Quad: Harold and Kumar in “Trials of the Chosen”

One of the most unexpected joys of this past GameStorm was a pick-up game of Quad on Saturday night. Started initially as a way to pass the time while waiting for rides home, this game turned out to be one of the several comically hilarious moments of the con.

It all got started after the fabulous-amazing Jesus Camp Massacre session of Cannibal Contagion. After leaving the scheduled gaming room, I ran into Nick and Gilbert, and we all three had about an hour to kill. I blurted out “let’s play Quad” without thinking, and a few moments later we had started on in. After a few minutes of deliberation over what number-generator to use – for some reason they were both hardcore against using dice right then – we settled on a deck of cards. The built-in random scenario generator quickly laid out the basics:

  • Setting: Ancient Earth (we decided Egypt)
  • Location: An Institution (we decided a Temple of Training)
  • What starts it all off: A natural disaster (we decided on an Earthquake) kills all the priests in the temple leaving only two survivors

The characters were created quickly enough, each being only a small list of good and bad Merits. One was a fairly inept acolyte conman, the other was a Pariah being beaten for the crimes of heaven or some such. I like to call them Harold and Kumar, as their dynamic was equally hilarious.

Once the core scenario’s conflict was established and the characters introduced, we quickly went to town. Nick and Gilbert were both experienced story-gamers, and thus took to the game’s mechanical concepts quickly. Within a few minutes, the mechanics were in play and more conflicts were introduced. I think for the purposes of the Pick-Up style of game play, the simple mechanics worked very well to move the game quickly along.

The temple guards took both the characters into protective custody, and one of them quickly managed to convince the guards that he was the Chosen One and the other character was his faithful Companion. A series of Sacred Rites of Testing were then undergone, which included eating (and stomaching) terrible foods, surfing the back of alligators while blindfolded, an epic game of Madden BC-199, and more. My favorite of the trials was definitely the game of Five-Card Draw, played with giant stone slab cards carried on the backs of teams of slaves. Each time a card was discarded, the stone was smashed to bits and the slaves carrying it were thrown to the crocodiles.

And there was much death by crocodile in this game. From Nick’s character’s lost arm to the gobs of sacred virgins they fed to them post-coitus, the crocodiles played an unexpectedly crucial part in the session. In fact, at the very end, when Gilbert’s character castrated himself to prove that he was in fact the REAL Chosen One (claiming the title by default, as he prevented Nick from winning), he was then fed to the crocodiles to appease the angry gods.

Within the span of an hour, we had run a pretty damn awesome game session, consisting of at least a dozen hilarious conflicts and a large handful of scenes. For me, the hardest part was actually coming up with the Seven Sacred Rites, but once the game started moving along, those came pretty easily too.

All in all, a damn fantastic session, one which all three of us have laughed about many times since.

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