Posted by Mage Mistress
Finally the Player Characters are on their way to resolving this storyline! No more Doing the Time Warp, no more ‘oh so there’s a serial Mage killer wandering around, whatever, let’s go hang out at the museum! ‘ They are actually going to take actions that will resolve this season’s arc story. It’s been a long time coming.
I enjoyed working out what they might see in Morgan’s personal dream-space. I had decided very early on when I was designing the campaign that Morgan had enlisted in the army as a young man to escape a bad situation at home. His father had died when he was a young child, and his mother had remarried. His step-father was not a kind man. I liked the irony of his running to the disciplinary structure of the army to escape the extreme disciplinarian his mother had married after his father had died. Additionally, his being in the army combined with his decision to cut ties with his family made him a convenient subject for experimentation – by the Consillium. The Consillium was trying to Awaken Mages and this newly developed drug, LSD, looked like it had promise. People who took the drug hallucinated, and their hallucinations were not unlike Mage Sight. Under controlled conditions perhaps they could use it to trigger true Awakening.
Their experiments were less than successful.
The results were wildly unpredictable, and those few who did seem to have had an Awakening were… odd. It was as if their souls were not quite connected to a particular Watchtower. No good came of that, and so the Consillium, in its infinite wisdom, hushed the whole thing up and did not speak of it again.
Meanwhile, the Seers have also heard of LSD and they are thinking that maybe it can be used to lull an Awakened mind back to sleep. As such, the Seers are experimenting too, and the players have uncovered some documentation from Project Lullabye. (the Players know next to nothing about the Consillium’s efforts.)
Morgan wound up caught between the two. He did experience an Awakening, of sorts, and then the Seers caught up with him and tried to lull his soul back to Sleep. They too were less than successful with this, but they did manage to create an alternate personality in him and that personality was able to reign in the more erratic personality byproducts of being tugged between two Watchtowers. That this new personality was a true believer in The Great Eye was gravy for the goose as they say.
All of this gave me some interesting elements to play with when crafting Morgan’s Onerios. This week we’ll cover some of the interesting denizens of Morgan’s subconscious.
You are probably familiar with the cartoon depiction of having a tiny angel on one shoulder telling you to be a good person, and a tiny little devil on the other shoulder telling you to eat the cookie. That is essentially what a person’s Daimons are. As for his positive daimon, that would be his biological father. After his death Morgan’s father took on mythic proportions in Morgan’s psyche. If only Daddy hadn’t died life would have been so much better! Daddy loved me and thought that everything that I did was great and wonderful and perfect. Daddy loved Mommy and made her happy. Daddy loved me and made me happy too. Daddy was the source of all the goodness in Morgan’s life, or so he saw it, and so what better figure to fill the role of his positive daimon?
Sadly for the players the Seers have trapped Morgan’s positive daimon. In reality Morgan’s father has died, so in Morgan’s Oneiros the representation of his father is locked in a morgue drawer deep in his subconscious. Summoning him from there will be no easy feat… which is how the players met his negative influence.
It would have been extremely easy to have chosen Morgan’s overbearing step-father as his negative daimon, which is precisely why I didn’t do it. Morgan’s step-father is an important character in his psyche to be sure, but I felt that his mother would make a far more interesting daimon for him. For starters, the Players would naturally assume that she was the angel on his shoulder. Figuring that she would have a positive influence on him they might try to deliberately summon her specifically. Alternately if they attempted to summon his positive daimon and didn’t entirely succeed they could summon her instead.
I went for subtlety here. Her negative influence could come across as being a positive one for a time. She would urge him (and the Players if they interacted with her) to be calm, to be cautious, to not do anything rash. This can all be very good advice… if it isn’t being used to lull one into a state of absolute compliance. Her ‘attacks’ are designed to make those around her lethargic, apathetic, and accepting of the bad things that happen to them.
As I stated earlier, Morgan’s step-father is absolutely a larger than life figure in his Oneiros. He is the man who ruined his once happy life. He wasn’t all that big on dealing with kids in general, and so having to put up with someone else’s kid wasn’t exactly his cup of tea. This poor child would clearly never amount to anything in life because he had the wrong biological father and as such was doomed from the start. Morgan’s step-father is a representation of his crushing self doubt. Step-Dad has intimidation based attacks that cause those around him to cower with fear. He can also summon hecklers to make Morgan (or the Player Characters since they are there now too) feel bad about himself, lose his confidence, and further fill him with doubt. These hecklers commonly take on the form of soldiers in his unit, though they can also be school mates, coworkers, or women he dated depending upon what part of Morgan’s psyche they are being summoned into.
