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First Session notes - 4-30-16 - cyen

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Just got home a little while ago and thought I'd write up how my game went tonight, while it was all fresh in my mind.

Overall - things went well.

Details - I had 7 people, 4 who have played before, and 3 brand new cthulhu players. All of them were coming from a strong D&D background, but I described the game to them and the differences and so I think I prepared them with what to expect. 
The scenario went well for the most part. Most everyone was engaged but towards the end I was losing player's interest (around the 3 hour mark). Part of that might be my own fault as I'm a new keeper, and I'm not experienced enough yet with how to keep things moving. But one of the biggest issues I think tonight, was that on day 2, the geologists didn't really have anything to do, and yet the folklorists were out investigating the town and talking with the locals. So I can't say as I blame them for not staying attentive. That said, I did have most of the group fully engaged for most of the time, so that felt good for me. One of the new guys (who I was worried would be trying to "break the game" - he tends to suggest some crazy ideas sometimes), but he seemed to be enjoying himself. He got into the roleplaying part too, when I handed out some of the folklore stories. 
I wasn't exactly sure if I was handling the folklore group correctly, for when it came to day two, when they went into town. Were they supposed to go around town and talk to all the NPC's or where they just supposed to wander around looking to strike up the conversations with random towns-folk to get those stories. I chose the later (Had them meet a couple of old-timers sitting at the war memorial and that worked well.)

My group is suspicious of EVERYTHING. There's enough red-herrings going on that I'm not sure any of them really have a clue as to what's happening. I think they keep thinking that if they were able to talk to just the right person, that then they would get answers. 

The first zoog sighting went well. The player saw the zoog, and ran into to get "little Rod", but when they came back outside, the zoog and rabbit were gone. So he's trying to rationalize the story to himself that he saw a young bear cub. He went to the reporter, to see if anyone else had seen these strange creatures, and I immediately had the reporter taking notes (like this is going in the next issue of the gazette for sure!) (I might try to write up an article tonight, and tell them it appeared in the following morning's newspaper. Not sure yet, if that will throw too much of a monkey wrench into things or not. 

We ended the session (approx 4 hours) at the end of Day 2. I tried to have Blaine sneak out of the house to communicate with the Mi-go, but two of my PC's are paranoid about the house, and are sleeping in tents in the back yard. I had Blaine go out the front door, and the PC got a *04* on a listen roll, so I told him he heard the frond door open/close. He panic'd and ran around to the front of the house with his knife drawn. I had Blaine just be startled and afraid, and basically had him lie and say, he couldn't sleep in the heat, and came outside to get a breath of fresh air. 
( I wanted them to hear the Mi-go buzzing, but that was sort of foiled). 

I think there was so much information to present in the first session and not a lot of "action" for them. I mean, most Cthulhu players would probably like that (I would), but I could tell some of my players were getting fidgety, and pulled out their phones (a sure sign you've lost them). But even as they were looking at their phones, I know they were still listening.

From the sounds of it, everyone will be returning in about 2 weeks time for possibly the conclusion, but it might possibly go another session. I'll see if I can maybe get them through it all in one more session. 

The shared dreams have not gotten any real reactions. I think they're confused by them, but so far, no one is talking about them at all. I think they like keeping the secrets from the other players.

- cyen

PS> I threw in a cipher too. Using the "Baphomet/Atbash" Cipher, and thought, 'NO WAY are they going to get this." But sure enough the new guy figured it out in about 12 minutes. I was duly impressed. I kept it vague though... I basically told them that "things are not what they seem. Trust No One."
That said, I think they trust the Deputy 100% - the shared whiskey went over great. But I think they all suspect something is up with Blaine.

I have another cipher prepared (Bacon) and I don't think there's ANY way possible they'll get this one. My thinking is that Daphne had left these little clues in the Maclearan house. 

