Actual Play – A Terror for My Thoughts (11/28/2010)

Patients: Sean, Travis, Steve and Fattig
System: A Penny for My Thoughts
Variations: Cthulhu

This game was live tweeted. I’ve just has surgery. This is all you get. Read it in reverse if you want the story, or as presented here for the Memento version.

Twitter feed:

#penny kill himself fixes the problem.
#penny decision point response throws armor at demon. And yells like a little girl
#penny decision point response absorbed demons into armor.
#penny decision point response gathered up defend might against the demons.
#penny decision point response tears a hole between worlds to summon back the demons
#penny decision point response gets to shore, calls out to ghost dad
#penny decision point response summoned arcane energies and shattered the window of the car in the river
#penny guiding question from @seannittner loses control over his minions
#penny guiding question from me demons can’t stop the car from falling
#penny guiding question from @seannittner did so because saw father.
#penny guiding question from @thefattig car off bridge into river
#penny steve is the next traveller. Trigger: wood panel station wagon with broken headlights.
#penny @buffaloraven just had the least immaculate conception conceivable. A crusifix is within her.
#penny #shitfattigsays “and what was it I did or… Steve” or “or was it… Steve”
#penny “And the lord sayeth ‘you wanna piece of this?'” – Spears 3:16
#penny @seAnnittner can fight the menace by killing him better, k?
#penny decision point response stood on the altar and impaled self with the sapling and watches his blood flow.
#penny hawkmen offer to make him catatonic
#penny decision point response broke free of attackers and charged son, killing him?
#penny son refuses. Held down. Reptilemen rush him. Son impaled self.
#penny decision point response son and father will stab each other at the same time. Maybe on the placenta branch?
#penny reptilemen and hawkmen fighting like mad! Eternal cycle.
#penny decision point response placenta tree! Haven’t heard of the practice? Look it up.
#penny son says needs mom’s blood.
#penny decision point response son agrees to try to break the curse. Reptilemen soon. Molemen next?
#penny son is a whiny teenager
#penny decision point response tommygun Stonehenge down onto the hawkmen
#penny guiding question from steve. Son is in Stonehenge fighting hawkmen
#penny guiding question from @thefattig demon has receded for an hour. Hopes to banish it.
#penny guiding question from me. Tracking his kid, who is now 16+
#penny guiding question from steve. Following the smell of blood
#penny @seannittner is the next traveler. Memory trigger: rain.
#penny @thefattig realizes that to defeat the army requires exsanguinating them all.
#penny decision point outcome the two @thefattigs choke each other to death.
#penny “choking in stereo” and made a break for it.
#penny decision point outcome guards burst in. Choked a bitch.
#penny decision point outcome apparently not doppleganger army. Released by doppleganger
#penny decision point outcome making a doppleganger army.
#penny Japanese are working for @thefattig’s dooplegangers
#penny guiding question from @seannittner Japanese military took samples of blood.
#penny guiding trigger from. Me was in japan to rebuild life
#penny guiding trigger from steve Japanese military are working for someone.
#penny guiding trigger from @seannittner sushi reminded of squid monster
#penny memory trigger sushi
#penny @thefattig is the next traveller.
#penny just broke my Twitter rating. PG-666. @buffaloraven will bear the demon seed. We’re going hentai here. Little good can come of this.
#penny @buffaloraven bound on the wall in the headmister’s (yeah, messed up) room. A bondage scene with demon children watching.
#penny @buffaloraven gets memory trigger: lacy panties damp with longing. His own damn fault. A horrible defeat.
#penny yup, vamps dead
#penny decision point result yup, vamp zombies. Dusted and ran, dad dead?
#penny decision point result zombie lord and demon lord now. Turns out the zombies weren’t dead. Were vampirezombies?
#penny decision point result summons demons, leaving self vulnerable.
#penny decision point result charges the zombies. Fast zombie things.
#penny zombies!
#penny guiding question from @thefattig father was scared because gave up med school.
#penny guiding question from me demons are ‘taking care of things’ making more bodies.
#penny guiding question from @seannitter asked dad to come help bury many bodies.
#penny guiding question from @thefattig called his dad who sounded fine.
#penny steve’s the next traveler. I need brain bleach. Memory trigger: telephone booth.
#penny boiled blood of hawkmen. Lost ‘so many things…’ free will and ‘cannibalism free’ card. Oh, and son.
#penny decision point outcome ‘a man’s got to eat’ and consumes the whole sacrificial dude.
#penny decision point outcome broke the circle, stabbed self in stomach.
#penny son begs for life.
#penny decision point outcome @seannittner poured out the blood in the gas can, binding his son leaving them for the hawkmen
#penny decision point outcome hesitated and dropped keys. Son causes him pain.
#penny @seannittner hears the thump in the trunk and knows the victim is awake.
#penny guiding question from me. Hawkmen descending. Sacrifice will be done now.
#penny guiding question from @thefattig the one foretold in prophecy turned the gas to blood.
#penny guiding question from steve had a spare gas can, tried to refill.
#penny guiding question from me. Running late to temple of Quetzalcoatl
#penny @seannittner is the next traveler. Trigger: running out of gas on a lonely interstate
#penny mob broke in. Lost his wife (and maybe himself).
#penny decision point outcome @thefattig is killing himself. He is pleased. Chokes old @thefattig to death
#penny finger @thefattig is real @thefattig. Offered a hand up by old @thefattig.
#penny decision point outcome finger makes more of @thefattig Choked the life out of wife.
#penny mob descended on his house. Wife leapt forward and cut off finger.
#penny decision point outcome @thefattig called the mob to him and told his wife he is something more.
#penny wife kicked down the bathroom door with a pair of gardening shears and a look of fear
#penny guiding question from me town chanting one of us. Knew they were calling him.
#penny guiding question from @seannittner wife slipping arsenic into food. He excused from breakfast.
#penny guiding question from steve. Wife was suspicious distrustful distant
#penny guiding question from me continuing old memory
#penny next traveller is @thefattig. Trigger is: cut under fingernail that kept bleeding
#penny she was doing a ritual and I hit her with my ruler, which is what I owed my win to!
#penny. @buffaloraven locked all her children in the classroom and ran to the head mistresses’ room catching her in a ritual.
#penny problems with the head mistress. Boy was running away, laughed at by his peers. They all started saying the most inappropriate things
#penny. @buffaloraven going. A nun striking a disobedient child in school with a ruler on bare buttocks. All the children had been acting up.
#penny I’m the next traveller. Trigger ruler on skin.
#penny @seannittner wins through wife blood sacrifice.
#penny decision point outcome nurse proclaims child the child of prophecy. Wife dead
#penny doc kept walking, then slowed and collapse in front of wife.
#penny decision point outcome pulled a Mauser and headshot the doc
#penny doctor stared unfazed. Buglike eyes. Strange Surgery equipment.
#penny guiding question from me realized doc was lizard man.
#penny guiding question from steve burned his face with the cigar
#penny guiding question from @thefattig baby was fine, wife wasn’t
#penny guiding question from steve @seannittner was pacing in the hall waiting to light cigar
#penny @seannittner is the next traveler. Trigger: anguished scream of a woman giving birth.
#penny creatures howl in fury. Won by being a bookworm.
#penny decision point outcome used arcane knowledge to bind the spirits to his own will.
#penny lightning and fire!
#penny decision point outcome burned book with blue flame, but pages didn’t burn.
#penny ritual in a cemetery
#penny guiding question from @thefattig service was to complete a ritual at midnight to bring more creatures
#penny guiding question from @seannittner creature saved. Father for a future favor.
#penny guiding question from me howl summoned the creature in the shaft.
#penny guiding question from @thefattig father fell down the shaft, howl of pain
#penny steve is the second traveller. Memory trigger: mine shaft descending into darkness
#penny @thefattig retreats to the hotel with his wife. Wins by one lucid moment.
#penny decision point outcome pulls wife back from the thing.
#penny @thefattig wife reaches out to the dark swirling madness…
#penny decision point outcome: @thefattig put on his slippers and went with her.
#penny @thefattig’s wife was concerned, saw the thing. Opened the door.
#penny guiding question from me it had unearthly beauty
#penny guiding question from steve: saw it
#penny guiding question from @seannitter. In a hotel room in arkham

