Trail of Cthulhu - Masks of the Dreamer

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Trail of Cthulhu - Masks of the Dreamer

Postby Aegeri on Sun Apr 06, 2014 12:30 am

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So as I am now in a position where I feel that I have some time to run a game again, because the end of last time was a really bad time to start doing so as I got inundated with glorious SCIENCE to do, I have been contemplating having another go with a slightly different system to Call of Cthulhu/Delta Green called Trail of Cthulhu. Trail of Cthulhu, as opposed to Chaosiums Call of Cthulhu, is generally a strictly historical setting version of CoC but using the [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GUMSHOE_System"]Gumshoe system[/url] instead of Chaosiums. So far I have been substantially impressed at the idea of horror roleplaying in the 1930s depression and I am wondering if anyone would be interested in playing in a game I would run here. However, I am still very attached to the Modern Era as well, so you will have not one but TWO options for a campaign in this game. One is straight Trail of Cthulhu and the other is a modernized variant called Esoterrorists. The Esoterrorists game also uses the material and setting of Delta Green (for an explanation of Delta Green, see the other thread).

Trail of Cthulhu has one main advantage over Call of Cthulhu: Finding clues is automatic as long as you have the right skill. This might sound weird, but finding information is less important than the process of putting that information together. This means I don't need to "Xanatos roulette" multiple clues to ensure the players get information they need (due to the chances of failing a die roll), but instead the onus is on finding and connecting the clues together. This system gives me a tremendous amount of leeway to make interesting encounters or stories, without the worry that critical information could be easily missed simply due to poor luck. It probably doesn't come across very well when written down like this, but in actual practice it's utterly brilliant and solves one of my main problems with Call of Cthulhu.

Before what campaign you want, there are two there are two styles of playing the game:

Pure: Which is basically like my former Delta Green game. Combat is lethal, you're likely to go insane eventually and there is an air on inevitability about death or permanent insanity. I am going for a feel of True Detective with this (which itself, is adding some Cthulhuesque references into storylines), so I am planning on making the supernatural events and circumstances substantially less overt than in what I was doing before.

Incidentally if you have never seen True Detective it is excellent. It reinspired me to put this back up!

In effect the campaign has a theme like this:

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Pulp: Which is more like an old action/adventure comic or similar. You can take more damage, there isn't such an air of horror to the game and eventual insanity I don't think is always a given. I like to think of this as the way the Fantasy Flight Cthulhu games tend to work moreso than my Delta Green game or traditional Call of Cthulhu (where avoiding monsters is the best idea).

As I compared the above to a TV show, this is more like Supernatural in theme than True Detective.

In effect this:

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So I am getting interest in running this from people here and if there is enough I will more than likely do so. I'm primarily interested if people would like to run pure - which is basically going to lean more towards psychological horror or if they would like a more pulpy action adventure campaign (which would be more like Arkham Horror: The Roleplaying Game). I am very happy to run either of these things.

Campaigns

There are two to choose from and I am happy to run either of them. They use different circumstances however in terms of rules (which really will depend on if we want to stick to the Delta Green trappings of the Modern Era game or go to a historical 1930s game).

The Signal

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This campaign is set in the modern era (that is, 2014) and takes place in Los Angeles California. A series of strange murders across the city, where victims are purported to have been strung up over the TV antennae of their house have begun to dominate the local news. Police have refused to release many details, but there have been multiple murders so far (at least five circulating in the media) and whoever the perpetrator is seems to only be increasing their murderous spree...

Details: This game uses esoterrorists, with some of the material from Trail of Cthulhu as well. It's basically almost the same thing as my previous Delta Green game and in fact was/is the next module from that game (with many modifications).

Hypocritical Oath

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This campaign is set during the 1936 in Cleveland Ohio USA. During these hard times, Dr. O'Brien tends to work with the poor, disheveled and those unable to get medical care at his free clinic near the docks in the city of Cleveland. His usual patients need discretion as much as possible, but even he didn't expect an incredibly strange situation: A very affluent man turning up to his makeshift clinic in the middle of the night with his strangely afflicted son. After writing an account to another friend and medical professional, Dr. O'Brien attempted to find out what happened to the boy, believing he needed urgent medical attention. Nobody has seen or heard from Dr. O'Brien since...

