Saturday, February 20, 2016

Masks of Nyarlathotep

I have tried playing play by post role-playing in the past, with limited success.  Storium offered a year or so of amusement, but ultimately couldn't scratch that itch.  Storium is mostly a collaborative story game and not really a role-playing game.  Many people have attempted to shoehorn role-playing mechanics onto the framework of Storium and failed spectacularly.  I did run a long and enjoyable game set in my version of S.M. Stirling's Emberverse, but attrition and waning interest eventually killed that.  It's fun to go back and read it, though.  I had some players who were semi-professional writers and it reads like a dark and brutal story of survival in a world gone mad.  Fun stuff!

But I still have that itch, to write and to role-play.  My face to face gaming opportunities are limited.  The friends I live game with are busy professionals who can barely manage to meet monthly.  I'm no better (not nearly as professional, but equally as busy).  My weekly Roll20 game has been reduced to just one other person due to scheduling difficulties. It's fun, but lacks that group dynamic that makes role-playing so enjoyable.

So, I decided to give Tavern Keeper another try.  I wanted to run a game I'm familiar with, so I fell back on that old standard, Call of Cthulhu and the mega-adventure, Masks of Nyarlathotep.

I've attempted to run Masks several times in the past.  The first time while in college, if I remember correctly.  The game ended in a TPK and that group never returned to it.  The second time I ran Masks as a vehicle to learn Fate Core.  The game lasted only a few sessions, but was highlighted by the fact that the characters included Tarzan, Dr. Watson, Frankenstein's monster, Lamont Cranston, and a young Indiana Jones.  Of course the game was doomed to fail!  You'd think because of that cast, but you'd be wrong.  Fate Core was just not a great vehicle for horror games, at least in our inexperienced opinion.

So now I turn to play by post to try to run this venerable campaign.  We've only started, having completed most of the first scene, but it's been a rousing success.  PbP games offer me both the chance to role-play and to write.  I was skeptical at first, but I think, given the right players as I have now, I could learn to love this as a gaming outlet.  Finger crossed!

Follow along, if you dare, but beware of spoilers.  If you have any desire to play this wonderful and rich campaign, then make your sanity check and steer clear.  Spoilers abound!

Masks of Nyarlathotep on Tavern Keeper.