This is the continuing story of the children of Raven’s Hollow, who are terrible bullies and not very bright. A relatively faithful record of a game of The Extraordinarily Horrible Children of Raven’s Hollow that I played with friends on 5/13/16. You can read Part 1 here.
The No-Good Children of Raven’s Hollow, Part 2
“Hey, Benny! Bennnnnny!”
“Oh, hey, it’s No-Butt Sally! How’s it feel, having no butt?”
Sally pouted. “I do too have a butt!” She was wearing a pink dress that had once been pretty, but now it was torn and bedraggled. Her blond hair was pulled up into two ratty pigtails, and behind her she dragged a ratty blond-haired doll by the hair. Her face was smeared with dirt.
“Uh uh,” retorted Benny, who was leaning against a rotting fence, chewing bubble gum and kicking at some stones by his feet. “The other kids told me you stick a pillow down your tights to just make it look like you have a butt.”
Sally wrinkled her nose, lifted up the skirt of her dress, and turned around, wiggling her behind at the boy, who looked away in disgust. “Ew, that’s gross!”
“See, told you I have a butt,” she said, turning back around. “Hey Benny, I”m bored. I have an idea.”
Benny eyed her suspiciously. “It had better be a good idea, or I’ll tell all the kids about how I seen your no-butt with my own eyes.”
Sally ignored his insult. “Oh, it’s a great idea. You know how old man Withers takes his medicine at the same time every day?”
“You mean old man Smithers’ twin brother, the pastor?”
“Yeah, that’s the one! So, you should sneak into his house when he isn’t looking and switch his pills with some of Mrs. Harkins’ horse pills. I hear that she uses those pills to turn herself into a horse at night. Can you imagine the look on the old man’s face when he turns into a horse?”
Benny looked dubious. “But how am I going to get the horse pills?”
Sally grinned and procured a handful of monstrous pills. (I have no idea where she was keeping them. Maybe in the same place she keeps the pillow to hide the fact that she has no butt.)
“Whoa, how did you get those??”
“She just keeps them lying around! Are you gonna do it or what?”
Benny looked down the street where Mr. Withers’ house loomed large and foreboding. “I don’t know….”
“Oh, come on. I’ll keep guard. He won’t even know you’re in there.”
Benny nodded. “Okay, I’ll do it. Better than kicking these dumb stones around.” He pushed himself away from the fence and they walked down the street to where they could see Mr. Withers watching TV through his open front door.
Sally hid in the bushes outside the bathroom window while Benny snuck in through the front door. A raven settled itself on the porch railing, cocking its head to one side as it watched Benny disappear around the corner into the hallway.
“Watch out!” hissed Sally from the bushes a few moments later. “Mr. Withers just got up from his chair. He’s headed your way!” She heard a loud crash come from the bathroom, and hid even further down in the bushes, groaning.
“What was that? Who’s there?” asked the old man as he waddled his way to the bathroom. At that moment, though, the raven let out a loud shriek, and Mr. Withers turned around. He stepped out onto the porch and waved his hands at the bird. “Shoo! Get away from here, you filthy beast!” While he was distracted, Benny ran out the front door and away from the house, Sally following him.
“That was a stupid idea, Sally. I should know better than to listen to any more of your dumb ideas, No Butt.” He ran off, leaving Sally to cry about her stupid nickname.
(This is about the point where I’m losing interest in making this an interesting story. So I’m just going to record the details without being particularly concerned about literary quality.)
Later that afternoon, Benny found Laurie outside Town Hall. He could hear adults yelling loudly at one another inside. Laurie was drawing in chalk on the large statue of a horse that stood in front of the building. The statue was very creepy, posed in an unnatural position and with teeth bared.
“Laurieeeeeee. Laurie! I have a fun idea. You should go draw on the rooster on the roof of the old windmill, instead! If you do, I’ll give you your shoes back!”
The door to the old windmill was pretty much hanging off its hinges, so Laurie had no difficulty entering the building. A raven settled itself on the sill of an upper window that had long ago had its glass smashed out. Laurie climbed the rotting wood stairs, and the raven flew away as she pulled herself out through the window, cutting her hands on some jagged glass in the process. She carefully made her way to the roof, stuck her tounge out at Benny on the ground below, and began coloring in the rooster’s eyes and giving it green chalk hair. Benny, true to character, ran off before she could retrieve her shoes from him.
Benny’s fun ruined once again by the other children having far too many dice for their own good, he found Sally sitting outside the town’s one-room schoolhouse, playing with her doll, Mini Sally. She was brushing the doll’s dirty hair out with her fingers and tying it up into pigtails with a few pieces of twine, then taking it out and trying again.
Benny’s dare for Sally involved climbing in to the crawlspace in the back of the schoolhouse (don’t ask me why there was a crawlspace there) and getting one of the rats for him that had recently nested there. “I’d do it myself but you know, I’m too big to fit, so you need to do it for me.”
Sally succeeded in retrieving a rat… a baby rat. Which she flung in his face and ran off. Stupid boys.
