Actual Play – Demons in your Basement (5/16/2009)

System: Demon: The Fallen

Round the table we went, starting with Marcel. I’m using a different format here. Instead of doing one scene per time slot (morning, afternoon, night), I’m separating out each player’s scenes.

Day 2 – Scene 3 (Marcel and Howard)

Marcel and Howard both wanted to find out what was wrong with the Loom. Marcel got this half assed confession from Jared that he might just have forgotten to tell Marcel that the machine was falling apart. I had fun bitching him out for not letting the mechanic know the machine was broken.

We arrived at the school where Jared hid the Loom, in an old unused culvert under a bridge. Before we approached though, Marcel had to have words with Howard. “How did the shareholder meeting go?” “uhh… not so good”. It turned out that Howard was still deprived of his power, something that infuriated Marcel and incited him to show Howard exactly how to get what you want. With bulging biceps Marcel lifted the 80 year old man up by his shirt and pinned him to the roof of the culvert. “The only way to gain their respect is to make the fear you Howard. You’re not an old man, you’re an angel with power to rule over men, start acting like one!” We rolled some dice and Marcel did indeed come off as intimidating. Howard agreed, perhaps he would have to be more aggressive.

After that we got to fix the machine. Well it turns out that it has adapted to the industrial area it’s in and started taking on the aspects of a air conditioner, and an ancient one. It really just so happens that at work I’m doing data readiness by preparing preventative maintenance work orders for upload into our new CMMS system. And the PM that I have been using as my sample just happens to be a Air Handling Unit. Neat, I got to use word “sheave” in the proper context. It turns out that it was missing a part, one that only one guy in Seattle had any chance of having, some antique restoration hardware guy. Next stop: Mr. Lawrence’s’ shop.

Howard meanwhile tried to read the damn thing, but on top of missing parts it also faded in and out of existence. The machine, like us, was being pulled back to the abyss. Even more than parts, it needed faith to keep it here. He tried by the machine kept winking out of existence. No premonitions for Howard! Marcel realized that he’s going to need to build a faith engine, something to channel the faith offered by our thralls into keeping this machine safe.

Day 2 – Scene 4 (Lincoln)

Lincoln needed to head downtown to get a sexy business suit for Carol, something to give her the right image. On the way however, he saw a girl being tailed by a somewhat rough and tumble man. Helping people even before they knew they needed help, Lincoln sprung into action. Impersonating a Brit, he bumped into the man and started asking for directions. When a bit of confusing dialogue didn’t do the trick, Lincoln escalated and “accidentally” bumped him into an alley, detaining him there with a story long enough for the girl to enter the “Hood and Horn” unnoticed by the Midwestern man.

Lincoln followed up and entered the Hoof and Horn, a new age Celtic bookshop just in time to see the girl go behind a velvet curtain. When he tried to follow the shop owner Winifred interrupted “I’m sorry sir but that is the women’s circle. You seem to be of the wrong gender” A humorous discussion about the “men’s circle” started. Humor aside, Lincoln found out the woman’s name was Star and he told Winifred that she was being stalked. Winifred bristled a bit at a total stranger telling her than one of her customers was being stalked… but a total stranger. Unwilling to say more, Lincoln left her with his card in case she changed her mind.

Day 2 – Scene 5 (Carol)

Carol, knowing that cops were going to be arriving soon, made a quick jaunt to Lily’s house to tell her about her father. Lily was freaked out when she heard that not only was her father in town but that he had been stalking her. They talked over juice at the juice bar (can’t drink the poison that Starbucks spreads I guess) and decided that Lily would stay with Carol for a few days until things calmed down and they figured out what was going on with her dad.

To avoid the cops, Carol sent Lily back to her home alone to gather up some clothes, toiletries, etc and then they head to Carol’s place. Safe!…. yeah right.

Day 2 Scene 6 (Jared)

Curious about the “hit” that was going to happen in a couple days, Jared went downtown to the park where it would happen. He found two buildings with sufficient vantage points. One of them a medical facility (look likes they either produce or dispose of medical supplies) and the other a building whose top floors were owned by a Law firm. Both looked somewhat suspicious but Jared didn’t want to push his luck, so he left them alone.

Day 2 – Scene 7 (Marcel)

Marcel entered the shop calling loudly “Mr. Lawrence sir!, Mr. Lawrence, sir!” He found the old man out back tending to an old but loved crab boat. The old guy was suspicious of Marcel but started taking a liking to him once he showed an interest in antique restoration (boy was it EVER). Something like the fan sheave Marcel needed however was rare enough that Mr. Lawrence would pretty much charge whatever he wanted for it.

They talked for a bit and Marcel figured out that he could that what the old man really wanted to do was go out crabbing again and get a catch like he did back in Boston. I put my head down asking how the hell I could do that. When I looked up everyone was point at Howards’s player and I had a supreme “Duh” moment. Yeah, the devourer who as a power to summon animals in a three mile radius could probably do it. Yeah, go figure. Marcel told Mr. Lawrence that he would come back in the morning with a friend and they would go crabbing together. One scene down with Marcel’s first thrall.

Day 2 – Scene 8 (Lincoln and Carol)

All set as insurance claims adjusters from Geiko, Lincoln and Carol entered Ivan McPhayles gun shop and shooting range to try and sniff out the truth.

What they found

  • Ivan is a tough old son of a bitch who isn’t afraid of insurance claims adjusters
  • The cops didn’t sell Joaquin the guns in Ivan’s shop but they had brushed past each other.
  • The cops really don’t like people digging into their business and like to insult people’s manliness.
  • Hoodlums hang out at the shop as well, it most likely sells lots of illegal firearms but Ivan is presumably protected from the law by his cop friends.

