Category Archives: World of Darkness

I’ll Have What She’s Having


As hilarious as the press conference was, what happened after the press conference was priceless.

During the press conference Guardian of the Veil Argus was scanning the crowd to see if there was anyone suspicious hanging about. He noted two people hanging back and keeping an eye on things who stood out to him while not looking at all familiar, and then realized that he recognized the magical auras of Narsil (his Guardians of the Veil boss) and Glamdring (local head of the Adamantine Arrow). Since they had been clued in to this little party they decided to chaperon it personally.

He also noticed one other person with a magical aura about her – a reporter who asked a few questions and identified herself as Samantha O’Neil.*

Now Argus feels like he has someone to track down. He’s quick to follow her – having previously turned invisible of course. She heads to a Starbucks on 51st and Broadway (a former haunt of mine, having formerly worked across the street), orders a coffee, and sits at a table. Most people, if they realize that she’s a reporter from the press conference – as clearly anyone following her after the press conference would, would assume that she is going over her notes and prepping to write her article. Argus sees her pull out her phone and start using the keypad. Argus, being an Obrimos, decides to manipulate Forces to trace her transmission. He asks where it went, so I tell him that the transmission routed through a few different points and terminated at 1355 Market Street in San Francisco. He scratches his head and says “San Francisco?” and I assure him that he heard correctly.

Aenaiyah, who has tweaked Fate to wind up where he is and is accustomed to him being invisible by this point and so in no way disturbed by talking to an invisible person picks up her cell phone (so that no one else will be disturbed by the fact that she’s talking to someone who clearly isn’t there) and decides to see if Fate has anything to say about this location in San Francisco. (Argus manipulated Forces again so that he could talk to her through the phone and keep her in the loop.)

I inform her that she gets a rather strange mental image involving a bunch of  orange birds flying through the sky… and a white whale…

Aenaiyah’s player instantly makes the connection and starts to laugh.

Argus’s player is completely unfamiliar with this imagery and tries to ponder what this could possibly mean. Aenaiyah’s player attempts to give me dirty looks but is laughing too hard for it to work. Suddenly she turns her laptop to face the rest of the table and says “Is this the image I’m getting?”

On the nosey!

The very important message that was intercepted was a Tweet: “At Sbux. Pconf was interesting.” The address? Twitter HQ in San Francisco. I figure it ultimately landed on a server there. (And even though they may well house those things offsite, I wanted to give folks the chance of Googling the address and figuring out what she did.) What the players don’t know: her Twitter account was being monitored by backup, so that they would know where she went in case she had picked up a tail and gotten into trouble. That never did come into play though.

Shortly thereafter “Ms. ONeil” gets up to go to the bathroom and the rest, as they say, is hilarity. But don’t take my word for it! Aenaiyah had plenty to say about it on her blog: The Starbucks Incident

Mages Make Me Cry

*Yes, yes, I know the name is obvious. Thing is, I had come up with the situation and completely forgotten to give her a name to use at the press conference. I had to come up with one on the spot and well… this is what I get when I come up with names on the spot. I’ll come up with even worse names after this one. Trust me.

Friends, NPCs, Countrymen…


Generally speaking, it is unwise to tell your friendly neighborhood Guardian of the Veil representative that you are about to hold a press conference on behalf of a man who watched a bunch of people turn into Werewolves. It is a widely held belief that going on to tell him that the whole thing was in fact your idea is… less wise.

At least Damien chose his moment well: as they were about to leave the graveyard from which the body of a young woman said Guardian representative had been accused of murdering was recently stolen.

It could only have been worse if Narsil, the Guardian in question, only found out because Damien accidentally mentioned that he’d like to get some sleep before having to head over to the steps of City Hall for his press conference.

Which is, as I imagine you have already deduced, precisely how Narsil found out about this press conference.

Narsil was displeased.

