The Book of Namys, Episode One
What follows is a fairly quick write up of the Cthulhu-style game of FU RPG I ran for my son and his friend over the weekend. I’m doing this before releasing the second part of the adventure creation because we were only able to get a few scenes into the adventure. We, as a family, had a lot going on that evening and by the time we got started with the game it was after 9 PM. Before we knew it, the evening had grown very late and it was time to stop. We are working on coordinating a weekday evening to finish things off.
Because of this I’m opting to give the adventure write-up first and then finish off with the adventure design parts once everything is done. It will keep the mysteries firmly in place. For more information regarding the adventure set-up that went into this I refer you to “It Came From Friday, Part One.”
After a quick discussion that explained the rules and offered a few examples, the guys made their characters. They both wanted to play pretty typical people who were simply going about their lives and had discussed options at school. As much as I love that idea it can sometimes stretch reality a bit when trying to get your typical real estate agent to stick out an adventure into an abandoned farmhouse against winged and tentacled horrors. However, the kids didn’t disappoint me and their characters are below. Again, FU characters are intentionally simple and so things moved along at a good pace.
I hit them with a surprise question which was, “What time period do you want to play in?” They surprised me back by saying, “The 1960’s would be cool.”
I didn’t see that one coming!
Regardless, they had been studying the period in one of their classes and wanted to venture into it. Who was I to say n0?
I think you can see what they were going for with their characters pretty quickly. I used the basic FU character set-up and I informed them I would be tacking on a very simple Sanity system hack as we played the game. The attributes and descriptors below are all theirs.
Concept: Investigative Reporter
Edge: Attention to Details
Gear: The Ol’ .45
Gear: A Handsome Fedora
Drives: “Hey, I’m just trying to figure out some of the weird stuff going on in this town.”
Description: Satchel wears a grey vest and blazer, some khaki slacks and his lucky fedora.
Concept: Newspaper Food Critic and Chef
Edge: Good with knives
Flaw: Too much compassion
Gear: Butterfly knife
Gear: Lucky 1960’s Bel-Air
Drives: Be the top food critic!
Description: He wears a black chef hat and a black chef jacket.
They decided they knew each other from working at the paper and had actually covered a few stories together. Because of this, they had become close friends and were often seen hanging around the office together.
With this firmly in place, we were off to the game! I set the scene and placed Satchel as a second tier reporter for a Chicago newspaper. I put them both at the Tribune and had them in the office hanging out.
I had Rowan’s editor come flying out of a hallway, see the two of them and immediately call them over. “Got a weird call an hour ago. Some guy, a Dr. Scala, over at the University wants to talk to you, Rowan. Says there might be a story in it regarding that fancy lawyer’s death a few days ago. You remember that?”
This gave them a chance to try the dice mechanic. Even with his Knife-like Mind, Rowan rolled a simple “No” while Hammich rolled a “Yes and..” I gave him the details of the deceased Mr. Werner, his estate and we roleplayed the scene for a few moments. Rowan agreed to go to the University and they headed off to jump in the “Lucky Bel-Air” and head to campus! A funny thing started up during the ride to the campus. The boys immediately jumped into an “in-character” conversation that went something like this…
“So, you know this Scala guy?” asked Hammich.
“No. Don’t know a thing. I know he’s a doctor.”
“Oh. How we going to handle this? What do you think he wants?”
To this, Rowan’s player waved a hand as if to dismiss any worry, “Don’t worry about it. I got this. Just… well…”
“Let me do the talking.”
It was cute. I gave them a FU chip for it and we went on. How was I to know that this was going to end up to be a running gag? And so, they got to Scene One.
Scene one went down exactly as I wanted. There was a bit where they couldn’t find which building the History department was located. Fortunately, Hammich got an extra die due to his “Lucky Bel-Air” and he was able to find it. Heading to the office number they were given they met the secretary and then Dr. Borys Scala. I, of course, affected a horribly stereotypical Russian/Eastern European accent. Dr. Scala was very happy to see Mr. Satchel and professed an interest in all of “his interesting stories” he provided for the paper. “It is because of these interesting stories and your drive to find things I wanted to contact you about something.” And so we began…
Dr. Borys Scala, after giving a VERY brief overview of the ancient Book of Nelys, went on to explain he was a friend of the late Mr. Werner and his family. He explained that he, himself, was a Professor of Polish History and Folklore. He explained a bit more about the book but very intentionally covered over most of the details. The estate sale for the Werner estate was occurring today (of course) and if he would please recover the book for him, he might have a very interesting story to tell the reporter. (I know… I know… this was all pretty weak. My main goal was to get them into the game and luckily, they bought it and didn’t ask too many questions!) In the end, he offered to pay Satchel and “his friend” to help him get the book.
“As long as that, well, doesn’t conflict with your position with the paper?”
To this, Rowan was very amiable and took the job. An out of character comment was, “This guy is paying me $500 to go pick up a book? Who am I to complain?”
At one point, Hammich spoke up and said something like, “So, wow, so this book is really old? Like, how old?”
I considered this a pretty good question so I had Dr. Scala begin to answer him. Suddenly, Rowan interrupted and patted his friend on the shoulder, “Me. The talking. You. The listening.”
I lost it!
The two drove over to the Werner estate and I set the scene for a very nice house, wrought iron gates, a long driveway filled with nice cars and numerous well-to-do people milling about a large stretch of yard set aside for furniture and odds and ends. The idea of a wealthy person’s yard sale humored me so I played it up. In the distance they could the yammering of an auctioneer.
After a few rolls they found one person who led them to the next and eventually to Kristov Werner. The scene with Kristov went fine and it was fun to watch the growing irritation in the players as he was interrupted time and time again. Yes, of course, Kristov knew about the boxes set aside. Yes, of course, Dr. Scala was an old family friend. Oh, wait, let me just handle this one issue. Just about the time they thought they would get closer or move to another room, another interruption. I waited till the players just couldn’t take another interruption and then had Kristov send them to Gordon Taylor, the man responsible for much of the estate sale.
Gordon Taylor was very nice. He talked with them for a bit and then remembered the rare book lot. He believed it was put aside and was awaiting for pick-up. He sent them over to a young woman who was taking care of items, auction lots and deliveries, a woman I had to create on the fly named “Jenny.”
The bad news was the lot had already been picked up! Rowan attempted to smooze her for more information about the mix-up. The question was, “Can Rowan get the information about the rare book lot from Jenny?” The result? He rolled a “Yes and…” which meant Jenny wrote the information down on two pieces of paper. One piece was an address and name the other was her phone number! Hilarity insued and Rowan, once again, said something like, “See? The talking. It works.”
Jenny showed them the name, a “Mr. Bill Jones” and the address where it had been delivered. She apologized a lot and said she would talk to Mr. Taylor about this. Both players agreed they would just drive out there and sort things out. I believe Jenny promised a phone call or something to the address. (During this scene it was also funny to note that the players started saying things like “well, we should check security cameras…” only to realize what time period they were playing in and not every rich estate would have them!)
Right on cue, I had security arrive and inform them that Mr. Werner had requested they be escorted off the premises. Oddly enough, the players didn’t really buck this too much. At one point, Hammich became a little irritated and thought about going for the butterfly knife. Rowan, however, calmed him down and they left peacefully. They had what they wanted, the address, and they would just have to head out there and find it!
And so, they headed out to the rural address of Mr. Bill Jones, approximately an hour or so southwest of town and into rural Illinois. During the trip it was discussed how odd it was that Kristov Werner would just have them thrown out like that. But, unfortunately, they didn’t really think about it too long.
The fun was just beginning!