Our Finnish guest Toni ran three games of Monster of the Week during this Geekmeet weekend. They were all unplanned, fully improvised, and I was the only one to play in all three of them. I played the same character in all the games, so I got a wonderful little mini-campaign with lots of continuity and character growth. That turned out well!
Our first game was run by Toni as an introduction to RPGs for our friend Garion (seen up here making his FIRST CHARACTER EVER – a Mundane, of course). We investigated a series of horribly mutated corpses turning up in Chicago. I took the sidekick skin and played with Jonna’s Expert as my hero, and Jan’s Monstrous as the guy who had once tried to kill me and was now hitting on my hero. Drama!
In one of the character history links Jonna mentioned receiving a magical dagger from one of the other characters. That magical dagger turned out to have hands and feet, a lot of expression and a will of its own. It was a cute comic relief bit, and in killing Dr. Frankenstein my sidekick got mystically linked with the dagger. I joked that my character was ready to graduate to a different skin now.
I liked Toni’s GMing style, which was very laid back, leaving plenty of room for player input and interaction, and actually giving that player input a big impact in the story. Also: silly voices. I love me some silly voices.
At the RPGGeek meet, I was in charge of games wrangling (not sure how that happened). Normally, I’m of the opinion that GM’ing is not a favor. It’s as fun as playing, perhaps even more so. But on a geekmeet where everyone is keen to try out new games, it’s kind of a favor to break out your tried and trusted game for others to experience.
Barad and Erik ran prepared games, while Peter, Toni and me ran games off the cuff. So I played my second game! I promoted my old character to the Chosen one, a skin that fit perfectly with my previous history. I was fated to be together, romantically with Leonie’s 40-something Professional, and friends with her young cousin, Rose’s Spooky and Christine’s Wronged. This was a total comic relief game, with a great many digs about the culture clash between the professional, the girls, the agency and the fated love affair.
In contrast, this ‘week’ had the creepiest monster: parasitic bugs that would turn innocent people into intelligent, superstrong monsters working for a rachni type hivemind queen. And also one of the most touching scenes. A spooky spell gone wrong caused all the team to enter into a hive-mind state, sensing each others complicated emotions. Another cool thing is that the entire game was set in winter in Helsinki, leading to a few lines of finish, and lots of digs about the cold.
Toni’s improvisation style blended perfectly with Leonie’s tendency to say everything she thinks out loud, increasing the comedic value of the session even further. But also.still giving the players a lot of input into the story. So much so that after we drowned the Rachni queen in a salt bath and the session ended, the women just kept on playing and telling the story of what happened next, which kept getting more and more outrageous :)
I assumed that was the end of my MotW career.
But no! On sunday two of my friends came over to play games. We gave them a plethora of roleplay options, but they were most interested in MotW, and Toni obliged us once more: our third game of Monster of the Week! I took up my Chosen again (situated two years later, now married, I suppose! I avoided new romance plots in any case), Jonna played her expert, that now had a new sidekick in her kid sister, played by Kristina. We were joined by the Monstrous Demon Damien (who had at least never tried to kill me). A lot of the banter was about the changed dynamic between my former sidekick, the expert, and her new sidekick. A ton of side and snide remarks and witty throwaways.
Our game was set in Jacksonville, where my dagger had pointed out suspicious cultist activity. The cult had their own magical daggers, and the expert knew them from her dark past as well, as they were summoning a demon to start the apocalypse. Me and my dagger were chosen to stop it!
Highlights were some rather epic combats, getting to hear my dagger’s voice (rather less silly than expected!), the expert facing down her own fellow cultists and, of course, the sidekick kicking ass. I spent all my luck points in the final fight, expecting to die like a good chosen one, but my Chosen lived to see another day.
(Later that day we played Apocalypse World set in former-Jacksonville where a few of the locations – caves, abandoned mine shaft and plenty of forest – came back to haunt the players).
So all in all, I was very happy this weekend. I’m not quite sure now why we even allowed Toni to go back to Finland :)