Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Morgantown Project: The Tunnels

So this past Friday, I got the chance to wrap up the Requiem story I've been running since this past summer. Now, some things got a little rushed or glossed over because this was literally the last session we knew we'd get to play this particular game for the indeterminate future and circumstances outside my control made me a little late to game to get us started (and our windows for playing tend to be kind of short, because of work schedules and the like). I'd have liked to flesh out a few details some more, get the characters to do a little more of their own footwork (which has been a problem on and off), but we had to make do with the time we had. All in all, people seemed pretty satisfied with where we left off in the grand scheme of things and folks are eager to one day get an opportunity to revisit this particular setting/continuity in the future, so I'll take that as a win.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Morgantown Project: Challenges and Plans

Okay, so as you may remember, my Vampire game has been on hiatus for a while. But one of my usual Friday players who wasn't a part of the Vampire game has had to take a couple of weeks off so I decided to take advantage of the opportunity to try and get the game to a stopping point. (Apologies for this not being posted earlier in the week, BTW, I had some technical difficulties on my end.)

So last session, Regent Derrick had made plans to call together a meeting of the local Kindred. However, none of us could remember what his exact plans were for said meeting -- at least, Zac (Derrick's player) didn't, and I don't think he shared any details of what he had in mind at the time. So we just retconned that out and picked up where we left off with the vampires regrouping after their encounter with Frank. Derrick was able to get in touch with Gerald, a Carthian with connections for some of the local occultists and historians among the Mountain Line Preservation Society, and asked him if he could try and dig up anything on the tunnels beneath the city since now they know that what the strix wants is down there. They also made a few calls and made a similar request to Stephen, another local vampire historian (who was made into a meat-puppet by the strix for a time, so they don't entirely trust him but Derrick doesn't see a lot of options). He was able to tell them that there's almost certainly at least one access to the old tunnels through the university's steam tunnel network, but he'd need time to figure out where it is likely to be. But he also warns them that there's something down there that tends to 'vanish' homeless who go down there, and it's not exactly fond of vampires either.

Over the course of trying to pool their options and look for sources of information, they even semi-jokingly toss around the idea of 'grabbing' a local medium they know named Mike Prescott and having him scare up some particularly old ghosts who might know something. (Pun intended. I'll show myself out.) They know what they need is down in those tunnels, but they know almost nothing about what's actually down there and what the strix specifically needs them for (that, say, the Carthians couldn't provide). Derrick is also seriously considering the idea of offering to serve as the Avus for one of the local Mekhet and make them into a Khaibit, just to make sure that there's someone of his bloodline up on the surface should something happen to him. But they don't know a lot of Mekhet in town, and even fewer that they trust or consider even vaguely competent.

But muddying up the proceedings is Humfrey, who's taking it upon himself to put pressure on Derrick and challenge his ideas and suggestions at every turn. At one point he pushes Derrick to near-frenzy, and they decide to split up to pursue their various options: Derrick is going to talk to Dr. Hart, the only Mekhet in town he considers viable for conversion. Humfrey and Matthew are going to go to the campus radio station where Mike Prescott works and do what they have to to force him to work for them.

So we started with the two of them. Humfrey hides with Obfuscate while Matthew talks to Howard, a novice Mekhet who works with Mike at the radio station. They learn that Mike's already gone home for the night. Matthew, naturally being an evangelical sort of Ventrue, uses his natural charisma (and unnatural charisma, aka Majesty) to distract Howard with the Sanctified spiel while Humfrey sneaks in to try and find something at Mike's desk that could have his address. Sean (Humfrey's player) makes his roll to dig through Mike's stuff and he fails... which Sean converts to a dramatic failure in exchange for a Beat. So there he is, tossing the office, throwing things left and right and knocking stuff over, when he hears Mike (who'd suddenly realized he forgot something and came back) demand to know what the hell is going on.

Humfrey, when confronted with Mike, has the first instinct of "Get 'im!" which led to a brief combat scene. If Mike had been a normal mortal (or even one with just a couple of supernatural merits), I'd have just resolved it with 'Down n Dirty Combat.' But the spectral scalpel Mike suddenly produced from nowhere kiboshed that. And because he beat Humfrey on initiative, he proceeds to do 'something magic' to him and Humfrey's body erupts with wounds gushing precious vitae. So that led to a frenzy for Humfrey.

