Last week, James Mullen ran his game, Blood & Water, for Story Game Sunday and it was a lot of fun. I gather that it’s somewhat similar thematically to the TV show Being Human in that it’s about a group of monsters who used to be human sharing an apartment and trying to function as best as they can in the world. I’m not familiar with the show, but I didn’t have any issue grokking the story we were going for.
Character creation is quick and does a good job of generating characters who straddle the line between monsterous and human. One part of the character creation process that I really dug was answering the questions “What do I want that I don’t have?” and “What do I have that I don’t want?” You are encouraged to use one of the questions to explore your human side and the other to explore your monster side, so in our game we wound up with:
– the incarnation of an Egyptian god who wanted to appear on stage alongside Kristin Chenoweth, and was responsible for making sure the sun rose on time every day.
– a ghoul who wanted to get tenure at his university, and carried around the talking skull of the first man he ate.
– a swamp-monster who wanted to get his stick-and-mud-based art featured in an upscale gallery, and was compelled to look out for the well-being of a large family of rats.
Mechanics-wise, when a character wants to do something that requires a roll, they can ask someone else to roll for them, and any complications that arise from the roll will happen to the helper rather than the active character. If a helper fails, the active character can continue to ask for help from other characters before finally attempting to roll himself. Any complications that have already been rolled stick around, so there is the potential for a really satisfying snowball of failure or even situations where all of the helpers get screwed, but the active player manages to get everything they want in the end. It’s mechanically simple, but really satisfying in play.
Our story ramped up to a grand finale in front of a giant burning art installation complete with celebrity snogging, celebrity decapitation, assassination by alligator, the ascension of a child god, and a swamp monster drunkenly hiding in a champagne fountain. You know, the usual.
James mentioned that he might try to run a multi-session game in the future, and I’d definitely recommend keeping an eye out for it. We played our game at full tilt, but I think it might work even better with a little more room to breathe, since we wound up having to leave some aspects of our characters mostly unexplored.
Thanks a bunch to James for running it and to Horst Wurst and Declan (who I don’t see on g+) for joining in!