Ship of Fools Session 5 – The Parting of the Sensory

After much trading and intrigue with the Xexorian vessel and the Sultan they met, the crew is working to avoid the massive storm coming their way. They begin to sail due south, even further off course.

Meanwhile life on the ship slowly settles back into routine, with all of the crew dealing with minor problems that have cropped up. Edouard drafts a new ship’s cook assistant, Yaeger fails miserably at sneaking into a locked room, and Leon, on his way to visit the Captain, finds Isae’s previous ‘suitor’ attempting to engage in lewd behavior. Leon attempts to show the man the error of his ways.

Unfortunately, knife fights in the middle of the ship about a woman don’t tend to go over well with authority. Needless to say, tensions on board are high, and are only going to get worse.

Side Chatter

More Side Chatter

PLAYERS

  • James – Edouard Fasson. Doctor, cook, etc.
  • Alex – Louis Jalbert. Part-time merchant and full-time scumbag.
  • Zach – Marshall Yaeger, late twenties. Scout and marksman.
  • Matt – Leon Donnelly. Midshipman, navigator, shipwright, and jack of all trades.
  • Charlie – Christian Kavan. Cook and gentleman adventurer. Has the approximate size, shape, and mustache of a walrus.
  • Kevin – Carey Ignacious, the dreamy first mate.
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11 Comments

  1. Posted December 27, 2011 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    I don’t remember when I was writing this campaign when I decided to start naming scenarios after music. I do know, however, that due to many a player’s decision in this game, the title of this scenario was the most fitting ever.

    • drunkandugly
      Posted December 27, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      I believe you chose Modest Mouse for a lot of this campaign because they do a surprising number of nautically-themed songs.

      • Posted December 27, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

        [SPOILERS]

        This’s true, yes. It helps that Modest Mouse usually has songs with an underlying tone of futility, which goes well alongside anything similar to or inspired by CoC, and the tone of CoC is certainly a major source of inspiration for me. “The Parting of the Sensory” describes a situation of authority figures failing miserably and dragging everyone else down with them, and while it describes the scene of confrontation and mutiny, it sort of acknowledges the futility of it all, most specifically the lines, “We pulled the trigger but we forgot to cock/every single shot./Aw, fuck it, I guess we lost.” It’s the perfect musical inspiration for a scenario about a captain driving through a storm, when everyone knows it’ll crash the ship.

  2. Travis
    Posted December 28, 2011 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    I’m starting to like this campaign more and more. It maybe because the action ramps us so much over the course of the story. The conflict has gone from PC made antagonist, bar fights, and intrigue to this session where nearly everyone dies or get seriously injured. Or that i finally have a good feel for the characters.

    Another thing that help the scenario is Nate’s GMing style. The 95% unscripted helps the PCs make the story their own and flesh out their personalities. But the 5% that is scripted is like the old R.L. Stein choose your own adventure stories. There is a “good” path but usually it is hard to get or by the time you figured out what to do its too late.

    • drunkandugly
      Posted January 1, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      But the 5% that is scripted is like the old R.L. Stein choose your own adventure stories. There is a “good” path but usually it is hard to get or by the time you figured out what to do its too late.

      Nate is the reason I always keep my hand on the last page.

  3. Omega
    Posted January 1, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    I want preface this comment a little. I won’t say “long time listener, first time commenting” because I actually haven’t been listening that long, only a couple of months, but I really like your AP games, and I’ve listened to Frieda’s, half through Road Trip and a couple of your one-shots and mini-campaigns. I’m saying all this because I don’t want to seem like a drive-by asshole on the internet.

    So, an interesting thing happened while I listened to this AP. Something which I’m pretty sure hasn’t ever happened to me while listening to any other AP. I, personally, became frustrated at this game. Like, really frustrated, I yelled at my mp3 player a couple times, and punched a wall once. I was frustrated with the characters who sided with the captain, despite all reason pointing to not doing that. I was frustrated with Nate sitting up in his ivory tower laughing at his players for being damned if you do, damned if you don’t (What? I said I was frustrated, I didn’t say I was operating rationally). And I was even more frustrated when that situation was resolved, and Nate was still killing everyone. (And nobody say otherwise. It was literally whenever anyone tried to do something “Nope, you’re still screwed”) It took a lot of pacing and thinking to realize why exactly I was frustrated like this, other than just empathizing with the players and characters who were themselves probably frustrated. Narratively, as a story, this was frustrating. If I was reading this book, or watching this movie I would also be frustrated. I would shout, as I did at my mp3 player “Dammit, this story isn’t interesting if everyone just dies at sea!”. In fact, listening to an AP is probably worse than a book or a movie, because I’d be less inclined to believe they’d go through with it in other media, but I’ve been gaming for a couple years, and I’ve spent most of that time GMing, and I can tell listening to Nate that he’s dead serious about sinking the boat, possibly regardless of player influence. Given what results (which is pretty badass, but still half of that was from NPCs) I’m not sure if Nate is a brilliant man for getting me to give enough of a shit about the people and the boat to get this emotionally invested in where this story goes, or he’s a horrible monster because for a lot of this episode the return I got on that investment was tension and frustration and I felt like punching him in the head through most of it.

