Gen Con, pt 5

The Dis[sed ]Mounties

The next game on Friday was another QAGS game. Which should have been even more ‘next’ than it was, but I screwed up—more on that in a future post. Anyway, this game was “Life is Random”. The premise of this was to randomly generate, well, just about everything about the game, and then play it. So we randomly rolled setting, and opposition, and so on—even a theme. Even our characters were semi-random: we rolled what sorts of characters we were playing, and even the WWPHITM? (more on that later), but still chose job and schtick and so on ourselves, and allocated points in the usual way (which, though, is itself something involving random dice rolls).

This game also turned out to be my second-best of the con—Thurs’ al Fresco game topped it, and perhaps that only because of my pride in having run it. Like that game, this one had me laughing so hard that it left me sore.

So, after some rolls on The Book of Dumb Tables, we determined that our characters were Mounties with mutant powers, our opposition were cultists, and the theme was “Good always triumphs over Evil”. There were probably some other things that I’ve forgotten, and some secret rolls that only the GM knew the results of (though, presumably, that’s where the rest of the game came from). We had some discussion around the table, and filled in some of the cracks. It was decided we were in Saskatoon, and that we were actually ex-Mounties (unless that was part of the rolls?). The backstory was that we had been investigating a chemical company for shady dealings, there had been an explosion at the chemical plant that gave us all mutant powers, and we had been quietly discharged without pension while the government covered the whole thing up. So, we formed a detective agency.

I’m not sure who came up with “The Dismounties” for the name of our group, though i think it was me, but I know I came up with the version “The Dis[sed ]Mounties”, which i think I would prefer even if I didn’t have some investment in it.

Let’s see if I can remember all the characters:

  • Female J-name—Jessie? Jade?: microscopic vision, so she did all our lab work, as well as some of the on-site forensic work
  • Enoch Haberdasher: psychic control over hats. Late in the game, we “found out” that he can also see anything that a chosen hat would be able to see, but only if it’s a fancy hat. Enoch was the head of our little detective agency.
  • don’t remember the name: He had grown up wanting to be a hockey star, but couldn’t make the cut, so he had to settle for the RCMP. His mutant powers were some sort of control over either hockey pucks or hockey sticks, though I never quite caught the details—basically, he was the super-hockey-player. He was pretty much our muscle.
  • Elise, i think her name was: her mutant power was an udder. She was a very mothering sort and our secretary/receptionist. Who did a surprising amount of field work. ;-) The player was awesome, affecting a great stereotypical accent, and totally playing up being everyone’s mother. And kept offering us milk, which no one would drink.
  • somebody male: mutant power was that he blended in with everyone. He was also an expert juggler, which he also used to throw knives, among other things. I don’t remember what specific role he had in the agency, but he mostly spent his time blending in with the badguys to get info, and then getting beaten up by one of us who had also fallen for his power.
  • somebody female: Her mutant power was tentacles. She had tentacles replacing her arms (5 on the right side, 4 on the left), and did all our paperwork and billing and permits and that sort of thing. She could type on several typewriters at once [hey, it’s Canada, they’re kinda backwards, so of course they still use typewriters. ;-) ]
  • Huh, what was my character’s name?: My mutant power was animal magnetism: I could magnetize any animal I touched. It came particularly in handy once i grabbed a gunny sack full of hamsters. I had been a 4th-generation Mountie, and had grown up in the wilderness, and was a master tracker and trailer.

One of the cleverest touches in QAGS is the WWPHITM? stat: “Who Would Play Him/Her In The Movie?”, which is a very clever way of giving not only the player, but everyone else at the table, a handle on what the character is supposed to be like. It’s particularly useful, in my experience, for convention games. For this game, we used the “actors/actresses who should get more work” tables in The Book of Dumb Tables, which led to some pretty interesting selections. Which, unfortunately, I don’t recall, except for Portia de Rossi. Nonetheless, the WWPHITM? stat is, in general, a great idea, and in this particular game, randomly assigning it basically meant randomly assigning a personality. Which provided some interesting challenges.

During the course of the game, Saskatoon was a fairly small town—pretty much a one-stop-light town. They don’t get any bigger than that in western Canada, do they? ;-) At one point, someone was playing up being unable to find a word: “…that place where the teenagers hang out” “the gas station?” And the focus of social life in town was the Chocolate Moose, sort of a Canadian Perkins.

[BTW, before anyone gets up in arms: First of all, we all knew we were playing up ridiculous stereotypes and exaggerating for comedic effect. Secondly, I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’ve been to Canada numerous times, Calgary and Edmonton mostly, in fact, and even lived there for a while as a young kid, so I know that most of our generalizations were bogus. Third, I know that Saskatoon is a thriving metropolis, not a frontier village, but I didn’t want to spoil everyone’s fun. So, yes, we cartoon-ified Canada. It’s comedy. Plus, those Canadians are all so nice, so you can make fun of them without getting beaten up.]

The whole game was a laugh a minute: it started with us apprehending some local [talking] bears that had gotten out of hand and started bombing the city—by riding around on unicycles, juggling the bombs until they tossed them. Which turned out to be important—the terrorist bears’ cave became our hideout when our HQ was invaded, and their unused bombmaking supplies saved the day when we needed to blow up the Unspeakable Horror that the cultists were trying to summon. And it only got sillier from there: I made a sort of tree stand to hang out on the side of a steel-sided warehouse by magnetizing a bunch of hamsters. Elise’s milk (already decanted into thermoses–don’t be gauche) turned out to have all sorts of useful properties. Hats and hockey pucks were our most frequent weapons.

It turned out the cultists were convinced our tentacled typist was the harbinger of their tentacled demonic god, due to a certain visual similarity, and needed to sacrifice her at just the right time and place in order to usher in a new age of hell-blasted death and suffering (the cultists (i.e., GM) had a cleverer turn of phrase for their goal, which I’ve forgotten). Once we figured this out, our clever plan was to have blend-in-guy pretend to be a cultist, and take the semi-captive tentacle-woman to them.

OK, the plan was both a little sounder, and a lot wackier, than that. Our lab tech had built a bomb into the trunk of the car, with which to blow up the cultists and/or their god; I rode along on a unicycle, clinging to the back of the car, disguised as a terrorist bear, and passed off as a snack for the soon-to-be-awakened elder god; our typist was wearing a fancy hat so that Enoch could see what was going on; and the others followed in a van, and provided catering with Elise’s cookies & milk, in order to get into the cultists’ lair.

It also helped that the Cultists were clearly worshipping the wrong god: the dice gods were not on their side which, combined with liberal use of yum-yums on our part, meant that they were dumb. Would you fall for “oh, that sorta-mountain-man-looking guy on the unicycle holding a hamster to the trunk of my car? that’s actually a very scrawny bear that I’m bringing along to the sacrifice so that the new god will have a snack when he wakes up”? Luckily, it was supposed to be a comedy game, so the absurdities didn’t ruin it, but instead enhanced it.

Oh, and the theme? Clearly “Good always triumphs over Evil” means that if we won, we were the good guys—otherwise, the theme wouldn’t be supported by the narrative. I’m happy to report that we did, in fact, turn out to be the good guys.

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