It's been bugging me for awhile now the question of "Am I alright as a Game Master?" it's a question I guess all G.M's ask themselves from time to time but after my last online group just weirdly faded away after a few poorly attended sessions without and real comment from anyone the question of my Gaming style has risen from the depths.
I do all my gaming Online and that may factor into how things pan out, Online is a fantastic way to meet up with people all over the world and actually get to roll dice but it does mean is a little more trickier to fully connect with people as off table talk is almost impossible to do, if you and another person starts talking about last nights game its heard by everyone and interrupts the game, so when the action involves someone else its probably best to mute your microphone and resist the temptation to do a google search on the information the Games Master has just dropped but back to the question that's unsettling me a little, am I okay as a G.M? as I mentioned before the last group I was part of just faded away in a really bizarre manner the first session was nearly a full house and the Players were awesome and I really had a blast running the game though I saw afterwards that I needed to change a few things to match the handouts better etc. but after that first session Players started to skip out, at first it wasn't to bad as they would post up that they couldn't make it next week which was fine, real life always trumps gaming and its always a juggling act spare time wise but soon the updates stopped and each session was a different make up from the previous and then suddenly after five or so sessions no one turned up not even the one Player who had previously made all the other sessions. For me the strangest thing was that even after a couple of days no one had really made an attempt to find out what had happened and when I managed to contact a few of the Players none seemed too concerned either way if the game continued or not, so it didn't (I never managed to contact the only Player who had previously made every session and if you are reading this I hope you're okay as your online presence went dark) Other groups though have lasted several years and I've almost completed a fantastic Masks of Nyarlathotep campaign which was updated to the modern day but all these groups in the end have foundered as people lost interest or they said things in the heat of the moment that couldn't be unsaid (This one was unfortunate as the guy running the Cthulhu Dark game is pretty cool but the play test didn't go the way he expected and blamed me for all the problems and I was to was apparently on a short fuse towards the end, never have I regretted not taking a count of five and some deep breaths more) but I still maintain that whilst not playing great I did play okay and it was the adventure that was mostly at fault.
So that's a potted history of my Cthulhu gaming most of the groups have started off well but end badly or in that one case just end which is a shame as these people become my internet friends, we share a cool hobby and I don't talk to most of them anymore because of how the groups ended which is a great shame but thinking about the groups of yesterday got me thinking about what mistakes I have made and its a lot. I don't think I have ever run a decent campaign, there have been two mostly okay ones that petered out before they were finished but everything else has been pretty shabby really and that's been mostly down to me as a G.M to be honest. The Eclipse Phase game I ran was a horrible mess to be honest as I just got swamped by all those options (So many options) and it was the game that broke a Player. Looking back on my G.M'ing career its awash with partial games that ended fairly quickly due to one reason or another, a sprinkling of cool moments here and there but nothing really sustained, overall its been rushed games with not enough preparation on my part and listening back to some of those early games I'm surprised that anyone could understand me as I muttered and mumbled through endless handouts ( I went a little crazy on the handout front with one game ) but for a time at least everyone came back and rolled dice until ennui set in or I blew a fuse.
I suppose the real question is why am I writing this? the answer is I want to roll dice and try to save the world from the uncaring forces of the cosmos but I'm uncertain if it will work. All the other groups have collapsed (Though I think the Masks group might be still going in one form or other) and whilst they collapsed for a variety of reasons I was involved in some capacity with their demise. I think I'm a better Player now but I don't think I'm a better G.M and since running a game is the easiest way to get a group started I'm a bit conflicted and to honest the failure of the last group has taken the wind out of my sails somewhat.
Reading this back I think I will hang off trying to get a group together, I'm playing in a pretty awesome Renaissance campaign at the moment so I'm still getting my gaming fix and it looks like I need to get the preparation aspects right first before trying again as that seems to have been a major problem in the past as I've had to fudge and um and arr a lot which has made things difficult for the Players. Also I need to calm the hell down as I have gotten way too over excited at times as well stressing out about the lack of communication (Must admit this still bugs me but I don't get as angry as I used to)
So this has really been a way to get my thoughts in order and to get in a bit of cheap therapy on the side I guess but if anyone who has gamed with me as a Player or as a G.M reads this by any chance let us know how you thought things went, all offers of advice gratefully received and Mr B if you read this can you just confirm that you made it back safely from the Christmas cruise?
Well I was a little shocked to see that I returned to Cthulhu's slightly damp embrace seven years ago and it was all thanks to the internet and this website. I have gamed with several groups and overall I've been very lucky as so far all the people I have met been fun and enthusiastic about the hobby but there has been a few bumpy patches along the way some of which have been fairly big. I wonder if gaming over the net makes the problem of group collapse more likely as it makes off table chat more difficult, the feeling of isolation? and personal disconnect greater. My first group died of ennui which was possibly helped along by my desperation to keep something going the infamous four part Eclipse Phase game that I tried was only fun on the last session for example. The second group had two phases, phase one was as a player in a fantastic adaption of Masks for Delta Green but it was a weekly game and I think it became pretty gruelling for the Keeper especially when he moved into the big city and the distractions within. And so towards the end he seemed to lose enthusiasm for it and the mechanics started to crumble around the edges some of my misgivings about certain play styles and narrative started to ramp up and whilst I was still excited to play (Sometimes looking back a little too much) I was becoming unhappy after the games and I started to feel boxed in and railroaded, also their was a somewhat large communication problem which fed back into my general unhappiness. So that ended with me barely taking part in the last few episodes (Things had become so bad that my new character ended up being shot by them) Phase 2 The Keeper trailed away and soon disappeared for all intents so the players got together and started to run games and I came back after a brief break to clear my head but unfortunately things soon started to return to the bad old ways and things started to make less sense (The Derelict is a great game but I hated the rich friends voyage option the comedic way the guy played the Captain didn't help) so I ended up dropping out of games more and more often which was not one of my most proudest moments but things came to a head after a big bust up over a Cthulhu Dark play test of one of the groups potential convention games (Cthulhu Dark is pretty awesome by the way) the Keeper kept throwing things at us and we ended up trying to deal with them but it seemed not in the way the Keeper had wanted. For example he seemed shocked when my character decided to drive faster and away from the horde of monsters instead of stopping and doing ?. The game ended badly things were said and I swore a bit and that was that game over man game over. It seemed that we had totally different ideas on how games should go and I admit I have a problem sometimes suspending my disbelief and ignoring certain aspects of plot and game play and just carrying on which I admit is an annoying habit especially in Cthulhu. For example I will board a ship but not by climbing up its iced up sides for example but I should have as it ended up just being background fluff and if I had I could have got on with the game. Group 3 is in its early stages and its having a few starting hiccups getting player consistency is the main worry at the moment and there have been a few technical issues mainly down to me forgetting how Hangouts works but I'm hopeful that things will balance out in the new year which will hopefully be an awesome eighth year of gaming.
Oh and the Renaissance game I'm in is still awesome and luckily going strong in all its beautiful weird 17th century styling. I hope anyone who reads this has an awesome year of gaming ahead of them in 2018.
