Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.

Main Menu

Birthday Present for Ron

Started by Lisa Padol, April 07, 2004, 04:01:22 AM

Previous topic - Next topic

Lisa Padol

Okay, Ron's asking for cool stuff that makes us go, "Yes! That's why we play!" Like, in this area, actual play, cuz it came from, like, actual play.

Anything I put here has only this in common with anything else I put here: It gave me a kick when I played it.

1. This from one of my first zines in Alarums and Excursions, about the joys of passing notes, something I am now quite happy to forgo. But it can be fun:

In the Klingon game my LA GM ran, everyone was spying on everyone else, so everyone passed notes all over the place -- not only to the GM, but to other PCs. This got fun, since often even the GM had no idea what the notes were about. I was the head of Imperial Security (sort of like the Political Officer on a Russian ship, I was told) and the Captain and I were resolving some differences. Both our characters were male. So, one of the things he did to show that there were no hard feelings was to send some high charisma dancing girls to my cabin. I sent them away, as I was playing a workaholic (very loosely based on a manga character). This prompted the captain to pass me a note asking if I were homosexual. I drew myself up and said, "That, sir, is none of your damned business." And for the rest of the game, everyone was trying to figure out what the hell had just happened. It was fun.

2. Another instance where player and PC knowlege being the same is a kick:

In Erik Hanson's Ars Mystica game (so named because Josh said he liked everything about ArsM except the magic system), my PC, Roggerio, used to be a diabolist. After running into an old diabolist friend, who was -nice- to him, despite Roggerio's having left the group, Roggerio came to the noble house where most of the PCs live, and headed for the chapel, explaining that he had to pray.

Rachael's PC, Bella, asked what Roggerio wanted to pray for. He rambled vaguely, but intensely, about praying for forgiveness from sin.

Bella (surprised and half teasing): My dear, what have you done?

To her surprise -- and Rachael's as well -- Roggerio gave a sort of wordless cry and bolted fgr the chapel, flinging himself into his prayers. Rachael was delighted to find out after the session why Bella's question got such a reaction.

3. Follow the Bouncing Love Potion -- this one is long, since I was reading my write up and chuckling over it, and decided to paste the whole tanj'd thing.

[start of long write up]

Regina went to visit Alma to ask about another member of the coven, Karen, whom she thought she'd seen throwing a lightning bolt at some guys who were attacking her. But it's not possible to throw lightning bolts, right? So there must be a logical reason.

Lisa: Why wouldn't she tell Jeff? He's the high priest of the coven.

Josh: Because Jeff might believe it!

Alma assured Regina that there was a logical explanation. Karen probably used a taser.

Alma (later, to herself): Okay, Karen may be a sorceress. Why would she join a coven? Wait a minute. I can throw lightning bolts. I joined a coven.

Regina met Grace and Nancy, as well as Laura, and the two sidhe babysitters whom Alma's been explaining are really Trekkies, which explains the pointy ears. Accompanying Regina were Gwyn (actually James in disguise) and Arlen. Regina admired Gwyn's horns, certain that they were part of a costume (which they were).

A sidhe woman came in to invite Alma and her housemates to the coming out party Donal was throwing for Danielle.

Avram: You know, in Alma's community, "coming out" has a different connotation.

In this case, a coming out party is a party held to introduce a young debutante to society. It is generally held by families who are not merely rich, but are the Right Sort of families. And, generally, invitations are sent out about six weeks in advance. But Donal planned to hold the party the next day, to the shock of all present. Alma gave the sidhe woman J Napier's business card.

Sidhe Woman: I will give this to the Lord Donal. How many will be coming?

(Alma looks at Grace. Grace nods - she wouldn't miss this for the world. Alma looks at Nancy.)

Nancy (brightening) Party. (darkening) Study. (wistfully) Par-tee.

Alma: Three.

Gwyn: Master of the Hunt, I must speak with you.

Regina: Giving yourself airs?

The sidhe woman picked up her bag of diet coke and departed to bring Jacob his invitation to the party. Jacob had just been informed by Lou that he was being haunted by a ghost.

Jacob (deadpan): A ghost in Arkham? Never.

Harry: That can lower your property values.

He called the library, and Dana Venkman, a medium, came over to contact the ghost. It turned out to be Hazel Cobb. Since Jacob had killed her (accidentally), she wanted him to take care of Robson Werts. (Jacob: Why is she haunting me? Oh, wait a minute - I killed her. Oh, right! Never mind.)

