A Warm and Pleasant Hum: A One-Shot for Trophy Dark
A downloadable game
The human world has room for many monarchs, but The Humming Woods has only one Queen. This six-legged Mother of Millions dines exclusively on an elixir said to cure any ill, or even extend one's life... a royal jelly of matchless quality. Few dare attempt to steal any jelly away, protected as it is by the swarms that live in Her remote hive, The Six-Form Heart.
But what if one had grander dreams than of a waxed sack of purloined jelly?
In this Trophy Dark incursion, your treasure-hunters will journey into a dark and bee-filled wood in search of their dearest desire... but will find nothing but destruction.
A WARM AND PLEASANT HUM is a prize-winning entry from 2019's official Trophy Writing Contest. Judge Jason Cordova (Gauntlet) called it "both beautiful and terrifying."
This game uses Trophy Dark and contains all the rules you need to run the scenario.
[Layout/design by Natalie Ash of https://byemberandash.itch.io/]
WATCH IT PLAYED:
|Author||Michael Van Vleet|
|Tags||bees, Horror, play-to-lose, trophy, trophy-dark|
In order to download this game you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $8 USD. You will get access to the following files:
The Hive Welcomes All
Support this game at or above a special price point to receive something exclusive.
Are funds tight at present? Writing your own Trophy content and just want some inspiration? Are you actually 8,000 bees in a human suit? Not a problem, family. Go ahead and grab yourself a copy for free.
- Sweetening the Pot with Text-OnlyDec 16, 2020
- Warmer, More PleasantJul 18, 2020
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This was a fantastically atmospheric body horror game with evocative set dressing and writing, and the soundtrack is just perfect. I really liked the upfront expectation that our characters were probably all going to fail horribly, so we could just focus on making it interesting. It made it much easier to stay immersed in the storytelling headspace as our characters kept getting more and more beaten down. I also appreciated the many opportunities for fleshing out our stories at the end of each scene.
That said, one mechanic felt a little incohesive. The game keeps suggesting you should backstab each other, but none of our characters were incentivized to backstab each other (at least...not before acquiring the treasure) because backstabbing would only have lessened our already very slim survival chances.
If you really wanted to have backstabbing in the game, you could constrain the character goals to be more actively in conflict. For example:
- one person is set on killing the queen, another person wants to control the living hive
- believing a myth that you can buy safe passage by giving up another party member
- there isn't enough of some key resource to keep everyone safe
Of course, you could also just do what our party did, and work together staunchly until the horrifying end.
I also noticed that things felt more fun when the GM gave us time limits by making the situation more dangerous if we were taking too long to come up with an excessively reasonable plan.
Thanks for the kind words! I'm glad your doomed group of adventurers had a fun time.
With regards to the betrayal elements: there is a mechanic built to support that style of play, though it doesn't appeal to everyone. The Reduction Roll kicks in when a player is at 5 Ruin, right on the brink of losing their character. They can then start betraying the party in order to lower their own Ruin and claw back a bit more time before they're lost.
I love the idea of adding time pressure to the game. Because your characters aren't built to last, it makes sense to discourage players from too much planning (instead of doing the dangerous and exciting thing!) Go punch that bee! Touch the gross thing! Wander off alone! Tell the best story!
I'm not familiar with Trophy Dark, so I can't speak to how well this works within the context of the system, but this is a wonderfully well made module, dense and atmospheric, that's also perfectly useable for other stripped-down adventure-games like Into The Odd or Mausritter---although it may take a little bit of fiddling to properly convert it.
Probably the most striking thing about Hum is the writing, which uses an extremely effective poetic voice that makes it really satisfying to read, although it's also a little tricky to just skim for relevant info. Everything in the nine page pamphlet is extremely well-described and immersive, and it overall paints a very clear picture of lush, bee-related horror.
And it is horror, even though it's framed as an adventure, thanks to the eerie, lurid tone that permeates everything.
So if you like to be unsettled, this is worth picking up for that reason alone.
If you want to run it, well, it convinced me to buy a copy of Trophy Dark, and that's probably the best approach, but if you're willing to sit down and sketch out a few maps and encounters, you can absolutely convert this into an extremely flavorful d20 or osr adventure as well.
I would strongly recommend this to anyone whose GMing style revolves around building atmosphere, as well as to fans of horror fiction.
Note: there is another Trophy Dark incursion in the racial justice bundle, that includes the basic rules required for play, for those who don't want to buy ($7) Trophy Dark before playing.
This one-shot was reworked with a version 2 that includes the rules for the game as well.
I suppose at this point there's little value in leaving up version 1, especially if it may cause confusion. Just hid the file. It's only the complete ver. 2 going forward.
Sasha De'ath of MYCELIUM and Other Horrors here. The free Incursion contest version of this scenario is HUGELY influential on MYCELIUM, so if you're looking for something grisly for your Trophy game, this is it baby.