Friday, October 30, 2009

Were-Ostrich and Iguana Boy

I played in a hilarious and completely awesome game of InSpectres last night.

InSpectres is a very light RPG where the PCs lie somewhere in the spectrum between Ghostbusters and Ghost Hunters. It's a very simple system, and allows for a lot of narrative power in the players hands, so I really like it.
An aside about silliness:
I've played InSpectres half a dozen times over the past year, and have come to the conclusion that it handles goofy, almost slapstick, adventures better than more serious ones.

Everyone gets very different ideas in their head about what's going on, and given each players narrative power, it's easy to end up with a disjointed and somewhat contradictory story. If you go in with the intention of being goofy, you're not alarmed when someone pulls a completely random bit of nonsense out and makes the plot take a sharp turn. Scooby Doo endings, Big Bads behind seemingly disparate events, Werewolves in Spaceships, by embracing wackiness you're freeing up the plot (and players) to surprise you. You never know when someone's going to say, "Your stake breaks against his chest, but it does tear open his artificial flesh - it turns out the vampire is actually a robot!"

A more serious game of InSpectres is harder to pull off, because it only takes one moment of wild improvisation for another player to completely destroy your suspension of disbelief, and thus "ruin" the session without doing anything "wrong". Better to go in with your eyes wide open to the truly bizarre nature of the game.
Goofiness all around last night. We were playing the creators and staff of a little monster-hunting show on the internet. I was constantly adding in-character statements like "I know were-ostriches sounds pretty strange, but this is from a reliable source. The same source that gave us our lead on that episode in season 1, remember the vampire armadillos? The same guy. That sounded unbelievably bizarre then, but John's still got the scars to prove it was true. Were-ostriches will play out the same." Other folks started getting in on the joke, though I'd been it's main instigator for the first half of the session. By the end of the night, it was established that our show was in it's 4th season of investigating mostly supernatural versions of otherwise mundane animals.

We ran two mini-scenarios during the course of the evening.
  • The first had to do with a possible were-ostrich killing the workers at an ostrich farm. Investigation later revealed it was actually ostrich warriors of some rare African mystical tradition.
  • The second scenario began with a Fortean rain of cursed coins from 1923, and ended with Iguana-Human hybrids who were being held captive by a witch. I can't really summarize the plot of the second scenario. You had to be there.
I really liked that the game's extremely light rules and quickly-resolving narrative structure allowed us to pack two self-contained scenarios into a four-hour block. If most RPGs sessions are Novella, and long campaigns like a multi-book Novel series, then last night was a short-story anthology. It's was a nice change of pace, very unlike most other gaming experiences.
Another aside, this time about the sudden resolution of plot arcs:
The hardest part of InSpectres is pacing. There's a mechanism that determines how far you are from completing the scenario, and it's really easy to accidentally blunder into what should be whole-hog resolution while you're just trying to narrate your way past what you thought was just a minor hurdle and unrelated to the main plot.

After half a dozen sessions of the game, I don't feel our group has gotten any better at keeping our eye on that and adapting our narration to match. One of these days I should really sit down and do an exhaustive mathematical analysis of the core mechanics, and different scenario length possibilities.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fate and d6 minus d6

The game I just mentioned in my last post was using a modified version of the Fate system. I have a quick observation on the mechanics.

We used a strange 2d6 roll instead of Fudge dice. One d6 was a positive die, the other negative, so a roll could range from +5 to -5. You add your aspects and skills to that. I've seen this mentioned as an optional rule in other Fate products.

Thing is, getting a +4 bonus on a skill is pretty big investment on your character sheet for a starting character. Which meant in an opposed roll, the guy who spent everything on this given skill might roll a total of -1, while the person who has no skill in it gets a lucky roll and +5 total. That's just really swingy. Not horribly broken, but yet, it made it feel like our skill specialities and character niches didn't really matter. Next time I play Fate, I'll definitely argue for the Fudge dice version.

At least I went down while shooting at Space-Hitler

In the previous two sessions, the crew had become the "guests" of the evil space genius who intended to destroy an entire civilization as revenge for them stiffing him on a weapons-design contract.