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Good write up. I find that sessions tend to run to about 3 hours anyway. I think that it is better to finish early on a cliff hanger or unanswered question than to to to run exactly to the time you have a lotted for game time. 

The longer they don't discuss the shared dream the better. When they realise that they are having shared dreams the impact will be greater and give a real "spooky" moment with hairs raised I am sure :) 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Update for my Second Session (5-14-16) that I just now got home from...

Overall a very good game this time around. (I for one had a really fun time anyway, but I know some of my players did as well).
It was good to have all 7 of my initial players return, I was afraid I was going to lose at least one. 
I was unable to hold everyone's attention for the full 3 hours, (and it frustrates me that some of them are still breaking out their phones to play games on - but I'm not ready to crack the whip on them yet and ban phones at the table). 
But for the most part, everyone had a fun time as well.
This session went better than the first, because there was more action happening. I ran them through the bridge collapse, and that went well. I had some fall i the river, and take a few minor points of damage. The floating "Mi-go" went over well. most of them are now calling them "crab-people". 

They got mad at Blaine for leaving the geologists on the dig scene during the rain, and honestly, I was originally planning on blaine not even going with the geologists, but I forgot, and then it too late for me to rewind the scene. So I had him leave to make the phone call. One player was insistent on going with him though. I eventually had to pull out the GM hammer and say, "no, you can't go." I told him it was Blaine just flexing his "I'm in charge" muscles.

Once they all were back from rescuing the truck, Blaine continued to act weird. That one player would still not let blaine out of his sight. He failed every Spot Hidden roll to find the Mi-go tracks (I gave him like 3 attempts!) :)

the Bones part went well. It was a little flat though, in that no one was really surprised though. At first they thought the bones were Daphne, but I put the seed out there from the Sheriff, that it might have been Sarah. The bones looked older.

The real fun happened when they finally (after some pushing on my part) decided to explore the woods. I had a series of about 5-7 Zoogs attack them. They fought them off nicely, but one player took about 4pts damage.

But... at this point the game took a turn for the worse - from my point of view... because my one player (who initially saw the first zoog) was only concerned about one thing... to PROVE to everyone that he wasn't crazy. So once he killed one of the zoogs, he grabbed the dead body and RAN back to the house and called the Sheriff and the news-paper reporter. I didn't know how to respond. (I'm still fairly new to running games). Finally, I told them up front, that I wasn't prepared for this, but that I had thought of a solution, but that he wasn't going to like it... I had the Zoog just evaporate. :)

At this point too, all the players were scared of the woods and Zoog, and no-one wanted to go back. (I REALLY wanted them to find John Jeffries, because that was an awesome scene.) So again, I sort of nudged them into it, and had to suggest that maybe if they all were better armed, it might go better.

They finally agreed, and headed back out to find Jeffries. 
That scene went really well. One of my players agreed to put him out of his misery, so I asked how... he said he buried his hatchet into the pulsing brain. I said, ok, but made him roll for SAN 1d6+2. He got a 6. 
I made him roll for a Mania and he got first: wants to write Verse (which I thought was lame for his character, so I asked him to roll again) This time it fit perfectly... He got Paramania - unusual pleasure in complaining. My player immediately fell into it with the roll playing and it was great.

And that's where we ended things.
So they still have one more day, for the final scene.
I'm hoping that with the release of the next Episode, I'll be able to read up more, and hopefully just smoothly transition from the first episode, right into the 2nd.

Overall a big success.

PS> The one character who got the mania... I think he's down to 39 SAN! I didn't realize I was whittling away so many of his SAN points. ;)

Lastly... Most of my players are coming from a D&D background, and they really like the "hack-n-slash" style. They have very little desire to talk to any of the towns folk. I keep asking them, if there's anyone they want to speak with and they keep saying no. Frustrating because there's so much more backstory they're missing out on, but (I think) nothing really critical yet on what I think they NEED to know. I just wish they were willing to "investigate" more.

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