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.

GenCon – Part 3 (Thursday Morning, 8/13/2009)

Warning: Lots of name dropping in this post. It is absolutely done to make me look and feel important. The sake of clarity has also been given minor consideration.

Twitter was still down (read: Twitterific was being a piece and I didn’t feel like banging on it) so we’re getting into hard-to-remember-and-sporadically-accounted-for time here. By the evening I was tweeting like a bandit so it should be better then.

Thursday Morning Events

Actual Play – A Penny for my Superpowers! (8/8/2009)

Players: Fattig, Travis, Omar, and Sean
System: A Penny for My Thoughts (Silver Age Sentinels hack)

With a lot of help from Paul Tevis and Chad Underkoffler, I made a Penny scenario for Silver Age superheroes (which you can download here if interested: Silver Age Penny Setting.) The original concept was that we were going to create silver age heroes that had lost their memoires (and powers) in some great fight with evil.

Ironically Chad suggested the patients have the option to be either heroes or villains, which I shot down because I thought the players wanted to heroes and then when we got together to talk about it, we did exactly that. Good call Chad! Each of the characters started with a completely blank slate and in the end we had four characters, three of which could be either hero or villain, with the fourth clearly had chosen a path of villainy. The requirement was that of the four characters we made, each of the three players had to pick one either to play (if they were a hero) or to be their arch-nemesis (if they were a villian).

Here was our results:

  1. I played “The Liberator” who served 400 years in hell and then got let out on a technicality. He was released however in a concentration camp and turned against the Nazi oppressors, becoming “The Liberator”, powered by Hellfire.
  2. Fattig played the “Bonesaw”, a mad scientist whose machines always go out of control. In a moment when he could have been redeemed the hero “El Cubo” (who didn’t realize the that Bonesaw had saved him) blasted him into wreckage where his hand was lost, which he replaced with a bone saw.
  3. Travis played Lady O. A thief and sidekick of Jesse James in the 1890s who stole the Gem of Osirus, planted it in her own eye and was granted immortality. A master of the occult, Lady O has had many loves over the years, always straddling the lines of good and evil.
  4. Omar played El Cubo, who’s powers manifested after being throw off a roof and continued to develop, always to the terror of those around him. Part mutant, part necromancer, he was doomed to terrify those he cared about.

In the end, Lady O, the Liberator and El Cubo were chose as PCs, but just as any good comic does, the El Cubo from Omar’s story and the El Cubo from Fattig’s were pretty different. So the focus of this El Cubo is actually his nemesis “The Bonesaw” (who I plan on having A LOT of fun with).

Development will continue using the Tri-Stat Silver Age Sentinels system, heeding the powers described in Penny as well as the emotional characteristics. The public hates the Liberator and now call him the Conquer. Lady O has romance issues that always end wrong. Finally El Cubo will have some deep connection with the very wrong Bonesaw.

What rocked

We actually made some pretty cool characters along with an interesting side cast. In addition to the characters mentioned above we also featured: Mustafa, The Steel Mask, Captain Steam, Morningstar, Jessie James, Amazon warriors of the Bermuda Triangle, The Chooper and the League of Justice.

We kept weaving crossovers between the characters. Lady O helped the Bonesaw with his occult needs. El Cubo and The Liberator has a grouped up on several occasions to fight crime together. El Cubo and the Bonesaw are mortal enemies.

All of the characters have problems they can’t punch. We talked a lot about our expectations before playing Penny and for all of us something that was important was each of the characters having problems they couldn’t defeat. The Liberator has some Peter Parker in him, people always think he’s a villain. Lady O’s romantic life is cursed, etc. This was intentionally designed the questionnaire (Remember a moment of weakness and self-doubt) and worked very well in play.

In the end of the day we actually had characters that we wanted to play. I wasn’t sure that was going to work, but it did. Woohoo.

What could have improved

Penny is a game that requires everyone to be present. If one person who can’t think of something good, so they use a screwball idea, it can really throw the story for a loop. We found ourselves electing to have another guide offer questions or actions when we were stumped for ideas. Also thinking of names was sometimes tough. I wasn’t particularly proud of “The Liberator” as a name even though the character was cool. So mental blocks. Hard to get around.

