It's Your Funeral - anybody played it?

The enemy lurks in shadows
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Bifi666
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Jul 12, 2020 2:58 am

I am preparing to run It's Your Funeral for two different groups of players, but I am struggling with some of the details.

As much as I like the format of Rough Night at Three Feathers, I am starting to doubt whether it is that easy to transfer the formula of seven parallel plots, a single timeline and long-term impacts onto any situation. It feels like there is a number of details in It's Your Funeral that make it much more difficult on the GM and might possibly cause frustration for the players. Here is what I am struggling with:

1. Instead of an isolated social situation with clear boundaries and a manageable cast of characters (a couple of patrons, one night, one smallish inn) here we have a large, somewhat unspecified crowd in a spatious public space in daylight, not farther than about 5 minutes away from a bustling smaller city or a large town. This presents a much more porous social situation where anybody can come and go, all kinds of external resources can be brought to bear ("hold on for 10 minutes and I am back with ...") and there is always an anonymous crowd present in the background.

2. This is also tied to lack of character motivation. It is just assumed that characters will just stand around somewhere and witness stuff going on - until the frustration and boredom with finding themselves on a choo choo train results in the players taking hold of their agency and interfering with the stuff. The problem is that this situation is much less believable than a tavern. First of all, a tavern is spatially structured in such a way that it is clear where you are, what you are able to see and hear and what is going on. You have the main room, door, staircase, corridor, your room. Here some of the stuff is going on on the road towards the graveyard or at its gates, some in the central altar area and some in numerous other interspersed locations. Management of where the group is and what of all the events they are able to witness might become tiresome. Second, spending time in an inn, with nowhere to go in the night and far away from any help or external resources and fearing for your life, makes you involved. In this adventure there is nothing of such immediacy that would prevent players from just amusingly standing on the sidelines until they grow bored and either leave or mess with the sitation. An added problem: If the group stays together, they might miss a number of clues. If they do not, how and when will they cooperate and piece the info together? And given their lack of motivation for being there in the first place I am wondering how anybody running the adventure managed.

3. And then there is a number of strange details that mess with the fiction and which are hardly understandable and playable.
Spoiler
For example, the priest is poisoned and it is up to the players saving his life - while there is a whole friggin physician guild present on spot! Another example: While there is a tussle going on between two funeral processions with wagons, caskets etc. at the gate to the graveyard, someone is supposed to exchange two caskets (one of which is at this moment still loaded on one of the wagon!), and to do so on the altar (at least 30 yards away!) with crowds of people watching but no one noticing (!). Yet another example: A creepy and unsettling Amethyst wizard, looking like a necromant, is supposed to investigate suspicions of necromancy in a crowd of jumpy townspeople while all kinds of suspicious stuff is going on! Or an assassin that starts killing random people from the crowd just so?!
What have been your experiences running or playing this? I have not been able to find any actual play report or a proper review.

Thanks!
Last edited by Bifi666 on Mon Mar 15, 2021 9:12 am, edited 3 times in total.
Bifi666
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Jul 12, 2020 2:58 am

duplicate post
Last edited by Bifi666 on Mon Mar 15, 2021 9:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
Shambler
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2020 4:53 pm

It's the last adventure we played last year and I have to say, it felt strange. We played it after three chapters of Rough days and Hard nights, so we were on our toes to always expect something and trust no one. Yet, at the end, while we found several different plot points
Spoiler
we caught the "child" (forgot if it was a halfling, gnome or short man) with the blowgun, discovered that tunnel with the monster in it and found some people lurking about and a ritual circle
, I couldn't make sense of it all and was honestly surprised when the adventure was over. We didn't talk about it afterwards and I haven't read the adventure so I don't know what we missed.
Bifi666
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Jul 12, 2020 2:58 am

Thank you Shambler for the answer! Your experience is particularly valuable since you played also Rough Night at Three Feathers - how does it compare?

I also think that one of the advantages of this seven-plot design (septuple?) lies in its flexibility: even should you miss two or three plots (or GM failed to bring them in properly), it is still complex and full enough.
Shambler
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2020 4:53 pm

Short answer: I liked Rough night a lot better. But the comparison is not entirely fair: rough night was the first of its kind. By the time we played the funeral, we had already played four adventures on this style, so the novelty effect was long gone. Everyone expected everything and distrusted any appearances. I don't think that funeral is a bad one (though I think that Rough night is better, in part for the reasons you already gave) but we we're a bit weary of the formula.
adambeyoncelowe
Posts: 130
Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2020 3:54 pm

I would suggest just looting the adventure for plot seeds. Spread the multiple plots over several different sessions and in difference settings. As others have said, the format gets samey after a while.
MadMarkus
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2020 4:10 pm

I've posted my thoughts about this scenario on the reviews thread. I'll just repost it here so people who'd only read this thread later will find it.

I've played this as a player with the OP being the GM.
MadMarkus wrote:
Mon May 31, 2021 1:45 am
*** IT'S YOUR FUNERAL

This is the newest Graeme Davis scenario that uses the Rough Night at Three Feathers Structure. This time, there's a funeral, a dozen of NPCs or so, and seven plotlines. You get the description of the NPCs and the goals, you get the assumed timeline, and then you let your players ruin it all. Have fun!

I love the location here - this takes place in Morr's gardens, and really brings this aspect of Warhammer lore to life (heh). Basically, it shows you how funerals and the clergy of the god of death work in Warhammer - not by telling you, but showing you, and immersing you in a story. It's basically impossible for the players not to be dragged into the events.

This is a fun scenario, as the Three Feathers-based ones tend to be, even though this one has some rough edges:

(1) A large part of the action happens in crowd scenes with way too many important NPCs present, which may be a bit too much to handle for the GM. Brain overload. What's worse, the presence of the town watch and the castle guard might actually dissuade the players from doing anything. I've actually played this as a player, and many times I've felt the best course of action was just to watch, letting other people deal with stuff. It was fun but a bit too passive at times. There's surprisingly little small-scale action with only a handful of NPCs which the players could more easily join.

(2) It all takes place in a graveyard, which is a huge open space where people can see almost anything. It's very hard to think of secret actions to do. Combine this with the crowd scenes, and the whole thing actually feels less varied and more linear than it is – it can feel as if everything were happening at the same time, at the same place.

(3) Some of the plot lines don't actually make sense. The main plot is about changing coffins (a) in the middle of the funeral, (b) in an open chapel with no doors, which is (c) surrounded by a crowd of people. Why?! I just don't understand why the plotters wouldn't do this before the funeral. It's also pretty much impossible for them to succeed because they logically must be seen - and yet the timeline happily assumes the plot will just suceed. It's breaking my suspension of disbelief and I find it hard to run and justify at the table. (Fun fact: At one point, the timeline is literally broken because the plotters seems to be swapping a coffin that hasn't arrived yet.)

(4) Some of the plot lines feel rough and unfinished. Actually, the whole adventure feels rough and unfinished. I know it came from a brainstorming session at some come. But it seems that Greame just haphazardly put the thing together and released it as quickly as possible, without giving it much though. I'm pretty sure this hasn't been playtested at all.

Still, a fun scenario with some rough edges to fix.
macd21
Posts: 53
Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2019 8:28 am

I ran it a few months ago. It was good fun, with the players constantly being distracted and confused by the different plot threads. It’s an adventure that definitely has to be played for laughs. Note that we haven’t played through any of the Rough Nights adventures, so I’m not sure we’d enjoy it as much if we’d just played through that.
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