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Monday, August 11

The House on McKinley Boulevard: Introduction

This scenario, “The House on McKinley Boulevard,” is a Cthulhu Now scenario from Chaosium’s Last Rites. You can read more about Delta Green at http://www.delta-green.com. Please note: This story hour contains spoilers!

Our cast of characters includes:

• Game Master: Michael Tresca (http://michael.tresca.net)
• Joseph “Archive” Fontaine (Dedicated Hero/Acolyte) played by Joe Lalumia
• Kurtis “Hammer” Grange (Fast/Dedicated Hero/Sharpshooter) played by George Webster

As is probably evident by now, I’m a fan of action horror. There’s a lot to be learned from horror movies in this regard, who have to cram in character development, dread, potential victims, an obstacle or monster to be overcome, and a resolution in just two hours. I’ve also discovered that movies that move the plot along quickly are less likely to strain credibility. The scenario states that, “as the danger in the house becomes more apparent, the investigators may try to get the squatters to leave, perhaps offering them money to do so, or attempting Fast Talk and Persuade rolls against each individual. Try to avoid this. The resident’s psychologies and quirks make convincing excuses…” This is exactly what the agents did, but since I accelerated the threat it was less of a problem.

I’ve stated before that haunted house scenarios really don’t work in role-playing games. At best, if the house is viewed as a threat, the PCs just leave and blow it up. At worst, if the PCs are trapped in the house, they smash their way through a wall and leave. So for a haunted house scenario to work, there must be 1) a reason to stay beyond physical barriers, and 2) events have to happen quickly before the National Guard is called in.

Using these two tenets, I introduced the various squatters as typical horror movie victims. Thus we have the Stoner, the Hysterical Girl, the Fearless Kid, and the Doubting Authority Figure (or in this case, anti-authority figure). These victims in turn gave the agents a reason to stick around as opposed to just calling for backup.

This scenario is essentially one of the “mini-monsters attack” movie plots. After rooting around on the Internet for awhile, I found The Gate, a bad 80s horror movie that suited my needs perfectly. It had everything from little demons attacking people to a summoning gone awry, to a giant monster at the end.

This scenario also worked best because it had only two agents in it, raising the stakes and reinforcing the terror. If one agent went down, they both went down. [MORE]


posted by Michael Tresca at 7:02 AM

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