Wow. I screwed the pooch here. Admittedly that wasn’t what killed a player’s character, but it didn’t help matters.
The prelude to Made Men has the group looking into Adam’s off-screen reappearance. His presence is felt, but the problem was foreshadowing without the players poking at the scab repeatedly. What I did, really didn’t help. I tried to be smart, and they ran around in circles for hours. Some fun was had, but also frustration. Made Men itself… Wow. Things went bad. I’ve been reading Fiasco and things went Fiasco bad.
The group recover from the previous night. Tony’s on the front doorstep, Benny’s in a cupboard with a scuba suit and far too many bodily fluids. The only one with any dignity seems to be the worryingly well-rested Morrigan, followed by Jack, who’s up despite his best wishes. The phone goes off and a message is left for Benny, from a cop he helped out a while back.
When Ben’s recovered enough to talk and move, he checks his e-mails and finds out that Paul Kresham was at the Saxons Hotel in Boston. With the quarantine still up, the group speak to a PA saying that Chain’s not openly giving his blessing, but he’s willing to look the other way for this visit, as Adam/Paul really needs to not be in Boston.
The Saxons Hotel is a skeevy joint with an old fellow working the reception. He vaguely remembers shouting but can’t quite tell what went on. A look in his mind shows something went down and has since been edited from his memory.
Investigation of the room shows that it’s been cleaned physically and magically. The group see a bloodstain outside and discern with magic that it’s Jack Thompson (yes, I only remembered after saying it, that’s the name of the ex-lawyer who hated computer games. This is where I was trying to sow seeds for the future, as he’s the brother of Michael Anthony Thompson, one of Tony’s old friends involved with ‘family’ business. They found a pocket of magic put there to draw attention to a bronze disc which can help them with trapping spirits in the physical realm.
With the vague link to the Licavoli family, the group went to Jack’s parents place and scoured for evidence. They went to the hospital and grilled people. Tony and Jack flirted with a nurse, Benny took on Niamh as a patient. Morrigan had the most eventful time of it. She went to the morgue and checked out the sheer number of ghosts kicking around there. Jack’s ghost had been perving on nurses in the changing room, according to an old guy who Morrigan released into Twilight via another door to the spirit world. She chatted with the kid and using magic to compel him she ended up ripping him in two, then kicking him into Twilight to end the suffering, but everything went a bit mad. The ghosts were almost all going in, too, apart from a formless one, evidently almost a Geist rather than a ghost. It didn’t want to go, and grew bigger and bigger until Morrigan managed to force it away. The interrogation hadn’t been successful.
With no leads and having spent most of the evening doing this, and with nowhere else to go, I decided to call time on the session. Fun was had and I got to scream like crazy pretending to be a ghost torn in half, but people left unsatisfied.
This is the beginning of the end for the cabal.
Three weeks of game-time have passed and we start with a phone call to Tony from Michael Anthony Thompson, brother to the late Jack Thompson and a member of Quincy’s premiere mafia family, the Licavolis. He’s got information. Apparently some do-gooder journalist is asking the family for blackmail money. Even worse, he keeps hiking up the cost, and he’s pissing the money away gambling.
At this point, I need to point something out. Tony is not Tony. In the three weeks, he’s been abducted by the Greed Spirit and replaced. A week before the last session I told Tony’s player this. As this is his first WoD experience and his first time being the mole in the group, I wasn’t sure if he’d have what it takes to keep everything to his chest and act accordingly when the moment struck. Wow, I was so wrong.
I used the narrative tool of the unreliable narrator to have this exposition delivered by a phone call, when really it was just Tony and there wasn’t any of that information, he was providing it all for the group. Given the issues of player/character knowledge, I figured this would be funny.
Jack was saddened that he’d miss film night, but they decided to meet the journalist, Dick MacManus (cue sniggering from the group), at a warehouse pre-arranged by Tony.
The player of Tony and I had discussed tactics a couple of times. He was going to keep his phone on and whistle to signal gunmen who could kill the journalist (who had photos of Tony disposing of a body) and the cabal. The whistling was the signal because the Envy Spirit had told the others of Jack’s ban, where I get dice against him if someone whistles, making things even more funny in the ensuing fight. It would be such a mad combat I wouldn’t need them, but we didn’t know. He knew Morrigan had a gun and had to get rid of that as he couldn’t have the group fighting back. Tony/Greed even tried stealing the gun before the meeting, but it seems the group took that as possessive concern of the meeting rather than suspicion of him acting against them.
