Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Prelude 3 Complete!

I was finally able to finish prelude #3! Here are the details:

Human Character Write-up:

“You. I remember your kind Demon. I finally remember what

happened on that farm. Loriq, he meant to consume us all

and escape his prison. Convince me you're dif erent. Waste

no time on small words since my time is running short...”

Orbaleus

Concept: “They are always out to get you. Arm oneself with knowledge to fight them”

Paul is an intellectual for the most part, though he does not completely forsake the

physical. A believer in conspiracy theories and under the impression that Big Brother is not just a

concept to watch out for, but something that is already happening. Capable of keeping his paranoia

as far from those he perceives as government spies (IE: most people at first) as possible. Ironically

working for the state as a teacher, Paul feels that his position teaching youth allows him to

subversively undermine the machinations of the governmental machine.

Appearance: “Be unremarkable. They don't need any more reason to spy on me”

Paul is about 6ft tall, 40 years old, and some grey patches in a well kept beard. He wears small

rimmed glasses, generally dresses in jeans an a button down shirt. Hairline has begun to recede a

little bit. Married and wears his wedding band. He wears motorcycle­style boots most of the time.

He is lithe, but not strong. Not really very agile. Uses a “dumbphone”. Paul keeps himself as

unremarkable in his appearance as possible. Everything about the way he dresses is semi-
professional an unassuming from the slightly varied colors of his button down shirts to the way he

keeps his hair and beard neatly trimmed.

Backstory: “On the fringe of accepted society for most of his life, Paul just wants to live inside the

societal bubble unnoticed.”

Paul Kor has lived an interesting life. Paul was born out of the counter­culture in the 60's to a

couple of hippies on a commune in rural Pennsylvania. His given name as a child was Polaris

Though an off­the­beaten path upgringing, no one can say that Paul's childhood was one to be

pitied. As far as communes go, the Crystal Springs Commune was fairly successful and

surprisingly honest. Paul was afforded a decent education in the ways of the world (though heavily

skewed towards more marxist and socialist values), as well as access to a whole world of new age

spiritualism.

Paul loved to take trips into the town with his parents when he was younger. He took particular joy

in attempting to figure out where he felt the world outside the commune could be improved. He

would always chat with his parents about ideas and ways to show the rest of the world how to

function as successfully and peacefully as they did. As he grew older however, Paul began to

realize that the outside world was not particularly accepting of his communities socialist ideals.

Though the McCarthy Era was essentially over by the time he realized this, the Cold War still had

its iron grip on most of the country. He began to notice how the local cops and authorities

automatically kept their eyes on him and the way that some people would just outright avoid him

on the sidewalk. Paul knew that he looked different, that he looked like a fringe­society vagrant to

them. At first this made him sad, and he pitied the close­minded population. But that began to turn

into anger and distrust towards them. He began to feel that they wouldn't change unless someone

made them change, and began to lose respect for the ideals of other peoples. The change was very

slow, and almost unnoticeable until it started to come to a head.

When Paul was 18, a drifter wandered into the Crystal Springs Commune. This man had a tongue

made of silver, and a story for the ages. The open minds of Paul and his fellows were sucked into

this drifters tales of social triumph across the Americas. Tales of fighting the oppressive

authoritarian police force of the big cities, liberating small towns from the iron grip of the cold war

paranoia, and sweeping people up into what he called “an army of true liberation”. This man was

known to them simply as Bodhi. Some of the elders of Crystal Springs had heard of this man, and

knew what his game really was. Though Bodhi professed peace, harmony, and the path to true

liberation, Bodhi's true agenda was much more violent and self­promoting then he let on. But by

the time the time the elders had figured out who this man was, Paul and a few of his friends had

already left Crystal Springs to follow this man.

Paul and the others followed Bodhi across the country and eventually ended up on the outskirts of

Los Angeles. On their journey they picked up a few more followers. One of them a black woman

by the name of Hannah Newark. Paul knew from the first instant Hannah joined the group that he

was meant to be with her. Paul felt a connection with the soul of this woman that he had never

experienced before. Despite Paul's best efforts at first to form a relationship with Hannah however,

she was completely under the spell of Bodhi's presense, and soon became a part of his small harem

of women in the group. Those women in Bodhi's harem were untouchable, so Paul had to find a

way to get Hannah's attention in secret now. Bodhi's cult kept growing in number. By the time they

all reached L.A., the cult had grown to about 125 memebers. Bodhi decided that now would be the

time for him to start forming the cult into the army that he so desired. But to do that he needed to

establish the cult in their own dwellings instead of a nomadic lifestyle moving from camp to camp.

• Cult establishes itself on some old farmland out in the valley.

• Bodhi names the cult Childeren of Peace.

Paul is recognized for his intelligence and used to help with agricultural and engineering

• In an attempt to talk to hannah, paul discovers that Bodhi is using the women to

manufacture some sort of liquid drug he disperses to the cult.

• Paul finds a way to purify the water that he drinks, so as to avoid the drug

• Soon bodhi begins finding ways to import guns and arms into the farm warehouse.

• Paul being the only one free of the liquid drug, begins to quietly spread dissent as best he

can. He manages to free a few other engineers, and one of Bodhi's security guards.

• A plan is formed to bring down bodhi and disseminate the cult

• It is discovered that Bodhi is using the cult's faith in him as a conduit to one of the

earthbound.

• The earthbound discovered is Loriq, A corrupted Devil bound to a platinum pendant Bodhi

wears on his neck.

• Bodhi plans on using the collective faith of the cult to allow Loriq enough power to enter

Bodhi's body and become, in Bodhi's mind, a power to be reckoned with. In reality, Loriq

will consume bodhi's soul completely and have a physical body all to himself, filled with

the consumed souls of the entire cult.

• Paul and his group are forced to make their move during the ceremony and interrupt the

ritual.

• With the exception of Paul and his group, and Hannah, whom Bodhi actually managed to

keep from Loriq, the entire Children of Peace are left dead. Their souls extracted from their

mortal frames. It is unknown whether these souls were collected and sent to heaven or

whether they remain on earth.

• Paul and the other survivors wake in the midst of a group of peacefully dead bodies.

Having very little recollection of the events that lead to their deaths. All they remember is

being a part of the cult, and survivng a mass suicide attempt by bodhi.

• Hannah and Paul stick together. The survivors otherwise part ways.

• Paul has very little contact with the others from the cult.

• Paul and Hannah can never clearly understand what happened. They go on to lead their

lives as best they can. Both have a need to try and understand more about the way cults

works and the psychology of humans.

• Leads to paul completing a degree in education. While teaching he pursues occult

knowledge.

• Paul and Hannah begin to buy into the governemental conspiracy theories floating around

the area.

Beliefs: “There is so much more to the world than what can be seen.”

due to Paul's relatively off­beat upbringing and his experience in the Childeren of Peace

Cult he keeps an open mind when it comes to topics of the occult and subjects of the immaterial.

He loves to share his knowledge and teach whomever will listen about his experiences and theories

on the occult and the darker sides of cultures and ethics.

