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[MLWM] My Life with Herr Doktor

Started by andrew_kenrick, August 09, 2006, 10:38:18 PM

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So last night I ran my first game of My Life with Master, and all in all I think it went pretty well. I botched a couple of rules, including part of the endgame and one of the epilogues, and I think this detracted from one of my player's enjoyment of the game (although I've since been told that he did enjoy it after all!).

The Master

We skipped through master creation fairly swiftly, as the players all had a fairly clear idea what they wanted. So we ended up with Doktor Soze (brother of the king, Kaiser Soze, of course!), who was a collector/brain, a Doctor Moreau type fellow who was collecting babies and animals and trying to combine the two to make a master race. All very twisted, but led to all sorts of scenes involving the minions stealing babies, animals or both for the master's experiments.

The Outsiders

A group of academics from Blickhofen Academy, who the master wanted to prove wrong.

The Village

The village was in the middle of the Black Forest in Germany, on the shores of a large lake. A short distance from the village, up a winding road and silhouetted against the sky was the castle of Doktor Soze.

The Minions

Character creation took a little longer, but again we had some solid ideas. So character wise we ended up with:

Pipkin – one of the Doktor's experiments all grown up, a half-man, half-fish!
More than – can swim and breath underwater except in salt-water.
Less than – loathed by humans, except when silent (in play it turned out this was because whenever he spoke his player put on this horrific, high pitched shrieking voice that had the rest of the pub looking at his in horror!)
Starting Connections – the miller's daughter, who he has seen sitting down by the lake; and the old wise woman who lives in the forest.

Lupon – another of the Doktor's experiments, this time a wolf-man of sorts.
More than – has a preternatural sense of smell, except in the presence of cats.
Less than – horrific stench, unless masked with garlic.
Starting Connections – the gamekeeper and the butcher.

Fenster – the Doktor's servant, a loathsome, Gollum-like creature.
More than – can turn invisible, but only when his eyes are closed.
Less than – cannot tell a lie, except between midnight and 2am.
Starting Connections – the old blind man and the gravedigger.

A tale of woe, misery ... and brains!

The game started with the master sitting in his chair stroking his new creation, a cat with tarantula legs,  berating his minions for a failed kidnap attempt against the miller, whom he wanted to make a breed of miller-headed Alsatians ("don't you think you're limiting your thcope there, mathter?" asked Lupon). Pipkin skulked off to make an overture to Milly, the miller's daughter, which was successful, and done entirely through the medium of mime due to Pipkin not wanting to speak.

Meanwhile the master ordered Fenster to go and have another go at kidnapping the miller. He set an ambush but rolled a tie on his violence check, and the attempt was interrupted by his daughter, Milly, returning from the lake and her touching scene with Pipkin. They escaped, leaving Fenster to go and face the master's wrath.

Lupon tried to make an overture to the butcher, but again, a tie was rolled, and the conflict interrupted. I ruled that an interrupted overture still gave a point of Love, but with hindsight I think this was wrong.

Pipkin, having witnessed the kidnap attempt from a distance decided to have another overture to Milly, which I allowed, despite it being against the rules, and it too was successful and as the Love started to stack up I began to worry that I'd inadvertently led to the Endgame being nigh so early on.

Lupon and Fenster attempted to kidnap Milly several times, and were defeated again and again by her (prompting us dubbing her the ninja's daughter, rather than the miller's daughter).

Lupon was captured after one final attempt to kidnap Milly, and upon escaping exacted his revenge on the village by stealing a baby from its crib and taking it to the master ("Flying babies! It will be the key to my plans!"). The master stroking the baby as he had his cat earlier gave us all the creeps. Brr!

Pipkin kidnapped the old blind man by luring away his guide dog and leading the blind man right into the dungeons.

The very next scene saw Fenster making an overture to the blind man and helping him escape!

In an attempt to redeem himself Pipkin managed to steal the baby back and return it to the villagers just as a mob was forming. He decided he would try to help the mob overthrow the master, but first would have to go back to his master.

