Sunday, December 13, 2015

[Trail of Cthulhu] L.A. Diabolical

The L.A. Writers' Club is back! It's been two years since the events of the Big Hoodoo, and Bob Heinlein has gone missing. What strange and depraved events await our intrepid investigators amidst the jaded glitterati of 1950's Hollywood?


Des (Virginia "Ginny" Heinlein)
David L. (Phillip K. Dick)
Renae (Tony Boucher)


  1. Another Jen special! That is such a fun way to run a game. Part "here are the facts", part "lets skip over to the good bits" and part overboard melodramatics. Works quite well in a group like yours that runs like a well oiled machine. Specially when everyone is there to just enjoy each others company and have fun.

    There was a bit of characters bumping into rule or story obstacles, but that might just be the way the adventure was written out. Sometimes there's no way to not railroad unless you want to deviate significantly from the material, but then you are on your own to make up the rest of it. Effortlessly transitioning from prepared material into the unknown takes a lot of hours gm'ing, either research into the subject matter, previous knowledge or a great bullshitter and a certain willingness to just let go that not all gm's ever manage. I think you will do fine.

  2. Man, even when Schimpff's not playing, his character is still the first to get offed!

    Also, this in canon with the Vampire game? I'm trying to figure out if there's any chance of Aaron running into evil Jayne Mansfield.

  3. I do enjoy Jen's characterizations, they're endearing. I do feel there needs to be a bit more narration though, as the players got surprised on multiple occasions (between the three games) that something happened and they had little idea how they got there.

    However it doesn't diminish the game much. I really do enjoy the setting as well. Noted celebs in these situations adds an amusing angle to what would simply be a period piece for ToC.

  4. I agree that it was a little bit narrated in that there was no way to save Dave's character, and it didn't really seem like Renae had a chance to react at the end there. On the plus side, this is very clearly setting up another game where David and Des get to be the OTP of alternate historical fiction.

    Jen's enthusiasm for GMing is just ridiculously infectious.

  5. Jen already does NPCs at least as well as I do. It's ridiculous.

    The thing with Tony at the end--I'm not sure what could've been done. He didn't have Scuffling or Athletics. Perhaps a Fleeing roll? Our relative ignorance of the Gumshoe system didn't help matters, but personally it was a satisfying conclusion for a horror game. There comes a point where fighting back is pretty futile, regardless.

    Max: I'm so very tempted to make this the same universe as the Vampire chronicle, but I want to keep the Mythos out of the World of Darkness. Still, Jayne Mansfield really did get up to Satanic shenanigans even in our own world, so maybe in the WoD she's still around as well. Her daughter does look an awful lot like her...

    1. It does follow the Rule of Three which is good for a movie-esque game: Horror shows up and kidnaps someone else, Horror shows up and kills someone else, Horror shows up and kills main character. I do also sort of like systems where combat is so dangerous that it's often better to not engage in it at all - unless you're Ginny Heinlen needing to chase a fleeing villain down and knock them the Hell down.

      I think I'm not a fan of the layout because it was a monster showing up without prompting, attacking without defense, and then killing even on a successful defense roll. I might be projecting because my Pathfinder character had essentially the same thing happen to him recently though.

    2. I'll agree that that was totally out of left field, and ultimately GM fiat in how it was accomplished. Now this is usually my bane and my rile, but I just can't be mad about it.


      I think mostly Jen's GMing style just puts me in a specific zone where all these things are fine...must be the NPC portrayals.