Next, Benny found Jack sitting in the town’s gigantic Gothic cathedral. Why is there a Gothic cathedral? Why not? Jack was sitting near the altar with a Bible open in front of him, praying.
“Hey Jack! Guess what I found? An empty barrel. And you know what we should do with it? We should put you in it and roll you down some stairs!”
“No, Benny. Mr. Smithers is really mad at me for using his ladder, so I’m mad at you for getting me in trouble.”
“Aw, come on, it’ll be fun.”
“No, Benny. I won’t do it.”
Benny was annoyed. None of the kids were any fun. He grabbed Jack’s Bible and threw it in the font of Holy Water before running off to find a new victim.
A: Benny b. Sally. Sally is relaxing in a sailboat in the middle of the pond, reading a comic book with Mini Sally beside her. Jack reels her in by tying one of Laurie’s shoes to a rope and throwing it into the sailboat. Don’t remember what dangerous thing he dares Sally to do, but she tucks her comic book into the back of her tights, scandalizing Benny. And succeeds at the thing. Poor Benny.
R: Jack b. Benny. Jack finds Benny on the roof of the grain silo behind Mr. Smither’s house. He has a pigeon trapped under a plastic bucket and is trying to feed it some grain he stole. Jack has decided he now hates Mr. Smithers because he gave him a beating for being disobedient, and dares Benny to kick out the leg of the grain silo to knock it onto Mr. Smither’s house. (“It’s secretly weak!” “I don’t know, it looks pretty sturdy to me.” “That’s why it’s a secret!”) Ravens cause a ruckus, prevent the boys from carrying out their dangerous plan.
Ca: Benny b. Laurie: ride one of Mrs. Smith’s horses bareback. She succeeds, and decides to just stay on the horse indefinitely.
A: Benny b. Sally: Sally is building a house with sticks in a muddy section on the side of the road. Benny tells her to climb down into the gorge. If she falls, it’ll be okay ’cause it’s full of brambles that’ll cushion her fall. They’ll hurt a little but only as much as a bee sting, and those don’t hurt so much. Then she should get some brambles to build her house with instead of stupid sticks. Sally does it, ripping a strip of tulle off the bottom of her dress to protect her hands as she pulls up some brambles. (“Whoa, is this a stripping game now?!”)
C: Benny b. Jack: Jack is playing with his sailboat upriver from the dam. His sailboat is called the HMS Awesome. Benny: I’ll lower you down over the dam with this rope so you can catch me a fish. They get caught by an adult before Benny and Jack can attempt to do the stupid thing.
R: Jack b. Benny. Start a stampede in Mr. McGregor’s cow pasture. They’ll trample the mean old man. It’ll be great. Ravens prevent them from doing the stupid thing.
Ca: Benny b. Laurie: Using Mrs. Smith’s horse to smash Mr. McGregor’s pumpkins is dumb. Jump the gorge to prove how cool you are. She does so, to Benny’s dismay.
A: Jack b. Sally. Jack finds Sally coloring with a single yellow crayon in a pirate coloring book. “Hey Sally, did you know there are adults who pretend to be your friend, but they’re actually just the devil in disguise?” “Nuh uh. You’re just a dumb… um.. devil foot!” “Am not, my foot is aweseome! …. I named it after my sailboat.” “Sure, THAT foot may be awesome, but what about the OTHER foot?” Jack tells Sally to push Mr. Smithers out the library attic window. (“Can you imagine how mad it’ll make him?”) Mr. Smithers turns around at just the wrong moment, catching Sally in the act.
The adults are horrified that Sally would try to push an old man to his death, and decide to send her away to the Institute to get “help”.
Horrified at the growing darkness in his soul, Jack drowns himself in the river.
Benny wanders into the woods in search of more animals to torture, and is never heard from again.
The adults realize that something is seriously wrong with the children in their town. Jack’s body has washed up on the shore. Benny has disappeared. Sally is being treated in the Institute. And Laurie, the wild girl with no shoes, has stolen Mrs. Smith’s horse and smashed Farmer McGreggor’s pumpkins and squashes. The adults decide to confront her. She shoots one of the adults’ horses in the eye with her toy bow and arrow, spooking the horse. It throws its rider and then tramples the poor man to death. Laurie escapes victorious and rides off into the overcast evening.
Would totally play this game again, but the conflict resolution mechanic wasn’t really working. I don’t know if we were all just rolling extraordinarily well, but it was much too easy for children to accomplish their dangerous deeds. I suppose they were occasionally rescued by adults or ravens intervening, though. I was just expecting more grim deaths. And a lot less dumb name calling. It was pretty cathartic to spend an evening with my friends calling each other variations on “buttface”. I think my favorite was “Butt Ears. You have poop coming out of your ears. And when there’s a weird smell it’s because of the poop.”
Also apparently when you’re in love (like Benny accused Laurie of being with Jack. Ew! (Casey and Chris are married in real life)) you can see the outline of a heart beating through your shirt. Unless you’re not actually in love. Then it’s just the outline of a butt.
I’m looking forward to playing this at Gamex and seeing how the card-driven version is different.