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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 172 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [The Shab-al-Hiri Roach] Barker bites  (Read 5820 times)
GB Steve
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« on: September 02, 2005, 12:58:37 AM »

So. Only three of us turned up to play last night which meant that we had to forgo our GURPS Gateway game and find something else to do. I had Simon print out the Roach and we gave it a whirl. We didn't use any new rules.

We made a few changes. We didn't use the ladder of relationships. With 3 players this means that you like someone who hates you. We thought this would be too stiffling and in any case these kinds of relationships came out naturally in play. It is a competitive game after all. We also slightly misunderstood reputation and thought that it was traded during conflicts and so started with 5 reputation. We soon worked out how the rules actually worked and having 5 meant that no-one got down to 0 although I did get to 2.

We drew enthusiasms randomly but allowed redraws.

I played Prof Savage, Geologist, sociability and gossip.
Paula was Asst. Prof Barker, Anthropologist, status and sport (rejected cruelty).
Rhodes, Ancient Languages, creative and manipulation.

The game started off fairly quietly as we were unsure as to what extent NPC could be involved, how you invite them onto your side and when you stop inviting them. For the last two points, we settled on a failry amicable solution of not going over the top. All but one conflict ended up with two (or more) opposed PCs. We also found that towards the end of the game all the named NPCs would take sides during the conflict and perhaps a few others, more than we used at the start.

As to the application of enthusiasms, if there was any doubt, the player not directly involved was allowed to adjudicate. This was done fairly informally and there was no argument.

Barker got the roach in the first event and never relinquished it. I invited the roach in the second event after Barker took an early lead and Rhodes took it in the third after several pastings. Rhodes and I both managed to get rid of the Roach in the last event. The lead changed a few times during the game. Barker had it early on, Rhodes grabbed it in the middle and in the end I won. Rhodes had 12 rep, I had 14 and roached up Barker had 17.

Notable events were, besides just having a go at each other:
  • Rhodes attempts to have the convocation blessing sung in Aramaic (we don't know what the convocation is but guessed a religious theme given the Rev's presence)
    [li]During the social Barker flicked peanuts at Rhodes in an attempt to get him to dance like the maggot his is.
  • Rhodes was given an award during the Senate Meeting which Savage broke over his head. Collins became Barker's boyfriend.
  • Barker strangled co-ed Regina Sutton and pinned it on Rhodes during the football game between the Pemburton Penguins and the Miskatonic Cephalapods (Go Pods!). Savage had the Pods' Tight End Whately attack Barker. Rhodes cause a riot at the game by having the band play a song of his that caused the Pods to revert to their essential eldritchness.
  • At the retreat we threw Collins in the lake by way of a traditional celebration and as he was drowning shouted out to drown his noise (which just happened to fulfill Rhodes' command). Barker saved him and stole the turkey leaving a trail of cranberry sauce to Rhodes' room. He took the fall.
  • During the ball, Savage summoned the spirit of Regina Sutton to ask about who killed her. Rhodes tried to force her to tell the truth and in the final roll of the dice that decided the outcome of the game we got ... a tie. Not having any rules (and both being roach-free) we decided to use the My Life with Master rule that fate intervenes and leaves the question hanging. Simon narrated that because ancient languages were used in the raising of the spirt that she could only speak Babylonian. So Rhodes translated that he was innocent but no one was prepared to listen to possibly biased evidence.

It was a fun game, played in just the right spirit. We could see the possibility of problems if players were less cooperative as there were rather a few loose ends in the game but for us that didn't matter. I'm going to give it another go at SteveCon on Saturday under less controlled circumstances and see what happens.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2005, 03:37:37 AM »

Hi there,

Quick rules clarification: the way the relationship rules work, the person you like ("are positive toward," whatever) always dislikes you, and the person you dislike always likes you. It's the same no matter how many people you have.

This confuses us in our first play-group as well; we thought we were mis-reading the rules or they were mis-written somehow. But that's really how it works. Trust me, it's functional - a guarantee of surprised, affronted interactions among the characters.

I love your string of events. Poor Regina always seems to come to a bad end!

Best,
Ron
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Jason Morningstar
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« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2005, 03:52:58 AM »

Cool, thanks for the update from poor old Pemberton University!  Things sure get weird fast there. 

Quote
Barker saved him and stole the turkey leaving a trail of cranberry sauce to Rhodes' room. He took the fall.
I love that.  There's a real "Horse Feathers" vibe to a lot of the action, which is just delicious when juxtaposed with soul-eating horror. 

It looks like all the things that threw you guys have been addressed in my revision, which is reassuring. 

--Jason
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GB Steve
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« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2005, 04:24:17 AM »

Quick rules clarification: the way the relationship rules work, the person you like ("are positive toward," whatever) always dislikes you, and the person you dislike always likes you. It's the same no matter how many people you have.
I see your point. I guess it is functional and avoids the 'let's all gang up on Steve' thing but we managed fine without it. It does restrict the dynamic and with only three players all your relationships are decided for you. It probably works better with four or more.

I started out, as Savage, disliking Rhodes. When the roached I decided I liked Rhodes and when free again I went back to disliking him. My relationship with Barker was pretty much the inverse to this.
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GB Steve
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« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2005, 04:37:04 AM »

I love that.† There's a real "Horse Feathers" vibe to a lot of the action, which is just delicious when juxtaposed with soul-eating horror.
If Paula hadn't got all murderous with Barker then we'd have just been bickering academics. None of the cards particularly invited anything Lovecraftian, even the sťance was just because I thought it would be cool.

On the other hand, it was interesting to play NPCs' reactions to the very strange things that some of the PCs did. I think we were well aware of some kind of cognitive disonance from the NPCs.

There were also several bad puns, things about turkeys, stuffing, smeared on his [door]knob. And Paula got a complete fit of the giggles at one point when Simon and I were narrating what was happening to her character's boyfriend when we threw in him the lake. Damned if I can remember what we said though.

We did really enjoy it, so thanks very much!
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