Our third question didn’t really get answered the way I expected it to. I was hoping it would end in a cliffhanger that would draw our characters to action in the “oh crap, I can’t believe I let that happen, now I’ve got to do something about it!” way. In truth I had forgotten about this by the end of the game (should have referred to the documents more often, they said it all over). I think to patch this I’m going to ask each player to tell me what unfinished business their character MUST attend to now.

Narrative Control – Episode 35 – A Penny for my Paul Tevis

This week’s episode was recorded in EndGame at Oakland during Good Omens Con 3 in July 18th. Paul Tevis, author of A Penny for My Thoughts, played a game of Penny Justin and me and then recorded interview with us about the game. And now you have it… the story behind Penny.

Hosts: Sean Nittner and Justin Evans

Guest Host: Paul Tevis

Length: 37:55

Show Notes

[00:25] Intro to the show, an interview with Paul Tevis at Good Omens Con.
[01:49] Excerpt from “A Penny for My Thoughts” from the Orphic Institute.
[04:19] The rules are simple, but this piece shows “how” to play this game.
[05:18] Design decision: A book that could teach you the game during play.
[06:33] The three ingredients for Penny at Game Chef: Currency, Memory and Drug.
[07:43] Penny is a very procedural game, so the rules can unfold as you’re playing it.
[07:59] The trick is making it fun. Memory triggers and presenting the rules in the fiction.
[10:09] Everyone sitting at the table is playing. One player takes the role of the Reader, but they still play with everyone else.
[11:10] Excerpt from play. Learning the rules.
[12:52] Structure of the game divided by ritual phrases. Inspired by Polaris. Helps transition into and out of the game.
[15:37] The ritual phrases bakes in the reflection scene.
[16:07] Keeping things short, specific and evocative. Based on experience with improv.
[17:37] Elements inspired by improv: “Yes, and…” “And” is harder than we think.
[19:15] “Yes, and…” also acted as pacing mechanic to string the questions together. And creates momentum.
[20:00] Sometimes “No” means “Yes.” Divining what people want.
[21:24] Specific influences for Penny: The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen and 1001 Nights. Creating incentive to do collaborative storytelling.
[22:07] Core principal: Listening to what kind of stories the others want to tell and giving them what they want.
[24:07] If the character sheet is a love letter to the GM, Penny is an ongoing dialog.
[24:31] Penny engages all the players all the time. Avoids the turn taking that leaves players out.
[25:28] Compared to In a Wicked Age. The Facts and Reassurances document is analogous to the Oracles. It makes sure everyone is on the same page about the content of the game AND allows that content to be swapped out for any setting.
[28:10] Playing without a net. I made Paul an international bank robber.
[29:09] Publisher hat kicked in. Support for new settings on the Orphic Institute.
[30:14] Penny as a character creation session. A rich development of the characters on an emotional level.
[31:45] Creating connections between your characters in the memories.
[33:12] Design question: How much of explaining the rules and the implications of the rules during the procedural text.
[34:11] Some competition to offer the best actions. “A Smack Talk for my Thoughts”.
[36:56] Continue this conversation over at or

Direct Download: NC_Episode_034.mp3: NC_Episode_035.mp3

Actual Play – A Penny for My Thoughts (7/29/2009)

System: A Penny For My Thoughts

Our normal Wednesday night game got together to pick our next game. The nominees were Polaris, Don’t Rest Your Head, and Silver Age Sentinels. I was really shooting for DRYH but I don’t think I sold it very well. I described the PCs as damaged individuals who now had abilities outside what is normally humanly possible. I think I may have portrayed the game as darker than we would have actually played it, but I wanted to get across the mood so we didn’t go in with the wrong expectations. Oh well, either way I was exited about all three nominees so I can’t really complain about SAS winning.

The other good thing about SAS winning was that we didn’t have the book to make characters with so instead I pulled out Penny and we played a game of that. We opted for the standard facts and reassurances document, but realized afterwards that we should have agreed in the beginning about a depravity limit.

The game started normal enough but soon it became clear that we were out to one up each other with stories of the bizarre and grotesque (usually inflicted on our fellow patients). While some of the stories actually had a cohesive storyline (and some nice symmetry to them) none of them were the kind of stories I want to tell.

