Thanksgiving – Geeknam Style
I find myself suddenly startled by a blaring, raucous noise.
Roll Wits + Dex -3 (startled from sleep): Botch
The sound of a shattering light bulb, coupled with the continuance of the blaring noise, seems to indicate that instead of hitting the snooze button I have instead knocked a lamp off the bedside table and onto the floor.
Roll Dex + Athletics: 1 Success
I manage to not skewer my foot on a sharpened piece of light bulb. This is fortunate because I haven’t had coffee yet and might have died of blood loss before realizing I had been injured.
I blow a Will Power point to make coffee and grab a donut.
Roll Resolve + Composure +3 (there goes another Will Power Point): 1 Success.
I decide that it really would be wrong to ditch visiting the family to spend quality time with my XBox instead. After all, it is Thanksgiving. On the plus side: there will be ludicrous amounts of food. (Vice = Gluttony so get that 1 Will Power Point back for being willing to face danger in the name of nummies.)
Roll Wits + Drive: 3 Successes
Clearly my driving reflexes are fully cognizant of the fact that a turkey dinner is on the line! I swerve right around that fallen tree that’s blocking the road and get past the two sets of train tracks just before the “You Shall Not Pass” barriers come down to indicate a coming train, which is crazy talk because I simply can’t picture a world in which train service hasn’t been suspended due to the lack of clouds in the sky.
I have arrived at the ancestral abode. It’s time to run the gauntlet.
Roll Dex + Athletics: 1 Success
“Who’s a good puppy? Gizzie’s a good puppy!” Gizzie is also my favorite member of the family, as she has just helped me dodge the dreaded cheek-pinch. Gizzie gonna be gettin’ some treats for sure!
Roll Resolve + Composure -2 (accute olfactory senses): BOTCH!
I start to “aimlessly wander” toward the kitchen.
Roll Wits + Stealth: 2 Successes
Brother Rolls: Wits + Composure: 3 Successes
Blast! My brother has noticed that the turkey is in danger. He is now moving toward the kitchen on an intercept course!
How is it possible he has a higher Initiative than I do?! Gorammit! Now he has placed himself square in the only path to the kitchen and there’s no way around him!
Roll Dex + Athletics, blow a Will Power point for +3 (this is important!): 4 Successes! Ooorah!
Brother Rolls: Dex + Brawl – he’s going for a grapple… and he’s blown a Will Power Point also!: 5 Successes
Roll Strength + Athletics to break free: BOTCH!
Oh the humanity! The turkey is being removed from the oven and set on the kitchen counter. It’s…right…there… I can al…most reach…it…
Brother Rolls: Strength + Resolve: 3 Successes – he has blown yet another Will Power Point to thwart my efforts.
Roll Resolve + Composure + 3 (good thing I got that Will Power back from before!) : 1 Success
I act totally cool, like it’s all under control. With luck my brother will fall for my evil ploy.
Roll Manipulation + Subterfuge + 3 (come on… last Will Power Point… YOU CAN DO THIS!): Exceptional Success!
Brother Rolls: Wits + Empathy reflexively (he may instinctively be on to me): 2 Successes – not enough.
He has seen me run this con before, but clearly he is distracted by the wafting aroma of turkey and stuffing and sweet potatoes.
OOC: I convince the GM that it was Prudent of me to fight off my temptation and lull my brother into a false sense of security, thereby getting all of my expended Will Power back. (Virtue = Prudence)
My plan is to wait until the very moment my brother’s back is turned and then dash into the kitchen to devour the turkey and indulge my gluttony vice. this will take 2 rolls: the first to choose just the right moment, and the second to dash into the kitchen and claim the turkey.
Roll 1 – Wits + Subterfuge: 1 Success
Roll 2 – Dex + Athletics + 3 Will Power : 4 Successes
ALL YOUR TURKEY DINNER ARE BELONG TO ME!
I hope your Thanksgiving got you back some well deserved Gluttony induced Will Power replenishment!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Roll Resolve + Stamina: BOTCH! TRYPTOPHAN FTW!
Too much science? Is that possible?
With Halloween right around the corner it seems like the perfect time to talk about bringing some terror into your players’ lives. It’s only fair, since if your players are anything like mine they make you shudder with fear and loathing every time they show up for a session. You need some pay back, and I’m here to help.
