Masks of Nyarlathotep: London Chapter: Keeper's Thoughts
by, 24th August 2010 at 03:44 PM (1094 Views)
London was pretty unsuccessful for the investigators, for a variety of reasons. Here are my thoughts on the chapter:
1. Investigators need to be bold and determined right from the first to succeed in London, and mine weren't. At all. Between Gavigan and al-Sayed, there is so much force arrayed against them, both direct and indirect, that to make any headway on the main plot, it's absolutely necessary to not allow themselves to be misdirected or delayed. London requires a hammer, not a scalpel, and while my investigators were dancing around trying to figure out where to make the scalpel incision, the noose was closing on them.
2. Players are loath to retire characters, even when their SAN reaches the low teens and they're more a menace to the party than a help. Both Bedlam and Slick are batshit nuts (Slick has THREE indefinite insanities now) and neither is more than one rude shock from going permanently mad, but neither Clint nor Chris H. is willing to let them go. It's a curious attachment in a game where everyone recognizes the lethality.
3. A few rolls can make all the difference. Gams has been exposed to an array or horrible stuff, but she's either made the vital SAN rolls or had really low SAN loss on ones she's failed, so she's still as solid as a rock. In fact, this was the first time she'd even been seriously injured, and she hasn't been reluctant to mix it up. As a result, she's getting ready to be the last remaining original character, and she's in no particular danger of going out any time soon (barring a 1d100 SAN loss, anyway).
4. Players rely on SAN awards to keep their investigators going, and to tell them how they're doing. When I said, "So, SAN awards for London chapter...oh, let's see...NONE," the looks of shock, guilt, and dismay on the faces of the players were telling.
5. Playing up the rivalry between al-Sayed and Gavigan makes London a lot more survivable for the investigators. Were the Brotherhood's London Chapter a smoothly functioning machine, the investigators would likely have little chance. But with their two opponents trying to trip each other up as much as stop the investigators, it becomes possible for the investigators to survive even serious mistakes. It also makes for more interesting play for the Keeper, who gets to take context into consideration along with results of investigator actions when determining the cult response. In this case, Gavigan has been greatly humbled and the more direct, thuggish Tewfik will have a nasty surprise waiting for the investigators if they ever go back to England...