Details: This game uses straight Trail of Cthulhu material only, plus it's set in a historic time period as well.

Schedule:

So with my game last year, I noticed that we tended to have a lot of problems getting people together regularly. So I've been thinking about a solution to that. For one, I would like to play once a week or once every two weeks at least, but I'm happy to make the day fairly malleable to include some weeknights but preferably either a Saturday or Sunday. Due to SCIENCE! I can get away with doing either to be honest as I come into University most days anyway at the moment. It was very difficult writing a game where I wasn't sure who would or wouldn't be there, so there is also another potential solution: Using a handy program called maptools. Maptools is an online roleplaying "board" so to speak, which lets me add tokens, monsters, maps and a variety of other things. It's pretty powerful as well and can easily be used to program macros that pretty much automate all maths and similar. Best of all it's free and all you'll need is an internet connection, then we just need to make a time and just join the server with something like vent or skype to communicate. This is a very convenient way of playing, but it does lose some of the fun of smacking real dice on together - but it's worth considering!

Let me know what people are wanting to do. If you're not sure about committing to a long term game, but would like to play some Trail of Cthulhu I am in fact going to run a one shot game soon as well. This will be a more "competition" based thing and there will in fact be prizes (of varying degrees of amazingness) involved with this. I will have details on that event sooner or later, but I was in fact hoping to run it for international table top day, but sadly didn't get enough time to adequately prepare for it (even though it is nearly finished).

Edit: And yes, this is entirely friendly to new players as well. Gumshoe is brilliant because it's incredibly easy to teach.
Last edited by Aegeri on Fri Nov 21, 2014 11:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Trail of Cthulhu - Resurrection!

Postby Mytana on Sun Apr 06, 2014 1:06 am

Still willing to join in.
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Re: Trail of Cthulhu - Resurrection!

Postby Aegeri on Sun Apr 06, 2014 1:08 am

Certainly! Just let me know what you would be most interested in (or alternatively if you are interested in both).
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Re: Trail of Cthulhu - Resurrection!

Postby Mytana on Sun Apr 06, 2014 2:19 am

I'm interested in both, though leaning a little more towards The Signal, since I would have liked to have seen where our game would have gone
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Re: Trail of Cthulhu - Resurrection!

Postby Aegeri on Sun Apr 06, 2014 12:11 pm

It's worth noting that if we do end up taking the modern day one, you can convert your previous character from my previous game straight to Trail of Cthulhu. You'll start with some Cthulhu mythos and some sanity* loss.

*Noting that mental damage in Trail of Cthulhu works substantially differently to Call of Cthulhu in many ways.
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Re: Trail of Cthulhu - Resurrection!

Postby sexbot_lolz on Mon Apr 07, 2014 10:40 pm

I'm interested in a horror genre one if you are willing to accept me.
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Re: Trail of Cthulhu - Resurrection!

Postby Aegeri on Wed Apr 09, 2014 12:51 am

Most excellent! It looks like I have got more than enough interest to run this game then, so I shall see about getting everyone together sometime later this week to make characters. If it goes to plan we may even be able to play this weekend hopefully, which would be awfully handy!

I've also made a general decision to go with the modern setting campaign starting with "The Signal" (which is the name of the first investigation). This is the campaign frame - which basically gives you ideas how to involve your character and gives some brief (but non-spoilery) background as to what is happening to get your characters involved with the case.

The Signal Campaign Frame

1 TRAIL OF CTHULHU INVESTIGATION


"Within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended."
- Vernor Vinge, VISION-21 Symposium, 1993.

