14 October 2008

Trail of Cthulhu - Some Actual Play

We played the first episode of our was Nemesis, now Trail of Cthulhu, game last night.

The 1932 Miskatonic University expedition to excavate a suspected lost city site in the Burmese highlands got off to a good start, although they had some trouble with 'deserting' local labourers. This took a turn for the more suspicious when one of them 'deserted' by being grabbed and dragged into the lake in broad daylight. A crocodile or large eel was suggested as the likely culprit, despite a lack of sightings of either type of creature in the area. Various clues were found, suggesting that the city was many thousands of years older than expected, that a nearby hostile village might be comprised of survivors of the 800 year old suppression of the city, and so forth.

In the third week of digging they broke into an underground chamber, that appeared to be a sealed annex to the temple complex, the entries since the city was razed. The upper chamber was richly decorated with grotesque frescoes depicting slaves or captives being devoured by the gods and inhabitants of the city. Our plucky heroes continued into the lower chamber, which contained a huge basalt altar and what appeared to be an underground exit to the sea (not the freshwater lake that it ought to connect to). We ended the session as the altar was found to contain the dismembered corpses of at least two people (quite possibly some or all of the missing labourers).

We only really gave a run to the investigative side of the rules, which worked very well. The sense of resource management was interesting. When I prompted players to make a spend in this or that, there was often a bit of thought - did it seem like extra info here was going to be more valuable than extra info later?

We didn't get into any fighting, although there were a few 'sense trouble' and 'stability' rolls to be made. In fact, if those sense trouble rolls had been successful, there would have been more action and possibly fewer missing labourers. In any case, the investigators have definitely alerted certain entities to their presence now and can expect a somewhat more exciting next session. Expect a report on how lethal the system is in two weeks!

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