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What We Played: The Origins of the Emerald Frog (Inspectres)

sev (Cheryl)
sevoo
Seattle, WA
Post #: 1
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Thursday, July 21.

Players: Ben, Patrick, Laura, Martin, Cheryl.


The original W—(*)/Hughes expedition fell apart upon Prof. W—'s death, but never fear: The B team is here. When the steamer ship arrives and the expedition steps onto Near Eastern shores, we meet: Gupta, a native porter from an earlier expedition who Prof. W—had taken on as his personal assistant (Patrick); Mr. Wolcott, Harvard graduate student (Laura); Holly Winslow, Prof. W—'s secretary (Martin); Amanda Warwick, heiress, daughter of one of Prof. W—'s cronies (Cheryl).

The nervous French museum curator Mssr. Bertrand was dismayed at the lack of experienced professionals but was even more relieved to turn over the artifact he'd been keeping for them. Mr. Wolcott and Miss Winslow examined the curiously lightweight emerald frog, which refracted light in strange and unnatural patterns, and was soon found to contain a moving human image.

Meanwhile, Gupta and Miss Warwick tracked down Farouk, the treasure-hunter who'd initially sold the frog to the museum. He claimed it came from another hunter who'd found it somewhere by the Dead Sea. However, that evening, when Farouk's brother came thieving into their hotel suite and tripped over Gupta, they heard a different story: That Farouk's family has been guarding the artifact from time immemorial. Also, that sleeping with it under one's pillow gives one strange, prophetic dreams.

Inconveniently, it also seemed to make one reckless and perhaps a bit creepy, they found, as Wolcott had in fact stashed the frog under his pillow before bed. The precognition, however, turned out helpful in guiding the group across the trackless desert, though eventually Wolcott got on everybody's nerves and ended up tied over the back of a camel.

When the expedition was attacked by a legion of sword-swinging marauders, Holly got to demonstrate her excessive bravery when she rescued poor Mr. Wolcott, but twisted her ankle in the process. Gupta heroically wrangled his and Amanda Warwick's camels away from the fray.

Thus separated, the two halves of the expedition somehow, eventually, managed to find each other again. They meet up in an emerald grotto on the shores of the Dead Sea, filled with carved frogs (the grotto, not the expedition). Mr. Wolcott heard the echoes of running water in his mind, but no-one else could hear it. At least, not until Miss Warwick impetuously grabs the frog and shoves it into a frog-shaped hole she found. Then a flood of fresh water gushed down from above, sweeping the expedition into a deep, dark hole.

There, they were able to hear voices shouting in what Mr. Wolcott eventually recognized as proto-Ur-dic, a hypothetical language that Prof. W—had been studying before his death. The followed the sound to its source: A clockwork machine, with bellows and a speaking tube…and a map. The expedition emerged, battered but victorious, keys (or at least, coordinates) to their next adventure in hand.

(* Help, I've forgotten his name!)



Ben R
thatsabigrobot
Group Organizer
Seattle, WA
Post #: 201
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Cheryl, nice work rescuing the expedition from obscurity! I almost thought it wasn't going to get a thread. And yeah, you're right, the expedition name was on the other piece of paper. It was Walker/Hughes, I believe.

For those who haven't played InSpectres, the strange part of the game is that at the start the GM sets a mystery ("An emerald frog has been found that's unlike any Egyptian art. Where did it come from?") but the GM _doesn't_ know what the answer to that mystery is. As the characters investigate they make rolls to do things and if they succeed they get to make up whatever they want to get closer to an answer or make the mystery even more mysterious. So when Wolcott (?) first examined the frog, Laura made an Academics roll, and because she rolled well she got to make up stuff about seeing strange patterns in the light refracting from the frog (I think it was Wolcott/Laura who added that part).

I know it was a one-shot, but the whole premise of the expedition begged for a mini-campaign: the intrepid B-team trying to prove Dr. Walker's crazy theories of ancient civilizations, per the terms of his will, after all the reputable archaeologists abandoned it when he died. We only grazed the surface of the Walker/Hughes connection, but I was seeing the fabulously wealthy Hughes as the unwilling funder, bound to keep paying for the expedition as long as the terms of will were being fulfilled. I could totally see him eagerly trying to put an end to your adventures once and for all. If I'd been a good story gamer I would have worked that in game 1 instead of just foreshadowing in the epilogue! "Curse you, Walker..!"

Oh, and in hindsight, we definitely took a short-cut to the Dead Sea. The magic of story games!
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