Category Archives: White Wolf
OK, where were we again before I was sidetracked by Hobbitses and Apocalypses…?
That’s right! The players had just seen Officer Brewer change into a Werewolf for the very first time. The joke’s on Officer Brewer, since I don’t suppose he’ll be hunting down those “Horrible, Evil Werewolf Monsters” now will he! Ahhhhh irony…
In the process of breaking him out of jail there was a wee bit of chaos outside of the police station. Pedestrians were put in harm’s way, the police tossed some tear gas grenades into a near riot situation, Hunters (capital H) arrived on the scene, one of those Hunters wound up unconscious and in the hands of some crazy new Werewolf players… good times.
And then they came across the possessed nun. The nun was possessed by none other than my very favorite Demon, Sangre Santo! This is a story I’ve told before, so I will be lazy and let you go back and read my original post here: Death is Always an Option (The original post features original artwork from Sangre Santo’s creator!)
Keep in mind as you read through the reconciled time line that this particular Seer of the Throne was once married to everyone’s favorite shady lawyer turned Mastigos Mage, Damien. That’s right, that’s his ex-wife they are beating the hell out of without any indication that she has herself done anything wrong. His poor ex-wife who he cheated on multiple times, and who he made completely miserable, has been beaten into a coma because she wanted to talk to them.
Tune in next week to find out how they twisted this poor woman’s mind and made her even more insane than they make me!
I have revived from the turkey coma! I hope the holidays are treating everyone well so far. Now, where were we?
So now they have a guy who there has been a nationally televised press conference about, who is in lockup, who is about to turn into a Werewolf for the very first time, who is somewhat insane.
This sounds like the perfect time to introduce two new players to the Werewolf table! The new players (incidentally, both excellent role players who I enjoy gaming with) are playing Irish brothers who are Werewolves. One is a priest, and the other… well… the other is not a priest.
So everyone arrives at the precinct to scope the area out and see if there is some way that they can get Officer Brewer out of his cell and away from anyone that he might potentially hurt (or drive insane) when he turns into a Werewolf for the first time later this evening. While most of the players are trying to come up with a plan, the new brothers discover a van with a cartoon wolf painted on the side of it and the realize that the people in the van are Pure. Forsaken Werewolves (PCs) hate Pure Werewolves like I hate Mages. This should be amusing!
In the sparsely populated area of Ireland that the brothers are from being a Werewolf isn’t that big of a thing, so the not a priest brother decides to go harass the people in the van. This ends with him punching the Pure in the passenger seat in the face, which naturally leads to a large scale fight involving the police (since they are right in front of a police station), which leads to some of the Mages facepalming and heading into the police station under cover of stupidity.
The quick thinking Acanthus casts Perfect Moment and rushes up to the desk implying that she’s a US Marshall and needs to get Officer Brewer out of his cell and into witness protection before the people outside who are trying to kill him (hence the extreme levels of violence outside) make it inside and succeed in killing him. Argus, who is a consultant with the FBI, and Damien, who was just on TV as Brewer’s lawyer, are with her. Since she has Perfect Moment cast which allows her to act perfectly in an unplanned situation (no one had planned on the lunacy outside), and she happens to have been followed by people who make the situation plausible, and Damien is using the Mind Arcanum to pull a Jedi Mind Trick on the desk guard (‘she’s the US Marshall you’re looking for’) I give it to them. I figure they earned it this time.
The rest of the Werewolf Pack (Shannon, Calypso, and Matteus) along with Riff-Raff (a police officer on leave) are trying to calm down the various parties involved out front while Arrow and Neils play “innocent passersby” who got caught in the middle. Rex wanders through yelling at whipper-snappers to get off of his lawn. Calypso, after a successful INTELLIGENCE + COMPOSURE check, goes to get their van to drive it around to the back of the station figuring that the missing Mages (Aenaiyah, Argus, and Damien) are already inside getting to Officer Brewer.