Attitude: “Awareness is my shield, knowledge is my weapon”

Paul is very purposeful in his physical movement and motorskills. He is acutely aware of his

surroundings and almost always knows multiple ways out of a room. He tends to let his guard

down however when he around children as he feels they are not yet corrupted by the system that he

pretends to love and work for.

Motivation: “I must know, I must teach, I must change”

Paul feels that the only thing worth living for is the truth as best as he can understand it. The events

of his life threw him to learn what he could of the world behind the curtain. Though he can't

officially teach about this particular thing, he takes whatever opportunity he can to bring the

subjects up to those he finds to have an open mind.

Hannah Kor – Pauls wife and fellow conspiracy follower. They have a mini pig for a pet named

Jorge Guerra – Paul and Hannah's neighbor in their Duplex. Jorge Lives with his family (wife,

mother, 3 kids). A US Citizen by marriage, Jorge has some “questionable” contacts from years

Thaddeus Gorvoski – Principal of the middle school Paul works at

Hemlock9 – prolific forum user and an online friend of Paul and Hannah's. Hemlock9 finds the

newest conspiracies and runs the website “www.lockeandkie.com” a site dedicated to finding

“disinformation” that is being fed to the masses.

Demon Character Write-up:

Name: Orbaleus the Pathfinder

House: Fiends

Original Task: Designed the framework for the orbits of smaller celestial bodies (planets, moons,

asteroids, ring systems, comets)

Why he rebelled: Orbaleus joined the rebellion because he felt that all of his work in the grand

scale of the universe would be worthless if the Allfather and the Allmother were never able to see

or comprehend machinations of the macro cosmos.

Legion: Silver legion

Orbaleus worked within the Silver Legion as a strategist against the Elohim. He was in

charge of predicting the movements and helped guide the Elohim to battlefields that the fallen

could use to their advantage. Orbaleus was integral in the moon offensive.

Time of the fall: He began to turn his focus towards guiding humanity towards the work

he had originally created. He commanded a small group of fiends during this time, constructing

meticulous and seemingly trivial strategies and pathways that would eventually give humanity the

gift of understanding the forces at work in the macro cosmos.

Orbaleus chose this path during the age of wonders because he could already feel there

was a cataclysm on the horizon. An almost imperceptible sense of dread was always in the back of

his mind, subtly chipping away at him. Over a period of time, his work began to change, he

became more aware of the feeling of dread, but since he could not conceive what could be coming,

he began creating artifacts and ideas at random. Losing sight of his original ideaology. Orbaleus

began to curse his workers, driving them away because they could not understand what he saw and

took leave of the Silver Legion.

Orbaleus' observatory began to fall into ruin out in the desert while he worked

meticulously to figure out the doom that was coming. When the moment happened, he felt himself

twist and he fell to his knees, heaving, distraught, but soon he realized that this opened up a new

realm of possibilities and experiements and knowledge. The first murder ripped his soul in half,

and led him to rejoin the Silver Legion, holding himself in the city of Taba'et, and losing himself in

a lust of morally corrupt experiments on humanity in a twisted sense of exploration and sensual

achievement.

When lucifer announced his plan to the host, Orbaleus was intrigued by the possibilities

that this plan would bring him. Though not an integral part of the creation of the nephilim, he did

have a handle in their creation. While working on this grand experiment, something picked at him.

A small, yet unignorable pull against the work he was performing. His old habits and want of

knowledge and teaching began to pull him away from the design of the nephilim. Slowly he began

to hate the idea of the nephilim. Orbaleus wanted humanity to see what he had created, to revel in

it, to know that he was a designer of the cosmos. He wanted humanity to look, but not touch. He

realized that the nephilim would be creatures with the inquisitiveness and capacity for knowledge

that humans had, and the raw power that the fallen host had. To Orbaleus, this idea caused him

great fear, and great hate, for the nephilim would have the power to change everything he had

worked towards.

And then God played his final hand, sending the fallen host to the abyss.

Beliefs and morals:

believes that his creations should be observed, not toyed with. Indifferent to most of creation.

Orbaleus chooses to put the most of his effort into perfecting his work, and leaves little time for

social grace. He is not cruel, but not compassionate either. Orbaleus is detached from almost all of

creation in his need to perfect his tiny projects and show off his creations to those who would seek

him out in search of knowledge.

Attitude:

indifferent. Not necessarily self absorbed, but pay little attention to the work of others unless it

relates to something he needs for his projects

motives:

self­serving.

Social net

Gruval – the only fallen orbaleus really could consider a friend. Gruval helped Orableus finish

some of his most prized projects. Gruval's work in the creation was closely tied to Orbaleus's work.

Their friendship is not what it used to be now though. When the two of them signed on to help

lucifer with his grand experiment, Gruval carried on the work while orbaleus left. Though gruval

understood why orbaleus left, he didn't agree with it.

Neither of the two demons are aware of the other anymore. Gruval may be in a host body, or still

in the abyss

Vulcera – One of the generals of the Silver Legion. Vulcera had high influence among the other

fallen of the Silver Legion. Orbaleus respects her to a degree, but they are far from friends.

Orbaleus only ever contacted her outside of the silver legion to ask if she could spare any other


fallen for projects. She never agreed.

Prelude Planning:


Intro: You dream a frightful dream, but also intriguing, where you are a constructor of the cosmos, and like clockwork gears everything is set in its path, until a terrible war occurs, the cosmos is smote and all your work is torn asunder. You wake up in a cold sweat, breathing fitfully. You’ve left your computer on, and there is a new email from Hemlock9. The subject line reads: “Old friend or just a ruse?”
Email body:
Hey man, got a message from a man named Jarvis, who claims he was in a weird cult with you????
He says he has a dire warning for your ears only?
You know anything about this?
I know, it sounds like some kind of ruse or trolling, but I thought I’d throw it by you before I scrapped the email.
Ta Ta fer now.
→Paul and Jarvis agree on a meeting place, either corresponding directly or through Hemlock9
yAre you sure that he will take the bait?  You might have to work at making it more compelling.  Why would he want to meet Jarvis?  Jarvis should give him some reason to contact him back.


