The Saturday game for the "Into the Hollow Earth!" scenario used the Sample Characters out of the rulebook, so I gave the players the choice of the characters from the Samples (all 12 of them). I figured that I really couldn't run more than 7 players in the demo, and ended up turning some 5 people away who wanted to play in the game. Fortunately, a couple who got turned away at the Friday night demo of "The Secret of Lake Qechacua" were able to get into this one.
The players got to give their characters names, and I gave them extra Style Points (on top of the basic 3) for creativity in this regard. The characters turned out as:
Big Game Hunter - Martin Longbow
Explorer - John Firewalker (native American)
Jungle Missionary - Gabriel Matthias Huntingdon III ("Father Gabe")
Lost Traveller - John Smith
Mad Scientist - Dr. Broderic Chaosavitch ("Doc Chaos")
Occult Investigator - Soo Wai Chu
Snooty Professor - Hamilton Snidely
The only female player in the game took the Occult Investigator, so that was fine. It was an interesting mix of characters, and to be honest, a good blend of them. One of the reasons I like allowing the players to choose their characters for this scenario is that it makes for different ways in which the characters have to stop the Thules from doing their evil deeds. As you can see, this mix of characters had an interesting make-up, and had a bit of everything to them.
One of the things that I did for this scenario was throw in two twists -
1) Instead of landing the airship, I had it blow up in mid-air over the Hollow Earth environment, but made sure they came down in the same area where the trikes and the plane wreckage were; and
2) the Lost Traveller, John Smith, was a Nazi agent, infiltrating the U.S. government team sent after von Wartenburg. When he took the name he did, it just seemed so...obvious and right to do so.
I blew up the Aurora (sabotage by the Nazi agent) because a couple of the players looked a bit bored (the Big Game Hunter and the Explorer), and because by then some of them had 10-15 Style Points! Ending up sprawled in trees, they soon had between 1-3 Style Points left, so that made things easier to deal with in terms of the T-Rex. The Big Game Hunter had about 6 Style points left at that point, and he took a couple of decent shots at the T-Rex and managed to drive it off. Way cool! :)
Some of the highlights of the scenario were:
1. The fellow playing Hamilton Snidely was perfect, totally in character, and took it so far as to have the academic faint at the slightest "stressful situation" for a few seconds. Lovely stuff.
2. Father Gabe trying to walk through the triceratops herd, holding his bible high, and having it speared by one of the trikes, and then tossed 20 yards. The indignant father went off in pursuit of his "hole-y" bible, cursing the trikes all the way!
3. Father's Gabe's attempts to bribe the Amundsen tribe into conversion to Christianity, and attempting to do this with the Nazis after the party was imprisoned.
4. The female Occultist doing experiments on the "aura" of the Hollow Earth once the group had crashed there, and amusing her fellow characters with the hijinks that transpired.
5. Once the player characters were captured by the Thules, with the aid of the traitor, the female Occultist had to escape by crawling through the hole in the window of the cell the Nazis had imprisoned her in made by the escaping ape-men prisoners, and tearing her clothes. From that moment on, throughout the whole sequence, she kept trying to cover her "naughty bits".
6. The guy playing the Lost Traveller played him as something of a booze hound for most of the scenario, finally showing his true colours after I passed the note to him informing him that when they reached the valley with the ruins, he was to show his true colours. He was shocked, as I wanted him to be, but in the end betrayed the Thules and sided with the player characters. Yes! :)
7. During the bit in Spitsbergen, the Big Game Hunter went hunting with the natives - for seals! Real challenge there. :)
8. The climactic battle with the Thules. All the players loved the speed of resolution of the combat system, especially after I inserted the "5 seconds to roll the dice" rule, and the hectic nature of the big, epic, battle.
When it was all over, the players told me that it was a marvellous introductory scenario to the game, and that the game mechanics of the Ubiquity system worked really well. They loved the mystery and the weird happenings aboard the Aurora during the trip to the Hollow Earth environment, and found it led into the strangeness of the world of the Hollow Earth itself quite nicely. If I was surprised by anything during the course of the scenario, it was the fact that virtually none of the players in the game knew who Roald Amundsen was!