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Dances with Werewolves:

Werewolves have a reputation for being territorial. As such, it was important for the Mages to come up with a plan, a good plan, before wandering over to Central Park for a visit. Much to my surprise they came up with one! The plan was elegant in its simplicity.

Nokoni is a Thyrsus Mage, and as such he can speak with Spirits and has knowledge of the Spirit realm. He knows that Werewolves frequently deal with Spirit matters. Aenaiyah has a cat spirit as a familiar. Now while one may not immediately see the wisdom of bringing a cat to meet wolves, the fact that it is a cat spirit and Werewolves are not full wolves and as such not prone to the same potential animosity with feline species as your average canine species makes this a different case. So Aenaiyah and Nokoni head out to the park with Noel, Aenaiyah’s familiar. Noel’s job is to wander about the park until someone notices her, and when someone does she should communicate back to Aenaiyah about how that goes. You might think that this is somewhat dangerous for Noel, but only if you are not aware that Noel is the Death Kitty!

I will rant about that at some other time. For now let’s just leave it at :::insert facepalm here:::

So Noel makes some circuits about the park, which I dutifully IM to the GM at the Werewolf table before the Mages at my table have figured out that those are the Werewolves they’re looking for. Eventually the Werewolves return from their fight with the Spider Host, somewhat the worse for wear (they had fought several before the night was through) and encounter Death Kitty. Death Kitty purrs sweetly in the hopes of getting a treat out of this. When they in fact decide not to attempt to eviscerate Death Kitty (they chose… wisely) Aenaiyah and Nokoni are given their cue to head out to the room with the other table. The rest of the players are told (with the door open so the other table can hear me) that they can “take 5” so that I can keep track of  what happens at the park.

To my astonishment they all stayed in the room with the door closed so that they wouldn’t overhear!

Keep in mind, this meeting is happening in Central Park, in NYC, in the middle of the day. It is safe to assume that there will be lots of people around, especially since we had already established nice spring weather at the park. The game is being played in a public place – a game store called Ravenblood Games. If the players had decided that their characters were snooping around at the park they could have simply wandered out to the main room (where the Werewolf table was) and started looking at T-Shirts, RPG books, Munchkin paraphernalia, dice, minis, snacks, board games, or any number of other things that are on sale at this fine establishment. The Werewolf players would not have been likely to notice what they were doing, and their characters would have been even less likely to notice them wandering around the park. Yet still they restrained themselves!

Well, all except for Argus of course. He promptly declared that he was casting personal invisibility and sound mastery and went out to look at the most recently arrived batch of Necron figures.

Now I have already mentioned that the Werewolves had been up all night playing with some Spider Host, aka Azlu, and were a bit torn up. Nokoni, being a Thyrsus Mage, has healing abilities to go along with his talents in the Spirit area, and so he starts casting a few healing spells while he and Aenaiyah explain why they are there. They are afraid that someone is trying to cause trouble for the Werewolves, and while there are already people trying to keep things under wraps, that isn’t necessarily going to stop the kind of psycho lunatic who would pose a body in a van with the headlights shining on a Werewolf Territory Marker with the door open and that godawful bing-bing-bing noise going on and on and on and on and on. I mean, seriously, what kind of sicko does that sort of thing?!

Oh… errrr… I mean… clearly whoever would execute so bold and cunning a plan must be a brilliant strategist who would not likely be deterred by a lack of media coverage! Such a one as this must be strong… and courageous… and dangerous… and… good puppy?

The Old Posed Body in the Van Trick


Now Wilt Thou Quest for the Book?

I’m generally not a fan of making the players decide to do any particular thing. Sadly, when you’re at the start of a campaign you have few other options. Over the course of time the characters start to have agendas of their own, but in the second session, with new players joining the table that session (and more new players to come in session three) that kind of thing just hasn’t had time to happen yet.

As a result the players quickly came to the realization that if any of them decided that they just didn’t feel like helping Meijis, Mysterium Librarian and Steward of the New York Public Library based reliquary/sanctum, retrieve this grimoire it was going to be a very short session.

And that very short session would likely end with Narsil, our NPC Guardian of the Veil, making people’s heads explode when he saw the results of leaving an unattended Awakened child in his office. This would have also resulted in it being a very short campaign.

And so our player characters are off to France!

