So I am running this excellent scenario for the first time, as a preparation for using it at a convention next year.
I have 4 players, 2 female, 2 male. Their PCs are:
- The PR guy - Blake Tevis
- The fixer - Spencer Shull
- The personal assistant (PA) - Julia Cortese
- The co-producer - Daria Nowland.
Enter the players into a darkened room, dimly lit by the glowing cinema style advert for "The Space between" (see picture), to the horrible song "Space between" from the movie "Descendants 2"....
The starting scene worked really well, with Teekrop Singh putting pressure on the PCs, and then the police coming in - the characters discussed a lot about what to do, all in-rôle. The PR guy and the fixer managed to keep the cops away from the set, with quite a lot of bad vibes and aggression flowing around. To give them at least something, the PA showed the police the trailer of the missing actress. Here, the police took DNA from some hair in a hairbrush.
Then, they called the missing director, Jared Woodward. (I am using actual mobile phone calls for telephone scenes, where I leave the room and talk to the players via phone - this proved to work out really well for the "Cthulhu Now" atmosphere)
Woodward went mad when he heard of the police and told them to "burn the set! Burn the basalt cliffs!"
Now, the PCs were disturbed. They started investigating a lot, and actually found some blood stains and a piece of cloth at the cliffs. Having the costume designer in, the deternmined the cloth was part of the costume of the missing actress, Verity Harrow. They even soon suspected ritual murder... Then they connected with security to check camera footage, which only exists for the parking lot and the entry. This would take several hours to go through, though. They decided to actually burn the set, in order to protect their Church. Calling up the company that built it, they managed to get that going, although they did not know that (through a botched luck roll) the company would take quite a while for that, for lack of sufficient staff (it's a bit set piece!).
Woodward's apartment was the next scene: Eventually, they got on the road, all together, to go and see Woodward at his apartment. (I used actual google maps material here for the feel and the distances). An earlier thought of searching for the missing actress was abandoned, for the time being. At the director's apartment, they quickly got afraid of the cold darkness behind the door of the editing suite. After a while, though, the desperate co-producer Daria stepped in, followed by PR-man and co-producer Blake Tevis. As soon as the frightened Woodward had come to them, and they saw the horror of Yvette Sommers drifting towards them, Daria had the idea that this might all be a dream, and that of course: prayer would help! So the 3 of them locked hands in a circle and began to chant desperately. A great scene! Of course, it worked, and the illusion was over before Yvette could touch them. They somehow knew insantly that this must be the mysterious figure of Yvette Sommers mentioned in the movie script.
Here, I had some doubts on how to play the rescued director, so as not to give away too many clues on what had happened. I decided to play Woodward very incoherent. His sanity was severly damaged, and he was still drunk and drugged. Babbling, he said and shouted things like "the horror, the horror..." or "Craig Steele, he wanted it...", especially when pressed on the whereabouts of Verity Harrow. He then rushed back into the editing suite, obsessed with the idea of finishing his work, apparently frightened of what might happen if he doesn't. Somehow, he passed out and the investigators started checking out the suite. They found the copper bowl with blood stains and strange signs, the fine paintbrush and of course took a look at the film - and were shocked when they saw Yvette coming towards them. They also found the stills showing lots of blood, confirming their suspicions about a ritual murder. Meanwhile, Whatsapp-massages were coming in from Steele, and Musgrove called with an icy voice, requiring details.
Lastly, just before leaving, Woodwards PA Julia remembered taking his laptop with the script and all. Only that, alas!, nobody thought of hacking into it during the stressed-out drive back to Church Central. After all, the characters had taken the fatal decision to go and tell it all to the head of their organization - Brian Musgrove...
Brian Musgrove greeted the investigators sitting at his enormous, empty desk. (I put some mirrored aviator sunglasses on). He was very interested in their theories on how Craigs Steele had been using the Church for his nefarious purposes, and how Woodward might be involved. Turning down the characters' idea of stopping Woodward from finishing "The Space between", he happily looked at all the evidence, including the still unused laptop, and then... held on to it! After all, he's the Boss. This left the investigators as humble and diligent Church sheep, who even got lauded for keeping the cops out and being wise enough to have the blood-stained basalt cliffs burned!
Having gone through so much mental stress and emotional upheaval, Musgrove now recommended free emptying sessions for all of them at the nearby Celebrity Retreat. At first, the crew refused, but Musgrove was adamant about it: They should first go and empty themselves of their woes, and then report back to him to see what their next move should be....
To be continued in session 2, due Dec. 20