Monday, August 22, 2005

Stranger Things - Indy Game

Over the course of two evenings at Gen Con Indy, I ran a short playtest of Stranger Things with a few of my friends. We didn't play an entire game, just a handful of scenes, mainly because we started late in the evening for both sessions and we were all pretty tired.

Tammy's character was Neko, a Stranger with preternatural feline abilities. She ended up not playing in many scenes, as she was the sleepiest of group and nodded off. James played Nanavenes, who had hands, feet and head of smokey quartz and could "sing" pure tones of any frequency in a crystalline voice. Ed's character was Kandelo, a Stranger with luminous, waxy skin who had a flame arising from his body at all times, often from his head.

My memory of the particulars of the game is hazy, as I was tired as well, but there are several scenes that stuck with me. In one, Ed had Kandelo confront a groups of humans that had been chasing a demon, and had in fact shot the demon twice. The leader of the group claimed the demon had slain his cousin and they were going to take the demon back for justice. The demon claimed innocence, and the woman who was killed had been his love (I lifted this plot idea from Bankuei.) Kandelo used his power over fire to get the group to back down. It was a very cool and intense scene. It reminded me of some of the stuff we've had in our Dogs in the Vineyard game, and I mean that as a compliment.

In another, Nanavenes came across a gondola under attack by a gang of vampires. He jumped onto the gondola and during the course of the conflict, smashed the mouths of a few vampires, leaving their teeth tinkling on the deck of the boat. The woman on the gondola was a very famous courtesan in the district, and the vampires had stolen an amulet given to her by one of her paramours. It was the Seven Stars of Meznal, the Goddess of Shadows, seven black smokey stones set in silver. Nanavenes promised to return the amulet to the courtesan.

Later, Nanavenes and Neko were investigating the mysterious disappearance of several demons in a demon ghetto. They followed the trail to a street full of shops that specialized in magic, to a book binder's shop. While trying to find a way in, dozens of vampires showed up to enact revenge on Nanavenes. Neko was not pleased to be dragged into this vendetta, and her goal was to get away. Nanavenes had the goal of using vampires to smash his way into the binder's shop. In a rather entertaining exchange, both succeeded, with Nanavenes finally getting into the private area of the shop and encountering a dark mage who was displeased to see him. Neko disappeared onto the rooftops of the Murder Mews.

Meanwhile, Kandelo used a magic ritual to enter the spirit world in order to find the ghost of Lina, the woman who had been killed. A few failures had Kandelo being draw into a dark and twisted spirit carnival, where he almost lost himself. He pulled himself away and completed his mission, finding the spirit in the foyer of her family's home where she had been killed. She told him a human suitor that she had rejected killed her. Kandelo told her to move on to the next world, that he would help avenge her, and she would one day be reunited with her demon lover.

Sadly, that is all we got to play, but I hope to finish up with these character. It was a lot of fun, once we all got up to speed on the system. We were a little unsure of how to do narration on re-rolls, but I found a example that clarified things. There was also a question as to whether the Strangers had access to both demonic and human magic, like it is in Trollbabe, or if you were locked into one by your choice in character creation. We assumed it the same as Trollbabe and moved along. I really enjoyed the game and loved the use of the map tiles, even though the characters were only ever on two tiles. We barely touched on Relationships. I think Kandelo took a relationship with the demon he saved, and I think James was planing on his character getting one with the courtesan. If we play some more, I'm sure well get more into that.

Some funny things with Numbers. Tammy chose 9 for her character. Cats have nine lives after all. James gave Nanavenes a number of 7, the hardness number of quartz, which his character's extremities are made of. Ed also did a cool sketch of Kandelo, and one of Nanavenes giving a vampire a mouthful of bloody Chiclets.


John Harper said...

Wow. What great Strangers! I love the drawing of Kandelo, too.

I'm very happy to hear that the game went well. You're right about magic; you choose a preference at character creation, but you're not restricted to that type exclusively. I need to say that in the text.

Thanks for posting about the game, Joe. I get a big thrill reading about people playing my game, especially when they "get it" as well as you and your players do.

Anonymous said...

I'm sad I didn't know about this! I would've liked to watch or play.

Ed H said...

At the time I didn't know about the Embassy Suites gaming thing or I would have suggested we do it there!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like great fun had by all, you old goat. ;)


Ed H said...

Hey, Colin lives! Cool!