In his pre-Awakened life Argus Guille was an FBI agent, currently on a leave of absence, and so he knows how to conduct an investigation. Let’s go to the video tape! I know… I know… it hardly seems likely that a French Consilium Reliquary would make use of anything as mundane as security cameras, but with as many successes as he rolled I pretty much had to give it to him that they did. There are spells that enable Mages to transfer things that they have witnessed to transferable media (Flash Drives… DVD’s… video tape…) so I suppose that some French Mages took care of that after some careful Post-Cognitive work (none of the players at the session were capable of casting that spell) while our guys were en route. Since he did have a great many successes on his roll (more successes than he had dice in his dice pool if memory serves correctly) I allowed for a few different things:

  1. There was indeed a recorded record of the book being stolen.
  2. Someone else had previously viewed the tape and queued it to the point where the book was removed from the shelf saving him some time in the viewing room.
  3. He was observant enough to realize that the books on the shelf had been fairly tightly packed, and that one of the books moved slightly “all on its own” before the grimoire in question floated off of the shelf and out of sight rather ungracefully.

In fact, I even pointed out that it almost looked as if someone had cast an invisibility spell and then taken the book while they were invisible!

It seems that Player Characters aren’t the only ones with access to that spell, eh Argus?

While Argus is going over the tape, his fellow Mages are trying to come up with a list of potential suspects independently. They figure that if they come up with different lists using different methods, then the names that are on both lists are the short-lists. It isn’t a bad plan at all. Our Fate Mage, the 9 year old Marissa, is wandering aimlessly about and stumbles upon a list of  known french bibliophiles thanks to the successful application of a Fate spell.  Our Prime Mage, Free Councilor Neils, is looking for evidence of portals or teleportation magic. The Morose Mage, Rex, is carefully examining the walls to see if it’s possible a door was created using plasticity, or some transmutative spell. If spells were used to enter the area then there will be resonance left behind that can be carefully scrutinized to help pinpoint the thief. Adamantine Arrow Mage Nokoni is looking into possible ways for the thief to have entered and exited the premises that do not involve the use of portals, teleportation spells, or alteration of matter, in case Neils and Rex find no evidence of those things – which as a matter of fact they don’t since the French Mysterium carefully warded their library! It seems as though the most likely case scenario here is that either our thief is someone whose presence would not be questioned who became invisible only to sneak the book out after arriving normally, or the thief was smart enough to sneak in invisibly behind someone else who had access.

Meanwhile, Argus rolls about 8 million more successes to lift fingerprints off of the book that was pushed aside on the shelf because, apparently, our thief is not a very good thief and didn’t consider the possibility that simply because he was invisible that didn’t mean he wouldn’t leave fingerprints behind.* The fingerprints point to a man named Jean-Claude DeLacey. His name also appears on the short-list of people who might have an interest in the grimoire that our young Acanthus stumbled across. You see, this particular grimoire dates back to the days of the French Revolution, and DeLacey is a scholar of the period. DeLacey is also fabulously wealthy, and well known to be a lover of antique books in general (though the revolutionary period is his specialty), and a wealthy patron of the Bibliotheque Nationale de France – home of the French Mysterium Library. If this isn’t handled discreetly the Mages could wind up with an international incident on their hands!

Good thing the American Consilium sent their best and brightest! </sarcasm>

Mages Make Me Cry

*GM Note: I had actually pre-decided that an exceptional success would result in this very thing happening. Our book thief really was never intended to be very good at thievery. It is way too menial for a man of his means! A simple investigative success would have resulted in a partial print that would have narrowed the list of suspects, no successes would have resulted in blurred prints, and on a botch the only prints on the book belong to Argus who would have forgotten to put on gloves before picking up the book to fingerprint it.

The Hits Just Keep On Coming

It took some doing, but I did finally manage to put together a mostly coherent timeline based upon all that horrible brain busting stuff I posted last week.

Here’s where we stand:

The PCs (AKA: “The Good Guys”) lured a Seer of the Throne to Central Park with claims of wanting to talk with her. She specifically asked if she was to show up alone, and when Damien (“Good Guy”) said “No, you can bring someone else” she dropped her guard a bit and brought someone.