Transition:
Hannah yawns, stretches and rolls over, lovingly wrapping you in her arms, then proceeds to get up, and adorn herself with her favorite bathrobe. The house is quiet and serene, almost waiting with it’s stillness. You live in a two story stucco three bedroom, with one bedroom changed into your office and one into her changing room. The teachers salary isn’t great, but between it and Hannahs job as a stewardess, and your combined side job of buying and reselling antiques and occult knickknacks on ebay, you make out pretty well. Plus, you’re making a difference. Hannah busies herself with the shower and then the coffee maker, before putting a rasher of eggs, bacon and toast on the stove for both of you for breakfast, as well as orange juice. “Don’t forget to feed Napoleon today,” she says with a knowing smile.
(Paul and Hannah go about their morning routines.)
***Roleplay social scene***
You need much more work here.  For instance, what is their house like?  You might be able to rely on him for that, or you might not.  What is his wife’s morning routine?  You must be prepared to play the NPC, or at very minimum describe what she is going to do.
(After breakfast):
There is an uneasiness in the air, as you and Hannah wake and start with the process of getting ready for work. You can’t quite place it, but your home feels...invaded, somehow. Hannah has retreated to the ready room to get her appearance in order for work, and you keep coming across small things that seem out of place, as you are readying to leave for the school. There is a smear of peanut butter on the kitchen wall, which, being fairly neat, you would never expect from Hannah. Also, pictures on the walls are askew, and random household objects are strewn across the kitchen and living room floor, such as one of her hair brushes, your dental floss, a magnet, etc…Suddenly, a mug on the dish rack starts vibrating, and the vibrations increase until it pops, sending glass shards every which way.
***Roleplay investigation scene with time limit***
Ending of Investigation Scene: You check your antique obsidian pocketwatch, which never fails to keep the right time after all these years; shit! It’s time to go~!!!
As Paul is exiting the house, a lamp unplugs itself from the wall, and flies across the room, smashing into the wall near his head.
This is okay for an ending to the scene, but you might start early in the scene with some discrepancies in where things are supposed to be, followed by some noises that are difficult to explain without invoking the paranormal.  Use this scene to build tension by starting very normal and gradually getting wierder.  In fact, the lamp might be too sudden and violent.  Just use your best sense of how the scene is going.


Rising Action: Today is a day like any other, for the most part. You walk into the classroom, begin your lecture, and study the youthful, bored faces of the lower class of Los Angeles society. While adjusting your horn rimmed glasses, and beginning to enunciate the first few syllables of todays lecture, the fire alarm goes off, followed by the PA system. “Attention students of this place, you are all going to...die.” While the threat is that of a juvenile, the voice is eerie and out of pace with normal speaking cadence, and is abruptly ended by a hiss-crackling of screams and static and a brief piece of a woman’s voice, saying “help me.” or something to that effect. Then, the sprinkler systems go off and the power goes out. The kids, by this point, are on the verge of bolting, as they push, shove and muscle their way to the front of the line. A fight breaks out between the class bully and one of the smaller kids; one of the girls is huddled in a corner, with her fingers in her ears., crying.
-If Paul leads them out according to the fire drill procedure, the kids attempt to follow but one injures himself on the slick floor.
-If Paul attempts to break up the fight first, the ghost pranks him, hardcore(ties up his shoelaces and makes him trip for instance, while hitting him)
-If Paul leads the kids out slowly and carefully with a flashlight, they make it out safely
-If Paul abandons the kids, he finds in the news later that they were cut and scratched and kicked (make them severely hurt, maybe a few hospitalizd) by something on their way out
I really like this scene.  Just be prepared for it to go in any direction, especially ones you won’t think of.


Later:
At Pauls house, the mysterious force continues to torment him, launching lamps, glass bottles and cushions at he and Hannahs heads while unplugging electronics and juggling knives. The fuse box blows and then there is only….silence.
-If Paul hires an exorcist, he (the exorcist) is initially driven out by flying objects aimed at his face, but  marshalls his resources to sanctify the house.
-If Paul gets the power back through an electrician or some other means, the attacks continue
Most likely course.  Make sure you illustrate the fact that this is a setback, while encouraging the idea that at least he is making progress.
-If Paul and Hannah leave for a hotel, the force follows them, and cryptic messages begin to appear on their mirror.


Are you planning scenes based around these options?  If so, you might be in for more than one session for a prelude.  Would you be able to successfully illustrate wherever this might take him plus bring the story to him being possessed?

If  the house is sanctified:
Paul has breathing room and can work a solution from home. The ghost continues to torment him and those around him anytime he leaves, however. Also, a paranormal branch of the special victims unit detectives takes an unhealthy interest in him and Hannah.


If Paul just resets the power:
The attacks intensify, and things like the movie Phantoms happen to him. He can still find a solution, but has no breathing room.


If They leave for a Hotel:
They get one day off and then it happens again. There is not as much intensity behind the attacks as at his own dwelling though, at least in the beginning.


Finale:
Paul eventually finds out the attacks are because he is spiritually sensitive, and are perpetuated by the ghost of one of the dead cultists as a form of revenge. He has kept an obsidian pocketwatch all this time, as a relic of his bygone cult days. Jarvis meets with him and warns him to destroy the artifact, then the ghost kills Jarvis, and while Paul is in shock, Orbaleus intercedes and crushes it to powder.
I think this is a great finale, but you need to do some more work in developing.  How do you plan to illustrate the revelations involved in the first sentence?
Also, you had better include the pocketwatch earlier in the session, to establish it’s importance.

I think you have a solid ending, and that part should be easy to finish up on.

Prelude Notes:


Prelude went well overall, despite me building tension a little too fast and making Scott feel overwhelmed. I dropped in lots of details on the fly, as my mind was on task thanks to caffeine and a shower. He seemed both very invested in the character and yet hesitant to act or try things. I asked him later about it, and he said he was unsure what the right course of action was. So, I made it clear that in roleplay, there is no right course of action, and I must react to or take into account his character choices as much as he must interact with my planning and storyline; a give and take if you will.

The ironic part about it was, the biggest planned scene in the school, to kick things off, seemed to overwhelm him the most and have the least impact on the overall session storyline. I did not have to do much for him to catch onto the hints of Bodhi in the poltergeists actions. I also have not included a summary, because I was finally able to capture the video of the session this time, after wiping my Macbook Pro and reinstalling OS X. I am beginning to think of myself as less an arbitrator of consequences in the storylines I design, and more of a story navigator if you will. This type of roleplay is leagues and leagues beyond anything we explored in Rifts, or even GURPS. I know everyone claims that a good storyteller/game master makes or breaks the experience, but really, the ruleset and power balance and other things like that really do have a huge impact on the experience.

I still need to learn how to better edit and revise my sessions without constantly needing Joel’s help. Otherwise though, it went better than expected, especially given that I did 99% of the revising in the hour before I ran it, as I was finally feeling creative and inspired again. I have not yet started Josh’s prelude but plan to in the next two days and hope to run it by next week or so.

Things that went super well were my adding of details and presentation of solutions to the challenges I posed to the player. Things that needed work were the pacing and variety of solutions that were apparent to the player. I think Scott thought that I had placed the poltergeist there with the exorcism being the only solution, which was not intended to be the case. All in all though, a quite good session and I was able to play Paul’s wife and contact a lot better than in the case of Andy or Joseph. I think one of the strongest things Scott took away from the prelude was the establishment in a very strong way of his social net. Non Player Characters he needs to protect, and can lean on in times of trouble.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Battle for Los Angeles Prelude 2

The second prelude didn't go quite as well as the first one, mostly due to me being tired, the sound being hard to hear, and all that adding up to me having trouble keeping the right frame of mind for proper narration and adaptation to the players actions. Otherwise, a pretty decent session, aside from the fact that the software I got to record, IShowU, crashed when I stopped it and it was trying to save the session video/audio. :/
Character Write Up:
Georgia “George” Mia Buckholt

George is about six feet tall and has short dyed red hair intermixed with some dark black. She

wears glasses and is shortsighted. She never cared much about clothes, especially given how little

money she had growing up, so she used to wear goodwill t­shirts. That has continued until today,

typically wearing dark colors and black jeans. When it gets colder she also wears an old leather

jacket and gloves. She typically carries a weapon of some sort, even if she doesn't have the money

to buy bullets a large handgun is still intimidating.

