Game Ideas: Snakes Monastery

   When you read Dante, you get a lot of footnotes, and one of these copious notes mentions the existence of a small fourteenth century monastery just outside Vada (Tuscany), that had to be completely abandoned because of a massive snake infestation. The note says nothing else. Just that. But it’s enough. You can imagine the rest, and a wicked series of games inside that doomed monastery. The PCs play some of the last remaining monks, shortly before the final “evacuation”. It can be both dreadful and hilarious, if it’s done just the right way.

   First game: Guests. A group of Greek monks led by a famous Hegumen arrive at the monastery on their way to Genoa, and want to spend the night. They are, of course, blissfully unaware of the snake situation, and the PCs must keep them happy and safe all night long. If the Hegumen dies, it’ll put the Church – and all of Italy – to utter shame.

   Second game: Relics. Before they abandon the monastery forever, the monks need to retrieve the holy bones of eight previous Abbots buried in the deep crypts underneath the main chapel. The current Father Abbot sends the PCs (of course) down in the crypts with torches, shovels, and a list of all the skulls and femurs and knucklebones he wants to preserve...

   “Brothers,” says one senior monk, “the crypts are a bad place, be very careful: this is possibly where the nests are.”
   “Let’s burn them!” says another monk.
   “If we can find them,” says a third monk.
   “They may be inside the walls,” says a fourth monk.
   “Ow! Snake bit me!” cries a fifth monk.
   “I told you to be extra cautious,” says the senior monk. “You, take this Brother upstairs to the infirmary. The others, follow me.”
   “Father, there is no one available to treat him at the infirmary!”
   “What about Brother Claudio?”
   “Dead. He was bitten yesterday.”
   “Damn these snakes.”
   “So, what should we do now?”
   “First tomb is right there, see it? We’ll just grab the skull of Father Bonifacio, our Founder, and then let’s get out of this place...”
   “Got the shovel, Father!”
   “Let’s go, then.”
   “Ow! Snake bit me!”
   “Where? Ow!
   “Whole bunch of them... Ow!

   Third game: Ceremony. Two days before the official evacuation, the Bishop of Livorno himself comes over to perform the important “desanctification” of the chapel. After that, the monks will be free to leave. But the chapel, alas, is full of snakes...

   “Your Eminence, we’re gonna have to hurry up.”
   “Repeat after me, all of you. In nomine patris et filii et spiritus sancti...
   “In nomine patris et… Ow! That one bit me!”
   “In nomine... Ow! Sonofabitch!”
   “Watch your tongue, Brother! Ow!


Game Ideas: Battlestar Cro-Magnon

   Lee Adama lived to be 98 years old, and when he finally croaked, he was the very last of the “non-natives” to be buried. But of course he had had ample time to teach his sons how to maintain and pilot the Colonial Raptor: that last remaining ship could prove very useful someday if there was a big flood or some other natural disaster and lots of helpless villagers needed quick evacuation.

   It is now eighty-three years after the arrival of the Galactica crew on Earth, and a ruthless tribe comes to kill the last surviving Son of Adama. Evil Warleader Kuhm takes the Raptor and then tortures two of Lee’s grandsons until they teach him how to fly the Raptor... Let’s say generator life on these things is more than eighty years, right? Just play along.

   So, Warleader Kuhm uses the Raptor to subdue many, many other tribes, and becomes some sort of cruel Caveman God-King.

   The PCs are a bunch of great-grandsons and great-granddaughters of other Galactica crew members (they can choose which ones), and with the help of their domesticated saber-toothed cat named Gaius, they decide to go and steal back the Raptor that’s rightfully theirs. It’s a perilous mission indeed; when not airborne, the ship is constantly guarded by a hundred warriors of Kuhm’s own tribe. But at least the Raptor’s guns and Gatling cannons cannot be fired anymore (those ran out of ammo years ago)...

   Other plot hook: Cylons come back! They have laser blasters. PCs have spears. Stay positive, guys – and good luck!!!


Game Ideas: Cthulhu Bariloche

   Hitler’s number two guy, the Vice President of the Third Reich, Martin Bormann, is the single most important Nazi top brass never to be caught. If he was still alive today, he’d be 114 years old. It is rumoured that he spent years in Bariloche, Argentina, under a false name – and still tried to get a Fourth Reich going with the help of Mengele and Axmann and a few other “escaped” SS officers.

   In Bariloche, there is also the legend of a monster lurking in the depths of a huge lake stretching north of the city. This legend is totally unrelated to the Escaped Nazis legend... but why not combine the two?

   There you have it: my next game project. A low key 1950s Call of Cthulhu set in and around San Carlos de Bariloche, with Reichsleiter Bormann as the elusive major villain, one Chthonian or Shoggoth loose in Lake Nahuel Huapí, and Mengele as a necromancer of Yog-Sothoth! There’s even a “Suppressed Transmissions” feel to this shit...

   I’m gonna use the minis from Mansions of Madness, and the cool “Heather House” map from Ravenloft II that I don’t remember using, ever! Another six months of work. Yup.

   If it was written somewhere that I would die of natural causes at the age of 45, then I can only work on four more games. Not run them, no – that’s another story completely. But prepare them. Photoshop and Word for six months. You know.