I did enjoy playing out Narsil’s reaction to this news. Watching Damien’s player squirm as he tried to spin how this would ultimately work in the Consilium’s favor by painting a picture of a man suffering from PTSD due to the stresses of his job. He went on at length about how this would not only discredit the “supernatural” elements of his story, but he could pull it off in a way that would gain sympathy for the police from the public, thereby gaining the trust of both the public and the police! It made sense, and he rolled well, and as GM I did know that this was the player’s plan going into the whole thing so Narsil (also a Mastigos) wouldn’t detect anything but sincerity from Damien. This is exactly the kind of mass manipulation (for the people’s own good of course!) that the Guardians like to see, and resulted in Narsil asking Damien if he had ever considered a career with the Guardians. He never dreamed that Damien would take it as an offer and accept it, though I’ll admit he had been hoping Damien would for a variety of complicated and conflicting reasons that will become clearer later on. (No Spoilers!)

Of course, as much fun as that was, the press conference was my favorite part of the day. I absolutely made Damien’s poor player (a lawyer in real life as well as in game) play this out. We gathered both tables together (Mages and Werewolves alike) and let people fire questions at Damien. He was then on the spot to answer them. Fun! He was a bit perturbed when I told him that was the plan. He had already augmented his mental abilities (well, his character’s mental abilities anyway) with some spellcraft, but he decided to ask if he could use his skills in the Mind Arcana to split his mind, almost like the Multi-Tasking spell, but instead of keeping track of different mental tasks he would look at the questions from opposing viewpoints while being charming for the cameras and assembled reporters. He would effectively be playing Devil’s Advocate with himself while he stalled. I decided that there could be little in life that would be more hilarious than allowing him to choose from among his Cabal-mates to represent different parts of his psyche and allowed this.

Much to my amusement he chose Aenaiyah (to represent his creative side: she’s a writer), Rex (his grumpy side: Rex is a grumpy old man),  and Riff-Raff (Riff-Raff is a cop and so would know the law, and Riff-Raff’s player is also a lawyer in real life).

Argus’s player got to be one of us mean people pelting him with irritating questions. Excellent!

Throughout the conference Damien dealt with belligerent questions like “are you asking us to believe that there are Werewolves in the city?!” He was asked if he thought that the officer in question was mentally unstable to begin with and never should have been handed a badge and a gun in the first place; if this clearly currently less-than-stable individual should be handed a gun again at some point in the future; if it really is a good idea to have people who believe in Werewolves on the police force; if the public can expect more mental breakdowns and instability from the people who are supposed to be protecting them; if he was thought it was OK to let this person get away with endangering innocent people in a diner by waving around a loaded hand-gun because ‘any of them could be Werewolves, even you*!”; what kind of disciplinary action he thinks this officer, who endangered innocent people, should be facing; and all manner of irritating questions. One of my favorite parts though: while most of the players were a wide variety of reporters (you had to say a reporter’s name before you could ask a question), one of the Werewolves had apparently (and I did not know this beforehand!) been saying that his character was planning on starting up a website of weird goings on in the city and so he was asking questions as his character, a character that Damien knows,  and randomly being a total pain in his ass. Matteus asked questions like:

  • “Do you believe in Werewolves?”
    • This may require Damien to lie since he knows Matteus is indeed a Werewolf
  • “If Werewolves really do exist, and I’m saying if here, why would that necessarily be a bad thing?”
    • OK people playing my brain, how do I answer this diplomatically without sounding crazy? GO!
  • “Don’t you think Werewolves would make really good police officers since they are really strong, and heal really quick, and have an incredible sense of smell that they can use to track criminals? If they existed I mean, of course!”
    • People playing my brain, remind me later to punch Matteus  in the brain repeatedly until he is in a permanent coma. Or dead. Dead is OK too.

All told, I absolutely endorse allowing players to hold press conferences. I also absolutely endorse letting the other players grill them like a rack of ribs! Screw the whole “we’re a team we should help each other bit”. Deep down somewhere in the sub-cockle region they enjoy torturing each other and as you know I always say “let them!” Make sure that you have a few good juicy questions ready and then let the group dig in with you. You’ll be glad you did!

Mages Make Me Cry

*You may recall that the “you” Officer Brewer was speaking to at the diner that night was in fact two Werewolves: Calypso and Matteus. (See: Regrets, They Have A Few)

Regrets, They Have A Few


It turns out that the somewhat unstable gun-wielding person in the diner with some of our Werewolf friends was a cop. He was a good cop, until that night he got mixed up in what he thought was a drug deal, but wound up being a bunch of Pure Werewolves who he witnessed going full on scary monster causing him to be shaken… not stirred.