The fact that my campaign takes place in the World of Darkness makes it somewhat obligatory to have an element of horror, but you don’t want the horror to become too “one note”. You can only hold suspense for so long before the players simply get used to it. Additionally, it can be difficult to sustain a feeling of dread when you have to pause and pick things up next session. A feeling of panic on the other hand… now that’s the gift that keeps on giving! That’s why I always enjoy hitting the players with some bad news right at the end of a session. If you can manage to time something urgent for the end of a session they will spend the time between sessions worrying about it, while you spend the time between sessions posting winky faces at them on Facebook and Twitter alongside vague assurances that everything is Fine![tm]
I am absolutely a fan of hitting the PCs where they live quite literally. When I came up with a glorious plan that might cause their sanctum to explode I didn’t lead off the session with that fact. Oh no, that would give them time to deal with it before the session ends. Where’s the fun in that I ask you? Instead I slowly made them realize that something might be just a bit… off. When we last left off Aenaiyah was ready to kill Argus for humiliating her at a Starbucks. I don’t know about you, but I laughed.
Anyway, as it turns out one of my players (Neils) moved to Boston, and as such he can’t always make it to NY for sessions. This kinda sucks because Neils is a crazy science guy who dreams of finding the point where Science meets Awakened Magic so that all Paradox will end and Mages will live happily ever after… right next to those annoying shiny, happy folks at the side of the road holding hands. How revolting! This is a dream that needs to be squashed.
I started my War On Hope with an email to Neils’s player prior to his arrival in New York telling him the results of his most recent experiments: some of his equipment is working better than ever before! Some of his equipment works a bit sporadically, and other equipment is really not working at all.
At the start of the session the rest of the cabal is arriving home from Starbucks to find Neils, surprise surprise, tinkering with some pretty odd looking stuff in the basement. They might have been paying more attention to this if Aenaiyah wasn’t trying to convince her Familiar Noel (hereafter: Death Kitteh) to scratch Argus’s eyes out. While they are rolling this out (Aenaiyah rolls to persuade Noel to claw Argus in the face, Noel gets bonuses to resist because Argus has secretly been bribing Noel with tuna and catnip for months, you know… the usual) I tell everyone else that when when they see Neils in his workshop (they have retreated downstairs to escape the ensuing domestic violence), he appears to be moving very slowly at some times, and far too rapidly at others. “Come to think of it”, I tell them “sometimes it looks like he simply stares off into space for hours without moving.” The players downstairs take a vote and decide (unanimously) that this is clearly Aenaiyah’s fault, which is a perfectly reasonable assumption if you ask me. So they call upstairs to ask her and Argus to quit “foolin’ around” and come downstairs.
“His face Noel, just jump on his face and claw it off like a good kitty.”
Next they will devise some experiments designed to see if this really is the Time Mage’s fault, because really… what could possibly go wrong? Pretty soon they’re waving their hands inside the door while they are standing outside, at which point I take great care to explain to them in breathtaking detail how their arms appear to warp and twist at the point where they enter the room. They don’t feel like anything is wrong at all, but what they are seeing is just plain wrong. Arms are really not meant to look like that. At first it seems as though the part of the arm that’s outside of the room is moving faster than the part inside, then the inside part catches up and kinda… warps. The idea that parts of their own bodies are being twisted and deformed by whatever is happening here has the desired morbid and creepifyin’ effect.
While the folks at the laboratory door pull their arms back out and count their fingers, I make everyone ELSE in the basement roll WITS+COMPOSURE to see if they note the reactions of the spirit-ridden stop motion puppets they recently acquired. The puppets can’t actually talk, but they can wave their hands frantically while backing away from Neils’s lab. As a matter of fact, I actually give the table my best “Not the face. NOT THE FACE!!!” pantomime while not saying anything at all. They know what I’m getting at.
Of course, important to any horror story is the promise of rich rewards for those daring and courageous enough to harness what is happening here. In this case our resident scientist feels like Awesome-Man whenever he enters this room. As a game mechanic, every point of Mana that he has is suddenly twice as potent. Now the players have a good reason to not necessarily want to stop whatever this is, because maybe they can control it! In fact, maybe they can even do it (they can if they try), but there must be risk involved. (Oh yes, there will be risk.)
At some point, hopefully near the end of the session, your resident Acanthus will cast a spell to see what will happen if they do nothing about this situation in their basement. If you are a particularly evil GM (and I assure you I am) you will separate the Acanthus from the rest of the group and tell her that she sees a mushroom cloud forming over their city centered on their sanctum, and make a loud rumbly noise like an explosion. If you are even more evil than most (rest assured, I am) you will be sure to tell her that she feels certain that this is not going to happen tomorrow or anything, but eventually it could happen if they do absolutely nothing. If you’ve played your cards right your favorite Acanthus will run outside and cause a panic at the end of your session that will keep them all freaked out about what has been unleashed in the basement and how to fix it until next session.