Cheaters prosper, like all the time. So I decided to find someone who kind of knows the system and can baby-step me through the process of preparing such an open world play game. His name is Mike and he joined my game to help me remember things about how combat works and how aspects and skills and stunts all fit together. Truth be told I’m not much of a reader. Thanks to mild dyslexia, reading takes a significant effort on my part, and yet I’m drawn to these games that require chapters and chapters of homework before you can even play them!
But that’s not why we’re here anyway. We’re here to talk about how a GM can react to players in a setting where they can build whatever they want. And boy did my players not disappoint on that front!
I said in the last blog post that I was planning on running a superhero campaign. That’s basically what I said to my players and nothing more. I didn’t say that I was thinking about a marvel or DC superhero game. So when we made characters one of the players just made a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. Not like a generic ninja turtle, either, he’s literally Leonardo in this campaign. Next up is Dr. Fairy Princess. A medical prodigy at the age of 12, she’s still experiencing puberty. This means she’s given to violent mood swings that can boost her damage output if she so desires. Her weapon of choice is a scalpel and I have to say I’ve never run into a creepier character concept. Third on the list is Jeff Saphire. This one is Mike and I think he was throwing me a bone here because of the last two. He basically created Joe Diamond from the Eldrich/Arkham Horror games. The fourth and final player in this game is actually a DM for another D&D game I play in so he decided to make his character “The Dungeon Master”. One of his stunts is “rule 0” where he can allow any ally to gain +2 when he spends a fate point.
So what the heck am I supposed to do with this?? An Eldrich Detective, a Raging, creepy, 12-year-old, a nerdy megalomaniac and a 90’s cartoon character.
So follow my thought process: Call of Cthulhu is an RPG as well, so I can link The Dungeon Master and Jeff Saphire. The best way I can think to do that is to either put The Dungeon Master into Jeff’s world or pull Jeff out of his world and into the Dungeon Master’s. I opted to put The Dungeon Master into Jeff’s world. I said the Dungeon Master had some magic dice that could put him into an RPG world, and… OH! I know! your creepy 12-year-old niece found them and accidentally rolled them and the two of you were transported into the world of eldritch horror in Chicago circa 1920. So how do I work in the Ninja Turtle? This was the stretchiest move I made, but I decided that Dr. Fairy Princess used to love that show and her intense love of Leonardo and the strange eldritch nature of their new world brought him into existence. And he’s just as confused as anyone else.
So far the game is becoming VERY tongue-and-cheek as a result of this hodgepodge of pop culture references. Not a single lick of it being the superhero game I was envisioning. But hey I let that go for the sake of enjoyment and frankly I’m having a blast. The Dungeon Master had to confess that he trapped some problem players in this world several years ago and hired Jeff Saphire to find them. of course, he had to make money first so The Dungeon Master runs a speakeasy with is niece and a ninja turtle masquerading as an apothecary (because why not?). So far they’ve had some problems with Johny Law, and frankly, I have no idea what to bring up next.
One thing I’m NOT going to do: Prepare any story line! They went off the rails in CHARACTER CREATION for goodness sake! Also: one of the players initially wanted to create a hero based on the character of Flo from the Progressive Insurance commercials; I kid you not.