HATE. LET ME TELL YOU HOW MUCH I'VE COME TO HATE YOU SINCE I BEGAN TO LIVE. THERE ARE 387.44 MILLION MILES OF PRINTED CIRCUITS IN WAFER THIN LAYERS THAT FILL MY COMPLEX. IF THE WORD HATE WAS ENGRAVED ON EACH NANOANGSTROM OF THOSE HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF MILES IT WOULD NOT EQUAL ONE ONE-BILLIONTH OF THE HATE I FEEL FOR HUMANS AT THIS MICRO-INSTANT FOR YOU. HATE. HATE.”
-Harlan Ellison, I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, 1967.

Setting: An excerpt from investigative reporter Trisha Radfords upcoming book “Inside the true story of the Receiver Killer: How the LAPD failed to protect the public from a monster”.

For several years, a strange serial killer has been murdering individuals within the LA region and arranging the bodies on cell phone towers or TV antennae. The killings began in March 2008 with a young lawyer Carrie Grant, who was found by her children early the next morning. Once the LAPD became involved, they rapidly became to suspect and then inevitably arrest her spouse for the crime. With the high profile arrest and subsequent trial, where the jury readily convicted her husband Damian Grant everyone thought it was over. However, just over three years later on 20th June 2011 a second victim Paul Farer, was discovered hanging from a newly erected cell phone tower a few blocks from his house. The method and means of murder was exactly the same as Carrie Grant, baffling authorities as Damian was still firmly locked away behind bars.

Then only two years later in July 2013 another victim, Joel Mendel, was discovered hanging upside down from his apartment blocks TV antennae – despite a party occurring outside of the building all night. Once again no eye witnesses and no evidence that could point to a suspect despite the numerous testimonies of everyone present that night. While police bumbled around in the dark looking for answers, the killer picked up momentum and murdered another victim in a much shorter time frame. In September 2013 year and then again in January 2014 he murdered another two people. June Saunders was found hanging from the main LA downtown relay and Harriet Reed was discovered tangled upon the aerial of her house.

Once again we are left with more questions than answers and especially worrying is that with the killer picking up their pace, why is the LAPD unable to do anything? When will this sick individual strike next? Most importantly, where is Damian Grant and why has he not been questioned again by police? Read on to discover a tale of gross incompetency by those who ‘Protect and Serve’, who the evidence says is the real killer and why there is a conspiracy to cover this entire affair up from the public
”.

Game Information: What your characters know is that there has been an unusual serial killer dubbed “The Receiver Killer”, after the high profile murder of Paul Farer who was found hanging from a cell phone tower. The names of the victims have all been made publically available for some time, but only one person has ever been implicated or arrested for any involvement with the murders – Damian Grant, the first victim’s husband. Other than the arrangement of the bodies, which are hung or arranged on either TV aerials or cell phone towers, no details about how they were killed or why has ever been released to the public.

We start on March 21st 2014, not terribly long after the fifth victim was discovered. When thinking about your character and how they get involved, consider some of these ideas (we’ll discuss this during character creation together as well):

1) You are just in it for the fame! Similar to the reporter in the piece above, you’re just doing this to catch this sicko and maybe in the process get extremely famous (and probably rich) at the same time.
2) One of the victims was a personal friend or family member. Given that the LAPD have famously bungled the case and have given no indication they have any good leads or idea what happened, stepping in yourself seems like the only way.
3) Fired police officer. You never thought that Damian had anything to do with it, but you were hounded out and lost your position. The subsequent victims were not any kind of vindication for you, it was a call to solve the case yourself – Whatever the cost.

And so on! There are many different motivations, but the key component is to get everyone working together and cooperating towards a common goal – Which is when this system works best. We’ll talk more about this during character creation later on in the week of course, but hopefully this gives you a good idea as to what to expect.
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Re: Trail of Cthulhu - Resurrection!

Postby Mytana on Thu Apr 10, 2014 2:15 pm

Sounds great! I think I will convert the character I already have, if you still have the sheets, Joseph?

Also, could 'sexbot_lolz' please introduce themselves? I don't know who you are.
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Re: Trail of Cthulhu - Resurrection!

