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Author Topic: [Dead of Night] Coyote Creek in triplicate  (Read 5470 times)
andrew_kenrick
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« on: October 24, 2006, 12:25:08 PM »

Coyote Creek is the Dead of Night demo adventure that I’ve run countless times over the past year. I first ran it at Gencon UK, late 2005, and have finally gotten around to posting the actual play from the con. Despite the 9 o clock start it ran every morning without fail, and many of the players returned to play in the evening’s adventure. We ran it 3 times, and it turned out differently each time, running at between 1 and 1 ½ hours.

The (very) first game only had a couple playing but worked just as well as with a full group, with the pair playing two students hiking up to the ancient ruins at Coyote Creek and finding more than they bargained for. Their characters took a long time to twig and they spent a lot of time playing with the clichés by trying to take tourist photos and wandering off on their own in the dark. They really grabbed hold of the Survival Points system and ran with it, playing to the genre at every opportunity.

The second game was a full table, and this was where the fun really began. The group really got into the genre and the game and created the typical high school horror mix of jocks, geeks, loners and cheerleaders (the first part of the demo involves the players going through character creation – all 5 minutes of it – to show off how fast it is). Clichés were lived up to wonderfully and the ending was very Cthulhu-esque with Jack, played by the lovely Adrienne (who was one of the players to come back to play a full game one of the evenings) proceeding to kill the entire party one by one, who she believed (correctly, as it turned out) to be infected with lycanthropy. It was a testimony to the group that everybody enjoyed playing the role of the victim and relished dying in the most gruesome manner possible.

The final session was on the last morning and we had a half full table. Of the three games this was the most challenging, with the players turning out to be the most resistant to the genre and the play style. Whereas the previous games had embraced the genre during character creation, these players were determined to min-max (not really possible in DoN), setting out to be experts with guns and kung fu. As those of you who know Dead of Night will know, these specialisations are no more use than any other – it’s all mostly flavour and about how creative you choose to be.

In play the game took it seriously too, steadfastly refusing to go anywhere near the ruins at night. Boring! It took some real encouragement to get any of them to engage with the adventure, the group forming a defensible position before even realising that anything was wrong. I could tell one of the players was trying to get involved more, but kept being put off by the other two (one of whom was extremely overbearing).

So the game took a different turn with a chase down the mountainside pursued by werewolves and I eventually managed to get the horror going by turning it into a high tension, fast paced chase back to the car. Two of the party made it back, but the final one was bitten and turned into a werewolf. Finally at the last he grasped Survival Points, using them to take control of the story and guide it to a dramatic (and poignant) finale, as he fought his primal urges to allow his uninfected friends to escape whilst he fought off the werewolves.

Although fun was had in all 3 games, the third one sticks with me as the only time I've found Coyote Creek to be a challenge and I'm not entirely sure why. Is it that some players just don't get it? I find that difficult to accept? Did I run it differently somehow, project the wrong sort of vibe (whatever that might be?)? And is a challenging game something to be avoided, or to be embraced? I'm still not entirely sure.
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Andrew Kenrick
www.steampowerpublishing.com
Dead of Night - a pocket sized game of b-movie and slasher horror
Narf the Mouse
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Posts: 96


« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2006, 03:57:28 PM »

It sounds like you got two players who wanted to play a combat-style game, rather than survival horror.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2006, 07:59:11 AM »

Hey Andrew,

What were the rules for Tension Points for these games? Did you provide them, or did the players make them up? In either case, were they written down and laid out on the table during play?

Did you put the rules for spending Survival Points on the table for a constant reference?

And finally, did you ever find yourself "taking care" of people via your GM decisions such their characters wouldn't die or fail?

Best, Ron
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andrew_kenrick
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Posts: 194


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« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2006, 09:27:55 AM »

Hi Ron -

Actually I didn't use the Tension rules at all in these games. I stuck entirely to the basic rules, which was possibly a mistake with hindsight. I have since started using Tension in my demo games as I think it adds a lot. When I use it in my 1 hour demo now I just use the plain Tension rules without any limitations - that is I can spend it when and how I want.

I made a character sheet for the purpose of having the Survival Point rules (and indeed all the rules) to hand, and players really grabbed onto the idea and used it to inspire all sorts of cool ideas. It's available here if you haven't already seen it.

Now taking care of players is something I am rather guilty of in every game I've ever run. I even used to pull the punches in DnD for chrissakes. But Dead of Night brings out the mean streak in me (or perhaps it's just that "fudging" or GM fiat is inbuilt into the rules) and I think more fun is had when you don't pull the punches or take care of the players, except through use of Tension now and again when appropriate. I think all three of these games featured deaths, as well as gratuitous lycanthropy infections, and I think the fun would have been diminished had they not.

Andrew
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Andrew Kenrick
www.steampowerpublishing.com
Dead of Night - a pocket sized game of b-movie and slasher horror
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