Now, I was in a conundrum. I didn't have a full and recent sheet for Mike on-hand, and I didn't have any conversions in mind for sin-eater powers into the new system because I wasn't expecting a fight to break out. In addition, we knew that there was not a heck of a lot that a frenzying vampire can do to a sin-eater with full control of his own faculties. And I didn't have a whole lot of interest in killing off the character in what will likely be the penultimate session of this story. So I came up with a compromise: Humfrey blacks out, and I'd get back to him later.

Matthew, after hitting Howard with a whammy to make him forget he was there (though I've ruled that the religious notions Matthew had instilled had taken root, for possible future purposes), ran back to find that the office was wrecked and covered with blood and this silvery evaporating substance. He follows the trail outside and up the nearby road, as it beacme obvious that Mike had taken the fight outside and led Humfrey on a merry chase. But Matthew loses the trail before finding Humfrey.

So then I leave that to simmer and jump over to Derrick, who's pissed (still riding the Tempted condition from earlier) and trying to talk his way into speaking with Stephanie Hart at the hospital without drawing attention to himself. Eventually, he gets into her office and spells out for her that he wants her to become a Khaibit -- with her permission, of course. She can tell he's on edge and does her best to try and handle him diplomatically, as this is not something she wants to be a part of (despite him trying to pitch it as enhancing her ability to protect the hospital and the people in it, which is an interest of hers). Also, at one point, he tells her about his plan to go down into the tunnels and she warns him that she's pretty sure whatever's down in the steam tunnels is vampiric in nature. But he can tell she's kinda talking down to him to keep from aggravating him, which aggravates him even more (and he makes his second roll to resist Frenzy of the night). She offers to bring in someone who'd be a viable alternative, but anyone he doesn't already know is out of the question. She then asks if she can think it over and give him a response early the next night, and he barely agrees to accept that.

Derrick leaves, and on the way out manages to get the attention of a security guard who knows there's something up with him. He lures the guard to a dark corner of the parking lot, uses Obtenebration to make it even darker, and just outright kills and drains the man. He then does his best to dispose of the body, dragging it under cover of magical shadow back to his car and taking it to a lake outside of town. He personally hauls it down to the bottom of the lake and buries it enough to make sure it's not an issue at least for a while.

So once we resolved that, and because we were coming close to the time when we'd have to wrap up the session, we came back to Humfrey.

Or should I say, Humfrey comes to, slathered in blood over a body that's been literally torn apart in a wooded area near a house. He doesn't know exactly where he is or whom he's just killed (a quick check of the man's effects and smartphone suggest he was stalking someone in the nearby house). He looks around at the mess, figures nothing about it particularly screams 'vampire,' and just says 'fuck it' and goes to hole up in a nearby basement for the day.

And that's about where we left off. If at all possible, I'm going to try and wrap up the story with the strix in the coming session since I literally don't know when/if I'll be able to revisit this particular game in the near future.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Something a little different

So here's something a little different from my usual here. I mean, so far I've posted stuff for my WoD games, related fiction, and a bit of angry venting. But I'm actually a little nervous about this post, because it's showing a side of me I don't often dig into.

Long story short, I'm a furry fan. Have been for a very long time. It's not something I often discuss outside of a few particular circles, primarily because I know the vast majority of people don't actually care. Which, honestly, is fine; I mean, I don't quiz all of you on your hobbies and fandoms, and I'm not the sort to force relevance into a subject just to discuss it. Mostly.

Regardless, I bring it up because on occasion I do a bit of writing with anthropomorphic characters. Not a substantial amount, for a handful of reasons, but from time to time I feel the itch. So I've got a couple of chapters of a larger cyberpunk story written and posted to the net, and I'd like to share them here.

So here's the first part, which I completed a couple of years ago and recently tweaked, and the second part, which is much more recent. Now, these are linked directly to the files, so you might wanna right-click and Save As. Again, as with my other stuff, it's not as polished as it could be, as I'm not exactly showing it off to professional editors or anything. I just do the best I can with it.

Anyhow, enjoy!