My weekly online game was cancelled again due to real life issues but a couple of us still got together for a chat and it was pretty interesting seeing the differences in play style and how to run a game. What came out if the fairly long chat was I was basically the only one who still preferred Sixth edition whilst the others much preferred the newer Seventh and Pulp editions. The discussion about the editions was fairly interesting as it revealed a HUGE difference between us which was a little shocking considering how long we have gamed together (It wasn't a complete surprise though as whilst I had played in some 7th edition games I had dropped out of a lot as well for a variety of reasons*) for me it all boiled down to the feel of the game as opposed to any bad rules/mechanics I felt that the newer version was more Heroic in play style as the Players had more tools available to mitigate against failure be it trying to find a clue to avoiding death and damage and that combat was more front and center with the catch all Brawl replacing the previous versions multiple hand to hand options. Now this sounds great and it really is but I feel its not really Lovecraftian for me the beauty of Call of Cthulhu is that the Investigators are normal people doing normal jobs but who have become involved in an extraordinary situation they don't have special gifts like Talents or the ability to adjust things with Luck spends they are not heroes at the start but become heroes by facing the Mythos sacrificing everything to fight this uncaring evil because if they don't no one else will. It was also interesting to me seeing how the others disliked character deaths so much and how most of them seemed to feel that they needed to as Keepers to wiggle things to avoid any Investigator deaths occurring too early in the game even if a Player had done something a little daft. Whilst I felt that if the story gave you a way to help as a Keeper for example having a passerby with First Aid at base being nearby then fine but otherwise the Investigator meets their fate. They on the other hand saw Investigators deaths as ending stories instead of being becoming a story and forcing Players to miss the rest of a session which I admit is an issue but Players should really be prepared for this by at least having an idea about another character if not a spare character already ready to go so the delay shouldn't be that long. I like Cthulhu for the very fact that you as a Player are not guaranteed to win and that the odds are stacked against you and all you can really do is delay the end there are no real happy endings and just because you are playing a driving character it doesn't mean you are automatically better than any of N.P.C's you meet which makes any minor victory really worth all the sacrifice and effort roleplayed through as opposed to an auto win because your character is the hero and for me that's where a lot of the horror feel of the setting comes from. We all like Cthulhu obviously but it seems I like it a lot darker and bleaker than them how about you?
* Never play the Derelict as the books main suggested option go for the salvage crew one instead as it makes a lot more sense and in my opinion is a lot less silly.
Well I've done it again I've left game after just one session,its becoming a worrying habit if I'm honest. As I recently left my regular online group due to feeling disconnected from the story and the Players and feeling like we as Players had begun playing a very linear style of game ignoring all the story threads and just concentrating on the main clue to take us to the next location...and if I'm being really honest there was a conflict of play styles and a creeping rules change that I was resistant to.Not that playing with the Seventh edition rules would have wrecked anything (Even though I'm not 100% behind all the changes) but I wanted to stay with the rule set the campaign started with over a year ago. So that was that, it was an odd break up as well but well that's another story (Is it odd that I refer to it as a break up?) So no more Cthulhu online gaming for me it seems but then I get an e-mail saying they are trying out the new Delta Green rules and do I want to roll up an Agent? Well the answer was YES! and it was pretty painless experience I was able to get my new character up and running fairly quickly and with his Bonds etc in place I was ready to go
SPOILERS BELOW SPOILERS BELOW SPOILERS BELOW SPOILERS BELOW SPOILERS BELOW
The game was Lover in the Ice and I had heard it was a cool game (Pun intended) so I was really hyped to be playing it but it started out badly and for me just got worse. Some of the problems could have been fixed if we had been using Roll20 or some such as there was a few WALL OF TEXTS that had to be read out by the Handler and which would have made cool handouts that we could refer back to later but it ended up with the Handler just reading them out whilst we listened to him and tried to make notes quick enough to keep up with him. And then we started and with the worst briefing ever which was basically "I cant tell you anything or give you anything but hey you can call me oh wait there is a hundred miles of Ice between us soooo never mind" and there was really one option to get an item of needed kit because the last convoy was pulling out now and we needed to be on it. I started to think the Handler was being deliberately difficult but on we went with a forced sense of urgency and we played it badly here I guess because we weren't sure how the new Delta worked so no one really introduced their character, did they still use codenames that sort of thing.
There was another wall of text and then we arrived at our destination and in a situation that could have resulted in some cool role-play but which just ended with helpful N.P.C appearing pretty damn quickly and telling us stuff and even after a roll was made that told us she was uncomfortable talking about a particular person (The person we were looking for amazingly enough) she weirdly carried on and did us about him. We as a group were also weirdly over helpful to her in return offering to visit him and take him coffee and soup (I know F.E.M.A cares but this much?) we then set up camp in the person of interests temporary office (Handy) and found some clues, getting these clues involved finding a computer that had been left on with some interesting information on it and an oddly hidden password which was used to gain access to a program that would become handy later on but for the moment was a case of and so? We then went in search of suitable vehicle and headed to the sites motor pool where we ran into the second helpful N.P.C/Data dump, we did have to make some rolls to be fair but he was still way to eager to spill. He was a cop and he wanted help on a case he was working on, a case that meant he had been hanging around the motor pool for a couple of days whilst the rest of the Police department saved lives and did disaster relief in a so far vain attempt to get access to some information in fact he was so keen to get help he ended up taking the character who said he used to work for the F.B.I to the morgue to see the suspected murder victim and then he allowed the Player to search, photograph the corpse and remove samples of a mysterious liquid that was coming out from a previously missed wound, not bad considering he had just met the Players character five minutes ago so who knows what he would have let him do after a few days of knowing him. There was some more weirdness like this from both us the Players and the N.P.Cs but what broke me was a rule, the skill level rule to be precise. We found an ammo can with Portuguese writing on it next to a whole raft of notepads which when read would mention South America but we needed skills of 60% in Military science or a 40% in history to get the clue and none of us had those skills at that level so the Handler said "Nope you cant do anything" and that struck me as crazy the person with History at 30% could not even roll to get something but that's the new rule it seems (There is a way around but we didn't know it at the time) Like I said I thought the guy running the game was being awkward but after I quit I read the adventure and whilst certain things with hindsight could have been portrayed differently the adventure itself was awkward and clunky, the bad briefing was given word for word from the adventure, the weird N.P.CS were there and the annoying the silliness over getting radios was also there. I apologized to the Handler later and he accepted but the damage had been done I had said I quit so the bridge had been burnt and to be honest I still felt that odd disconnect from the other Players so that was that and the end of my last stint with them sadly
Has anyone else come across that rule in the new Delta Green? does it make sense or can you still get some information (Rule You need the skill at a certain level to work out the information you cant roll for it even if you have the required skill but not at the required level.)
Sorry for the rambling nature of this post but its late and I wanted to get this down before I forgot.
Do the Pulp rules where you play a more HEROIC style Investigator take away something from the setting that makes Call of Cthulhu special? For me one of the things that makes Call of Cthulhu such a different and interesting game is the fact that it derives a lot of its uniqueness and feel from the normality of the characters you play they are not superheroes or special force ninjas they are the mechanics, shop workers and crazy Antiquarian booksellers who have seen or experienced something that they know they cant win against and that will either kill them or at the very least drive them insane but still they have made the decision to fight against it to save others or to delay the inevitable just that little bit longer. And whilst Pulp is fun (Astonishing Tales is a blast) for me it takes away that bleakness and normalcy as by its very nature the Investigators become heroic because of their special abilities and powers and not just because of their decision to risk everything to fight against the Mythos. Being able to play a Doc Savage or The Shadow style of character is fun I'm just not sure it fits into my view of Lovecraftian universe. So what do you guys think is Pulp Cthulhu just another way to experience the Mythos in a new and refreshing way or is it best left as a way to battle jet pack using mutant Nazis?
A six foot bunny man you say? better bring me the larger Flintlock then.
I've been recently playing in a fantastic mash up of Lamentations of the Flame Princess scenarios and the rather excellent Cakebread and Waltons Clockwork and Cthulhu/Renaissance rule set. It has been so much fun, I have no idea what is going on and yet its been completely and wonderfully bonkers whilst still being hideously dark and creepy in places. The spin on the standard Mythos has been nicely handled and the rules have been pretty solid so far and then throwing in the insanity that is Lamentations just takes it up to eleven on the O.M.G front. If you haven't seen them yet I really do recommend checking them out. http://clockworkandchivalry.co.uk http://www.lotfp.com/RPG//products/lotfp-weird-fantasy-role-playing
The world is not enough.