Jacob called Harry, who discovered that Raven was a ghost as well. Jacob summarized the Hazel situation and hung up before Harry could comment.

Avram: Harry calls Jacob back and says, "Find out what she means by "take care"" - (to me) I remember your bounty hunter killing that woman when all my pc wanted you to do was lock her in a closet somewhere.

Me: Oh, that.

Jacob (as Matt gets whimsical): I would assume she means kill him.

Harry: Well, find out for sure.

Hazel meant no such thing. She wanted Jacob to make sure that Gavigan hadn't carried out his threat to kidnap Werts. There was a brief digression as Avram pretended to be both a mob boss and the boss' dim henchman.

Boss: I'm going away for the weekend. I want you to take care of my son.

Henchman (nudge nudge, wink wink): Yeah, boss. I'll -take care- of him.

Boss: No! I mean, watch out for him.

Henchman (pounding fist into palm): Yeah, sure. I'll -watch out- for him.

Boss: No! No! I mean see that he does his homework!

Henchman (adding this phrase to his vocabulary): Sure, boss. I'll -see that he does his homework!-

Jacob went to North Carolina to look for Werts, only to discover that he'd been kidnapped by a bunch of newagers our heroes tangled with a couple of years ago (game and real time).

In Alma's home, Arlen doubled over and exploded. More precisely, something chewed its way out of his stomach. Regina managed to keep Arlen alive while Alma called the people used to dealing with this sort of thing.

The creature who crawled out from Arlen's intestines was a baby. Perfectly normal.

Josh: Except for the teeth!

Arlen managed to let Regina know that he wanted the child killed. Josh considered having Regina take a broomhandle to it, but decided, rightly, I think, that Regina would be too freaked by that point. I announced that Gwyn was mopping up the blood while whistling "Heigh-Ho" from Snow White. Josh passed me a note saying that I was over-doing James.

Experts from Banzai and the hospital took Arlen and the baby away. Regina called Jeff to tell him all about the baby and the explosion.

We decided that Jeff would be wondering what drugs Regina was taking, so he asked her to put Alma on.

Regina: Alma, Jeff's on the phone. He wants to talk to you.

Alma: Funny, I didn't hear the phone ring.

She was annoyed that Regina called Jeff, as she'd been trying to get rid of Regina without being rude. Jeff told Alma to keep an eye on Regina while he and Chantaine came to Arkham.

Meanwhile, Harry was informed that a couple of kids broke into his DC apartment.

Harry: So why didn't you just call the police?

Housesitter: Boss! We knew you wouldn't want us to do that.

Since Harry's based on Hagbard Celine, I very much doubted it was S.O.P. to call the police in such cases. Harry sighed and went to DC, where he discovered that the kids were worshippers of Yig, sent to retrieve something Yig had hidden while in control of Harry's body. It was a large, round object. One of the kids agreed to channel Yig, and Yig threatened to fill the house with his special poisonous snakes. Harry threatened to smash the object unless Yig told him what it was, although he already suspected.

Yig: It's mine!

Harry: Ah, so it -is- an egg.

Yig explained that he was sending a messiah to the serpentfolk. No, not an avatar - far too messy. Harry asked about the times Yig took over his body, and Yig explained that he'd been trying to forge a Serpentfolk-Deep Ones-Human-Kin alliance against the Outer Gods, and Harry kept sabotaging it! Harry pointed out that this was because he didn't know what Yig was trying to do, so naturally, he feared the worst. He let Yig's cultists take the egg.

Meanwhile, Jeff and Chantaine came to Arkham. Chantaine examined Regina's pupils for dilation.

Regina: I told you, honey, I've been clean for weeks.

GM (this is news to her): Weeks?! Weeks?

During this time, Alma told Jeff that Regina's story was true, and no, she wasn't in trouble, and no, people didn't usually explode in her house (she would have said this was the first time, but it wasn't), and no, it wasn't contagious, as far as she knew.

Avram: Alma's thinking, "The only way to get to pregnant is to sleep with a man, and I'm havn't been doing that."

GM: Does she say that to Jeff?

Avram: No.

Avram (reading the first draft of my zine): You might want to remind the A&E readers that Jeff is gay, and may very well -have- been sleeping with a man.

