Monday, September 21, 2009
Azathoth Upstairs, Cthulhu Downstairs
One of the other players in Fordyce Hall (a Cthulhu by Gaslight scenario I played in at Gwen Con) put up this lovely picture of me about to bash another PC's brains in. They put up a short video clip as well, and a brief Live Journal entry about it, too. Click here for their full coverage. Pretty sure that's the journal of a person named Erik, who was playing the character of the Housekeeper (or head Maid or head Cook or something along those lines - in charge of the female staff of the manor house in the game).
The big blur in the photo is me, suddenly swinging an imaginary shovel at Gwendolyn Kestrel, host of GwenCon. (In the background are Stan! and Sparky.) This image was prior to Gwen's reaction. She apparently wasn't expecting my bit of LARPing at the tabletop, and jumped. You would too if the crazy guy sitting next to you suddenly swung an imaginary shovel within a couple inches of your face. Sorry, Gwen!
The game was great fun - everybody's roleplaying was top-notch, with lots of accents and affectations, appropriate levels of in-party conflict and good humor. We were the servants of a nobleman who had just inherited some creepy old manor. It was our job to prepare the house for his arrival. It was Cthulhu, though, so only about half the staff escaped with their lives and sanity. I started the day by saving Gwen's character from an ice-cold demon-filled well, but by tea-time I'd had a full transformation. I went crazy, nearly killed Gwen's character, and ran off into the woods never to be seen again. One of the other PCs (played by Genevieve, not pictured above) ended up taking bad advice I gave her, and got captured or possessed by some powerful evil entity. All the PCs lost their jobs, at least.
My only misgiving about this very excellent and enjoyable scenario was that there was an awful lot packed in for a mere 4-hour block. By my count there were at least 7 supernatural fiends - a ghost in the manor house, a hob in cat form we managed to placate, a second hob that killed one of our horses, the clawed thing in the well, the tower-creatures that dragged off genevieve, the dark presence in the woods, and the thing at the center of the hedge maze. And I'm not sure if that list counts whatever it was that tried shoving Mary into the oven, or whatever reanimated the dead horse. The property was huge, as well, with carriage house, collapsed woodshed, hidden well, underground tunnels, hedgemaze, woods, free-standing tower, and a 3-wing 80+ bedroom manor house. Then there was a mystery about a suicide off the grounds, our surprise that the realtor wasn't awaiting us at the train station, and the fact the townsfolk wanted nothing to do with the manor. It was a pretty amazing example of highly-detailed verisimiltude-rich sandbox gaming, but there was no chance in heck of us accomplishing or unraveling anything. Luckily, it was Cthulhu, where resolution is more likely to involve madness and death than victory. Had we serious intentions toward the goal of solving or winning the scenario, it would have been way too much plot for the time.