Jump to content
daedalus2309

Curse of the Yellow Sign Act III: Archimedes 7

Recommended Posts

daedalus2309

John Wick's released his third installment of Hasturian horror.

 

Anyone have any idea where to find it though? The store on his website is 404-ing and none of the other digital RPG distributors seem to have it. From what little I've seen on his site about it (character sheets and a map), I must run this.

 

Any help appreciated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Taavi

I hope it's a hell of a lot better than the last two.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
daedalus2309

Turns out the digital distributors have recently picked it up.

 

I really liked Act I for its interesting characters and original situation. Hated Act II (love triangles don't make for good roleplaying).

 

Anyway, this is a cool scenario. The characters are good and brilliantly connected. The situation, while maybe a bit cliche for SciFi, is solid, and there's a lot of potential for improvisation on the part of the keep or players.

 

Unfortunately, John Wick has no idea how to edit and/or write anything. This is the most unlikely combination of really good ideas and really terrible presentation I have ever seen in any RPG material. Like... he doesn't propose any endings. At all. I have no idea what the antagonist can/would do to the players, what the players are expected to do to each other, etc. I understand its all about how individuals deal with it, but some pointers would be nice.

 

So I have a couple of ambiguous concepts to glue together into a cohesive narrative. Anyone else buy it/have any ideas?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
WiseWolf

I saw it advertised today and had no idea what it was all about. If you have to pick an scenario and change it a lot to make it work, then it is not a good scenario -methinks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JohnWick

I really liked Act I for its interesting characters and original situation. Hated Act II (love triangles don't make for good roleplaying).

 

Anyway, this is a cool scenario. The characters are good and brilliantly connected. The situation, while maybe a bit cliche for SciFi, is solid, and there's a lot of potential for improvisation on the part of the keep or players.

 

Unfortunately, John Wick has no idea how to edit and/or write anything.

 

Obviously, if I could not write or edit anything, I wouldn't be able to produce a "cool scenario" with "interesting characters" and an "original scenario."

 

Just sayin'. :)

 

Anyway, with over half of each scenario loaded with Keeper advice, playtest notes and other goodies, I'm sorry these did not help you with running the scenario. The end goal of the antagonist--drive the players insane--seemed pretty clear to me. Maybe I should have been clearer.

 

And to answer WiseWolf--you don't have to "change it a lot to make it work," but you do have a lot of improvising on your hands... no more than I would expect from any other scenario. The CotYS stories are not linear. They aren't straight up murder mysteries. They are more like sandbox adventures (something one reviewer said was a refreshing change from the standard CoC stuff).

 

If you don't want something different, I would honestly advise you to stay away from Curse of the Yellow Sign. But, if you want to try something that's outside the norm, you may want to shell out the HUGE PRICE of $5 to see what's going on.

 

Here are two reviews of both scenarios. Read further to see if they may be what you're looking for:

 

http://www.flamesrising.com/digging-for-a-dead-god-review/

http://www.flamesrising.com/curse-yellow-sign-2-review/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
WiseWolf

Thanks, John. I will read the reviews and even try the first part, something that actually got my attention-as you point out- was the price, therefore first thing I did was to review old yogie to see if someone else had tried it out.

I'm all in for new stuff. And just for the sake of clarity, my comment was not directed to your scenario since I haven't even read it.

Cheers,

Randall

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mograg

I prefer a print product. Will all three scenarios be combined into a book that I may purchase?

 

Thank you,

 

Brian C.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
plx l Wulfen
Obviously, if I could not write or edit anything, I wouldn't be able to produce a "cool scenario" with "interesting characters" and an "original scenario."

 

Just sayin'. :)

 

Technically, that is not entirely correct. One could have really great ideas and concepts, completely new concepts never tried before, and still not be very good at getting them across. And technically "original" doesn't equate to good either. Love triangles may be new and original for the game but that certainly doesnt make them good.

 

Just sayin'.

 

also, any review that bothers to give something a 5.5 out of 5 is clearly biased in someway, and doesn't really help much either. You don't read reviews for a ridiculous level of praise. you read reviews to find out the facts of your chosen item, so you can better judge the potential purchase of said item.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
daedalus2309
JohnWick said:
Obviously, if I could not write or edit anything, I wouldn't be able to produce a "cool scenario" with "interesting characters" and an "original scenario."

