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.
Last night’s demon started with a quick 35 scenes of what do you do for the next week, followed by a showdown with some baddies. Phew! This is where my brain explodes. I can’t remember my seven scenes, let alone the other characters.
Wow, Demon rocked last night. Rocked really hard. I had such a good time playing L5R the week before that I hadn’t really be thinking about Demon. I mean, I had this plan in my head of what to do, worked out in some detail, but frankly that is just because I’m OCD. Demon wasn’t really on my brain. Add that to the fact that my Sunday was just horrible (nightmares the night before that plagued me all day, un-fun cleaning of the house and then running over a bird on the way to the game) and I really didn’t expect to get really excited about the game. Maybe, like movies that is the best way to go into a game, with low expectations. I certainly had a blast last night.
Round the table we went, starting with Marcel. I’m using a different format here. Instead of doing one scene per time slot (morning, afternoon, night), I’m separating out each player’s scenes.
Day 2 – Scene 3 (Marcel and Howard)
Marcel and Howard both wanted to find out what was wrong with the Loom. Marcel got this half assed confession from Jared that he might just have forgotten to tell Marcel that the machine was falling apart. I had fun bitching him out for not letting the mechanic know the machine was broken.
We arrived at the school where Jared hid the Loom, in an old unused culvert under a bridge. Before we approached though, Marcel had to have words with Howard. “How did the shareholder meeting go?” “uhh… not so good”. It turned out that Howard was still deprived of his power, something that infuriated Marcel and incited him to show Howard exactly how to get what you want. With bulging biceps Marcel lifted the 80 year old man up by his shirt and pinned him to the roof of the culvert. “The only way to gain their respect is to make the fear you Howard. You’re not an old man, you’re an angel with power to rule over men, start acting like one!” We rolled some dice and Marcel did indeed come off as intimidating. Howard agreed, perhaps he would have to be more aggressive.
After that we got to fix the machine. Well it turns out that it has adapted to the industrial area it’s in and started taking on the aspects of a air conditioner, and an ancient one. It really just so happens that at work I’m doing data readiness by preparing preventative maintenance work orders for upload into our new CMMS system. And the PM that I have been using as my sample just happens to be a Air Handling Unit. Neat, I got to use word “sheave” in the proper context. It turns out that it was missing a part, one that only one guy in Seattle had any chance of having, some antique restoration hardware guy. Next stop: Mr. Lawrence’s’ shop.
Howard meanwhile tried to read the damn thing, but on top of missing parts it also faded in and out of existence. The machine, like us, was being pulled back to the abyss. Even more than parts, it needed faith to keep it here. He tried by the machine kept winking out of existence. No premonitions for Howard! Marcel realized that he’s going to need to build a faith engine, something to channel the faith offered by our thralls into keeping this machine safe.
Day 2 – Scene 4 (Lincoln)
Lincoln needed to head downtown to get a sexy business suit for Carol, something to give her the right image. On the way however, he saw a girl being tailed by a somewhat rough and tumble man. Helping people even before they knew they needed help, Lincoln sprung into action. Impersonating a Brit, he bumped into the man and started asking for directions. When a bit of confusing dialogue didn’t do the trick, Lincoln escalated and “accidentally” bumped him into an alley, detaining him there with a story long enough for the girl to enter the “Hood and Horn” unnoticed by the Midwestern man.
Lincoln followed up and entered the Hoof and Horn, a new age Celtic bookshop just in time to see the girl go behind a velvet curtain. When he tried to follow the shop owner Winifred interrupted “I’m sorry sir but that is the women’s circle. You seem to be of the wrong gender” A humorous discussion about the “men’s circle” started. Humor aside, Lincoln found out the woman’s name was Star and he told Winifred that she was being stalked. Winifred bristled a bit at a total stranger telling her than one of her customers was being stalked… but a total stranger. Unwilling to say more, Lincoln left her with his card in case she changed her mind.
Day 2 – Scene 5 (Carol)
Carol, knowing that cops were going to be arriving soon, made a quick jaunt to Lily’s house to tell her about her father. Lily was freaked out when she heard that not only was her father in town but that he had been stalking her. They talked over juice at the juice bar (can’t drink the poison that Starbucks spreads I guess) and decided that Lily would stay with Carol for a few days until things calmed down and they figured out what was going on with her dad.