Georgia was born in a small town in Louisiana named Dewit. Her parents were happy to have her, and

they lived in that town for about five years until they had another child. They realized that that the

schools were not what they wanted, and so moved to Georgia with their two children, George and

Conner. The family lived happily until about three years later George's mother, named Livinia, died in

childbirth. The baby, named Amer lived, but the entire family fell into a depression. George knew that

she had to help keep the family together, though it was extremely rough for several years. Her dad still

worked, but eventually began passing between jobs with some frequency, meaning money was very

tight. George supplemented the income with babysitting, but it just allowed them to get by.

When George turned fifteen she got her first real job and began to neglect school for it. She got in more

fights at school as well, at one point being expelled from the nearest public school and forced to move

to one much further away. She graduated high­school and immediately went to working full time. She

wanted to attend college but knew that with her father's increasing depression it would be impossible.

On her 20

getting fired. Upon arriving home she learned that her father had been drunk at work again, and was

also fired. She grew so angry at him that she beat him up enough to send him to the hospital.

With that she left, knowing that she was hurting her family more by doing so, but she was too afraid to

stay. She hitchhiked her way across half the country and then managed to find a job flipping burgers at

a restaurant in LA. She wanted to get as far away from home as possible, and decided California was

pretty much that. She has not contacted her family since, and doesn't know how they are doing. She

wants to know how they're going, in fact she wants to go back home and be welcomed in, but is too

embarrassed and scared. Of course due to her fragile mental state she has been getting rougher and

rougher with her fellow employees and customers.

Because of this she was fired and then gave up, retreating into the streets of a city that doesn't care

about her. I have chosen her as a vessel, well she had chosen me more than anything else. She has

decided to act against those who are wrong in her eyes. Evil doers or liars or cheaters. I can not say

why she acts this way, I believe it is some sort of repentance, hoping to balance the divine scales. She

is alone in this, besides me of course, and intends to keep it that way until she believes that she has

made up for her misdeeds. She typically goes after small fries but in one case she found something too

big for her too handle, but also too big for her to ignore.

In her neighborhood there were a number of nightwalkers. She had ignored them previously figuring

they brought it upon themselves, and they had other options but ignored them. From a part time drug

dealer however she found out that there was a much larger plot going on, and the girls were all

mistreated and if they tried to escape the life they would be killed. This could not abide, but she knew

she couldn't handle it on her own. Only when she sunk into a deep depression did I come and offer her

some help in exchange for a body. Desperate as she was she accepted with no reservations. Now it is

time to see if she ends up regretting her decision.

As for me, I am Remiel. Though I speak only through the vessel now I used to have a voice that

th birthday things went very wrong for George. She had a fight at work which resulted in her

showed all the hurt and mistrust inherent in humanity. I was the one who put it there in fact, the

shadows of doubt that clouds minds and crush civilizations. I am not proud of it, but every bit of

humanity needed to be made, and a good portion of it hurts more than it helps. For any progress to be

made there needs to be some doubt, otherwise mistakes will always be made, over and over. I helped to

create everything they have made and still we are hated by them, the foolish humans.

Now I look like nothing, merely a shadow of my former self hiding in a girl. In the old days, during the

Time of Atrocities, I was a beacon of Vengance. My sword dripped with the blood of celestials and

humans alike, none escaping my wrath. I looked like them, bipedal and of human shape, though much

larger. I also had no face, for none was necessary, I saw all though they saw nothing, and a halo of

darkness floated around my head. I wore armor of the darkest midnight, shielding my moon­like skin

from all attackers. I was a Slayer.

Of course there were dark days even then, during the rebellion and the age of wonder I hid, afraid that

violence would only insight more violence. How right I was, even when I forgot it and began my

crusade. Now it is the age of Men, foolish as they are, and I seek to guide those I can, and eliminate the

others. My goal is to show them their errors, to show them the indecision inherent in all choices, but to

show them that does not mean it is wrong.

Prelude Planning:
Intro: It is midnight, on a Sunday, in downtown LA. George is huddled by a trash fire, in one of the many alleys filled with homeless drifters. She is overwhelmed by the crush of other people, as well as their stench. One of the homeless females begins pushing her way to the front of the trash fire, elbowing George out of the way in the process. “Watch your self, I’m just tryin’ to get warm!” she whines, further blocking you from the precious heat of the trash fire. “Where’s Don….?” wheezes an older man, trailing off into abrupt silence, a quizzical look, and then a fit of coughing.
Choice: Confront the homeless woman and risk being ganged up on by her friends. →causes a schism in the homeless group, with some supporting George
Choice: Go after the missing homeless and be lauded as a champion for the homeless.
→homeless now follow after her like puppies, sometimes adorably so, sometimes with consequences as it is hard to be inconspicuous
→pushy homeless woman takes insult to Georgia’s adoration

Later…
While traversing the alley to leave, she comes across a body, no ID, nondescript brown and plaid mismatched clothing, with claw marks across his chest. His tongue lolls at a funny angle, and his knit cap lies right above his head like a lumpy halo, with a red scarf that you can only slightly tell is splashed with blood drops. He smells of death, and as she watches, flies are gathering despite the cold, to feed.
→the ground is cold, and muddy, and there are tracks that lead towards the local park.

Meanwhile…
Back in Louisiana, Georgia’s parents are desperately searching for her…
(Desperate, gruff voice) “Hello? 9/11? This is John. John Buckholt. No, I will NOT hold, I’ve been searching for my daughter for…..Hello?” (slams phone down in frustration).

Optional Scene(nighttime scene):
As you are crossing the street to (Bleecker Street), a man in a beat up brown coat, with a full beard and a knit cap like the one you saw on the corpse, steps in front of you and shoves you down near the mouth of a side alley, then steps back and brandishes a bowie knife. He is greasy and strung out, and the smell of old cheap whiskey hits you like a freight train. His eyes keep darting to your purse, and he looks like he’s about to crash off some kind of high. “The wallet, I want….the wallet,” he says, (*beckoning gesture underhanded for giving something to someone*)
Georgia rolls Perception vs
The knife is rusty, bloodstained, and dangerously sharp, if cut, Georgia could contract Tetanus or something worse. The would-be mugger is bleeding from a gash in his left shoulder.
→Combat
Mugger Stats:
Intimidation 1
Melee 1
Health Injured(4 boxes left until incapacitated)
Reward: Survival