We'd made a plan to defeat the villain, and at a critical moment I was betrayed. Division within our own ranks resulted in me being subdued by my own crew, who feared their own deaths more than the dishonor of being the lap-dogs of a genocidal maniac.
(Now, admittedly, there's out-of-character pressures involved there. Most players consider self-preservation more important than accomplishing the goals of the mission, in most circumstances. But I'd made a hero, gosh-darn-it, and if I had to choose between my survival and my humanity, it was an easy choice. Plus we'd just watched Valkyrie about a week ago, so I have a relatively fresh model for making hard sacrifices to do what's right.)
It actually turned out pretty amazing in the final session of the three-part storyline.

My Kirk-role was, as I mentioned in my last post, hampered by the humorous hindrances placed upon me by the Worst...Crew...EVER. Despite those many handicaps, I managed to muster some Stauffenberg-esque determination.

I fought to the bitter end, and managed to do massive damage to the super-ship, stranding the evil doctor and the traitorous members of my crew deep in the void of space. I died, having been injected with the evil doctor's syringe full of poison. Laser pistol hot in my hands, my last envenomed breaths being taken as the self-aware and mostly crippled ship choked out life-support on the bridge to make sure I was really out of commission. Did I mention that all of this was happening while the super-ship was wiping out two fleets of warships? I'd timed my actions to coincide with the most critical part of the fight, so that the ship couldn't just space me.

One of the two mostly-innocent player characters managed to escape the vessel, find rescue, and distance herself from the madman. Sadly, the other wasn't able to escape as well, the ship went to hyperspace while she was getting the airlock ready. That character was the only collateral damage I regret. The rest of them, their actions made them villains, and the characters got what they deserved.

Kudos to Erik. After one rough scene at the very start of the session, he managed to maintain order and keep the game fun despite everything that was happening. That couldn't have been easy. Even after the game, everyone was laughing and pal-ing around.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Twice As Powerful With His Crew Stabbing Him In His Shirtless Back

Update: Rereading this, it seems far more bitter than I really intended. I don't have the time to edit it right now, so it'll have to stay, rant and all. So I'll qualify it with "it was actually quite fun, just really frustrating at the same time". Like get-up-and-walk-away-from-the-table-for-a-moment-because-you-need-to-calm-down-and-can't-believe-how-bad-the-other-player-just-screwed-up-your-plans fun. Anyhow...

Several weeks back we arrived a little late for this sci-fi short-shot we were playing in. Four other players had already made their characters when my wife and I got there. No problem, the GM says, character creation is fast, flexible, and a little experimental. So, I ask, "what positions in the crew haven't been taken yet?" They say, "actually, we don't have a Starship Captain yet. Why don't you play the captain?"

We're late, I don't want to hold up the game, and as it happens it was the day I was diagnosed with Achilles Tendinitis, so I name the character "Captain Achilles". Top of the character sheet says "Character Concept", so I write "Captain Kirk with Prosthetic Leg". We'd recently watched some season 1 classic Trek - before he develops the strange pause-laden over-dramatic speach method that marks his characterization in season 2 & 3 and the movies. In short, I'm thinking I'm making a heroic and competent captain - Star Fleet's finest, beloved by his crew, etc, but with an old war wound as a handicap to keep me from dominating the game.

Next step in character creation is handing your character sheet to the left. That person adds an aspect to your sheet. Then they pass it left, and another person gives you your second aspect. I get my sheet back, and my two aspects are "Twice As Powerful With His Shirt Off" and "Compensating For Something". Thanks, guys.

But that's just the tip of the iceberg. All I knew was that the setting was ostensibly that of the old Traveller system. Now, I don't know Traveller very well, but it never struck me as slapstick or a parody. What I didn't know, was that in the 20 or 30 minutes we'd missed, they'd decided the crew would be the worst most dysfunctional crew that had ever been press-ganged into service. But they didn't tell me that. Nope, no clue had I till my first attempt to give a real order.

Now, when I'm playing a ranking PC, I don't pull rank often. It's not any fun to be bossed around, so I play it a lot more casual than any military or workplace would ever allow. In recent memory, this has burned me twice. So, it's not till the situation is dire that I start making command decisions, and the Pilot, Engineer, and Ship's Surgeon decide to do their own things instead. Total cluster. "Oh, well," I think, "that's what I get for showing up late. At least it's just a one-shot. I'll just roll with the punches." For the second half of the session, I switched from Captain Kirk to Zap Branigan, 'cause clearly that's the type of captain the rest of the players wanted. Any attempts at using logic, charisma, or discipline were going to be disrupted by the other players. Worst crew ever. We end up crashed, our passengers and crew imperiled, on this desolate ice planet run by a mad scientist. But, we didn't all die, so I considered that close enough to victory for a one-shot.

