Sunday, January 25, 2015

"Manifest Destiny," Session 1: Auspicious Beginnings

Last night we ran the first session (sort of) of my new Call of Cthulhu campaign.  Only two of the four players were available (the other two will join in next session), and the fact that neither one of them had any experience with RPGs before this made for an interesting experience.  It's been, let's see...probably close to six years since I've taught Call of Cthulhu to anyone new, and I've never been anyone's absolute introduction to role-playing games before.  Everyone else had come from a background of D&D, for the most part, or at least console RPGs like Final Fantasy.

So we spent some time talking about what the game was about and how it worked, and I walked them through character creation ("This is a lot of math," one of them asked, "is it all going to be math?" I reassured her that post-character creation all math would be limited to simple addition and subtraction - mostly subtraction, from Hit Points and Sanity Points alike).  Here's what we ended up with:

Dr. Ryder
Dr. Rohan Ryder, disgraced and alcoholic surgeon and inventor.
Lady Eliza Ripper, P.hD, spy and occultist, and a dab hand with a fowling-gun as well.

"Rohan Ryder."  I just got that.  Damn.

Character's made, we ran a brief session to familiarize them with the mechanics.  I didn't want to go too far because there's a good spot to introduce the other two characters early on, and I didn't want to have too much happen before the second two players arrived.

What happened:

Drs Ryder and Ripper arrived at Monticello as per Thomas Jefferson's request, and he laid out the
Eliza coolly reaches for her gun.
situation:

"Governor Meriwether Lewis has died, allegedly by his own hand, the night of October 11th at an inn 75 miles south of Nashville.  Some discrepancies in the testimonies of witnesses lead me to wonder if this was, in fact, suicide or if Governor Lewis has in fact been murdered.  The fact that he apparently shot himself three times, twice in the head, while carrying only two pistols raises question enough for me to see this matter investigated.  This is where you two, as well as two other agents you will meet shortly, come in."

After reviewing the testimonies of Priscilla Griner, proprietess of Griner's Stand, the inn where Lewis died, and of Major James Neelly, one of Lewis' travelling companions, the investigators set out on horseback for Nashville.

Along the way, they had an encounter with a trio of highwaymen that ended quickly after Eliza whipped out a blunderbuss and ventilated the lead highwayman.

"He's dead? Great! I dance in his blood and then we can eat him!" remarked Eliza's player, demonstrating, perhaps, the difference in sanity between player and character.  When asked why she wanted to eat him, her response was "Well, we didn't pack food for the trip, did we?"

the blunderbuss in question.
Arriving in Nashville with no further issue, as they made their way to the house where Brigadier General William Clark was staying they were stopped by a stooped, bearded, shabby-looking man who urged them to turn back, forget their mission, accept that Lewis died by his own hand and go home.  When they tried to question him, he flashed a gold badge consisting of a drafter's square, a compass, and an eyeball and explained that he was under orders and could not say anything more.  As Eliza and Dr. Ryder debated what to do about this, the shabby man disappeared into the crowd.

That's where this session ended, and where the next session (February 7th) will begin.  Everyone had fun, despite the shortness of the session, and they're looking forward to coming back and seeing what happens next time "especially once things get weird," as Eliza's player remarked.

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