Posted on May 22, 2019
We finally (FINALLY) wrapped up Call of Cthulhu last night. As a test of 7th edition went… it wasn’t a great test. I chose an old scenario (which was very good and thorough, I thought) that wasn’t written for 7th edition, so I had to do more work than I really like doing to convert a handful of things and I HATE doing work.
Really, other than the easy switch to percentile stats, advantages and disadvantages, the possibility of pushing a test (did anyone even ever do that? I know it was offered, but I can’t remember anyone risking it) and the easy side of temporary insanity, we didn’t really dive too much into the new rules system. I’m overselling how much new stuff there really IS… there are only a few changes to the system, but it would have been nice to stretch our legs a little more on them. I’m a sucker for handouts though and this scenario had them in spades.
Character creation is a good process and the good characters that were created helped carry the game. A few small touches in character creation eventually came back around over the course of the story and that’s cool. Those little things can make all the difference.
Our heroes uncovered a scientific advance that seemed to be at the source of visions and madness and were able to tie the new illuminations on deprived South Walnut Street to the disappearance of an entire village in the previous century. They discovered the cave in which a dormant old thing from beyond lay waiting, the walls of the cave providing the material for the technology that was warping the minds of the poor inhabitants of South Walnut.
It ended with a chase, as the naive Professor who had been manipulated into helping awaken this Thing tried desperately to undo his error. In his fatal failure, he eased the old being out of its slumber as it sought to replenish itself under the light of its distant star. It was not to be, however, for while the minds of Swoosie and P.H. snapped at the sight of them, Tony Crazy Legs Balta, unable to see the thing began to recite the old fragment of the Book of Eibon that they believed would steal the sight from the waking god. He recited the song the musical trio had come up with as an aide de memoire and soon Pleasant Hannibal joined him in creating a sense-stealing shield to deprive the god of its nourishment. Swoosie, was temporarily convinced that Tony was her murdered mother (Gasp! Foreshadowing!) but eventually came to her senses and tried to stop the tentacled mass from heaving itself from the hillside.
They were attacked by one of the god’s alien servitude’s and it sucked into the air and then crushed poor Tony to a broken mass. Pleasant Hannibal persisted and the spell they cast stole the thing from the repulsive star’s ability to fully awaken and so they saved… the day?
They certainly seemed to save some of South Walnut Street’s slum dwellers, as the brisk pace with which they had been being driven insane/killed came to an abrupt end.
Swoozie, unfortunately, made the mistake of telling her lawyer about the sky-jellyfish crushing Tony in defense of the tentacled invisible being and the lawyer, sanely, had her and Pleasant Hannibal locked up in the looney bin.
Their stay was brief, barely worth the paperwork, as the doctors concluded that they were both sane but had suffered trauma caused by the sudden crushing death of their friend in a cave in. However, Pleasant Hannibal was roomed in a secur-ish cell next to the poor old Polish cripple who had glimpsed things beyond the veil of our mundane existence. In the few nights he stayed in Arkham’s premiere mental hygiene care facility prior to his immediate and slightly apologetic release, the demented old Pole whispered so many impossible secrets to P.H.
Posted on April 1, 2019
We rolled up the core of our Call of Cthulhu-heeding superchums last night and they got rolling on their first investigation.
Noe rolled up Swoosie Staines, daughter of a murdered mother and outstanding-in-her-graveyard parapsychologist. A thoroughly modern gal, she knew the others from her time in Paris earlier in the decade and shared their love of music (she’s the violinist in the jam sessions they have during their meetups) .
Ben rolled up Tony “ Crazy Legs” Balta, a middling boxer on the Eastern Seaboard circuit. Tony was hosting the others in his apartment in Arkham, generous fella that he is, for one of their semi-regular long weekends of motorcycle touring, fascinatingly deep late night symposia and impromptu recitals (Tony contributes the harmonica).
Rolland came up with Pleasant Hannibal Clemens (Clements?) reporter for the Hartford Courant. He and Tony share an interest in Egyptology, motorcycles and trying to pay the bill faster than the other. Pleasant Hannibal (two first names) brought his Glockenspiel up from Hartford.
Tony provides the obvious brawn, while Swoosie is READY TO BELIEVE and has the machines that go widdley-wee and PH brings his journalistic shrewdness.
When their long-weekend retreat was disrupted by an escaped self-mutilating lunatic, they followed up and have uncovered a series of bizarre and increasingly dangerous events in Arkham’s squalid Southside. They’ve got a few leads to follow up on next session: a milkman who had a hysterical breakdown; the Sanitarium that holds the auto-enucleating madman; and a sneaking suspicion about recent improvements made by the town council to the street one which both of these events occurred.
I found this scenario online and for some reason chose this one rather than the normal starting point of haunted house-investigation-gone-wrong because it was unusual, and a good detective-y scenario with lots of pretty handouts. I’ve got to remember to print them out in colour… really helps the blood smears pop. So far it’s going pretty well; it’s a creepy start that hopefully carries through to a satisfyingly harrowing conclusion.