Imagine my surprise then, when, several weeks later, I come back from vacation to discover that a follow-up session to this game has been put on the schedule. Now I'm stuck reprising my over-compensating, shirtless on Hoth, incompetent captain, doomed to be disrespected by his crew. "Oh, well," I mutter again, and try to put on a good front.

Twenty minutes into this second session, it becomes clear that our NPC "host" is not just a mad scientist, but a genocidal fiend. He was marooned on this planet after being back-stabbed by the Draconian Empire, for whom he'd been a designer of superweapons. In the decades he'd be stranded here, he'd built a new super-weapon, a space ship with artificial intelligence and the power to destroy entire solar systems. He was now planning on obliterating a third of the galaxy to get his vengeance.

So, I talk to my horrible, incompetent crew. I know ordering them to fight won't work. But it is "Space Hitler" we're facing here, so I figured the players would grok that he's the badguy. "We need to figure out how to deal with this villain," I say. "We need to separate him from his ship, and knock him unconscious. Then the pilot and engineer will be able to jerry-rig a distress signal or possibly disable the AI in the ship." We discuss this, we lay out signals (blink three times, as silly as that sounds), we discuss it again and again, disseminating this information to all the PCs. Everyone is on-board.

A few scenes later, we have an opportunity. The mad scientist is in room with us in his base. All the PCs are present. There's two sets of 40-foot hangar doors between us and the evil AI ship. We've all got weapons drawn, because it had turned out one of our passengers had been a Draconian spy. The spy was subdued, and the Mad Scientist stood with his back to me. I blink three times at the Pilot's player, and attack the Mad Scientist. The game has no sneak attack rules, but the GM gives me initiative. I get a good hit, but it's not quite enough to take the Scientist out in one blow. Even though we had weapons at the ready, I started with an unarmed attack, because we wanted to capture the Mad Scientist and keep him as leverage so the supership couldn't just vaporize the planet. The scientist counter-attacks with a laser, but misses because I burn through a bunch of character resources to stay alive.

It gets to the PC Pilot's action. He shoots at me. Yep. My character is his target.

Then it's the Engineer's action, and he starts throwing pies at me. I kid you not.

3 other PCs flee the room. They're not really combat characters, and one had already been wounded by the Draconian spy, so I can't really blame them.

On my actions, while focusing my attacks on the Mad Scientist I shout orders to my crew to help me stop this madman - all the while reminding them that he is planning the genocide of billions. I even chose not to attack in round three so I can make a Leadership roll to force the Pilot to do his duty to not just his Captain but also Humanity. The player of the Pilot character blows through a big stack of Fate chips to resist it.

About 4 rounds into the fight I finally get some help from one of the other PCs, but by then I've burned through all my Fate Chips and taken a lot of damage. Even that PC decides to wrestle me to the ground on round 5 or 6, because she decides that's easier than fighting the villain plus all the other PCs. Total freakin' chaos.

The session ends with me in the brig of the evil super-ship, and everyone else buddy-buddy with Space Hitler. "Oh, well," I think, "at least it's the second-half of a two-parter. I'm out for a couple of scenes, but it'll all be over soon."

This Thursday, we're playing part three.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Gumshoe Continuum

I've been a little quiet both here and at Arcana Wiki lately, because I've been prepping a new campaign. I'm running Continuum, which is a setting and concept I love, but which has kinda crappy mechanics. So I converted it over to the Gumshoe system from Trail of Cthulhu and The Essoterrorists.

Gumshoe handles high-level competence very well, which will slip past one major hurdle that Continuum faced in that certain actions were just too unpredictable. I remember a scene in my old campaign where someone fell off a roof, spanned back in mid-fall, fell again and spanned again, fell again and spanned again, and then finally got the roll they needed to stay on the roof. Now, probably that character in that specific instance should have spanned off and taken some mountain-climbing lessons, but I think the anecdote does a good job of illustrating that the Continuum mechanics are a little weird. It had no real tools for fine-tuning difficulties.

