Thursday, February 28, 2013

Campaign Log: Bringing a book to a gun fight

Pic by my bud, Tim Hulsizer

Here's my recap of Sunday's Call of Cthulhu game. I'm sure I've gotten some details wrong or overlooked something important, but I'm equally certain that someone who attended the game will step in to correct me.
Eric was the GM and we were all playing cinematic versions of ourselves. The players gave him details about themselves ahead of time and he provided the stats. I assume that some of the stats were randomly generated, however, as Eric gave me an APP lower than 30.  I was glad that I didn't have to build my character myself, because, while I used to be familiar with the system, I haven't played since, geez, maybe high school.I played a chemist named "Josh", with a wife named "Joan" and a daughter named "Rose". It was a stretch, but I managed to get into character.

I usually loathe avatar games in RPGs, but this one worked out. It was probably the best avatar game I've ever played. Chaosium's system never seemed like a great match for Mythos gaming to me, but Eric made it work so well that I may have to reevaluate my opinion.

I had joined a campaign already in progress. I was supposed to be there for the last session, but I had to bail at the last minute, and as a result, my character was present for the events of the previous adventure, though only as an NPC. If you are so inclined, you can read about it here.

Dramatis Personæ

I didn't catch the name of each character, but I assume that it was the same as the player.

Me: Playing Josh

Dr. Bob: I've mentioned Bob once or twice on the blog.  He escapes from the pressures of being a professor by pretending to be a professor in the 1920s. He didn't confirm it, but I assume that his character relaxes by pretending to be a professor in the 1820s in some kind of matryoshka-like recursion. The character was some kind of southern gentleman, and the accent evoked Foghorn Leghorn, though, knowing Bob, it was probably some kind of obscure reference to Senator Claghorn instead.

Brian: Brian played a guy named Brian. (I'm assuming). I'm not sure what his deal was. Seemed to know a lot of the folks we needed to meet, though.

Steve: Steve was some kind of medical doctor, I believe, with a pregnant wife.

The Turkish Librarian: The Turkish librarian was a woman, though she was being played by a guy. I don't know the whole story, but she was here from Turkey on some kind of visa, working in the Columbia University library.

Not Present: 

Phil: I know that Phil's original character died, and he was playing a replacement, but he wasn't here, so I never had a chance to meet him.

Jess: "The Widow Carson", a socialite turned Private Investigator. 

In the previous adventure, my boss had told me to keep Jess entertained at a soiree. That turned into the adventure that I missed, and after that wrapped up, we had become acquaintances. She fell out of touch, so I decided, after failing to reach her by phone, I stopped by the office, where I encountered Brian.

We couldn't find Jess, so we went drinking instead. We found Steve at the Gentleman's club and we all started drinking together, as PCs do. Somebody brought up the fact that the papers had offered a large reward for information leading to the return of Phil LeMonde, an occultist of the group's acquaintance. They decided to visit his mom up in Connecticut, and I was thinking about how I could justify dropping everything and going off with these weirdos I had just met when Eric asked me for a Con x3 roll to see if I was drunk enough to think this was a good idea. I looked at my sheet and said "Okay, I need a 42." *clatter* "And that's a 43," and Eric said, "You're on the train to Connecticut..."

Heh heh heh.

We chatted with his mom for a while and got some clues and some cookies. Eric claims that she gave us some sweaters, but I think he was just kidding.

I was jotting down notes and I see on writing this out that I had written, "You Ivory Tower liberals always want big government to clean your prostitutes!", and while I can't remember the context for that, I think it's something that gives you an idea of the kind of game this was.

We stumbled through the adventure for a little while. The librarian suggested we rough up an uncooperative witness by smacking him around with the heavy book she was holding. I said "Don't bring a book to a gun fight," and then we moved on.

We did some more drinking. Bob convinced the librarian to try some mead, by arguing that it circumvents the text of the Islamic prohibition against alcohol. He also invented the Manhattan Julep, which I think he said was a shot of whisky in a glass of champagne.

We followed some clues and broke into an apartment, belonging to the unfortunately named Mister Rogers. I had a 1% skill in locksmith, but still managed to pick the lock. Woot!

The five of us spilled into the place and started looting it before Eric had even finished the description. And that's what we were doing when the cleaning lady knocked on the door.

Steve went to drop the deadbolt before she could enter, but while rushing across the room, he fumbled what should have been a very easy dexterity check He landed in front of the heavy oaken door, just in time to be smacked by it. After a catastrophically bad series of rolls, he took a bunch of damage and then again failed the very easy constitution check and fell unconscious.

We were in the other room, looting the library, and we were about to intervene, because I was thinking that four burglars, even ones as incompetent as we were proving to be, could take one cleaning lady, when she pulled a handgun out of her cleaning bucket.

Bob said, "What, is this a Coen Brother movie?"  She started shooting at us and we scattered, except for the librarian, who had her hands full with the heavy tome we were boosting. She was right next to the maid, so she decided to smack her once with the book, and realized, after being shot at point blank range, that she had in fact brought a book to a gun fight.

Those of us who could flee went out the window. I thought we were going to circle around to have another go at mega-maid, but Bob hailed a cab. He called up to the party members still present, "I'll hold the cab!" and yelled to the cabbie "Go, go, go!"

We did some more drinking. Steve's wife called, demanding to know why her husband was in the hospital.  Ah-ha! Bob was going to try to contact Harry Houdini for help (and Eric knew off the top of his head which supplement had stats for Houdini. NERRRRRRRRRRDDDDDDDDD!!!,) but he missed the Credit Rating check and couldn't reach Houdini.

So we improvised.

Since the librarian was Turkish, they disguised me as the Turkish ambassador to get her out of the hospital. The make up artist who disguised me didn't roll spectacularly well, and Eric said I looked like a "greasy Greek", but this was 1920s New York and nobody really knew what Turks were supposed to look like, so it got us in the door. We failed ruinously at fast talking the cops, (Seriously, we were like Han in the Control Room of the Death Star) but we made enough of a distraction everybody got away.

We all convened at the office where we discovered our friends were missing several months of memory and had fine pinpricks on the back of their neck. We started playing with some of the junk we had recovered from Rogers' apartment. One of them projected the image of some creepy monster when activated.  We also learned that Mister Rogers had kinship to the Yith and was under orders to kill LaMonde and his associates.

We did a little more digging, almost got killed by a bunch of mobsters when we all walked in to their HQ, armed to the teeth, but we learned that LaMonde was being treated/held at a celebrity asylum. His agent had power of attorney and we all drove up there to check him out.

I thought this part was just the denouement  Everything seemed to be going fine until the two party members allowed in the facility encountered mega-maid and a dude with a weird gun in LaMonde's room. However, the guy with the gun must have been using Steve's dice, because he fumbled and his weapon blew up in his hand. Brian had smuggled in a veritable arsenal and made short work of the pair. 

LaMonde was saved, we presumably got our money, and all was right with the world. We rolled for skill improvement, we regained a little sanity and that was that. It was a lot of fun. I'm glad I had the opportunity to attend and I eagerly anticipate the next one.


  1. Manhattan Juleps for everyone! Then off to Harlem for Friiiiiieeed Chicken!