At the Park
The tracks lead to the copse of trees at the center of the park, and slowly fade away. There seems to be light of some sort bouncing off the branches of the unusually thick wooded glade, but the source is not yet apparent. You hear a snuffing sound, as the fire is doused, and see three pairs of eyes scanning the area just as the light is extinguished, light reflecting off the corneas.
→George investigates and comes face to face with a group of homeless whose eyes glow in the dark.
One of the homeless, the woman who’d felt snubbed earlier, lets out an unearthly half yowl, half screech, and as you watch in helpless horror her tongue elongates, becoming  a fetid, black and purple thing, and as it licks its lips it lopes towards her on all fours, followed by the rest of the pack. They all converge at once, biting her and taking great chunks out of her, then plunging their tongues into the wounds and siphoning off blood. As you lay dying, you feel a presence, speaking in echoing tones inside your consciousness. “Georgia, I am Remiel, and I do not feel that today is a good day for you to die. We will avenge you, together! Let us hunt!” And with that, your bones and flesh begin to knit, as you feel Remiels consciousness press into your mind and fuse with your own. A flood of half-memories plays out in your head as you stand up, shakily, as you witness deaths and great battles on an earth that now only exists in memories, that of the ancient days.
Perception: Difficulty 6
Licker Stats:
3 health(Wounded)
1 dot in Potence
Strength 2
Dex 2
Stamina 1
Brawl 2
Names:
Fuckface(leader, fond of attacks on the face while the victim is grappling with Motherfucker)
Abilities:
Battle Screech: Intimidation 1 Charisma 1 (2 total) Resist at 7 difficulty
When Fuckface is near death, he frenzies and ignores all wound penalties/does lethal damage. If killed while the other two are alive, Georgia/Remiel can fear frenzy them into running off.
Douchey(leap attacker)
Motherfucker(grappler)
Scene: Revenge
→After a struggle where the ghouls try their combat tactics against her, Georgia/Remiel decimates the weird Licker-type ghouls.

Scene: Hiding

Georgia must now evade police pursuit, which paves the way for her to run into Colleen Belden and take refuge in her apartment.

Synopsis:
Joseph recruited both the cantankerous older woman and a younger woman from the trash fire to investigate the disappearance of Don, one of the community of homeless. He found the body, and then when the mugger appeared, used a combo of intimidation and trickery to disarm him and get him to a homeless shelter. Then at the park, he tried wielding a branch against the ghouls, but was disarmed and gnawed on. The other two were eaten. Then Remiel appeared, and he escaped through the shadow to Colleens apartment.

Prelude Notes:
The prelude for Georgia went decently well, despite Joseph outthinking my confrontations at every turn. He wasn’t out to screw it up, he just outthought them, which is, I think, the sign of a seasoned and quality roleplayer. The IShowU software also crashed after recording the whole session but before saving it.

Things that could’ve been improved/things I learned:
I need to anticipate more lateral thinking from the players than I have been, as Joel pointed out, with players like Joseph it’s more like shaping an explosive charge to go off in the right direction and less like a→b→c. Also, I need to anticipate more initiative actions, and realize that the session not turning out like I thought it would exactly is not a failure. Also I found because of fatigue and having trouble hearing Joseph’s voice, that I was having trouble maintaining a proper state of mind, which is super conducive to both narrating well and adapting to the players actions.

Things that worked:
I found that even though the confrontation with the older homeless lady that I’d planned didn’t turn out that way, it was still a useful hook to get Joseph to go investigate. Also, I found that Joseph at least as far as Georgia half of the character, was more interested in diplomacy than combat if he could avoid it. Which was surprising. He did a fine job of talking down the dangerous homeless man with the knife and tricking him into going to a homeless shelter after taking away his knife. He then talked with me acting as Remiel, after heading to the park with the homeless trouble maker and a younger female, and then the possession occurred and he escaped the fiends through the shadow and ended up on Colleens doorstep. Mostly due to the fact that he realized his character wasn’t very combat heavy at this point aside from brawl and melee. The most surprising thing about it was that Joseph seemed content with the prelude despite it being only about an hour long, perfectly happy with what I thought was subpar narration and reaction to player choice on my part. It made me realize that doing your best is enough, even in something as black holish of a hobby as roleplay.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Battle for Los Angeles Campaign Underway!

Beware...this is going to be a BIG post, because of both all the time in between posts and the amount of work that's been done on the campaign, by both myself and the players thus far...

So, here goes...
Both Peter and then eventually Cole also dropped from the Battle for LA campaign, Peter because he's a flake and Cole because of time constraints. I also recruited and then had drop, a friend named Alex because the roleplay only holds his interest if it's offline, and a friend named Preston, again for time constraints. I also had an offer of podcasting the campaign, which was later dropped due to unknown reasons on the part of the podcaster/player, Vincent. Real life also continually got in the way until now, as I was first forced out of DigiPen due to grades, then forced out of my apartment and Bellevue college, and basically had to flee back to Montana, due to some really shithead type roommates. I spent a lot of time alternating between being depressed and unmotivated, dealing with real life shit(spending time working on a chicken coop turned cabin in the woods and also looking for jobs, getting medicaid and food stamps transferred back over to Montana, etc...), and getting my ass back in gear. But now I'm back, baby! Like Jack Kerouac. And I've got a solid player group where I'm at least reasonably certain no one else is going to drop anytime soon, and also am getting back on my feet in Montana now.

First up, the Player Roster:
Joseph - Slayer Avenger of criminals
Josh - Devourer Nature Purist
Andy - Devourer Ex-Cop
Scott Reed - Fiend Conspiracy Theorist
Dan - Devil Detective(Character still unfinished because of work and time constraints)

Second, now that I've done the overarching story and brainstorming, and settled almost all of the players into their characters with both dual eight steps and a stat sheet, I've had some time to finally continue working on the preludes. I wrote, fleshed out, had my friend proofread, edited, then did it again before I ran the first prelude. For lengths sake, I am only including each players info as their prelude is done because a) I'm working on figuring out how to record the video and audio for each prelude and the subsequent sessions right now, and b) that's a LOT of info to throw on one post(all the character write ups that is).

Third, the player character:
Human host:
“Someone once said to me, ‘Make yourself proud, and don’t live a life of regret.’ They were

words to live by, and I didn’t live by them, so what does that say about me?”

Player: Andy Manson

Name: Colleen Belden

Concept: “Longing to make a difference, but lost the courage to do so.” 

Colleen has the morals and ethics of a righteous person but she lacks much of the strength 

and willpower needed to enforce them. If Colleen does anything noble, it is usually in an 

instance where her guilt overcomes her cowardice. Despite all this, she is capable of great things 

when she can set her fears aside, and longs to overcome her timid nature.

Appearance: “A beauty she tries to keep hidden away.”

Colleen’s countenance is always one of worry and distress, yet there is a faint glimmer of 

determination in her dark blue eyes, as though she were steeled for a storm. Her features are soft, 

and her round face is framed nicely by the bangs of her short dark hair which, set against her pale 

skin tone, clearly display her Black Irish heritage. Though physically Colleen’s body is actually 

quite shapely and curvaceous, she always dresses modestly and spurns the use of cosmetics. 

This, combined with the inward posture she keeps, makes it seem as though she is trying not to 

draw attention to herself, thus giving her a bit of a “mousy” appearance.

Backstory: “Entered law enforcement, but retired after a near-death experience.” 

