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Episode 1 play report

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Here is the report from my first A Time to Harvest session, hopefully it's useful for those who haven't run it yet and
brings up some useful comparisons for those who have.

Our party consists of 3 investigators:
Bradley Fineweather, 17 year old maths prodigy (The player rolled a huge INT and tiny EDU, we felt having a prodigy
character that wasn't very world wise head to university early might be fun)
Tony Cantorella, 21 year old Anthropology student and star of the college football team
Edward 'Tubs' Winters, 23 year old geology major.  Think Samwell Tarly and you won't go too far wrong with an image of Tubs

Our party weren't hugely familiar with each other before starting off.  Passing familiarity only for the most part, the
initial drive out to Cobb's Corners went ahead without major incident, everyone getting into character and meeting the other
students on the trip.

GM note: I found it increasingly tricky to keep all of the 'other' students visible.  My players were certainly aware of
their existence but outside of Blaine and Harold Higgins (Also a geology student so we figured he and Edward had a
relationship, he was easier to engage in the story) I feel I struggled to remember who was who and keep juggling the
different character hats around.  I suspect as a result they all came across a touch 'cardboard cut out' but my players
haven't complained about that so maybe I'm overanalysing my issues!

Day 1 passed roughly as written in the scenario, ending with the first evening dream.  Edward Winters had the prior
relationship with John Jeffery so he definitely had the dream, Bradley also succeeded a POW roll and shared it with him.  
The following morning they both went out to check out the flowerbed, Bradley spotting the zoog on the way back to the house
but not making too big a fuss out of it at the time.

On day 2, after dividing into groups, the anthropologists (Tony and Brad) went straight to see old Agnus Bellweather, having
had the tour of the town previously, the note from Deputy Cutter about staying away from her piqued their interest, I just
moved the encounter with her from day 4 to now, since it didn't seem time dependent.  They found it unnerving but nothing
worth following up on.  They then decided on a trip to the Library, I kept the copy of 'Ecstasy, Flames and the Druids of
Briton' unmentioned (the text implies it shouldn't be brought up until the repeat visit to Cobbs Corners) but some library
use from the PCs and discussion with Mabel did highlight the alarming number of young deaths.  I stumbled slightly in trying
to judge details of these, The players were asking how they had occurred.  I decided to make it come across as the majority
were accidents, or at least reported that way, falling into the river, accidents whilst climbing in the wilderness, that
kind of thing.  I feel some detail here round how some of the Young have chosen to end their lives might have been useful
but it was by no means critical.

Day 3 I felt I floundered on slightly, the anthropologists headed off with no major issues, the soil workers started early
and then were consigned to the truck when the rain got bad enough, Blaine was able to head off to 'find help' easily enough
but then I felt I struggled to justify some actions.  I felt that trying to persuade Joe Harlow to head back to the farm
when the rain is still bad was a tricky one, clearly he didn't want to head back to the farm early because of the weather,
rather than just because Blaine told him to wait there.  At which point it feels odd that he'd suddenly decide it was worth
heading back, especially if the weather is bad enough to cause the issues at the bridge.  We went with it in the end but I
couldn't help but feel that the motivation for getting the truck moving felt 'off'.  What I actually did was have him drive
to the nearby farm Blaine was allegedly heading towards, where our party (Edward Winters) could use the phone to call the
Maclearan farm house to see if Blaine had got back there.  I had him arrive back as one of the Anthrology team back at the
house answered the phone, to give the geologist team a reason to really push Joe to head back.

The bridge incident started mostly as written in the book, but I didn't have the group from the farm turn up as the
geologist team were so furious with Blaine at that point that if he had turned up there would have been a very weird series
of arguments whilst the rain was lashing down and I felt I'd rather save that for back at the farm.  Even then it was tricky
to justify Blaines actions and deflect suspicion away.  The geology team were (quite rightly) suspicious that he had any
reason to leave them behind and I felt I struggled to provide adequate cover.  That said, I've spoken with my players
afterwards and asked if they had feedback about any scenes and none of them have said they thought that his motivations were
unrealistic or unexpected, so maybe I'm worrying over it for nothing.  This did cause me the most concern whilst running it
through, when you know his real motivations the process makes a lot of sense but it doesn't feel like he has any good
answers for why he might leave them behind that don't immedaitely arouse suspicion.

The third dream that night served the expected outcome in that our team all cried off going to Broken Hills to investigate
the Dream Gate, overall this progressed kind of as planned.  Initially they tried to run from the Moon Beast but Bradley
going catatonic due to losing 1/5th of his SAN meant the other two essentially had to stay and fight as they couldn't carry
him away from the scene.  The fight with the Moon Beast was over surprisingly quickly, the fight with the Lengites was a
little longer and lead to Edward suffering a major wound.  Thankfully Athlete Tony made an astounding number of brawl
checks, I wonder how a team without at least one combat capable investigator would fare at this stage.  After successfully
rescuing Emily I had them return to the farmhouse for the 'Dream Gate Resolution' optional ending.  It felt spookier to me
to have everyone missing when the investigators got back to the Maclearan farm.

They barricaded the farmhouse and went to rest that night, intending to leave in the morning, and I had Blaine turn up with the rebrained students bright and early and start harrowing our group back into the truck to Miskatonic, and that's where we ended things.

Overall positive vibes from all my players, one of them said 'I felt completely a a loss as to what to do and what was going on, this is a perfect Call of Cthulhu adventure' :)

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