During the answer to our last questions we started talking as a group about where this game was going and agreed collectively to try and pull it out of the gutter. We succeeded to a small extent, but the characters were still horribly scarred (physically and emotionally). After the treatment two of us opted to retain our memories and go to jail for our crimes while the other two must have stayed at the institute a while long as they couldn’t cope with what they had done or become. They were so broken by the end that losing their memories was a blessing.

What rocked

We learned something about each other last night. We’re capable of imagining horrible acts of human depravity. It was sort of a catharsis is some ways, like we all vomited up the worst in us, put it in the table and then put it in the shredder (yes, I shredded all of our questionnaires).

Afterwards we spent a long time (almost two hours I think) debriefing each other. Coming back to reality and assuring each other that we are all kind people who don’t ACTUALLY think this way most of the time. I think that debrief did a lot of reassure me not only of the caliber of friends I have but also of the caliber of person I am. I’m grateful to all of you for sticking around through that.

Of the four, one of the stories (as mentioned above) had some pretty good symmetry to it. That didn’t make it a good story but at least it had some redeemable qualities.

What could have been improved

We had no idea going in what we were going to do to each other. Next time it will probably go without saying, but we’ll say it any way just in case where our lines and veils are. I think this was an exercise to help reveal some of the things we never thought to talk about before games, particularly in regards to violence, sexuality and abuse.

Because our stories were so bizarre and depraved they also made no sense (well, sometimes they did, but there was definite disconnects). I felt to some degree like our characters were D&D sociopaths who couldn’t have meaningful relationships. Without a relationship that you care about, stories don’t make sense. I found myself having a really hard time figuring out what to give the other patients when there was nothing I could tell they really cared about. In short unrealistically broken characters make for broken stories.

Don’t go for shock value. After thinking about the points above, I realized that where the game was breaking was when we were just trying to do something more shocking, more outlandish than the next guy. Many of our stories were plenty graphic and heavy before the craziness was added to them. At that point they stopped being dark stories we were invested in and turned into dark stories we were disgusted by.

I’m really glad we played Penny. I’m definitely going to play it again, but I’m never going to play THAT Penny again.


Actual Play – I’m an 8 Year Old That Doesn’t Like Mustard and You’re an International Bank Robber? (7/18/2009)

GM: Paul Tevis
Players: Sean Nittner, Justin Evans, Mike Bogan
System: A Penny for My Thoughts

Saturday morning was great in a lot of ways (see my previous post for some of those details). One specific way it kicked butt was that Paul Tevis, author of A Penny for My Thoughts introduced Justin Evans, Mike Bogan and myself to the game and we played a few hours of it.

Part of the genius of this game is in its simplicity. I’d feel bad that my AP report will tell someone all they need to know about how to play the game, but Paul (er Peter) has already done that on the back cover the book… and on his website… and in about fifty other places. So if you read this and think “Awesome, I can totally play that game now.” Sweet. Play it. Just make sure to swing by IPR and drop $15.01 into the kitty jar while you’re at it (which will incidentally give you a whole lot more awesome than I can offer as well).

I’m also going to skimp in a few places because the actual actual play was recorded and Virtual Play style will be cut up into little snippets that along with our follow up discussion will create Narrative Control, episode 35 (arriving in two weeks to an ipod near you).

So, with all that said… here was the recap of, you know, the game we played.

Paul was our Reader. Mostly because I wanted to get some recordings of him, but in truth any of us could have done it.

The Reader starts by telling us that we are all patients in the Orphic Institute and we’ve all lost our memories. We’re going to work together to rebuild those memories and ultimately decide if we want to know who we used to be.

The reader shares the Facts and Reassurances document. A document to set the ground rules for what genre we’ll be playing with. In the default setting we assume the following. The world is the contemporary one we know. We’re not in the future. There are no super powers or supernatural phenomenon. None of us are action heroes. Essentially, we’re all mundane individuals. Yet still we’ve all done something than caused us to lose our memories. The cool thing is that this is just one setting. The book has an alternate sheet in the back for a Bourne Identity spy setting, another for a Cthulhu setting and the website (Orphic Institute) gives ideas for creating your own.

