This is the first part of my solo game featuring Pàrlan MacLeòir, a professor of Gaelic Occultism from Trinity College Dublin.
I have read a few wikipedia articles about the Hellfire Club in Ireland, and I want to incorporate some of the ideas in this game. I have literally taken some interesting words and made some simple d6 tables. There is no attempt at historical accuracy, but in 2016 a 5000 yeaer old tomb was discovered at the site. This is a perfectly good reason why an academic would be at the site.
It is my intention to run a horror themed game.
Pàrlan is working alone on a private project investigating the 5000-year-old tomb. This is with an eye to launch a funded excavation with university backing in the future. Pàrlan is staying at a hotel called the Tallaght Cross, a few miles from the site. He is eating dinner on the first evening when someone approaches his table.
I didn’t roll for this person, but NPCs are the mainstay of all roleplaying. The question is, who are they? Are they a fellow academic? Yes, Female? No, Local? No. English? Yes. My first instinct here is that the original Hellfire clubs started in England, so it would be natural for an English historian interested in the Pàrlan’s work. Alistair Lewis the historian’s name.
Alistair Lewis approaches the table and introduces himself. He and Pàrlan have some shared interests, but Pàrlan is really interested in what Alistair’s work has to do with what Pàrlan is intending, possibly a bit of professional jealousy?
Is Alistair going to interfere with Pàrlan’s research? Yes. Is he going to try and stop it? No. Is he going to try and take control of the dig? Yes, because… he doesn’t want the site disturbed.
Alistair lays down his ultimatum, the site cannot be disturbed, claiming that his university has an ongoing research project in place. Pàrlan is disappointed, but he is also not someone to just rollover. He knows that a spat between his university and an English university would not go down well. On the bright side, they contacted him the day he arrived, he is not six months into an important dig. Pàrlan tries to keep things cordial and enquires about Alistair’s research.
Is Alistair prepared to talk about it? Likely Yes. Is it archeological? Yes, and… commercial. Alistair in in bed with a financial backer of the university.
This is likely to put Pàrlan as odds with Alistair who is more interested in the theological and spiritual side of life, not industry. There is also very little that Pàrlan is likely to interest Pàrlan in Alistair’s work.
Pàrlan tells Alistair that he will stop all his research as soon as Alistair formally informs Trinity College about the conflict of interests. He puts this in his most friendly voice.
I try a Communication(etiquette) test just to see how nicely I can put this. I don’t have the focus and only +1 for Communication. I roll a 15 and get 6 stunt points! I don’t particularly like Alistair so choose the Enrage stunt.
Alistair realizes that Pàrlan has just dumped a ton of work on his lap having to go through the official channels, and how long it will all take, the wheel of academia not turning very fast. He turns slight red in the face and storms out of the dining room, tossing a “You haven’t heard the last of this!” over his shoulder as he goes.
Pàrlan now has the problem that he has bought himself a few days, but there is very little chance that his dig will ever go ahead. What bugs him is how could his planned excavation of a 3000BC tomb impact Alistair’s commercial partners?
Pàrlan decides that it may well be worth his while to try and find out what they are interested in. Presumably, they have already done some groundwork, just as Pàrlan is here now long before anyone takes a spade to the topsoil.
In the morning Pàrlan will try and find out what is going on behind this other project.
I am going to leave this first ‘session’ here. It is taking a more investigative angle than I had at first imagined. That is part of the fun in solo, I never know where the adventures are going to go.