.  But first I should detail some minor changes I’ve made to the tagline system, that are probably worth considering when using the taglines below:

  • Instead of all players drawing from the same single pool of taglines, I’ve split them into three different archetypes: Eccentric Whimsy, Ironic Cynicism and Aphoristic Counsel. Players draw three taglines total, split between archetype decks as they see fit (one of each, all from the same set, or a two-one split).  When a tagline is used up, players take a new one from any of the archetypes – they are not bound to the same archetype as the last tagline.  Whilst the intention is not for players to tie their characters exclusively to specific archetypes, they might find that some archetypes tend to suit their character’s voice and actions more than others.
  • At the end of a session, players do not have to hand in all unused taglines, and can hold onto any they want to use next session. At the start of each session, players draw as many new taglines as required to end up with exactly three.  I don’t see the harm in players having time between sessions to work on really cool uses for taglines – players are actively encouraged to do this for Technothriller Monologues in Night’s Black Agents, for example.
  • If players end up with taglines they don’t understand, that don’t fit their character, or that they simply don’t like, they can trade them in for a new one at any time. This one’s a no-brainer for me.  The taglines are supposed to be a motivator of good roleplay not an impediment, and the taglines are not so varied in their ease-of-use that this is a balance issue.  This is also a useful disclaimer for me, in case you think any of my new taglines are crap.

Otherwise, these taglines work in exactly the same way as in the Gaean Reach rulebook.  When you use them appropriately, your GM awards 1-3 tokens, which can be spent on refreshes, extra rating points, Fortunate Avoidance of lethal damage, etc.  I’ve got one more session to go of the campaign, so if I create any more, I’ll probably edit them in.  I’d be very interested in hearing from anyone who had more ideas, especially for appropriately Vancian archetypes.


  • Explosion is a kind of illumination.
  • This qualifies as strategy in the abstract sense.
  • Allow me to take wing upon a flight of fancy.
  • Your description wants for poetry, but I suppose is essentially accurate.
  • The rules of this game are delightfully unorthodox.
  • Let us not linger upon the worst case scenarios.
  • Forgive me.  I’ve lost my train of thought.
  • You have to admire the spectacle, at least.
  • Was the apology not implicit?
  • Suppose I knew a short cut.
  • I am quite immune to embarrassment.
  • I delight in defying expectations.
  • I reject your false dichotomy and choose a third option.
  • Beautiful, in its own way.
  • Would it help if I explained a second time?
  • Very well, I will play your game – for the love of ludology, you understand.
  • Your accusations wound me.
  • Such marvellous word-smithery!
  • Your plan is precarious and ill-conceived, yet I am fond of it.
  • My wounds are more medicinal than impairment.
  • I find our sparrings rather rejuvenating.
  • Believe me, I am quite infuriated.
  • Much truth can be learned from the most savage ecosystems.
  • I delight in your sycophancy.
  • I am unrepentant in my commitment to degeneracy.
  • You tread the perimeter of my attention span.
  • My sincerest apologies – I didn’t think you would mind.


  • Perhaps they could be discarded; I have some suggestions.
  • I use “inconvenience” in the euphemistic sense.
  • I am staggered by your intellect; it has achieved new lows.
  • Let us inspect for poison before we toast to our success.
  • My gratitude for your cooperation, such as it was.
  • I invite you to continue your discourse, but it will make no difference.
  • Imagine my dazzling surprise.
  • Your tale is unbelievable!  Literally.
  • Shall we pretend we are happy to see one another?
  • Let us be pragmatic.  By which I mean violent.
  • Well wasn’t that just horrifying.
  • Perhaps there are hidden depths.  Superbly well hidden depths.
  • I don’t think “no” is a strong enough word.
  • Everything ends.  Some things sooner than others.
  • I predict the two of us are unlikely to fraternise.
  • I shall indulge you with falsehood, for the sake of decorum.
  • I lack the disposition for sincerity.
  • I do not entertain hypotheticals, I find reality vexing enough.
  • Is it too much to ask that you censor your hyperbole?
  • How refreshing they should take no pains to conceal their repugnance.
  • I have become desensitised to disappointment.
  • Your anecdotes are as plausible as they are captivating.
  • I tire of your loquaciousness.
  • I am indebted to your ineptitude.
  • Perhaps we should negotiate a peaceful settlement that neither of us will honour.
  • I find the prospect of a fair fight quite horrifying.
  • I am not as versed as you in obsequiousness.


  • Your obliviousness is a short stop from oblivion.
  • The child running with scissors is not always the one blinded.
  • A fall from grace is easier with a push.
  • The pen is mightier than the sword, but the projac is mightier still.
  • The taller the man, the greater the oversight.
  • Cherish the light; our nights grow longer.
  • Perhaps there is more to this than meets the nose.
  • Downwards is the only way forwards.
  • I think this might be one of those occasions it is better to leap before looking.
  • Beware the gift horse whose mouth is firmly shut.
  • It only qualifies as cheating if we are detected.
  • Walking a knife edge is an excellent way to be cut.
  • It’s easier to paint a bullseye on someone’s back than on their front.
  • No good deed ever goes unpunished.
  • A golden opportunity is the rarest of jewels.
  • Never bring a knife to a stage fight.
  • The most diminutive reptilians manufacture the most virulent toxins.
  • Concession is the softest fashion of defeat.
  • Perfection is seldom attained, but easily approximated.
  • The finest perfumes mask the foulest aromas.
  • Burning one’s bridges might at least deter pursuit.
  • Those easiest pleased are easiest tempted.
  • Semblance of posthumanity is a sorcery in and of itself.
  • Adversity makes strange bedfellows.
  • Observe your codes of chivalry, the better to exploit them.
  • Never stab in the back what you can shoot from safe distance.
  • Nothing loosens tongues quite like the prospect of violence.

5 thoughts on “How to Talk Good: New Taglines for The Gaean Reach

  1. Ha! Neat. I don’t know the system, but some of these lines are just good reads. Is ‘sycophancy’ really a word? Also I think you mean ‘in and of itself’, not ‘in of itself’. Please post a follow up and say how well they work in game.


  2. Thanks! That’s a good spot, I’ve edited it in again.

    Sycophancy is a real word, and I love it. It sounds like a deep and powerful magical art, which in The Gaean Reach it might as well be.

    I am sickeningly proud of “Never bring a knife to a stage fight”.


  3. Thanks for this post and the previous one. I was ready to scrap (and still may) the whole tagline mechanic for a “role-played well” reward system.


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