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Author Topic: [Shab-al-Hiri Roach] The Power of Klaus Compels You!  (Read 6025 times)
Lisa Provost
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Posts: 52

aka urbanpagan


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« on: January 24, 2006, 05:24:33 PM »

We recently played the Roach at NC GameDay 9 in Raleigh, NC.  We had seven players at the table.  (Yup, seven.)  Myself, Eric, Jason and Remi (all played the Roach before) along with Mark and Jeff (also Forgites) and one brand new guy, Bob.  I'm pretty sure this was Bob's first indie game experience.

We played the full game in about four hours with all seven players.  It was great!  Everyone used their cards and usually only one or two people passed on narrating a scene in each event.  But it was still pretty lively. 

--------------------

The players:

Jason - Robert Duffy, Asst Prof in Anthropology
Remi - "Milwaukee" Jenkins, Asst Prof in History
Mark - William Church, Asst Prof in Physics
Jeff - Eberhard Von Kohn III, Full Prof in Mathematics
Myself - Alma Boregarde, Asst Prof in Botany
Eric - Alfonso Dean, Full Prof in Anthropology
Bob - Howard Sharpless, Full Prof in Astronomy

With Eric and Jason both being in Anthropology, they decided that Eric's character was the department head and Jason was one of his underlings.

I don't remember exaclty but I think four of us started out Roached.  When the game began, Eric and one other person (sorry forgot who) drew a Roach card.  So all but one of us was Roached.

Please note:  The activity around the table was fast and furious with all the people at the table so I'll be honest, I didn't get every single detail down.

--------------------

In the first few scenes, I narrated in Prof Kohn's (Jeff's) dog, Klaus.  A German shepard and attempted to kill it as per my Roach's command.  I had the card that stated I had to "Kill and feel goose flesh!"  I failed miserably, as Klaus kicked my ass and was forced to flee the scene.  Now for the life of me I can't remember who did it, (I think it was Jeff) ended up Roaching Klaus.  Thus was born our Dark Lord. 

Prof Dean and Asst Prof Duffy (Eric and Jason) ended up having a lot of conflicts straight out with each other, playing off the fact that they were in the same department.  It ended up by the beginning of the Wine and Cheese social, that Prof Dean was now the minion of the Roached Asst Prof Duffy.  Prof Dean ended up commanding Asst Prof Boregarde (me) and I was forced to become Asst Duffy's minion as well.  I'm pretty sure by now, Asst Prof Church had started 'corrupting' Regina Sutton and she began to get stolen as a trophy and passed around the other Professors. 

It was at the Follies that things went nuts!  I ended up being stolen as a minion by Prof Kohn (via Klaus' command) and stole Regina in a very public way at the Follies.  Prof Church (Mark) was Roached and before he drew his card, he had targeted me.  His card commanded him to help me and thus he ended up aiding me in humiliating him and stealing Regina from him.  Asst Prof Jenkins (Remi) was attempting to kill Prof Dean (Eric) and ended up narrating a scene where he was supposed to be performing a 'trick' on stage and attempted to get Dean onto a cross that had been erected on the stage in order to burn him alive.  Prof Dean ended up not falling for Asst Prof Jenkins' tricks so Jenkins ended up calling one of the football players on stage and ended up crucifying and immolating him instead.  At one point, Prof Dean decided that he had been given divine guidance and needed to start building a temple to Klaus.  To so so, he needed the power of Reverend Tally.  Prof Dean decided that he needed to literally take Talley's face in order to do that.  Eric (Prof Dean) narrated that he had found plans for a Sumarian device that would remove the face (intact) of your target and then you could wear it and be inbued with that person's power.  He ended up failing the conflict and instead had his own face cut off with was promptly stolen by Asst Prof Jenkins (Remi).

Once again, I'm not sure who started it, but the scene ended with the entire audience becoming Raoched.  All of them.  All per Klaus' command.

