Last night on the spur-of-the-moment caused by Elric not showing up to Tuesday roleplaying, hence being unable to play Buffy, I ran Wuthering Heights roleplaying. It was spectacularly silly/funny/fun. At least for me running it anyway.
The system is here, thanks to Evil House Monkey for showing it to me. Good monkey!
So, I got the guys to invent their characters, complete with Rage, Despair, something floating in the wind and of course, a problem. Or four in the case of poor Helena.
So, we had Theo Molvington, 43. A widower, who owns Molvington House. His problem: he is a rupublican, his coat floats in the wind.
Then his ward, Miss Helena, 17. She is very small. Also a republican and cursed with both a terribly rage and a desire to play the piano for at least an hour a day. Her hair bow floats in the wind.
Theo’s friend from London Eustace Chipping-Worthingdale, who is as ugly as a warthog and an MP as well. His red hair floats in the wind.
The story was…well…Theo had invited Eustace to Molvington House to stay and also set him up to marry his ward Helena. She was repulsed by his hideous visage at first. Theo was in the depths of despair as it was ten years to the day that his beautiful wife died, somewhat mysteriously.
Eustace seems entranced by Helena’s tutor Miss Thatchcoat, who is the very image of Theo’s dead love. He is of course, most distressed by her appearance.
He is also distressed by the myriad portraits of his dead wife in the house. He covers these up with black velvet curtains. There is a strange howling outside on the moors.
After a piano recital by Helena, the four take advantage of the ceasing of the rain to take a turn in the gardens. Helena walks uncomfortably with Eustace holding her elbow. Theo must walk with Miss Thatchcoat who is concerned that she has somehow offended him.
They turn a corner of the hedge maze and find the statue of Theo’s bride. Theo descends into a violent rage, hitting the statue with a stick and then running off into the maze, screaming.
Miss Thatchcoat faints dead away and is carried back into the house by Eustace, causing girlish flutterings in Helena’s heart. Eustace tends to the fainted lady, hoping to win her heart.
Milton, the butler goes out into the maze to retrieve Lord Molvington. He finds him sobbing the centre of the maze. As they return to the house, a carriage pulls up. An unexpected guest! Walter St Clare, poet from London.
Walter claims to have sent a letter announcing his arrival that morning, but Theo recalls no such letter. Walter enters the house, and Helena’s heart flutters still further, she has read his Romantic verse, he is extraordinarily good looking!
Over dinner Eustace insults the poet, who loses his temper and challenges him to a duel. Eustace names the time of the duel to be tomorrow on the moors, with two pistols each. Helena is quiet for the duration of the meal, plotting how to sabotage the duelling pistols. Theo is quiet, lamenting his lost wife, reminded by the Triptych of her that adorns the formal dining room.
In the night Theo is visited by her ghost, who says she was murdered, and he must avenge her and then join her. He vows to do so. Helena tries to sabotage the pistols but cannot tell which are the most “London” and “Fashionable” so refrains, unwilling to risk the lives of both men.
Eustace doses up on Opium.
In the morning, preparations are made for the duel, Theo loads his wedding-gift pistols for revenge, having been told that the howling is the dead wife’s messenger, and will point out who is reponsible for her death.
Eustace talks to Miss Thatchcoat who is unimpressed with him. She cites that her heart belongs to another and her name is not really Thatchcoat. Eustace is too deep in his own despair to follow up on either of these things.
Helena and Walter walk on the Moor together. They vow their love for each other, and Walter asks if she will marry him if he wins the duel. She accepts.
After brunch on the moor, the duel takes place. Walter gives his floating scarf to Helena. It looks grim for Walter, as he has nothing to float in the wind, but it is Eustace’s death day. They fire off their pistols, Walter’s hits, Eustace’s goes wide. Walter fires again, Eustace aims high on purpose and dies. There are many speeches regarding his death.
Walter stares at his own hands in horror and Helena says that her heart has changed since that morning, nothing indeed, is the same.
Suddenly a huge ravenous beast bounds up, howling. It sets upon the Butler Milton and tears him apart. Helena cannot bear the sight of it, Theo takes this to mean Milton was the murderer and watches him die. Then shoots himself to be with his love, shooting the beast as he dies so that the others may live. Walter goes mad with the shock and pain. The ghost of Eustace tells him to run away across the moor, and this he does, with Helena’s doll-like body tucked under his arm.
Helena (re the stool she needs to reach the piano keys) You need stools to gain power
Theo: I despair of these days when a woman needs a stool!
Eustace (conversation over tea): The farmers are the backbones of the economy. A pity we can’t break more backbones.
Jenni (to Theo, re his dogs): Their naive happiness leavens your woe temporarily.
Eustace (to Helena): Your Uncle is mad in the maze!
Eustace (to Miss Thatchcoat on his final morning on this Earth): Due to circumstances beyond my control i,e, I am a pompous ass, I may not be able to lunch with you today.
Eustace, dying: Bitter visogomy! Like a lemon not yet ripened, placed too soon into the tea!”
There was also a lot of despair and fretting from Theo.