By contrast, the only problem with Gumshoe is that various traits refresh at different rates, which makes for a lot of paperwork. Given that Continuum is a setting that already pushes the envelope for paperwork burden, this is not ideal. Plus, since Continuum PCs can always span off for a good-night's rest, this meant that "refreshes in 24 hours" skills were essentially unlimited access, which would be broken.

The easy solution there was to put everything but Health and Stability on the same new refresh scale, which has nothing to do with sleep or the passage of time. Instead, all your skills (investigative and dramatic) refresh at the start of every session - no need to track anything but Health and Stability (and Frag and Yet since it's Continuum) from one session to the next. But of course, that meant the PCs needed fewer points in skills, so I had to really analyze and modify the character creation process.

So, for the past couple of weeks, I've been converting, then editing, game rules. I'm running the campaign via Skype (with players in Seattle, Albuquerque, and Chicago), so I set up a wiki to be our communal Spanbook, rules database, and setting reference document. It's been a lot of work, but feels well worth it already. We've started character creation, and our first actual session is this Wednesday.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


In Albuquerque last weekend we played 1,000 Blank White Cards. Our host, Jeremy, has put up some scans of the cards made for the game. Link to card images.

Here's a sample, there's another 81 cards where these came from:

Additional Blank White Cards link.

Bride of Stankenfreen

On vacation a few days ago, I found myself GMing some improv roleplaying. Since I'd had some fun with my recent Stankenfreen's Monsters one-shot, I reprised it for a different group. Much as with the first play-through, it proved to be great fun, but somewhat hobbled by utterly flawed mechanics.

Before reading further, you might want to view my post from the first game of Stankenfreen's Monsters.

Bad Mechanics:

Weird thing is, the mechanical flaws were different this time. In the previous play, the PCs were under-powered. Their skills didn't overlap much, and it was a rare roll that got +4 (the bonus from two bodyparts/skills on a single card). In this second game, the opposite happened. Most of the body parts were really broadly or metaphorically defined. As a result, nearly every roll a PC made had +6 or higher. Stop to consider the odds of rolling 11 or higher on 2d6+8... roughly a 97% chance of success. I'd say at least a third of the rolls were at those odds. Meanwhile, human NPCs were rolling 1d12+2. In all our various conflict scenes, I only managed to hit like four times.

The crit system for the game is flawed as well. In both sessions, curiously enough, double 1's were rolled twice. In the first session, John rolled double 1's twice. In the second session, Rob rolled double 1's twice. In neither session did anyone roll double 6's. For this second game, I increased the penalty of the critical failure, but it proved to be no better - despite getting two ticks on every card he had, Rob never lost a part.

I even tried to make the final conflict more interesting by putting them up against a boss monster - a rogue Stankenfreenian creation that had turned evil. While he took two parts off of one PC, he lost all 9 of his body parts before he could get a third action.

Beyond a doubt, this is the worst set of mechanics I've ever crafted. Yet both games have been incredibly fun, and the character creation process is a winner. One of the players told me this session was the most laugh-out-loud fun she'd ever had roleplaying.

I'm thinking that I may run it again sometime, but if so the die mechanics would need a major overhaul, probably a complete replacement. I'm thinking F# might be the way to go - but with Stankenfreen's character creation system.

Amazing Characters:

The real joy of the game was, as with the first session, the player characters. I sadly don't have character illustrations this time, but here's the lists of bodyparts.

April's PC:
  • The Feet of the Waiter
  • Legs of a Dancer
  • Vulcan Brain
  • X-Ray Vision
  • Hitler-style Face w/ Mustache
  • Tusks of a Woolly Mammoth
April went to a great deal of trouble trying to get rid of her Hitler face. She kept trying to justify using it on rolls, so that she could assign ticks from rolled 1's to it, but never ended up with enough ticks to lose the face. The tusks apparently annoyed here as well, because she had one of the other PCs trim them. X-Ray Vision, on the other hand, was definitely appreciated and utilized.

Carrie's PC:
  • Trunk of an Elephant
  • Wings of a Bumblebee
  • Vampire Fangs
  • The Mustache of Luigi
  • Heart of a Lion
  • Lion'sheart
You'll note that Carrie was given the heart of a lion by two different players. Parts were created and assigned blind - nobody knew what anyone was going to get. Since she got two Lion hearts, she got +4 at a minimum for every roll where bravery or predatory instinct were beneficial.
During this session, I reused the Corwin-in-the-dungeon gimmick 'cause I thought it was cute. Carrie ended up using her Vampire Fangs to drain him, so I gave her the new part "Blood of Amber" which was rather potent.

