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mvincent

Horror on the Orient Express Tips

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Defenestrator

OK, cleared out my messages if you want to try again.

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mvincent

For anyone that's interested: pictures from my HotOE game are now available here

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willmize

For anyone that's interested: pictures from my HotOE game are now available here

 

Oh my GOODNESS, those are just wonderful.

If I lived in Portland, I would be your new bestie, just to get in your next campaign :)

Well done!

 

- Bill

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Badger

Where did you get those maps, and what parts of the campaign did you use them for?

 

 

-=Badger

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mvincent
On 02/06/2018 at 00:03, Badger said:

Where did you get those maps, and what parts of the campaign did you use them for?

 

Whew... that took some research (I have a lot of maps), but (in order of appearance):

 

London Streets: Deadlands Noir: Offices
Dream Lausanne plaza: Rackham Reversible Gaming Tiles Set C
La Scala Opera house: Theater Flip-Mat
Venice Alleys: Rackham Reversible Gaming Tiles Set A
Postumia caverns: some random D&D cavern map (any would do)
Cottage in the Woods: Deep Forest Flip-Mat with a cottage tile from Village Sites Map Pack
Sofia hotel: Deadlands Noir: Offices
Sofia University: Deadlands Noir: Offices
Iskur Caves: Darklands Flip-Mat
Üsküdar cemetary: Deadlands Noir: Cemetery
Shunned mosque: Cathedral Flip-Mat

 

And of course: the train maps that come with the adventure

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jammer

mvincent - thank you for putting the time in and sharing this. I too was blown away by the photos. I have been Keeping CoC for decades and have generally steered away from using miniatures, although I always use quality handouts and maps when I can - and just hand draw maps for unexpected situations when required and mark positions for orientation.

 

But having seen your set up I thought two things: 1. boy, I'd love to play in a game run by this guy, and 2. maybe I should use miniatures in my games.

 

So I wanted to ask you, in your experience, does having miniatures and such an eye-catching tabletop lead to a more tactically focused game? I love miniatures, but have always avoided them in CoC because I've believed that enough description to allow the players to imagine what's going on encourages atmosphere and focus on feeling and fear which I worry would get lost, if everybody is shifting miniatures and working out distances, cover etc.

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mvincent

Thanks for the Kudos!

 

10 hours ago, jammer said:

does having miniatures and such an eye-catching tabletop lead to a more tactically focused game? 

 

It depends on how you use them. I strive for an immersive experience, and these aid that:

  • Miniatures allow me to run combats pretty fast (keeping it exciting, immersive, and more like reality),  since I don’t need to stop to describe many of the details. I want my players scared rather than confused.
  • Some narrative/verbal oriented Referees focus on long descriptions during combat and allow players to languidly decide what do, often necessitating many questions before acting. For me, this does not capture the feel of the real-life scary/combat scenarios I've been in.
  • Multiple opponents are hardest to track verbally, and if the scenario has many opponents, they’re usually intended for the PC’s to take down tactically anyway. That said: I often use Theater of the Mind if there is just one opponent (which is often a big-hideous thing that you don’t want to represent with a mini anyway, so as to keep it scary).
  • I don’t use many of CoC’s crunchier aspects (unlike how I run D&D). I don’t really rely on things like grids, distances, movement rates, Rate of Fire, Point-blank range, etc. (it’s more of a fast, roll-n-go experience). Immersive tactics will probably work, but mechanics-based-tactics… not so much. Sure: some CoC veterans will initially look for mechanical advantages like say, a “Point-blank” bonus die, but then I counter with say, a “shooting into melee” penalty die, so they eventually quit asking.
  • I usually start combat in seconds. The maps deploy in an instant (or are already out), and the PC minis are handy (or already on the map). I then throw down the enemy miniatures, point to the first player and ask “What do you do!” (and as he stammers to make a decision, I then point to the next player…)
  • Miniatures aren't just for combat. Keeping track of where everyone was on the train (or on a city map even) was often important for non-combat purposes. Players continued to use their miniatures while I used small pictures of the NPC's (with their name at the bottom, and painter's tape on the back).

 

Ultimately though: I'm a very tactile/visual person, and I look for the same in my players. Conversely, CoC can attract more verbally oriented players (HPL was very wordy), so my methods may not be optimal for all.

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jammer

Mmm, ok. Think I'm sold. I have some CoC Grenadier investigators minis I've painted over the years. Maybe I'll get them on the table next time.

 

Thanks for your comprehensive response, and well done on your GM efforts.

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Eudaimic

Certainly not to criticize, whatever works for every group, but I've always found that minis move the attention from the THEATER OF THE MIIIIND to the table and the tactics, rather than the HOOOORRROOOOOR!

 

But I do like minis 😄 

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Tlalchitonatiuh

Quick question, I have heard a lot of people mention "the auction" as a good lead in scenario for HotOE as it has professor smith in it. I have been spending some time with that scenario in both published versions, but I cant seem to find him anywhere. Am I overlooking his moment completely? 

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PoC

He's not officially in the scenario. I inserted him into our campaign back in 2007.

 

 

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sasori

I made some handouts for the Zagreb chapter.

 

There are paper ones, and audio ones.

