Monster of the Week: Lost Things

An old man recently passed away, a man who collected occult artifacts. Now his collection has been scattered to the winds but a small team of investigators are now desperately trying to recover them before it’s too late. Even a single artifact could cause untold mayhem. When the team gets a lead on an artifact in Springfield, the chase is on.

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  1. Fun scenario/campaign idea, got hooked on it after seeing the haunted antique horror series Friday the 13th TV series. Looking forward to hearing more on this one and seems that Monster of the Week works great for an RPG system for the idea.

  2. This was a pretty solid game for a new GM to the *world systems. No idea of how much you guys have run, but review GM moves and stuff like that. There is a lot of mileage to get out of alternate options for player failures that lets the game progress more smoothly.

    For example there is an option of “reveal an unwelcome truth”, which you can use to stuff in info they miss (or their characters aren’t geared to get) or reveal more of the overall things going on. Like a failure to search can reveal to the missing boombox, or her diary revealing her plan at the library that they’re late to be stopping. A failure also doesn’t need to be full stop, so for example the cop on the door could have asked for a bribe, or takes down her info (maybe giving the others time to ransack the office, but raising the risks of cop interactions in the future).

    Another thing some of my players liked more were options for partial success, so perhaps give Tom the option of “knock guard out+break windows (less time but immediate entry)” vs “5 minutes of targeted keening so he goes to get some advil (takes longer, still have to enter locked door, might have longer inside)”.

    The other thing that can be helpful to do is take the info that you want them to get (ie “noise makes the ghosts more corporeal”) and then untie that from how you visualized it happening (“fire alarm activates and they can notice”). So along those lines the early clue to Tom in the office could have been “the creature has some sort of interaction with sonics”, or when they’re interacting with the ghosts look for ways to have a large amount of sound be generated (maybe on a failure the crackhead pulls a gun and starts firing blindly at Tom, the sound of which causes the ghost to wince and attack or run from the crackhead).

    Overall again it was a good session, and as the session went on you switched up what you were doing, and at the end Ross talked about being more blunt-force with clues and some other stuff I didn’t really need to expand on. Running a *world game is a lot different from most systems and probably will take several games to really start feeling it, but you can take a lot of the things it makes you do and apply them to other systems pretty easily.

  3. I’d add that there’s a tendency when coming from other, crunchier systems to try to map stuff you’d roll for in those games onto moves when really you should be doing stuff and then if that thing directly invokes a move’s trigger, you roll. The biggest thing I noticed was rolling to Kick Some Ass against inanimate objects – if the target isn’t capable of fighting you back and inflicting damage, you don’t roll Kick Some Ass, because the stakes of Kick Some Ass include your target damaging you back even on a success. A lot of the time you’d just damage the object in a way appropriate to the narrative context without rolling, but if there’s some sort of time pressure or similar it might be an Act Under Pressure.

    Monster of the Week is a bit fuzzier about this stuff than Apocalypse World and I’m not convinced all of its moves are written using best practices for making PBTA sing. But the basic principles still apply.

  4. I like Shaun’s GM style, especially at the very beginning. I like how he leaves the narrative very wide open for players, and tries to help piece together the backstories. I do think running a mystery is really hard to do, though, and might’ve suggested another PBTA game style.

    Not finished with it yet, but he’s recovered well from player choices, I hope to hear more!

  5. also, Tom’s line of “So the Lion (from Narnia) was more like Colonel Kurtz”
    is absolutely brilliant and I demand a fateamoxiewill for him for that. In fact, I want that to be a one-shot game now.

    How much do I have to donate to the Paetron for that?

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