Sobbing Cock – Aeon Horror’s Crying Foul

So pretty damn good actually, mostly I was just going to ramble here as is my usual style of things I liked and didn’t like about the event :)

Okay so first off props to the Refs for taking an unusual idea I had for a character and running with it and working it into their game :) Verity was amazingly good fun to play, as the first cis-female I’ve played I wanted her to be a very gentle and nice introduction, someone social and while not exactly the picture of charming she was nice if very ditzy. Not-Verity was also quite good, although she was more driven and determined (and actually understood her goals for being there that weekend, unlike the lines she’d fed Verity) which meant I could rely on her to get more productive stuff done later, but she wasn’t a nasty git like Grey or Scaithgrace, she was just determined, which was useful in that I could distance myself from previous characters and not lean back on my library of male threatening body postures or tones, it was a very different thing which is good as I need to keep building up my library of girl posture.

So now onto things that happened! I’ll try and go through a bunch of things in roughly chronological order:

  • OMG I was rooming with girls as a girl and they were totally chill about it and it didn’t feel weird or like I shouldn’t be there. This was actually a pretty big step for me, the whole event run up was making me hella nervous as my ability to give girl cues is limited and I knew my voice would get scagged by Sunday from shouting/chanting/screaming/whatever. Awesome :) Thank you everyone for being win
  • Arriving was nice and genteel, I liked how Shaw/Whittaker had just set themselves up by the front door and were checking people in, giving the meet and greet. In fact the staff were just amazing, they were up to something behind the scenes but in front of house they were actually pretty good, the maids unobtrusively ducking and shifting around people with trays of drinks, making sure everyone was happily topped up. I’m not sure who else was paying that much attention but Verity noticed it.
  • That first sit down dinner in formal dress was amazingly classy and awesome, genial conversation, well except for the point where Verity got carried away when describing how many gentlemen’s gentlemen are possibly needed, and how Beastie could totally have that as a gig :) Verity was interesting to socialise with in that she was created by Not-Verity to provide a good social front. It was interesting as she really wasn’t paying that much attention to names and facts, but I was trying to project the levels of “Verity doesn’t really mind as shes a lovely ditz” with also “Not-Verity is fucking watching everything from behind her eyes” and give the occasional hinting look of that.
  • Sadly after dinner I conked out as my IBS just went “Nope, your weeks been waaaaay too exciting, get fucked” which is no ones fault, anyway, so that leads us too…
  • Saturday! This was actually a pretty big day and I quite liked the pacing of it, but then I’ve always liked slow build up pacing games, I liked the way that things started normal, breakfast and gentle chit-chat before getting ready for the Auction, the spice of the theft and disappearance to give everyone a focus and topic of conversation
  • The Auction! I liked that it was Saturday morning and not Friday night, this fit well into the schedule, giving us a reason to be there, and also it had given people a chance to get into character properly and warm up Friday night before the first big public show of character which wasn’t just talking and being nice, it was a chance for people to flex muscles and engage in inter-player conflict, which is always a nice way of getting everyone good and going. Amusingly of course one of the props (the music box) was the trigger that made Verity revert to Not-Verity, who suddenly found herself needing that box urgently, but having to then bid against Dr. Black (who she was trying to schmarm up) which was less than good. So Not-Verity had to buy it, then wait until the break, try and butter up Black with an offer of cash (that she didn’t need), prep a note for her with the cash in, conceal it in Verity’s bag and use her Reset method to go back to being Verity in such a place that no one would over-hear her and work out what was up. Which was awesome as I was trying to fit it in running around everyone else and avoiding them and getting back in time for Auction Mk II.
  • After that it was interesting watching the slide from ordered auction to slowly working out what was up, the butler coming back was awesome, his dramatic death coming after the grave robbery I think beautifully motivated people to know that something really, really eeeeeeeeeeeeviiiiiiiill was happening, which got us all over the “Oh what is this shit, theres no spooky occulty woobly woo” phase and into the “What do we do about the spooky occulty woobly woo stuff?” phase. Although this was also helped along by Verity sneaking up to the maids room — you know because shes inquisitive — and letting them chase someone else away before breaking in herself, finding the horrible shit and alerting other people to deal with it when she couldn’t (actually she broke in, then heard others coming and hid behind the door, hoping to slip out unnoticed but was discovered claiming the door was “just unlocked” and went to spread the rumour to get others in).
  • Verity was mostly a bit wigged by this stuff, which gave me a chance to run around for a whole bunch of the afternoon and engage in my coping mechanisms, so getting cups of tea, getting under peoples feet, helping them with all sorts of things and spending some time sorting the paperwork, later after following cues from her super secret orders list she walked off with £1202, and concealed it in her room for later (I mean it was Whittaker money… kinda so it didn’t seem bad to steal it… kinda).