The group went to the meeting place, a warehouse near some parkland and an old quarry. Nothing nearby, barely even light pollution. Morrigan stayed in the car with one hand on the glove compartment so she could get the gun quickly. The others went inside. Tthe group met and the journalist was sounding confused about the blackmail (he wasn’t blackmailing, but he had to jump at the chance to see one of the Licavolis and record the ‘transaction’). As Jack patted him down, finding a wire, he heard Tony whistling and everything came crashing down. At that second, Jack knew what was going on before everyone else. Inches away from him, the journalist’s head popped as a silenced gunshot came from… somewhere.
The group went into initiative. The other Mafiosi rolled really high on init and opened fire from hiding places in boxes of Russian defective soft toys. Tony started running, which I expected as I figured his goals were to disarm Morrigan and flee, possibly in her car. Benny ran to the lights and hit them off, plunging the warehouse into darkness. In the ensuing fight, Jack got shot, Niamh got shot, they fled as the gangsters were firing wildly through the warehouse, bullets hitting walls, the corpse of the journalist, and occasionally a player character. Benny covered the door out in a block of darkness so the enemies couldn’t leave, but Jack and Niamh were stuck, too. Injured and trying to get out, Jack failing repeatedly to turn on magic night vision, while Niamh was keeping Jack upright.
Outside, Morrigan thought Tony was fleeing for a moment, before he tried influencing her to murder the others. He failed and she realised what happened, as Benny ran out of the shadowy doorway. Tony, now using the Greed Spirit stats, possessed Morrigan and was going to use the gun to shoot her in the head. Given the haste, the madness and all of that, Morrigan’s attempt did mean she shot herself in the face, but somehow didn’t quite die. Still possessed, she attacked the others who made their way outside, too. The gangsters in the dark were yelling about not being able to see or get out, and Mikey panicked, setting light to the flammable toys. They were going to either burn down in the warehouse or find their way out. Either way wouldn’t be good.
Benny made more shadows to envelop Morrigan/Greed. The Greed Spirit jumped from Morrigan to Jack and while he was injured, while he was vulnerable, he grabbed the gun and shot himself in the head, dying instantly. The Greed Spirit was thrown out of Jack’s head, re-forming until the group could get the bronze disc from Jack’s body and bind it into this realm. He couldn’t get in anyone else or vanish. The mafia goons found their way out of the darkness, led by Johnny Licavoli who, for an NPC, was on fire with his dice rolls. As Johnny left the darkness, he shot Benny who threw a playing card back, doing hideous damage, lodging the card in his neck, up under the jaw. Tony’s player had been burning through Essence like there was no tomorrow, so when they decided to rid him of his possessions, this is what would do it. They stole his blackjack, his trousers and finally his jacket & shirt, so he was stripped to nothing, weakened enough to Niamh to use her gorgeous purse which had been made into a soul jar. The lack of will the Greed Spirit had left meant it accepted its’ fate.
The group had won. Kind of. Jack was dead. Morrigan’s face was blown apart. Tony was missing. Things weren’t good. Using Space, Benny found where Tony was; naked and chained into a shipping container with only a bag of long-life doggy chow to sustain him. He was in the dark and surrounded by enough bodily waste to show he’d been there a while.
Morrigan reanimated Jack’s body so it would get into the car and they could bury it correctly. The mafia guys were confused, but knew Johnny needed the hospital desperately, bleeding from the chin and with the glint of the sharpened card visible inside his mouth, having gone that far up him. The cabal (and zombie Jack) went to the docks where they eventually talked their way past the dockside goons and to Tony. He had been locked away for twenty days, so he’d been abducted just after the last session. Malnourished, naked and amongst his own waste, Tony was not in a good state (admittedly he was the third worst off of the group, or the best off if you count wounds).
The group each had at least three damage (possibly each with at least three lethal damage if I remember correctly. Rather than go to the hospital they decided that mana would help them, so they’d remain injured in the beach house until they could get better. Morrigan buried Jack at the Hallow, which I ruled upgraded its’ Mana given out by one and changed the mysterious song into whistled tune, sad but chaotic.
We’ve lost our first player character. It was hideous, but brilliant. I was sure Morrigan was going to die when Greed first possessed her, then when Jack went, it was an even bigger surprise. We need to make a character for Jack’s player, and then we’ve got the last three sessions.
This isn’t entirely how things were meant to go. There was supposed to be a poker game. I don’t care, this way was better, but then I’m not a good poker player and don’t overly care to, so I was wondering how best to represent poker with dice rolls. Still, the player being Greed was fantastic. For a newbie player (well, a year of role-playing now, mainly 4E and Fantasycraft), he did amazingly, possibly even overtaking me for perceived evil.
There are two issues though, both to do with souls. Jack was buried with Sisyphus’ soul stone, and I don’t know if Tony’s player remembers what I told him about what the Greed Spirit did to him, but that could have funny repercussions.