Story Jam: Cthulhu’s Pool

This last week we were able to sit down and throw together a bit of gaming using one of my favorite systems: The Pool. Three of us simply got together and decided we were going to use The Pool, from there we went along and decided that a 1920’s film noir detective genre with a bit of Cthulhu thrown in because, well, everything is better with a little Cthulhu. We had a great time, with Brennen throwing together a murder mystery (I assume completely off the cuff).

For those of you not familiar with The Pool, character creation is an exercise in creative, and restrictive, writing. You have 50 words to describe your character in written form, like a very short bio or story. For our game, we used Google Documents and Brennen gave of four lines of text to develop our characters. From this story you derive traits that describe what makes your character tick. For my character, I wrote this up:

Abernathey “Abe” Joshua Cromfield, III
A disheveled, and unkempt man in his early thirties, once an established journalist for the New Orleans Times-Picayune. After encountering a hideous creature, he began a whirlwind of investigative adventures exploring the truth behind the darkness. His adventures have led him to become a para-science detective, using technologies and mysticism to help him on his cases.
Taking the above text, I used the phrases underlined above to derive my Traits that I felt gave my character the ‘skills’ I wanted. Trust me when I say this can be difficult, get the right amount of text to come up with usable, and yet interesting (and not just physical skills) can be trying. I ended up with the following Traits:
  • Once a well-known journalist
  • A para-science detective
  • Technological Mystic
Once you have these, you have twelve dice to spread among these Traits, showcasing the abilities you want to be stronger or weaker. I ended up with the following, focusing on my detective skills and my knack of combining technology such as it was in the roaring 20s and his weirdO mysticness. This left me with 4 in my Pool that can be gambled on rolls:
  • Once a well-known journalist (2)
  • A para-science detective (3)
  • Technological Mystic (3)
  • Pool (4)

What then ensued was a great session led by Brennen of what I call a Story Jam, where you sit around the table and create the story on the fly, the players and the GM feeding off of ideas that they each throw out. This simply encourages my thoughts that a loose,freeform rules-lite system can provide a creative group with an exciting engine to drive their energies toward an awesome evening.

We had a great time and I hope we continue the game in the future. The Pool is quickly over taking Risus as my favorite game system….

UPDATE: I have already gotten a few messages about where people can get their hands on The Pool, so here you go (The Pool.pdf)

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3 thoughts on “Story Jam: Cthulhu’s Pool

  1. Neat. I remember seeing the pool a while back before I discovered Risus. Or maybe I’m confusing it with the Window. I maybe I discovered them all at the same time. Regardless, it’s cool that it worked so well for you. I’ll need to give it another look.

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