It’s been a couple of weeks so the group’s a little rusty, I’m a little rusty. I was hit by novel-based inspiration and couldn’t let the RPG take up any of my mental processes. I was prepped as I’ve been looking forward to running this since it came out, but still, it might have distracted me.The new mechanics this session:
- New character sheets. There are updated character sheets with a little bit of a bump on them. The group checked them out and admittedly I threw the old sheets out with some notes on them, but luckily what’s needed was (hopefully) all recovered. In addition, in trying to get the group to play with Obsidian Portal, my new best friend, I’m planning on bribing them with a level one rote each if they make their character pages. So far the player of Morrigan has made her page.
- The Duel Arcane. I was not looking forward to this in the least. Iaijutsu in L5R is my most loathed minigame and the duels in Houses of the Blooded are the things I’m the least familiar with. I did fence in the past and I love swordplay, so these things should come easy, but minigames rarely work without adding more stuff. I went through the rules on the train and while I sadly couldn’t print my abridged bullet points in time, it heralded the start of my use of my netbook, the Netronomicon, at the table.
- NPCs. Listed as a new part of the rules for n00b players, but I’ve been playing WoD since 1993, so that kind of thing’s old hat. Wow I feel old.
It had been a week since we had played and we were gaming at a different venue for the evening, so things took a little while to get going.
NEST OF VIPERS I doled out the new character sheets and asked for a brief description of what happened in the week. The group either tried to help Amelia (having finally learned her name) or in Benny’s case, profit from it. He decided that doing a fake study on her would help hide the Wrath Spirit, especially if it was in her for the duration. Between them the group worked out that as long as she remained calm she wasn’t a threat, and they preferred that she stay in Quincy until they all saw the Boston Consilium on Wednesday. Benny’s attitude toward Amelia had Niamh saying that she knew he liked men, but could he not be one of those gays, the first time one of the cabal acknowledged that they all know, even if he tries to cover it up. Other than that, the growing allegiance between Jack and Anthony had the latter getting a guy who knows a guy who mugged a guy to sort out a nice suit for the Consilium appearance. I explained a little about the Mage government, which was aided by the fact I’d only understood it after playing with Obsidian Portal to layout the way they worked. On the day of the meeting, the group were getting ready, Benny was ordering a take-out lasagne, Niamh was dressing and Morrigan was ready hours ago, thank you very much. Adam showed up at their door, asking rather pointedly if the cabal had attempted to cover the evidence of the ritual by burning his house down. Specifically that Jack had. They said no, although it was one of the plans they had, and it certainly sounded like Jack could have done it. Despite the Time vision of Adam, the group persisted that he was watching Godfather I & II (although the sequel made Anthony angry), they’d refused to watch the third. The girls and Benny took Morrigan’s SUV and after a little faffing, they rented a car for the boys). Salem was more touristy than historical, witch mascots, kooky ‘magic shops’ and a few museums. They made their way to Cormant House, an Addams Fanily-looking building which was closed to the public right now. The upstairs had a glaringly sterile-looking meeting room with a striplight, big wooden table and the overly-polite Chain Parris pouring coffee. A bespectacled man was in the room and all the group who had empathy (so not Morrigan) could tell he was angry, Jack got the most successes which was fitting as he was evidently hiding his contempt specifically for Jack. Chain smiled his way through hearing what went on in Quincy, politely ushering Adam out of the room once he was up to speed. The man who evidently hated Jack mentioned his business, challenging Jack to the Duel Arcane for stealing an item of his. Again, this sounded plausibly like Jack, so the group didn’t help his case with their acknowledgement he could well have done it. His defence was that he owes money to the bartender at the place the man, Enoch, says they met in Boston. I took Jack aside after failing a Resolve + Composure roll, rather than saying anything out of character I launched into jealousy and hate. He got it right away and while the group were trying to logic their way out of a fight, Jack instantly accepted. Anthony eagerly squared the circle (and gave his card to Anacaona, the security for the event). Jack’s stats weren’t as good as Enoch’s, so it wasn’t an easy battle. Mainly as Enoch’s Gnosis and Willpower were better. The duel started with no one willing a contest of wills, then Jack started the fight, missing terribly. Jack, sadly, started as he meant to carry on, whether he liked it or not. He took a hit, gave a lesser one out. He got himself right down to the ground, then dropped his shield and believed in his own ability, regaining his Willpower from having Faith as his virtue. It didn’t help. He took a really harsh hit, then tried burning Willpower to beat Enoch in a final blaze of glory. He grabbed Enoch’s blade of time which he was still impaled on, pulled himself up it and stabbed Enoch in the face. A second later and Enoch’s blade wasn’t there, but thrust through Jack’s neck, draining him and leaving him open for possession from the Envy Spirit. During the fight Chain was beside himself at making these young Mages fight. He tried to start Adam’s judgement, but Jack’s possession was noticed by everyone in the room. Jack made a dash for the window and jumped out with the aim of stealing Chain’s gorgeous white Rolls Royce. Anthony in the player’s traditional, tactful style, jumped out but aimed to hit Jack. He ended up on top of Jack but taking more damage from the fall. They fought while Chain freaked out, having never fought a spirit before. He caused a Paradox by messing with Prime, dispelling everything including the possession. The spirit solidified inside the car, the other side of Jack. Benny’s emotional urging helped again, while Morrigan incapacitated the car with death magic decaying the spark plugs. The spirit was cast into the radio of the Rolls, which happened to be playing the chat show of Benny’s much, much more successful brother, as it will for the rest of time now. They removed the radio and left Chain the broken car (it’s okay though, thanks to Forces). Chain decided to forgo the extreme judgement The Nemean had already planned, but instead he quarantined the cabal and Adam from Boston and Salem. They’re not allowed out of Quincy and no Awakened are to go there, in case these spirits following the cabal around do anything else harmful. Amelia said she would return to Quincy once the messages she had were delivered. The cabal wondered what idiot let Adam go from the Consilium & the Silver Ladder in the first place, and now they have a pair of strange, possessed items. A sock and a car radio.
The first spirits are fairly formulaic in their methods of destruction. The group didn’t really do much with bans, so I had Adam point that side out to them. People are getting there with the magic, but I might be playing too fast and loose now. I’m not sure. If it advances plot, I’m generally more lenient. The cabal are wondering if it’ll be a pattern of get Benny to use his mind powers, then Niamh to draw it out and seal/kill it. Things will be different from the next sessions as these are all Spirits who are a bit more feckless. The others have goals. The others… We’ll see next week.