Posted on January 13, 2019
There are a few homebrew rules I made that deviate from the Cypher System rulebook: they’re setting specific stuff like the various magic systems, doin’ stuff on horseback, which is a big part of the genre and reloadin’ guns which we tested in session 2. While they fit the feel of the ol’ Deadlands game, they’re a bit granular for Cypher – Cypher System is more of a broad strokes and low rules kind of a game.
But Shootouts are central to a Western game and in a prolonged gun battle there should be a sense of urgency, which I hope the Reloadin’ rules add to. Players have unlimited ammo, functionally, bookkeeping is for other games. So ammo tension has to come from the limited magazines and not your total fund.
Recap: you declare how many rounds you want to load, that’s your target number (I.e multiply it by three and try to roll under that on a d20). Pass, you succeed, fail you only get one in. It’s a simple mechanic, so it isn’t injecting a whole bunch to remember. The gamble and the all-or-just-about-nothing aspect favours tension over realism, but this ain’t Twilight 2000 compadres.
Rolland tested this out last night as he was working an over-under shotgun during a zombie attack. Unfortunately his rolling was on brand and he fucked up two reloads… OF A DOUBLE BARREL SHOTGUN. This meant he got one shell in and had to decide whether to forgo shooting next turn to load another or just blast away. As it turned out he alternated between pistol shots and shotgun blasts in a way that was thematically EXACTLY WHAT I WAS GOING FOR. I think the idea will get a bit more of a test when someone is trying to stuff their six-shooter in the heat of the moment so we’ll see how it goes then.
There wasn’t much chance to see Hexes or Horse-ridin’ at work last night as they don’t have their horses yet and Bartimus’ Hexes aren’t combat oriented.
Part 2: Hot Coach to the Sheep Station.
The posse found themselves trying to make a fast getaway with a slow cart, with a US Marshall-led posse presumably forming up behind them and their relief horses nowhere in sight. As Curly and Rubber Dan discussed their desperate options, a fast moving four-horse stage came into view.
Curly wasn’t one to usher these folks into a life of crime… but he also believed that they were bank robbers… so… Rubber Dan thought robbing the stagecoach was their best bet of getting quickly away from a vigilante posse likely to come in guns blazing. But the not-actually-desperadoes, um… never actually robbed those banks. Probably. Read More
Posted on December 24, 2018
Ooh, boy, it’s 2am, but I wanted to try to get this down before I hit the hay. Forgive me if I am hazy on anything, I wasn’t particularly well organised while I was saying it, and I’m not much better now. I’ll get to updatin’ the world background before we play again.
We got through Character Generation tonight and had a little time left over to get playing. Even though it’s the Numenera crew playing another Cypher system game, it takes a bit of adjustment even to go back to such low powered characters as a lowly Tier 1. Tier 1s are still, compared to other RPG starting characters, really capable, bit still, these guys are used to the abilitypalooza that is Tier 5 and 6 in Numenera, so starting over takes some doing.
I gave a bit of background from Deadlands and explained the two new rules bits – Ridin’ effect on actions (the faster, the harder), and Reloadin’ (the more you try to stuff in, the harder it gets) and managed to do it without making any double entendres.
Then pretty much just let everyone take the Type, Descriptor and Focus they wanted and let them work it out themselves. The only thing that got us stuck a bit was that you get Skills by choosing the Skill buying Ability as one of your starting Abilities. It’s strange to start a character with so few skills – you might conceivably start the game with only one Skill and a bunch of Abilities.
And in the end, we had our four characters, correct me if I’m wrong on any of this guys:
Calpurnia ‘Callie’ Georges – A Lucky Fightin’ Sort who Never Says Die. You might be forgiven for thinkin’ Callie was a young feller at first glance, but this is one tough gal who knows who to navigate a fight better than most men, in an age of fightin’ men. She might have Hired Gun written all over her, but there’s more to her past than that.
Bartimus E. Tarnsworth… maybe Tarnsworthy – An Exiled Huckster who Operates Undercover. Formerly Professor of Mythology At Brown University, Bartimus comes West to start a new life. Maybe as a tutor or something else COMPLETELY ABOVE BOARD AS FAR AS ANYONE KNOWS.
Mars Johnston – An Empathic Spinner Who Sees Beyond. Gifted – he says – with an ability to see so much more than everyone else, he’s seen plenty already. A Veteran on the right side of the Civil War, Johnston got himself a bit o’ education, before decidin’ that wasn’t his thing. After his stint in the Army was up, he decided to head out West to really get to know people, you know?
Lewis Colman – A Sharp Eyed Drifter who Calculates the Incalculable. Lewis lost his family to Dakota raiders and so heads west to Wyoming, a land he visited before and loves, to start anew. He was a commissioned officer in the US army and after that, a railroad surveyor, putting to good use his ability to calculate outcomes. Colman and Johnston knew each other in the army, although it was purely by chance that they met on the stage out to Wyoming. Lewis could tell you what the odds of that chance encounter was.
Part 1 – Invitation to a Necktie Party Read More