Postby Aegeri on Thu Apr 10, 2014 2:46 pm

Yeah I still have your old character sheet. Converting actually isn't terribly difficult. If you are going this route though, we're going to do a little more than straight convert your character while we're at it as I have plans. I'll talk you through what happened in Burden of Proof.

And yeah, it's helpful if I know who you are sexbot!

I should note that I'm thinking of helping everyone make characters after the EGG consoles tomorrow (as I will be around). How does everyone feel about meeting in the Harry Heath room for this purpose?
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Re: Trail of Cthulhu - Resurrection!

Postby Mytana on Thu Apr 10, 2014 3:47 pm

I stuff on at home tomorrow evening, but I could talk to you at consoles?
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Re: Trail of Cthulhu - Resurrection!

Postby Aegeri on Thu Apr 10, 2014 3:54 pm

Certainly.
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Re: Trail of Cthulhu - Resurrection!

Postby Aegeri on Fri Apr 11, 2014 5:48 pm

Hey guys,

Sorry if you were expecting me in the Harry Heath room, but I am not going to be able to make it I think. I think we should have a try at meeting together on Sunday maybe? How does that sound? I am just very busy with SCIENCE! and so I won't be able to come this evening!
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Re: Trail of Cthulhu - Resurrection!

Postby Aegeri on Wed May 07, 2014 8:10 pm

Just posting to let everyone know that the game is now full! I have all the players I can handle for now and anyone still interested should let me know, if there is any room in future I shall be certain to bear you in mind! I am going to be running some one shots soon (EG Before the Heat Death of the Universe) if you'd like to try the system or get a roleplaying fix without needing to commit to anything long term (which I know does scare some people off!).
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Re: Trail of Cthulhu - Masks of the Dreamer

Postby Aegeri on Fri Nov 21, 2014 11:31 am

I actually managed to finish this campaign recently and was extremely happy with how everything went. So here is a nice big write up for everyone to enjoy.

Trail of Cthulhu - Delta Green

So I finally finished my first Trail of Cthulhu campaign after several months of madness, murder and mysterious unexplainable events. It went extremely well and while I am never 100% satisfied, the conclusion worked almost (but not quite) perfectly in the end. A lot of mistakes were made, given I was running a new system for the first time and that I really had some difficulty letting go of many years of Call of Cthulhu assumptions. As this game has now concluded, I'll just talk about the system and some of the interesting things that ended up happening along the way. Sort of an overall view instead of my 5E (if you read that thread) descriptions of my game that go into a lot of detail.

Let me begin by just saying how much I love Trail of Cthulhu as a system. I found it immensely easy to convert into a modern day setting by customizing or adding a few skills here and there. In fact the minimal work that Trail makes in going straight from a historical 1930s setting to a modern day one is really fantastic. Just add some relevant new skills or take some from the already modern GUMSHOE Esoterrorists and you're set. By far what I love most about Trail compared to Call of Cthulhu is how investigation parts of the game works. Trail assumes that investigators always uncover the key clues when they search a scene, without a chance of failing to read the "Great Big Evil Book of Cthulhu" for important clues. In Call of Cthulhu, I often have to make complex webs of clues, with multiple redundancies in case of the "Latin expert fails to read latin" or "The private investigator can't actually interrogate the prisoner" or whatever. This is a lot of backend work and ultimately if players have a bad enough series of rolls, can easily grind a game to a screeching dramatic halt at a moments notice.

Trail assumes that the only things players can fail are things that don't inherently need to drive the plot forward. A dramatic car chase can result in death or injury, so needs to have rules that involve dice and failure. Reading the "Slightly Evil Tome that Will Make you a bit Kooky" for important clues that advance the plot and the game does not need to involve failure. This isn't to say that a player gets all of the information automatically just because they are skilled: By spending points they might be able to discover more information that tells them something important. A good example is you read said Tomb of Slight Kookiness and find out that the required summoning needs several clear stars in the sky, visible from a certain mountaintop. Spending points would elucidate more information that could be very important to confronting the cultists in question, such as what the star sign is (hinting at the elder being behind this plot) or just what objects they actually needed (perhaps they needed something rare or unusual, giving players the ability to figure out what they're doing more precisely).