 

Just sayin'. :)

 

Anyway, with over half of each scenario loaded with Keeper advice, playtest notes and other goodies, I'm sorry these did not help you with running the scenario. The end goal of the antagonist--drive the players insane--seemed pretty clear to me. Maybe I should have been clearer.

 

And to answer WiseWolf--you don't have to "change it a lot to make it work," but you do have a lot of improvising on your hands... no more than I would expect from any other scenario. The CotYS stories are not linear. They aren't straight up murder mysteries. They are more like sandbox adventures (something one reviewer said was a refreshing change from the standard CoC stuff).

 

If you don't want something different, I would honestly advise you to stay away from Curse of the Yellow Sign. But, if you want to try something that's outside the norm, you may want to shell out the HUGE PRICE of $5 to see what's going on.

 

Here are two reviews of both scenarios. Read further to see if they may be what you're looking for:

 

http://www.flamesrising.com/digging-for-a-dead-god-review/

http://www.flamesrising.com/curse-yellow-sign-2-review/

 

There are no playtest notes that I can see in Act III beyond: "get someone to hide" and other gimmicks. I have no idea how players tend to react to this situation. I have no techniques with which to nudge players in one way or the other. Feels lazy.

 

Second, more change is necessary, as I've notice COTYS has a number of in text contradictions. In Act I, a character was stated to have a skill he did not, the module and character descriptions did not always match with regard to a certain Nazi's knowledge of blackmailing another character (a thing hard to do without knowing about it) among others. Act II refered to the players as "spread out" in the mansion when the map placed them no more than ten feet from one another.

 

 

Act III all six PC's are mentioned as psychotic prisoners. Oliver Price is given no flashbacks, like the others. Is he normal? How is a Bloody Mary supposed to be a threat to other characters at all? What'll she do, kidnap them?

 

Yeah, the objective is insanity. Thanks for that one. I meant how and to what end. Bloodbath? Escape? I just know he's devious and he's Hastur.

 

Fourth, I never used the word original with Act III. I did say it was cliche. 2001: A Space Oddysey + Randall Flagg does not equal bold story-telling. Besides, a cool idea is only half of writing a good scenario; the other half is making it easily accessible for a customer who hasn't been working with your concepts for as long as you have.

 

I know 5 dollars is not a huge price tag for a module, but that doesn't mean I deserve a half-finished assortment of vague ideas. Especially one you advertise on the front of your website.

 

I don't want railroading either. Just because I dislike your scenario does not mean I don't get it. Generally its bad business to respond to customer complaints by telling them they're wrong.

 

After saying all those terrible things: I really liked Digging for a Dead God. I really want to like this one as well. Could just use a hand.

 

Also, please use spoiler tags if spoilers show up. I have players on the boards and they tend to nose around.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JohnWick
I prefer a print product. Will all three scenarios be combined into a book that I may purchase?

 

Thank you,

 

Brian C.

 

Yes. We're working on that now. With additional material, too!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JohnWick

Others have found the advice, gimmicks, etc. in all three scenarios--bar the inevitable printer gnome errors--useful. I'm willing to live with "you can't please everyone."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
daedalus2309

Direct your attention to the beginning of this thread. I originally wanted to find out how to buy this while your store was down. I LIKE your work. I apologize if my earlier comments hurt your feelings; I was a little ticked off after wasting money for a disappointment.

 

So, you can either put your fingers in your ears, hum to yourself, and pretend the problems I put in don't exist. (Strangely reminiscent of the little dissertation you have on humanity's hopeless ignorance in the beginning of every COTYS). Or you can treat me like a customer and a fan and throw me a bone here.

 

Here are my questions:

 

 

1. Why doesn't Oliver Price have flashbacks? Throughout the entire scenario he's kept in a group with the rest of the psychos. Clarification please.

 

2. Where are the three bots? Why are they mentioned in the beginning if they never show up?

 

3. How long is Archimedes shut down for? The module alternatively says ten minutes and 24 hours.

 

The main omission in this is playtest notes. And, no, I don't mean "christmas lights on the floor sure are spooky" I mean actual recounts of actual players actually playing in the actual game. I understand improv is a part of the experience, but in a totally free-form story like this, why even carry-out playtesting if you won't tell the keepers about it?