Meanwhile, inside the station, Damien wound up realizing that one of the prisoners in a nearby cell is also a Pure Werewolf, undoubtedly the inside man for the Pure in the van. The ability to read minds can come in handy that way. Fortunately for the Mages he isn’t in a good position to do anything at the moment as he doesn’t know who they are or why they are taking Brewer out of his cell. All he can tell is that they aren’t Werewolves. Damien is sure to keep his mind away from any thoughts involving breaking out of his cell and ripping them all limb from limb. Aenaiyah tweaks Fate a bit to prevent anyone from happening to walk past at a bad moment and as soon as they make haste through the rear exit they get picked up by Calypso and driven to the rendezvous point. The easy part of the mission, breaking Officer Brewer out of prison, is now complete.
You’d think that would be the hard part, and it would have been, if not for the fustercluck going on outside.
The episode opens with a montage:
- Neils is in his lab staring into space.
- Narsil, with a look of horror on his face, calmly says “You’re holding… a press conference.” (The calm is clearly forced.)
- Neils is in his lab moving at ludicrous speed.
- Damien is at a Press Conference being asked why he thinks Werewolves wouldn’t be good police officers, if they existed of course, by someone we all know that he knows to be a Werewolf.
- Neils is in his lab staring into space.
- At Starbucks there is a line for the Women’s Room. It sounds like someones might be in there for a while.
- Neils is in his lab staring into space. The lights are flickering around him.
- Aenaiyah walks past an elderly woman in the bathroom line at Starbucks who has a name for people who use public restrooms for personal pleasure.
- In the basement of the sanctum there is a gathering of Mages. Rex yells for Aenaiyah and Argus to “Quit fooling around and get down here.” Aenaiyah can be heard attempting to coax her familiar, Noel, into clawing Argus’s face off.
- Neils is swearing that whatever it is, he didn’t do it.
- Aenaiyah reaches her arm into Neils’s lab, and as it crosses the threshold into the lab it looks… wibbley-wobbley.
- Neils continues to insist that this isn’t his fault as Aenaiyah goes into a spell-casting induced trance.
- A mushroom cloud.
- Aenaiyah screams “24 to 48 HOURS AND WE’RE ALL GOING TO EXPLODE!!!”
Some Mages might try to hide something like this from their Consilium. Some Mages might think that this is exactly the kind of thing that can get a cabal in trouble.
That would not be these Mages.
On the one hand, going to people with more Arcane Skills than you to fix something like this that could put a large number of people in jeopardy is the right thing to do. On the other hand, it kinda takes the fun out of it for the GM. I mean, the Arch Mages of the Consilium should have some clue as to what might be happening here. After all, if they don’t they look like they maybe aren’t as competent as they would pretty much have to be to keep a lid on a city the size of Manhattan. The problem is that I don’t want the Consilium to step in here. I want the PCs to take care of this mess themselves. After all, it is their mess. This is why I made the decision that the Obrimos Arch Master is not in town. After all, he is the guy who works at the state level in Albany so it makes sense that he isn’t around all the time, and this sort of thing really would be a Prime Arcana area of expertise.
I also wanted to let the situation develop a bit. After all, just because Aenaiyah says they have to take care of this thing RIGHT NOW doesn’t mean they really have to worry about it now. Let’s face it, we all know Aenaiyah is just a bit excitable and a tad melodramatic. And then there’s the part that I knew that they didn’t.
Well, most of them didn’t. Let me give you a bit of history:
One of my favorite moments as a player happened many moons ago playing FASA Star Trek. My brother (our GM) had Transporter Chief West (an NPC) beam my character (Chief Medical Officer Standis) and the corpse of an Andorian Ambassador (pending autopsy) beamed through the shields of our ship, instead of simply beaming us up a few levels past the blocked turbo lift and into the medical area of the abandoned complex on the planet’s surface as I had specifically requested. (The result of his rolling a critical fail on the transport.) Naturally this didn’t go so well for the former ambassador, or me for that matter. (#@%& WEST!!!)
What my crew mates didn’t know, and I was about to find out, was that the Andorian Ambassador was in fact a shape shifting alien who had taken the place of the ambassador. This shape shifter wasn’t actually dead, though it really didn’t have any warm fuzzies for our transporter chief after the beaming incident let me tell you! (DAMN YOU WEST!!)
