Actual Play – Hell on Earth (4/19/2009)

System: Demon: The Fallen

Last night was the start of our Demon game. We opted to narrate our character’s escape from the Abyss and finding hosts.

There was a cool scene of us in our apocalyptic forms breaking through the gates of hell and then coming to earth and finding it a wasteland of reality, fallen so far from when we saw it last.

We then narrated our demons feeling the gravity of hell on our souls and seeking anchors on earth. Souls weak enough to allow us safe passage into their hosts.

Then we fast forwarded three weeks to our first meeting. Our demons are still getting used to all the changes, in ourselves and on Earth. We can’t remember crap and we’re certainly not familiar with what man is doing, but our minds are infinite and things start coming back to us.

There was some fun interactions in the group as we told each other about our hosts and what we’ve learned from them about the world, followed by an introduction to the Baron of Seattle. We were transported into his underwater chambers and given audience, told that to live in his city meant doing him favors and we were complicit with his demands as we had very little room to negotiate.

There was a hit planned on the “old man”, one of us who had taken the body of an 82 year old corporate CEO which we easily trumped but were surprised that we had a hard time tracking down the would be killer. He seemed to disappear unnoticed by both security systems and the people around him.

Next session we’ve got to: look at our artifact, look for Lucifer, look for the holy host, prevent a much more dangerous hit on the “old man” and start forming out own pacts. Much to do.

What rocked

Some of our character interactions were great. I’m particularly keen on the tension between my arms dealer and the ATF agent. On account of the fact that his host killed mine, we’ve got some fun bottled up right there. Also, we’ve got similar enough interests that our characters will keep coming back to each other, even if split up to peruse our personal goals.

The mood of the game was pretty relaxed. We didn’t get slammed immediately with “oh shit, you’ve gotta do this right now” which I really appreciated. Yeah, it made for some lulls in the game (see below) but it allowed us to figure out what is important for our characters.

Our powers, when used, really rocked. I think in every case when a lore was used it dramatically changed the game around us. Another of us was recognized, a vision was fulfilled, and a foe was terrified all through subtle use of our powers.

What could have been improved.

Call me a Burning Wheel whore but I think the game would have been way more driven if each of our characters had three beliefs. Straight up, this is what I want to do now kind of beliefs. While I liked the space to figure out what our characters were about I felt like I was floundering somewhat to bring in my character’s issues because I wasn’t really sure where I was going with them.

I think the Lincoln Kinkaid character needs a “damsel in distress”, probably in every (or close to every) episode. The character is a caregiver with a ton of different talents, but I don’t think those mean anything unless he has someone to help. He is Angel, his is Michael Weston, and he is Sam Spade. He needs a client, preferably new, helpless and in a shit load of trouble, all the time.

Next time I will be less shy about splitting up the group. I really want to see Marcel (my character) engage the youth of Seattle and try to teach them that with the power he offers comes a responsibility. This will be his primary way of gaining pacts.

I want to flesh out my two followers. They need to be one part family and the reminder of who Marcel was, one part yes men to get the little shit done and one part comic relief to give the otherwise serious character some humor.

2 thoughts on “Actual Play – Hell on Earth (4/19/2009)”

  1. I agree that having set beliefs would have helped bring issues in, and definitely would help me get my mind around my character, but I also really enjoyed having the time to flounder.

    Maybe because I’m not as experienced with role-playing and character generation, and also maybe because I hadn’t hashed out my character much before hand, but having so much time to play with different ideas in my head and see how they interplay with the other characters before nailing down set beliefs was really nice.

    1. Yeah, I talked with buffaloraven today over lunch about that some. It’s a mixed bag for me. I like the time to explore our characters and also like hard hitting emotional choices.

      For me it’s mostly an issue of time. If we played once a week, or gamed for 6 hour sessions I’d feel less rushed to drive conflict but as we have less time I find I want to do more in that time.

      Overall though, I think we had a good balance of character growth and urgency. I’m really looking forward to the next session, which is the sign of success for me.

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