 

How should I play the antagonist? I apologize if you felt this in particular would have felt repetitive to you. Although that hasn't kept you from constantly restating humanity's insignificance in a page or two of intro in each COTYS. Which, I might add, is a concept every CoC player is more familiar with than the chaotic mind of Hastur.

 

You can't please everyone if you don't bother to please anyone. Just sayin'

 

And spoiler tags, if you don't mind.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
YunusWesley

This kind of scenario sets up characters whose conflicts will drive the session like so many infernal cogs. The direction of the session is not in the hands of the keeper but shared across the table, relying on each player to undersand his character and move it forward. It is useless to prepare reactions and set descriptions for events that must unfold from the characters' dynamic.

 

If these principles are not clear to the reader from the get-go, that reader has not understood the kind of scenario he is reading.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JohnWick
This kind of scenario sets up characters whose conflicts will drive the session like so many infernal cogs. The direction of the session is not in the hands of the keeper but shared across the table, relying on each player to undersand his character and move it forward. It is useless to prepare reactions and set descriptions for events that must unfold from the characters' dynamic.

 

If these principles are not clear to the reader from the get-go, that reader has not understood the kind of scenario he is reading.

 

Whew. I thought I was being subtle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Radical Therapy

I was a player in Act 1, and for the most part I loved it. The character setups were fantastic, (I played as Soren Faulheit)and I agree that the scenario was very player driven, making it a unique CoC experience that really was a blast to play.

 

However, I also need to remark that something felt missing as the session began to wind down. The sheer openness of the plot made the scenario seem just a bit too much like a backdrop for player antics during lulls in the chaos, and I think that affected immersion a little.

 

 

(At one point it felt like the last 2 or 3 surviving PC's had to try to kill each other off against in-character judgment in order to keep things moving)

 

Understanding the open-ended nature of the scenario is surely key to enjoying it, but I feel that it is unfair to write off a call for a little more cohesiveness as a lack of imagination on the keeper and players' part.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
daedalus2309
YunusWesley said:
This kind of scenario sets up characters whose conflicts will drive the session like so many infernal cogs. The direction of the session is not in the hands of the keeper but shared across the table, relying on each player to undersand his character and move it forward. It is useless to prepare reactions and set descriptions for events that must unfold from the characters' dynamic.

 

If these principles are not clear to the reader from the get-go, that reader has not understood the kind of scenario he is reading.

 

I'll make myself more clear. John Wick isn't holding up his end of the bargain. His thirty page scenario is just one simple idea:

 

 

So there's a bunch of psychos on a space ship. Oh, and Hal 9000 is there

 

If its my job to do everything, this should have been the only thing published. The locations, gimmicks, atmosphere, and general nihilistic tone are all common to cthulhu and science fiction and could have been easily improvised by any marginally experienced keeper.

 

I'm not asking for railroading. As I've said, I've seen earlier COTYS. This feels like a departure from the series in quality. When asking for clarification on certain contradictions and omissions, I've more or less been told I'm just plain wrong and don't get it.

 

The things the scenario lacks are the things I can't pre-create on my own: an awareness of character reaction beforehand and anything that makes the antagonist stand out from the norm. These things were included in earlier Acts. Why are they suddenly seen as superfluous (while the same two page intro on the darkness of the universe has been kept)?

 

Even the characters, which are so important, are, as I pointed out, incomplete.

 

My main problem here is that I could have run this scenario just as well without actually using the scenario. Characters and the map are available for free. The scenario itself offers nothing worth using that couldn't be explained in the two sentence synopsis I posed.

 

This isn't just an interaction between my players and me. I paid Mr. Wick in the hopes that he would add to this interaction. He did not.

 

Please stop dodging my questions. Please give me playtest notes. Right now it seems like I payed you for practically nothing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The_Tatterdemalion_King
My main problem here is that I could have run this scenario just as well without actually using the scenario. Characters and the map are available for free.

 

I kinda want to try that. Hmm...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JohnWick
Right now it seems like I payed you for practically nothing.