Its been an interesting time gaming wise this last couple of years as one online group rose and then died after suffering from massive ennui another ended due to the fantastic news that the Keeper has become a Dad . I was starting to get a little worried with all these groups ending to be honest as sometimes online games are hard to find that fit into work and life schedules but luckily another established group popped up and were looking for a couple of replacement players everything fitted and I was lucky enough to get in. It was a classic published scenario updated for modern times and was wonderfully dark and gritty and the group was really cool but after awhile I started having problems with the story/plot as we were leaving lots of story threads behind as it seemed to become a go to location find main clue among some others and then follow the main clue to the next location. I understand that this is kinda the way things are meant to go but it did seem that we were leaving so many things unfinished and for me It started to unbalance the games internal world (Which I know is a weird thing to say about a game involving flying squids but ?) as I found it harder and harder to understand why are characters were continuing the Investigation with all this other stuff mounting up. It really had no impact on the main plot as we were still moving forward with that but all the cool stuff around the main plot which helped with the immersion was getting ignored and even though some of it should have had an effect it didn't and so everything started to get a little confused and muddy for me. And we really needed to have a review of the many things we had found and what part if any they had in the overall investigation but to be fair Players being Players and the limited session time we never really got around to it. It really struck me how often that the published adventures have natural break points in them where the Investigators have the opportunity to take a break,read the books and take a relaxing holiday in a room with comfy padding but that it seems to be rarely used as the Keeper and Players just keep rushing forward led on by some sort of gaming madness. Though to be fair I have always struggled to keep a somewhat realistic sense of time passing in games especially when after a month of gaming your characters may have done anything from twenty minutes to a week or more of things in game I think a lot of people have had those games that when they look back on them go "Hey that was a two hour session and all my character really did was park the car and walk into the scary house. Still had a blast though" So to cut to the chase I left the group which was a big decision and whilst there were a couple of other reasons the fact that the in game world was starting to creak was a large part of the reason I quit things like our boss was kidnapped and possibly murdered and we never checked into it we just carried on with the main plot and left him to his off screen fate. I must admit I had plenty of chances to push to go back and tidy up these threads but I didn't try hard enough to be honest so that's something I as a Player need to keep on top off especially in the longer campaigns. So the question after this ramble is how important is the whole game world that you are all creating is it a vital part of the game or is concentrating on just the main plot points enough? Do your Players really need to call their families every so often to explain why they are travelling the world for several months or is that just unnecessary window dressing? For me as I get older I feel that if I have filled in that bit on the back of the character sheet and added my contacts etc.I really should involve them even if its a call to my make believe Mum to see how she is doing and not to worry about the fact that I'm visiting a certain Grey Dragon Island.
Playing the Hills Rise Wild from Arkham Unveiled so beware Spoilers follow.
Ron=Keeper and Jack Ryan Chauffeur
Zach=Special Agent Norman Jayden
Mark=Alistair Simms returning Missionary
So we made the journey back to the Stones Farmhouse with only a slight detour to the site where Jack was taken. We searched the area and apart from a little blood we were unable to find any trace of him.
Mr Stone was very agitated and kept trying to hurry us along understandable but I for one wanted to spend a little more time searching but Mr Stone was becoming most insistent so with heavy heart we left and carried on to the Farm. I could tell that Mr Jayden was also concerned about the lack of animal tracks at the site and I caught him more than once casting worried looks towards our guide.
We finally reached the Farmhouse and were relieved to find it in one piece and Hannah and young Zekle safe and sound.
After Mr Stone had warmly hugged his family we asked if anything strange had happened but found out that the family had passed the night safely and had heard nothing
unusual so after a brief meal and some restorative coffee we set out to the car to make the return journey back to Arkham.
Oh Lord you test me we were unable to locate the car it seemed to have vanished into thin air I've heard of cars being stolen in the big cities but from the middle of nowhere? we trudged back to the farmhouse and the Stone family seemed shocked to hear that the car was missing and denied all knowledge of knowing what had happened to it. We found this hard to believe and I think Mr Jayden was about to burst a blood vessel but having no proof we had to accept their version.
With some difficulty we managed to get Mr Stone to take us back to Arkham in his cart, again we were struck by how less helpful Mr Stone was becoming but I suppose that shock effects us all in different ways.
Mr Stone dropped us off outside the Police station and we went in to make our report the Police officer on duty was not that helpful to be honest and he seemed to think that it was some sort of hoax on our part. And after a lengthy discussion he finally agreed to send an officer back with us to look for Mr Ryan he said it would take an hour or so to arrange so he asked us to return later.
I must admit I left thinking unchristian thoughts about Arkham Police as I had expected a more professional standard of service I don't think a British Peeler would have treated us so roughly.
We decided that Dr Billings also needed to be informed as the other search parties needed to be contacted as soon as possible and told about the dangerous animal that was now hunting in the nearby countryside and maybe it would be best to cancel the search for the meteorite entirely.
Well I never what is it with the people of Arkham? Dr Billings seemed nonplussed at the news and told us that he would not contact the other parties and he was sure that Mr Ryan was okay and had merely decided to look for the meteorite by himself as he probably thought he had more chance without us. So with that brusque dismissal ringing in our ears we left and decided to use the excellent University library to try and find out what sort of local wildlife could be the killer. And after a quick search it seemed that the Black bear was the most likely candidate. Mr Jayden also found some mention of strange Pagan practices which the native Americans used to do in the nearby hills it was very interesting but not really what we were looking for to be honest I think he was distracted by the lurid pictures.
We had just enough time to purchase some guns before we had to go back to the Police station. Unlike poor Mr Ryan this bear would not find us an easy meal and we would keep the local people safe by hunting it down even if no one believed us. So with girded loins we headed back to collect the Police escort...... time was short we had a bear to track and a death to avenge.
Playing the Hills Rise Wild from Arkham Unveiled so beware Spoilers follow.
Ron=Keeper and Jack Ryan Chauffeur
Zach=Special Agent Norman Jayden
Mark=Alistair Simms returning Missionary
So after Mr Ryan and Mr Stone left we got busy setting up the camp and after a wholesome meal of Beans and Bacon Mr Jayden got into the tent and I got ready to take the first watch. The sound of the Whippoorwills were soon my only company,well that and Mr Jaydens loud snoring which is why I missed the sound of someone approaching the camp.
I had just got up to get myself a cup of Coffee when a large figure burst out of the nearby undergrowth and grappled me holding me in a tight embrace. I found myself crushed in a Bear hug of prodigious strength my head pushed painfully back so apart from a brief glance as the dirty and disheveled figure rushed out off the shrubbery I was now unable to see my attackers face. I first tried to push the man off me but failed and I'm afraid I had to resort to violence but my punches were also ineffective I was starting to feel very afraid as the figure holding me had started to moan and cry I called out to Mr Jayden for help luckily my cries were able to rouse him I swear I have never known such a heavy sleeper.
With Mr Jayden giving a smack to the figures head with his pistol I was soon able to free myself as the figure was forced to release me as he staggered back clutching his head. The dirty bedraggled figure was revealed in the light of Mr Jaydens lamp to be none other than the recently departed guide Mr Stone. He seemed to be greatly distressed and said through great racking sobs that they had been attacked on the way back to the farmhouse by some creature. And he thinks that Mr Ryan had been killed he told us that had tried to help but in the end had barely escaped with his life.