Jeremy's PC:
  • Lizard's Brain
  • Toes of a Chimpanzee
  • Breasts of a Prostitute
  • Hands of a Pointilist Painter
  • The Teeth of John Tesh
  • Weight of a Feather
Poor Jeremy had probably the least-useful set of parts, and the least focus/overlap, but he was able to make them count in the final battle. Weight of a Feather was fun, even if rarely useful. He was constantly being blown around by the other PCs.

Sarah's PC:
  • Elbow of a Tennis Player
  • Amazing Spring-Like Jumping Ability
  • The Spleen of Roger Rabbit
  • Raven's Tongue
  • Voice of the Siren
  • Tentacles of a Squid

Jumping Ability wasn't really a body-part, but I was cool with it. It combo'd well with Squid Tentacles for acrobatic tricks. Voice of the Siren combo'd with Raven's Tongue (since Raven is a Trickster God) for potent crowd-control and smooth-talking. As a result, it won her:
  • Ears of the Romanians (as in "Friends, Countrymen, Roman...ians, lend me your ears")
She then got in a fight with a crazed townsfolk that was trying to burn down the castle. From him she got the:
  • Singed Scalp of an Arsonist
but lost her squid tentacles in the conflagration. In the final battle with the Big Bad, she lost her Voice of the Siren as well.

Christie's PC:
  • Lips of a Latin Lover
  • Super-Strong Hair
  • The Claws of the Sloth
  • Legs of a Giraffe
  • Princess Sparkle Pony's Horn
  • Owl's Eyes
Princess Sparkle Pony is this Unicorn that keeps showing up on Blank White Cards at Jeremy and Christie's house, so she was able to use the Horn to magically heal people (but not the Undead). One of my favorite images of the game was the idea of this 12-foot-tall giraffe-legged unicorn-horned character constantly leaning in with her lush latin lover's lips to make the other PCs a little uncomfortable.
At some point, the tips were trimmed off April's "Tusks of a Woolly Mammoth". After that happened, these tips were braided into Christie's Super-Strong Hair. It was part Wilma Flintstone, party improvised weapon.

Rob's PC
  • Ears of a Bat
  • Hyper-extending fully-controllable Tongue
  • Hyena's Jaws
  • Buddha's Knuckle
  • Eye of the Tiger
  • Eyes of a Child
Most of us pictured Rob's character with 4 eyes. He described himself as just having 2 - the eyes of a tiger cub. Turning a critical eye at the card now, I realize by the rules he'd have 3 eyes - two children's eyes and just one eye of a tiger. Speaking of Rules, Rob can rules-lawyer and munchkin-out like no one else I'd ever willingly game with. He makes it entertaining enough that we tolerate it, even appreciate it, at least in one-shots. I mention this because Rob was the only person I had to say "no" to during the game - he kept coming up with spurious ways to use 4 or 5 bodyparts on a single roll. The justifications were entertaining, so I usually let it fly.

Gene's PC:
  • Skin of a Chameleon
  • Legs of a Centipede
  • Arm (just 1) of a Body Builder
  • Liver of a Drunken Japanese Stockbroker
  • 360-degree swiveling Neck
  • Pouch of a Kangaroo
  • Moebius' Splint
Moebius' Splint needs a bit of explanation. Moebius was the brand-new puppy that Jeremy and Christie got a few weeks ago. Within half an hour of getting this puppy, he'd broken his arm. The free puppy has cost them $1,500. Currently, Moebius is wearing a bright purple cast/splint. It makes one of his legs seem longer than the others, and it's a rigid object that smacks into people when climbs into their laps. All day, we'd been referring to it as his secret weapon. Gene interpreted this combination of cards to mean that 50 of his character's 100 centipede legs were in splints.

In addition to the PC's parts listed above, someone got this off an NPC:
  • Strong Arms of a Pitchfork-Wielding Farmer
but for the life of me, I can't remember who got those arms.

