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...”


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


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


• 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


• 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


• 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 “” 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


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.


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

relates to something he needs for his projects



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.

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.

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.

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.