Thursday, January 13, 2011

Dice don't kill, players do

I had my monthly Cthulhu session last weekend. Our group consists of a medical examiner, a pilot who also manages a speakeasy and a professional poker player (moi). We were investigating a series of murders - don't ask why, that's a long story. Let's just say we had a good reason. During that investigation we find a book containing invocations used by a cult. While I'm busy with other things, the ME and the pilot decide to take a look at the book. First, the ME reads the book and asks the pilot to shut the book after five minutes. That works well enough, although the ME then downs half a bottle of whiskey and is out for a while.

During that time, the pilot can't resist and reads the book on his own, until I come back and snap the book shut, getting attacked in return. Hilarity ensues and ends with a dislocated jaw for the pilot.
So I'm at a total loss at what to do. I know that the pilot is not that stable at the best of times (we've been playing the characters a while now) and reading that book can't have helped. He ensures me that he feels fine, but even if I couldn't read people very well, I would be distrustful.

Since I can't very well get him committed when nothing is obviously wrong, I play along. The situation ended more or less well and it seems that the pilot managed to break the spell the book put on him...but I'm not so sure of that (both as player and character).

I have never been so close to killing another player's character in all my roleplaying years. If he had made a wrong move like attacking us or siding with the cult, I probably would have. I've played in groups where such a story would have ended in a fight between the players because people take things a character does as a personal affront, even when the action is absolutely justified. In this group, we all enjoyed ourselves precisely because of the extreme situation and the difficult decisions our characters had to make. It's one of the reasons I love playing Cthulhu, especially with my current group - getting into really ugly situations that may very well end even uglier. Going insane is not a bug, it's a feature.

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