Actual Play – The Hanged Man (8/27/2010)

GM: Shaun Hayworth
Players: Travis, Sean and Kristin
System: Dresden Files

Saul’s aspects: Shooting the Moon -> Kaufman blood has power.


Having “defeated” Mercutio in the last story (we should name that story by the way) our heroes took a well-deserved break to heal up and learn some new tricks.

Sven was doing work with Monoc and as reward for his services was granted “Thor’s Winged Boots”; giant boots of plate and chain with enormous metal wings shooting out behind them. I’m pretty sure even these aren’t as obvious.

Saul spent time with Warden Harris learning how to cast magic on the fly, starting with a few shields and master over the power that was most familiar to Saul, invisible energy.

Trying to build Saul into a Wizard slowly, I took channeling instead of evocation and picked kinetomancy as his field, which is a narrow focus of spirit magic that allows Saul to wield kinetic forces such as, I don’t know, a shearing blade of energy that cuts through the metal pylons of a bridge so they will collapse and impale a troll below. He also worked on some instruments of power. His new age crystals and mirrors and stones are great for thaumaturgy, but he needs something to help him focus and control this new powers, so amongst his training, Saul also found an ancient pocket-size astrolabe and restored it to working order.

Jameson was sitting pretty, established as the new head of Caesar’s Palace, having taken his sister Isabella’s place. As his mundane power grew, so did his control over the emotions of others. He can now incite greed with but a glance. Oh yeah, that’s definitely a good thing… I’m scared.

Action… adventure.

Kids have been snapped up off the street, kid-napped no less! This happens in Jersey, it’s sad but it happens. Of late though, it’s happened with unusual frequency, enough so that some noticed something was wrong… especially when the first body was found.

We all had some hooks leading us into the story, Shaun is good about making sure we all start with a compel, which is something I love. Sven was told by Monoc to investigate as the body found was “unusual”. Saul was asked by Polly to look after her cousin (he was the kid that was found). Jameson had some whales in the casino that lost their daughter and wanted him to look after them personally.

This culminated in a few individual scenes…

Sven at the crime scene talking to the police and finding out how the boy was found (and confirming that he was dead).

Saul passing for a “cashew” priest to come and give Anthony Copolla his last rights.

Jameson finding information from the Allens about their daughter, tracking down Saul by way of first his mother, then Polly and finally to the medical examiner’s office in the police precinct.

Speaking with the dead.

We walked into the morgue where the autopsy was being peformed and with no pretense at all, Jameson whipped out a wad of cash, incited the medical examiner’s greed and offered it to her if she left for 15 minutes… only 15 minutes was about a quarter of the time Saul needed to summon his ancestors and ask what happened to the boy.

The results of course was hilarity. Saul nearly killed himself trying to rush the summons, Jameson tried to put the moves on the ME but she lost it all together when she tried to open the door to her office and found not only was it barred by there were three ghosts hovering over the body of the dead boy. Sven had to “calm” her down with a choke hold, then Jameson took back the money he had bribed her with. Sometimes we do the most horrible things to help people.

Meanwhile, sweating bullets from trying to summon up all this energy in a hurry, Saul begged his aunts and uncles to stop harassing him about never calling, or about how he looked during his bar mitzvah, and tell him about the boy. Suddenly the mood was grave (get it), and the warned Saul not to interfere, the poor boy had been hung up on a great tree by one leg and killed. Powerful forces working here, evil forces. Made me think about something like this:

Ar possibly the World Tree Yggdrasil that Odin was hung on for 9 days, pierced by his own spear:

Either way… bad news

Feeding frenzy.

I don’t remember Jameson using that many powers, but his hungry finally struck him. The next scene (at Caesar’s) Saul found out that Jameson had a connection to one of the victims who status was unknown and had access to her personal belongings, meaning all that miserable summoning was unnecessary. With the help of Sven’s boots he caught Jameson and tried (unsuccessfully) to deck him. Normally this would have just been funny, but Jameson was hankering for some wanton greed in a bad way and needed to harvest. Barely holding it together enough to calm Saul down, he excused himself an found the first gambler to suck into a get rich or die trying scheme (hint: there wasn’t actually a get rich option).

Two leads

From here we got two leads. Jameson introduced us to the Anders, where Saul “the local connection” reassured them that another powerful family in town had also lost one of their children and he would muster their resources to help as well… meanwhile he took some of the missing girl’s hair from a brush.

At the same time, Jameson received a typed note. To find the girl, meet at midnight on the bridge out of town.

Well, the bridge meeting was a bit more time sensitive, and of course, there is never danger meeting someone on a bridge in the middle of the night… unless that someone is a


Yep, 15’ of bridge owning troll swept out of the fog and nearly killed all of us with his giant cleaver! Sven shot it in the face… a lot. Jameson did the same. Saul spent a while antagonizing it (read: creating maneuvers for the other’s to play off of) before nearly getting chopped in half with a cleaver (thank you Harris for making me practice the hell out of my shields), when he decided to whip out the big guns and use a blade of kinetic energy to slice through a pylon and send it spearing through the troll. Saul finished it off though, unloading round after round until it exploded into thousands of tiny fist size versions of itself.

What rocked

The tension of trying to cast that spell on time was really fun.

I was worried this storyline might freak me out some (violence against children is a pill that’s pretty hard for me to swallow) but ironically the child already being dead at the start (as opposed to dying because we failed in some way) make it much easier to stomach.

TROLL! Nothing beats troll, cept maybe rock. Troll was awesome. Especially “This is MY Bridge” as an aspect.

The scene were Jameson visited Dukes and saw all the made men on the east coast assembled really gave a lot of weight to the setting. I suddenly had this feeling like “yeah, this shit is real!” Not sure how to describe it but I really like it.

Saul Kaufmanni, the Catholic priest for the win!

The imagery for this case has been pretty cool so far.

What could have improved

NEED TO READ THE MAGIC SYSTEM. NEED TO DO IT. I keep thinking, and maybe this is laziness or ego, that because I play-tested the game, I should know how it works. Which works most of the time, but not with magic which a) has been re-worked since I play-tested it and b) is one of the more complex parts of the game. Not sure why I haven’t done this already.

The start of the game, like the start of many stories was a little slow. It was a matter of wrapping up the “what have you been doing” bits and introducing the “what is going on” bits.

5 thoughts on “Actual Play – The Hanged Man (8/27/2010)”

    1. Thanks. The picture of the astrolabe was what sold me on it. It’s like an orb with movable parts. And those boots! The way you described it, yours are even MORE ostentatious!

      You think I nailed the whole tree/spear thing? Saul has a Great Lore so I’m going to have him bring those in next game. Deceleration time!

    1. Thanks Lev. My AP reports are typically pretty unfinished work, it’s my goal more to just get them written than to make sure they are refined. That said I wouldn’t think that may were of the caliber for RPG Review, but I’d love to do something along these lines.

      Some ideas:

      1. A few snippets of AP to intro a post on writing AP.
      2. A cleaned up version of one of these AP posts (you know, with crazy bells and whistles like proofreading)
      3. A game review with mixed in AP of either Dresden Files or Agon

      What do you think?


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