Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Tremulus

I am having a blast having rejoined the weekday nights roleplaying sessions. As we explore more game types, styles and rulesets all the creativity of collaborative gameplay storytelling is just so much fun. I like that as a group (player and GM) we are crafting worlds, characters and situations that are special and intriguing for as they play out with surprises coming from all directions.


So, Tremulus is built on the Apocalypse World engine and thus creates a very story-centric gaming experience. We are cast as a character set to become embroiled in Cthulian or Lovecradftian horror and mystery of some form. We were using the Frozen Wasteland expansion as well as extra playbooks. The setup in the book had us choosing  bunch of options which led us to two plot generating start-points which then were blended together to create our adventure (LC14-RL4). An adventure that cast us as members of the first Japanese expedition to the Antarctic in 1910. We were headed there for the Emperor to fly the flag but also to investigate reports of an asteroid strike that had altered the environment down there...

We then agonised over the various playbooks, ending up with a Mechanic, Guide and Journalist. My overly enthusiastic young reporter for the SMH, Shelby Brooke, joined the expedition in Sydney along with the guide (who I knew already as the last surviving member of the ill-fated expedition on which my father died) and there was also the ships mechanic (with a scary past).
I liked how the books helped generate a world that we then expanded upon. The playbooks arent like pre-gens they all hint at character and we are making really hard choices right from the beginning about our attributes, moves and gear.


The mechanics of the game are just so so elegantly simple. The roll 2D6 with a few modifiers for everything mechanic is neat and only players roll. Every roll is interesting, either the success brings a bonus, the middle ground is success with consequences, difficult choices or limited appeal and the failures are always going to be fun. (10+, 7-9, 6- respectively). Add to this that there are just the 8 basic moves and a few special ones relating to your playbook and you basically have the whole game on your character sheet.

Our adventure was 3 or 4 sessions total and is full of great memories. There was a fever that we first saw on the boat and Shelby was often delusional with the fever seeing the red flower and then the red lady - convinced that she would save them if we could get to her and trust her. He snapped out of it near the end when he was shot, she didnt protect him after all and he saw her for the vile entity she really was. He got away only by allowing her to mark his soul...

It would have been cool if I had written things up as a story to be published or as Shelby's diary/notebook - but I was obviously too lazy. Document our personal struggles in this "war between two mythos monstrosities"

I loved the system and the way it played out. Onto a superhero game of FATE next.

ps. 3 cheers for Mik the GM and my fellow players (awesome little gang)

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