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AdamAstonbury

Experiences running 'The Black Drop' ?

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AdamAstonbury

Hi folks - I'm pretty much settled on running 'The Black Drop' for my group; both as a Halloween one-shot, and as a first time intro to the ToC system.

 

My ambition is to get through it in a singe long session (approx 9 or 10 hours, that is, a Sunday afternoon and evening)...

 

I will have three players.

 

Just wondering if anyone had any advice - either on the scenario itself (which pre-gens would make a good mix? ; general tips, creation of atmosphere - mood music, sound etc - resources...is my proposed running time feasible?) or on running ToC for the first time generally (my aim is to try running a Bookhounds game after this).....

 

If I find any interesting resources myself (NPC photo-portraits etc) I may pop back to the thread to post....

 

Cheers, Graham

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AdamAstonbury

Anyone....Bueller.....anyone ?

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AdamAstonbury

Ok - final attempt to garner a response.....(running the game tomorrow).

 

Any thoughts on what equipment / items (I'm thinking of guns in particular) the pre-gen PCs should start with ?

 

It would seem reasonable for the soldier character to have a handgun perhaps, but for everyone else (two lawyers, a doctor, an author and a professor) it would seem a bit of a stretch.....

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PelgranePress

Sorry we were too late to help. How did it go?

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AdamAstonbury

Short version:

 

a) we had a great time; but

B) we didn't finish the scenario and intend to complete it asap.

 

I'll be back with a more detailed report when we finish, or when I have more time to give an account (rather busy week I'm afraid).

 

Thanks for the interest though.... :)

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AdamAstonbury

Hi - I thought I'd pop back and give you my impressions of both ToC and The Black Drop as an adventure ; we haven't completed it yet, but we reckon one final session should see it happen.......

 

Some SPOILERS for The Black Drop are bound to follow so potential players be warned......

 

1) ToC as a game system. Ok - I've been playing Call of Cthulhu since the game came out and have been GMing for nearly all of that time. I was one of those who were initially sceptical about 'Trail' when it was released and although I was enticed enough by the gorgeous artwork to buy a copy of the rules, I didn't really see myself playing it (it was only after the publication of Bookhounds that I felt compelled to give the system a try). Not only that, but one of my players is a self confessed BRP diehard who is not only a fan of original CoC, but also of old-skool Runequest and Stormbringer as well. In short, Trail was up against a pretty tough crowd...........

 

However, I am pleased to say that the trial of the rules - via The Black Drop - was quite a success. Naturally, there were some bumpy patches as we all got used to 'changing up', but the overwhelming feedback from the group was positive. What we seemed to grasp the most instinctively was the 'Investigative' phase of the game - clues being automatically given where appropriate with additional benefits accruing from the expenditure of pool points. I'd like to see my players become perhaps more creative in suggesting creative expenditure of points, but I think that will come in time.........Where we had slightly more difficulty was around combat, where we found the rules to be a little too 'light' for our tastes. Perhaps this was because it lacked the familiar 'crunch' of BRP or because we were not used to the concept of a system emphasising 'narrative drama' over 'realism' (and yes, I'm aware how simplistic those two terms are - but hopefully you know what I'm getting at).

 

Two instances in particular are perhaps worth mentioning; the first was when the PCs wished to subdue - without necessarily hurting - two psychotic female NPCs who were attacking them. The rules seemed a bit light on detail to cover such an eventuality (though in fact we did later discover some optional/fan rules which cover this sort of thing). The second instance was when the PCs and accompanying NPCs were being sniped at. One of the NPCs was killed by a shot (a 'narrative' choice made by myself as GM). Immediately afterwards, one of the PCs was also hit, and I must say that it did feel counter-intuitive when our run-through of the rules suggested that it would be impossible for that PC to also be instantly killed - even when using the suggested rules for 'horribly realistically lethal firearms'.......

 

But like I say, aside from these qualms, we enjoyed our experience of getting to grips with the game and look forward to playing again in future (especially as we envisage playing a Bookhounds campaign that is likely to have less combat/shooting)....