Colleen knew that her father had always secretly wanted a son, but that her mother’s 

death in childbirth meant it would never happen. As a child, Colleen was always fearful and 

timid, always preferring to settle matters safely and non-violently. A particularly embarrassing 

incident where Colleen cried and humiliated herself rather than face a bully earning her the 

nickname “Crying Colleen.” While her father did his best to try and toughen her up, Colleen 

could just never seem to overcome her easily frightened nature. Yet even though her father’s 

actions could be overbearing at times, Colleen appreciated her father’s patience with her, and he 

instilled in her a strong sense of right and wrong. Colleen secretly longed to be more like him in 

the hopes that she could make him proud of her. In her late teens Colleen tried to explore other 

ways of helping people, participating in political and environmental activism. For a time, these 

activities satisfied Colleen’s desire to make a difference in a manner similar to her father, but it 

was his passing that was finally enough to convince Colleen that she need to do more. On her 

father’s deathbed she swore to him she would enter law enforcement and make him proud. 

Something seemed to have changed in Colleen that day; she was becoming determined, 

assertive, and even confident. Eventually, Colleen got herself accepted into the police academy 

and for a short time Colleen seemed to be making improvements, overcoming her cowardly 

nature a step at a time. However it could not last. On a routine arrest she had a brush with death 

when a hopped-up junkie put a bullet in her breast only inches from her heart. Her fears returned 

in full and Colleen couldn’t help but quit the force, and has since hit the nadir of her life. Since 

her reversion, Colleen has become tormented by the guilt from breaking the promise she made to 

her father, and has returned, somewhat half-heartedly, to environmental activism.

Beliefs and Morals: “Try to do the right thing, even when it’s for all the wrong reasons.”

Colleen and her father had never been religious, but instead Colleen was taught that the 

greatest things a man can do are for his fellow man. For her father this meant being in law 

enforcement, maintaining order and protecting innocent people. Even if the life of a 

policewoman wasn’t suited for Colleen, she still can’t help but hold it as the most honorable job 

one person can chose. Political and environmental activism are really just surrogates to Colleen, 

jobs that let her feel like she is at least making some kind of difference. In short, Colleen believes 

that you’ve done nothing until you’ve contributed something to society. Colleen also values life 

greatly, and has never been comfortable with the idea of killing, even when she was serving in 

the force, and tries to avoid violence if at all possible. Holding police work in such high regard 

naturally means that Colleen is a very moral and lawful person. Even if she were not to agree 

with a law, she would follow its rulings respectfully.

Attitudes and Behaviors: “Do your best…hopefully fear won’t get the better of you.”

Colleen isn’t the most adventurous. Colleen is never one for drama, usually shying away 

from new things out of fear that she will be bad at them or that she will embarrass herself. 

However, if she is pressured enough Colleen will make an attempt to try something different. 

When Colleen has become fluent or versed in a skill or subject she remains confident that she 

will be up to the task whenever it next arrives, but she’ll never boast or even promote her own 

abilities. When it comes to others, especially her friends, Colleen is always optimistic and 

confident that they will succeed, and always does her best to be supportive and empathetic.

Motives: “This is the best she can do for her father.”

Before his passing, Colleen’s dad told her “Make yourself proud,” a tenet which was one 

of the most important teaching Colleen would receive from her father, and which she hopes to 

one day fulfill. Colleen believes that pride is the greatest virtue. To do the right thing, not 

because someone tells you too, not because God will redeem you, not because you will be 

rewarded, do it because you are the better women for doing it.

Social Net: “Few relatives, but strong relationships from her past.”

“You…you are a beautiful, wonderful, child of creation. I long nothing more than to serve you.”

Aleron: Demon Possessor (The fallen within Colleen, a loyal friend, partner, and guardian)

“I know you’re going through some awful stuff but…it’s ok.”

Jodie Weaver: Ex-Coworker (A friend from Colleen’s time as an officer and a close confidant)

“I really want to help you Colleen, but I sometimes feel like I can’t. I feel powerless.”

Aaron A. Midson: Boyfriend (An old friend, political activist, and occasional miscreant)

“Shush, its ok dear. Your father wouldn’t want to see you like this. He’d want you to be happy.”

Helen Mar: Aunt (A dotting and fretting wealthy aunt who wants to help whatever way she can)

Demon:
“I am the wind of the night! The tiding of freedom on the beat of wings!

 I am the blood of the heart! The spillage of purity from the suffering!

I am the vision! Your inspiration that leads you to creation!

I am the fury! Your love, and hate, that leads you to destiny!”

Player: Andy Manson

Name: Aleron, Bird of the Plutonian Shores

True Name: The Sound of Blood Pumping Through the Hearts of Birds

Known Alias: The Turn Feather

House: Devourer

Faction: Luciferan

Lore: Lore of the Flesh

Concept: “A Byronic hero, who coddles humanity to help them strive for their true potential.” 

More than anything, Aleron wants to be loved by humans. Pride and desire have driven 

this fallen angel of the wild since he first laid eyes on the greatest creation of God. He longs to 

be nothing more than their servant, a benevolent being whom the humans will look to as a hero 

and reward him with their affections. These desires have convinced Aleron that he must be like 

Prometheus and fire. He will bring the humans divinity, even though they may not ask for it. 

Then they will finally be able to recognize his efforts, and he will receive the reward he has 

desired since the beginning of time.

Appearance: “His odd blend of beauty and predation creates a deadly allure.” 

Aleron appears to most as the picture of perfection, like artwork given form and function. 

Androgynous, golden skinned, fair-haired, and shimmering like the sun he appears to radiate 

beauty, shadowed only by his bright white wings. Yet while his features show a strong, 

determined expression, and his salient eyes possess a hawk-like piercing stare, he always 

maintains a modest posture and innocent smile that gives him a gentle, almost child-like 

countenance. This stunning visage is only improved by his graceful and measured movements, 

described by those who witness it as living poetry. 

This form is nothing but a fa├žade however, a cheap reflection of the pride Aleron harbors 

deep within himself. When the illusion is dispelled, Aleron appears as a hideous aberration of 

necrotic flesh and rot. His body is a mismatch of misplaced bones from various animals, loosely 

held together by decaying and plague-ridden knots of swollen muscle and skin, and covered in 

patchy fur, molted feathers, open sores, and cancerous growths. His flesh serves as a lose bag, 

barley able to contain the filth inside his body. Putrid entrails hang from the festering wound in 

his stomach, from which vermin can be seen scuttling into an out of. His ribcage is open wide 

like a closest door and lined with teeth, in which his still, withered heart can be seen leaking 

clotted blood. Sat atop his body is a head of a human skull, permanently stuck in a hideous guilt-

ridden grimace, where a never ending font of tears poor forth from empty sockets. His black 

wings, bloody and filthy with disease, are wrapped around him to shield himself from the gaze of 

others.