During the football game, it was declared that a huge temple should be built on the campus and that we would need bodies to start with the creation of the temple.  Since the entire football team was Roached, they literally slaughtered the other team.  Most of the buildings on campus began to be pulled down and on the site of the old church on campus, the temple began to be built. 

By the time of the Faculty Senate meeting, it was more of a meeting to address the ongoing construction of the temple.  We all decided that we had been pulling townies in and Roaching them along with letting in anyone and everyone to Pemberton that would show up and Roaching them as well.  The entire campus was Roached by this point expect for a handful.  I believe it was at this point that Asst Prof Duffy had driven a pencil into his nose and ripped the Roach out.  I believe that Prof Sharpless was Roachless at this point as well.  But back to the game... Klaus (the dog) sat at the head of the table.  A little girl at his side and various other townies, students, and professors.  Prof Dean was showing everyone all the items found in storage from a recent expedition which was full of Sumarian artifacts and devices including some sort of funky sonic ray gun.  We had decided on a pecking order of Roaches and there were even rivalries between powerful Raoches.  The one inhabiting Asst Prof Jenkins was determined to stop Klaus from taking his place at the idol in our temple.  It ended with Klaus being dipped in gold and placed in the temple.  We determined that his Roach was still alive and that it still commanded us.

In the last scene, the Gamma Gamma Gamma ball was held on the steps of the temple.  Slowly but surely, Asst Prof Duffy and Prof Sharpless had freed a few people from the Roach and were marching on the Temple.  Asst Prof Boregarde ran to them and begged that they free her from the Roach (I had drawn a Roach card) and we stormed the temple with the intention to burn it to the ground with everyone inside.  The scene progressed with us rushing the temple and being slowed down by Regina Sutton and the entire cheerleading squad, dressed like Barbarella and complete with their Sumarian Sonic Ray guns, fighting us in our attempt to burn theplace down.  It ended with the gold being melted off of Klaus (who was still alive through the power of his Roach), the temple destroyed, and everyone dead except for Prof Dean and Regina Sutton.  Their last scene was Prof Dean sitting in a luxury sleeper cabin, toasting Regina and Klaus with a champagne glass on a train headed to destinations unknown. 

--------------------

That's pretty much the jist of the game.  I know a lot more was going on but with so many people at the table, it was honestly hard to keep track of who was doing what.  Anyone remember what else was going on?
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Jason Morningstar
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Posts: 1428


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« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2006, 06:41:08 PM »

Thanks for posting this, Lisa.  The things I think were noteworthy:

1.  The game took a really different track than "usual".  It got big fast, no one tried to conceal the roaches, and a distinct roachy heirarchy was a central theme.  None of this had any impact on the playability or quality of the experience - it just took off on a weird tangent and was still lots of fun. 

2.  I was concerned that seven players was too many.  It turned out to be fine, with an occasional push from me and a table full of experienced players. 

3.  We had one player who was a stranger and definitely new to a nar-heavy game like the Roach.  He struggled and I don't think he ever quite got with the program.  To his credit he stuck around and played three games with us, and said he had a good time.  I think in the Roach game he actually framed a single conflict, and relied on suggestions from others for all the rest. It was not an ideal situation.  In retrospect, I think I should have focused on him more and asked a few of the experienced players to split off and do something else.  I feel a little bad about it, actually.

I'd love to hear comments from players in this game!
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Mark Causey
Member

Posts: 99


« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2006, 07:01:11 AM »

This is Mark (Assistant Professor of Physics William Asher Church).

Man, did I realize at the end that there's a whole level of strategy I was missing out on while doing the creepiest cruelest things I could. It was awesome hella good fun and I blew my wad early because I'm so used to games where I'm not allowed to have fun that I hit all my fun buttons at once.

This is a sublime and instructive thing, however. I was overjoyed at the almost narcotic levels of fun I had BUT I realize now that had it been Vietnam I would have cut down all the trees and missed all of the Viet Cong. At the end, I was quieter because I'd 'used up' the character; thus why I wasn't too involved with the final political machinations (and probably why I lost, too).

