Actual Play – PTA Finale – Mr. Bawls is dead

GM: Sean Nittner
System: Primetime Adventures

We began the game with a flashback to Mr. Bawls’ high school years when his then sweetheart girlfriend told him she was pregnant. Mr. Bawls (who had a different last name back then, apparently he’s changed it) melted down and ran away. From his girlfriend, family, school, everything. As the scene flashes forward Mr. Bawls sees Eva with all the pregnancy tests and his face turns white. Next thing we know he’s picked up his dog (which died at some point but the audience just found out), his Vaseline filled boots and made for the bathroom to hang himself with his dog’s leash.

Meanwhile Kevin took this opportunity seize his nemesis while she was weak, and convinced Eva that he wouldn’t tell Bawls (who was in the process of hanging himself) that she was pregnant if she was his next porn star (we’ll see where that one goes next season).

Finally, Vern, seeing that Bawls was dead, made some executive decisions. First he hired Casey to work in the hoses isle, then he promoted Richard to Manager and then he quit. Only because he signed a contract 15 years ago, which had been grandfathered in when Osh was bought, Richard told him he wasn’t at liberty to quit and his resignation was denied. Instead, because his position in the hose isle was taken now by the hot Casey, he would take Kevin’s job as short order cook, which of course made him loose his mind.

Finally in the end we see that Bawls was never dead (nobody really looked) but only knocked unconscious as the water pipe that he hung himself broke and he cracked his head on a sink. He ended the season with marginal lucidity, I doubt much more can be said for the others.

What rocked

Mr. Bawls really took this one by storm. His suicide attempt really got the game going at a fast start. The conflict was a good one too. Will hanging himself allow him to dodge the Eva bullet. He won and as a result Eva (who was never pregnant in the first place, she kept taking the test because she kept “failing it”) is now involved with her old fling Casey.

The story has the kind of loose continuity that the Simpsons does. Some shit happens that we just forget about while other things linger on from episode to episode. I really like this relaxed episodic feel.

What could have been improved

I realized that I was uncomfortable in the scenes with Eva because while I’m fine with Transformer Care bear porn I’m not comfortable with forcing a person to make porn. In fact I find it pretty reprehensible. Now, there is no doubt that Kevin Mewes is a reprehensible person but I still don’t want it in the show. I think that next season (if we opt for another one) Eva will start out chasing Kevin with something very large (maybe a frying pan, maybe a shotgun) to make the point that while she agree about it in a time a weakness there is no way that pervert is getting her to take off her clothes. I’m sure that will make a funny scene itself.

So this was my first PTA campaign. Overall, I think my only concern is that the conflicts have usually felt kind of artificial, like I was trying to create urgency where there wasn’t any. Part of this was because we were playing at lunch and to get three scenes in 30 or so minute I really need to push, but also because I just couldn’t always think of some good opposition. I think I need to ask the question “So your goal/intent here is to ____?” more often till I figure out what the player is going for and offer a counter for if they fail. I’ll keep working on it.