When our heroes blew up Cthulhu, we still had one play session left. I decided to forego continuing the campaign and put my players in the role of other characters for a change of pace; it was also a great storytelling device to continue events in the campaign.
The first scenario was In Media Res by John Tynes. The players are amnesiac criminals trying to remember their past. In Media Res is a role-playing exercise in dread – there is no happy ending. The characters they play are despicable. You can read how it played out.
I had just three players, but I went all out, complete with props and, just as the title says, events took place in media res. Here’s how my players handled it:
Jeremy, the dramatic one, couldn’t get his head around being a violent criminal. He didn’t understand why he wasn’t playing his old character. He didn’t like his new one.
George, the experienced game master, got into the role immediately, complete with swearing and brutal tactics.
Joe L., the roll-player, died in the first fifteen minutes.
Of the three, George’s character connected with his past and thereby ended the scenario. Jeremy, playing smart rather than playing his character, escaped.
I admittedly sprung this scenario on my players and they didn’t all appreciate it. The role-playing moments were interesting, but players who were accustomed to a long-term campaign were thrown off by a one-shot scenario. The moral center they took for granted was shaken to its core.
We played another scenario afterwards with more likable characters that went much better. But I’m still not sure if the first one was a success.
Your Turn: Have you ever sprung a surprise scenario on your players?
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