Got another session of Masks under our belts.
Still heavy on the clue gathering and light on focus. I chose Cthulhu for lots of newbie friendly reasons, but I’m not certain I was right. My players look like they want direction. And consequences. CoC doesn’t do that in the early stages of its campaigns. I hadn’t realised how important experienced gamers could be in such a rules light setting. Julio is the only one who would know how important it is to scribble notes down with loads of funny arrows and dotted lines connecting everything. The time between the sessions is too long to hold the clues in your head too. There’s some top quality handouts, but my guys need a bunch of time to recap every time. Investigations are incredibly difficult to roleplay in. Hard to stay in character, hard to GM people who do.
The rules themselves are almost non-existant, we are pretty much playing diceless. Its a little odd because I can’t lean on the rules to provide drama or even to get some breathing space. Neither can the players. Even in conflicts its a couple of rolls max. This is all fine except my newbies have nothing to frame their actions on.
Have I made a poor choice?
Here’s a cool link to the home site of Cthuhutech.
It’s here: http://www.cthulhutech.com/
Check out the promo movie. If you like that then we can talk…
There are some simply incredible tools right here:
I’m especially loving the telegram maker and am hoping for big applause next Trail night
So, first session proper last night and the team of 6 investigators are plunged into New York in the roaring twenties. Its January, its driving snow all over Manhattan. Time for opening scenes…
Every game tends to kick off with a Blind Date session of “what’s your name and where do you come from?”. The guys came up with some crackers, Ali is taking breakfast with Dorothy Parker, Marky is putting the final edition of the Times to bed and Steps is polishing off smoked salmon in her penthouse at the Waldorf Astoria.
At this point you realise that new players means new perspectives. There’s no sense of party cohesion, its more like each player is in their own story. Fair enough at the moment, it will be interesting to see what relationships develop over the coming months.
I’m not going to do a blow by blow, but some scenes of interest. Nasty brawl with some cultists on the 4th floor of the Chelsea hotel. Soon escalates to gunplay and players frantically rearranging their points so they can contribute to the scuffle. The rules are really light and to be honest they work fine. You roll 1d6 and aim high. Your abilities are pools you draw from to bump up your roll. Sometimes you announce the target, sometimes you don’t. The players need to trust the Keeper to not arbitrarily screw them over, but there were no complaints. Even when Tracy was being hung out the window 4 floors up, she still managed to fight off her attacker with a hatpin thanks to her Preparedness ability. The game still uses hit points which is a bit old school but they get the job done.
One of the best things about Masks is the number and variety of handouts and the team grabbed about a dozen clues before fleeing the scene. This is always the tricky part of investigations, where do you start? What do you do? Where’s the plot? This is where being an old hand came in handy as the newbies were floundering a bit. After a while they divvied up research missions and I jotted down some notes. I’m going to give each player their info by e-mail so when we all get back together they all have something to share. The team are still a bit timid with each other and no-one wants to step up and lead because they are too polite! That will change.
Overall I thought it went really well. A bit of danger, some mystery and my home made pizza. What’s not to like?
So, most of my reading is an adjunct to my gaming. This is because one of the first things I look for in a game book is the “inspired by” or “recommended reading” lists. It’s lead me down some peculiar avenues in the past (‘Illuminatus Trilogy’) and some genius too (‘Zen and the Art…’)
Strange then that I’ve not read more Lovecraft. I remember ‘Call of Cthulhu’ from the core book and that’s about it. With my Trail game underway I thought I’d rectify my omission. So I started ‘The Rats in the Wall’. Didn’t take long for my mind to drift.
Maybe I wasn’t in the mood. Maybe its my long standing distrust of the short story format (if I’m enjoying it, I want it to go on) or maybe it was not grabbing me. Whatever, I decided to try another tack.
Robert Elvin Howard. Again, not often on my nightstand. Stivi bought me the complete Conan for Xmas and I picked up the complete Soloman Kane on a whim. Going with the HPL connection I started in on the Nameless Cults collection. First up, ‘the Black Stone’, which I admired more than liked. Very unsettling, there’s a scene with a baby that makes me shudder even now. Second, ‘The Worms in the Earth’, which was fabulous! Incredibly pulpy revenge fantasy with dirty Romans and a Pictish king who only speaks through gritted teeth. Every bit of dialogue was said with the characters clenched fists shaking at the sky. The Mythos connection was a bit tenuous but who cares? A ripping yarn.
I love Saturdays. I still get the same rush from going to a game/comic shop as I did as a giddy spotty teenager.
Leisure Games have handed over Cthulhutech for coins.
I’m very unsure of my ground with Anime but if I’m going to have a Mecha game it might as well include tentacular action. Review to follow. Maybe.
The online Masks game is now officially dead. Boo. Oh come on, it took a month to see the characters done! Cheers to those who had a go though.
The tabletop Masks game is now officially live! Hurrah!
Two points of interest: the player pool is Julio, Stivi, Marky Boy, Steps, Dan, Ali and Tracey. That’s right: girls. All are welcome and I can’t wait to see what the fresh perspectives will bring.
Second: we are using Trail of Cthulhu as a rules set. Loads of good theory as to why it should work, we’ll see how it goes. Chargen has already thrown up some interesting stories. So far, so good.
Players reactions so far have been very positive. Dan has got the gaming horn, Stepsy said I was “masterful” (love ya honey). Ali wanted to know what happens next, and that’s a good sign!