 

Please use them.

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UrsusMaior

I'd like to bring to you attention an article from The New York Times, which appeared online three weeks ago:

 

Quote

 

Archaeologists Find Pre-Columbian Temple of ‘Flayed Lord’ in Central Mexico

 

By Alan Yuhas

Jan. 3, 2019

 

"Archaeologists in Mexico say they have found the first temple dedicated to a deity called the Flayed Lord, an important god in the Aztec Empire whose worshipers were said to wear the skin of sacrificial victims."

 

 

The article might make a nice handout for those wishing to play the modern scenario at the end of the campaign. Or it could work as an idea-giver for a scenatio between HotOE and MoN, possibly before the Peru chapter or in lieu of The God of Mitnal from the MoN companion.

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rbrandolph1

I disagree about the flashback interludes.  In my group we ran the majority of them.  I skipped the one triggered by the toy train (Blue Train, Black Train?) and all of the Dreamlands, but ran all of the others.  It felt like a breather.  It is so much better to show rather than tell and it gave the players a taste of the different time periods with pre-gens that they may not have normally rolled up.  I thought that they really added to the historic richness of the game.  I hope to run this again and will add in Reign of Terror this time.

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mvincent
3 hours ago, rbrandolph1 said:

I disagree about the flashback interludes.  In my group we ran the majority of them.  I skipped the one triggered by the toy train (Blue Train, Black Train?) and all of the Dreamlands, but ran all of the others. 

 

You didn't skip dream Lausanne did you?

 

That's pretty cool that you were able to finish the campaign with all the historical scenario character switching. CoC has a reputation for attracting unstable groups though; that's why I recommended saving the historical scenarios for afterwards, assuming the group is still together. (My own groups have been together for forever, but they also get attached to playing their own characters). 

 

I've seen a different recommendation though: use some of the historical scenarios as one-off scenarios while you are forming your group. It allows for some initial player turn-over while still being germane to the long campaign.

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rbrandolph1
43 minutes ago, mvincent said:

You didn't skip dream Lausanne did you?

 

I did not skip Lausanne.  In fact, this past  weekend I pulled together my old group and we are flashing back to Reign of Terror.  They were so enthused about part one that I may use some of the scenario seeds to make this a mini campaign.  They, of course, new the Comte's secret, but I think that heightened their dread. 

 

I did also have stray players pop in for "guest appearance" during the historical interludes.  . 

 

I would also like to add that the Blood Red Fez was donned, but the wearer rolled so well that he completely dominated it and started making fez servants of his own.  He was quite insane, but it was terrific fun. 

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Badger
On 18/02/2019 at 06:17, rbrandolph1 said:

I disagree about the flashback interludes.  In my group we ran the majority of them.  I skipped the one triggered by the toy train (Blue Train, Black Train?) and all of the Dreamlands, but ran all of the others.  It felt like a breather.  It is so much better to show rather than tell and it gave the players a taste of the different time periods with pre-gens that they may not have normally rolled up.  I thought that they really added to the historic richness of the game.  I hope to run this again and will add in Reign of Terror this time.

 

My group is in the midst of the Invictus flashback chapter. I've run all of them; the only chapter I've skipped was the long Dreamlands chapter from Book II, as I felt that it was too long of a diversion and was going to cause my group to lose focus. My player have emphatically stated more than once that they love the flashbacks. While YMMV, I would encourage Keepers to not remove them.

 

I recently finished reading Reign of Terror, and man, I cannot wait to have my players go through it. Definitely one of the darkest things that's been written for the Orient Express campaign.

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Keppada
59 minutes ago, Badger said:

I recently finished reading Reign of Terror, and man, I cannot wait to have my players go through it. Definitely one of the darkest things that's been written for the Orient Express campaign.


When do you think would be optimal time to run reign of terror. Before or after orient express?

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Badger
30 minutes ago, Keppada said:

When do you think would be optimal time to run reign of terror. Before or after orient express?

 

Good question. The book says that the optimal time is to place it in before the investigators arrive in Sofia. I'm going to at least attempt to wrangle the two scenarios before they get to Constantinople, if not before.

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ronin
10 hours ago, Badger said:

Good question. The book says that the optimal time is to place it in before the investigators arrive in Sofia. I'm going to at least attempt to wrangle the two scenarios before they get to Constantinople, if not before.

 

I ran the first half of RoT right before the group went to Poissy. It worked pretty well, they really hated a Fenalik. They never followed the lead to the asylum in Paris so they didn’t get that information. We will complete the Dark Ages scenario next session, so they’ll hear Fenalik’s name again once Merovac steals the simulacrum. I think they’ll start wondering if he’s still alive somehow. Once we play the scenario where Fenalik becomes a vampire the gig will be up for sure!

 

I debated using the additional scenarios originally but I changed my mind for some reason. I am glad I did because the group is really enjoying them. I think they like the idea of playing through the events of the journals instead of just reading them as a handout. It really helps them get a broader view of the campaign events. 

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rbrandolph1

I have now run the first half of RoT as a flashback with my original group.  Yes, they knew Fenalik was bad, but it was still great fun.  My group loves their characters and we may play some of the seeds before we make that final push to the guillotine...

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