In a word: lackluster.
That is the word I would use to describe the first scenario of the new Hekinoe campaign.
Ok, that isn't entirely true. I had fun gaming, and everyone else seemed to as well. The guys were confused and didn't know what was going on or where to go, and everything they knew was different. I really liked the way the random memory mechanic worked. They drew a neat looking card and got a memory that they had no idea how to process. The memory cards are pretty cool. They are a Cthulhu themed tarot deck, so there are all these vaguely creepy images and Great Old Ones on them. Definitely neater than a 5 of Spades.
The players woke up in a basement with no memory and no equipment, at level 1. Over the course of the scenario, they thought real hard and got a few memories back, albeit ones that didn't really explain much of anything, so by the end of the scenario they didn't know too much more about anything than they did at the start. I loved it when they discovered that it was ten years after the events of last campaign.
Jeremy didn't seem to be having any fun. He seemed more frustrated by what was going on than interested in figuring it out. Hopefully, as they do research and figure things out he'll become more interested. Fred role-played Kethralzahn's attitude very well and exactly as I asked him to, and Eric and Jeremy had D'alton and Xein respond as I expected they would, which is to say loudly, Jeremy more loudly than necessary. The role-playing was a little rough, most of the scenario was the group talking with each other about what to do, but when they did talk to NPCs, it went pretty well. John spoke up a lot more than last campaign, which I really liked.
Thinking about it now, I guess that it makes sense that Jeremy is frustrated. I designed the first scenario and the memory mechanic to make them confused and to turn everything upside down on them. This campaign is supposed to be them figuring things out and returning to their previous position of power. I guess it makes sense that for a while, they'll be off kilter and confused about what is happening. I'm just concerned about them being too off kilter and confused and getting more pissed off than intrigued. If they're not interested in figuring things out, there's no point to the campaign.
The whole empowerment thing I've been hoping to happen went alright. For the longest time, I have wanted them to take their character's destinies into their own hands and start making decisions about what they want to do. I hated that they were 15th level and they thought they were all badass, but were still waiting around for Nakmander to tell them what to do. This campaign is about them and the decisions they make and the things they want to do. Planning and decision making are not their strengths, but they set out some goals, and as they get more information and become more accustomed to making decisions and plotting out what they want to do, I think it will get better for them.
Overall, I think it could have gone better, but I am very optimistic about the future of this campaign. Even if the campaign doesn't work out and they lose interest in what happened over the past ten years, we still have that door in Derf's old room to play with.