Actual Play – You Can’t Afford This Mess Mr. Anders (8/6/2010)

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

To set the mood, the evening’s tweets:

Gearing up in #DFRPG. @SeanNittner is blackmailing my vampire father. Friday, August 06, 2010 8:56:04 PM via UberTwitter

@_TheRussian That blackmail was fun… heck, I probably didn’t ask more than for an Average resources roll… and I know your dad is loaded.

@SeanNittner it wasn’t that I minded. It was hilarious. And the amount was kind of ridiculous. 😉 Saturday, August 07, 2010 7:55:07 AM via UberTwitter in reply to SeanNittner

Being an emotional vampire is fun. Just fed off a few people while playing cards. (I feed on greed and run a casino) #DFRPG Friday, August 06, 2010 9:32:11 PM via UberTwitter

The hook

Who were those masked hags? And what did they want at the Ander’s house? Questions we all wanted to know the answers to and questions Mr. Anders would pay Saul $2,850 to find out (the price of Jameson’s suit that he had ruined).

So we did a big of investigation, contacting and thaumaturgy to find out they had come through a security checkpoint at an airport but hadn’t apparently use their names (or possibly their bodies) on the plane trip over. Asking around turned out that they didn’t know many people and nobody (except perhaps Isabella, who was in hiding) knew why they were on the guest list. A bit of the remaining ectoplasm was fuel enough for a tracking spell that took us all the way to the ocean and kept pointing seaward.

Jameson rounded up a crusty old sea captain named bob who agreed, for an exorbitant price, to take us out trolling in the middle of the night.

We got a ways out when the engine died and Captain Bob (who’s hat had all the letters but “apt” faded out) declared this was the idea night fishing spot.

And then the storm came in.

Invoking the City’s aspect “unnatural disaster” Shaun through a great storm at us… and I mean a +4 kick us in the butts’ GREAT storm. We made all kinds of moves to escape it: fixing the engine, calling the coast guard, rescuing captain bob (who had gone overboard), pointing the boat out of the storm, and detecting its supernatural origins. For its part the storm mostly drenched, drowned and flooded us.

We got out on a lifeboat, with captain Bob being lifted into a coast guard helicopter just before the winch got hexed and couldn’t pull the rest of us up. We instead were left on Mankiller island with a promise that they would send a boat out to get us in the morning. Go Go Coast Guard.

What rocked

Again, Shaun nailed the pacing of the game. Let the PCs move towards their goals and then slam them with something (in this case, a wave) that sets them off track but gives them more leads to follow.

Fighting the storm was tons of fun, it thrashed us around (taking out Donnie) and we scraped by. It also meant we got to use some fun skills in conflicts: Craftsmanship, Athletics, Contacting, etc, that might not be usable for “attacks” in a fight against something we could kill.

I loved blackmailing Mr. Anders, that was just fun.

What could have improved

I’m always a little frustrated in games with magic that magic tends to trump everything else when it comes to information gathering. I was using my +4 Lore, Jameson was using his +4 Investigation and Donnie was using his +4 Scholarship all to get information on the Hags. While both Jameson and Donnie found information (they were flown in, nobody knows them, etc), it was my thaumaturgy that found them (or at least pointed us in the direction of finding them). I don’t think it’s bad for magic to do awesome things but I’m leery of it creating a precedent that it is a) the easy solution and b) will trump all other mundane abilities as that makes a wizard outshine other characters and takes the fun flavor of mundane investigations out of the game. I don’t think we did anything wrong but I want to make sure that everyone else’s skills shine as well.

Creating aspects and having them used against you. Arg… I’ve really got to get off my butt and look this up but it seems wrong that someone can create an aspect for their benefit and then have their opponent free tag it for their own. It means in a one on one fight you would never create an aspect because your enemy would just use it against you. In this case our boat got the aspect “swamped” (or maybe “flooded”, can’t remember) as a result of a maneuver from the storm, and one of the PCs free tagged it to help out on another move. Our opponent’s successes should not be to our benefit (mechanically speaking at least). I need to look this up and see if there is actually a rule pertaining to it.