My Psycho Valentine:

Disclaimer: “I like to think I’m a pretty nice guy, but Damien… he’s a jerk. He’s a really big jerk, but that’s Damien… the character… not me… I’m the really nice guy who plays a character who’s a total jerk.”

When a brand new player player you’ve never met before joins your game with a disclaimer much like the one above, you have a right to be a tad concerned. Sometimes it isn’t just the character who is a big jerk. Sometimes there is an even bigger jerk hiding behind that character and using that character as an excuse to be… well to be a big jerk.

Damien started the campaign with the reduced Wisdom score of 5 (down from starting Wisdom 7) so that he could buy up a few other things with the points he gained from the lower Morality score. Ordinarily this would be a huge red flag for me, but he sent me his character concept and such and I really liked it. Additionally he was well recommended by other folks who had met him, so since he was starting in the campaign late I decided to let him go for it. Let me tell you, I dodged an extended burst from a machine gun on this one because Damien’s player really is a nice guy, whereas Damien could hide a plethora of jerks behind his jerkiness.

Damien’s back story was a goldmine of GM hooks. He mentioned an ex-wife who he cheated on, a wide array of people who had “allegedly” committed all manner of crime and never been convicted due to his efforts as a sleazy lawyer, the powerful and “well connected” law firm in which he was a rising star in addition to being the senior partner’s (now former) son-in-law, the possibility that there was a significantly powerful Mage keeping an eye on him (he might want to purchase the Mentor merit at some point down the road) who he might be having random flings with in a “don’t call me Damien, I’ll let you know when I’m bored” kind of way until such time as he might purchase that Merit, and someone who tried to kill him by stabbing him in the chest with an odd looking brass knife when he had his Awakening. He wasn’t all scum-bag though. He and his wife divorced when he had his Awakening, and partly because he realized that he had been a total ass-hole to her and her father. He didn’t fight her on the things she wanted in the divorce, and mentioned that it was entirely possible that the relationship could be mended if Damien stopped being a douche-bag and actually tried.

That last bit is why I was a bit surprised by his decision to use his ex-wife as bait when she indicated that she might be in danger. He really was making efforts to have Damien become a better person for a while there, but wound up dropping another morality point along the way (I honestly can’t remember why he lost that point so if one of my players can remind me that would be appreciated) and decided to just give in and embrace his inner bastard.

Still, his player is indeed a nice guy and I thought that when he figured out that she really did love him all along, and really was trying to make him happy, and really didn’t want to see him wind up getting stabbed in the chest but she at least wanted to make sure that whoever did it didn’t wind up killing him “by accident” (did I mention that he’s a big jerk?) I thought he might show some remorse.

And then we got to The Pyramid. Damien arrived with a plan.

Damien decided that if she was going to manipulate him (pretending to be other women for him so he could “cheat on her” and not give him any grief about it, see to it that he had every opportunity to shine at her father’s prestigious law firm maybe tweaking Fate to help pieces of evidence wind up missing or tainted for him if the prosecution just had way too solid of a case, landing him in a sinfully opulent condo in Manhattan, and on and on and on… yeah she really made his life miserable) he would return the favor by planting certain manipulative images in her Oneiros. He goosed up how incredibly awesome and attractive she finds him (because the fact that she had been in love with him since childhood just wasn’t enough) and then did grisly, horrible things to completely freak her out. He controlled not only her mental image of him, but puppeteered one of the Onerios manifestations of some random person who happened to be in The Pyramid into spilling some red wine on the pristine white suit her mental image of him was wearing and then had “himself” scream unmercifully at the man and beat him to a pulp in front of her. After this he soothed her by telling her to relax, he would never have to harm her because she would never be that stupid and careless.

Needless to say she was completely freaked out and intimidated by the time he was done. Of course, this is after he abandoned her in her memory of saving her from some schoolyard bullies that represented the moment she fell in love with him in the first place… leaving Argus to rescue her now. So at this point, she’s feeling comfortable around Argus, and drawn to him in a safe and reassuring way – while still being in love with Damien even though she’s kind of afraid of him now.

If his Wisdom hadn’t already been so low he’d have been sinking like a stone after that session.

Wen they finally did work out the prisoner swap it was a very different young woman who was returned to her Seer family.

Remember kids, the player characters are the good guys!

Mages Make Me Cry


Posted on February 15, 2013, in Campaign Summary, Mage Awakening, MtAw, RPG and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. You’re mistaken–his Wisdom score had gone UP, not down! He didn’t bow to the temptations of everybody’s favorite octopus-pope-blood-demon, and got rewarded! He was supposed to be a BETTER PERSON by the time we got to the pyramid.

    I’m not sure how much damage done to her psyche Aenaiyah was able to reverse, but she tried.

  2. This comforts me. Only because the bastards in my campaigns are the NPCs.

  3. As I recall, it was making a soul stone (or perhaps enchanting it afterwards to put a curse on anybody who stole it?) that ended up causing that degeneration…

    • Hey, at least I never claimed Niels was a “good guy.” Not evil, in the “I want to destroy the world” sense, or even the “I like torturing people” sense… but just mostly unconcerned with doing the right thing. (Not that he would get his hands bloody directly for the science of it, but he really did feel like the Seers and all the things trying to kill/harm him or his cabalmates were just keeping him from doing his important work in understanding the Supernal, and really, who can be bothered with figuring out the messy details involved in Damien’s divorce?) And yet, when I reflect on it, he may be the closest thing the group had to a good guy…

    • Ahhhh yes… the Soul Stone. He was actually trying to do the right thing and the dice screwed him. I laughed.

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