Monday, December 12, 2016

Sunday, December 11, 2016

War Orphans: Shakedown Cruise (Doctor Who)

Alright, folks, so now we get to the first post of the new game I'm going to be running. This is, more or less, going to be a monthly game. A few friends and I are taking turns running a game on Wednesdays, and it's a way to sort of get this one off my 'games I want to run someday' notepad. Just for the record, I'm not planning on blogging any of the games I'm playing in, just the ones I'm running -- among other reasons, I just don't want to be too distracted taking notes and I definitely wouldn't be able to casually do this without taking notes, so there we are.

This is a game of Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space from Cubicle7, using the default system in the books. Rather than the more traditional group models, this one is actually featuring an entire group of young Time Lords from pre-LGTW[0] Gallifrey who've taken it upon themselves to steal a TARDIS, go rogue, and have sweet adventures like the Doctor.

This game is going to start off in sort of a canon-friendly zone (so expect a lot of linking to fan-wikis and the like for context), and eventually kick canon square in the bollocks and do its own thing. You'll see. This is a game I've been planning on and off since David Tennant was the Doctor, and various episodes since I began have given me material to work with to graft things on and find anchoring points within the canon.[1]

Warning: There will be a little bit of fan-wankery here and there, name-dropping, canon characters guest-starring and stuff like that, either because it just makes sense for the scenario or to explicitly tie it to certain canon events. After all, how much fun would it be to participate in a Doctor Who-universe story and never meet The Doctor?

Anyhow, here we go with the first adventure in my Doctor Who: War Orphans story...

Fiction: Goodbyes

So this story has another story behind it.

Why yes, I do think I'm clever, why do you ask? Moving on.

A little over ten years ago, I started running my first CofD (then called NWoD) tabletop game, a Promethean: The Created chronicle. I had some vague ideas, a starting point spelled out in the back of the first edition Promethean core, and some players. A couple of players dropped out early, but a few more went the distance (for as long as the chronicle lasted, at least). Those players:

Brendan Sherlock played Ander, a Frankenstein created during WWII by a Promethean working with a Nazi mad scientist (who later used their work together to turn himself into a terrifying superhuman, and was the Big Bad of the chronicle).

Nick Shomo played Steve Rogers, a Frankenstein created during WWII by a Promethean working for the government to fight Nazi mad science. (Specifically, the Nazi mad science he helped create, as that same Promethean also created Ander)

(Just for the record: Brendan and Shomo created their characters separately, but I linked their backstories for stupidly-obvious reasons)

Zac Davis played Jack Turner, an Ulgan made from a high school kid who had been sacrificed by a cult.

Greg Gay played Father John, an Ulgan who tried to understand humanity by studying religion and passing himself off as a priest. (He once accidentally inflicted the Disquiet on Evie, and when she had the standard Disquiet-driven reaction it drove him into Torment and... yeah. That leg of the story ended in a bit of a mess.)

Sean Smith played Rudolf, a Tammuz who didn't know how he'd been made or by whom for the longest time, he only thought he was some sort of swamp zombie because of where he first awoke. He later discovered that his creator had regularly been stealing his memories to study humanity vicariously.

The game went on for about a year and a half-ish, and while we didn't get to finish the full story I had planned (though for the sake of continuity with later games, I had my players approve an outline of 'future events'), it remains one of the most satisfying Storytelling experiences I've ever had. If you're curious, you can dig through my old Livejournal updates for the write-ups or the old Promethean playtesting/actual play LJ community (though you'll have to do some actual digging to find the posts there, as I have no way to easily tag them). Anyone who's followed my Chronicles of Darkness fiction will recognize that this is where most of the cast of Child of the Machine came from.

With the second edition of Promethean having just come out, I decided to do something to go back and revisit those old characters. In particular, the new rules for how to handle the Pilgrimage and milestones inspired me to imagine a story in which Alexander finally completed his Pilgrimage and moved on with existence. And then I thought "What if I had a past character show up, having become human," and a few things clicked.

See, at about this time a year ago, Shomo (his friends called him by his last name, it was mostly family and older people who called him Nick) passed away due to complications from pneumonia. The last time I saw him, he helped me move a bunch of furniture into the house I'd just purchased. And I saw the opportunity to do something to honor him in my own particular idiom.

This story contains two scenes with his character, Steve, having successfully become human and earned a happy ending. Specifically, Steve earned the happy ending that Shomo should have gotten. A lot of Shomo has gone into this new human version of Steve.

I saw an opportunity to say goodbye to him as well as providing something of an epilogue for a wonderful game I ran a decade ago, and took it.

Before we get into the story, I want to take a second to thank everyone involved in this game and every other game I've run. You've all been wonderful in your own ways (with only one or two exceptions), and you are all why I do this. Why I write, why I run games. So thank you all for that opportunity. I also thank everyone who worked on Promethean, both editions, for making that chronicle (and thus this story) possible.

(I'm including the text of the story in this blog post, but you can also find it in PDF form over at my DA page.)

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Cave of Secrets: Cannibalism, Skulls, and Bickering (WtA)

Sorry for the lateness of this post, but I've been busy with personal stuff (among other things, finishing a story that's got a bit of a deadline). This one picks up right where the last one left off, so while I will have some lead-in here it might behoove you to go check the last entry. This was a longer session thanks to some serendipity in schedules, so this will be a longer post than most of the recent ones.