Sunday, November 13, 2005

Me Llamo Cap'n Pusher

Last night I attended my second Murder Mystery party, with participants from First Baptist and from Denton Bible Church; I had hoped that it would be more fun without having to serve my borderline-OCD need to keep the script on course like the first time; were my hopes in vain?

The answer is: kinda.

Before I got to the party, all I knew was that I was going to be playing a South American (I decided beforehand I would be Argentinian just so I could say "Soy de Are-hen-tina" with a gutteral h all evening) businessman who knew the deceased Baroness; once I got there I was handed an envelope with a little more back-story: my character was, in fact, a drug dealer specializing in heroin; the Baroness, who had died of an overdose, had been my biggest client, and another character, Simmie Shade, p was another. My goals for the game were (a) to find the killer in order to clear myself; (b) to find buyers for six bags of heroin (actually Ziploc bags of flour); and (c) to buy an artifact during the auction portion of the game as a means of laundering my drug money; I wound up fulfilling two out of three, sort of.

The first 30 minutes or so of the game were a flurry of activity, as many people who heard me list my job as "import/export" figured out that I was the pusher; I quickly sold 4 of my bags, but was stymied thereafter by a rival dealer, J.J. Sly. Unfortunately, once everyone had made their requisite drug purchase, hardly anyone had anything to say to me; there were multiple plotlines going on among the rest of the characters, and none of them intersected with mine. And while I was enjoying staying in character, the whole murder-solving aspect just wasn't working for me. When it came time for the auction, I still had a couple of baggies left that I hadn’t sold; while bidding on the final item, it looked like my competitor, J.J. Sly, was going to out bid me, but Cap’n Cluck and Cap’n Disaster both gave me some money to help me win, since his character had cheated them earlier on in the evening; after I won, I gave each of them a baggie in appreciation.

As I had predicted, there were varying degrees of role-playing going on, ranging from totally in the zone to totally bland. Interestingly enough, most of the people getting into the swing of things were the druggie characters: the aforementioned Simmie Shade, who played creepy so well that everyone started referring to him as Slim Shady; Cap'n Disaster, whose jonsing for a fix transformed her into Cap'n Sniffles for the evening; Cap'n Cluck, who was exhilarated when her character sheet instructed her to be Cap'n Twitch, although Slim Shady told her it looked more like she needed a neurologist than a fix; Bruiser, who, after scoring a hit from me, then proceeded to walk around the rest of the evening stuffing his face and exclaiming very loudly just how good he felt now; and Cap'n Bumper's fiancĂ©’s roommate (really need to come up with a nickname for her), whose character was hallucinating for most of the evening. Out of the non-druggie characters I interacted with, the most into it was probably Smooth Money, who played the super-clueless police inspector; he had the full Sherlock Holmes outfit, and went around accusing everyone ceaselessly; I had fun stonewalling his interrogation attempts, especially when he forgot exactly what it was he was accusing me of doing; he had me confused with one of the many, many characters who were trying to sell him information, instead of the guy he was trying to extort money from.

The biggest downside of the experience for me was the way my character's story died out pretty early on; nobody other than the druggies and the inspector seemed interested in talking to me, even though heroin was the murder weapon; which is too bad, since in the end nobody guessed who the real killer was: my one pre-existing drug client, Slim Shady. There also seemed to be a bit of segregation between the participants from First Baptist and the participants from Denton Bible; not that either group was overtly stand-offish towards the other, but without directions from the character sheet to seek out a specific person from the other camp, most of us tended to stick to people we already knew. I tried branching out a few times, but as we all know by now, the whole "mingling with strangers" thing is hard for me at the best of times; when everyone is playing a part and trying to keep secrets, it becomes even harder; had a difficult time telling how much of their behavior was character, and how much was real. Plus, I don't know if the people who didn't know me knew quite what to make of my, shall we say, original interpretation of a South American accent; still, it must have made an impact on the planners, since when it came time to hand out some awards at the end, guess who got "Best Actor"?

All in all, an entertaining evening, but either a more integrated character, or a larger percentage of people willing to interact with me, would have increased my enjoyment quite a bit. Plus, I didn’t get to have a spectacular death scene yet again; one of these days . . .


CAP'N Disaster said...

There should have been a prize for who could score the most drugs.