This week the townspeople of Tall Pines became embroiled in a murder mystery when promising teen musician, Phoenix, died under mysterious circumstances… or so it seemed. His death brought quite a few loads of dirty laundry out to air. Our “series” followed an aspiring filmmaker, an especially friendly debutante, a criminal mastermind, a butterfly mystic, and two officers of the law as they uncovered harrowing secret after harrowing secret about their small mountain community. Most of them died.
When Mardi Gras revelers began turning up dead or mauled by a mysterious creature, locals caretaker Leroy Honeycutt and recluse Henry Leblanc got scared but not so scared they couldn’t mess with out-of-towners YouTube reporter Chase Williams, who came for the story, and mob enforcer Alyssa Vito, who came to get the creature. Using Follow by Ben Robbins, these four tried to track the Bayou Beast to its lair but found nothing but a bunch of bats in some old caves. Then we tried to learn the beast’s weakness and came to believe it was addicted to alcohol-laden blood. Finally, we tried to set a trap for the beast by letting Chase get falling down drunk, but the beast never showed. Later, we learned that the police had found an escaped circus bear, who they blamed for the attacks. But were they covering up the truth?
Our Fiasco session this week was tight and dramatic, using the “Salem 1692” playset by Logan Bonner and Lillian Cohen-Moore. We divided into two factions, the mother and daughter tied to witchcraft, and the pair of Deacons who orchestrated the witch hunts, but the relationships were complicated by the mother, Sarah Proctor, having witnessed Deacon John Harsh murder a girl years ago and blame it on witchcraft, and by the repressed feelings between daughter Hannah Proctor and Deacon Ash (Job-Raked-from-the-Ashes). Thanks to Sarah Proctor’s machinations and manipulations, by the end, the children had married and Deacon Harsh turned himself in out of guilt. In the Aftermath, however, the world of every character came down upon their heads, with death embracing each of them but Hannah, who ended up back at her mother’s home, husbandless and with child.
Tonight we played a piratical session of Archipelago by Matthijs Holter. In this Caribbean world, the merfolk and humans have just emerged from a war under a tenuous peace. Resentments remain on both sides, with the merpeople divided on how to react to humanity’s continued presence and incursions into their territories. Mermaid Princess Aphrodite believes humans can’t be trusted and should be driven away, while her sister Princess Viviana is enamoured with human culture and dynamism, while their uncle leads a mission to convert humans to merfolk ways. Meanwhile, Bloody Lisbet is planning a heist of Port Harbor from her ship the Stonewall Mutiny, sending her first mate, Luc Sweetcheeks into town where he discovers their magical treasures and encountered old shipmate, Half-Beard, who was recruiting a crew for his own ship. In the end, he charms, converts, or cows the merfolk, but the humans begin to fight amongst themselves once Lisbet steals the payroll and the economy begins to collapse. During the disturbance, the humans fire an ancient artifact into the air, and it begins to sing, bringing a moment of peace and quiet to all the lands, creating a chance of a new beginning between the two peoples.
We playtested the nearly complete version of Noir World by John Adamus tonight. We told the story of three crooks trying for the big score: career criminal Chase Nolan, goon SweetT Sweetums, and Ex-Con Griff Campisi. Chase arranges for the three to make a flashy smash and grab of the Burnam & Bailey’s circus to distract from the real heist happening upstairs, but he didn’t count on Griff ratting them out get his revenge on SweetT for sending him up the river in the first place. After crashing their getaway truck and exchanging blows, Chase and T regroup and decide to hightail it out of New York and back to the old country via Canada.
The game is PBTA but streamlined down to only 4 basic moves and 3 stats, so it moves pretty easily and there never is any question about which move is being engaged by the fiction. With only three players, the restrictions on framing scenes with the rotating MC’s character got in the way fast, so we ditched it and built scenes with all three characters as needed, especially at the end. We didn’t create a great film, but it hung together pretty well and had some good mood and action beats.
We got the chance to play Fiasco by Jason Morningstar, a game we all seem to like in the group. We chose to use the ‘Tales of Suburbia’ playset. Our story was centered around the politics of a suburban high school leading into Prom.
As 3 out of 4 players were very comfortable with the game already, the game played rather fast. Also having 2 copies of the playset at hand, made the setup go considerably faster. Including the intermission, we finished the game in 2.5 hours.
As we had some time left, we also played a short LARP, Out of Dodge, also by Jason Morningstar. We played a band of criminals that was driving away from the cops after a score gone wrong. Each player had some prompts to follow that added tension to the dialogue as we all tried to piece together what happened and who betrayed who.