 

Do you want your money back? If so, let me know, and I'll refund your $5.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JohnWick

The things the scenario lacks are the things I can't pre-create on my own: an awareness of character reaction beforehand and anything that makes the antagonist stand out from the norm. These things were included in earlier Acts. Why are they suddenly seen as superfluous (while the same two page intro on the darkness of the universe has been kept)?

 

Even the characters, which are so important, are, as I pointed out, incomplete.

 

Could you please define "an awareness of character reaction beforehand and anything that makes the antagonist stand out from the norm?" I'm not trying to be cute; I honestly don't understand the criticism.

 

The whole point is that the characters are incomplete. They are unfinished people. The ambiguities are intentional and designed to cause questions and confusion. I don't understand how that's unstated in the scenario.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
toombs
Could you please define "an awareness of character reaction beforehand and anything that makes the antagonist stand out from the norm?" I'm not trying to be cute; I honestly don't understand the criticism.

 

The whole point is that the characters are incomplete. They are unfinished people. The ambiguities are intentional and designed to cause questions and confusion. I don't understand how that's unstated in the scenario.

 

I guess I agree with Deadalus2309, I'm left puzzled how to run this one. Unlike the other two, where the characters have legitimate reasons to start targeting each other (I don't have a problem with romantic angles), I don't see why the characters should all of a sudden start to fight. THere doesn't seem to be anything there, no hook to start that. Ok, so they're trapped and not necessarily sane. THere's the computer. THen...that's honestly it? so what? So they band together and I just have the computer start killing them? That seems stupid. I really, honestly, don't get it. The shape of the story that is being aimed at here. Why would the characters go crazy? THere doesn't seem to be any structure, any interesting places for the story to go unless I happen to hire actors as players and just tell them to make something up. Even then I'm not sure it would go anywhere interesting.

 

The other two seemed playable. THis does not, though it has some nice general suggestions for horror games. Not much else, though. It would be nice to have you really answer the questions posed by Deadalus. In particular, I'd like to know what you were thinking when you wrote this, what kind of story you thought would come of this. YOu know, in specific. Because I honestly have no idea, after reading it. I can't see any real story indicated in this material.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
toombs
I guess I agree with Deadalus2309, I'm left puzzled how to run this one. Unlike the other two, where the characters have legitimate reasons to start targeting each other (I don't have a problem with romantic angles), I don't see why the characters should all of a sudden start to fight. THere doesn't seem to be anything there, no hook to start that. Ok, so they're trapped and not necessarily sane. THere's the computer. THen...that's honestly it? so what? So they band together and I just have the computer start killing them? That seems stupid. I really, honestly, don't get it. The shape of the story that is being aimed at here. Why would the characters go crazy? THere doesn't seem to be any structure, any interesting places for the story to go unless I happen to hire actors as players and just tell them to make something up. Even then I'm not sure it would go anywhere interesting.

 

The other two seemed playable. THis does not, though it has some nice general suggestions for horror games. Not much else, though. It would be nice to have you really answer the questions posed by Deadalus. In particular, I'd like to know what you were thinking when you wrote this, what kind of story you thought would come of this. YOu know, in specific. Because I honestly have no idea, after reading it. I can't see any real story indicated in this material.

 

Perhaps I should add htat I'm a real fan of yours, and have bought just about everything you've released. You do good stuff! Much respect! I'm just not sure how to run this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jeffszusz

I think the problem with some of John Wick's products is that you don't have John Wick to run the game or players who are accustomed to the John Wick Social Meatgrinder style of playing roleplaying games.

 

Even with Houses of the Blooded, which is my favorite RPG book of all time and very well fleshed out, I find I have a bit of a tough time getting players who are used to other types of roleplaying to really get down and use their newfound freedom. They just sit and wait for me to throw instructions at them in the guise of NPCs and backdrops.

 

A scenario with a lot of open space is very dependant on having the sorts of players who, in a "traditional" game, will take charge of their character and throttle the keeper's best-laid plans to pulp with their twisted antics - and a keeper who can keep up with / ahead of them regardless.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
toombs
I think the problem with some of John Wick's products is that you don't have John Wick to run the game or players who are accustomed to the John Wick Social Meatgrinder style of playing roleplaying games.