  • Watching the videos that had been locked up here and there, buried and concealed was a pretty awesome prop, I know there were technical difficulties (perhaps a dry run on the day by refs when no one was looking?) but honestly that added a little bit to the thing… a room full of nervous people while someone plays about with cutting edge technology, then having a grainy black and white picture projected onto a sheet – frigging awesome :) I’d assumed that the “giant projector screen” in the corner was going to get used, so congrats on making it happen with the projector, a real immersive prop that got around the “Single Big Book Problem”, although the Letters and papers had also helped with that.
  • Verity then heard about the barricading in upstairs for an African sweat lodge style thing until dawn and basically I was like … yeah but no, being shut in a hot, closed room for hours with inadequate sleeping and possibly not great hydration options was really not a good plan for me OOC so I bailed on that, with Verity opting to take the other option, of doing something with the more experienced magician since Harris had apparently done this kind of thing before. When told she’d be offering things she was going to offer up her forgetfulness (which I think I should have done on balance, playing Verity who’d suddenly worked out what Not-Verity was up to would have been fantastic and set the two sides of her warring, not to mention it was nice playing someone nice :). Sadly meeting E in a dark, small room felt like it should be enough of a not-normal psychic threat to bounce Verity out and leave Not-Verity in charge, who’d been getting a bit concerned about how real Verity was becoming and so did the not very nice thing that made sense from her point of view, she offered up Verity as an innocent person in exchange for … you know, bread and cake or something
  • From that point on it was interesting, as Not-Verity was doing her best to not die, and also fulfil her primary mission of buttering up Dr. Black (although by time out she hadn’t worked out that Black was a scary scary bastard and hence theres going to be some interesting collision course in the future of their organisations) and also at the same time pretending pretty badly to be happy social Verity — but really not very hard, she was just really answering to the name, and even started getting ready her garottes and using her mystical mesmeric arts on people, although mostly trying to just calm them the fuck down as some seemed to get more horrific situations/hallucinations than others and Not-Verity actually has quite a bit of empathy
  • Some of the down periods were pretty awesome, after we’d done a whole bunch of rituals and then there was a lag before we did the big mixed one and everything had that quiet exhausted air, and the room was full of event detritus you get from repeated emergencies of rituals, beatings, running around, barricades. Awesome
  • Getting the hint that once we’d done all the rituals we just had to find some way of combining them that Bradbury hadn’t managed was good, although Not-Verity started to slap something together (we’ll use this as an alter, we’ll put these figures on it, and arrange people around with the significators of the rituals we did…) before I realised that she probably wouldn’t have too much more of an idea than combine it somehow thing, so I left the others to work on it. We then got a giant arrow of awesome (which I hear got bodged) and honestly it was it a really cool plot thing, we’d done the smaller rituals, then the big combining one and now we had to use it to defeat the bloated man. Although I quite liked the work that Templeton, Barnabus and Not-Verity had been doing before to try and construct something to use the picture (or perhaps Dr. Ruma as a link) to create a key with teeth to close the door remotely, and I wonder if we’d kept at that plan if it would have paid off. Basically I kind of liked the freedom of just guessing, of creating something wacky ourselves and throwing ourselves into it before getting rewarded with subtle yes/no hints from the refs to know if we were on the right track. Also I’d have happily done 1 or 2 more iterations of that ritual to “polish it” or “make it right” or something, getting things wrong and being given a chance to fix them is pretty fun to roleplay through
  • Also I liked the plot, its pretty much the same way I write plots I think, to try and take a situation with a bunch of non-omnipotent characters in, work out how they’re interacting to achieve their goals, work out what they’d do if no one fucked up their plans so you know whats in motion and then ask yourself “How the hell are the players going to interact with this?” how do they get hooked in? How do they discover it? Why are they there? What can they do about it? What will your antagonists do once things start going wrong? I liked that Bradbury was continuing in the themes laid down in previous Black Swan events in a way, their trope for magicians is that they’re slightly bumbling explorers of the unknown, they get roped into it in their youth, do some things and maybe live to regret stirring up the horrors outside of space and time. Bradbury thus felt sympathetic, he’d done things, not proud things, he’d had successes and failures, but he was trying his best (although he was so rambly and indirect I presume as a result of illness and coping mechanisms, I never read much of his written work, what was he like in his youth? I presume enthusiastic rather than worn down) and his link with Dr. Ruma was such a painful thing to watch, but it really humanised him and gave him a link back into the real world, which he spelled his doom by finally spurning. Anyway, I quite liked him. Whittaker felt a bit more moustache twirling but we could guess his motivations from being out in Africa, possibly seeing one too many plagues, one too many dead children and then finding this cult that makes it all make sense! And snapping badly

