Thursday, August 5, 2010

Be Prepared

Last night I ran the first part of the Raid on Innsmouth. It’s a scenario for which I have some fondness, having run it several times more than a decade ago, but as I geared up to run it again, I wondered just how much attention I had paid to the scenario the first time around.

It’s a neat outing. There are six objectives, each a unique scenario with a series of ‘supporting characters’ and for each objective there are three parts. You switch frequently between each objective, as the actions of the raiders in other parts may change the circumstances of current objectives.

I like the idea, and the ability for one set of characters to take actions that impact on other sets of characters. But it’s pretty hard work. To compound the problem each of the 6 objectives has 6 pre-generated characters which can be used by the players. Again it’s a nice idea in concept; a player should be able to play several different marines, a sailor, a submariner and a treasury agent, in addition to their own character who is acting as a civilian advisor. Unfortunately the book does not make this simple, by printing the character sheets and info in a way that could just be copied and distributed. Instead they put the character information into the text, omitting base skills and often lapping over pages, making any quick attempt to copy and distribute characters impossible. So, it took me many hours to prepare the 36 pre-generated characters. This necessarily ate into the time I would normally spend preparing the actual scenario.

Then the actual game itself was pretty challenging. Run as written it’s fairly mechanical for a Cthulhu scenario with a lot more gunplay than an ordinary outing, which necessarily bogs things down a bit. On top of that there are a range of special weapons and equipment, and several NPC’s I need to keep animated, while also running the combat. I also found suddenly switching to a new group of characters to be a difficult process, and not especially smooth.

Thus far we have only managed to play 1 part of 3 objectives in about 3 hours, but I am reasonably sure that things will speed up as we go on. I guess I’d conclude by saying that the Raid on Innsmouth is an unrepentantly old-school Cthulhu outing, which really puts a Keeper through the wringer if run as written.

While I’m on game-prep, I really need to spend some more time making sure I’m ready for The Proteus Plot and Castle Bravo which I’d like to run at Confusion tomorrow, assuming I can actually find enough players.


  1. I hope Castle Bravo went well, if you were able to round up enough players. If not, I'd be keen to play sometime as I'm sure would some of our 'Kingsport Tales' group.

  2. Players were certainly not a problem! Now I've got my head around it, I'd be happy to give it another go, so long as your group is keen for a 'traditionalist' experience.