 

Even with Houses of the Blooded, which is my favorite RPG book of all time and very well fleshed out, I find I have a bit of a tough time getting players who are used to other types of roleplaying to really get down and use their newfound freedom. They just sit and wait for me to throw instructions at them in the guise of NPCs and backdrops.

 

A scenario with a lot of open space is very dependant on having the sorts of players who, in a "traditional" game, will take charge of their character and throttle the keeper's best-laid plans to pulp with their twisted antics - and a keeper who can keep up with / ahead of them regardless.

 

Yeah, if John Wick would come & run the scenario himself, that would clear up any issues! Cost me more than $5, though, I imagine. But as for players, that's not so much a problem--half of my group is professional actors, and I like improv games as much as the next person.

 

I think it's just too easy a write off to put it on the players or GM and say: you just aren't up to the challenge, you're too traditional. I don't know anything about houses of the bloodied, but this is a bunch of great ideas in a pdf with no story that I can see, no even wraparound narrative. I don't ask for much, but I do ask for more than this. At this point I'm pretty much left writing my own sci-fi piece using some helpful play tips from John, an admittedly kick ass soundtrack, and some nice character ideas. I guess I had thought there would be more, it was presented as a complete piece.

 

Don't offer me my money back, John, I think that's an out as well. I don't want money, I want to play one of your kick-ass scenarios, but preferrably one that's been developed a little more than this. Ah well. I should stop bitching and start developing this scenario, I guess, as it doesn't look like you're going to add anything else to this particular piece.

 

I'll still buy all your future pieces, John, but I'll keep complaining if they're as underdeveloped as this one is.

 

peace

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
daedalus2309

Sorry for a late reply, busy week.

 

Any way to be as clear as possible:

 

 

1. Oliver Price has no flashbacks. The scenario says, pretty clearly, that every character is supposed to have them. Please update this somewhere.

 

2. The mention of robots in the text once or twice without their actual inclusion in the map or stats seemed weird. This wasn't a huge deal.

 

3. What happens when/if the characters awaken other prisoners from cryosleep? I don't want to just make a corpse fall out of every one of the 64 additional chambers.

 

4. The playtest notes request should have been clear. For example, act 1 had had notes about how the captain tended to stay back, about how Gregor was usually zealous, how one character tried to modify his hands to fit a panel etc. These are the sort of things that are useful.

 

5. Notes on Archimedes would be VERY helpful. He's an evil computer, sure. But as my only method of interacting with the players I'd expect advice beyond he's nihilistic. What does he say to whom, for example.

 

6. My biggest problem, as mentioned by toombs: how do I get these guys to kill each other? Looks like I'm basically going to have to take my players (who are a remarkably cohesive bunch) aside after flashback three and tell them: you're crazy now and want to kill everyone. Any tips on how to carry this out without the feeling of railroading?

 

I don't want my money back. Someone once said a writer's best friend is his critic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
toombs
daedalus2309 said:
Sorry for a late reply, busy week.

 

Any way to be as clear as possible:

 

 

1. Oliver Price has no flashbacks. The scenario says, pretty clearly, that every character is supposed to have them. Please update this somewhere.

 

2. The mention of robots in the text once or twice without their actual inclusion in the map or stats seemed weird. This wasn't a huge deal.

 

3. What happens when/if the characters awaken other prisoners from cryosleep? I don't want to just make a corpse fall out of every one of the 64 additional chambers.

 

4. The playtest notes request should have been clear. For example, act 1 had had notes about how the captain tended to stay back, about how Gregor was usually zealous, how one character tried to modify his hands to fit a panel etc. These are the sort of things that are useful.

 

5. Notes on Archimedes would be VERY helpful. He's an evil computer, sure. But as my only method of interacting with the players I'd expect advice beyond he's nihilistic. What does he say to whom, for example.

 

6. My biggest problem, as mentioned by toombs: how do I get these guys to kill each other? Looks like I'm basically going to have to take my players (who are a remarkably cohesive bunch) aside after flashback three and tell them: you're crazy now and want to kill everyone. Any tips on how to carry this out without the feeling of railroading?

 

I don't want my money back. Someone once said a writer's best friend is his critic.

 

Exactly! Could not have said it better. You have summed up all of my issues with the piece quite succinctly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sign in to comment.

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×