Actual Play – Holy Crap! Ninjas! (9/20/2009)

GM: Eric Fattig
Players: Sean, Chrissy, Travis, Steve, Cameron, and Alec
System: World of Darkness (mortals)

Wait… not ninjas. Just guys in black suits with swords on their back… oh that is much better.

All from Sean’s perspective, thus not necessarily accurate. Please feel free to correct.

The Old Man

Justin broke out of a closet he had been hiding in. Uncle Washington must have been drinking something fierce in that closet because he came out a mean drunk ready to give the world a piece of his mind.

And right there to share his world view with was that punk kid Dexter. The creepy know-it-all that later Uncle Washington needed to pull off the top of the train when he got clipped in the tunnel.

After snorting a few lines of white horse when Simone and Mulder, Washington tore off his sleeve and tied it around his head. Gun in hand he was ready to kill terrorists and creep eastern European guys with sword with impunity.

He got his chance as well, as a giant deformed beast of a man came tearing through the car at him, ready to turn his head into paste. Lesson learned. Even if you’re really big and tough… bullets trump punches.

The Nerd

Dexter kept trying to explain in clear, simple English what was going on. He understood perfectly well, for instance that the phylactery of queen Shezboz would be the perfect alchemical concoction to neutralize the reparatory functions of our assailants. But as usual, people couldn’t appreciate his intelligence. The crazed army vet, clearly suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, made a primitive assertion that Dexter expansive body of knowledge of the obscure and occult made him “creepy”.

When the succubus in disguise Simone had completed the phylactery she asked for someone to carry it forward to the next car and connect it to the ventilation system. At first Dexter was reluctant. It seemed a primitive job better suited for one of lesser in intelligence, but when she threatened to ask Gary to champion her instead Dexter knew his time for heroism was now!

Or at least could have been now. Stupid tunnels were made a completely irregular intervals and Dexter’s perfect timing was foiled by the inconstancies of a mountain and faulty engineering. All of this lead to a crack on the cranium and waking up being dragged back into the passenger car by the war veteran, who took the prize and tried to steal his glory.

Later, in the train, however, Dexter was once again given a chance to prove his prowess for both his colleagues and the lady folk who undoubtedly appreciated his panache. After flipping his coat back and drawing his pistol with a flourish Dexter dropped 9mm of lead (well, actually a lead core with a copper alloy jacket for greater specific heat capacity and hardness) into one of the eastern European assailants. The fact that he only grunted and didn’t bleed only confirmed Dexter’s earlier claims that these men were not who they presented themselves to be.

The Hippie

Why oh, why, can’t people just get along? Don’t they understand that every action creates ripples in the universe that bounce back on to each other? Don’t they get that we’re all connected? Haven’t any of them read Virginia Woolf? Justin Washington killed the three men we had incapacitated. He wouldn’t listen to reason, didn’t appreciate the karmic imbalance he was causing. Whatever, man.

Vasily tried to talk reason but must wouldn’t listen, so he did the only safe and sane thing, he tuned out the world of violence in pain, elevating himself beyond the temporal realm into a cannabis induced ephemeral space.

His peace and tranquility however, were frequently disturbed. First the ninjas (or whatever Washington and Simone wanted to call them) wanted to talk. As Vasiliy was care taker of communications, he spoke for the group. “Hey man, you’re harshing my buzz. What’s going on? Wanna-smoke-a-joint?”

The recent invaders however, were not interested in peace or an existential appreciation of reality. Instead they just wanted this thing called a Codex, which Mulder was able to explain was an old book, presumably one that included the core tenants of a cult or other religious faction, and for us to betray our so called master Octavious.

Whatever man. Vasily was happy however to organize the search teach for this codex with a walkie talkie in one hand and a snickers from the snack bar in another.

In the end he tried to save us all, climbed down the side of the train to detach the front car, but slipped, and fell… fell… fell…

The Country Boy

Country boy, ain’t got no shoes.
Country boy, ain’t got no blues.
– Johnny Cash

“Hoss, this ain’t right.” Zac saw that his band was taken back a spell and reckoned he needed to tend to their ails. So as to calm their moods, he started playing his new tune. Gave the boys a boss show, showed them the promise of golden fields ahead and despite the band being a bunch of old croakers, he livened them up something good.

When that flannel mouth went to speak with our new guests, Zac reckoned he better come along as well, no telling how Vasily might be bamboozled otherwise. Something wasn’t right about them city slickers who dropped down in the car, real bad eggs them folk.

The big bug, their boss, was talk’n some balderdash bout a book he reasoned we had and some feller name Octavious we worked for. Zac tried to set him straight but all that did was get his back up. 15 minutes gave us to put on a little dog and pony show for him, but in the end we had to acknowledge the corn. We were no closer to finding either that book, nor the fella he was looking for.

Zac went along with Simone, that pretty lass, as she did her best to hornswaggle the feller into thinking them pokes with assult riffles had his book. She reckeoned she could kill two birds with one stone that way. And it work, almost, in the end Zac still had to wrangle the horns of one them bad eggs.

The cowpoke had an Arkansas toothpick he ran right through Zac, but old Zac had been the rodeo before and could stand the gaff. He just smiled and a took a coal shovel and popped that mudsill in the noggin.

After that it was just a matter of skedaddling off the train , separating the cards and pulling the brakes before flying off the ravine. Zac put a spoken in that wheel alright and watched with pride as the engine car went flying off the ravine, big bug on board!