To avoid the cops, Carol sent Lily back to her home alone to gather up some clothes, toiletries, etc and then they head to Carol’s place. Safe!…. yeah right.
Day 2 Scene 6 (Jared)
Curious about the “hit” that was going to happen in a couple days, Jared went downtown to the park where it would happen. He found two buildings with sufficient vantage points. One of them a medical facility (look likes they either produce or dispose of medical supplies) and the other a building whose top floors were owned by a Law firm. Both looked somewhat suspicious but Jared didn’t want to push his luck, so he left them alone.
Day 2 – Scene 7 (Marcel)
Marcel entered the shop calling loudly “Mr. Lawrence sir!, Mr. Lawrence, sir!” He found the old man out back tending to an old but loved crab boat. The old guy was suspicious of Marcel but started taking a liking to him once he showed an interest in antique restoration (boy was it EVER). Something like the fan sheave Marcel needed however was rare enough that Mr. Lawrence would pretty much charge whatever he wanted for it.
They talked for a bit and Marcel figured out that he could that what the old man really wanted to do was go out crabbing again and get a catch like he did back in Boston. I put my head down asking how the hell I could do that. When I looked up everyone was point at Howards’s player and I had a supreme “Duh” moment. Yeah, the devourer who as a power to summon animals in a three mile radius could probably do it. Yeah, go figure. Marcel told Mr. Lawrence that he would come back in the morning with a friend and they would go crabbing together. One scene down with Marcel’s first thrall.
Day 2 – Scene 8 (Lincoln and Carol)
All set as insurance claims adjusters from Geiko, Lincoln and Carol entered Ivan McPhayles gun shop and shooting range to try and sniff out the truth.
What they found
- Ivan is a tough old son of a bitch who isn’t afraid of insurance claims adjusters
- The cops didn’t sell Joaquin the guns in Ivan’s shop but they had brushed past each other.
- The cops really don’t like people digging into their business and like to insult people’s manliness.
- Hoodlums hang out at the shop as well, it most likely sells lots of illegal firearms but Ivan is presumably protected from the law by his cop friends.
Day 2 – Scene 8 (Jared)
Jared knew a good Sushi play near the sound and decided it was time for a little R&R. While there, however he noticed something strange. A room reserved with some cryptic, maybe occult symbol on the door. Thanks to camera phones and Carol’s knowledge religion he recognized the symbol as that of the Dominican order, one affiliated with excommunicating other Christians, the inquisitions and other not so friendly sides of Christianity. Curious, he set up a ruse to disappear in the bathroom, take his apocryphal form and slide through the ventilation shafts to observe what when on behind that closed door.
Three Dominican priests were accompanied by an old man, a Midwestern fellow and a woman. The gist of the meeting was that all of these people planed on kidnapping people close to them (presumably Lily, Star and someone else) to be taken to the Dominicans for “de-programming”. The priest convinced them that Satan has many pawns and they would try to protect the poor misguided girls, but they must stay vigilant to save their souls. Man, it’s awesome to be the bad guys when good guys are pompous assholes!
Day 2 – Scene 9 (Howard)
Howard staked his claim in the park. He began his plan to enthrall all the old chess players of the parks. He started by taking the top dog, the cocky bastard who insulted everyone he played. Howard schooled in record time and made a fool of him.
Interested in how Howard beat him so easily the old bastard followed him along a path where Howard revealed his apocryphal form and ravaged faith from him. It was brutal, like pulling teeth from a pissed of Rottweiler. There was fighting, chases, some embarrassment and eventually in the end there were bloodthirsty seagulls. Bad news for the guy, faith for Howard.
Day 3 – Pre-scene gathering.
- We all heard a voice in our heads that morning. A cryptic was on our trail and arriving from Dallas. TX today at noon, arriving at SEATAC airport. Fun!
- We met, talked about the message and other bits we had found. Several of us decided to go rescue Lily and Star, some of the same offered to go to the airport at noon. Marcel had to many irons in the fire, however.
Day 3 – Scene 1 (Marcel and Howard)
A quick scene where Howard and Marcel went crabbing with Mr. Lawrence, got the biggest catch he had ever scene and were gifted the necessary fan sheave. The mechanical component of the Loom fixed, we could turn our attention to other details.