What rocked

Compared to vanilla penny, having the Cthuhlu elements REALLY helped structure our stories and give them direction. I know, I know, I harp on it, but constraints breed creativity. Seemingly effortlessly we brought mythos and horror elements into the game.

Fattig’s story in particular came out as a true Chtuhlu-esqe horror. The man afraid of himself as personified by an army of doppelgangers.

My story had some good moments, some real potential, but (see below) got to tangled up with different ideas.

In other Penny games we’ve tried to tie the characters together, this one work really well allowing them to exist totally independent of each other.

I’ve been the reader enough times that I can do most of it from memory now. Cool.

I really like learning the skill of offering up actions you think the other patients will like.

We had a few times when it was the Mnemosyne talking and some aberrant ideas came out, like ninjas, but we were quick to catch it and the patient that suggested it realized quickly that it was a flight of fancy, and had a more plausible and appropriate memory . As a group we rolled with that very well.

What could have improved

My printer was on the fritz so we had made character sheets. I think because of that it was easier to miss the titles of each memory.

Unfortunately we either defaulted back to vanilla penny (remember a pleasant memory) or just forgot the memory direction all together. So our small victories against the horrible unknown often didn’t feel like victories and had to be justified post recollection.

Nuns should never have ANYTHING wet with desire. That’s were Travis’ story went downhill.

I tried to incorporate too many things in my third memory. The child of prophesy, the mother’s blood, a hawkmen and the lizard people at war, the visions of Quetzalcoatl, etc. It just got jumped and felt more like pulp horror than I had intended.