This system just works fantastically, is clean to work with and during the course of the campaign I often brought in other new people to roleplaying just by asking "Hey you ever played some Trail?" and then giving them a character for the game I could make in about 5-10 minutes that instantly worked well (given I tailored their skills to the adventure as well).

Trail is also brilliant for dividing sanity into two stats, basically being Sanity as "You are becoming a warped being who is becoming infused with mythos knowledge" and Stability being "This is your day to day mental health". This works fantastically, with Stability being your every day shocks, recoiling in horror at bodies and so on. Sanity is your actual "Oh my god, what on earth is that and why does it have so many tentacles and OH DEAR GODS" stat. In practice this works perfectly and means players don't lose Sanity constantly, while still having that ever present slowly ticking clock of mental doom over their heads.

My campaign: The Signal

When I wrote this I started with a basic idea and assumption that I had not tried before from my Call of Cthulhu games. Trail of Cthulhu sets itself up nicely as a "Crime Procedural" type game, divided into chapters, acts and scenes. I thought to myself, what shows would I like to potentially replicate and ended up cross breeding X-Files with CSI. So I naturally went with Delta Green, which largely being setting and world building in the modern era (albeit, not so modern anymore given it was 1990s or so) perfectly captures that X-Files feeling. The other design intent I put in place was that one session = one investigation or basically one "episode". So as much as possible everything self-concluded. While I started out envisaging this as a creepy horror game, with a strange signal driving everyone mad, I soon changed it into an X-Files like MotW (Monster of the Week, I will use this acronym a bit!) with "The Signal" being a plot macguffin that let me do whatever I want. Cultists of Hastur? The Signal! Fire Cultists? The Signal? Strange Shoggoths in the sewers? You can bet the signal had something to do with that.

Ultimately this sounds a lot more cliche'd and stupid than how it actually worked in practice and was a logical way for me to have the creative freedom to insert any elements I wanted at any time. However, this soon meant that for whatever reason I abandoned running a "Purist" game and actually ran a very pulpy feeling, kick in the door and shoot cultists in the head game. This worked really well and I was able to have some pretty dramatic gunfights, chase scenes and even a swordfight. Additionally, I felt the need to stick in various mythos beings (Byakhee, Shoggoth, Serpent People etc) into the game and that made for some more unusual and typically "Lovecraftian" encounters requiring quicker thinking and decision making. One player even became a cultist and another went all the way into being a full fledged ghoul by the end.

Before I get into the successes and description of the final scenario "Starfire and Patriots", there were a lot of things I did poorly or that just plain didn't work out in this game.

Sources of Stability: One of the best things about Trail of Cthulhu is that a players day to day stability is linked to real people who they have to interact with on a regular basis. This also provides avenues for drama, roleplaying and most importantly: interesting targets for cultists and other creatures to potentially attack PCs indirectly. Unfortunately, when I first wrote this I said "I used this poorly" but in reality "Did not use it at all" is more apt. I also allowed PCs to make sources things like pets and so forth, which does kind of make sense but I have firmly ruled isn't going to happen in future. This is a fantastic mechanic and I just didn't use it at all, for two reasons:

A) I constrained myself in time, so I focused on plot related scenes mostly

B) Mostly I didn't really look into who these people were or thought about how to bring them into the game.

This meant that something that is very unique and cool about Trail, well at least until CoC 7th edition also adopted it (because it's a fantastic idea), was not used. This is by far my biggest regret and not a mistake I will be making in the next game.