We were shocked at this news and to be honest did not know what to do with this terrible news as it was still dark and had no idea what was out there. Mr Stone begged us to come back with him to the farmhouse as he was scared that his family might be attacked. Mr Jayden tried to convince Mr Stone to wait until daylight to be honest I think Mr Jayden mistrusted Mr Stone and I must admit that I was finding that Mr Stone was becoming less helpful the further we got from the farmhouse. Mr Stone said he could not wait he needed to get back to his wife and son as soon as possible and as he seemed genuinely scared and determined to reach his home no matter what I in all consciousness as a man of God could not allow him to make the now dangerous journey alone.
So after I asked Mr Stone to wait as I packed up my gear and that I would go with him Mr Jayden relented and said there was no point in him staying out here alone so he to would journey back to Levis farm with us.
So after packing up the camp site and treating a few cuts and scrapes on Mr Stone we set off on the long journey back to the Stone farmhouse guns loaded and ready in case we met this creature and hoping to find the Stone family safe and sound.
Playing the Hills Rise Wild from Arkham Unveiled so beware Spoilers follow.
Ron=Keeper and Jack Ryan Chauffeur
Zach=Special Agent Norman Jayden
Mark=Alistair Simms returning Missionary
Well after an uneventful night with only the whimpers of Mr Jayden to disturb us we awoke refreshed and ready to continue the search for this meteorite the lovely Mrs Stone had prepared us a hearty breakfast which was very welcome. After breakfasrt we gor startes with getting the camping equipment out of the car and into our rucksacks when that was done we set out with the kindly Mr Stone acting as scout for our little expedition.
We set off from the cabin and headed out in a Westerly direction towards a couple of small hills in the distance. After about an hours walk Mr Jayden again managed to walk into a bear trap,luckily no lasting damage was caused and Mr Stone was most shocked and sorry that he had forgot to warn us about these hunting traps he asked us to forgive him and as there were more ahead he will give us plenty of warning from now on.
So after a short rest some First Aid and a cup of tea we were again ready to continue the search.After walking for a while and fording a small stream we had finally reached our destination the bottom of the first hill.
It was decided to climb the hill as a birds eye view of the valley would no doubt help us to get a better idea of the terrain. Also Mr Jayden thought that we might be able to see some sort of damage trail caused by the meteorites passing.
A a few mishaps later caused by two of the party having injured legs we all made it up to the top of the first hill and the view was amazing. But unfortunately we were unable to see any sign of the meteorites passing. Just a very broken up landscape full of ditches and low hills which lay ahead of us. We decided to carry on and head off towards the next hill and try again to spot the metorites trail of destruction.
And after spending most of the day crossing scubland and a fairly tough escarpment which to be honest had left me winded so I bowed out and left the climbing of hill to the younger folk when we shortly afterwards reached the second hill.
The other two men led by the sprightly Mr Stone all made the climb successfully and called down that they could see a Mountain to the North and what Mr Stone said was a large swamp further off to the West but again no sign of the metorites passing could Mr stone be wrong in thinking it headed this way when it passed over his cabin?
Well after climbing back down Mr Stone suprised us by saying that he was done for the day and needed to head back home.He also said that we all should head back now if we wanted to get back before it got to to dark. Mr Jayden and myself said that we were happy to camp out as we did not want to waste time covering the same ground tomorrow but Mr Stone was most insistent that he had to get back.
In the end only Mr Ryan wanted to go back with Mr Stone and unable to convince us to leave with them they said they would meet us tomorrow morning at the base of the Mountain Mr Stone reassuring us that since he knew where we were headed he could take a few short cuts and should reach the mountain mid morning. Leaving us to set up the camp Mr Stone and Mr Ryan left us and walked off into the gathering dusk.
Playing the Hills Rise Wild from Arkham Unveiled so beware Spoilers follow.
Ron=Keeper and Jack Ryan Chauffeur
Zach=Special Agent Norman Jayden
Mark=Alistair Simms returning Missionary
The large bear of a man came up to us and warmly introduced himself as Mr Levi Stone who was a local farmer.After a brief chat where we explained our present dire circumstances Mr Stone came down and had a look at the car and after some thought said that he might be able to help but he would need to get some things from his home.Our disappointment was short lived however as he kindly invited us to spend the night at his farm.He also promised a hot home cooked meal which after driving for hours on very badly maintained roads seemed like a gift from God.
As we chatted with our new affable host he tells us that he had heard a large bang and the hiss of something shooting over head he thought it might be a thunderstorm but a little late in the year.
This cheers the whole party up as we were starting to feel that we were on some sort of Goose chase.
We soon approach a rustic but well kept cabin it seemed that Mr Stone does not suffer from the same malady of the other people we have recently seen.
Mr Stone bids us to wait for a moment as he wishes to tell his family that they have guests.The delay gave us some time to admire the suroundings Mr Stones cabin was a well appointed single story building surrounded by a picket fence and the sounds of animals could be heard nearby.There were a couple of small fields just beyond the cabin which seemed to have been recently harvested all in all it seemed a pleasant place to live.
Soon Mr Stone called us into the single room cabin to meet his family.His lovely wife Hannah and his young son Zekle his wife did look a little tired but I guess living out here must be very hard work the boy did seem to be a little shy and apart from a brief glance towards us he kept on with his whittling.
After the brief introductions I offered to help Mrs Stone with the cooking and Mr Jayden asked if he had time for a quick walk around the farm.Mrs Stone politely declined my help and Mr Jayden was told that the meal would be soon ready so there was no time for a walk.So he instead asked Mr Stone if there were any interesting sites nearby it seems Mr Jayden is a fan of Indian culture.
The meal was served on the large wooden table which took up most of the room and after saying grace we all tucked in to a hearty meal.After enjoying the meal Mrs Stone tidied up and we asked Mr Stone about the local area and what conditions we could expect tomorrow in the search for the meteorite.
After explaining the local flora and fauna he gave us the good news that he wouldn't mind joining us as a guide if we were willing.Mr Ryan and myself were overjoyed by Mr Stones kind offer but Mr Jayden whilst not saying anything seemed to be a little suspicious of the kind offer.But I guess that must be the curse of a Bureau agent in these troubled times.
I was a little suprised when Zekle asked if anyone wanted to join him in a game of hide and go seek Mr Ryan and myself declined but Mr Jayden said he would be happy to.
I can only guess that Mr Jayden had some sort of ulterior motive as Mr Jayden seemed to be of the hard nosed variety of Gman.
After a while even though the company was fine I was getting worried about Mr Jayden as it was now getting dark and we had not heard from either Mr Jayden or Zekle.
Mr Stone seemed unworried so we decided to let it be but a few minutes later Mr Ryan paused looked up and asked if any one else had heard a scream.No one else had but myself and Mr Ryan went out onto the porch to see if we could locate the source.It was by now pitch black and nothing could be seen of Zekle or Mr Jayden in the front pasture.Mr Ryan jumped down and found some tracks leading into the nearby wood.Mr Stone seemed to find are concern faintly amusing saying that he was sure it was just them playing a joke on us but myself and Mr Ryan decided to folllow the tracks.We called out their names and we soon came across Zekle who was alone after talking to him he explained that Mr Ryan had gone off the property and he may have walked into one of his fathers hunting traps with Zekle acting as a guide we explored further again calling out Mr Jaydens name.
From out of the darkness the staggering form of Mr Jayden came into the lamplight.He seemed very annoyed and even though it was obvious to both myself and Mr Ryan that he had hurt his leg he refused any offer of help saying that he was okay and that he had just fallen over.
Zekle looked towards us and said it looked like Mr Jayden had stepped into one of the Bear traps he seemed a little upset thinking he would be blamed as he kept repeating "Sir I told him not to go off the path I did" but as Mr Jayden seemed not be making a fuss I told Zekle that it would be all right and that accidents happen.It seemed that there was another reason to be grateful for Mr Stones kind offer to act as a guide as we didn't need anymore accidents like that happening. We turned back towards the cabin and followed the limping and cursing form of Mr Jayden back.
