#RPGaDay2020 – Day 27: Humor

For #RPGaDay2020 I have chosen to respond to the prompts by writing about each one as if it were a moment of play in a Ghostbusters campaign. Using the alternate version of the infographic (shown below) this series of posts has moved through the prompts following the logic of the map rather than the numerical sequence of days. This brings us to the prompt in Area 24 today (Humor) rather than the prompt in Area 27 (Flavor). We will rejoin the same sequence of posts as everyone else for the last three days of #RPGaDay2020 as we have already covered the prompts running from 25 to 28.

Cutting into and crawling up the EPA-violating emissions stack (Area 11) does not take much time, but there is a lot of relief when I tell them there are no fumes and no vines – just a heavy, makeshift conduit, dripping in condensation, running water to the rooftop . The roof, of course, is still the staging area of the plantapocalypse.

It can’t all be easy~

On the way up the stack, the group speculated about the vines, wondering if they would attack right away, or if they might be able to navigate through them. They had seen both behaviors in their exploration of this complex and so could not be sure. I did nothing to alleviate their tension, but I did cock and eyebrow and a finger at them in a reprise of my earlier Eastwood impression. They of course, knew how to respond to that.

“NO Eastwood!”

On Diego’s advice, and using the frightened reaction of his possessing entity from the other side of the ectoplasm-fueled portal making these murderous plants possible, the group decided to opt for stealth – a talent at which none of them excel.

Their thinking: if the dice let us do it, then we can surprise the villain at the portal. The plants will cease to be a problem once the portal has been closed.

My thinking: the odds of them getting across the vines is very, very slim. Let’s do this!

See the source image

As this is campaign play, time constraints on play time do not need to translate into time limits or session-shaping influences on the events of play. If we have a huge battle on the roof or if we don’t doesn’t matter as there is no planned sequence or timing of events. I don’t need to skip a battle to ensure we get to the climax at the end of this session, and I do not need to insert a battle to create excitement and a dramatic arc in this session. We will discover if there is a battle or not through the use of the traits and talents of the characters involved.

Considering the huge number of ghosts rolled in the early part of session 1, the relative lack of them in this session has been funny. The streak continues on the roof though and each ghostbuster is able to make a Moves roll that is sufficient to get them across the roof to the elevator shaft as an opposed roll versus the vines. Now, describing this could go a number of ways.

We could say that they, not being all that versed in stealthiness, rouse the vines but as their rolls were ultimately successful, that they evade them due to those superior rolls. This could be an opportunity for colorful description, but it doesn’t play to the group’s creative strengths or to the genre we have agreed to: humor in the face of certain peril. We could also turn this description of outcome (players handle description of success in Ghostbusters, and so, no, such procedures are far from new) into a combat scene, but this falters as does the first idea in the face of the specific group’s creative urges and the genre. So what did we do?

Diego goes first, after having Gray gag him. The player pantomimes an exaggerated sneak across the roof, Scooby-gang style, complete with stepping over large objects such as huge vines. Gray follows, all hunched over and looking in every direction at once, proton pack at the ready. Dunhill’s player mimes easing around the edge of the roof sideways.

See the source image

That leaves Lemmon and Linda.

After a predictable loop of ‘no, after you’ it is determined through a brutish push from Linda that Lemmon is going to go ahead of her. His player describes sauntering out onto the roof and a huge vine slithering up behind him. He collapses onto a giant frond and is carried like a crowd surfer to the other side of the roof by the elevators. We applaud with golf claps.

I punctuate the moment by having Linda just walk across the roof.

“Deceit is a tangled web to weave, Linda,” Dieter mock pouts as he realizes that the vines might think that she is still on their side – if they knew she was there at all.

Linda clatters her mandibles.

Getting down the elevator shaft is not complicated, but a little slow. The group is getting tired, and supplies of Brownie Points are low. Once they reach the main floor, they pry the doors open and ask Dunhill if he had seen this section of the complex during his abduction. After I describe the area (Area 24) he recognizes the style of tile, but does not remember an elevator.

Searching quickly, they find a doorway. Linda clatters at them, but they ignore her. Diego has been finding that his ability to understand her fades in and out as the entity possessing him works to seize control of his body.

As the fire door closes and locks behind them (entering Area 23) I describe Linda sighing dramatically and opening a secret door (to Area 25).

“The door locks?!” bursts out Lemmon.

“Yes,” I reply, and that isn’t the worst of it…

Questions: What are some useful and reliable sources of humor in a session? How do you recognize their utility for the game you are playing and the way you are playing it? How can we channel it?

Video: Can you believe that a video will be recorded and then added below, later today? I hope so, there are 26 previous examples of this being done to demonstrate the pattern~

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