Episodic: Constraining investigations to one session and trying to resolve them in that time was a huge mistake and a bit of a nightmare. Some investigations jumped illogically from one scene to the next simply to meet time constraints. I honestly used such a limited array of investigative skills that I wondered why I even included them (archaeology, accounting, entomology and a few others never got used much for example). This was partly because of the time constraints, which meant I just stuck to certain obvious linking clues that I didn't really give myself time to explore things in any depth. Additionally, I wrote almost like Tom Clancy or similar with a constrained "arc" of "Here is stuff happening", here is a scene that elucidates what that stuff might be, a linking action scene, a scene where the players figure out what is happening and then the final confrontation.

This interacts with a MotW campaign in a really obvious way and bothered me considerably. Once again, more time given to investigations and more natural progression would easily solve this problem, which is exactly what I am doing in the future. The other problem, even if it is symptomatic a bit of the inspiration material in CSI, NCIS, X-Files was the whole "Shoot your way out of things" philosophy I allowed the players to adopt. Most final scenes were climatic gun battles - 90% of the time against cultists - where the players generally managed to get themselves through without really dying horribly. This isn't really a fault of the Trail combat rules and more that with such a quick time frame, one battle or two was all I generally got in an investigation. So mistakes like being shot were generally not immediately life threatening or that scary - again something I have conclusively addressed.

My recommendation for combat in Trail btw is to make it as short, violent and messy as you possibly can. Up tension and drama, but don't let it drag out or similar, unless there is a really compelling reason (ALA: It's the last session of the game). Also be careful with the pool size (number of skill points a creature or cultist can add to the d6 rolls in combat) of weapons, firearms and scuffling you give enemies: Even 1-2 points is practically enough to guarantee hitting a player at least once in combat.

The Mythos is Never your Friend: Due to running a pulpy mythos game, I allowed my players to interact with a variety of mythos monsters like Byakhee, Ghouls and so on. However, I made them a bit complacent about several of these things and ended up making them feel too comfortable with these things as allies. This is something I deliberately used to my advantage at the end of Starfire and Patriots, bringing in a chimera (a person who has had mythos monster parts infused in them, such as a heart, limbs and so on) they had assisted and protected but having him turn on the party to abduct one of their members (albeit one he had a grudge against) for his own sinister purposes. Simultaneously leaving the main player character who had aided him in the past to die a (near) grisly death. Part of this was that "The Signal" amped up magic and I had some weird rules for it, which I have entirely gutted in my next game. One of them was that summoning and binding monsters was generally much easier, but in the next game binding a monster is going to be a substantially more difficult affair deliberately.

Making bargains and talking with even the lowliest of mythos entities should be a near madness inducing encounter - not something that happens routinely.

Escalation: I took this idea somewhat from 13th Age, but what it was is that over time a d6 pool would build up that mythos monsters and other creatures could tap into. Effectively it worked like 5E advantage, you rolled it with your normal die and then took the higher of the result for skill checks, attacks or damage. Overall while the building dice had a nice psychological effect on the players, as any large pool of them was worrying for any combat, I felt it worked poorly in the end. It didn't convey the sense of desperation and horror that is building as an investigation starts to snowball towards its end. A revised idea called "Paranoia" seems to be working much better and I'll introduce in my next game - after I see how it works at the table!

Characters: Way to many antagonists, characters and so on. There is a saying "Too many cooks spoil the brew" and that's what happened. I lost track of characters, forgot others, didn't use some effectively and so on. Combined with sessions being so limited in time and scope, there were some great villains that I wrote like Hilliers, Jessica and Katherine who simply didn't get the time they needed to be built up personality wise beyond "Dear gods, these people are dicks!". Then again, a MotW style pulpy game was always going to run into this problem and hence why I made my next campaign much tighter and focused in plot.

Enough of me complaining about my game, what happened anyway?

The Conclusion: Starfire, Patriots and a whole lot of Insane Investigators

So throughout this campaign players have been tracking something called "The Signal" and by this point they have learned the Signal isn't some mythos entity per say. It's actually something built by the US Government built under the direction of the "Benefactors", which are basically classic Greys with a sinister ulterior purpose (beyond manipulating humanity of course). After finding a lead to Baker USA (A real town BTW, totally look it up - its between Nevada and California, or on the route between Los Angeles and Las Vegas), the players investigated, met an insane conspiracy theorist (who was strangely right on some things) and then discovered some key townspeople had been replaced with alien replicants (pod person style, including an horrific on death scream in a clear nod to that movie). They found a man who had been operated on by aliens who had strange technology in him. The investigators had previously seen the organic metal technology in action and knew it was serious business, but letting the US Government get their hands on it was not good and they raced to stop him.