We are also presented with a questionnaire (which like the Facts and Reassurances document, varies based on setting). In our case we were asked to recall one pleasant memory, one unpleasant one and finally what caused us to lose our memories. The format for all three is “When I think of _____ I remember _______”

How we answer those questions is the game itself. We start by all writing down five “Memory Triggers” on separate slips of paper. These can be anything or idea that might evoke a memory. The examples of triggers that were drawn were “The taste of strong mustard”, “The smell of fresh baked cookies”, “Canon in D”, “the sound of a bell tower ringing” and “shouting”. There was a really obnoxiously loud squeaking door to a bathroom right next to us so one that I put in (but wasn’t drawn) was “The sound of our basement door squeaking”. Everyone writes their memory triggers, drops them in a bowl and then the Reader starts off the game by telling us each to take a penny from the jar and say “A Penny for My Thoughts.” Once we all have a penny, he hands his to one person (called the Traveler), who begins a journey that his fellow guides help him with.

I was the first Traveler. I drew a memory trigger out of the bowl and got “The taste of strong mustard”. After that my fellow Guides the other three players asked me questions that I had to answer “Yes, and…” to. This started the memory. After three questions we found out that I was 8 years old at a baseball game with my father his new wife. I had just taken a bite of hot dog but spit it out because the taste of mustard was too strong. I hid it from my step mom because I knew I would get in trouble if she found it, but she caught me and I was grounded. Having nothing but “The taste of strong mustard” and three questions from my Guides, that because the start of my memory. The whole thing was going rather poorly for a while, but eventually ended up with “When I think of the tastes of strong mustard I remember having ‘guy time’ with my dad.”

My memory was very mundane, but it was meaningful to me as a player. My dad died less a year ago and I’ve only recently started processing some of the emotions that come from that. Addressed a father and his son bonding, even though I never went to a baseball game with mine and never had a step mother (they were married until he died), still had a powerful impression on me. I don’t think this is an intentional product of the game, but it was something I took away from it.

The next memory, Justin’s, was shorter. Unlike me (I’m very verbose, if you couldn’t tell) he kept things brief and directed. His memory was baking cookies and deciding to open up a family bakery with his husband. Mike’s was similarly pleasant. He remembered eloping with the woman of his dreams just days before their wedding because he just couldn’t stand to live another day without being married to her. When it came around to Paul though I decided to take the kid gloves off. The other two guides had just asked him questions that placed his memory (of bell towers ringing) as reuniting with a friend he hadn’t seen in years. My question (the one he has to answer “Yes, and…” to) was “Did you chase after her when she started running from the police?” Paul elaborated and quickly we all realized he was an international bank robber. Yeah, good times.

We ended up breaking and then not getting much farther into the game (Mike’s second memory was shouting at his newlywed wife and ending up at the “Donkey Show”) because of time constraints. Afterwards Justin and I did an interview with Paul to talk about the game play that Penny creates and its origins. If you’re interested, stay tuned to Narrative Control as the episode will be coming out soon.

What rocked

The sudden shifts in the game brought the memories to life. I really had no idea what my memory would be about when I read the trigger but by the end it felt very real to me.

Each player can get what they want. Mike was clearly telling starting with a fairytale love story of the woman of his dreams. I (being a character masochist) kept giving him options that would damage or change that relationship but other players picked up on what he wanted and made him offers that fit better with the story he was trying to create. This gives all the players involved tremendous control over the narratives, but always in meaningful ways (i.e. no random aliens coming down, only actions that follow from the last thing that happened).

Playing with a net still feels like playing without the net. During the start of the memory questions like “What that when you were in rehab for your heroin addiction?” or “Was that after you stabbed your mother?” are all fair game. We started by taking baby steps “Did you get caught by your step mother” but graduated to “were you shouting at your wife on your honeymoon” pretty quickly.

The game never leaves you hanging. Sometimes as a Guide it hard to think of what the Traveler should do but you never ask “umm… what do we do now” as I’ve found myself wondering in some games. There are clear steps provided by the Reader and the flow of the story is very natural.

I would love, love, love to run this as a prelude for another game. Spy or Mythos genres would be cool, but I could see it equally in Supers or Fantasy as well. Ooh… I just thought of another. Samurai waking up after the Rain of Blood. Rock. Okay, back on target.

What could have been improved

I wish I was a little more with it. One down side of being so excited about the con is that I was having a hard time focusing. I kept looking up to see how things were going with the other gamers, at the store and with my wife. A couple of the answers that I gave were less than inspired.

I wish we had a little more time to play the game through. As is I had a great time but would have liked to see where all our characters ended up.

Thanks all for playing Penny with me. It was killer.