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Author Topic: Monsters! Monsters!  (Read 3776 times)
lumpley
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« on: June 13, 2006, 06:54:00 AM »

I played Monsters! Monsters! with Meg and the kids, at Sebastian's request.

Okay, so Sebastian's nine, and he's been devouring my game books, and that's cool but also a problem. We played Capes with him a while back, and he wasn't ready for it, cognitively: he had a kid's investment in his characters' identity, not a grownup's. You know how Capes works? Where I hone in on what you care about and threaten it as hard as I can? He wasn't up to that. I was like "Goal: the reporter finds out the hero's secret identity" and he was like "it's not okay with me that you even threaten."

So he's been reading Capes and With Great Power and The Shadow of Yesterday(!) and asking to play them, but I've been putting him off. Monsters! Monsters! though, I figured, hey, yeah, okay. And it worked out great.

Monsters! Monsters!, for those of you who might not know, is a game by Ken St. Andre based on Tunnels and Trolls - "a fantasy game providing equal time for the monsters," it says. I have the second edition, which is a comb-bound book 44 pages long, with a two-color cover, plenty beat up, printed in 1980, copyright 1976, 1979. A classic.

Sebastian made a gremlin named Cog, Meg made a goblin named Beaufort, and Elliot made a harpy named Red Comet. We figured their adds and their belongings and I'm sitting there looking at them, and they're sitting there looking at me, and I'm like, we need some situation. So I whip out the handy dandy Clinton Oracle, generate a big list of elements, and choose the two I want to play with: a chest containing the tax monies of a rural province; a farmer's good luck piece, the author of his prosperity. (I reject such things as the ghoulish eater of the dead, driven by unusual lusts, and the instruments of torture, haunted by their long-dead victims.)

"So we've got a farmer and his family, a wealthy farmer with orchards and fields and flocks, and we've got a tax collector and his bodyguards. Sebastian, what does Cog want out of these folks?" Cog wants their gadgets and gizmos. And I'm like, their gadgets and gizmos? And with a grind and a lurch the game comes forward in time to the 17th century: "oh! Yeah! The tax collector has a fancy pocket watch, and in their cart he has an adding machine that's like ths size of our desk over there, and you slide rods up and down and then pull this big lever and gears spin to show the sum." Sebastian says: "also I want the bodyguards' blunderbusses." and I'm like, "awesome, go for 'em."

We ended up with:
Cog wants to get the gadgets and gizmos, and hungers for knowledge. Cog also wears a big old boot for armor, with the heel for a helmet.
Beaufort wants no one to come through his woods, and hungers for pretty things. His woods have been much diminished by the farmer's clearing them, and with the farmer's luck there hasn't been anything he can do.
Red Comet wants the good luck piece and hungers for fruit. The farmer's grandfather stole the good luck peice from him when he was a boy.

How do I tell what happened? Well first of all, it was MANIC. I managed things by going around the table in short turns. "Okay, you're here and this is going on, what do you do?" Everybody's shouting and waving their arms, and their characters are pursuing their wants and hungers like madmen. We played for an hour, maybe an hour fifteen, and it was non-stop go.

Second of all, it was HILARIOUS. Elliot's harpy Red Comet smashes into the farmhouse and terrorizes the farmer's daughter, screeching and shattering windows and smashing things. She grabs the good luck piece and threatens to throw it into the fire, but just then one of the bodyguards bursts in with his blunderbuss. Meanwhile Sebastian's gremlin Cog is trying to steal the taxman's watch by lifting it out of his pocket with his stiletto, and the taxman notices. He gives a comical squeal: "assASSins! Miniature assASSins! Arno! Holstein! ProTECT me!" Meanwhile Red Comet grabs the blunderbuss out of Arno's hands and throws it into the fire, where it explodes, and the musket ball smacks Red Comet right in the helmet. BONNNNG. The daughter bolts with the lucky charm out through the kitchen door, and runs right into Meg's goblin Beaufort. The lucky piece goes flying right ... down ... the well. Beaufort, hungry for such a pretty thing, puts the girl in the bucket and lowers her down after it. Meanwhile Red Comet (who hungers for fruit) has been distracted in the kitchen by hundreds and hundreds of pies, it being pie season on a prosperous farm.

In Monsters! Monsters! you get experience points for gorging yourself.

The farmer's wife comes running out and smacks Beaufort with the lantern, which Beaufort thinks is criminally stupid, what with him dangling her daughter down the well and all. He stops what he's doing to lecture her, holding the chain with one hand and wagging his finger with the other. She hits him again. The girl cries up that she's got the lucky charm, haul her up, and when he does she throws a wet rock at his face, and he drops her again and has to catch the chain again. Meanwhile Cog (having dodged Holstein's blunderbuss shot) is in the taxman's donkey cart rigging the machinery of the adding machine up to the axle of the cart, and Red Comet is staggering out of the kitchen, belly bulging, apple plum peach strawberry and cherry pie filling on his face and a pie tin on his head. Beaufort hauls the girl up, grabs the luck charm, stuffs it in his pants, and gives the mother and daughter a lecturing they won't soon forget. "When I'm dangling you in the well, don't hit me with a rock! When I'm dangling your daughter in the well, don't hit me with the lantern! Are you STUPID? Are you TOTALLY STUPID DUMMIES? Or what?"

Meanwhile Sebastian fails Cog's IQ save. When he manipulates the rods of the adding machine so it has to multiply 888 times 8 ("the worst math problem I know," Sebastian says) and pulls the lever and sets the cart lumbering into motion, it goes the wrong direction, slowly building speed, enertial, faster and faster - straight up onto the farmers porch. Meanwhile the luck in the luck charm, unable to survive in such a hostile environment as the goblin's trousers, flies out in the form of a golden bird. The taxman's cart shatters, the chest of tax monies shatters, coins explode everywhere. The taxman's heart, already overcome by his brush with assassination, gives out.

Outcomes:

In return for his promise not to pee in the well, the farmer promises not to cut down any more of Beaufort the goblin's woods. Beaufort gives the pretty thing - no longer a luck charm - to his girlfriend, a swamp hag.

Red Comet catches the bird of luck in a little golden box, and returns to his desolate tower to brood.

Cog calls upon his whole clan to dissassemble the adding machine, carry it part by part to his underground workshop, and rebuild it. He keeps the watch too.

The end! Everybody gets experience points. I forgot to track them as we went so I just made up some numbers. I'm, y'know, pretty sure that I'm not the first person in the history of Tunnels and Trolls to do that.

-Vincent

 

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Meguey
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Meguey


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« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2006, 07:16:20 AM »

Key in this was the fact that Sebastian's gremlin was about exactly as big as Tovey, so the kids had a really good sense of scale, especially after deciding the 'full leather armor' for someone that small would be a boot. There was a great moment when the bodyguard's gun went off and the bullet loged in the heel of the boot. Overall, it was probably the most fun gaming with the kids yet.

Using the oracle was a brilliant idea.

~Meguey
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