The Big Bad
At the end of the game, the PC's had to do battle with Dr. Stankenfreen's Most Evilest Creation EVER. So, I gave everyone another blank card, and had them generate the body parts of the Big Bad. Thus did they face:
  • Dragon'sbreath
  • Vader's Helmet
  • Mouth of an Asp (poison included)
  • Picasso Face
  • Blowfish-like Inflating Body with Spikes
  • The Black Sulpherous Void That Was Dick Cheney's Heart
  • Hung Like a Walrus
  • Whiskers of a Kitten
  • Will of Oberon
  • Soul of Evil Incarnate
Despite having 10 body parts (3 of which overlapped - Evil, Oberon, and Cheney), and initiative, he went down in the second round. I got to deliver a post-modern monolog and use the dark sides of both the Force and Cubism, but to no avail. He went down with only minor injury to the PCs.

Link to photos from the game. Probably not of interest if you don't know the players.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Toe-Eating Mechano-Crabs

Posting those sketches my players did at the last game reminded me that Devon had requested I put up on the web a photo of the drawing I'd made of the toe-eating mechano-crabs that attacked us in a game she ran a few months ago.

Our weekly one-shot group sure runs some interesting games.

Stankenfreen's Monsters: More Than The Sum Of Our Parts

Last Thursday I ran a one-shot that started with something to the effect of: "You awake strapped to a laboratory table, having been shocked into life by the Lightning. In the distance, you hear your creator shouting 'My monsters! Come alive and rescue me!' as the angry mob of villagers drags him out of the room."

I used a home-brewed system for it, which was literally made-up on the walk to the game. I had a pile of index cards. Each player designed a body part for each other player, on cards which were then given out face-down so you didn't know what your monster looked like until you looked down at your body in the first scene.

The body parts were bits from people and animals. "Hands of a concert pianist", "heart of a lover", "eye of the hawk". That sort of thing. Here's the actual PCs, as drawn by their players:

<- Sarah's PC, "Polly" Parts:
  • Antlers of a Buck
  • Hands of a Speed Typist
  • Arms of a Wood-Chopper
  • Voice of a Parrot
  • Nose of an Ant-Eater

Laura's PC, "Cookie" ->

  • Shell of a Snail
  • Left Foot of a Great Tapdancer
  • Bill of a Platypus
  • Tongue of a Chef
  • Claws of a Wolf

<- John's PC, "Joe" Parts:
  • Spit Glands of a Camel
  • Hands of a Surgeon
  • Hands of a Strangler
  • Eyes of a Lecher
  • Throat of an Opera-Singer

Added via Surgery skills mid-game:

  • Snout of a Pig (on the elbow)
  • Hide of a Blacksmith
Mark's PC, "Jack" ->

  • Jack Ass (Butt of a Donkey)
  • Mouth of a Super-Salesman
  • Tongue of a Snake
  • Legs of a Can-Can Dancer
  • Monkey Feet

Added by feasting on an NPC:

  • Evil Laugh of an Executioner

The best part was the parts. Everyone else made body parts for your character, and did so blind without anyone knowing what other parts you were going to get. We ended up with some pretty bizarre PCs as a result.

Beyond those parts, they also ended up with a set of "Eyes of a Curious Child", but instead of installing those on a PC, they used them to fix some blind NPC in the Vampire's dungeon (his name was Corwin, not that it matters).

The title of the body part functioned like a skill. Every time you took an action, you'd roll 2d6 and +2 for every body part you felt could help. ("Tongue of a Serpent" might help for sensing heat and scents, but also for tempting people like in Eden.) If your roll plus modifiers totaled 11+, you were successful.

If either die came up a "1", you'd make a tick-mark on one of the body-parts. If a body-part got 5 tick marks, it falls off. Double 1's is a tick on all your body parts, Double 6's means you've developed a soul. A soul changes your dice from 2d6 to 1d12. That means it doubles your odds of accomplishing unskilled rolls (2 in 12 instead of 3 in 36), and cuts your odds of taking tick marks by about a third.

Attack rolls were super-simple. A success killed a townsfolk, or ripped one part off a monster, depending on who was being attacked. The dice mechanics weren't amazing, but they worked well enough for a one-shot. In retrospect, modifiers didn't end up stacking as much as I'd imagined them to, so I probably should have had a lower difficulty. Dead townsfolk, by the way, became one body-part each, which basically made them into treasure.

The plotline involved rescuing the "good" Doctor Stankenfreen from the townsfolk. When that proved too easy, I added a second plot about the Vampires in the next castle over. Once you're a vamp, you're a vamp all the way. It was goofy fun, and not too deep.