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)

“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 


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!
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.”

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.

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

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.

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.

1 comment:

  1. Note: Sorry about the colors, I am having trouble copy/pasting from the files without it being too dark to see.