Consider yourselves reminded, Oh Faithful Readers.

I had to decide whether Arlen had survived or not, and needed a quick randomizer. I had a preference for him being dead, but it didn't make that much difference to the plot, so I didn't want to make a fiat ruling. Alas, I hadn't packed my Everway cards. Avram handed me his Morgan's Tarot, aka the Hippie Deck. I pulled a card called the Valley. According to the booklet, it carries the meanings of rest and peace, an end to worrying.

Avram: That sounds like he's in recovery.

Josh: Sounds to me like he's dead.

Me: That's what -I- thought.

So, Arlen died, and no one was quite sure what to do with the kid. Jeff, Chantaine, and Regina made the appropriate sympathetic comments. After a while, they asked about this "Master of the Hunt" thing.

Alma: Oh, that - that's an in-joke - it's a software program we're working on. I can't give you the details. You understand.

Chantaine: You could tell us, but then you'd have to kill us.

Alma: Right.

Jeff asked Alma, privately, when she was going to let him know what was going on.

Alma (as Avram remembers the last time someone opened reality for Jeff -- his lover died horribly, as did the woman they were trying to protect, and Jeff went catatonic for almost two months): Jeff, do you -really- want to know?

Jeff: Let me put it this way. Am I -really- better off not knowing? (realizing that Alma's not about to open up, as I recognize this fact from Avram's body language, not sure how): Just think about it.

Regina announced that brownies were ready. Everyone had some, discovering later that she'd neglected to tell anyone, including the GM, that they were baked with marijuana.

Jeff: Regina, we're going to have to talk about -

Chantaine: Consent. Permission.

Alma: Food allergies.

Regina: Come on. Anyone with food allergies asks what the ingredients are.

Chantaine: If you ever do that again, I'll wring your neck.

Regina: Okay, honey, next time I'll label them "hash".

Chantaine: Good. Fine. That's all you need.

Once Jeff, Chantaine, and Regina left Arkham, and Harry and Jacob returned, we cut to Danielle's party, and CthulhuPunk turned into an episode of Ursei Yetsura a Japanese animated show whose title translates as "Those Annoying Aliens" (or so I am told).

Despite everyone's fears, the party was quite tasteful, if a bit heavy on snowflake and little princess-type imagery, and Donal had indeed made use of Napier's Catering.

Donal decided to give Harry a love potion to make him fall in love with Danielle. Jacob saw him pouring the love potion into a drink. Harry and Alma were startled to see Quincy walking into the party with a sidhe woman. James was distracted by Janet (ie, Josh fumbled a perception roll).

Jacob wondered whether he should stop Donal or just be relieved that it wasn't him. He told James what was going on.

Jacob: Donal's going to punch Harry's drink.

James: Spike. Spike. Not punch. You punch. He spikes.

Harry remembering that Quincy was wanted by the Hunt, looked in annoyance at his crutch.

Avram: The thing to do is walk over and say, "Mind if I cut in?" Then, start dancing with Quincy. But that's difficult with a bum leg.

Donal offered Harry the potion with the notion as Janet "accidentally" tripped into him. Harry fell into James' arms.

Harry: Why, James. I didn't know you cared.

James made it look as if Harry's drink was spilled, but it was his own. He held onto the love potion. Harry got back on his feet, and headed over to talk to Quincy. Alma vaguely wondered what was going on, but decided she didn't care when Nancy asked her to dance.

James pretended to drink from the glass with the potion. Jacob quickly backed away. Donal, though tempted, decided that a coyote shaman would not be a desirable mate for his ward. He quickly steered Danielle away, and started dancing with her. Jacob started dancing with a woman, planning to steer her over to James.

James made the drink vanish, then headed for the table with the punchbowl and glasses, where he poured the potion into two glasses, figuring that a Kelton-strength dose divided in half made two normal doses. He was wrong: sidhe potions work on Norgroids even at normal strength. They're magic.

Meanwhile, Quincy introduced Harry to his date, Gayla. (Gropping for a name - why am I never prepared? - I first thought "Fae" or "Fay", since I'd recently read Changling, dumped that as too obvious, moved to "Gay" and from there to "Gayla" as I'd looked through an anthology of Parke Godwin stories the night before. Gayla is the main character of the excellent "The Fire, When it Comes".) He explained that Gayla had promised him that the sidhe would help him with his projects, especially the dream-waking interface, and that they needed his creativity.

