Author Topic: Diary Of A Keeper  (Read 1054 times)

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Offline EvilSanta

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Diary Of A Keeper
« on: September 29, 2005, 01:49:08 PM »
So... anyway, last night was my first night back in the saddle. Well, chair. The chair as you might say, sitting as I was at the head of the table. What am I blathering about? Last night I ran some tabletop Cthulhu. For the first time in a long time - a year in fact.

The hardest part was picking a story. Last time we finished Terror at Red Hook and before that, Full Circle Part One. In those two stories alone I'd covered all the bases - haunted house, cult, ancient namless evil in the form of an Elder God. And since then, I'd also been busy on ebay. I swayed between a few - Plantation, from Mansions of Madness, Bless the Beasts and Children and a couple from the Unbound Book.

I decided to run Bless the... here online and picked Plantation for the group. Then, in typical ES style I decided last minute to run Rise of the Xnaanki from tUB.

It was the old group and they brought their old characters... bless... attached to them as they were. The one armed Native Indian bookshop owner (he didn't actually lose his arm, it was just aged 50 years by a spell). There's also a doctor, an undercover reporter (who introduces himself as an undercover reporter) and a self confessed thief and smuggler.

It was a slow start. The players were all late. Then we spent ages catching up on their various gaming experiences since I'd last seen them (which was when my 2nd daughter was born five months ago). But finally we got down to it.

The first half of Rise is fairly linear - and I dont plan to give the plot away here, incase they read it or I chose to run it online at some point. But broadly they have to win an auction for their employer and transport their winnings across the Miskatonic Valley with people chasing them

Of course, this being CoC I dont really mean 'people'...

Anyway, I'd forgotten how much the players suspect me at every turn of trying to catch them out, and how every inconsequence I dropped into conversation turned out to be a "is this a plot hook, is the DM trying to leg us over or not?" type conversation.

For example: They've just witnessed their ally in a life and death struggle in the baggage car of a fast moving train. At the climax of the scene, the ally reels from a gunshot and falls from the train. They then disarm their ally's assailant (by shooting him dead). I said "There's not much to see. You spot a  blood trail, and a spent ammo casing". The players then go into "Why is there a spent casing, didn't he have a revolver? Was there a second shooter..." forgetting that there ally had fallen from the train.

But overall, it went pretty well. We overran of course - my pacing is terrible - plus a pivotal car chase type scene went brilliantly and was the highlight of the evening. One player failed his san check and leapt from the speeding car, the driver was blinded by a spell than critically failed his drive check, the only guy with a gun had forgotten to reload it etc etc.

But bruised and battered they made it to the end of part one. Next week will be interesting. Part 2 of Rise is much more open ended - infact, there's no clear route on how to get to the end - it's all down to them. Wonder how we'll both cope!

Here's a player summary, explaining to the one member of the group who missed the session what happened:


Yeah, very good game. Great fun, just a shame percentile dice hate me so very, very much. I mean, a 99 when trying to control the car careening wildly down a bank. Never going to end well.
 
Oh, and forces of darkness and unspeakable evil and eviscerated dogs, too. Good clean fun :-)

Now we're stuck in a dark house in the middle of the night, with a dying man surrounded by green monsters and police that want to kill us and we have to get back to Arkham (8 hours by train away) with a strange 18 inch statue... hmm...
There are two rules to being a successful Evil Overlord. One: never reveal all of the information
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"Perhaps you could arrange for him to have a combat related accident... like falling down a set of punches?" Kang the Mad

Offline user516379

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Diary Of A Keeper
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2005, 10:07:09 PM »
Personally, I love Call of Cthulhu. For my money nothin beats a little mass murder and mayhem. I know what you mean about the characters freaking out over everything you say. But thats part of the fun. They know its not a matter of if they'll die. Its a matter of how and when. Come to think of it I don't think I've ever had a character play that survived longer than a few hours. Well to be honest there was one, but he went so irrevocably insane that he became unplayable. The player of that character, a very good friend of mine, still boasts loudly that hes the only person to ever navigate a character through one of my sessions and live, even if he did end up locked in the boobyhatch.

Offline EvilSanta

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Diary Of A Keeper
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2005, 07:01:37 AM »
So, I missed one. That's why I don't keep a real diary

Anyway, they banished the dark god back into the lake. One of them went slightly mad, the other, a journalist, pulled out pistols and starting popping cultists. I got a little annoyed at the blaise attitude (Me: "there's an unarmed cultist running at you screaming - she looks no more than 18" Player: "I shoot her like it ain't no thing..." Me: "er... ok, it's going to cost you sanity..." Player: "That's ok, I've got plenty..." Me (silently) Not for much longer...)

I planned resolved to fix that in the next story (more later). Some great roleplay moments - my favourite though was the excellent bringing one play up to speed:

Player: "blah blah.. dark god lake, imprisoned, cult, statue..."
Other Player: "Do you think  discussing this outside your classroom is a good idea?"

***

So anywho, the latest story I'm running was designed to deal with the blaise player (playing a journalist who just happens to carry twin revolvers in his coat and use them at every opportunity) with the high san, hereinafter referred to as "the victim".

The victim's uncle, an NPC previously saved from certain torture and death at the hands of cultists, is tortured and killed by cultists. The upshot of the story is that the PCs, led by the victim, will have to exhume the Uncle and recover an amulet from his stomach, then they will have to sacrifice someone while taking part of a ritual - at the end of the ritual the victim will have to cut the still beating heart out of the sacrifice and eat part of it.

It's a great story - 3d6 San loss for the victim if he fails the san check at the end of the ceremony, 1d6 if he passes, so either way I'm happy. They have received specific instructions once the ceremony is complete to "leave and not look back". It's written in particularly large and menancing writing, so they can't accuse me of not warning them. You see, if they do look back, they die. Bwahahaha! <cough> <choke>

Sorry, got carried away there. OK, I might tone it down a bit.

Enough with the plot, on to the evening.

This is a two parter. Actually, a one parter but they faffed around over whether to exhume the corpse or not. In the opening, the county coroner impressed upon the PCs the need to bury the uncle quickly, because the refridgeration at the morgue had broken down. This was supposed to be a simple plot device just to keep the story rolling along - but had the opposite effect. The players became convinced the coroner was "in on it" and spent an hour preparing an elaborate plot to break into the morgue and confront him. Which was quietly amusing in a "DOH!" kind of a way.

Added bonus: The trigger happy journo made the mistake of entering into a gun battle with some knife wielding cultists in the middle of Arkham (quoting that ridiculous Untouchables line while doing so). At which point the police arrived. Of course, the agreed it was self defense, but still took his guns away.

Couple of excellent roleplay moments. One of which had us in hysterics was the player whose character picked up a minor derangement last week when he was nearly swallowed by an elder god - the fear of the colour black. Cue: Uncle's Funeral. Player went into a fit and played it out in character for a good ten minutes... guess you had to be there.

The other was the character who was replaced by a shapeshifting cultist. He plays this very british doctor, who sounds like a member of the royal family. I said to him: "just change something subtle about your roleplay, to give the others a hint that something is up" so he comes in with a smile, and starts talking like Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins - priceless - what's better is that the others didn't notice... brilliant.

Annnnnyyyyway, I'll let you know how this weeks session goes...
« Last Edit: October 17, 2005, 11:47:41 AM by EvilSanta »
There are two rules to being a successful Evil Overlord. One: never reveal all of the information
***
"Perhaps you could arrange for him to have a combat related accident... like falling down a set of punches?" Kang the Mad

 

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