Actual Play – “Let’s be honest with each other. I’ll start. I’m an angel!” (6/28/2009)

System: Demon: The Fallen

The storyteller switched things around on us some this game. Instead of having a bunch of personal scenes that culminated in a group scene, we stared the game attending the Baron’s court. Or at least that was the plan.


Opening Scene – The Park (all of us)

We had friction right from the beginning. Lincoln wanted all of us to attend, but Marcel wasn’t having that. Procel’s host was bleeding bad and if he didn’t get medical attention might have been lost. Why would Alestor (Marcel) care so much about the human Jared (Procel)? It’s hard to say, but he did and he wasn’t giving up on him. “Besides, we don’t know what we’re walking into in there. The Baron could decide that our little stunt in the parking lot was a crime in his city. We could be outnumbered 40 to one in his domain. Hell no, I’m not bring Alestor into that. I’m taking him to a hospital.” The Demons argued but eventually made the best of what they had. Three of us would attend the meeting. Marcel would take Jared to the Hospital.

The Baron’s Court (Lincoln, Carol, and Howard)

At the appointed time the baron’s Seneschal came out of the woman’s bathroom in the park. A tiny goth girl on the outside, fire and brimstone boiling over on the inside. “I see there are three of you.” Lincoln was still peeved at Marcel and let it out on her “I see you can count.” Snap.

There is a downside to aggravating a fell-lord, especially one who is seneschal to the baron. She can pretty much write you out of existence. And that is exactly what she did. Lincoln, seeing that he couldn’t confront her here, made nice and explained the recent attack on them and how one of the demons barely made it out. She consented to let him on, but would there after watch him like a hawk.

The Baron’s court was grand. Filled with classical music and more tormented demons than you could shake a stick at. Carol found a dark counterpart to herself who worked for the local cryptics. They played some riddle game with each other until it became clear that she was a newly arrived Luciferan. This was met with a curt good-bye and soon after hard looks from the crowd. Ket (Howard) meanwhile took the opportunity to unleash his hellish nature and took relish in his tormented form by growing a gaping maw. He also took meat, and bread, and forks, and plates, and candlesticks, and a few napkins as his new form could consume anything he could fit into his gigantic jowls. Apparently one fight wasn’t enough for Lincoln. He approached the ministry of Lions. Bruiser types who meet out the court’s justice. And he pissed them off as well. One, a low ranking demon, but member of the lions none the less took greater umbrage with him and told him to meet him down under Pike street for a show down.

Eventually the baron called them to dine with him (with what was left of the table) and said that as per the terms of our protection in Seattle, we needed to look for evidence of the holy host. Since we had done nothing to that effect so far he threw us a bone. “A logging company near the Canada border has uncovered and artifact that may be a link to the host. Go get it for me… And if you should happen to find a home on the borders of my domain and thus expand it, you will be richly rewarded.”

E.R. Room 115 (Jared and Marcel)

We rushed the nearest hospital and got Jared the medical attention he needed. Knowing questions would be asked, Marcel said up front. “He’s my friend. We were at a shooting range and I shot him. It was a horrible accident. Please help him.” That didn’t earn Marcel any friends so one of the larger orderlies asked him to wait in a room till the police arrived. A locked room at that. How insulting. Suffice to say Marcel was standing by his barely conscious friend when the officer arrived. Marcel repeated the story to the officer loudly and slowly, mostly for Jared’s benefit and then produced the firearm, which startled the cop a little more. The two demons made a decent effort to convince officer Duncan that it was an accidental shooting. It seemed like it was working until he picked up the patient chart. “Jared Sorenson? Agent Sorenson?” Hmm. The officer told he Marcel he’d have to stand outside the hospital room while he questioned the patient.

And then things started getting weird. The officer closed the blinds to the room. Okay, he didn’t want Marcel gesturing through the window. Maybe he thought the large black man was also some kind of mime extraordinaire. Weird, but okay. Then he locked the door. This couldn’t be good. With a menacing smile he turned to the crippled ATF agent and started repeating his name. He might have told him why he had such interest or what he was going to do to him, but never got a chance. Suddenly Jared flat lined. Or at least that is what the machines said. Immediately medical staff was racing to the room banging on the curiously locked door. Lore of the Forge is so cool. Whatever he planned, the officer didn’t get a chance pull it off, so he discretely left the hospital with the gun owned by the hit men that tried to kill Howard in his possession. Nice!

Marcel made a few calls to his informants on the force and found that officer Duncan had always wanted to be part of SWAT but never quite made it. Hmm… a potential thrall in the making.

Personal Scenes. I will be brief with these as I don’t have my notes.

Morning

  • Marcel – Visited the bloods at their barber shop. Found out they were getting guns from Ivan as well and tried to impress upon them how much sweeter the pasture was in Bellevue. They’d consider it if a debt was paid. Chad from the Arian Nation Bangers needed to die. Oh boy, I love gangs. Favorite moment was when Andrei, the leader was shaving Marcel’s neck with a straight edge, menacing as hell, and then was told to call Marcel “V” and the blade lightened quite a bit.
  • Jared – Visited Doyle in the airport and found that there were others messing with his thrall. The owner of the newspaper stand, some other security guys, all trying to tempt him down the road of damnation. Jared shook him out of it but made him a little crazy in the process, convincing him that the big G doesn’t care about him and that it is Procel that he should worship as a god. + 1 Faith. +1 Crazy!
  • Lincoln spent the morning preparing for his fight with the Lion.
  • Carol visited her cabal during a ritual and was told by Winifred that one of their members had lost her sense of balance. She had been frequenting the psycho-active infusions a bit often and focusing only on Cernunnos and not enough on the Goddess. Can we say Galadriel anyone? She agreed to help.
  • Howard visited his buddy in the record store and talked about the good old days before the guys ex-wife divorced him and took all his CDs away. A few promises of the knowledge to get his record collection back and BAM! Thrall!

