It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!
Here's a Muse actual play report from the session I ran yesterday Oct. 16th at Roludothon 5 in Montreal. We ended up being 5 people: Jonathan (myself), Charles, Benoit, Florian and Eric. Here's the Story Sheet that we came up with, along with a summary of the story we ended up telling:
Story Seed: In modern day Montreal with a magical twist, a Mage transforms people into animals and forces them to work in his mine.
Character: Rudy, transformed into a bat the Mage uses as a spy, used to be a hair-dresser for the wealthy and an informant to tabloid journalists.
Character: Pyke, transformed into a bison, was an uneducated street boxer from out West. Was an alcoholic, was and still is angry at the world.
Character: Bob, transformed into an octopus, was a failed MBA graduate that ended up becoming a one-man band street performer. Has a stutter.
Scene: The foreman's office, a half-aquarium where Bob works.
Scene: A mine shaft, where animals dig for alchemical ingredients under Mount Royal.
Scene: The Biodome, where the captured animal/people live and the Mage grows his Manna plants (which provide magical power when eaten) using the mine's alchemical ingredients. Connects to the mine via the Purple Subway line, which was never finished and later forgotten.
Threat: Due to a rival mage's magical influence, it is falsely appearing like the mine is running out of materials. If the Mage becomes convinced that the mine has run dry, he will kill the animals and retire.
Threat: Rose and Melody have fallen in love and will be leaving Montreal soon with Pyke's son.
Crisis Question: Will Pyke get free and save his son? [Yes]
Question: Will Bob Steal Pierre Bourque's Grimoire? [No]
Question: Will Rudy find Rose? [No]
Question: Will Bob date Rose? [Yes, answered in Epilogue]
The story begins with Bob ordering Pyke into a new section of the mines. Pyke pulls a mine cart full of moles to the new area and starts digging. While digging, they find alchemical rocks with a strange property that, upon first exposure, seems to allow the moles to speak to each other like humans. Pyke grabs a quantity of the rock for himself.
Meanwhile, Rudy had spied Bob's strange behaviour and reports it to the Mage. It turns out that the Mage is none other than Pierre Bourque, former mayor of Ville-Marie (Montreal downtown) before the city become "one island, one city." Bourque is disturbed to learn that Bob has ordered digging in a new area of the mine and decides to investigate. Bourque, annoyed, idly threatens Rudy's life. She takes the threat seriously and flees the mine via an air shaft.
Unknown to anyone else, Bob has been being manipulated telepathically by a nearby magical scarab beetle (an agent of Bourque's rival mage) into thinking that the normal mine shafts had run out of materials, and into digging in a new shaft that contains an anti-magic alchemical rock.
Pyke eats a small amount of the alchemical material and partially returns to human form, becoming a minotaur-like creature. He and the moles all end up in a stupor as a result of the alchemy's effects. Bob, after he fails to contact the mining team, leaves his watery home to investigate. When he finds the mining team and sees the effects of the special rock, he grabs some for himself. As he hurries back to his cistern, Bob gets more and more dehydrated. He finally arrives and collapses into the water unconscious. The rock dissolves and Bob absorbs it through his gills.
Rudy flies to her old apartment, and looks through the window. Inside she sees Rose, Melody and Pyke's son (although she doesn't recognize the latter). Melody declares that she needs her drug fix. Melody and her son leave to get some narcotics, while Rose departs to go elsewhere. Melody and Rose both enter the Metro (subway) system, but go in opposite directions. Rudy desperately follows Rose.
The Mage, Pierre Bourque, arrives at Bob's office only to find him restored to human form. Bourque immediately transforms Bob into a beaver, and leaves to restore order to the rest of the mining complex.
Pyke wakes up and he and the mining team decide to try to escape the mine by digging into the functioning metro tunnel. This causes a partial collapse of the tunnel, and all of the metro cars go to an emergency stop. Rose and Rudy are stuck in one West-bound metro car, while Melody and her son are stuck in a different East-bound car.
Bob sees that his mine map has been updated (secretly by the rival mage) to show the new exit that Pyke just created. He rushes to escape. On his way, he discovers that the partial tunnel collapse has revealed an entrance into Bourque's secret Mage lair. There, Bob spots Bourque's magical Grimoire (which holds the secrets of all of his spells) laying on a lectern. Bob, still a beaver, tries to get his paws on the book. Unfortunately, a guardian cobra strikes him down [the Question "Will Bob Steal Pierre Bourque's Grimoire?" got answered with No].