The best thing for me to take from the game was the scene where I'd decided to 'rearrange' Bob's Astronomy lab/office with myself and Regina Sutton. It was there that I realized that after all the self-glory of winning with nearly no resistance, that the real fun was actually bringing other people in. And that's when Eric had to clean up our mess.
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--Mark Causey
Runic Empyrean
Eric Provost
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Posts: 581


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« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2006, 11:19:38 AM »

That session totally rocked.  I'm only dissapointed that it didn't qualify as the weirdest that Jason had been in yet.  I'll totally try harder next time.

I'd like to say that I dug the reward of being the last one to speak in the epilogue because I had the highest Reputation.  Although it makes me curious; What did the winner get?  Bob was the winner, wasn't he?  Highest Rep amongst the non-roached.  I wonder, because last word in the epiloge seems like the best possible prize. 

Seven players was just fine.  I'd be really curious to see how it plays with 8 experienced Pembertonians.  Or 9 or 10.  How big can the Faculty of experienced players get before it really genuinely falls apart?

n00bs, Bob, and shoulda-coulda-woulda...
The Roach and FoA (what Bob played that day) are the rocket cars of scene-framing and stakes-setting.  Don't bother with the training wheels.  Offer the man a tricycle but don't feel bad when he ops for the rocket car instead and crashes it.  That's my opinion and ill-formed analogy.  In plain english, I say; Explain it once and expect the players to get on with it in their own time.  If they enjoy it then they'll play again and certainly improve.  If they don't then maybe we point out a game that offers a little more familiar territory that also has things like scene-framing and stakes-setting. 

I felt bad for Bob at first, feeling like he may have been in the "having as much fun as he thinks he's allowed to have"-mode.  But, after I thought about it for a bit, it occurrs to me that I should have actually been really happy for Bob.  He definately got into the Roach after a bit.  At least he got into it more than he did at the word 'go'.  And he totally hung out with the indie crew between games.  That guy is hooked.  I betcha he's about to bring a new world of gaming to his usual gaming buddies.  Hell, at the very least I bet he can see the difference between one style of gaming and another and now he can make a genuine choice on a game-by game basis and play what he really wants to play, instead of thinking that there's only one way to RPG.  So, I'd guess playing the Roach was a genuinely good session for Bob, even if he wasn't as loud and animated as the rest of the table.

-Eric
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Mark Causey
Member

Posts: 99


« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2006, 11:38:45 AM »

I think I gave him a tricycle as a concillatory (sp?) prize: a signed copy of the Shadow of Yesterday.
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--Mark Causey
Runic Empyrean
Jason Morningstar
Member

Posts: 1428


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« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2006, 11:41:52 AM »

OK, OK, in retrospect it actually was the weirdest, just not the most horrible.  But Eric, you can totally do better!  Go for weird and horrible next time.  Related to your question about winning, here's the relevant text:

"The game ends when the every player has had an opportunity to frame a Scene during the sixth Event, the Gamma Gamma Gamma Christmas ball. 

The player who has the character with the highest Reputation, and who is not a slave to the Roach after all the Scenes are played out, is the winner.  This ephemeral prize will probably be cold comfort in the Bosch-like landscape of Pemberton in the wake of the Roach. In the unlikely event of a tie in Reputation between two Roach-free characters, a secret ballot is de rigueur. 

Each player should take a moment to describe what the final outcome means for their character. Death, at this point, is both perfectly acceptable and often a welcome release.  The player whose character has the highest Reputation in the game, Roach-bound or not, gets to narrate an epilogue describing Pemberton's future, and the Roach's plans for the new decade. 

If everyone is Roach-bound at game end, a dark curtain is about to fall over the human race - congratulations!  In this case, the winner is the player who's character was the most craven, abject slave to the Roach, as determined by secret ballot." 

...So we played it by the book.  And you're right, I asked Bob if he had a good time and he said he did, so I should probably assume that he had a good time.  It'd be great if we planted a twisted seed that will germinate into something indie and unspeakable in his neck of the woods. 
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