Since his chats with the station psychologist involved people turning into Werewolves he was advised to take a little time off, away from his badge and sidearm. Naturally, being not dumb, he had more than one sidearm (legally) and kept his private piece close at hand. When his nice quiet, calm, chat over a cuppa joe with a couple of our Werewolf friends takes a detour onto ‘Waving A Loaded Gun In A Crowded Diner’ street while shouting about how his companions “don’t understand, anyone in this place could be a Werewolf right now and we wouldn’t even know!” the hilarity of the situation is not lost on me. Unsurprisingly Officer Brewer is brought in by a couple of his former co-workers to let off some steam behind bars. They treat him well, after all he’s one of theirs and he didn’t actually hurt anybody and his gun is legal, but they can hardly just send him home with a pat on the head. It sounds like he’s going to need a lawyer. Maybe our Mage friends know a lawyer. That’s right, our Mastigos friend Damien is a lawyer!

Calypso and Matteus (Officer Brewer’s newest Werewolf companions) go over the details of what just happened with Damien. Damien loves nothing better than showing off his own special blend of epic greatness (he has the Narcissism derangement) so he decides that what they need to do is hold a press conference to engender sympathy among the public for these poor overworked, underpaid, over stressed public protectors! Officer Brewer didn’t hurt anyone. He’s a victim in this! He has clearly been traumatized by his work, and he needs help from the very people he has risked his life protecting and serving for years.

While this is going on, our favorite Guardian of the Veil Argus Guile gets a phone call from a Moros Mage named Macabre. It seems someone has stolen a body from the cemetery. He wouldn’t mind so much if they had told him first! The particular body they nabbed is a girl who got murdered not long ago and sometimes the police come back and exhume those. He’s hoping that maybe Rex took it and can bring it back. If it was Rex, and he does help put it back, Macabre can point him to some ‘slightly used’ bodies that won’t be missed. When he finds out that it isn’t their friend Rex who stole the missing dead girl he asks if maybe Aenaiyah can come take a glance back to see if she can figure out who did so he can get it put back before he gets into trouble on account of it being missing. What she sees in that Post-Cognition is someone in very concealing black clothing whose face is obscured by a Guardians of the Veil mask.

As a GM I completely expect Damien’s player to start putting two and two together right about the time when he starts to hear about these details from his fellow Mages, but as I see the dawning of utter cluelessness in his face I allow him an INTELLIGENCE + COMPOSURE roll (thankfully a successful one) to remind him that when he joined the campaign he had asked me if he could have found himself placed in this particular Mage House after helping out a certain Guardian of the Veil (Narsil) with a legal problem… a legal problem which involved a dead girl, and his alleged hand in her death. Damien’s player had made a point of telling me how Damien had amassed those dots in Resources on his character sheet by defending a wide assortment of unsavory types as long as they could afford his rather exorbitant fees. He didn’t care of they were guilty or not, as long as they understood that freedom wasn’t free it was all the same to Damien. He also specifically told me that Damien wouldn’t have cared if Narsil had actually been guilty of this crime or not (after all, Guardians are called upon to do some unkind things in the name of public safety from time to time) and so as a player he didn’t really need to know.

I reminded him of that when he rolled those successes.

Mages Make Me Cry

At Least They Know How To Prioritize


One of the harder things to deal with as a GM is when your players decide that something you made up on the spot as a means of dealing with some ridiculous thing that they came up with for reasons you’ll never know is in fact the whole point of the campaign.

For example, the Werewolves decided that if they were up against a Promethean they needed to know something about Prometheans. OK, that makes sense. They also decided that they needed to summon an information spirit to find out about Prometheans. OK… the GM covers that. Fortunately their GM is well versed in the Promethean game! Now they need a Gargoyle… well it’s New York City and there are Gargoyles on some of the buildings (and in some of the museums) so that will have to happen. So they show up to fight the Promethean with a Gargoyle and this pleases the Promethean not at all and so he needs a plan. This being NY he grabs the nearest homeless person to make the Gargoyle turn to stone with but a glance. Fine… if only it ended there.

