Sunday, April 10, 2011

Prodigal Son: The Pen is Mightier

Part Seven:

       After many weeks of being thwarted by bad timing and busy lives, Brad and I were actually able to get together for a second week in a row to try some more serious gaming.  First, we took a spin by a local game store, though I was frustrated not to find any of the handful of things I was looking for.  Thus is life.  And it took entirely too long to get back to the apartment after the store visit (darned rush hour traffic).  But, once we got back, cooked up some hot dogs and had some IBC (since 1919!) root beer, and watched the first ten minutes or so of the 1927 Clara Bow film “It,” we were ready to go.

    Once again on the tramp steamer, The Sophia, on a voyage between Spain and Innsmouth Massachusetts, things seemed fairly normal.  But soon enough, a crewman was found dead, seemingly cooked from the inside, with no visible wounds or damaged clothing.  This catalyst event started the real story, involving mysterious cargo, a mad captain, a young man with connections to a dangerous faction, a cook who spent a little too much time among some unsavory islanders, and hints of a shadowy battle between groups of people looking for strange artifacts.

    Brad’s character, Paul “Paulie” Connors, made it through the evening surprisingly unscathed.  The deadliness of handguns proving to be a benefit for him.  And he managed to do what so many investigators have done over the years in many games of Call of Cthulhu, not read too much, and destroy the evidence.

    What I found interesting is that Brad fell fairly quickly into the traditional attitude of players.  Struggling with what he knew/thought VS what his character knew/though.  And struggling with his own curiosity VS his character’s sense of self-preservation.  But he also seemed to get into things in general, which was a relief.

    For my own part, I felt far more confident and ready on our second get-together.  I had more written down, more of a plan of attack, and, in spite of having had a rough day, more relaxed and ready to go.  I started to feel better about throwing out some ideas on the fly, and playing with what I had written down, modifying the overall plotline as I went.  And I had a lot of fun playing the captain as he went mad.

    The end obviously left Brad a little frustrated, as he wanted to know what was going on, but didn’t really find out.  And, on the chance that his wife joins us for a follow-up story, I didn’t want to give anything away, because I already have plans for what I’m gonna do in that eventuality.  And as Brad is someone who doesn’t like being kept in the dark, I’m sure it ate at him a bit.  And I guess I’ve got some kind of a poker face or something.  If I do get a follow-up game together with him and Lisa, I think I’m going to try to run it pretty tight, getting a lot of story into one or two sessions.  Though I really like the idea, I don’t want to stretch it out, and I want to have an ending ready to go, assuming the characters survive long enough to find it.

    All in all, I finished the night feeling really good.  I felt the old magic coming back, and excitement for more to come.  And, after talking to some other friends, I may have a small group interested in something else in the near future.  I’m bouncing some ideas around in my head right now, but oddly, Star Wars keeps popping up.  Will that happen?  I don’t know.  But I’ve always liked that universe, even when I haven’t necessarily liked the films.  And, after a semi-realistic (in that death comes easy) game like Call of Cthulhu, something more action packed and outlandish could be a nice change of pace.

    Man, it feels good to be back.


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