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Journal of No. 118

June 12th, 2011

Two Wyrd @ 03:58 pm

The second Wyrd Con is wrapping up about now. I only went Saturday, but packed quite a bit in. I wanted to show up for the LGL brunch this morning and hang out with friends old and new, but couldn't face the thought of driving to the OC and back twice today (since we're having dinner with Dad later today).

Spoilers & War Stories

Saturday started off pretty rapidly after my arrival with some quick location wrangling and set dressing for LGL's run of Gatsby and the Great Race along with the other people behind the game: aaronjv, hagdirt, kidzero2525, and Ross. A&K&I were involved in running 'Gatsby' in 2009 (and Ross was a player in that run) so we had some experience under out belt that was helpful.

Hmmm... it's hard to write this without explaining a lot of complicated backstory. But if you need the backstory, you shouldn't read it, since maybe you'll play this game some day, so I'm just going to assume you know it all and then it won't make much sense and you'll skip down to something more profitable for you to read. Head down to the line...

We had about 15 players, about 5 per reality. I GM'ed reality #1 again, and right from the start things went very different from the first time I ran it. Possibly because Wyrd Con players have a lot more experience with live games, they latched on to the bio sketches and were much better versed in the interpersonal relationships that had been set up in the backgrounds. This made things a lot easier for me, since the larpers were perfectly capable of handling little subconversations without any prodding from me. Though the fate of Edith came up early and players seemed eager to latch on to this red herring. Hey, sometimes people travel to the South Pacific and then coincidentally come down with rare neurological conditions and have to be committed. It happens. Look it up. They also latched onto more important clues like the importance of granddad's travels.

Amelia#1 is forced to be the first to fall unconscious, and I managed to arrange the first loopback to occur to catch her in flagrante delicto with an old flame behind some bushes in the garden. Going from panting with passion to hyperventilating with mind-numbing shock was too much for her and off she went.
It's confusing enough to run something where the same loop of time recurs. Remembering what happened in order is just impossible.

Christopher Marsh did take an opportunity to place a bet on Rosemont to win and Seabiscuit to place, but it wasn't the last loop, and reality #1 was squished, and someone else was in his body at the end anyway.
Sylvia and Oswald were the only two that stayed put in reality #1, and they did a patient job of Scooby-dooing to uncover clues and figure out what needed to be done... in the face of an indifferent universe that offered them no way to do it.

Andrew was belligerently proactive, spending a lot of time waving a tire-iron about and assaulting Gatsby. Neo-Amelia managed to summon a spirit, and (as happened in the previous run) everybody asked a bunch of questions that the spirit was ill-equipped to answer (being in the exact same position), but setting the stage for some better questions for the next time.

Andrew surprised Gatsby emerging from his hidey hole and gathered the fragment and some information, only to be struck by Amnesia on the following rollback. How the heck did this get in my pocket? What is it?
Christopher Marsh awakes from his stupor and demands to know why he's wearing an ugly suit and where his breasts have gone. The butler is dumbfounded by the young gentleman's questions.

One detail that struck me when rereading the scenario (that I missed or forgot the first time) was the use of poltergeist-like incidents to indicate some interaction between the realities. A phantom shotgun blast destroyed a wall near Andrew, and only Sylvia was able to briefly get a glimpse of a smoking shotgun cradled in the arms of... herself. Champagne glasses floated down the hallway, being sipped at by nobody.

As reality continued to crumble, it was clearly taking its toll. An attempt at a séance was derailed by a greater appetite for the amatory arts. Though care was taken to ensure all climaxes occurred safely before the time loop, the lesson learned for a purely hypothetical next time was that Amelia requires a little more time and attention. Though possibly it may be due to the fact that this was Felicity's first attempt at congress while trapped in a man's body.