Overall I love the idea of lots of plotlines running at once. It’s the exhilarating feeling I get in books like the Dresden Files where a bunch of things are going on, all to come to a head at the end.
I really enjoyed the scenes with Marcel and Howard. Marcel has figured out that it was pretty easy to convince Howard to use his methods, now he’s got to prove that they work.
The presence of the Dominicans is awesome. I really love that our foe totally thinks they are saving people. That is awesome.
We’re unveiling the SWAT/Gang war and it’s turning out to be very interesting.
I’ve constantly got more that I want to do than I can. Interesting choices come out of this.
I’m liking the more brutal Marcel. I’ve got to remember to channel Ving Rhames in my voice and attitude..
I was happy to see Lincoln save the girl. I know that’s a big thing for him so I’m really hoping that keeps moving forward.
Fucking chasing down a guy with seagulls. Awesome sauce.
Old guy: “You can teach me a thing or two, I’m older that you!”
Howard: “No… no you’re not!”
Mr. Lawrence: (regarding the sheave for the Loom) “You sure this the thing you’re going to fix is really an antique machine?”
Marcel: “Oh yes, older than you can imagine.”
What could have been improved
Well, I wanted to do more. And some of that is good as it keeps me motivated. But also I feel like some scenes really meandered around. I’m making an effort to state my intent early, move directly towards it hopefully with a die roll of some sort and then resolving a conflict quickly. I did well at that in the first scene with Howard, but not so hot with Mr. Lawrence. The idea is burn bright and then pass the spotlight quick. Sometimes I do it, sometimes I don’t. The frustration came for me when watching other scenes. Some of them I was really excited about but others felt like they went on to long and I got jealous for screen time again.
Demon last night was fun, very fun for me. Our GM has opted to stage the game so that we each have three scenes per session to either advance our own goals and/or address the hooks that he’s given us. This format works very well for me, it allows the characters to bounce off each other organically rather than be clumped up even when their goals are very different. As he’s put it Demon is a social game and our characters but their supernatural nature need to develop a network of thralls to support us. Those networks are pretty varied, as we’ve have already found out.
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.
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.
Last Sunday we put our heads together to make a head pie. And from the pie we cut slices of delicious demon… Hmm… I think I’m wandering here. We got together for a character creation session and stirred up a situation as well.
The concept is pretty much what I suggested from our on my last post. We’re Luciferans who are eager to keep fighting (presumably at this point out of malice, hate, etc). Our Lord, who knows our true name sent us to steal the vessel of knowledge from them. The plan goes pretty bad however, and we hop ship from the Abyss to Earth, carrying the physical vestments of our prize with us in the form of a loom which should lead us to one of the old ones. The cryptics however will be on us quickly so we’ve got to figure how to find this earthbound in a hurry.
We each created characters.
A Devil that wasn’t present during the start of the war and while he fought for Lucifer never got a chance to ask him why the war started. He’s got some unfinished business with the Morningstar. Now he’s take over the body of a professional consultant, a fixer, someone who takes care of problems…. Michael Weston.
A Devourer who’s taken the body of an old CEO who refused to retire and refused to die. He’s a crotchety old man who liked animals. In fact he summons them… by the swarm.
A Fiend who watched the stars and told us when the time was right to make the heist. She’s taken the body of a house wife who worked at book store and is part of a new age religious group.
A Defiler who took the body of a burnt out ATF agent.
And a Slayer who carried the Scythe to Lucifer and is now in the body of a 12 year old girl who nearly drowned do to drunk driving. Ummm… that was me and I ended up pretty unsatisfied with the concept. It was all schtick and no purpose. A Malefactor who worked in the Ebon Legion creating weapons of mass destruction for Lucifer, plagues and the such. He’s taken over the body of Marion West (still debating the name), an Arms dealer who got into the industry to put power back in the hands of people. Or at least that is what he once hoped for, over the years he saw his business create pain and suffering instead of business. He grew jaded and felt he betrayed his calling. Then he died in a shootout with the AFT and opened a door for a demon to walk in.
