So the scenario is written and I’ve playtested it with three very different groups to figure out any loop holes, errors and if anything is missing.
Across the three groups were a mix of newish to veteran Call of Cthulhu players, with both genders represented. All three groups went at it in very different ways, however all seemed to end up (by their own volition) in a similar pickle by the end.
It’s always interesting to see how much ‘Mythos meta knowledge’ comes in to play in each group. Some steadfastly rely only on the information provided in game, attempting to keep things within the scope of their character’s rather than the player’s knowledge. Others can’t help themselves. Each is fine with me in a playtest as I get to see how different people’s minds interact with the scenario, which helps to focus on whether I have put anything too obvious in. From this, I decided that one of of player handouts was a bit too obvious, so I redid it, toning down the Mythos references, which had the effect of making it more puzzling for the next playtest group – which worked much better and had them guessing rather than ‘knowing’ what was going on.
By dint of the fact that each session I ran had different time constraints (from 4 hours to 2.5 hours in range), I was able to focus on what where the key drivers in the scenario – what the major hooks were that sent the players chasing down particular avenues. I find this useful as it allows me to know the rough timing of key scenes, thus in a convention game I’ll know when to press on and when to allow the players time to ponder their situation. As the scenario reaches its climax, it seems from experience, that it really begins to gather pace – hurtling the investigators towards a tension-filled and satisfying close.
Of course the playtest did ensure I spotted one major error! I realised mid game that I had forgotten to include the stats for a very important NPC! During the game I winged it, but afterwards spent a good amount of time putting the NPC’s stats in and double checking the stats of the NPCs already written in. One of those situations where you have convinced yourself that you have done something, when in reality you have not. Thus, always good to double check the important stuff!
Finally, I did a last proof read for typos and whatnot, corrected a handful and it was done. I sent the final ms, handouts and pre-generated investigators to Chaosium for them to layout and print ready to give to the players who had supported that particular pledge level in the kickstarter.
I should give a mention to Dean Engelhardt who was totally marvellous in helping to put together a set of investigator sheets (based on his new design for 7th edition) for the games. Dean’s done a great job with the sheets, making them do all the maths, so the rolling up process is speeded up considerably. The sheets look fantastic. Dean has loads of cool free stuff on his website – go check it out.