Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Carcosa: The Aftermath

So.  Carcosa.  It happened.

I've talked about Carcosa before, but here are a few more thoughts.

Carcosa is like Dark Sun meets Gamma World.

Carcosa is great.  It's the only game I can think of where a young caveman can steal Grey technology, grow up to be Iron Man, and fight the Great Old Ones.

Finally, if you haven't read it, Jim Stutz has a review of Carcosa on RPG.net.  He didn't care for the game, but he gives us this completely accurate gem: "What we end up with are dinosaur-riding sorcerous cavemen exploring ancient ruins and pursuing the Greys for their nifty rocket launchers while being pursued in turn by Nyarlathotep and some undead mummies.

"Why?  Fuck you, that's why."

(For the record, I'll comment on one of Jim Stutz's criticisms when he says, "we're told that 'on a lifeless island of black stone stands the alien city of Carcosa.' So, 'unkowable to Me' serpent-man alien? Non-Euclidean Cthulhu-style alien? Invaders-from-Space alien? We don't know, because that one line is all we get about the city of Carcosa. One could say that the beauty of the setting is that it allows me to answer these questions for myself. One could also say that that's what I paid the writer $21 to do for me."  The answer likely has something to do with redundancy, as there is already all this stuff that references Carcosa.)

So, I ran Fungoid Gardens of the Bone Sorcerer, included in the Carcosa book.  I think people had fun.

E. M. Lamb already catalogued the session if you want to read it, so I'll only provide a few thoughts here.

I made six pregenerated characters, five using the standard Weird Fantasy Role-Playing rules and one using Jeff Rients' "What Went Wrong" supplement (that's a direct link; you can see the original post and some reactions here).  The six players were given the choice, and all chose the "What Went Wrong" supplement.  So there are five characters of guaranteed competence and seven characters of varying degrees of competence.

Also, some of the players wanted to keep with the random theme and rolled 1d100 for their ages.  Three characters ended up over sixty, allowing me the opportunity to test Weird Fantasy Role-Playing's aging rules.  Bonus!

Also, for the record, Uthak and Kra-deera are lesbian lovers, as both were around the same age and both were lesbians.  Thank you, Jeff Rients.  And I didn't even have to use his romance chart!

That would make for a disturbing Carcosa game.  Love in Carcosa, like A Midsummer Night's Dream but with more Lovecraftian monsters and horrific rituals.

That can only lead to tentacle hentai, so I think we're going to skip it.  Moving on.

So, here's the interesting part (and a spoiler alert, though you knew that already).  Reading through the adventure, I felt that the first few rooms of Fungoid Gardens hold nothing suggesting that combat will happen.  The white lotus thralls are picking flowers.  The sorcerer is wandering around, doing experiments.  His acolytes and the alchemist are hanging out.

The adventurers could have had a relatively easy time of it.

As it was, combat only starts when the adventurers are in the white lotus gardens, and the phrase "kill the sorcerer" is uttered.  Pretty much by accident, as they're discussing what they want to do within earshot of the white lotus zombies.

Poor Pheebo.
Pheebo, Uthak's loyal retainer, was the first to die.  Although he totally broke a lackey's neck with a solid right hook.

Kra-deera's loyal lizardwolf took some punishment but held its ground.  Yaan-krok had Boy the slave and some sort of spider-dog thing (he was one of the WFRP guys, so he actually bought those with starting money).  They survived, too.

When the party split, I would later learn the chaotic types were plotting to let the other party members deal with the Bone Sorcerer, and if he killed them all, they were just going to plead ignorance and pledge allegiance.

The Bone Sorcerer would have been a little more frightening if he weren't overwhelmed by about ten dudes, and if the Mind Blast didn't weaken him considerably.  Then again, the fact that a lone man held off about ten armed people for about half a minute is a fairly impressive feat.

But really, that's about it.  The characters were murderhobos and went around murdering everything (including a Spawn of Shub-Niggurath that was completely immobile).  The backstabbing PCs were actually the ones who didn't kill anybody, instead hanging back.

You know.  To murder everyone later.

Shothothor and Yaan-krok were the ones who arrived before the others and slew the Savior of the Prodigals.  Shothothor turned the town to the worship of the Old Ones almost single-handedly.

I hope to play again, and I suspect future games will involve the adventurers trying to get stuff together so that they can make Remnant autonomous.

We shall see.

Addendum: I totally forgot about Kra-deera's toxic fingernails.  Read about it here.

Also, I'll repeat the fact that E. M. Lamb recorded the plot of the game session with more detail than these vague notes about running the game.  You should check it out.


  1. Truly, I had a great time, and the more I ponder the world and the concept the more enamored I become of it. As I said to Mr. Lamb, I think my next character (at least, for this town) is a Helena Bonham Carter-inspired chaotic sorceress. So, Bellatrix basically. SUPER FUN.

    Thank you for running and for indulging in our goofiness.

    1. No, no. Thank you for playing and indulging in my goofiness.

  2. There was more backstabbing in this game then any Vampire: the Masquerade game I've ever played. It was interesting to try and figure out who was going to betray who, and when. I think next time I'll be chaotic.

    1. I had it in mind that it could self-destruct if people played what they wanted, but I didn't know that full-blown party factions had occurred.


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