Michael is given the fragment, and the inhabitants of reality #1 selveslessly manage to push him into the Zero Room, sending the fragment out of reality #1 [I'm not sure the rules really allow for this, but the multiverse needed a break]. A bit later, a séance is held to talk to Michael, and the spirit inhabiting Michael #N does indeed arrive, but proves to be Andrew #1. Perhaps the players recognized the player, but did a good job of using role-playing to determine the identity of identities. "Did you strangle Gatsby?"

I followed the timeline to the letter, and started lowering the boom on reality #1. Exploding decanters, fracturing buildings, a thunderstorm blowing in from the sea that was really Yog-Soggoth come to reclaim this fragment of wayward time/space. Lightning melted cars, molten aluminum metalplated Amelia's legs to her great delight. Oswald felt sadly constrained by gravity as he tried to leap into Yog-Soggoth. The hedgemaze grew to a dizzying height and then bedecked by venus flytrap mouths. Yog-Soggoth begins settling lower, dissolving the upper floors of the mansion as it descends. With some last shred of sanity, everyone starts running their heads into walls or asking each other to knock them into unconsciousness. 'That's it man, game over man, game over! What the fuck are we gonna do now? What are we gonna do?' Oswald chivalrously clocks Amelia and Sylvia into unconsciousness. Oswald runs at a wall, which obliges by meeting him halfway and flattening him.

Felicity/Christopher, seeking lower ground, smashes his way into the wine cellar, which is adjacent to the gun cabinets. Armed with an elephant gun and two rifles, F/C hunkers down in the face of an implacable god. No sense in firing the weapons, but there is some small solace in knowing that she is the last remaining sentient thing in this universe, before that remaining spark is also extinguished.

The players and I chit-chatted a bit while universe #2 went into extra innings and ultimately succeeded in reuniting the fragments and saving that reality. All in all it went really well, and I think the players and all of us had a good time -- even those who perished. The rooms were cramped and not ideally located to pull off a real mind-fuck, but it worked out okay.

I helped tear stuff down and lug stuff out and rearrange a table or two so Valkyrie could get its set-up underway, and then it wasn't long til I made my first meat-space encounter with The Collective. However, these occult matters are rightly hid behind a veil of secrecy. Those who care to pierce the veil may do so, as I have done, through patient research and contact with likeminded individuals.

A flame-broiled burger and a couple beers left me in good shape to face Nightmare Masquerade, a modified Cthulhu Live event set at the US embassy in Casablanca. The game was run by Phoenix LARP, and it was a treat to be involved in a Lovecraftian LARP that was A) not run by someone I know and B) not run by me. I've never actually played with Cthulhu Live rules before [which is odd since my name is in the rulebook (albeit in a position of much-deserved non-prominence)] but it moved pretty smoothly even with pick-up players like me who didn't know what we were doing.

My first character (it *is* a Cthulhu game after all) was a revolutionary disgruntled by Morocco's status as a French protectorate. I met my contact, who slipped me some really awkward-to-hide weapons. With more passion than forethought, I successfully crept up on the French officer and blew his brains out, shouting "Death to the French!". Despite my protestations of solidarity with His Sultanic Majesty, the Sultan's guards cut me down, a martyr to the cause of Moroccan independence. "My dear Mademoiselle, perhaps you have already observed that in Casablanca, human life is cheap."

Character #2 was an American con-man, looking for one last big score before skipping town. I had already done 'sneaky', so I veered toward 'blatant' for contrast and played him as an obvious rootless drifter and ugly American. I gate-crashed a swanky dinner at the embassy, annoyed archeologists and potentates, called everyone 'buster' or 'toots', taught people American card games. And generally avoided the supernatural. I had one look at the disfigured, bloodless and disintegrated body in that room, and I didn't want any more of it.