James figured that he'd give half of the potion to the two people he owed, coyote-wise: Donal and Cheryl. He gave one of the glasses with half the potion in it to Jacob, and asked him to give it to Donal. Then, James headed for Cheryl. Jacob looked at the glass, and dumped it into the punchbowl. James, turning around, saw this (ie, Josh made a good perception roll).

New Jersey: You know, that's not very hygenic.

Jacob: Oh, no one's drunk from this glass.

New Jersey: Oh, really? That's all right then. (pours himself a glass of punch, drink). Mmm. (claps Jacob on the shoulder) Good man. (wanders off)

Matt: You mean -

GM: No, he's not hitting on you. He just feels friendly towards you. The potion's been diluted.

Josh: Ah, it's now a like potion.

Harry thought that maybe Quincy would be happy in the sidhe realms, as long as he wasn't given to the daemons as Teind.

GM: But what about how Quincy's acting? Harry's read Midsummer Night's Dream. (Heck, he's probably seen a first run!)

Avram: Yes, but I haven't.

GM: It's got love potions in it.

Harry (to himself): Love potions. Right. Quincy's a misogynist, so it's possible that the sidhe - hmm. Now, if Gayla felt the same way about him... Who can I ask about love potions? Ah, Donal.

James headed for Donal as Harry did. He poured a very little bit of the potion-tainted glass into two other glasses, which he filled the rest of the way with regular punch. He offered Donal the one with most of the potion.

Josh later explained that he thought Danielle was nearby, and figured Donal would fall in love with her. She wasn't. Only James and Harry were near Donal. But the potion was only half strength, so it wouldn't be as much fun. Also, Donal was wary of James, rightly so. So, when James proposed a toast, Donal called for a general toast for Danielle, making sure he didn't wind up with the spiked glass. James reclaimed it, again pretending to drink from it while pouring into another container. He made sure that he was near Margaret and Janet. Everyone felt kindly towards Danielle. She will have no trouble making friends in Arkham.

Harry asked Donal about a love potion, explaining the situation with Quincy. Meanwhile, James gave Danielle the remaining half of the love potion, explaining what it was and that Donal had planned to give it to Harry so that Harry would fall in love with her. If Danielle gave it to Donal, then he would fall in love with her, as she wanted.

Danielle went straight to Donal, and told him what James had told her. She knew that her beloved guardian would never do such an unethical thing. Donal took the potion, gave it to Harry, explaining that he wasn't sure if it really was a love potion, but if it worked, Harry would owe him a favor.

Harry explained the Gayla situation to James.

James: Who's Gayla?

Harry: The woman whose tonsils Quincy was just inspecting. Now, if we can ensure that she feels a similar attraction...

They walked over to the happy couple, holding two glasses each. Gayla got the one with the love potion. She and Quincy looked deeply into each other's eyes and drank.

Eventually, folks started drifting away.

GM: Is Alma hanging around?

Avram: Given the punch, she and Grace are probably feeling friendlier than usual, so probably not.

Alma left, nearly wringing Donal's neck when he offered to "fix" Grace, ie, magically mess with her mind so she wouldn't disapprove of Alma's being leader of the Hunt. The remaining pcs discussed whether they wanted to attack Bioko, so they could overthrow the megalomaniac Thalassa Chandler, or Kenya, so they could re-install its ward against the Outer Gods. The eventual consensus was to do Kenya first.

Everyone got together the next day to discuss details. James was still disguised as Gwyn. Avram, suspecting something was up from the way I pointed out that Gwyn had firsthand knowledge of Kenya, had Alma, who thought Gwyn was acting oddly, ask Lou to peek into his mind and make sure he was sane.

GM: Sorry, Josh.

Josh: But would Lou tell Alma?

GM: I know Ann. Yes, she would.

Alma was very annoyed. She and "Gwyn" had had a long discussion about how much control Alma had over the Hunt and how dangerous leading the Hunt was to her soul. James answered all of her questions to the best of his ability, and was convinced he was right. He also thought that he could avoid giving misinformation about Kenya to the others, but Josh rolled a fumble, so I ruled that James had so much fun being Gwyn that he made up all kinds of untrue details. Alma coerced him into admitting he was James, and wondered what on earth James had hoped to achieve.

Alma did not accompany the first strike team to Kenya, as she would be most effective on the night of the full moon when she led the Hunt.

