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I'm an experienced Numenera player and GM, and would like to play a one-shot with a group of students soon. I like the sound of The Hideous Game especially as it includes pregens, and claims to be an "instant adventure". I already have the Weird Discoveries book, and there the adventures can be paced by the GM by the use of keys.

I found a reference to The Hideous Game being played at a convention, on the Geek Dad blog, where he says:

GM Ryan Chaddock led our party through an increasingly creepy mystery and a fun climactic face-off (...), and the four-hour session zipped by.

My question to anyone who owns and/or has run this module is: Does The Hideous Game use keys like Weird Discoveries, and in any case would it be possible to reduce the play time to two hours? I'd be especially interested to hear from anyone who has actually run the game in a two-hour time slot.

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There are a few points that can slow the adventure down, if not done. Pregen characters of course help, as Trey noted, for speeding it up.

  1. Muggers in the street. The ideal for this encounter is that the players will see the enemy and interrogate them and learn about the threat. When I played it, the players have decided to execute them, or ignore them, or do a number of things that leave them without a vital clue. I personally make her actively try to rob the PCs, and use that information as a bargaining chip if they press her. That more quickly gets the PCs up to know that someone creepy is doing things.

  2. Nobody obvious knows anything about them. There's no direct link for the PCs to discover more about these creatures. The book notes "However, if they go to the Durkhal, speak with the Aeon Priests, and succeed at a difficulty 5 task to convince the bureaucrat" they can learn more, but that's tricky. I personally made a few people hear rumours, enough to say "Hey you should go talk to the Aeon Priests, they know about these sorts of things" and let the PCs gather evidence to make convincing the Aeon Priests more easy.

  3. If they don't learn stuff from the man in peril then they're sunk. He has all of the key information they need, and without him investigating stuff is very hard. I made him offer the PCs some reward to save him, and gave him a diary so if he died then the adventure could still move along.

With all these factors dealt with, you can ensure the adventure is quick.

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It depends on how many people. Generally the answer is no. If your players haven't made characters then that's going to take at least 20 minutes for character creation.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Could you speak more to your personal experience with playing The Hideous Game? Walking us through how long you'd estimate parts of it take (like you've done with character creation) helps us build up some confidence you may be right. Are there nonvital parts that you might consider feasible to cut on reflection that may help the querent achieve a shorter play time regardless of whether it can hit as little as 2 hours? (Also, what if they have made characters, or chosen from pregens?) \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Nov 27 '17 at 23:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ It is worth mentioning that the OP explicitly mentioned that the adventures comes with Pregens so character creation shouldn't be an issue. Though potentially if they are new players it might take as long to explain the system and what things on the character sheet mean (not actually played numenera so don't know how complicated the character sheets are). \$\endgroup\$ – Chris Nov 28 '17 at 0:01

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