The Book of Namys, Episode Three
(This is a continuing post that records a play through using the FU roleplaying game/story set in a Lovecraftian genre of the 1960’s. We were using the basic FU rules with a small hack set up for Sanity as well as the ascending die roll hack instead of evens and odds. To see Episode One, just click here.)
Rowan and Hammich drove away from their encounter at the farmhouse and headed back into the city. The lucky Bel-air still had the traits of Battered and Buckshoted. I described the wind and bugs coming through the windshield and how the side view mirror was dangling and occasionally tapping the side of the car. Neither one of them cared and they rolled towards Rowan’s house. I rolled quickly to see if they would be stopped by any police and got a very solid no.
Once back at the house, Rowan, a bit upset, decided to call the woman from the Werner Estate, Jenny. I reminded him it was 2 AM but he didn’t seem to care. He called three times before she picked up and then proceeded to ask her why she had set them up. It was hilarious and she, in a sleepy and upset state, hung up on him.
From there the players entered into an interesting spiral of frustration. The characters tried to get some sleep and didn’t do very well with it. ( I considered giving them the Condition of “Exhausted” but they rolled well enough to just be “Tired.” ) Then, early in the morning, they drove over to the University and attempted to find Dr. Scala. I kept them hanging there and had the secretary tell them D. Scala was not available but she would leave him a message. (Ah, the fun of watching young players deal with the lack of cell phones and INSTANT contact. Remember, the game is set in the 1960’s. I’m loving it!)
As they left the University I had a radio report come on about a rural van crash the day before which the police were investigating. Apparently, a delivery van from the Werner estate was involved in a collision on a country road and it was no normal crash since there was a homicide involved. I let both players make a Mind roll to realize that the address or area given on the radio was only a short distance away from the location of the crazy farmer’s house. Hammich missed the roll but Rowan’s Knife-Edged Mind helped him recieve a “Yes and…”
I explained this as “Yes you realize this location is only a few short miles from the crazy farmer’s house AND it’s along an alternate route from the Werner Estate.” I also let him realize that the crash would have happened in the afternoon just before they arrived in the area in the evening. Unfortunately, that part didn’t stick.
I thought with that they would take the bait and they did. They decided to drive by the scene of the wreck. As they rolled up I described a small scene with the Sheriff’s yellow tape marking off a small area next to the road and a sprinkling of glass on the pavement along with a small bit of twisted something on the shoulder of the road. However, no vehicles, nothing to immediately see. And so, they uttered the words, “Well, I guess there is nothing here anymore,” and they rolled right on by without stopping.
When you see the full adventure write up or if you are an experienced Cthulhu player you’ll understand why this was a bit of a mistake. It involved the fact they were, of course, slated to finding something the police had missed. Oh well, what can you do as a GM but carry onward?
They traveled back to the farmhouse. It was lit with full morning sunlight and this made them a little more calm. However, they could see, even more easily, how the vegetation in the area appeared dead and the whole area carried a heavy energy. I made sure to explain to them the house appeared deserted but there was plenty of evidence that what they went through the evening before had really occured. (Rowan’s player was convinced it might have been a dream.)
They looked over most of the grounds and at not finding anything obvious to shoot or question they started to get more frustrated. Not really wanting to investigate the old creepy farmhouse, they did anyway and I deviled them a bit with a squeaky shutter/window on the second level of the house. They were sure it was someone but when they discovered it was a creaky shutter moving in the breeze they became a bit, well, violent and started attacking the house.
Yes. You heard that right. They started to attack the house. I told you they were frustrated! Because of this I ended giving Rowan the Sanity condition of “Slightly Unhinged.”
And at this point we called the first game session due to lateness and a lack of decent, coherent thought!
The second session took place a few days later. I figured we could wrap it up in a few hours so we slated a weekday evening to try and get it done. The boys were excited and as we kicked off I reviewed things and went over all the facts they knew. I was happy to hear they had talked about the game at school and had a few plans. When I asked them where do they go or do next they responded they would drive by the van crash site again and head back into town for the Werner Estate.
Excited that the van crash scene might actually come to pass, I asked what they were doing there?
“Oh not much,” was the response, “we’re just driving by again. Do we see anything unusual?”
Now, a bit about my style of play and GM’ing. I don’t like to hand things to players, especially if they are being lazy. Wanting to drive by and hoping that SOMETHING jumped out at them was, in my book, equal to lazy. For me, no effort equals no results. Besides, I had a very specific series of clues they needed to find and they needed to be out of the car for it to happen. So, another bad decision for them. I told them they saw nothing else and even finished with a leading question, “So, are you doing anything else here?”
“Nope. Let’s just go back into the city.”
At the Werner Estate they were stonewalled again. They were told by a squawky security box by locked black iron gates that Mr. Kristov Werner was not there and not taking appointments. (Remember, he had most likely been dealing with police, a van crash and the death of an employee.) If they wanted to talk to them they could call his office and make an appointment there. They headed back to Scala’s. No good. “But,” said the secretary, “I know he called you at your office and left a message for you.” (Did I mention they were having trouble with the old school “no cellphone”, no instant contact kind of thing?)
Yes, I was stringing them along a bit. I was testing them to see how they would do if it wasn’t just “forced” at them.
Interestingly enough, Rowan finally had an idea after looking at his character sheet.
“If I’m an investigative reporter, can I roll to see if I know someone on the police force?”
I, of course, said it was fine and we set up the die roll. The result was a “Yes but…” and I explained that yes, he has a contact but the contact and he don’t necessarily like each other. This wasn’t good for him so he opted to spend a FU point. I cautioned against it but was not listened to. The next roll was a “No and” which we both agreed was “No and the police force hates you.” That made him grimace and he reached for another FU point to roll again. Unfortunately, I slipped here and let him do this even though it’s technically not allowed in the rules. I got that miss later when I was reviewing things. Educational experiences, gotta love them.
His third roll was, luckily, a 5 and he ended up with a decent police contact.
With that out of the way, they decided to go to the police contact with their story and try to get more information about the crash. Yes, they were going to the police… in a Cthulhu game.
I couldn’t WAIT to see how this was going to go!