Saturday, May 19, 2018

Hard Drives Full of Ripper Letters

SPOILER ALERT: May contain tree nuts and spoilers for Night's Black Agents / Dracula Dossier.

Last weekend's session of my Night's Black Agents / Dracula Dossier campaign went smashingly well. We started with a battle between a group of PCs and Mina Harker on a helicopter. That led to a controlled crash that everyone survived thanks to quick thinking and aggressive point spends on the part of the players. They hoofed it north from the wreckage to cross Hadrian's Wall and the old Scottish border beyond it, having come to the deduction that Mina might be stronger on her native English soil and might have a hard time crossing a border uninvited.

Feeling a bit safer on the other side of the wall, they decided there was finally time to bring the newest Player Character up to speed on what she'd gotten herself into. So they broke out the Adversary Map and summarized each person, place, and organization on the giant interconnected web of strings and suppositions. This gave me a good feel on what parts of the mysteries the players had understood and internalized well enough to retain despite the two long breaks that have disrupted the campaign. Which meant it also pointed out to me which bits of the mystery were too vague or obfuscated for their own good, and the handful of important clues they had either forgotten or undervalued. So then I chimed in with some refreshers and emphasis where needed. I know I've beamed about it in many previous posts, but I'm just going to reiterate my love for NBA's Adversary Map, the Dracula Dossier's main prop/resource, and other organizational tools this game provides. Most detective RPGs with a long-term ongoing metaplot would have been irrevocably scuttled by the long dry spells that were caused by everyone's busy schedules and some out-of-character drama. That this campaign has bounced back twice pretty much effortlessly is a testament to what Night's Black Agents / Gumshoe System brings to the table.

 We left off this session with the PCs just starting to prep their next Op. They feel responsible for unleashing Jack the Ripper on the modern world several sessions back, so they are planning to track and target him next session.

In preparation, I spent a few hours tonight making Jack the Ripper props for the game. All new letters From Hell to be the trail of breadcrumbs for the Player Characters to detect and follow. Once the PCs find them, I'll post some here. Tangential to that, I just gotta say, the stuff that accumulates on the hard drive of a horror-game GM or DM can get pretty damn crazy at times. Sometimes anxiety-brain questions the wisdom in making and storing such madness, even though it is clearly for gaming purposes.

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