Noon

  • Jared’s ATF discretionary fund apparently had just enough in it for him to commission a combat shotgun and Taser XREP non-lethal rounds. Woot.
  • Marcel and Lincoln faced off against the Lion. We cheated, hardcore. Marcel was sitting on a fishing boat 400 yards off with a sniper rifle. The idea was only to shoot if things got bad. The Devourer lived up to his name and chewed up a significant portion of Lincoln’s entrails. Yep. Things got bad. Tough bastard got away and nearly took us out in the process. What did Marcel learn? Don’t let a Devourer touch you!
  • Carol called Howard and asked if she could borrow his thrall.
  • Howard went to Discovery Part to go visit Lester, the man he had ravaged previously. Only the man wasn’t there. Instead he found a suicide note. Talking to some of the locals he found out where Lester lived and found his decaying body. Apparently only minutes before his Lester’s sweet thing Lorrain showed up on her walker. Howard somehow managed to freak her out enough that she became his thrall as well. Promises of seeing Lester again (in this life) and fixing her osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s to boot. Oh… and sofas.

Night

  • Marcel heard some crazy “bang bus” idea from Vinh and Delano before meeting with Mr. Lawrence who gave him an equally crazy “Let’s bring in some kids from MIT to blow up Microsoft” story. Oh but they need plane tickets… and fake IDs… and jobs…. Wow. Is that all? Should I line them up some girlfriends while I’m at it? Marcel is very disappointed with Mr. Lawrence so the turned the conversation to old radiators instead.
  • Jared opened the scene in Lt. Vines house and when the SWAT officer arrived told him very clearly that he knew about him giving guns to the gangs. Mr. SWATty pants denied it for a while until Jared gave him the best line to date. “John, I told you I wanted us to be honest with each other and I mean that. Here, I’ll start be being honest with you.” BAPH to apocryphal form “I’m an angel!” John got more honest and more incoherent as the night went on.
  • Lincoln started some research on the lumber company (Happy world lumber) and found through his computer hacker thrall that they are a subsidiary of a subsidiary to the nth degree of Pentex. Which the characters know jack about but the players know is bad news. Apparently there is some trouble with the local environmentalists monkey wrenching the loggers as well.
  • Carol and Howard got together, all angel like, with Galadriel and told her to stop gathering nuts and go back to doing some good old Goddess worship. I know my character doesn’t know her at all, but I keep thinking… what ever happened to that half million in coke that she has in a tree? Hmmm… I guess we’ll find out sooner or later.

What rocked

I liked the opening scene and all the fallout that came from it. Conflict on the inside spilled right over to others we saw. It was a good example that things don’t go down the way we want them too, and that’s what this crappy single plane of existence is all about.

If the title didn’t give it away, I was really impressed by a few other scenes, specifically

  • Jared meeting with Doyle and breaking his brain.
  • Marcel in the Bloods barber shop.
  • Jared revealing himself to Ltd. John Vines in the way he did. BAM!

It was cool to see that we’re still pretty small fish in the scheme of Demon politics. As Lincoln noted, there is a lot of room to move up the food chain.

I’m pretty happy about the Lion who at the very least hates Lincoln. I don’t think he would have ever gotten a good look at Marcel (his only good look was 80’ under water, where I imagine the visibility was worse than crap) but if so, probably hates Marcel as well. Should be fun to see what fire this one brings.

What could be improved

We seem to have no impetus to be good guys. Everyone is crappy. People are crappy. Other demons are crappy. Even the nice old man I met and was hoping to form a friendship with (Mr. Lawrence) is crappy. So, in response, I think we’ve become pretty crappy as well. Or at least we were in the last game. For example, when I made Marcel the idea was that he tried to poor of Seattle by giving them guns to fight for their turf. But that isn’t what they want. They want to take other people’s guns and take over other people’s turf. I don’t even know how to fight that. It’s like the Hulk telling someone to calm down. How does an arms dealer do good in the world when the problem is the guns? At one point the storyteller said he wasn’t sure if we were heroes or villains. I think the answer is neither, we’re opportunists. And that… just doesn’t sit well with me at all. Exception. Jared (Procel). He’s a hero. And a damned good one at that.

I got that “I can’t fail” feeling a few times where there was more at stake than I was willing to give up. Specifically during the fight between Lincoln and the Lion, failure meant Lincoln was dead and most likely his angelic soul devoured as well. I think that could have been a game ender, I’m not sure. Also, to a lesser extent, the gang wars need to have some closure and when I was advancing towards that I really felt like I needed to make the roll otherwise I’d be up a creek. Now, normally I don’t mind being up a creek, so this tells me something is wrong. I’m just not sure what it is but I have an idea (see below).

I really wasn’t feeling the Demon love last night. My head has been pretty wrapped around L5R for the last few weeks and I’ve been obsessing over it pretty heavily. Also, Agricola became an instant addiction for me so in the back of my head I was thinking out things like if I get grain twice, plow twice, sow once and then either go fishing or day labor, that leaves me with two more actions before the first harvest to pick up whatever building material is in surplus, get an occupation, and/or do some developments… Yeah, that isn’t really conducive to playing the game I was actually at.