5 Geeks. One Roundish table. On this months Geeky Topics Round Table, we discuss monstrous transformations in games, murder mysteries in RPG’S, and our favorite monsters.
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10 comments on “GTRT Ep 37: The Halloween Episode”
System for Murder Mystery: There’s a World of FATE system called Eagle Eyes that’s styled as Roman noir, in which players are agents for the Roman Senate. Mechanically, it centers around uncovering conspiracies against the Republic. I can’t recall if the GM is supposed to make up the conspiracy ahead of time or if it’s uncovered/made up as the game progresses, so it might not be exactly what you’re looking for, but it’s an interesting idea for basing a game on a mystery.
Character as Monster: The first thing that popped into my mind was Atomic Robo’s Dr. Clementine as a Pennywise-style demon clown. I’m not sure why, but it feels like a good fit.
Character as a monster: As much as Deku want’s to be the latin lover version of Dracula, Roslyn Foyse takes the cake with being a friggin fae. Solidified by the deal with Cynthia Goldwater. The deals with the other Johnsons in Seattle were good on their own but holy christmas the S.N.U.F.F. mall job takes the cake.
Other fun stuff, like David mentioned, HMHVV is awesome. If you want more info on the crazy infected stuff you can find in Shadowrun 5e, Howling Shadows would be the book you’re looking for. (Newbee GM as you may recall, so I could be wrong) but as far as I can tell there is not a city wide infestation of ghouls. That said the nation of Asamando in Africa is a ghoul nation (generally the sentient sort, http://shadowrun.wikia.com/wiki/Asamando)
So on the subject of transformation another good one to explore from WoD is Promethean: The Created. You start off as a monster and the final goal of the game is transformation but into a normal human to live a regular life.
Many of their powers as well are transformative (called transmutations) and some of their main antagonist are failed, twisted versions of their own kind.
For the game where people turn into monsters Unhallowed Metropolis is a clear winner for me. I love love love the corruption mechanic even if my players don’t.
For the tooth fairy I always loved the Discworld version where it’s the original bogeyman trying to protect children from nightmares and stuff
And ofcourse what type of monster would everyone be? Well I’ll use the group from Unhallowed Metropolis.
Marcus would be a vampire. Kinda goes without saying.
Moira would be a mimic as she is always mistaken for a coat rack.
Byron would be a Machiavellian type devil.
And Dr Israel is already the fairy king….wait since I’m Fairy does that make him my king?
Character Monster: The Bacholers at the End of the World as chaos making Goblins, oh wait…no real change 😛
But for reals, would love to hear that Angela run Bubble-Gumshoe: Lois Lane, Ace (cub) Reporter! I can see that the remaining Fandible crew may not be the idle fit, but could it work with Jesus’s DnD Noob Crew?
The talk about the Tooth Fairy and what it may be up to made me think of Terry Pratchetts
The Hog Father
And I was wondering if any of you have read or watched it?
I always loved the tooth fairy setup in that.
Another interesting take on transformation is in Cthulhutech . The game had/ had various play styles , but for this I’m thinking of the Tage and their opponents the Dhoanoids. Guyver knockoff aside , the two groups consist of people who know how to wear the form(and to some extent psyche) of monsters, and monsters who remember how to look and act, but not think, like humans.
What about the idea that what the tooth fairy is taking is life force? So many teeth from children, perhaps it needs those to extend it’s own life at the cost of a few years of happiness from the owners’ of the teeth . Or perhaps they’re somehow important for reproduction .
In Shadowrun , I think Run Faster has information on All the various forms the strains of HDTV takes, with howling shadows touching on the more… exotic typed.
As for monster I sort of imagine Jesus as Granick being a really inept fairy a la rumplestiltskin
Great discussion, and now my head is swimming with all these creepy tooth fairy ideas! Love the concept that they gather teeth to protect against a greater menace – for some reason I imagined a nocturnal scene where swarms of winged, flickering fae creatures are frantically dropping handfuls of children’s teeth into an ancient marsh, almost as if they were salting the earth.
