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1) Are there any rules I should really study? All you experienced Storyguides out there, is there some mechanic you found yourself not knowing as well as you needed to once the game actually started going?
2) Could I get some feedback on what I have planned so far? Any gaping holes? Ways to fill it in? Things that may not work so well? Also, looking for books to buy. It seems like Dark Passions and Damnation View would be the best bets. Anyway, here's the story:
Our story begins with the characters on a plane, heading from Australia to America. Why the characters were in Australia is up to them. The flight does not go smoothely. Cultists try hijacking the plane for a terrorist attack. The main characters will probably fight back and defeat the cultists. If they do, an emergency landing is forced in some European city. If the main characters do not fight back, the cultists land in a city. Either way, the characters land, and things do not look pretty - the city is completely overrun with spiders. Webs everywhere. They may wander looking for help, but all they find are cultists and spider-infested zombies. Plus the Xani http://cthulhutech.10.forumer.com/viewtopic.php?t=2805&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0
As the PCs struggle against the odd, they must also help the other survivors, well, survive. They include:
- Jessica and Jerry. A young couple from Australia, they decided that home was getting uncomfortably close to the Rapine Storm, and they decided to move, even though Jessica is pretty far into pregnancy. They are just really sweet people. I want the players to love these two, and really care if they survive or not. Jessica is probably going to give birth at some point during the game, which will provide extra complications: finding a place for her to spend hours in labor, and caring for an infant while trying to not be found. I'm debating having the kid be parapsychic (will errupt only if TPK seems likely. Gravikinesis for sure)
- Dr. Seacrest. Ashcroft Foundation psychiatrist. They're facing the Rapine Storm. They will gain insanity points. They will not have the advantage of being able to retire for a few months. They need this guy to live.
- Mrs. Tagglesworth. Old lady. She has no business surviving, but she will. This is more for the anime side than the Cthulhu side. She's pretty likely to be seen beating on Grave Things and maybe even Cthulhu with her purse and somehow surviving (n.b. not actually Cthulhu. But you get the idea).
- Xanatos Antanov. Member of the military. He was on leave to recover from wounds both physical and psychological. His vacation is nearing its end. He is a total dirtbag and thinks the world owes it to him to be at his beck and call. I mean, look what he's been through. He's likely to go on a rant like this with Jessica and Jerry kindly ask him to move over - Jessica needs to be able to get to the restroom quickly. How dare they ask him to move? He'll sit where he damn well pleases - it's because of him and all the limbs he's lost that they're even still around. F'ing ingrates.
- [unnamed] - a prostitute. Every horror movie needs a skank to die quickly, and I think making it her career helps drive home what kind of world CTech is.
- redshirts. Not everyone who dies will be someone the PCs know.
- sleeper agent. One of the survivors is actually another cultist who was in on the hijacking but didn't actively take part. His reasons will become known....
So, the main characters fight their way through the city, even as their numbers slowly dwindle down. The Xani uses hit-and-run tactics, dropping down from above, snatching someone up, and getting in a few shots before either consuming its prey or the players outrunning it. Eventually, however, they face the true foe: a Chiranae. Turns out it's been hunting them, and it finds people taste most delicious with freshly-developed arachnophobia - especially if they get to see him first. I'm still a little unsure how to make his final appearance actually stand out and not seem out of place. Maybe he misses one target, and the PCs get a warning to look out for him? I could see Xanatos going down in a blaze of glory here. But I'd rather let the PCs be the ones to catch the Chiranae. I guess I'll just handle it as an ambush attack and assume that since the PC doesn't outright die, they catch on last minute and dodge. A hit or miss reflects how well the dodge turned out - did they catch on soon enough? But here's a big problem: the PCs aren't equipped to take on an integrity-level thing, especially within his own maze of illusions. How can I tone down the Chiranae to be a scary but non TPK fight for starting characters? Characters have not been chosen yet, but I suspect there may be a Tager or two, but not a full party. At least one everyman will be there.
The PCs take down the Chiranae somehow (really tough since they likely won't find explosives or something to help them). And then the pain really begins. With the Chiranae dead, its illusions fade, and they were far more extensive than the characters suspected. They aren't in a city after all. They're in a jungle. In the middle of Rapine Storm territory (the cultists aboard the plane had served as beacons to help the Chiranae extend his illusions, and one didn't take part in the hijacking, instead being a sleeper agent among the survivors). The characters must sneak their way through the hordes to some safehouse and be among the refugees to flee. But can they do so?
I'm hoping the Xani survives, because I think it would be all the more terrifying to have it just burst down from the trees and snatch someone up. But I'm a lot less clear on what may happen after the jungle location is revealed. Just lots of running and hiding. Oh, and finding resources: food, shelter, guns, and ammo. It may get redundant. How do I avoid that? Also, I'd like the deaths of the supporting cast to be determined by PC success. Suggestions? All I'm thinking is that if the PCs botch something, the punishment isn't always the PCs getting ambushed, extra damage, etc. Sometimes it's another person dying.
Vakama, Vampire Tager in Maylo Hunting
Storyguide in Alcatraz Kadabra