Backstory: “Lost to hatred, one good mortal brought back a fraction of his better nature”

Aleron was once a mid-ranking angel of the House of the Wild .Originally, Aleron’s sole 

task was managing the diets of all the winged creatures of the world. For this he was partnered 

with Tritico of the Final House, who killed all fruits and animals that were to be eaten. She and 

Aleron were particularly close, their partnership eventually blossoming into a mutual, sibling-

like love for one another. It was in fact because of Tritico that Aleron’s attention was drawn to 

the arrival of mankind when Tritico confided to him her eagerness to provide for these new 

creatures. At first Aleron did not understand why, and while he loved them he viewed them no 

differently from the birds under his care. Until one day a strange thought was seeded in his mind, 

that maybe humans had the potential to love as the angels did. Aleron loved the birds of which 

he was steward, but they could never return that love, but what if the humans could?  Aleron 

schemed of ways to attract the attention of humans. He began changing the birds in his care, 

tailoring them with wondrous colors and beautiful voices and orchestrating them into dazzling 

displays for the humans, but humanity in its imposed ignorance never paid head to his grand 

designs, and a wounded pride festered within Aleron. He realized that humans could never 

appreciate his efforts, not unless something was to…enlighten them. Lift them from their own 

ignorance. Aleron wanted this greatly, for in their current state he knew such an idle fancy might 

never come to pass.

When the great apocalypse was foreseen, and angels began to whisper of rebellion, 

Aleron was quicker than most of the Wild Angels to entertain such a notion. If humanity was 

threatened then it was the duty of the angels to protect them was it not? An act of true love could 

not be an act of evil, could it? Aleron told himself and the other angels such things. Yet truly, no 

matter how much Aleron denied it, deep down he viewed rebellion as an opportunity. The 

humans would have to be enlightened and made aware of the presence of the angels, and he 

would be heard. He would be ignored no longer.

As the dust settled and the ash clouds cleared during the Age of Wrath, Aleron, like so 

many Luciferians, saw it as a grand opportunity to remake the world in a new image. Awestruck 

by Lucifer’s prophecies of helping humanity freely Aleron spent much time with the Crimson 

Legion. However, as the Age of Wrath progressed and the war showed no sign of ending, Aleron 

saw how his prideful desires were leading him astray from his vow to protect mankind. For the 

first time Aleron began doubting his own intentions. Aleron decided that with the state of the 

world, a more direct approach was needed to protect humanity; his dreams of uplifting them 

could wait until the war was over, and so he transferred over to the Iron Legion. His desires 

could wait until the mortals were safe.

Though Aleron fought with honor and nobility during his time with the Iron Legion, as he 

fought more and more he sensed in himself the growth of torment. Aleron sensed a loss of purity 

within himself that shook him at the core. Aleron feared that these changes in him might threaten 

his original goal, the advancement and betterment of mankind. He had thought that he could 

follow his dreams of raising humans when the war was over, but what this war cost him his own 

purity? Then how could he ever hope to perfect mankind? So it was that Aleron began to revert 

to his original plans, and decided that a solution outside of conflict would be the best way to save 

humanity. Aleron left the Iron Legion, and began looking for ways to abstain from violence and 

conflict. Instead he began spending his time with the mortal flock, healing their sick, educating 

them, and raising their young.

When Caine murdered Abel and the Age of Atrocities began, Aleron once again found 

himself answering Lucifer’s call. With more violence and death seeming inevitable, Aleron once 

again joined with the Luciferians to take actions to reunite the fallen. The first murder was an 

excruciating event for Aleron that disturbed him on the most basic level. The sheer hatred of 

Caine’s act was horrific for Aleron, it was against everything he had ever wanted to foster within 

the hearts of men. He was appalled at what was becoming of his brethren, mankind, and the 

world. Never in his greatest nightmares had he imagined battlefields drenched in the blood of 

angels and men, yet it seemed the course was charted. Humanity would never be safe until the 

war was over, and the war could never be one if the fallen were divided. Still, Aleron believed an 

additional edge was going to be needed, humans hard been enlightened but it was still not 

enough, they needed to become something greater, and it needed to be soon.

When Lucifer proclaimed his intentions to uplift humanity and advance the war on 

heaven, Aleron stood with the morning star. Terrified of what he’d witnessed in the Age of 

Atrocities, and his pride further kindled by Lucifer’s grand ambitions, Aleron decided to stand 

with the Watchers, and so eager was he to fulfil his dream of perfecting humanity that Aleron 

was a key advocate and contributor to the grand experiment. When humanity crumpled under the 

weight of its divinity, it proved more than Aleron could bear and his sanity frayed at the tips.  

The guilt of his failures was overwhelming; every action he had ever taken was thrown into 

questions. When he was cast into the Abyss, in between his traumatized whimpering, Aleron 

kept calling out for Lucifer, begging for the clarity he once had long ago.

In the Abyss Aleron held out hope of being rescued by Lucifer for time immeasurable, a 

rescue that never came. Just when he was nearly lost to hatred and betrayal, Aleron somehow 

was freed from the shackles of the Abyss. His escape did not bring him immediate relief 

however. In fact his early experiences in the new world left him agonized. He was tormented by 

his visions of what had become of the world and his precious humanity. However, his encounter 

with Colleen restored his faith. Maybe humanity was still redeemable? Maybe his desires were 

right all along? Maybe Lucifer had the right intentions just like Aleron thought long ago, and 

maybe the grand experiment didn’t fail because it was too ambitious, but rather they just didn’t 

take things far enough. When Aleron merged with Colleen, he found clarity once more.

Beliefs and Morals: “He has rotted alongside this world, but his intentions are good if not pure.”

For the most part he agrees with Lucifer’s beliefs and actions, however he believes that 

the Luciferians did not take things far enough. It was not enough to shepherd and steward 

humanity. To Aleron humans are a perfect idea victim of imperfect execution, for mortals to 

become the perfect creation, it is the duty of the angels as the servants of men to become their 

creators. Aleron believes that educating and guarding the humans is not enough to raise them to 

enlightenment, and advocates physically altering humans to “perfect” them. Only then can they 

reach their full potential, finish the rebellion against God, and build a paradise for themselves 

where the fallen can serve them faithfully.

Attitudes and Behaviors: “He knows himself as much a villain as those that stand against him.”

Aleron is extremely defensive about his beliefs. Were an angel or a fellow fallen to 

question either the wisdom or the intentions of his actions he will likely lash out with both 

violence and conviction. In his eyes those who stand against him are the evil ones. It doesn’t 

matter how twisted his motivations are because the ends will justify the means. In this sense 

Aleron tends to behave like an over-protective parent for humanity. However when a human 

challenges his ideals it gives him a moment of pause. At the end of the day, everything he does is 

for the love and affection of man. Nothing hurts him more than the wounds inflicted by the ones 

he loves, and as such he sometimes becomes reserved, even guilt-ridden around mortals.

Motives: “If he can assist in mankind’s perfection, then his misdeeds will have been justified.” 

Aleron’s sole motive is the completion of his original goal, making mankind divine, the 

example of perfection. It is a mission that he must accomplish, but it is not just to satisfy his own 

wounded pride. In his eyes what he does, he does for all of humanity, especially Colleen, for 

whom he feels especially responsible for. When Aleron finally proves that he was right from the 

beginning, than he believes he will finally be free of the doubt he has for his own intentions, and 

the guilt he feels for his own failures.

Social Net: “Only Aleron and Tritico truly matter to him, but he loves them beyond measure.”

 “Aleron, do you return to your perch once more?”

