May 212014
Rag-NERD-rok Podcast Tree

When two detectives are called in to investigate a gruesome murder in the small town of Skiatook, Oklahoma, they are hardly prepared for the scene that awaits them. They find the body mounted to the wall, its entrails spilled from a surgically precise abdominal wound, its lungs removed. No sooner than they finish attending to the crime scene, another body is discovered with the same wounds a few blocks away. Suddenly, the chase is on, but are they pursuing a single deranged killer or multiple perps who have committed similar mutilations? As the two detectives race to uncover clues, it becomes evident that more of Skiatook’s residents are in danger, but they lack the time and the resources to protect everyone at risk. Can they figure out what motivated the killings, who committed them and who might be next before another body turns up? Listen to find out!

  • Gregg

    This was a terrific game. It was involving, creepy as hell, and well-executed.

    That said, my first thought upon getting to the end was, “Holy cow, this needs four players.” It did seem almost a preordained loss, which is fine in the Mythos, but it didn’t seem like the players were going in with that understanding. I think four players, and incorporating some of the player suggestions or similar additions, would give the investigators a fighting chance.

    The other complaint I have isn’t really a complaint at all: it was so good I wanted it to be much longer. I could have listened to four hours of this instead of two and been delighted. I’m not sure how much additional weight or obfuscation you feel this structure can bear, but it seems to me that the underlying mystery is robust enough for considerable expansion. This would also permit giving the investigators more information, which would increase survivability.

    So, great work by all concerned. The best thing a game can do is leave you wanting more of it, and this one definitely did that in spades.

  • Kevin

    Hey guys, love your stuff! Hope to see it all continue to be fantastic!


  • it did kind of flop as a game, but I didn’t mind. if Alex had really been deliberately planning to end it there and had a solid climax (or dramatic anticlimax) to cap it with, it coulda been just fine. it reminds me of Thomas Ligotti stories–a short exploration of something weird, an incomprehensible revelation of darkness and then going off to live the rest of their lives themselves being the consequences of what they’d seen. I do like the alternate suggestions the players made at the end, too. reading the ritual could’ve been the point at which Shit Got Real and unreality started to leak into the real world. the PCs have pressure on them from behind in the form of some astral horror in pursuit and pressure ahead knowing that more murders were to come.

    Ed’s delivery is too good sometimes. “ah, but isn’t most of the -world- outdoors?”

  • Honestly, I thought it was great. If there were more players — or even if there weren’t and it turned into this cat-and-mouse game — it would’ve been really interesting if the second half of the game was just one player trying to organize a ritual and pretending to go along with the investigation. You had the perps, you could’ve arrested them and Ryan could’ve been trying to sneak in logistical questions while interrogating them. “So then you cut open her chest… did you start with the horizontal incision or the vertical? Up-down, left-right? Do you have to keep those lungs on ice before the sacrifice? If so, do you need to thaw them before the ceremony?” You could’ve kept the two-detective town aspect by just saying holy crap, they’re clearly dangerous, send a couple of our larger deputies out with them. That would still give them all a reason to be working together.

  • Biest

    The procedural part indeed was delightfully creepy, but the end came very quickly, so that it felt a bit anticlimactic. And the trap seemed pretty unavoidable for the Characters, I have to agree.
    I would set it up as a situation where fleeing workd and the reader wakes up. But the melody of the song will stay with them. They might start to hum it absentmindedly or drum it with their fingers and if they catch themselves doing it, that might cause a new vision.

  • thelettuceman

    I don’t usually laugh aloud when I listen to many things on the Internet, but I died laughing with “YOU DIDN’T FILE YOUR PAPERWORK”. Thanks for that.

    • Chris

      Your name made me laugh thelettuceman. And the little picture of lettuce that is labeled lettuce. So much lettuce in so little space. I hope you will keep the lettuce theme going.

  • Alex

    Thanks for the comments, everyone! I agree that it would have been better with a few more players, but I wanted to try it out and Ed and Ryan were the only ones available. I also think I’m going to change the way the spell works. I like the suggestion of it being a gradual thing. Reading the words transports you to the cathedral, but then you snap back. But every few hours you get pulled back, going more and more insane each time.

    So I apologize for the ending, but this was very much a playtest. I’ll come back to it at some point, and hopefully it will be better next time.

  • I think Ryan and Ed had some good suggestions on improving the scenario, but it was a very interesting premise. Definitely develop it further, Alex.

  • Humanity Akbar

    a fine short story — brief & taut & inevitable (the only thing that makes me sad is the thing that always makes me sad in horror games — the final reveal of the big bad is often a let down to what my imagination has already set up for me–but i really don’t know if that is something to be solved or, rather, just part of my interaction with the genre?). ty for making it available

  • Humanity Akbar

    Though, I’ll add, it was the ending was perfect for me — the game wasn’t aboot winning or losing, but, rather, the police procedural, the piecing together of the clues, like how True Detective wasn’t aboot the Yellow King or Cole winning against the bad guys…

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