Last weekend Psi Phi hosted its once-a-semester Cookies N Characters, where GMs bring a one-shot or two and we invite everyone to join us for cookies and games.  It is usually just Psi Phi members, but occasionally we’re joined by newcomers.  Either way, we all have a great time.  This semester, I decided to host a Shambles game since I’d had the opportunity to review but not playtest it in the fall.  It was a good choice.

I tend to like games with a large off-the-cuff element, and the LAFFS system was a good start.  I had a name (Stacy’s Mom) but not much else.  I decided to set the game in sleepy little Collegetown, USA on a Sunday morning, following a party.  I did an overview of the rules for my seven players and let them generate their own characters.  Most rolled lots of dice, resulting in some interesting layouts.  One player actually rolled nothing lower than a four, and he ended up with quite the erudite zombie.

Character creation was a chance for the players to help build the premise of our game, which worked rather nicely.  It had, of course, not occurred to me that a player might choose to play a professor, but, as it so often does, the unexpected happened.  One player created  a professor of Viking Studies, and decided that the party had been held at his house.  Another player decided that zombies were boring and created a succubus instead, adapting the standard attributes to something more appropriate.  And one player took what I’d given them so far and named her character…Stacy.

The characters all found themselves waking up, scattered around a strange house, feeling somewhat different.  I decided that the professor woke up with his tie, but no shirt, and couldn’t quite remember how it happened.  Our erudite zombie was a guitar-playing stoner with an acoustic guitar, and he and Stacy were draped across a sofa.  The succubus was prowling, a local pickpocket was groggy, and a visiting lecturer named Gregor Samson had strange dreams of Kafka and giant bugs.

The door soon rang, and sure enough Stacy’s mom had dropped by while looking for her daughter.  She didn’t notice anything until Gregor grabbed her and started to eat her brains, at which she only moaned, “Mr. Samson!” and flailed limply.  So, there went my first NPC and the characters had begun to figure out that something was going on.  They fumbled around for a bit, getting used to their zombieness, until Stacy’s dad arrived.

Stacy’s mom was Cassie, and her dad was Kyle.  Cassie was a cougar, and Kyle was the sheriff.  When Kyle arrived, he started berating Cassie once again for her cougaring ways, totally missing the fact that her limp, bloody body was being pulled apart by his daughter and a strange man.  Yes, I rolled that.  Plus it was just funny.  At this point a couple of players decided to steal his cop car, one of those ones from the 70s with a gumball on the top, to go in search of snacks.  Oh, and they stole his gun.

Our succubus friend, Serena, seduced Kyle and Gregor Samson took the opportunity to snag the gun on his way out.  Serena took her new toy and Cassie’s car, but as she ordered Kyle to drive off, Professor Arthor Thorvald landed with a splat on top of the car.  Hilarity ensued as they drove down the street.  Eventually they reached the campus, where Professor Thorvald visited the Viking Studies dept.  He broke down the door and used the axe in the lobby to cut his way into the Chair’s office.  Of course, this being the Viking Studies dept., the chair had a crossbow on his desk…  Professor Thorvald managed to dethrone him nonetheless, and began a new reign.

Meanwhile, Serena ate Kyle’s soul once they reached campus.  She then tried to seduce the campus security guard, but he turned out to be gay.  She whipped out a dog collar and that took care of that, but it was an unexpected curveball.  Thereafter she commenced eating the souls of the poor, underfed mall employees.  Mm mm, good!

Let’s get back to our friends in the cop car.  Gregor, Stacy, Ralph, and Tristan motored on down the road towards the closest diner.  Ahead, the mailman was making his daily rounds on his bicycle.  Tristan used his guitar to smack mailboxes as they approached, until the mailman noticed them and freaked.  He lost control of his bike and veered out into the road to avoid hitting the blind old woman being walked by her blind guide dog (who just memorized the route).  Ralph and Gregor managed to spend some LAFF points to hit the mailman and launch him into the old lady, but they decided to return for him once they’d hit the diner.

At the diner, our merry band of maniacal zombies wreaked havoc through various means.  Stacy tangled with some of the waitresses, managing to down a few brains.  Tristan figured that there was a probably at least one stoned dude in the corner, and sure enough there was.  His brains were gooooood duuuuuuude.  And in the spirit of havoc everywhere, the zombies herded all the patrons into the kitchen, whereupon to eat their brains.  Of course, they also decided to torch the place, since they heard cops coming.  Gregor noticed a little golden-haired girl, who turned out to be his sister, and as the diner burned he ran outside, shouted, “What have we become?!”, and offed himself with Kyle’s gun.