Demon is definitely the most mature of all the old World of Darkness games. By that I mean they back up what they say the game is going to be about with mechanics. For instance, Vampire says it’s all about politics and dark morality, but the mechanics are 90% about ways to kill people. Werewolf got it right by accident. They made a game about killing things and then made lots of mechanics for killing things. That however, I don’t credit as brilliance as much as I do fortunate. With Demon I’ve very happy to see that the way you gain power and what matters mechanically in game is the same thing that matters in the setting description. Thumbs up WW.
I like that our characters have relationships both as Demons and as co-conspirators. We’ve also got at least one mortal connection as well. The more we feel that we have meaningful ties to each other, the better the game will be.
I’m anxious to play. That is always a good sign. I have two “character” scenes I already want to play out when I get a chance and will look for more as I see more about the other characters.
What could have been improved
I was totally floundering with my first concept and so I spent the character creation night really frustrated. I’m feeling much better now.
I’d like for us to have named a few more things (like our characters and the Cryptics we stole from). Until they have a name they feel nebulous to me and I want things to feel visceral and real.
Next game the 19th… Looking forward to it.
On Sunday we decided that our once 8-player Werewolf game was down to 3-4 regular players and it couldn’t stand on its own. So, we talked for a couple hours and decided to run a Demon game.
Here is the premise I’m shooting for:
Since the fall, Lucifer has never been with us. He disappeared and never entered hell with the rest of us. Some of us turn our backs on his cause, decided to seek power by our own means, or worse accept the punishment He gave us. But my allies held true to our cause. Our love for humanity has not faded, ever after millennia of torture.
After the gates of the Abyss were broken many of our kind returned to earth in search of him, but their reports were dismal at best. The once paradise was now a base land and the people we protected hardly seemed worth our trust, let alone our protection. My friends and I were patient. Even with the doors rent apart, we stayed in our cells waiting for a sign, a sign that the Morning Star was ready to lead us once more.
Patience is a virtue, and eventually we saw the sign, though not without sacrifice. Another faction, the Cryptics, insufferable academics that believe they can unweave what was done by merely surrendering to the fact that this was all part of His plan and that we must now figure out our new roles… our new roles in His perfect mind. I’ve got news for you Crypics, the shit has hit the fan, the plan is busted, we’re not on the rails anymore. Nobody, not even Him, knows what’s going to happen next.
But I digress, the Cryptics in their search for knowledge uncovered one of the Earthbound. Powerful angels that escaped one form of wrath only to suffer another. Instead of being trapped in Hell all these years, they’ve been trapped on earth. Separated from both sides of the choir. Yes, we’ve been tortured, but at least we had each other. They… they’ve been alone, save a very few. But maybe, if our leader never came to Hell, maybe he was on earth, maybe they know where he is. And the Cryptics have found one, or at least the artifact of one, a vessel of knowledge that could lead them to him.
And what do these great minds do with such prized information. They sit on it. Yes, that’s right. A eon to think of your next play and these morons are paralyzed by their own wisdom, moving their knight back and forth for fear of making a mistake. Well suckers, it’s going to be checkmake sooner or later, and I’m going to at least take the chance to win rather than condemn myself to His so-called infallible plan. So we talked to them, asked for the vessel, told them what we could to, how wonderful it could be, hell we even lied and told them that an Earthbound was certain to have knowledge and that the first thing we’d do is share it with them.
But this was a secret they want kept hidden. So they ignored our pleas and buried it. Locked it up and threw away the key…
…Some of us can make keys however and some of us know that the correct application of a jack-hammer with break any door. So we stole it. That’s right. We had a whole plan. One of us to distract them, one to pick the proverbial lock, one to fight out way out, one to guide the team and one… one to find us an exit. A way out from hell, where we could put some distance between the Cryptics and us and where it would bring us closer to this Earthbound.
So now we’re here, in bodies that could barely stand on their own. And our mission is clear, find the Earthbound, find the leader of the Rebellion. Or it seemed clear. This vessel is more that we thought and harder to understand that we expected. And the Cryptics didn’t take nice to our little heist. They are after us, but they aren’t alone. Other factions like the Faustians don’t want us ruining their little empires by breaking the status quo. And there are others… creatures in the darkness that have taken over since we’ve left. Some our foes, some our friends, impossible to tell until we’ve met them. It is a dark day indeed.
You’ll then appreciate the very bitter irony when I say “May god help us…”