Will Mr Jayden admit that he walked into a bear trap,Will we get through the night or will Mr Ryans snoring lead to mass murder?The answer to these questions and more will be answered in the next installment of THE HILLS RISE WILD.
Playing the Hills Rise Wild from Arkham Unveiled so beware Spoilers follow.
Ron=Keeper and Jack Ryan Chauffeur
Zach=Special Agent Norman Jayden
Mark=Alistair Simms returning Missionary
Saw an interesting article in the local paper,A Dr Billings of the local University is holding a meeting to discuss a Meterorite that may have struck nearby.Seems jolly fun and as I have nothing else planned for Sunday I think I will pop over.
I got in a little late as my leg has never been the same since that Ndebele spear and due to my tardiness I had to take a seat at the back which turned out to be a blessing as I met two very interesting Gentleman a Mr Norman Jayden who seemed to work for the Bureau of investigation and Mr Jack Ryan an Englishman working as a chauffeur.
These Gentleman were very pleasant company and when Dr Billings ended his talk and asked for volunteers to help search for this strange visitor from the heavens we all agreed to team up and try and locate it.
After talking to Dr Billings and getting our search area from him it was off to the nearby store to stock up on some camping gear and of course a picnic hamper.
This does seem to be an exciting way to pass a couple of days plenty of fresh air and healthy walks in the country just what the Doctor called for.
Mr Ryan kindly agreed to drive us to the area where we are searching in his automobile.The countryside around Arkham was very pleasant at first,well kept Farms and buildings but the further we got away from the town the conditions started to change and everything seemed to take on a air of decay.The farmland was starting to look overgrown and the few buildings that we could see from the road became more and more careworn.
We were soon coming up to where Dr Billings had suggested that we start our search when the road split into two and we had to get the map out.
It looked like we were near the Village of Dunwich which seemed to have somewhat of an unsavoury reputation so with that in mind and checking the map again we decided to take the trail on the right.
After driving for about thirty minutes we were forced to stop as the trail ahead was blocked by a tree limb.Mr Ryan tried to reverse the car but the tyres seemed unable to get a strong enough grip on the now muddy trail to get the car moving.
Myself and Mr Jayden attempted to move the tree limb but it proved to be heavy for us.Mr Ryan had rather unhelpfully decided not to help and decided to stretch his legs instead.It seemed that we would be here for a while yet.
Again the Lord works in mysterious ways as Mr Ryan called out he had spotted a rather large Gentleman approaching us.
As the tree limb/car seemed both determined not to move myself and Mr Jayden left to climb up beside Mr Ryan.
The man was now a lot closer and started to give a friendly wave to us it seemed we were saved as help was on the way.
What next for the brave Investigators as the hunt for the Meteorite begins in earnest.
Well its been a while and I have a lot to catch up on.So after getting through the Undergroud Menace it was time for Zach to wear the keepers hat and he had a homebrew he wanted to try out.
The game started with a mixed bag of Investigators going to the town of Greenvale to gather some more information about a murder which may be linked to the death of one of the investigators wives which was a cool hook which i had not come across before.
The Madness started fairly quickly,we were driving down a long road towards the town past fields and strange looking trees when the weather seemed to change and things seeemed to be slightly off kilter.
The truck we were all in skidded of the road and hit one of the strange trees causing some minor injuries.After checking out the truck and finding out that it was not going anywhere with out a tow truck we grabbed our gear and headed off towards Greenvale.
We met up back up on the hardtop and started walking after a short distance we bumped into a couple of weird figures the first was strange but harmless the other was a another Kettle of fish entirely.
It seemed to be of a bent over woman and she was crab walking her way towards us.As we watched her approach with bemused looks on are faces she attacked.
The way she attacked was very unhygienic as she attempted to choke us to death by shoving her foot down our throats.
We struggled with her with some difficulty and then the weather again seemed to change and she was gone.
So dusting ourselves down we continued down the road casting wary looks towards the bordering fields.
We were headed towards a bridge and we could just about make out a Police cruiser parked in front blocking the road.
(Names may have been changed due to bad memory and lost Notes )
As we approached the cruiser a female officer got out and told us to stop and explain what we up to.After the Investigator from the Bureau explained that we were meeting Agent York about the recent murders and that our truck had come off the road a couple of miles back.She didn't seem very happy but officer Emily said she would drive us into town.
We met up with the towns Sheriff George Walker a bluff no nonsense kind a guy who agreed to let us look around but we had to stay out of trouble and out of his way he also said he would send out a tow truck.
We went and booked into the towns only hotel which was run by a batty old lady who was a little deaf and got ready to start the investigation in the morning.
Now a bit of a speed through there followed a lot of talking to townsfolk weird weather another murder,an encounter in a lumber Mill involving sharp implements and a rather unmovie and short roof top chase so some more injuries sustained and a mysterious killer escaping and on the loose.
We ended up checking out a rich guy who wore a gasmask but as he was rich no one seemed to mind.But after talking to him he seemed less of a mad killer more of a mad fact totem.
The next suspect was a Mr.Kaysen who seemed to be a rather keen gardener and after checking out his garden full of weird trees with even weirder red seeds we were fairly sure we were on the right track this was confirmed when we bumped into a Mi go.A couple of shotgun blasts later no more Mi go but we were left with a slightly disappointed keeper (Mythos monster dead Investigators not even scratched) we were off again,hot on the trail of a Mythos tree seller.
We got back to town to find out that we were to late another murder had taken place this time the odd lady who ran the even odder museum.The body of Diane Ames had been found impaled on the huge wooden
sculpture that stands in the museums lobby.
Things got even more weirder and after a few wrong turns one I'm fairly sure involved a cross dressing deputy sheriff (Thomas) we had tracked Kaysen down to the towns clock tower.
We locked and loaded and went to confront Kaysen and to end this horticulture horror.
But first we had to deal with a now crazed sheriff Woodman who seemed to be guarding the towers stairwell.A brief fight later and we were past the sheriff with only a few new scars.But first I had to face the bent over lady again as the dis jointed feeling came over me again.This time she nearly killed me but with a few lucky rolls (thanks Zach) I was able to break free and she again disappeared as suddenly as she appeared.So a quick bandage session later we continued up the stairwell.
At the top of the tower we found Kaysen and a strange macine that was producing some sort of fog or smoke.
Ron attacked Kaysen but he seemed remarkably tough bullets seemed to have little or no effect in fact they just seemed to annoy him.This was looking bad
we had found out that the red seeds had the ability to change people and Ron and Tara figured out that the seeds were keeping Kaysen going.So Ron grabbed Taras knife and used it to cut open Kaysens stomach in an attempt to pull out any seeds.
So Ron was leaning into Katsen pulling out entrails and other body parts with Kaysen hitting away trying to dislodge him.Tara and myself were trying to distract Kaysen with occasional blasts from our guns.
The fight did not go well for Ron,he managed to get some of the seeds out but he had taken to much of a beating from Kaysen and was now very badly injured.But he had not had the stuffing beaten out of him for nothing as mine and Taras bullets seemed to be having a greater effect now and we were even able to blast off body parts but still Kaysen would not die.
There was also some fun had involving the large bell in the tower and one of us needing to be dragged back in after a shot up and bleeding Kaysen knocked us out and over the saftey rail.
So we were all bloodied and now we could hear the sounds of violence breaking out in the town below us Kaysen was still a danger but he seemed to have backed off a little and only atacked if we got close to the strange machine.So putting 2 and 2 together we got Ron back up and turning the shotguns towards the machine blasted it and ran like blazes for the stairwell.
With a cry of pure rage Kaysen attacked again catching Ron on the stairs and killing him. We were able to put a few more blasts into him destroying more body parts including his other leg which slowed him down somewhat.