Tritico: Old friend and partner 

Aleron and Tritico’s friendship goes all the way back to the times of Fiat Lux when the 

two were partners in constructing the dietary habits of birds. The two’s partnership was a blessed 

one, and the two were like brother and sister, the two were so close that Aleron often referred to 

her as his “perch.” Even in the war against heaven, Tritico remained a loyal ally to Aleron, and 

has always supported his plans to enlighten humanity. Aleron’s actions once saved Tritico’s life 

from an attack by angles during the war, and while the two were separated since their exile into 

the abyss, Aleron knows that Tricico would still gladly honor her debt to him if she could be 


tracked down.

And finally, the Prelude synopsis and planning:
I like that there is lot’s of choice paths here.  That will make for great roleplay!
Intro:
You are at your apartment, getting dressed and ready for work, so to speak. A hearing has been scheduled by the EPA, as far as Halliburtons offshore drilling and its consequences on the coral reefs of the bay. You are the representative for an organization called Keep the Seas Clean, which is representing the public interest in maintaining the bays ecosystem. There is an unusual stillness in the air, like something is about to happen. As you put on your slacks and blouse, there is almost no noise in the otherwise raucous city. A few gulls can be heard, but that’s it. As you fasten a lucky crystal rose to your lapel of your dress suit, a nervous anticipation of the hearing, which could go either way, crawls up your spine. The feeling is hard to place, after all, you’ve had dozens of hearings like this before, and never gotten the shivers like this. Nonetheless, you shake it off. Just then, your thoughts are interrupted by a phone call. It’s Aaron, which settles your nerves. “Hey Babe, just thought I’d wish you good luck on your hearing.”


Transition:
The hearing goes over like a dream, with you and the other plaintiffs going into your prepared briefs in just the right way and at just the right times to topple the defenses claim that the drilling is good for the areas economic prosperity and a boon to the public. The hearing is a smashing success, and you head to celebrate with mixed drinks at Meyers, a local watering hole. Jeanine, badger in the courtroom, sits to your right, laid back now that the hearing is done. Alec, rules lawyer extraordinaire, with a sharp tongue and a quick wit, sits to your left.
***Roleplay social scene***
Then, you take the long walk home, your head held high.


Rising Action:
You are on your way home from work, now dressed in the usual overshirt/blouse/jeans combo, on a midsummers night. There are few street lights in this section of town, and the ground gives off an eerie glow, slightly tinted pale blue, as you cross several dark alleys. Across the street, a commotion occurs, at a place called Aerie Experiments, which appears to be an animal research lab. You see several people dressed in black garb and ski masks, readying a break in attempt. They motion for you to join them, giving a hand signal known only to PETA members.
Choice: Colleen joins them in their break in attempt
→The animals are rescued, but now there is an apb for all of them.
Choice: Colleen attempts to dissuade them from their course
→They refuse to be dissuaded, and tell her to leave
If she does, once she is away from there she hears sirens converging where she was
Choice: Colleen reports them to the police
→She is rewarded with positive publicity on the news, and is now a PETA pariah
If Colleen does nothing, the police show up and arrest the PETA members and treat her as an accomplice, she must run or be arrested.


If Colleen helped rescue the animals:
You are taken to a secret hideout of a militant branch of PETA after the animals are released. A prominent figure in the local community offers you a position in the organization as a lieutenant.


Choice: Colleen accepts the position
→ She gets a mission to spike a bunch of loggers trees marked for cutting.
Choice: Colleen refuses the position
→ She is drugged, and left at an abandoned bakery with only a hazy memory of the events or location
Perhaps a little extreme you don’t want to totally waste a character without very good reason.  Depending on the tone of her refusal, they could either drug her and drop her off at a safe but isolated place or ring her, beat her senseless, and then dump her in a distant alley. -JKS


If Colleen attempted to dissuade the PETA Activists:
You are screamed at and threatened until you either leave or are attacked.


Choice: Colleen leaves the area
→ She is safe from the consequences for now, and returns home
Choice: Colleen stands firm
→ She is assaulted by the PETA members, or
when the police show up they blame her for getting them caught!
just be careful threatening characters, they can react unpredictably.


If Colleen reported them to the Police:
Local news anchor declares you a hero, and the mayor commends you. The PETA sect promises retribution through use of your phone number and a voice alteration program.
See, here is where I’d threaten her most strongly.


Later at her apartment…
Either the PETA Sect members or the Police are hunting Colleen at this point, and she must eventually face them. They verbally attack her, beat her to within an inch of her life and then, she feels a presence, it is Aleron.  Be sure to narrate all the bad stuff, so they don’t have to fight a hopeless battle.


Aftermath:
Colleen either destroys, disables or otherwise deals with her attackers in the manner she finds appropriate to the situation.


Synopsis:
The first part went pretty much as planned, with the social scene, which was put in at the final revision, acting as the grease for the squeaky wheel since Andy was used to smash and grab Pathfinder campaigns that last one or two sessions typically. Colleen refused to help them because of her belief in the law and the violent nature of the activists. She called the police when out of shouting distance, and then was mentioned on the news and threatened by phone. She then phoned Jodie about the imminent danger, and Jodie was on her way when they began kicking down her door. She readied her pistol, and repeatedly warned them she would fire and retreated into the kitchen. Jodie appeared, and soaked up most of the attackers, but she still had two armed men rushing at her. One, she put down with a body shot, but the other managed to get a boot knife in her chest. While bleeding to death, Aleron appeared, time slowed down and they struck a bargain. Her body in exchange for saving her life. Aleron took charge and put a bullet in the brain of the knife attacker as he was pulling back for another stab, after paralyzing him with Lore of the Flesh. He waxed poetic afterwards about what a waste of life these lowlifes were.
Fin.

Notes:
What worked, the social scene at the beginning really broke the ice into immersive roleplay nicely. Especially since I’m informal about chatting out of character with the players. The idea of having Andy monologue his own possession scene was totally off the rails and genius! I also changed up the fight because Jodie, his friend in the force, was called, and his character was very reluctant to kill. So, he handled two of the assailants, one of which he body shot while the other tackled Colleen and put a boot knife in her chest. Jodie handled the rest and then collapsed from many wounds. Aleron then stepped in, after the genius possession scene, and “took care of it”(put a bullet in his brain after using the nerve manipulation power) so to speak.


What could’ve been improved was the overall planning for character interactions and choices, as the prelude only lasted an hour and a half, and much of that was exposition by me. While some is expected, I didn’t feel I gave quite enough room for character development of Colleen during the prelude.


The out of the box stuff worked the best, but only because it hinged on the planned PETA scenario and its choice-consequence chain of events. I am still trying to figure out how to flesh out more interactive scenes and allow for more player choice/player agency as opposed to choose your own adventure style cut and paste scenarios. I hope, with time and the gathering together of the group, that I can have a fleshed out locale and Relationship map to help the campaign gain inertia, impetus, and life of its own so that not all sessions are so planning intensive in the future. When I let Andy have the reins, for the monologue and other stunning unexpected parts of the prelude, that was when the session really shined. It’s like magic when you set the stage just right and unleash the players and their intense, awesome havoc on your world.

I think what I learned from this is also to figure out the players level of competency, expectation, and so on and then go from there to what sort of session I go with.