I Played Soth

I’m home, yay! And forgot I wanted to talk about one more game I played.

Jeremiah Frye​​​​​​ ran a very amusing session of Steve Hickey​​​​​​’s Soth, the only event I formally registered for. The premise is total Fiasco: small town cultists are trying to summon forth something called Soth, and doing their level best to not fuck up.

Situation creation is pretty standard indie-style relationships with complications; literally everyone in your life is a liability when you’re a cultist fuckup. Then, one of the cultists is the leader and another holds the Tome, and everyone else is just out trying to end the world.

I don’t want to talk much about the actual sequence because there are some reveals, but events unfold such that eventually everything turns hilariously catastrophic. I have no idea what was going on on Jeremiah’s side, other than a constant uptick of a value called “suspicion” and designating some NPCs as “investigators.” I don’t super-love games that rely on GM opacity but I can’t think of any other way to handle what the game does.

My favorite player-facing thing about the game is the Mask of Sanity. As you do evil cultist shit and try to suppress your growing madness, a value called Clarity is ticking up. Meanwhile, you’re obligated to act out a behavior from a list that tracks alongside your Clarity. So initially, you might just express superiority or mention Soth in passing, but eventually you’ll end up acting menacingly toward, well, everyone (your spouse, kid, co-workers, etc). And if you don’t, the GM will say you did anyway but you don’t remember what you did.

Anyway, I think I want in on this game. Apparently there’s good replay value, which I was concerned about because there’s a good amount of information asymmetry.

0 thoughts on “BigBadCon”

  1. The information opacity bothered me as well. When I played it, I got tokens out and drew a circle on the table and labeled it suspicion. When they earned suspicion i put tokens in the circle. When I spent suspicion (which is what GMs do) I take tokens out of the circle and smile.

    Doesn’t really break the game, as long as the players don’t know the costs of GM actions.

    It’s a very enjoyable approach to mysteries in a TTRPG. Just have the players commit the crime and the npc’s try to solve it.

    Great game I got to the table once, before the group fell apart. Favorite scene involved a soccer mom with a minnesota accent picking up her kids and in passing say, “Wll ye know, praise soth!”

  2. Aaron Berger Interesting! Feels like Static in Lacuna, right? I think there’s some controversy/disagreement about whether to make that public or private as well. There’s another one I’m trying to remember, it’s right on the tip of my prefrontal cortex…

    My seedy handyman, who somehow had come into possession of the Tome, constantly referred to “Mr. Soth” and tried his damnedest to recruit a potential girlfriend into his book club.

  3. When I played Soth, we were setting up for a long game. Took our time setting up the town and everything. The player’s reaction when drawing the compulsions out of a hat were great. It was really fun to see the players reconsider their position in the town.

    I have not played Lacuna, but probably should.

  4. Tangential: I’ve always made Static public (but not the Static events, or when they occur). I have a small porcelain bowl into which I dropped small copper coins. That was grating enough to create suspense, but not so annoying as to be disruptive.

  5. I remembered! It’s Pursuit, from the Rivendell expansion to The One Ring. Same-same though: a mysterious countdown on public display that makes the players anxious.

  6. I’ve played twice with 2 different groups but the same GM. I would have concerns about replayability. I kept a low profile in the second game but it turned out surprisingly similar. Some fun stuff in there but if we play again we’ll probably skip to the next ritual.

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