Tara and myself were able to make it back down to the street and turned to face the stairs we waited to see what happened next.
Thump thump went the stairs in front of us and luckily the now lifeless torso of Kaysen landed at our feet phew.
But it was not yet time for the Snoopy dance of victory as the crowd of angry townsfolk aproached us.We again loaded the shotguns and prepared to make a final stand. But the crowd seemed to be less sure of themselves as the smoke started lifting and as they reached us they to snapped out of the trance and looking around with extreme embarrassment and puzzlement they started to return home.
Luckily no one noticed the various dead bodies behind us and we were able to make a fairly quick get away.
I wish I could find my notes as this was a really fun game with loads of N.P.Cs who all had something to offer.It involved a lot of talking and piecing the story together and led to a very bloody and sometimes funny finale on top of a clock tower so very filmatic.As some of you have guessed Zach based this adventure on Deadly Premonition a computer game and not Silent Hill as I smugly first thought when I met the female officer at the bridge that will teach me not to jump at conclusions
Zach had put a lot of work into this and it showed as it all ran smoothly and all the N.P.C s stayed in character.I recommend anyone to check out Deadly Premonition as it seems to be a weird game that works well for a cthulhu game with only a few tweaks.
David Suchet reboards the Orient Express and takes a journey through Europe discovering some of the history of this famous train.
ITV 3 20.00 Tuesday the 15th.
Might be fun for anyone planning to run HotOE
This is a cheeky post but I've recently had a really fun game of Cthulhu it was the published scenario The Spawn from The Great Old Ones.
Ron was the Keeper and Chris was the other player I was playing as Mark Sloan,Alienist while Chris was Daniel Lewis,Handyman at large who had a strange need to try and repair things even if they didn't need it.
I will save further details for later (As I'm still a few games behind I really need to catch up on the blog front) but this must be one of the only Cthulhu games set in the 1920s that almost ended up in a Communist take over of New Mexico and all because of a misplaced hug.It also had some of the worst dice rolling in history mainly on my side but Chris on the library front was not that far behind and he visited a lot of librarys.
GEOLOGIST STILL MISSING SEARCH WINDING DOWN.
Jeff drove into town in the early hours of the morning and explained to the Police that his friend had been killed I'm not sure if they believed him especially the bit about the trees coming alive but seeing his distress the Police agreed to arrange a search party in an attempt to get to the bottom of this new mystery.
I must admit to a bit of Keeper fudge here as I didn't want the Police or the search party finding the tunnel behind the altar so strangely enough they didn't nor did they find Franks body after a couple of days of looking all that was found was some weird impressions in the ground around the stone circle which seemed to lead back into the woods these impressions from a certain angle could be described as hoof like.Not that anybody on the search party would admit that.Miss Jones and Jeff held out hoping that Frank may yet still be alive but as the days passed with no new news or sightings the chances that Frank had some how survived grew less and less.Miss Jones retreated to her boxes of chocolates and Jeff grew more and more determined to at least solve the mystery of the tremors which strangely enough had now stopped.The town was safe but there was still no real explanation to what was causing the quakes in the first place.
So Jeff girded his loins and gathering up his equipment went back to the cave system to get his deep core samples partially in Honor of Frank and partially because by now he was more than a little ticked off.
There were no further unfortunate encounters with the local wild life and Jeff was able to go deeper and deeper into the cave system.The emotional trauma of his near death experiences and then the death of his best friend must have still been effecting Jeff strongly as he went to far and managed to get stuck in one of the tunnels.
So Jeff now found himself stuck in a narrow tunnel unable to go further forward due a rock fall or back and with his torch slowly fading it looked bad for him.
Some more fudgery took place and Jeff realized that the reason that he was damp was because the tunnel that he was stuck in had a small stream running through it and using his skill in Geology and his kit he might be able to break out and get further into the tunnel and maybe find a way out.
He attacked the rock fall with gusto and a small rock hammer and before you could say "Alan Dufresne" Jeff had managed to clear enough of the rock fall to crawl further into the now widening tunnel which in his fading torchlight was strangely bright.The tunnel seemed to be lit by a strange red glow,could this be the way out could he be almost free from this dark dank cave and once again breathe the cool fresh air of freedom...of course not this was an old school Call of Cthulhu adventure after all.
What Jeff did find after some more crawling through increasingly brighter tunnels was a huge cavern which unfortunately also contained a massive worm type creature with a bunch of silently writhing tentacles for a face.This was a bit of a shock for poor old Jeff who was unfortunately able to comprehend the full horror of what was in front of him and he did the only thing he could he snapped his mind went off to find its happy place leaving the body behind collapsed on the floor at the tunnels mouth.Just before his mind went snap he did notice that the gigantic Worm seemed to be impaled by some sort of spike which left the Worm writhing and squirming in a seemingly futile attempt to break free and escape into the tunnels.
It looked like Jeff and the Worm were now both trapped deep underground but on the bright side at least they were no longer alone now.
So the Underground Menace was finished and it had left one Investigator dead and the other mad and trapped far underground with only a monster for company.I really enjoyed running this adventure and I think the players had a laugh which is always good.
Things I learned whilst wearing the Keepers pointy hat,
1.Short cuts don't work picking an adventure of only four pages does not mean it will be a quick adventure to get through.
2.Read,read and then re-read the adventure again.
3.Notes are your friend.
4.Players do not always stay on plot its handy to have some other areas mapped out.
5.Never ever try to do an impression or accent again it only ends badly. *
6.Old school Cthulhu adventures are fething tough.
7.Just because the adventure has a strange book of elder lore it does not mean it has anything to do with the plot.
8.Never let Zach's character near a female N.P.C for longer than necessary it can only lead to madness.I know its Cthulhu but there are limits.
9.Its handy to give the players some hints and tips during character generation.
10.Did I mention that reading the adventure a couple of times before hand
Right its time for me to go back to being a player and for Zach to don the Keepers pointy hat.
Oh before I forget Jeff did forget to pack the Dynamite but only because he never asked for it for which I'm eternally grateful.
*Well maybe once more
GEOLOGISTS SAY THEY ARE CLOSE TO FINDING SOLUTION
After half carrying an increasingly sicker Jeff down a couple of miles of dirt track Frank finally reached the main road and the truck.He threw Jeff in and put his foot down again heading back to-wards Winnemuck he made it back okay and again had to wake up the Doctor who was less then pleased to see them again.The Doctor rolled up his sleeves and was able to stabilize Jeff but said that he needed to go to the hospital to receive the proper treatment he needed.So Frank took on Ambulance duties once more and took Jeff to the nearby Cottage Hospital where Jeff could look forward to many anti venom shots from a large and slightly dull syringe.
So while Jeff was left in the Hospitals tender care it freed up Frank to hit the town we didn't role play this but I imagine Frank wined and dined Miss Jones and there may have been dancing involved somewhere and then Frank will say something inappropriate and gets a slap.
So after a couple of days Jeff got back from his little break and the team reunited with their camping gear set out to finally solve this mystery.
They drove back down to wards Old Bills place and after parking up and the hike through the Scary woods they again reached the deserted farmhouse.
Following a trail they had found behind the farmhouse they walked further and further into the woods which were no longer quiet as they could hear something that sounded like chanting on the wind.Soon they came across a clearing empty apart from a mini Stonehenge complete with an oddly stained stone.I think Jeff checked the rust colored stains out and discovered that they were.............BBQ sauce...only kidding they were blood stains but before they could do much more investigating a crazy man jumped out from behind a nearby tree and attacked them.This was a bad idea on the crazy mans part as our hero's dispatched him with out any real trouble.On checking the body which seemed to be wearing rags and covered in dirt and now that you mention it a certain canine cast to his features they realized that it kinda matched the description of Old Bill.