Anyway, my character was, in truth, knocked unconscious, and being handy the shape shifting alien took her place so that it could work its way into a position of power. So now I was tasked with the alien’s mission: get the captain of the ship alone, take his place, and get the ship to take me wherever I bloody well please. And so I (the PC, the GM was no help at all) came up with this story about needing to pull medical records from the facility on the planet, and needing the Captain to come down with me so that he can enter his command codes so that I can get access to the computer. The person playing the Captain totally falls for it and away we go! (And this time West remembers to lower the shields first. CURSE YOU ANYWAY WEST!)
Meanwhile back on the ship, Security Officer Dugowski (a Player Character) has a minor injury and heads to sickbay. Not seeing my character there, he goes to the supply cabinet for the first aid kit and “Standis’s body falls out of the closet on top of you.”
Dugowski: “Wait. What? Isn’t Standis on the planet with the Captain getting some records from the station?”
GM: “Hold that thought. I have to go into the kitchen to see what’s happening on the planet with Standis and the Captain.”
Dugowski: “But… wait… BRRRRRT!” (player makes flipping-old-school-Start-Trek-Communicator-open motion while imitating the “open channel” sound.) “BRRRRRRT!”
Mind you, I can see what’s going on the other room but have cleverly maneuvered the person playing the captain so he won’t be paying attention to what’s happening in there.
The person playing the Captain was not pleased when he figured it all out moments later.
Now: back to the Mage game a decade or two later…
Enter: the person playing Neils.
You see, one of the many cool things you can do with Prime Magic is create puppets with Prime.
Sometimes these are very real looking puppets!
And sometimes a Paradox involves some kind of manifestation from the abyss.
I love my job.
Tonight on #RPGChat* we were discussing the virtues of session planning, and how some of us like to go about it. This feels appropriate to me for two main reasons, this first of which is that I have a new chapter starting up soon for the Mages (the blog is behind the campaign’s timeline but we’ll catch up to them eventually!), and the second being that RetCon is rapidly approaching and I’m in convention game planning hell.
For reasons too asinine to go into here I committed to running three brand new adventures this year: Innocents, Hunter, and Mage. I have a vague idea of what these sessions will be, which you can check out for yourself if you click through the links. RetCon is in two weeks.
No good can come of this.
There is a lot of flying by the seat of my pants that I do with the Mage campaign. With seven players tossing around god-like powers I’m pretty much forced to. My convention games however are much more solidly put together. There are packets with background info on the characters and their basic attitudes toward life and the current situation to be put together. Naturally the characters all need to be fully statted. The packets also include a brief explanation of certain concepts so that if I have people who are new to the system they will know how things work, for example how the Virtue/Vice selections come into play. I am absolutely a fan of having things to hand out during game sessions and that all has to be put together too.
I like to give my convention players as much of a sandbox environment as I can, but the fact is that I’m running for people I don’t know and may or may not see again. This means coming up with specific goals for them that will keep them in a reasonably predictable area, and then giving them free reign to interact with that environment. I also love to give them free reign to interact with each other. This is where those character “attitudes” come into play. I make every effort to give the PCs things to argue about. Some will totally believe in the presence of the supernatural all around them, while others are skeptics. Some will be bright eyed, bushy tailed, and enthusiastic to learn something new from their team mates; while some of those team mates are just hoping they haven’t been saddled with some brown-nosing, over achieving, suck up. of course having a “Brainey Smurf” around is always good for inter-group tensions. When folks play up those personality types hilarity is sure to ensue.
The story has to be short enough to run in the time allowed, but it can’t run too short either. To that end, I try to plan out things that will be fun for the players to do yet aren’t necessary for the storyline to make sense. I plot out filler scenes. The trick is to make sure they don’t feel like filler scenes. I always give myself a way to trigger the finale in case they don’t get through all of the ‘necessary events’ with at least 30 minutes left in the session. I don’t want things to feel forced, but more importantly I don’t want the players to leave the table feeling incomplete. That isn’t good for anybody.
So, basically, I still have a lot of writing to do, and I have a rapidly diminishing amount of time left in which to do it. It’s all good though. I have my trusty coffee and the day off. I can do this! So, if you’re in the New York area I urge you to check out RetCon this year. There will be chances for me to kill your character! There will be prizes! There will be cake!!**
*It’s a Twitter thing, and if you aren’t there at 9pm on Thursday nights then… well… you should be there is all I’m tryin’ to say!