Day 2 – Scene 8 (Jared)

Jared knew a good Sushi play near the sound and decided it was time for a little R&R. While there, however he noticed something strange. A room reserved with some cryptic, maybe occult symbol on the door. Thanks to camera phones and Carol’s knowledge religion he recognized the symbol as that of the Dominican order, one affiliated with excommunicating other Christians, the inquisitions and other not so friendly sides of Christianity. Curious, he set up a ruse to disappear in the bathroom, take his apocryphal form and slide through the ventilation shafts to observe what when on behind that closed door.

Three Dominican priests were accompanied by an old man, a Midwestern fellow and a woman. The gist of the meeting was that all of these people planed on kidnapping people close to them (presumably Lily, Star and someone else) to be taken to the Dominicans for “de-programming”. The priest convinced them that Satan has many pawns and they would try to protect the poor misguided girls, but they must stay vigilant to save their souls. Man, it’s awesome to be the bad guys when good guys are pompous assholes!

Day 2 – Scene 9 (Howard)

Howard staked his claim in the park. He began his plan to enthrall all the old chess players of the parks. He started by taking the top dog, the cocky bastard who insulted everyone he played. Howard schooled in record time and made a fool of him.

Interested in how Howard beat him so easily the old bastard followed him along a path where Howard revealed his apocryphal form and ravaged faith from him. It was brutal, like pulling teeth from a pissed of Rottweiler. There was fighting, chases, some embarrassment and eventually in the end there were bloodthirsty seagulls. Bad news for the guy, faith for Howard.

Day 3 – Pre-scene gathering.

  • We all heard a voice in our heads that morning. A cryptic was on our trail and arriving from Dallas. TX today at noon, arriving at SEATAC airport. Fun!
  • We met, talked about the message and other bits we had found. Several of us decided to go rescue Lily and Star, some of the same offered to go to the airport at noon. Marcel had to many irons in the fire, however.

Day 3 – Scene 1 (Marcel and Howard)

A quick scene where Howard and Marcel went crabbing with Mr. Lawrence, got the biggest catch he had ever scene and were gifted the necessary fan sheave. The mechanical component of the Loom fixed, we could turn our attention to other details.

What rocked

Overall I love the idea of lots of plotlines running at once. It’s the exhilarating feeling I get in books like the Dresden Files where a bunch of things are going on, all to come to a head at the end.

I really enjoyed the scenes with Marcel and Howard. Marcel has figured out that it was pretty easy to convince Howard to use his methods, now he’s got to prove that they work.

The presence of the Dominicans is awesome. I really love that our foe totally thinks they are saving people. That is awesome.

We’re unveiling the SWAT/Gang war and it’s turning out to be very interesting.

I’ve constantly got more that I want to do than I can. Interesting choices come out of this.

I’m liking the more brutal Marcel. I’ve got to remember to channel Ving Rhames in my voice and attitude..

I was happy to see Lincoln save the girl. I know that’s a big thing for him so I’m really hoping that keeps moving forward.

Fucking chasing down a guy with seagulls. Awesome sauce.

Favorite Lines.

Old guy: “You can teach me a thing or two, I’m older that you!”
Howard: “No… no you’re not!”

Mr. Lawrence: (regarding the sheave for the Loom) “You sure this the thing you’re going to fix is really an antique machine?”
Marcel: “Oh yes, older than you can imagine.”

What could have been improved

Well, I wanted to do more. And some of that is good as it keeps me motivated. But also I feel like some scenes really meandered around. I’m making an effort to state my intent early, move directly towards it hopefully with a die roll of some sort and then resolving a conflict quickly. I did well at that in the first scene with Howard, but not so hot with Mr. Lawrence. The idea is burn bright and then pass the spotlight quick. Sometimes I do it, sometimes I don’t. The frustration came for me when watching other scenes. Some of them I was really excited about but others felt like they went on to long and I got jealous for screen time again.


  1. Glad you had fun. What did you think of the soundtracks?

    Also, the screen switching is hard, as we found out in BW. It’s something to live with if we want games were players don’t always stick together.

    • Should have added that into the “what rocked” but when I tried LJ said it was too much rockage. 😛 Yeah, the soundtracks were great, I just kept wishing I was in the areas with rap 🙂

      Yep, investing in other people’s scenes is part of it. I’ve got to train myself to try and channel energy (support energy not spotlight stealing energy) into other peoples scenes. Ever consider letting us play NPCs. Giving us an agenda and saying “go!” ?

      • Part of the problem I have in this particular game with this idea is that a lot of the NPCs have additional agendas that I don’t want players or characters to know about. It’s like in Dresden: Neither the reader nor Dresden knows the double and triple agendas, which makes them more interesting when they are revealed.

  2. per your what could be improved.

    I think you’re concept of rotating plot and individual stories is awesome sauce. The only thing I’ve encounter that has worked really well in that type of environment is to have your other players play various NPCs when it’s not their turn in the spotlight. This keeps them involved in the story, can lead to creative moments of insight that you’d never think up, and it unloads the entire responsibility of NPC creation and portraying them.
    My two cents. Been enjoying reading along your story!

    • Wow, great minds… I hadn’t read your post yet when I responded to the one above. Check it out. Yeah, I’ve really enjoyed it when my players took the rolls of NPCs. We’ll see if that flies in Demon.

  3. I think the line was something along the lines of

    Howard: (I forget the details, but he called the old guy a young’un)
    Old guy: I’m older than you!
    Howard: You think you are.

    Text doesn’t do it justice, it was all in the execution. I love the way that Howard, despite being the least physically imposing, has this terrifying, palpable aura of menace that even Marcel can’t match.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *