Okay, session two. Mostly things went well. They went a little off track, but that’s kind of the thing with role-playing. Cat-herding and all that. This is why I love the more open games like this.
Last time I wrote a little about the set-up I have. Now for something house-rule-wise that I use. I like botches, so having the “one on a chance die” rule for botches isn’t anywhere near as fun for me. I use the old rule of “if you roll no successes and a 1, then you botch”. The group seem okay with it and there’s a lot of fun to be had in botching. I bring this up because the session was rife with critical failures. And Paradox. I love Paradoxes. There’s been a whole thing about being manly enough to take the full dice roll of Paradox instead of soaking it through bashing damage or Mana. It’s not like the group have the Mana to spend after the last session of magic-draining spirits.
At the end of this session I added the note about High Speech and how they can boost their rolls with it. I’ve also been trying to increase my giving of Willpower as we’re all a little off with those rules. I’m a bit stingy and they’re less inclined to point out that they deserve it, mainly as they don’t want to be seen as pushing their luck or playing just for the Willpower. Fair enough. This session saw some changes to that in the final scenes, so that was good.
We last left off with the group at the edge of a park. Their mage sights all bee-line to the centre of the park, drawing them in. Walking to a little-league field, Anthony leads the way and Morrigan sees a ghost on the bleachers. Anthony, being the nearest, feels compelled to sit on them. Okay, not compelled, just tired. Benjamin (Benny, to Niamh), sits down before I can ask the players to roll. Only Niamh succeeds her resistance and doesn’t feel tired at all. She was about to go out partying after all. Jack is in a far worse state than the others, botching (yay!) his resistance and being completely drained of Mana. As they sit, the group see days and nights rushing past them, the grass on the neglected pitch growing longer and longer with every breath. The others make their resistance and start getting up, but only when the players make the active decision to. They climb or fall off the bleachers, Morrigan listening to the yelling of the ghost that she needs to get away. Her grim sight reveals apathy and neglect both of the homeless man living by the bleachers and people watching him waste away, it all led to him dying. Then a few hours ago the Hallow this place once was got corrupted. He knows he’s staying there for eternity, stuck in the pitch, but with THAT… He needs it gone. The group’s vision sees an entity in the grounds, but they’re not sure what to do with it. The existential issue of spirit vs ghost is brought up again and Morrigan opens a door to let the ghost leave this plane. That’s one thing gone. Next, it’s the Sloth Spirit. The group twigged the identity pretty easily. The only issue left is what to put it in. The book says that Paradox could dislodge it, but sadly they work away their Paradox with bashing damage (the coward’s way out!) or avoiding vulgarity. The main decision is now to move it somewhere else. They come up with some good ideas, but five voices at a table move things back and forth again and again. A broken watch? No, that’s not working because it can’t. A segway? Perfect, but it’s the middle of the night and nowhere’s open. Is there a person? Wha… Huh? You want to put a person? That’s not cool. There aren’t any. The last person sat down a couple of hours ago and is now a desiccated skeleton. Time vision shows this is definitely a Hallow and Adam’s been pursuing it. Yet more pondering. Benjamin gets one of his gloriously decadent socks and they funnel the spirit into it, then put it in an evidence bag with a view to safe disposal. As they put it in the boot, sirens blare as the emergency services whiz past.
Now we’re kind of done with part one. The group follow at a safe distance to a diner. A happy couple are being wheeled away by paramedics, having been shot through the window by a red-haired crazy lady on a Japanese bike. Jack’s time vision goes back to the moment and sees her rewinding and fast-forwarding time to get a different shot. A better shot. She has crazy red Sydney Bristow wig-coloured hair, and she’s a Mage. That can’t be good. Anthony grills the diner folk and gets the number of a waitress who gives an exact description of the events. Using the police scanner with reports of random violence on the roads, then Jack’s fate magic on a map, Morrigan smartly drives to a location near enough where the angry Mage is. She’s cutting around cars on a bike, way faster than Morrigan’s SUV. Anthony takes the easy way and throws a bolt of electricity at the bike, breaking it. She rolls a ton of successes and drops into a roll. Cars flickers and break at the lightning bolt. No Paradox, but aesthetic stuff. The Paradox happens when Anthony uses his lighter to go all Pyro and coax the flames into bursting out at the Mage. She’s walking towards them all Terminator in a beaten leather jacket and a shotgun. His fire goes everywhere, destroying two cars, but leaving the woman intact. Niamh unlocks the glove compartment in the SUV with Morrigan’s gun in it, hoping someone else can use firearms. Everyone else is busy right now and the Mage has cursed Morrigan to be unlucky with her next action. Benjamin uses Emotional Urging and freaks out the Wrath Spirit, but he’s still on over half Essence and ready to rock. Morrigan rusts the shotgun and the angry Mage still uses it. She fires on Benjamin (the most lethal to her currently) and blows her hand up, too. The glass to the SUV shatters. Benjamin’s coat is ruined! Oh yeah, by his blood, but the jacket’s the main thing. Niamh shoots the Mage in the leg and freaks out about having never fired a gun, dropping it in the car. Jack tries rewinding the bit of time where the shotgun blew up in the Mage’s hand but keep time in the same space, causing a Paradox. He rewinds the moment Benjamin was shot instead. Double ouch! Anthony also Paradoxes, making his blackjack deal lethal damage. He develops an… ahem, problem, for a scene but it doesn’t add enough to do anything here. Oh well. Benjamin’s final Emotional Urging brings the Wrath spirit to almost no power. Morrigan tries to convince it to leave, but it’s Essence is too weak and it recedes into the Mage. She collapses on the floor. The emergency services arrive as people are looking for a pistol the woman had before her tumble. The attempts to contain the scene (and Benjamin trying to get a fireman to fancy him) mean that Benjamin trying to use his clout with the police backfire and they take his ID to check up on him. Jack pickpockets the guy and gets the ID back. Niamh does manage to pull a fireman (and earns willpower by abandoning the others for the evening). Anthony finds a cop who’s a contact of his family’s and uses him to get out of the scene, along with Jack. They go off drinking and gambling with that cop’s wallet which Jack stole (succeeding the first Wisdom roll of the game). Morrigan remains to make sure the woman’s put in hospital instead of a cell. She’s obviously on drugs (the coke Anthony had on him was put into her bloodstream with Niamh’s Life magic). Morrigan recommends she be sedated so that the Wrath Spirit won’t wake. The group are going to the hospital in their own disparate groups. Niamh calls Anthony while screwing a fireman to make him jealous, but Jack answers instead. After Anthony and Niamh talk, they plan to use his Prime magic to help create a sealed box to put the Sloth Spirit (and when they can free it, the Wrath Spirit) into. Anthony gets a call from Fran, the Consilium secretary. The Nemean’s heard about all the news and wants an explanation at the next Consilium meeting, on Wednesday. It dawns on the group that Quincy is their responsibility and they have a lot of explaining to do, and a lot of problem-solving, too.
That’s where we call it. My homework (other than a second re-read of the next part) is to check out the future character sheets and see if I’ll give out XP so they can develop in their own, very different ways, or if they NEED anything they get in the future. I want to keep things simple for now, but if their characters go vastly differently from how they are now (Jack’s only using Fate & Time, no other Arcana, yet he bemoans not having Spirit yet) then maybe I’ll either sort out additional bumps or guide them in their progression a bit. Not sure yet. We’ll see what the week brings.
So far it’s two sessions for two parts. Not entirely contained two one of those parts per session, but Vampire was the same.