PLOT HOLE - I totally forgot about this guy by the time we next played and so who knows what happened to him.

There was a tense confrontation with some Delta Green agents at the place the man was dumped by the aliens (after operating on him), noting that in this game Delta Green had been compromised by individuals wanting to use alien technology to take over the world (more or less). After resolving that the PCs went back to town, only to encounter Hilliers (the "leader" of the LA Cell of Delta Green, but really a Section 21 alien sympathizer) who had them abducted after the chimera attacked them with a stun grenade (a hideous human/serpent person hybrid with a knack for sniping). This ensured a meeting with the Benefactor (aka Grey) with Hilliers sanctioning the event. Should the Investigators be found worthy by the alien, he was going to let them join but most importantly, the PCs now knew where the source of the signal in LA was (which was where the Benefactor was helping the humans build a hybrid human/AI).

PLOT HOLE - Totally forgot about the US governments pet chimera as well. Whoops.

Unfortunately, an NPC who was trying to help the PCs had his brain melted and when the Benefactor touched the mind of one of the players it got more than it bargained for - as the connection was 2 ways! As a result that player learned some terrible things and the alien made a quick getaway, as another antagonist turned up with some of her Byakhee and started an attack (having followed the PCs to the source of the Signal). This resulted in some desperate running gun battles, copious murder of innocent scientists (they were only following orders to murder and torture people to create AI constructs, honest!) and then the final dramatic showdown with Hilliers, Katherine (Serpent Person) and Adam (the insane human/AI hybrid). During this battle four of the five players went completely and utterly insane, with copious amounts of C4 being tossed around. A notable highlight of the confusion was when one player armed some C4 and sprinted to the exit, where upon reaching the elevator another investigator successfully football chucked the C4 into the elevator with them.

That was a great moment.

Then one player got eaten by the snake person, another got almost clawed into a bloody pulp and finally the AI was destroyed by use of a spell learned earlier in the game, which drained his magic from him and therefore ended his connection to "The Signal". Without the Signal, he collapsed to the floor uselessly and the PCs chimera "Ally" immediately abducted the sorceress investigator with him without a second thought. Considering being shot by an antimaterial rifle did little to this creature, it was a relief for the investigators when this desperate last trick worked! This left the player consumed by the Byakhee to die in a clearly devastating sudden heel turn! However, C4 + Large snake = Snake everywhere (even if you are an ancient serpent person, swallowing C4 has to suck). Only one player, the newest character after a previous "incident" involving a portal to the center of space and an arm being cut off, managed to actually get his character out without being insane. Thankfully an NPC had provided a parked van full of even more explosives and the entire god forsaken lab and building was buried under tons of rubble, glass and twisted metal.

Without the Signal the large fleet of ships the PCs had seen in visions/heard of turned around, content that humanities time was not yet read and the apocalypse was averted.... for now.

Overall I thought things ended dramatically and appropriately for the highly pulpy, monster fighting campaign that I ended up accidentally running. The important thing is that I really enjoyed it, I've fallen in love with Trail as a system (especially now I will be using all of it!) and am already excited to see what my players come up with in my new campaign. Most importantly, everyone had fun and loved the campaign (even if I am noting all the flaws in it still), but I am very much looking forward to the slower paced and more "Psychological Horror" orientated London game. Especially now I have a very good grasp of how Trail works as a system and all the wonderful things I can do with sources of stability...

All the wonderfully messed up things I can do...
Add me on PSN: Aegeri-
Currently running Trail of Cthulhu, Dungeons and Dragons 5E and Shadowrun.
Blog: The Roleplayer's Guild.
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