The Thief

Fritz was an old man, had probably never shared more than 10 words at a time with Sapphire, but he was the closest thing to father she had ever had. When they finally got to the engine car it was clear that the old man was relieved to see her. In one part because she came to rescue him, but in another to be sure she was okay.

Saph shared a stoic moment with him, each checking in with each other, before the conductor told them the engine had been rigged and couldn’t be stopped. Soon a ravine was coming up and if the engine care wasn’t disconnected the whole train would go off the edge. Without a moment to think the doors opened that the creepy European special forces team came through, covered in blood and ready to kill every last one of them. Quick as a ninja herself, Saph stuck their leader good, right in his gut and gave him pause as to the certainty of his plan.

The Dealer

I’m leaving this section blank. I wrote my take on everyone else’s perspective, I’d like to see the other players take on mine. I don’t expect that I got things perfect, but it’s how I saw the characters being portrayed. So… I’d like to see what you guys thought about Simone during the session. Leave your impression as a comment and I’ll add it to the body, crediting the author. Type your cut contents here.

To Dream a Dream.

The experience was overwhelming for most of the passengers. You can get that close to death, see that much violence, without being changed. Most of them would go home and have bad dreams about it for a while, then remember it every now and then as a lot less scary that it really ways. Blissfully, the human mind is good at forgetting things that would otherwise break it.

Some of us were not that lucky however, or perhaps were more fortunate. For those that didn’t just sit in terror as the atrocities happened but faced them, and in one form or another defeated them. For us, the experience was more than shocking, it was life altering.

Each of us wandered away from the train, and away from reality.

Vasiliy traveled through his own blood stream, healing his damaged body before he found his soul in the center. As he signed his name into the pillar of life, his connection to the world changed and he could see the life in things around him, as well as thing hidden in a spiritual world the rest of us could not comprehend.

Saph started seeing the connections between people, strands in the air linking people’s lives. Controlling many of them, however was a demonic figure of flesh and iron, who’s iron arm had hundreds of strands connected to it. She wrested them away from the demon and in doing so defeated it. Then she carved her name into a tower or iron and flesh.

Simone began to see patters, where a slight shift (removing a pebble) changed the outcome. She saw people way by unmolested, but their shadow had tripped over the stone. Before her was a great thorn forest and it its center a great tower of living thistle. With pulling the thorn from her shoulder she carved her name into the wood with blood. Simone “Elphaba” Bleach.

Justin was in a city with skyscrapers jutting into the heavens but no one inside them. No people on the street, only worthless hundred dollar bills blowing through the streets. A mummy embalmed in stock market receipts, lead the way to an elevator which took him down…down… down… to a great room filled with a pillar of gold and silver and platinum… and lead. In the soft gold he etched his name.

As Dexter stepped off the train, it was into a subway station and he stumbled onto the third rail. As electricity coursed through him he became part of the current, part of the energy, and part of the internet. At once, with but a thought he could control all information as it was streaming through the internet. With but the slightest force of will he found those who would say something “wrong” on the internet and smote them, removing their corrupting flame wars as though they had never been. X-Files had never been so highly praised on Rotten Tomatoes. As the currents took him higher and higher, he raised above the clouds, which supported his for they dare not disappoint hm. There was a great tower. A Tower of Power! Dexter eagerly scribed his name amongst the chosen.

Zac stepped off the train and into a ballroom where he performed. There he could see a satyr serving drinks and he could see in the drinks the influence the satyr had over the patrons. With a few powerful notes, Zac enthralled the audience and took the power for himself. The satyr shrank away, but Zac would not relent. He broke off his horn and said “Like them… you are mine now.” He dipped the horn into the satyr, no into “his” drink, and scribed his name with it into the autograph book of legends who had played at this club.

Bam! We’re mages!

What rocked

The tensions presented were great. Terrorists on one side, ninjas on the other, on a train that is going to go off the rails. Turtling or hiding or hoping it would all go away was just not an option.

I like that we really didn’t know what was going on but knew what we had to do. I think in many games filled with mysteries, the unknown occludes the course of action and ends with a lot of over thinking obvious clues. In this we knew there was a lot we didn’t understand but didn’t’ care, too much crazy was going on to think too much. I’m sure we’ll think A LOT about it later.

The presence of other supernatural. I actually liked the vampires (not sure if they were supposed to be likable or not) because they treated is with a certain respect. I can see Simon trying to mend things with them in the future.

Our awakening scenes were AWESOME. I really like the particular effects that tied our characters into the realms we visited. Very well done.

What could have been improved

I don’t really get my character yet. I thought I knew was she was all about but she’s turned more maternal than I was originally thinking. Also, I don’t really like the idea of her being a sex object, and that was coming out some in the last game so I tried to tone it back some this game. It’s going to change now that we’re Awakened, but I’m still not sure how I’ll player her. Still warming up to Simone.

2 thoughts on “Actual Play – Holy Crap! Ninjas! (9/20/2009)”

  1. Hi Sean…

    This is somewhat off-topic for the above post, but I was wondering whether you would care to submit an article for RPG Review… Something on the lines of the Narrative Control posts? Around 1500 words?

    1. Lev,

      That sounds cool. Can you send me an email (seannittner at gmail dot com) with the details?

      I’ve been meaning to write a post on the attraction to relationships with NPCs vs. with your fellow player characters. Does this sound like something that would fit in your format?

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