The PCs (“Good Guys”) shoved her through a portal and started beating on her as she tried to escape.

~~~~~REDACTED: To Prevent Sanity Loss~~~~~

The PCs (“Good Guys”) continued to beat on The Seer while she couldn’t get away.

The Seer (Evil Doer) healed herself in the hopes of escaping when the spells that held her in place wore off, if she lived that long. She was kind enough to warn Aenaiyah that if she dies it will be harder to get to Betsy.

Rex (“Good Guy”) said that it wouldn’t be a problem because they would simply interrogate her ghost – so no one should hold back and they should just kill her. He uses plasticity to mold a chunk of concrete over the portal so that Seer +1 can’t use the portal to get into the room with them.

Arrow (Good Guy – note the lack of quotation marks) suggests that killing her isn’t a very nice thing to do, and maybe they really should hear her out since it isn’t like she has attacked them yet! (I feel compelled to note here that Arrow has, if not the lowest Wisdom in the group, the second lowest. I may have to fix that!)

The Seer’s +1 turns the air around everyone in the room into chloroform, which would knock everyone out without lasting ill effect. Sadly, everyone makes their stamina roll and has one more round to act as the gas begins to work. (They were in a big room.) Some take this round to continue beating on a woman who is about to be knocked out by chloroform anyway. Rex (the matter Mage) spontaneously creates respirators to prevent his Cabal from being affected by the gas.

Seer +1 drops the chloroform, clearly it won’t be helpful at this juncture, and turns a chunk of concrete into a massive swarm of wasps. (Wasps can sting more than once, and they provide good cover for his fellow Seer to escape.)

Arrow becomes the Wasp Queen and holds the wasps at bay. His Cabal-Mates take advantage of this opportunity to continue beating on the Seer who has not attacked them even once until she slips into a coma.

The Seer lies dying in a pool of her own blood.

Seer +1, frustrated at this point, finally lashes out and casts “rotting flesh” on Aenaiyah sympathetically and comes close to killing her. Somehow she manages to live long enough for Argus (“Good Guy”) to wipe all the sympathetic connections Seer +1 has to the room, making it impossible for him to breach the ward. #pout

Fortunately for the Seer, Arrow stabilizes her so that they can, you know… talk to her about what she knows regarding the whereabouts of Aenaiyah’s sister. (He does this after he gets the wasps to leave the room of course.) It seems as though they have decided to forcibly invade her mind instead.

And remember… these are the good guys!

Mages Make Me Cry

Nothing To See Here

It’s the perfect hook. One of the characters works at a bar, and there’s a dead body in the parking lot. At a glance: alcohol poisoning. It isn’t difficult to believe with the number of nights she’s seen him there when she arrived, and kicked him out at closing.  All the same, she calls her Adamantine Arrow cabal mate to examine the body. He’s a Moros Mage, so he can get a bead on the cause of death with a simple covert spell called “Forensic Gaze” without the need for her to use Post-Cognition and actually watch the poor guy die. Just to be sure.

When her cabal mate arrives he thinks she’s just being paranoid. After all, these things happen at bars sometimes, and this guy clearly has a history. That doesn’t mean he isn’t going to humor her by casting the spell. He breaks out the dice and calculates his dice pool, all the while suspecting nothing.

And then I tell him that there’s a -3 dice modifier to his role.

Nope, nothing to see here!

This is why I hate, and I do mean HATE (all caps – no holds barred – can not stand!) negative dice modifiers to rolls. Give me a contested roll that gives me a dice pool against, give me an increase to the number of successes needed to ascertain certain information, but once you whip out a negative dice modifier there is no way the players are going to buy into the perfectly logical explanation that presents itself at first glance.

Furthermore, it makes even less sense on attack rolls! OK, I can expect my players to not overly meta-game and accept it if they know something strange is afoot at the Circle K but their character doesn’t. I’m a lucky Story Teller like that. Of course, once I tell them how many defense dice to pull out of their attack pool they start using that information to figure out all sorts of other things about their opponent. They may not be trying to do it, but rest assured that somewhere in their devious little plot-wrecking brains they ARE doing it. It’s what they do. It’s ALL they do!

What’s a GM to do? #sigh

Mages Make Me Cry

Guardian of the Fail:

What happens when a young Obrimos Mage in his prime joins an order that’s seen too many episodes of Alias?

Hilarity Ensues, that’s what!

I bring to you:

Top 10 Changeling Pickup Lines

(to use if you never want to get laid again)

  • 10. Do you like Arcadian Games?*
  • 9. Stop hedging, you know you like me!
  • 8. Like the song says, “sooner or later it comes down to Faete… I might as well be the one!”
  • 7. You can Contract me any time!
  • 6. Give me a chance… have a Changeling of heart!
  • 5. Looking for the right person can be a thorny situation. Luckily you found me!
  • 4. I may be Wyrd, but I’m fun!
  • 3. What a Glamourous dress!
  • 2. You hair looks quite fetching!
And the Number 1 way for a Guardian of the Veil to NOT pick up a Changeling is…


(as he hands her his FBI card with his name and phone number)

Aurdiangae of the Ailfae!!

*Yes, this was his first line. Clearly he has forgotten that Arcades went out of style decades ago.

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