**The cake is a lie.
As one of my Mages correctly pointed out last week (everyone say ‘Hi Neils!’) I ended the previous game session on a pretty tense note. Everyone saw (through their varying Mage and Werewolf sight abilities) that things were about to get real. There was a heavy weight of Death shrouding the city, the Spirits were fleeing the area as best they could, Fate was all a flutter, Time was both wibbley AND wobbley, big happy bursts of Prime were glowing all over the height of the New Year’s festivities, and it was likely to be a hot time in the old town tonight! To Be Continued…
…but wait… there’s more!
Before leaving the Werewolf Alpha, Aldous, wanted to monologue. I have to give credit where it is due and say that he was F&@# Brilliant! He could easily have waited to open the next session with a rousing speech to give himself some time to prepare, but he shot from the hip and even I was inspired to stop the evil from happening!
Don’t worry, I got over it before the next session started.
First things first: The Mages have to get from Liberty Island (where the Statue of Liberty is) to Manhattan Island (where all the evil is going to take place). It’s getting pretty close to midnight, so there are no ferries now. There are a few security guards that they will have to hide from or deal with though. The Thyrsus, Nokoni, yells “CAW!” transforms into a large bird and flies toward Times Square, leaving his friends stranded.
Neils, one of our Obrimos Mages, whips a small raft out of thin air. He doesn’t roll as well as he could have, so he casts again and they lash the two things together with belts that the Moros Mage turns into rope. The Werewolves, being showoffs, act as onboard engines: they swim and push the rafts that carry the Mages.
The Fate Mage casts some hoodoo to keep the security guards from wandering near enough to see all these Paradoxalicious goings-on.
The Guardian of the Veil Facepalms, but makes no effort to stop any of this. Good job!
The paradox dice fail me again. (I know you’re as stunned as I am.)
As the Scooby Gang floats across from Liberty Island to Manhattan Island the Bloody Acanthus starts casting Acceleration on people to get them there faster. They are going to be reaching Manhattan at a point that is not exactly close to Times Square (near the center of Manhattan for those who are unfamiliar) no matter how they cut it, so they are going to need speed on their side.
Everyone is now moving at Ludicrous Speed!
For once the Paradox Dice don’t fail me and Aenaiyah winds up taking a few bashing damage. I believe those dice hate the Acanthus as much as I do, which is why I haven’t smashed them to bits yet. For the record, it is at about this time that I realize that Paradox really needs a stronger bite, and let’s face it a stronger bark wouldn’t hurt either, because with all this crazy vulgar stuff going on I think I managed to stub Aenaiyah’s toe, and maybe break one of her nails.
And so the Supersonic Werewolves run through the streets of Manhattan at about Mach 10 carrying the Mages on their backs. One of those Mages is furiously waving her hands casting fate spells to keep people out of their way. Yes, she took negatives and had to make RESOLVE+COMPOSURE rolls to cast under those circumstances. Of course, this being New Year’s Eve most eyes were in Times Square and so they really didn’t have any problems until they got near that area. This was an easy explanation for her dratted successes.
When they were close enough (and still out of site of people… damned Fate Magic) our Guardian created a Portal to get them to the top of a building. He did this because, you know, he’s a Guardian and that isn’t Vulgar at all. (Note: Space is his third Arcana. There was no Mastigos Mage present at this session.) I believe he took a bashing for that one… so there! Nokoni had already done a fly by (CAW!), and they met to discuss what he had seen.
What he saw on that rooftop was a surprise to all of them. The group of Arch-Mages was to be expected under the circumstances. The ritual circles, arcane chanting, and general feeling of dread were likely accompaniments.
The young child standing in the center of the ritual circle… that they didn’t expect. Sacrifices are not unusual components for these sorts of gatherings, and you pretty much do have to make them younger and younger every year to meet all the purity and innocence requirements.
What was shocking was that they knew this girl.
This girl had been living at their house since the day they rescued her.
This girl was one of theirs.
This girl was the Acanthus Child, Marissa.