At Orccon 2012, I ran the third installment of my Savage Worlds: Ghostbusters LA game.
I had serious writer’s block when trying to come up with Part 3, with at least three false starts at the adventure. Finally, out of desperation, I resorted to the random horror adventure tables in the back of Reality Blurs’ Realms of Cthulhu source book for Savage Worlds.
The tables did give me several elements which helped me put a story together. There was some mystery, some gore, a little spookiness.
If you’re interested, here are my game notes going in to the session: SW-GBLA-3-Game Notes
Here are a few things that went right and wrong during the game.
At every GB:LA game the players get an issue of the Pasadena Paranormal Press. The Pasadena Paranormal Press is the local paranormal news paper. In each edition, I put several articles that just provide a backdrop for the game, and usually one or two articles that have relevance to the scenario.
There was a major change in the storyline that happened in the first minutes of the game. The players volunteered to go to the home of a murdered paranormal report and investigate the scene. This allowed me to get them in proximity with several important clues and create a real distrust for the police. The players gave me this opportunity, and I jumped at it.
Here was the issue for Part 3: SW-GBLA-3-PPP
My biggest problem with this prop was that only one article in it had any relevance at all to the game — and that was minimal at best. The article about the Bearcat. My plan was to foreshadow that thing, and when everything went upside down, it would roll on to the scene. I was able to make that happen, but it wasn’t that big of a plot point, and the newspaper was more of a distraction than anything else.
In the future, I’ll do the newspaper last, when I have a firmer grip on the story line.
The other prop I made for the game was a series of audio files that were the voice recorder notes of the deceased reporter. I provided these to the players in the form of a series of QR codes they could scan with their smart phones and listen to the corresponding audio files. Here’s a pdf of the QR Codes, and the files are still in place if you’re curious about them.
These worked out well. While the players had to leave the room to hear them (they all huddled in a closet), it provided an interesting way to deliver scenario information to the players.
I was very happy with the player characters and the players depiction of them. I have a pool of nine PCs, all of whom can contribute in a meaningful way to the party. I’m becoming convinced that good character concepts may be the biggest contributor to a good game.
One last observation: this game had far more of a potential for horror and suspense than any other game I’ve run. None of this really took. Perhaps it was the expectations before the game, the characters or the fact that we were in a crowded room at a game convention.