Question about horror and the “final girl” problem: it occurred to me that many of Stephen King’s novels (IT, Dreamcatcher) seem to defy this trope, and feature families or groups of friends confronting The Monster together – not everyone survives, but at least they all make it to the last battle. Wonder if a GM could accomplish the same effect by running a campaign where you have a rich, fully-realized community of NPC’s getting slowly whittled away until the players are left alone. Some random non-King examples of this: Dracula, It Follows, 30 Days of Night, and the unbelievable amazing (if folks haven’t seen it) Attack the Block.
My favorite game featuring transformation is The One Ring. The One Ring is an rpg where you play characters in Middle Earth (specifically the Wildlands). Foremost among the transformations is the effect of the Shadow on characters. It twists them, turning their callings against them. A treasure hunter becomes suspicious and greedy as he begins to percieve people as coveting his wealth. A warden (someone dedicated to fighting the shadow) begins to see the people as he protects as ungrateful and unworthy of his sacrifices. A slayer becomes overrun by their hatred. The list goes on, but I think you get the point.
Part of what makes the Shadow an interesting agent of transformation are the vectors it can effect characters through. You can be corrupted by exposure to tainted areas or treasure. Being subject to anguish or sorcery can be corrupting. Lastly, doing evil deeds will corrupt you (not can, will), reguarless of intention.
Opposing the Shadow is a characterâ€™s Hope. Hope is a resource you can spend to gain bonuses on your rolls (and a few other things besides), but the more you spend the easier it becomes for the shadow to overtake you. Then, when misery (an actual game condition) is upon you, all it takes is something to set you off, triggering your callingâ€™s shadow weakness.
Then there are the larger transformative parts of the game. Itâ€™s meant to be played over a long duration of time, with each â€˜questâ€™ taking up a year (sometimes less) of time in the game world (the quest itself may only take a month or two, but you donâ€™t adventure constantly). The march of years is an important part of the game, where players can witness and take part in the changes that are occuring in the setting.
Campaigns expect that players will go through characters, old ones retiring with heirs taking their place. A single campaign could see the rise and fall of multiple generations struggling against the shadow as it spreads across the land.
Wanted to leave a few thoughts about murder mysteries. First off, Angela is spot on with building backwards. Second off, Gumshoe is awesome.
Okay, with that out of the way, lets talk about something important. Is failure an option? If so, where? Gumshoe makes things easy by removing failure from receiving clues in most cases (its still possible, just not probable). But what about other examples? Many mysteries have a time element to them, so failure may not dictate that you donâ€™t move forward, but that it costs you time. If you donâ€™t solve the case fast enough, the killer strikes again (or some other bad thing happens).
In an ongoing campaign, its more acceptable to sometimes deal with these kinds of losses. The bad guy gets away, which will make it all the more rewarding when you finally catch them. Perhaps the death trap goes off and turns the D.A. into a villain. Either way, a win isnâ€™t always in the cards.
Another way you can fail is the typical one from Gumshoe. Either you fail to put it together (very unlikely), or in the course of events you get taken out yourself. Gumshoe tries to guarantee you get clues, but it says nothing about you surviving or staying sane till the end. Even in a non-gumshoe game you can have this kind of result. Fail an investigate check? Some goons notice you nosing around and come by to blow you away.
Maybe failure means contaminating evidence? Sure, you know who did it, but you canâ€™t get the conviction to stick in court because your evidence is contaminated or obtained illegally. Maybe youâ€™ll get your evidence and a harassment lawsuit filed against you in the process.
Much like a game of Fiasco, itâ€™s all about if things are going to go good or bad for you. Given that many investigative stories are pulps, we expect our heroes to go through the wringer before coming out the other side. Shovel on the consequences, just make sure that the consequences donâ€™t entail stopping the trail of clues.