BUT NO…

Apparently the whole point of this campaign has now become finding out why this man is homeless, and how they can get his life back on track.

THERE IS A CRAZY MAGE-MAN MULTIPLE-MURDERING (RELATIVELY) SANE MAGES LOOSE IN THE CITY AND YOU WANT TO PLAY HAPPY HOMEMAKER FOR SOME HOMELESS GUY YOUR GM MADE UP IN THE SPUR OF THE MOMENT?

REALLY?!?!?!

YOU HAVE EVIDENCE THAT A HIGH-RANKING MEMBER OF THE CONSILIUM MAY BE BEHIND THESE MURDERS AND THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN THINK OF TO DO IS RP OUT TAKING A DRUNK TO A DINER FOR COFFEE AND PIE?!

REALLY?!?!?!

So the Werewolf GM gives them what they ask for. (This is entirely his fault so I’m not dealing with it.) They take this guy to a public place to talk to him about his problems. Apparently his problems will soon involve waving a gun around in the middle of a crowded diner in Mid-Town Manhattan. As you might predict, this is about to become a problem for a certain group of Werewolves… and Mages. This will ultimately be the kind of problem that leads to a press conference, and I’m sure you can guess how much the Guardians of the Veil LOVE IT when Mages hold press conferences!

Oh yeah… they just love that all to pieces, but I’m getting ahead of myself. The visions haven’t even started yet!

Mages Make Me Cry

A Gravity Well?


Meanwhile, back at the hall of Werewolves…

Trouble is brewing in the city. Isn’t it always? Rumor has it that the person behind Sick, Sad World has been murdered in his home. The Werewolves went to investigate and found… a human eyeball in a jar. They found out, the hard way of course, that this eyeball was part of a Promethean. The hard way involved the eyeball using its retina to unscrew the lid of the jar from inside, scramble out of the jar,  and open all the gas jets on their stove.

The Werewolves’ GM is a sick twisted jerk, which is why we get along so well.

With their lair nearly blown up in a massive gas explosion, the Werewolves were in need of a place to crash. Argus, our Guardian of the Veil, was (understandably, in my opinion) less than eager to have the Werewolves crash at their Sanctum. The Werewolves are, after all, possibly being chased by a Promethean of unknown origin and power. I can understand how that’s a matter of some concern. As a result the Mages cast a time bubble at a certain abandoned monastery so the Werewolves can get a bunch of sleep in a very short time, after which Argus keeps an invisible eye on them to make sure they don’t wind up in over their heads.

Which, naturally enough, they do.

It is at precisely the point when Argus creates a gravity well the size of a football field centered on the Promethean practically pinning it to the ground (did I mention that it had just kicked the crap out of a party of Werewolves?) that the Werewolf GM realized what I am up against. In the decades of GMing I have seen him do I have never seen him speechless as a GM before that moment. Keep  in mind: this is the kind of horse-puckey I put up with every session.

 Damn You WordPress Formatting!

Every

You make me use garbage text!

Session

I facepalm at you!

The Werewolves had been smart enough to track down a gargoyle to help them fight the Promethean and the Promethean was still kicking their asses! You see, the Promethean countered by grabbing a homeless man and forcing him to look at the Gargoyle causing said Gargoyle to turn to stone. (The Werewolf GM rolled a WITS+COMP for the Promethean to see if it could spot a likely candidate nearby. Since our setting is the World of Darkness version of New York City it succeeded!) This left the collective group of players with an important decision to make two rounds after the Mages showed up and slaughtered the poor monstrosity without breaking a sweat: what do we do with this homeless guy? Argus argued in favor of leaving him be on the street with a bottle of his favorite beverage to compensate him for his time. This is not a terrible plan as far as the Guardians are concerned since he isn’t really a reliable source in any case and the Consilium has bigger issues to worry about. It isn’t an awesome plan since he is aware of the Supernatural and who knows what ill may come of this, but it isn’t a terrible plan. The Werewolf Alpha Female takes issue with this plan however. She wants to help this man. She thinks they need to find out why he is on the street. She feels like maybe they can help him.

As GMs it is our solemn duty to make her regret that decision.

Mages Make Me Cry

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