Pyke's son, who is stuck in a metro car, escapes from his mother Melody and goes exploring. Melody runs after him and is killed when the unstable ceiling falls on her. Her son, who doesn't know that his mother is dead, continues exploring. He finds himself in Bourque's lair, where both Bob the beaver and the cobra are now gone. Pyke's son, intrigued by all the magical paraphernalia, drinks a beaker at random. It partially transforms him into a bison, making him a minotaur-like creature just like his father. Bourque's rival mage arrives and finally reveals himself to be none other than Georges Brossard, the founder of the Montreal Insectarium. He uses his insect servants to transform Pyke's son back into a boy and promises to help him however he can.
Rudy attempts to communicate with Rose by fluttering into her hair and giving her a spontaneous new hairdo. Rose, who is terrified of bats, freaks out and flees the stalled metro car. Rose breaks into an employee bathroom in her attempt to escape Rudy. There, Rose looks into the mirror and realizes that her hair now looks very much like how her hairdresser Rudy would have made it. Rose looks at Rudy, who is still a bat, but fails to realize that the bat is Rudy [the Question "Will Rudy find Rose?" gets answered with a No]. Rose leaves the bathroom. Rudy tries to follow but in her haste she crashes into something and falls onto the metro tracks (which have 10,000 volts running through them).
Bob wakes up in a back room at the Biodome, chained to the wall, naked, and back in human form (presumably the near-death experience restored him to human shape). Bob uses what magic he stole from Bourque to shrink himself slightly and escape from the manacles. He finds a raincoat and flees outside. He finds a phone booth to call his brother and ask for help.
[The Crisis Question "Will Pyke get free and save his son?" is answered with a Yes and the game now enters the Epilogue phase]
Pyke, having cleared himself out of the fallen rubble, notices the entrance into Bourque's lair. He enters and finds his son and Brossard there. It's at this moment that Bourque arrives as well via teleportation--he was warned by his magical wards that something was amiss. Brossard and Bourque have a magical battle whereupon Bourque is defeated and forced to dispel all of his magic. Pyke returns to human form and is reunited with his son.
Rose exits the metro system and runs into Bob as he is making his telephone call. Bob sees her and professes his love for her. It would seem that his experiences have cured him of his stuttering, so he does a decent job of it. Bob accidentally flashes Rose as his raincoat falls open. Rose's eyes widen and she decides that perhaps she isn't finished with men after all [the Question "Will Bob date Rose?" had remained unanswered up to the Epilogue, but I narrated a Yes answer to it during the Epilogue].
Finally, Rudy wakes up, naked and in human form, in between the two metro tracks somewhere in the metro system.
Designer's Notes on the Game
The setup phase took much longer than usual: 1 hour instead of the usual 30 minutes. I'm not sure why, perhaps because there were 5 people? I typically play with 3-4. Or it might just have been the high level of enthusiasm.
The players had a bit of trouble wrapping their heads around the idea of a storytelling game. It was a good two hours before they really got rolling, at which point they finally got it and the pace of the game picked up significantly moving into the last hour.
After the game, the players all told me they had a good time for which I'm very happy. I myself think it was a medium success, only because I've played games that ran much more smoothly. I think the trouble was a combination of playing with more people than usual, it being the first time for most of the players, probably a poor explanation of the rules on my part, and the fact that the session revealed some flaws in the current rule set.
Some rules I'm considering changing:
Most importantly, the rule where the Narrator could get a card when narrating something cool seemed to ruin the mechanic for checking off story elements by narrating details about them. This caused a major loss of colour in the game and I think contributed to some of the initial chaos in the story. Most of the story elements never even got explicitly mentioned during narration! Good early description of all of the story elements really helps to ground the story. I'm thinking that the rules fix here is that at the start of the game the Narrator can only draw a card for narrating a description of a story element. Only when all story elements have been checked off will the "cool narration" rule come into effect.
Once again at the Crisis Question Showdown some of the players were dismayed when they were not able to use the cool card combinations they had been able to accumulate during the course of the session. During the Showdown, I supported the Yes side with a 2 and created a pair of 2s, and won the game for Charles (with me as Supporter) because no-one else could play a single card that would create a pair for the No side. I'm thinking that I should amend the rules to allow any number of cards of the same rank to be played when supporting. This way if people accumulate great combos for the end then they at least get the chance to play them.
Judging by how much more hectic things can get with 5 players, and how much less active play time you get, I'm going to eliminate the rules for more than 6 players. There's no way that more than 6 players will be fun.
The rules currently allow for 3-5 main characters, but I think that 3 is plenty. I've never played with more than that and it's always been fine. I can only imagine more than 3 characters making it too hard to keep everything in your head at once.