Ordered to acquire a juicy, wise brain for the master ("what use is a baby brain! They are too small I tell you!"), Lupon managed to avoid the command and set about stealing a cow brain from the butcher, but in the process found a rather sexy guard dog guarding the place. And so true love began to blossom between the wolf man and the butcher's dog ...

Pipkin returned to the master to find him in a foul mood, having had his baby stolen ("what terrible timing! My former colleagues from the Academy are due tomorrow night, and I wanted to unveil my flying babies!"), and incensed by Pipkin's news of the mob. So he ordered Pipkin to prepare the lightning cannon on the roof and destroy the mob. But the conflict was interrupted (a tie!) by Lupon's over-excited return with the brain. Pipkin panicked, shattering the cannon's crystal array in the process and fleeing to the village.

Fenster found himself ordered to find a new means to power the lightning cannon, and suggested a kite might do it. So he was ordered to steal one from ... the ninja's daughter! Nooo! But instead of stealing it, he turned it into an overture and desperately begged the kite ("My master will beat me!"). By this point Fenster was less Gollum, more Dobby!

Pipkin made an overture to the mob, showing them the secret way into the castle, but they chased him away. At this point Pipkin satisfied the criteria for the end game, if only he could resist the master's commands! But with a Self Loathing of 7, it wasn't looking terribly likely any time soon! I was quickly proved wrong!

Pipkin returned to the master, who was displeased at his treachery. He ordered him to lie down on the operating table, for he had decided that fish eyes made good foci for lightning cannons. As he approached Pipkin with a rusty spoon, Pipkin finally resisted the command (although sacrificed his eyes for a shot at the sincerity dice!) and thus the end game was triggered!

The end game went on for several rounds of scenes, with a blind and enraged Pipkin wrestling with the master in his spawning pool, the mob chasing the other minions, who in turn attempted to help Pipkin. Lupon led the butcher to the master's chamber, and then released all the caged animals to distract the Doktor. Fenster began to garrotte the master with the kite string, before running up onto the roof and into the brewing storm, in an attempt to electrocute him.

It was at this point that I made a mistake. A few mjnutes before, Fenster's player had looked ahead to the epilogues and said that if we ended right now, he would get a happy ending. Attempting to inject a bit more drama into the proceedings, I had Fenster attacked by the cat-tarantula as he tried to tie the kite to the lightning rod. He failed his violence check and gained Weariness. Unfortunately, this would deny him his happy ending, and I got the impression contributed to him being disappointed with the ending.

Due to Pipkin's immensely high Self Loathing, I was rolling 10 dice for the master, whilst he rolled a mere 3 dice! After a few faltering scenes in which I tried to goad him into playing for the sincerity dice with a valiant speech against the master's reign ("it'll be even more amusing because you have to do it in that voice!"), a few near-misses on the dice, and the sterling efforts of the other minions to aid Pipkin, he finally rolled 1 more than the master!

The End

The master died in a bubbling vat of salt-water, electrocuted by lightning, nibbled on by proto-fish-men, and strangled under the huge mass of the monstrous Pipkin!

Pipkin survived, however, and married Milly, integrating into the village.

Lupon also survived, falling in love with the butcher's dog and prompting fairly horrified thoughts as to quite what sort of babies their union would produce ...

Fenster seemed to fall through the cracks of the epilogue, as due to my unfortunate attack on him earlier with the cat-tarantula, his weariness had increased to the point where he failed to meet any of the criteria (this, it turns out, has been erratad, but at the time I had no way of knowing). We opted for one of the close fits, which was his death on the lightning rod. Somewhat unsatisfying, however.

But all in all a great game, especially as it was the first time for all of us!
Andrew Kenrick
Dead of Night - a pocket sized game of b-movie and slasher horror


Now the main problem I had with the game was the end game. Firstly, although it was all very dramatic, but I wasn't entirely sure what to do with the other players. I was torn between having them attacked by the mob or the master's escaped creations, or just letting them get on with aiding Pipkin. I never really made my mind up, and this was slightly less than satisfying for me, if not for the others.

Secondly, due to Pipkin's hideously high Self-Loathing score, the end game seemed to drag on forever. Is there a solution to this, or is it just a facet of the game?
Andrew Kenrick
Dead of Night - a pocket sized game of b-movie and slasher horror