 

2) The Black Drop. We're thoroughly enjoying the scenario itself too and the players enjoyed learning about the Desolation Islands and thought that they made a wonderfully bleak, remote and atmospheric location for a Lovecraftian scenario. We've had a great time playing it and look forward to wrapping it up (the PCs are en-route to the mountain temple, and are currently being harassed by the surviving colonists)...

 

I do think that the scenario has a couple of aspects that could have been improved upon or clarified and am wondering if these issues were encountered by other play groups......

 

1) The French geologist / cultists are transporting a hold-full of dynamite - but unless I missed something, there is no mention made of how they propose to offload it and carry it all into the interior...(I improvised on the spot by having them met by one of the colonists with a pack of miserable donkeys).....

 

2) The motivations / succession planning of The Black Drop Society seems unclear. How are the respective members attracted and persuaded into the dire necessity of self-sacrifice in a black magic ritual halfway around the globe once every thirty years ?

 

3) I had to make some minor adjustments / amends to the background briefings for the pre-gens provided; it seemed unclear whether the American soldier character was to maintain some sort of 'cover' or not and I also noted that the French Fascist newspaper alluded to in the background of the Doctor had well and truly folded by the thirties (something my players would have picked up on as they enjoy researching these little details).....

 

4) Not a criticism - more a cautionary word of advice for certain types of group; GMs should be prepared to 'hand-wave' a lot of the physical geography of the Islands in favour of the aforementioned narrative drama. This proved to be a bit of an adjustment for us (our previous and still ongoing Delta Green game was characterised by frequent recourse to maps, satellite photos etc of real world locations in order to increase verisimilitude). My players were so enthused by the setting that they did some of their own research and started to realise how large the islands were; a rigid application of these distances would have meant travelling taking longer and making it much more unlikely that separated groups would meet, etc etc).

 

5) Some further detail on the final ritual itself would be welcome. How did the Black Drop learn of it ? What is involved (chanting, ritual gestures, a certain specific language ?) and what happens if unwilling sacrifices are substituted for willing ones ? If Dr. Scheider is killed, is there any way of anybody else learning what is required ?

 

Again though I'd emphasise that these are in the nature of minor concerns and that I'd recommend the scenario to anyone - particularly as it offers a nice blend of atmosphere and action. Although I have nothing else as yet to compare it to, I'm certainly happy with it as a choice of 'intro' to Trail.......

 

Anyway, I've rattled on long enough and hope that my musings will be of benefit.....

 

I'm impressed with what I am seeing in the Trail line and look forward to exploring more :)

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SpiderBobby

Hello all.

 

I've just got this and have quite a few questions (I'm surprised, it's highly rated but I've encountered a few big issues) but before I write a proper post about those can someone tell me did you buy the PDF and if so did you have some handouts missing (#5 for example, Pierre Petit's note) ?

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JustinAlexander

Hello all.

 

I've just got this and have quite a few questions (I'm surprised, it's highly rated but I've encountered a few big issues) but before I write a proper post about those can someone tell me did you buy the PDF and if so did you have some handouts missing (#5 for example, Pierre Petit's note) ?

 

My PDF has Handout #5 on pg. 30.

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SpiderBobby

Hmm, thanks for the reply, I'll check again but I'm pretty sure it's not there.

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Tony Williams

Hello all.

 

I've just got this and have quite a few questions (I'm surprised, it's highly rated but I've encountered a few big issues) but before I write a proper post about those can someone tell me did you buy the PDF and if so did you have some handouts missing (#5 for example, Pierre Petit's note) ?

 

You should read this thread too - it discusses some problems with the scenario text

 

http://www.yog-sothoth.com/topic/26550-the-black-drop-timingchronology-question-spoilers/?hl=black+drop

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SpiderBobby

Thanks I'll read that

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SpiderBobby

My PDF has Handout #5 on pg. 30.

 

Thanks I found it, I have no idea but somehow failed to absorb it or it's location at all on my 2 read-through, but on page 30 as you say ! 

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