About halfway through, I had the good fortune to fall in with an heiress, who had been even more spooked by the grisly turn of events. Pretty soon it was clear that we were the only sane people there. Others were either dead, or continued to poke around in THAT ROOM, while the two of us slowly rested at temporary perches further and further away from it, while forming a closer and closer attachment that would surely work to my benefit, one way or another. The guards unconscionably kept us all locked in the embassy while authorities 'dealt with the situation,' but the two of us took advantage of the confusion created by the emergence of some blasphemous thing to effect an escape. Eva says she'll arrange for a comfortable room for me at the family villa. I may have missed almost all the boogabooga, but I had fun playing the character and feel sure he woulda done the same in my shoes. Also please note how to win a Cthulhu game: find an eligible heiress who finds you attractive and then leave with her.

I drifted through Limbo! to shake a few hands and say goodbyes and slam down a shot of mamajuana as 'one for the road'. That's some good stuff, but a little too sweet for my taste.
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Date:June 13th, 2011 09:25 am (UTC)
Yay! Thanks for coming, and running Gatsby again.

I do want to hear more about The Collective and the Cthulhu larp; the latter of which I helped bring to Wyrd Con after playing through one at MythosCon.

re: mamajuana
I got that last blend juuuust right for my palate. So nyeah.
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Date:June 13th, 2011 04:03 pm (UTC)
You're very welcome; Gatsby was a blast. Can't wait to hear what you've got to say, since you saw and did! a lot more than I.

Oh, one thing about the Cthulhu LARP; one of the designers not only came to Wyrd Con, but actually moved this weekend to SoCal... Burbank IIRC. She seems to have the intent of starting up Cthulhu Live! games out here.
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Date:June 14th, 2011 08:39 am (UTC)
Comment from Lianna of Melodramatic Mysteries, and who won a TON of awards for best prop, a Dragon Crossbow that is totalyl larp safe (fires foam darts, with adjustable settings for impact).

"All that I can say is DAMN that was good! David King, Pam and I have already talked briefly about trying to find a way to run it here. The stumbling blocks may be getting enough players and having enough space. There is actually enough space in our house, but there may be stairs involved for certain things. Perhaps a tent in the backyard??"

Tony, who started in your universe (British chap) also enjoyed it, especially the Extra-Dimensional aspect. hagdirt said that she would take people outside and leave them there (for a few minutes), or have multiple people just lightly pick at their clothes as they were standing. He said he wanted to steal some aspect of the game for his own larps. I said sure.

I am glad people had fun, I wasn't as satisfied with my Keeper0ing as I would have liked. I was bored myself for the fifteen minutes between 12:05 and 12:15. The race was over, and I was sick of talking about the weather. I couldn't wait for the first loop.

For mine, I had NPC Lawrence Carrington look at the party and say "Oh no. Oh no." and run off into the woods behind the manor. When the PCs told Gatsby this, he said "Oh really? Well, we'll just have to get him," as he went into the shed and grabbed his shotgun. He found Lawrence (talking to some other PCs), and blew him apart right in front of them (SAN ROLL!) It worked well, because when the loop occurred, the PCs noticed they were no longer covered in blood, and Lawrence was still alive.

The next loop was suicidal Gatsby (who did a swan dive into the courtyard TWICE, a la The Tenant, in between painfully giving some crucial intel to the players and begging them to kill him.

My third was Gatsby staying in the casting room trying to fix the disk (mumbling so LISTEN rolls allowed the investigators to find him), and my fourth was Gatsby taking off in his roadster so the players could loot the casting room unhindered.

Finally, once I sent the disk off to end the game, Gatsby set everything on fire, leading to the Scourging of Cthuga. I didn't kill off my entire universe, just left a scorch mark on it. I had two real deaths, one indefinite insanity, and two very shaken people who hugged each other as they realized they were the engaged partners from the same other universe, and, fortunately, in same-gender bodies (I did have one male in a female body, but he/she perished in the fire).
Date:June 14th, 2011 08:43 am (UTC)
oops...The Tenant

"No one does it to you like Polanski!"

(yeah, with quaaludes!)

Journal of No. 118