Next week we’ll take a look at some of the key scenes in Morgan’s Oneiros. Remember how the Player Characters told the Seers that Morgan was becoming a loose cannon? We’ll punish them for that mistake. I promise!
Posted by Mage Mistress
A Seer of the Throne, who goes by the name Sara, has been captured and she may have information on the whereabouts of Aenaiyah’s kidnapped younger sister, not to mention some other questions they would like to see answered. There are many ways that they can attempt to extract this information, and after some discussion they decide that the most fun way would be to go on an Astral Romp through her psyche. This means that I have to design some set pieces to make up areas of her mind that the Mages can wander through. Some of these things will be fairly literal interpretations of events that she has either witnessed or been part of. Others will be less direct. In order to help me pull this together I asked the players to come up with the questions that they will be seeking answers to at the end of the prior session. This would give me time to come up with representations that fit the various circumstances of this character’s past.
Keep in mind that one of those circumstances is that she was married to our Mastigos, Damien, for several years. It is Damien who is directing the Astral Journey for the group, so the questions are asked from his point of view.
- Where is Aneiyah’s Sister?
- Who are the Seers spies in the Consillium? By this point the player characters have strong reasons to suspect that the Consiliium has been infiltrated. They want to find out how thoroughly.
- How long has she been a Seer?
- Who else from my former life works for them?
- Why me?
- Did she ever really love me?
Which of course leads to the need to figure out how much she knows, how much she thinks she knows, and how much is news to her.
1. Where is Aenaiyah’s Sister? This really is the $99,000 answer. It is also one that Sara can help out with. Not only is Sara aware of where Aenaiyah’s sister is, Sara is the one who made the travel arrangements.
It’s kind of a funny coincidence, really. The Seers had never made any attempt to go after Aenaiyah’s sister. Aenaiyah’s sister, Betsy, was simply concerned. She had received a call from Aenaiyah on New Year’s Eve during which she had been told that Aenaiyah was off to see the Statue of Liberty, and watch the ball drop later that night. Then… nothing. Some months passed and still nothing. Betsy was worried. Aenaiyah had gone a little off just before leaving. (If you consider chopping her hair extremely short, dying it purple, cursing out her boss before walking out on her job, and throwing her engagement ring in her fiance’s face ‘a little off’.) Aenaiyah had visited her sister before leaving to say that she needed some time to be herself and figure out who that was. She didn’t give any indication as to where she might be going, and had in fact stated that she hadn’t decided really. At first Betsy figured she was going out of town for a long weekend or something. She never figured that so much time would go by without word. Aenaiyah had always been the responsible one before this. Up until that phone call the family had no idea where she had run off to. Now Betsy has a lead, and who can blame her if she decides to follow it up?
She has a photo of Aenaiyah with her fancy new hair, because who doesn’t have a smartphone with a camera these days, and so she puts together a flier and starts talking to the police, to churches, to people who run support groups, and to anyone else who will listen. Most tell her that her sister is an adult and as such their hands are tied, but if they see her they will pass along the message that her sister is looking for her. They also remind her that new York City is a huge place, and that her sister might not even be in the state at this point. They also wish her luck.
One support group contacts Betsy. They may have some information about her sister. Can she please stop by the church they meet at to talk to them. Betsy of course agrees to go, and winds up magically asleep in a Gazebo in Arcadia. To be honest, things could have gone much worse. The Seers know exactly who Betsy’s sister is, (the spikey purple hair, the British accent, the crazy behavior… these were pretty good clues), and quite frankly it isn’t a very good idea to have your unAwakened, defenseless kid sisters handing out your photo and your true name all over the city where you live if you’re an Awakened Mage. In a sense they really did do Aenaiyah a favor, and Sara absolutely sees it that way. Now they want a favor in return. Mostly they want a certain Cabal of Mages to stop poking around for information regarding a string of deaths of Awakened Mages that were not quite as random or accidental as they appeared on the surface. Mostly, that’s what they want. Of course, it’s also possible that they would like some time to try to bring the Cabal to the Seer point of view: if all of humanity is Awakened the resultant cluster-fuck of opposing wills would likely rip the universe, or at least Earth’s corner of it, apart. And, you know, if there might happen to be some artifacts in the Mysterium’s reliquary that would aid the Seers in their cause the delivery of those artifacts would be greatly appreciated. In return Betsy lives a good life, with a nice steady job working with great people who happen to believe that Supernal Powers are simply not a good thing for the general populace to have. What’s so bad about that?