Our Heroes attacked the Mountain of the Black Wind with everything that the sidhe could bring through via Elven Express, which ruled out cold iron, but allowed for plastique, grenades, and Harry's dream form, which still has two healthy legs. Yog-Sothoth seemed surprised by the attack, and attempted to parley, with an overwhelming lack of success. She tossed an energy bolt at Jacob with a similar lack of success -- Jacob had received Nodens' blessing before the attack, and I took this as a way to justify not killing him out of hand. But even though Y-S couldn't harm him directly, she sent him to Patricia's area of the Dreamlands. She also sent Harry there.

At this point, there were several ways the session could have ended. I could have stopped it there, since I had to stop soon, but given how rarely we play, I did not want to end on a cliffhanger. Josh had James challenge Y-S to a contest, figuring that he could then ask her to bring Harry and Jacob back. Can't have a game without all the players, after all. But I didn't know that's what Josh had in mind, and he knew that if he tried to interrupt me, I'd just shush him.

James and Y-S suggested different stakes, and Y-S asked if James would give her Donal, if he lost. Donal took offense at this, and forced James, at knifepoint, to turn her down. Josh figured, incorrectly, that I'd done this to wrap things up, using Donal as a way of getting James to retreat to safety, since Y-S's suggestion was out of character. More along Patricia's line. Later, we rationalized it by saying that James and Y-S were still dickering, after all, and she hadn't expected this offer would be accepted. Donal was being overly paranoid. Or not, considering James' reputation.

In the Dreamlands, Harry was trapped in Patricia's tower, while Jacob was outside. I kicked myself at the time for not having Patricia try to hurt Harry, but remembered afterwards that Harry had been wearing an Elder Sign, justifying Patricia's otherwise surprising lack of aggression. She tried to get him to eat, but he didn't. He wondered if he should try to kill her with the dagger the sidhe had created in the hope that it would prove effective against her.

Jacob wandered around the tower looking for a window. He found one, and crouched outside it, planning to crash through if Harry should, oh, happen to attack Patricia. This struck me as a case of a pc being given player knowledge, but I'm not sure now. Jacob knows Harry well enough to know that he'd be considering such a move. At the time, though, I was trying to figure out what to do. I'd expected Jacob either to attack or to try to find his way back to the waking world, bumping into various allies. But Matt wasn't sure how Jacob could get back to the waking world. Since Jacob would know this, I should have reminded him that a group of ghouls could help, or Quincy could help.

That didn't occur to me, so I had Patricia goad Harry into attacking by threatening to keep him prisoner until he died of boredom. Harry attacked, while Jacob crashed through the window. Patricia screamed for her father, and the two Norgroids beat a very hasty retreat, joining up with the other attackers after leaving the Dreamlands.

Avram agreed that, given what had been established about Patricia, she probably hadn't been killed, and was disappointed at how ineffective the special Patricia-killing dagger proved to be. I've been thinking about this, and have come to the following conclusions: 1) It would be more effective is used in a place where Patricia does not make the rules for reality. 2) Now that it's tasted her blood, it may actually be more efficient than before.

Out of Context Game Quote:

Avram (as electronic phone help for the library of Miskatonic U): Press 2 if you want to return a book. Press 3 if the book wants to return -you-.

[end of long write up]

I could go on lots, but I think I've already done that. Time for someone else to talk.



Lisa, what on earth game is your third example from?  It sounds like a serious hoot.


Lisa Padol

The third example is from my original Cthulhupunk game (started before there was a GURPS Cthulhupunk). Avram played Laura and Harry. Josh played James Firemaker and Regina, who was perhaps the only PC not in the know about all the supernatural stuff going on. (In the sequel game I'm running, Cthulhupunk Plus Twenty, aka Twenty Years After, everyone knows.) Matt played Jacob. Anne, who wasn't present, played Lou, aka Louise.

I stole stuff from everywhere, as you can see -- Ghostbusters, Buckaroo Banzai, Last Call, Moonheart -- everywhere.

This was one of the funnier sessions. The unintentional musical episode (set in the Dreamlands) was another.

Hm, I've been wondering about bangs, and whether I actually have any, given that I don't sit down and come up with Premises and Themes. I'm wondering if the comedic episodes have bangs at all.


Lisa Padol

Guys? I know you've all got stories. Come on, let's hear them?