[Troublemakers] Past Bedtime at the Haunted Roller Disco!

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[Troublemakers] Past Bedtime at the Haunted Roller Disco!

Postby James Mullen » 12:38pm on 23 Jun 16

This was the second of my online playtests of my PbtA hack for childhood adventures, testing not only the game but my online GMing skills: I'm happy to say that both have improved! :D

For this game, we first agreed to a British 80s setting, settling on a Cornish town during the summer holidays: from this, Declan & Robin played brothers, a Goth & Kook respectively, while Lloyd was an Australian All-Star who had been moved to Britian when his mother married the father of Symon's Shrimp.

We opened with a quick scene around the local newsagents, which was also where the Goth got all his comics from, but a crazy shoplifting stunt got him barred in front of his brother & friends; they finally got the comics they wanted with the All-Star's help, scoring a vintage EC 'Vault of Horror' to go with the Argos catalogue covered in weird ramblings left to the Kook by his uncle. The Kook persuaded/dared the others to come with him to the Haunted Roller Disco that night, where he intended to catch real footage of a ghost on his Super 8 camera, so they all made arrangements to sneak out of their houses after dinner and meet at the seafront for an adventure!

Come 9pm at the Roller Disco, the Kook consulted his divinatory Argos catalogue for guidance (Robin was going for a bit of a Gravity Falls vibe here, but more British & understated, obviously) when a freak sea breeze blew the book out of his hands and through an open window of the Roller Disco building; while the other kids argued a little about getting it back, the Shrimp just slipped through the small window after it, whereupon he was confronted with a 7' tall, gaunt figure swathed in a black robe. His screams brought the Kook & All-Star in after him, while the Goth went around the back to where he knew of another way in.

The Phantom of the Store Cupboard was chased off in short order, disappearing into the shadows: a search revealed a locked service panel in one wall, but they knew from a prior encounter that the Roller Disco manager, Mr. Grimthorpe, had a jangling ring of keys on his belt. The Goth made his way in from the back of the building, entering the Roller Disco Arena to see that all the patrons were wearing black robes as part of a themed evening: everyone was due to disrobe at midnight (which due to licensing issues was 11pm for the Roller Disco).

Mr. Grimthorpe returned to the cupboard, so to divert his attention, the Kook surprised the All-Star with a kiss (also a good use of daring another kid to get her to play along); while she gulped like a fish, the Shrimp effortlessly lifted the ring of keys from the manager's belt (well, with the help of the distraction provided by the other tow kids: a good use of giving badges to give support there) but then all the kids were taken out of the cupboard to the roller rink to find their parents...

The Goth had been busy at the DJ's mixing desk and had discovered that it really was haunted: the gaunt figure was actually the Phantom of the Roller Disco and was using the spinning records to weave a spell upon the disco's patrons. As Mr. Grimthorpe arrived to make a lost child announcement with the Shrimp firmly in tow, the All-Star and the Kook hatched a cunning plan: hiring getting skates & a robe, they got on one another's shoulders to disguise themselves as an adult! Their plan worked beautifully and the Shrimp was given into their custody, so the Goth used the distraction to grab the microphone and announce that 'midnight' was now! There was bedlam on the arena floor as a hundred patrons tried to remove their robes whilst moving around on skates, so the Shrimp, All-Star and Kook booked it back to the store cupboard, where they used the keys to free the disco's real DJ from behind the service panel!

As order was restored in the roller disco, the Goth was witness to the Phantom taking control of the robed roller-skaters, commanding them to circle the floor forever, giving him more power with each circuit! When the other kids returned with the real DJ, the Kook started reading selected items from the Argos catalogue aloud, interfering with the words of the Phantom's spell, so a horde of possessed skaters were directed towards them! The Goth grabbed the abandoned turn-table and started spinning the record backwards, unwinding the Phantom's magic! The Shrimp then charged the Phantom with his inflatable pool-noodle... and passed right through the spectre, causing the lighting rig to topple over; a heroic effort from the Kook saved the Shrimp from being crushed underneath, so it was down to the All-Star to tackle the phantom! This was their last shot, but she blew it! Somehow though, the Phantom vanished when she struck it, so they called that a victory and snuck back home sort-of triumphantly!

As codas, we found out that the Kook had footage of his kiss with the All-Star on his Super 8 camera, along with his ghost footage of blurry shadows and flashing lights, so he showed it to everyone he knew; the All-Star had other problems though, in the form of a never ending loop of 80s disco tunes going around & around in her head... but that's a story for another time.

I really enjoyed this session, I had much more energy than in the previous one, and I got some good ideas for additional material and a few tweaks to some of the existing rules and playbooks: more work for me to do, but at least I'm enjoying it :D
Blood & Water is available now on DriveThru: "An awesome, awesome game of mundane nonsense" - Neil Gow

Keep up with new nano-games and other games in development at the Groundhoggoth blog.
James Mullen
Spaghetti ConJunction
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Location: Milton Keynes, Bucks
Thanks: 1615 given/1368 received
Playing: A Smorgasbord of Short Games
Planning: Spaghetti ConJunction 2a

Re: [Troublemakers] Past Bedtime at the Haunted Roller Disco

Postby Zuki » 12:53pm on 23 Jun 16

I had a great time with this game, once again demonstrating how collaboratve the game can be in generating plot and making it work. You did a great job of bringing all the story elements together in a coherent way.

I think the diversity of playbooks really helps form a group that will make each game different, Im keen to try some of the others now!

I do like the Will mechanic which can help you succeed when you need it. I think there might need to be more consequence for losing will - perhaps something like the Luck mechanic in Monster of the week, but I like that its not as powerful as Luck in that game and more applicable to pushing things into a partial success.

The basic moves all seemed to go well together, I didnt feel we were floundering at any point to cover conflicts with a move, like I have in other AW games.
Zuki has received thanks from the following for this post:
James Mullen
Zuki
7th-level
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Location: Milton Keynes
Thanks: 1 given/33 received
Running: Urban Shadows x2, Perilous Wilds
Planning: Just about every Apocalypse Engine game known to man.


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