If you haven’t already read BLOOD FEUD! Part One: The Twisted Setup stop and go do so. This post will still be waiting for you when you’re done.
All caught up?
Good. Let’s begin.
Our cast of characters is as follows:
Vy Relo – Fiery, independent, and the “youngest” member of the Relo clan by all of three minutes Vy is Bastian’s fraternal twin.
Bastian Relo – Something of a follower (especially in comparison to Vy), Bastian is looking to break that particular habit and make his mark on the work independent of his family.
Desmond Relo – Mild tempered, and introverted, Desmond lives in the shadow of Xander, his identical twin.
Xander Relo – An extrovert and the family hothead, Xander is the most likely of the Relos (aside from his Grandma Ro) to pick a fight with the Veams.
Orson Veam – Having grown up with three sisters (including his fraternal twin, Mia), Orson has learned how to navigate social situations with an expert, gentlemanly grace. He’s also quite adept at brawling–catfights can be surprisingly brutal.
Livvy Veam – Fearsome, demanding, and bossy, Livvy Veam is a young woman used to barking orders and being listened to.
Mia Veam – Orson’s fraternal twin, Mia is sweet, almost to the point of being naive.
Loly Veam – Quiet and intellectual, Loly has a sharp, analytical mind.
The crew of roleplayers I had for this session was phenomenal. Everyone really stuck to playing the fact that they could not tell a character and their twin apart, even though OOC they might have figured out who was playing which twin.
Now, there’s a slight catch to the module I have yet to explain to you, my fine readers. You see, this was no simple Romeo & Juliet scenario. There wasn’t just one set of star-crossed lovers–every last PC was in love with one of the members of their rival family! Vy Relo & Orson Veam; Bastian Relo & Livvy Veam; Xander Relo & Mia Veam; and Desmond Relo & Loly Veam were all head over heels for each other*. Now, had anyone been honest and said this at the beginning of the module, the game would have been over. However, everyone was so certain that their families hated each other so completely they just wanted to get away clean from their psychotic relatives (and don’t we all feel like that sometimes?).
My co-GM and I had a great time as the 90-year-old nearly-senile servants Nurse and Porter, who were giving notes to the wrong twins. Occasional we would enter the room as Ro Relo and Julius Veam, who absolutely loathed each other. At one point I had Ro scream (in my best old lady voice) in response to “Is there something we can get you to make you feel better, Grandma?” with “Julius Veam’s heart on a platter!”
There was a moment where Desmond approached Porter about a carriage he had arranged to have whisk he and Loly away before they were all locked away to work out their differences. He begged Porter to help him and Loly reach the carriage. Porter, being a big softie (Nurse was his wife; they’d been madly in love for years), agreed and told Desmond that they’d pretend as if the Prince wanted to speak to the couple and then sneak him and Loly out the back.
Little did Desmond and Porter know, Vy had just had a very similar conversation with Nurse. Nurse was leading Vy and Orson to the carriage as well and, as this was a two-person carriage, it got very awkward when Vy and Loly came face to face as they climbed in on opposite sides.
This started a small argument between pairs of siblings. Vy demanded to know what Desmond was doing; when he dodged the question by turning it around on her, she said “I was just trying to save my own skin–the prince is going to banish us; just look at the way Grandma Ro and Julius Veam have been fighting! All I wanted was to get out of here before we all got executed or something.”
Somehow not only did she manage to convince Desmond, but everyone else jumped on it like that was their thinking as well. Then the foursome argued about who would actually use the carriage until the driver got fed up and drove away without any passengers (he gave them two minutes to decide, I timed it, they didn’t come to a resolution). Then the carriage-less couples, suspicious of one another, have to trudge back into the room with the rest of their families with no way of escape.
Now, the guy playing Desmond was someone I hadn’t met before that evening, but he now holds a place at my “Ideal Gaming Table,” and this is why:
Loly’s player had been clever; she had kept a book in her arms all evening as a prop to differentiate herself from Livvy. I couldn’t argue with the tactic. However, there was one moment when she put the book down–and that was when Desmond’s player pounced. He grabbed the person playing Livvy, dragged her into one of the designated “alcoves” and poured his heart out to her, saying how he couldn’t stand to be apart from her any longer and, of course “I love you, Loly!”
To which Livvy’s player responds, “Demond. Desmond! I’m not Loly. I’m Livvy!”
Desmond’s player proceeds to yelp like a little girl and throws himself out of the “alcove” onto the ground shrieking, “They look exactly alike!”
Chaos erupted shortly thereafter, with Livvy demanding to know what’s going on from Loly and the various couples’ deception swiftly unraveling. The Relo-Veam feud ends with four weddings and Ro Relo &” Julius Veam rekindling a long-lost love they had for each other in one of the Prince’s bedrooms (much to the Prince’s dismay).
I consider BLOOD FEUD! to have one of the most entertaining setups and twists I’ve ever written into a module, though I’d like to try it with a bigger group of people–perhaps 20–and with some tweaks in the bios so that everyone in each family had a well-established rivalry with a member of the other clan which would ratchet up the conflict in the room. However, I considered it a rousing success overall! It is probably my second-favorite romantic module I’ve ever written. My absolute favorite (so far) is one called Supernatural Couples’ Therapy, but that’s a story for another post.
*There is a 1,000 internets prize for you if you can correctly identify the Shakespearean characters who inspired the couples’ names.