    • drunkandugly
      Posted January 1, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      [SESSION 5 SPOILERS AHEAD]
      Wow, okay. That was a big comment. I’m going to break this up and respond to it piece by piece.

      I was frustrated with the characters who sided with the captain, despite all reason pointing to not doing that.

      I’ll admit I’m not sure why a lot of them sided with the captain either, outside of fear of death by six-gun (which we probably should have feared a little less). Edouard sided with him because it involved the least conflict, and he was a non-aggressor. Leon at least tried to mitigate the captain’s madness and pull some Moby Dick stuff (which I can say was brought on by how death by gun was the more likely scenario in my head there). The remainder of the crew actually did a decent job of rallying some people to take the captain out. All I can say is that Hindsight is always 20/20.

      In fact, listening to an AP is probably worse than a book or a movie, because I’d be less inclined to believe they’d go through with it in other media, but I’ve been gaming for a couple years, and I’ve spent most of that time GMing, and I can tell listening to Nate that he’s dead serious about sinking the boat, possibly regardless of player influence.

      I’ll admit that I was a bit confused by some things in the shipwreck until Nate explained the mechanics behind it. There were ways that we could have saved the ship (namely had we been faster about doing things). I think you’ll see in the next session that this ended up leading to interesting things. I’m not sure how the rest of this would have played out had the ship not crashed.

      I would shout, as I did at my mp3 player “Dammit, this story isn’t interesting if everyone just dies at sea!”.

      While Nate was serious about sinking the boat, there was always a way for us to keep going. There was a lot of crazy shit that happened in this session, but one way or another, the players ended up making it to the island.

      Given what results (which is pretty badass, but still half of that was from NPCs) I’m not sure if Nate is a brilliant man for getting me to give enough of a shit about the people and the boat to get this emotionally invested in where this story goes, or he’s a horrible monster because for a lot of this episode the return I got on that investment was tension and frustration and I felt like punching him in the head through most of it.

      Badassery on account of the NPCs is fully allowed when we love that NPC, and I don’t think I can strain how much we love Garou.

      • Posted January 1, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

        It’s true, if you guys hadn’t expressed how much you love Garou, I’d not have had him do all that much. Additionally, yes, there were mechanics to the ship sinking. Notably a collective Fortune check against their accrued negative karma during the journey (this is better explained in the book). It’s possible to save the ship in many ways. Saving or sinking the ship dramatically changes the outcome of the final scenario.

        In any case, I’m generally against killing PCs in campaigns like this, ‘lest it’s the final session or whatnot. When you’ve got this character you’ve put so much development into, losing them mid-campaign can really screw you up, as well as your appreciation for the campaign as a whole. Take, for instance, Leon. He took enough damage to technically die, but I as the GM didn’t want that to happen. Some hand waving and convenient rules-ignoring occurred to keep that character around. Given the circumstances, it was duly possible to do that and not cheapen anything. It wasn’t like Leon went down with the ship or anything. Had he done something like that, even I’d be hard pressed to think of a way to keep him living.

        That being said: Omega, I don’t know if it was the compliments, comments on stirred emotion, or ill wishes upon my cranium, but you’ve stoked a fire in my heart. I think I’m in love with you. In a completely platonic way, mind you, but I just thought I should share. Thank you for the comment, and please feel free to comment more often! We appreciate fan input above all else.

    • Zach
      Posted January 3, 2012 at 1:32 am | Permalink

      Hey, Zach Mansur here, Yeager’s player.

      For why Yeager sided with the captain: I apologize for it not being clear in the game; I’m not very good at establishing character motives in the game when the character I’m playing is very reserved, and Yeager’s about as private and reserved as it gets. Over the course of the journey, Yeager grew progressively more disheartened by the cloak and dagger nature of the journey. He ended up latching on the captain because while he may have been crazy, he was at least honest, and it was something he respected.

      That and Yeager isn’t a trained sailor so he has no idea how bad a storm has to be to destroy a ship.

      Part of the fun of playing a character is playing up their flaws, the things they do that *aren’t* reasonable, and siding with the captain was one of those things. It wasn’t a decision based on logic, and I did fully intend for Yeager to be seen as something of an antagonist. I’m rather surprised he wasn’t riddled with bolts–I was entirely prepared for him to die for his choice.

      Here’s a bit of a fun trivia: for about half the journey Yeager was actually reporting everything he saw to the captain, and I often asked Nate in private if he had any particular orders for him. It never ended up coming up in character I think, since nobody ultimately cared that Yeager had sided with the captain so no one questioned why he did it.

  4. Lucek
    Posted January 3, 2012 at 1:20 am | Permalink

    Is it St. Pat Robelson’s or St. Patrobelsons? Or am I completely off?

    • drunkandugly
      Posted January 3, 2012 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      Is it St. Pat Robelson’s or St. Patrobelsons?

      Yes.

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