For the Astral Imagery I chose a gazebo. Not only does it fit in perfectly with the idea of being outside in the wilds of Arcadia, it is satisfying on other levels as well. If you are a gamer you are probably aware that you must face the gazebo alone.*
My notes for the session are as follows:
A feeling of peaceful rest overtakes you as you enter the glade. A successful RESOLVE+STAMINA roll will be necessary to remain awake. If anyone falls asleep, the others will need to wake that person up within 5 rounds or the person will fade out of Astral Space. (See “Rings of Astral Unity” with Glamdring to rejoin the group.)
If everyone falls asleep they will all awake outside of Astral Space together.
As they enter the glade everything will take on a cartoon-like appearance. Everything will appear to be outlined, colors will be flatter (less shading) but more vivid in hue, everything will seem more surreal than the rest of Sara’s Oneiros. The feeling is one of watched safety.
In the center of the glade there is a white marble gazeebo. Roses grow on and around it. If the players approach the gazebo they will see an iron bed inside. There is a sleeping woman on the bed.
Before the players can get too close they will feel something preventing them from entering. RESOLVE+GNOSIS to enter. Any attempt at dispelling this effect will cause a sense of dread. A second attempt to do this will cause a confrontation with the gazebo. If the glade itself is dispelled the sleeping figure will be taken away, and Sara will tell them what happened when she wakes up. (or if they confront her directly in her Oneiros.) This area is an active Fae Glade spell. Sara is not controlling the spell any longer, but it does share a connection with her. It has a potency of 10. If it is dispelled here it will be dispelled in reality.
If Aenaiyah uses her Fate site she will realize that this area is a Fae Glade constructed by Sara. 5+ Successes on scrutiny will cause her to realize that the actual Fae Glade, if collapsed, will deposit any physical objects or persons inside into the Fae Wild. Sara would not be happy about it at all because the fact is that she doesn’t want to see Aenaiyah’s sister dumped into a Fae’s backyard.
Clearly, the sleeping figure is Betsy. If the Mages manage to approach the gazebo they will see that it is Betsy. (Or rather, Aenaiyah will since the others don’t know what Betsy looks like.) A close examination of Betsy will reveal that her hands (which are clasped on her chest) conceal a small silver thorn. An even more thorough investigation will reveal that there is a tiny pin-prick in the center of each of her feet. This was done to bring her through the hedge gate in the subway system.
The Dread Gazebo has six figures that each get attacks each round. It would not be wise to face this gazebo alone!
Gazebo Powers: Entangle – The Gazebo has an 8 Dice entangle attack that causes rose vines to wrap around the Mages. The Mages contest with DEX+ATHLETICS. If they successfully contest they will not be hurt. Attempts to escape after entanglement will be at either DEX or STR + BRAWL versus 8 dice. If the Gazebo wins the players take lethal damage from the thorns. (1 target per round) (Init + 1)
The 6 Figures (Init + 2,2,3,3,4,4)
Melee: 6 Dice
Lullaby: 10 Dice contested RESOLVE+GNOSIS. If the Mage fails he falls asleep and must be woken up within 5 rounds to remain in Sara’s Oneiros.
The gazebo & figures will only attack to defend the sleeping woman. If the Mages back off it will let them. It may even talk to them if they make a successful Social roll. It has no mind per se, but can answer limited questions regarding Betsy’s whereabouts and current condition through the mouths on the figural struts.
The gazebo and figures can not be physically damaged. The only way to defeat the gazebo is to stand down, or dispell it. Dispelling the gazebo will free Betsy! (…by stranding her alone and undefended in Arcadia.)
*The original Gazebo story can be found here. Thanks Interwebs!