But before they could celebrate with a nice cup of Tea they started to hear a crashing sound come from further off in the woods.They looked on in horror as some sort of walking tree smashed through the surrounding foliage and into the clearing.They were shaken but not stirred and prepared to take it on.Looking back this may not have been the best of ideas as Dark Young are surprisingly tough and with one mighty swing of its tentacles it smashed Frank across the clearing to land with a sicking crunch.After witnessing the death of his good friend Jeff decided to make a tactical withdrawal but he could not leave Frank behind alone with this monster and he did make a brave attempt to carry Frank out of the clearing.But after carrying Frank to the clearings edge he realized that he could never outrun the Dark Young carrying Frank and had to make the hard decision to drop his best friends body and make a run for it.
Luckily the Dark Young had decided not to pursue further than the clearings edge and Jeff was able to get away.
He covered the distance from clearing to lorry in record breaking time and once again the lorry was speeding back to wards town.
Will Jeff make it back to town,Will Miss Jones snap and seek out revenge for the death of her new love and will the Doctor get to finally finish his bottle of medicinal Whiskey find out soon in the exciting conclusion to The Underground Menace.
Well we are back with our intrepid group of investigators settling down for the night in the scary woods.Frank West had managed to anger one of the local Postmen by making him walk back to the town after he had guided the group to the caves instead of giving him a lift back in the car.The Postman was last seen muttering curses and disappearing into the gathering gloom.
They set up camp and Jeff took first watch as Frank bedded down for the night as the night progressed Jeff must have dozed off little as he failed to hear the sounds of movement behind him but then a twig snapped and Jeff turned around to gaze into the face of ...............a Bear a very upset bear a bear whose home had been taken over by squatters.The bear reared up and took a swipe at Jeff ripping through his shirt and slicing into his flesh.A desperate struggle took place between man and beast with man looking like he was on the losing side that was until Frank stepped out of the tent and blasted away with his shotgun killing the bear with a couple of well placed blasts luckily missing Jeff. Now Jeff was in a bad way and in need of medical attention but on the plus side Frank was now the owner of a lovely fur coat putting aside his mercenary feelings for the moment Frank dragged and pushed Jeff through the woods and back to the car he then drove Jeff back to Winnemuck.
After a driving through the country lanes with Jeff bleeding all over the upholstery Frank got him to the town and found the local doctor.Unfortunately it was still the early hours of the morning and the good Doctor was still asleep could Frank wake up the Doctor in time before Jeff bleed out
Of course he could no mere door or sleepy Doctor could stop Frank from saving his friend Jeff besides Jeff still owed him money.After pounding on the door and waking up the Doctor who not only looked annoyed and sleepy but also a little drunk.They both noticed that the Doctors hands were shaking but they really had no choice but to trust this Doctor.Luckily the Doctor was a good one drunk or not and he managed to stitch Jeff up and get him mobile again.
The group rested up and then made the journey back to the campsite only to find that the camp was no longer there all the camping gear was missing.A very annoyed group decided it was time to check out all this crazy Bill Whittaker business as things can't get any worse can they?
They went back into town and got themselves sorted out again I think there was some more romancing on Franks part and Jeff found some of the camping supplies in the local pawn shop it looked like someone had made some money out of them and Postman Bob was the chief suspect but that would have to wait.
Frank had struck out for the moment at Miss Jones but the look she gave him when he was leaving suggested she was still keen on him.The guys went and asked around a little bit more about Bill Whittaker and managed to get a map showing the location of his farm. Strangely enough it was a few miles out of town and through even more SPOOKY woods they headed out but the car could only get them so far and they had to get out and walk the last couple of miles to the farmhouse.They walked down a rough track through the eerily silent woods which made them even more SPOOKY until they reached the tumble down farm house of Mr Whittaker.It looked like nobody had lived here for a while as there was a feeling of abandonment to the whole place.
The guys had a look around the deserted farm and then entered the farmhouse itself.Now I must admit to a long delayed light bulb moment as the guys found a dead rabbit by the fire place the body was twisted and it looked like it had died in great pain when I first read this I thought it was just something to making the farmhouse creepy but as the scene played out I clicked that it was a big clue/warning sign I really could have kicked myself but hey ho.So after finding the dead rabbit and getting over the shock of its twisted corpse the guys spread out and searched the farmhouse a few bad spot hidden roles later I was feeling worried until Jeff found a small opening under the bed and as he reached into the (cue light bulb moment) hole he managed to find a large book and also some Black Widow spiders which bit him a couple of times. before he managed to brush them off.Some jumping and stamping later the guys managed to get out of the farmhouse with a book which weirdly enough was The Revelations of Glakki I still have no idea why but they had their first Mythos book Woo-Hoo.
So they had a Mythos book but the price of this was that that (friend of the animals) Jeff again needed medical attention I also had another lesson in keeping here I needed to read the scenario and make notes on rules that it brings up as I only had a very vague idea how poison worked and there was a lot of not so quick rulebook searching on my part here and I must admit I still messed it up a little but we kinda made it work.And Frank again had to drag then carry a semi-conscious Jeff back down the trail to the lorry, lets just hope that Postman Bob had not been passed by and stolen it.
The intrepid investigators are asked to help out a snowed under University in finding out what was causing the earth tremors near the small town of Winnemuck.
Ron = Jeff Combs Geologist at large
Zach = Frank West Assistant
The guys had found out a lot of information but it was all about a Bill Whittaker and nothing even approaching a rational reason for the tremors.
And to be honest even the Bill Whittaker stuff was fairly thin and as men of science they were not having any of this mumbo jumbo malarkey.Frank had even made a brave and successful attempt to seduce Miss Jones the recently widowed receptionist of the Winnemuck Bee in a doomed attempt to pass more library use roles.This was a fun but a very scary thing to role play.
The group ended up in the Post Office where they found out a few more things about Mr Whittaker it seemed that one of the old boys remembered delivering various strange boxes to old Bills farmhouse.Many of the boxes were oddly shaped and had a strange smell about them.
He even remembered that one of them had split open and some crushed flowers or what he thought of as flowers had fallen out.The guys knew where the plot was pointing but they wanted to throw the scientific dice one more time.So after convincing one of the Postal workers to act as a guide and take them to some local caves as they wanted to get some geological data which made sense.Now to get the Postal worker to help Frank had offered a cash incentive so after waiting for (I forget his name so lets call him Bob) Bob to finish up it was of to the caves.
After a longish drive through the woods that surround the town the group was asked by Bob to pull over as he said the caves were fairly close by.
Now lets have a quick check
3.lightly armed group of Investigators
4.Friendly just met local
Now I know what you are all thinking something very bad is going to happen to our brave group of Investigators but strangely enough it was to dear old Bob that this bad thing happened to I can tell you I was shocked.Now Bob had done his job and led the group to a small clearing in the woods where a small cave mouth could just be seen.
Now as it was getting late in the day and Bob had a home to get back too so he asked if he could be driven back to town which seemed fair.
Unfortunately Frank did not see it this way and said he would drive Bob back but only if Bob paid back the money he was given in the first place to act as a guide.
Now Bob was not having any of this and an argument broke out the end result was that dear old Bob had to walk back to town alone and through the now dark and even more scary woods.
The last the group saw of him was him muttering curses as he disappeared into the gloom.
Will the party make it through the night safely or will Bob return with his shotgun and get his pound of flesh.
The time had come for me to man up and do a stint as a Keeper this was causing me to break out in colds sweats as my only other GM experience was trying to run a Paranoia game which went very very badly.
Also as this was for me a new group and gaming over Skype was also a new experience the nervous level was reaching dangerous heights.
I wanted a fun game that was to be honest looked quick to get through another consideration was a scenario that was unknown to the rest of the group from chatting to Ron it seemed he had a well stocked library of Cthulhu goodness.
