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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 81 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Indie Gaming Monday, May 13 2002  (Read 1874 times)
Zak Arntson
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« on: May 13, 2002, 10:31:52 PM »

Okay, we only had three participants this time (myself included). We were going to try out d20 Call of Cthulhu! It's not an Indie game, but after some emails and discussion about what the players wanted, I figured d20 CoC would be a good bet. Also, I haven't played CoC in forever, and the d20 book contains (gasp) _how to play_ included with the rules. It's not just a System, it's a game! I designed a scenario using the method provided (both because I trust John Tynes and I want to try out his method), but we'll have to wait and see.

Today we just made CoC characters, played Virtua Fighter 4 on PS2, and ... played Hogshead's Pantheon!!

Initial Impression: Robin Laws' game design keeps getting better. If only the man could write clean, legible rules. We stumbled over the presentation of Pantheon's rules, confused even during play at times. Note to designers: If you're not a big name in the industry, please make sure an idiot can read your rules. If you are a big name, please don't rely on your genius alone. I had the same problem reading through Feng Shui, Dying Earth and Rune. The rules seem great, Dying Earth (the only of those three I've played) has an AMAZING game at its core. Problem is, it's pretty busted as presented (which isn't entirely Laws' fault, I hear).

During Play: We ran the Stomp Tokyo game with the Narrative Cage Match (Found in "Pantheon and Other Games"). Aside from having tons of trouble figuring out the rules at the beginning, It went swimmingly. The players who wanted more structure (their issue with our InSpectres games) seemed to dive into the full narration. It helped, I think, that I kept referring to it as a story game, and forced the errant player from saying "I do XYZ." or "I will say ..." I would just tell him to spit out the sentence only. Nothing else.

In short: Gorgono, the Mecha-Mantis from the Deep, Teddy Tarantula, the gigantic radioactive plush slime monster, and Golden Claw, the flaming sun-crab all duked it out in Tokyo. Much fun was had by all and we plan on playing it again.

Lessons Learned: Not much. When playing Pantheon, be sure to encourage/enforce the "single sentence" rule. And you don't really need 53 beads. We just kept our beads as numbers on paper (with the exception of the green, black & white beads) and it worked fine.

Also, d20 Call of Cthulhu doesn't list Student as a pre-generated profession. Shouldn't it be right there between Dilettante and Professor? I thought Students were a staple of the game!

(an aside: I think one of the reasons CoC works so well is because, though it announces an intent to relive Lovecraftian horror (which sounds pretty Sim), the actual game (both d20 and CoC) promote Gamism. What do you do? Discover horrors and try to stop them. It's even outlined explicitly in the d20 book in the scenario design. Woot! It's actually a roleplaying game (System AND a coherent structure for play))
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