Awesome points of player actions totally include the chanting from the sweat lodge, meeting E, all the various madnesses that were going on including the scarily powerful hallucinations from Dr. Ruma which were painful to try and comfort her in, The Nun’s frankly painful hysteria I tried to console her through, the fantastic trick with Dr. Black and the teeth which was also horrific, Danny’s academic naked crazy, Barnabus being just wacky, Paul and the stoic Mr. Walker getting naked and splattered with blood, chasing chickens around, Dr. Beastie chanting like a mother fucker, Hettie getting nosy, Templeton turning into a crazed blood stained mute nutter, the security people going from being in control to slowly losing control of the situation and getting dragged into the chaos, Pope and Elizabeth and what I didn’t get at the time, but looking back was interesting interactions (one criticism is I’d loved to have seen those two players getting to try and find quiet places in the house to engage in post-auction nooky as I think they’d have had a good time winding us up and possibly getting caught which could have been an interesting pot spur) and most finally all the subtle interaction going on with looks and eyes in the silence of the Auction was also awesome :)

So thanks to Ref and Crew, and thanks to my fellow players for a lovely and memorable time :)

11 thoughts on “Sobbing Cock – Aeon Horror’s Crying Foul

  1. bodybag_pilgrim

    I don’t think Bradbury or any of the Safe Harbour crew stopped being enthusiastic when they were discussing The Work Of Anthropology and The Obligation To Make Lives Better The World Over (and let’s hear it for idealistic student societies). Bradbury’s spirit remained very willing until the last couple of days, when he broke down – making those films was an admission that he was done, and with that admission to himself, he fell apart – but his flesh was insanely weak.

    Reply
    1. mostlyfoo

      Ah right, see I wasn’t sure exactly when the films were made. I’d kind of presumed he’d been slowly declining in academic rigour and also ability to look after himself and was being ground down by illness over a few presumably horrific years. I should probably have tried constructing more of an accurate timeline but Verity wasn’t really interested and by the time Not-Verity was on the scene for an extended period it was more moot as she was trying to motivate people to help save her arse :)

      Reply
      1. bodybag_pilgrim

        I really like David, but his academic rigour is FUCKING TERRIBLE.

        It’s why he got the doctorate and then stalled – he had a remarkable knack for finding connections and cross-correlations, useful assumptions and references that people wouldn’t have heard of but that turn out to be really useful, and he’s mentioned all over the place in acknowledgements. But he can’t pull theses together himself; he’s a sparkplug, not an engine.

        Reply
        1. mostlyfoo

          To be fair that also helps make him a useful plot driver, he uncovers ALL THE THINGS and then doesn’t quite grok them enough to plug them all together, I wonder if he’d had an assistant if he’d have managed to make it and survive?

          But yeah, makes him useful for embedding in other games as well, bits of correspondence with him will I’m sure show up giving helpful references and suggestions for a while to come in other peoples lives.

          Reply
      1. bodybag_pilgrim

        It’s not spoilers at all, it’s just a thing I did in the background.

        If you look at the letters Bradbury received from other academics, roughly half of them sign off “Safe Harbour” rather than “yours sincerely” or anything else. My assumption is that this originated as an Oxford club of some sort full of students who intended to travel the world, like-minded people with Bradbury who believed that learning about the world and making it a better place were both possible.

        I invented them all for people Bradbury knew, so there’s no real specifics to it. At least one of them dies in Patagonia offstage, and many of them knew of Ruma’s intelligence and lamented the falling apart of Bradbury and Catherine. I wanted a sense of community to the letters, and the Safe Harbour crew were a way to do that.

        They might make an interesting player concept at some point.

        Reply
        1. mostlyfoo

          Awesome :) If I end up writing Oxford academics as characters or back plot for something in the future I may come ask if I can hijack that a little to spread it across the world a bit more.

          Reply
  2. brightroar

    To add to the “rooming with girls” thing, I think this (combined with the rest of the weekend) finally kicked the residual Foo-is-making-changes-this-is-confusing out of my brain, which is pretty cool. There’s no longer a lag between Foo=Girl when I think of you.

    Reply
    1. mostlyfoo

      Awesome :) Yeah I kind of hoped it’d help with that, as long as I didn’t squick myself half way through and panic, ta muchly for a good time and for being an awesomely relaxed person to share space with.

      Now just to do a bit of voice training and settle on a name then I can finally get enough round toits to come out at work and hopefully that’ll help me feel awesome everywhere :)

      Reply

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