I looked around and found in a copy of Fragments of Fear The Underground Menace the added bonus was this was set near lake Superior which was where most of the group was from it seemed perfect.
*Spoilers ahead viewer caution advised*
Zach as Frank West Assistant to Jeff
Ron as Jeff Combs Student of Geology
Mark as The Keeper of Arcane Lore
The small town of Winnemuck near Lake Superior
Strange earth tremor's
I used one of the hooks suggested by the scenario in retrospect I think I picked the wrong one there was a paranormal option but that sounded a bit odd to me or a University sends them down to investigate this sounded at the time the best reason.I asked the group that I needed at least one character to have at least some points spent in the Geology skill Hobby or Occupation either one was okay.
I wrote up a letter from one of their old Professors asking them to meet him at the University.At the meeting the Professor explained that there were some strange tremors affecting a small town in Michigan an area which should be geologically stable.The University would normally send a team down but the department was really busy getting ready for an expedition and at the moment could not spare anybody.He said that if they did find something of real concern the university would send a team down but as ex students they would be helping out the department if they could act as a sort of recon team.
Luckily they agreed there was a fun moment when trying to figure out what was in a geologists tool kit how big are the hammers etc.Well off they went to the small town of Winnemuck to find out what was going on.
Now this is where I got my first shock as a newbie Keeper I really should have drawn at least a rough map of the town even if it was just for me as it would have stopped a lot of umming and ahhing on my part.But never mind lesson learned the townsfolk are scared and worried and in the best of traditions slightly wary of strangers.The group managed to get one old timer to talk about the tremors but weirdly blamed the problem on a guy called Bill and just before the group upset him causing him to spit into the gutter and muttering about "big town folk coming around like they own the place" he revealed Bills last name which was Whittaker.
The group then popped over to the Winnemuck Bee where they found out fairly quickly that Bill Whittaker had written a long rambling letter warning that if three named people did not stop damaging his property he would take matters into his own hands and the town would suffer.
There was some fun to be had here and another lesson learned players do crazy things (yes I'm looking at you Zach) as Zach tried to sweet talk the office receptionist in an attempt to find out more information or at least thats what a hope is plan was.What followed was me doing a very bad impression of a young women until in embarrassment I went back to my more normal voice.
After setting up a hot date with the receptionist thus upsetting Mr Flintoff the editor somewhat the group went off to the Police station this went well.Strangely enough I decided not to have a female receptionist just a large desk sergeant so Zach's romancing was reigned in a little.
The group did well here and convinced the detective to help them and the town by finding out what was causing the quakes which was now causing damage to town buildings and scaring away the tourists.
They found out that three people had been brought in about the damage caused to Bills property but strangely enough Bill decided not to press charges but it would not have made any real difference as all three died soon after there was a heart attack,a drowning and sadly a suicide.
But being men of science the group decided that all this Bill stuff was nothing to do with the quakes.This was my fault as I should have picked the paranormal hook not the academic one at the start the group was playing in character.
After speaking to a few more people and finding out that there were no mines in the area or large building projects which may involve blasting so no natural reason for the Tremors.
I even had the Postmen mention strange deliveries made to old Bills farmhouse but to be fair again as far as the in character group thought "so what" they as players knew where the plot was pointing but they were Geologist's searching for a scientific reason for the quakes not some crazy old coot and vague hints of mumbo jumbo.So they asked one of the Postmen to take them to some nearby caves so they could take some samples this led to Zach's character earning the ire of the American postal service but that will have to wait until part two.
All comments gratefully received hints and tips most welcome.
Sorry for the vagueness of the following I forgot to take notes and it was a while ago now.
The rough scenario outline as for as I can remember was, A research facility with a need for test subjects willing or not, Scientists, Twisted research into a strange artifact, Madness, Mutation, A lot of running around on our part mainly away from things and a room full of mutated flesh which was a tad angry. The highlights for me during this game was meeting a great bunch of people for the first time and during the game itself feeding the "special adviser" the remains of the recently killed Colonel to get some answers. Zachs bravery in destroying the artifact after my attempt went really badly (blasted sanity rolls)for me. And then all of us resisting the special advisers tempting offers to explore the secrets of the Universe with him.
It ended up with us getting Zachs character back but he was now catatonic so we decided to prop him up and leave him as we went for help (cough cough) the rest of us hot-wiring a lorry and after making a boat load of drive auto rolls we made our way down the mountain pass. I thought we had made it, the artifact was destroyed the mutated guards avoided or dealt with and no-one had taken up the kind offer to meet Azathoth how wrong could a guy be Ron the Keeper had one more surprise for us.We may have avoided some of the mutated guards but one of them had followed us out of the facility and had now decided to munch down on us.I must admit that I had forgotten how hard some things in Cthulhu are to kill luckily Zachs second character (a guard who had not gone insane) again passed his driving rolls and decided that driving the lorry off the side of the mountain was the only way to deal with this new threat he shouted a warning and a couple of close luck rolls later I was standing on the road,the mutant had gone over the edge with the lorry (phew) and all that remained was to pull Zach back up onto the road (he had only just passed one of the luck rolls I think) and make our way back to civilization.
It was a great game nicely run by Ron and I had a blast getting back into Cthulhu.
Huzzah I've got a reply from the forum thread Using Skype for online CC. A guy over in America said he was looking for an extra player and was happy for it to be over Skype and his next game was on Thursday which was great for me as it was a day off and I could use the desktop. I must admit I was a little nervous as this was all new and after listening to some Podcasts Skype seemed to vary in quality so not only was I nervous about meeting a new group of people for the first time it would be over a possibly rubbish connection. I could see it ending badly (I'm a glass half empty type of guy) the games plot lost through a haze of "whats and huhs?" and it all ending with a good try but no cigar.
But the game which was a homebrew written and run by Jimbill was fantastic the sound quality was top notch I could hear everything and I think I came across fairly clearly as well.
I had a great time rolling up my first character A Helmut Kaiser not the best of names I know but I had completely forgotten how hard it is to think of a name and I had a complete brain freeze when asked and it was the first thing that popped into my panicking brain so on it went.
After we had all rolled up our characters the other two players and myself were ready to save the world now if only we could escape from this lorry.
Well I've not played Cthulhu for a long time come to think of it I've not role played anything in ages but I did lurk a little you know dropped into Rpg.net and YSDC just to see what was new in town but I never joined or stayed long.I worked nights for a long time and then got a job with silly shifts (I should have learned my lesson) so role playing with a group was never going to work I could not guarantee that I could make even a token amount of sessions.But after I bought myself an ipod and then had to fill it up I discovered pod casts and there on the I Tunes search was Yog radio.I listened for a while and I really enjoyed it but it led me to take a dark path Little did I know that Yog radio was just a gateway cast which led to a more hardcore rpg experience.Yes you can all guess what caused my relapse it was .........Horror on the Orient express damn you Bradford players I was hooked at first my addiction was only slight but Horror led onto Masks (I know Masks was first but I missed it first time round) then Walker I was in trouble I was catching up on the recordings.Waiting for Tatters to post was hell,their I was hunched over a keyboard watching I Tunes downloads with fever bright eyes just hoping to see the next game start to download.
I needed help and thanks to the Yoggie forums help was at hand.I found a few players in the Bristol area but I was still working silly hours in fact they were getting sillier and now It was a weekly roster that was all over the place.So I had the same old problem but then (cue heavenly music) I saw the remote gaming thread thanks to everyone who posted on it I got a better idea how this remote gaming worked.It seemed I could get a game in at home or when on site.I could not stay long when at work but at least I could still be apart of it and keep the game moving along even if only for an hour or so.
So After buying a cheap as chips netbook and getting Skype downloaded onto my desktop I was ready to plunge back into Cthulhu.Lets just hope that someone is on the end of the line.