Tuesday, February 28, 2012

DFRPG: Closing of the First [Small] Arc: Apocrypha

Has it really been a month? Work stress has eaten me alive. Thankfully, I start my new job on the 5th of March so hopefully it'll get better.

Gaming is happening though. Managed to get a second session of Dresden Files in, which was decent, not great but decent. Dealing with a new system and a new group so I'm not terribly shocked that things are moving slowly. 

This arc was supposed to be just a simple investigation/follow the girl/get hints of something bigger; but well, things never clicked right, just a matter of learning how the players think and react will take some time. Just one of those things that the player dive to the right instead of going to the expect left, which is fine, just means I have to reassemble some pieces so not too much time is wasted on a red herring chase.

The story as the players have discovered it so far is an 18 year old girl doing community service stole some books from a locker in a local monastery. The locker had been an donation from a deceased patron of the monastery so no one really knew what was stolen, barring a strong suspicion of a book of spoken prophecies by Mary Magdalene De Pazzi

Various hijinks ensue, and the party ends up trying to chase down the girl. Poorly. Have I mentioned the dice seem to hate them? The first session ended with group chasing her down to yet another friends' house and the characters noticing being followed by a cigarette smoking man. No, not him, someone else.

Lessons Learned: The characters are not investigation heavy, plots will need to be more direct. Also make a list of their aspects and the most obvious "Compel" of the aspect to make it easier to generate Fate points, without an engine to utilize them, the game sputters and doesn't really shine.

The second session open with the characters moseying on up to the cigarette smoking man, who had a small bauble fall out of his pocket. They "interrogate" him, and he says (perhaps lying) that he's a PI chasing down a philandering husband. They hex his camera for good measure, grab the bauble carefully, and walk away.

And the bauble begins to heat up, hotter and hotter until they try to throw it in a trash can but alas, surprisingly, it explodes in light and fire blinding/dazing the characters. And six stout, green skinned, large eyed, muscular gremlins stand there and whisper "Kill for the Master," in a single unified voice.

Combat went....interestingly. The characters aren't really combat optimized for the most part, nor were the gremlins: Fists 2; Claws, Inhuman Strength, a stunt allow them to parry weapons with Fists and 3 stress. But the only person who took consequences was the unprepared wizard.

A single gun shot rang out and everyone comes to find Annabelle, the thief, shot dead, with a small entry wound in the back of her head, and the entirety of the front of her face obliterated by the exit wound.

The books are missing of course.

The characters manage to trace things back to an abandoned foreclosed house that someone was obviously squatting in, having phone phreaked telephone access. 

Some property damage, roughing up of a mid-level executive, and theft of her laptop and iPad later and the party has the next cut out, Michael Smith.

Who is quite dead, and by apparent dismemberment by magic. A violation of the First Law! And the mysterious older man who seems to pressing this is shown to be under a complex veil hiding his features beneath another set of features.

Debra, the resident wizard, knows of only three wizards who are experts in the Spirit magic - her master and the Warden, herself, and her friend and colleague, Paul.

Lessons Learned: I'm going to have some issues with combat - Teddy is a combat monster; between his toughness and his strength he's a walking tank, let alone when he gets into bear form where he just gets bigger and tougher. Also I need to be careful on the ambushes, as Brust noted, "No matter how subtle the wizard, a knife between the shoulder blades will seriously cramp his style."

I need to compel folks more. I think the next arc will have more opportunities for this as I'm going to see if I can't upset the apple cart some. Plus the players need more fate points so they can use their aspects to benefit themselves on these rolls.

Thaumaturgy continues to be the swiss army knife, I won't go as far as broken, but it is definitely troublesome. There's little risk in it at the moment, but perhaps that's because the thaumaturgy has been fairly minor "investigation" rituals.

I'm going to post this just to get the dust off.

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