I took this week off. It would be nice to not need to work again but, sadly, I’m not financially independent.
This week I read:
Volume 6 of Black Wings of Cthulhu, edited by S. T. Joshi
Another good collection of new Weird Fiction, and the last in the Black Wings series so far. This was the most consistently-good collection in the series, with none I didn’t enjoy. I think my favourite three were:
The Gaunt by Tom Lynch
In which the narrator returns to his old home of Arkham after a seven-year absence, which he left after his wife and daughter were wrongfully convicted and executed for witchcraft. His planned revenge is ready.
Missing at the Morgue by Donald Tyson
In which a murderer is killed, but the reporter who goes to take his picture at the morgue learns of another story: body parts are going missing at night. The police put a guard at the door, but it’s not enough. And one night our brave narrator hides under a body bag overnight waiting to see the thief.
Provenance Unknown by Stephen Woodworth
In which the narrator is sent to determine if a historical meteorite first found in Antarctica is the genuine article. Convinced it is, she buys it for herself and not her agent, but then learns that there’s more than just rock in there.
This has been a good week for games. I ran two sessions of Call of Cthulhu, and then another of Troika.
I’d not run Troika for this group before, so it was good that we were able to create characters and get playing quickly; the system is nice and simple. It went well, and everyone had a lot of fun.
I based the session on the Traveller scenario Rule of Man Commemorative, in which the PCs are approached and asked to take a collection of antique coins to a third party. The sender doesn’t want to send the coins through the post in the normal way as they don’t want to declare the contents of any packages, because the coins have to be transported discretely: hence, they need a patsy to carry them as “personal items”. I also took some elements from RuneQuest (plant-based elves), fiction (Michael Moorcock’s Dancers at the End of Time in particular), the scenario in the Troika rulebook, and also just whatever weird things I came up with on the spot. The players really bought into the weirdness and helped bring it to life.
Since I’ve been studying the Traveller rulebooks to learn the system over the past month, learning a new system has been on my mind a lot. So I wrote a post about how to learn a new RPG system. Or at least, how I learn a new RPG system.
In brief: skim through the book, practice making some characters, read the book more carefully, run a one-shot, make cheatsheets, and then run that campaign.