Ars Serpentis – Playtest 1

In the winter of 2008, the students and faculty at the bucolic Laurel College are gearing up to celebrate the bicentennial of the school’s founding. However, the mood on campus has somewhat darkened due to a pair of unexplained disappearances that neither the college officials, nor the local authorities, seem willing to address. Now, a third person has disappeared, and a team of Investigators has assembled to get to the bottom of the mystery. Can they discover the truth behind the disappearances, expose those responsible, and rescue the missing people before it’s too late? (SPOILER: No, no they can’t…)

This session was the first playtest of an original scenario I’ve been working on called Ars Serpentis. There are still a few kinks left to work out, but all of the players had fun, and everyone involved told me they’d like to play again. Hopefully, I’ll have the second session recorded and processed sometime this weekend.


ED: Patricia Eastman, JD, LLB, a professor of law with a background defending white collar criminals and litigating electronic crime cases.

ALEX: Meredith Prendergast, a campus security guard and former NYPD Detective who left the force for the low-stress environment of a New England college campus.

MEYER: John Dylan “JD” Campbell, a hulking fullback for the Laurel College Asps, JD harbors a lifelong interest in the paranormal and the occult.

ERIK: Zuhuri Okeke, a Nigerian computer engineering student who wants to use his technological training for the benefit of his countrymen once he finishes school.

NOTE: Somewhere around two hours into the recording, Erik decided that he was tired and went home. My girlfriend, Allyson, then assumed the role of Zuhuri for the remainder of the game.

Also, the last half hour or so of the recording is a post-mortem game discussion that covers the players’ thoughts on the scenario and their suggestions for how I can improve it. If anyone else has any ideas, feel free to share!

  3 comments for “Ars Serpentis – Playtest 1

  1. Mckma
    April 4, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    I enjoyed it, and I would be really interested in hearing another test of it where more resolution is received. I thought the players gave good advice and feedback and can’t really think of much to add.

  2. ristarr
    April 28, 2010 at 1:13 am

    I thought of another way to get the party together and involved in the story initially. What if the guy ( forgot his name ) that puts them together is actually a campus counselor or psychiatrist and the players are part of same group therapy meetings. Maybe all of them have experienced some violent act or something. They could relate their feelings of helplessness about the missing people. The Dr. could relate the story of his history ( maybe he is more handicapped than just the foot ) and his now missing friend. Then everyone decided to do start investigating. Since it is a one-shot, this could all be the background and starting point.

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