Actual Play – A Steward for the Ways (11/27/2011)

GM: Sean Nittner
Players: Chris Vincenti, Eric Fattig, and Steven Dunn
System: Dresden Files

Last we left off the WK was still breezing through the Never Never. Layers upon layers of Realms (first the Cage of Cerberus and then the Marsh of the Sea King) separated him from the real world. More on that soon.

As Chris wasn’t in the last game we spent some time finding out how spring training was going for Raoul. They went down to the Dominican Republic where they found a promising rookie Boboy, who Raoul wanted to take under his wing. There he spent some time with family as well, especially Etiene (his grandfather) that noticed the Loa were now speaking to Raoul frequently. He warned Raoul of trafficking with the dark Loa like Kalfu and of getting entangled with the White Council, but Raoul brushed his concerns aside “Times have changed papa, I can take care of myself. Don’t you worry about me.” Sure…of course not.

We started the session in earnest with Remington and the hag arriving at the Marsh of the Sea King, another realm of the Never Never. A marsh taken right out of the swamp of souls from Tolkien. Only these weren’t ghosts so much as souls that were trapped in the Never Never after death, wanting very badly to pass on.

I handled his passage through the marsh like a conflict, which I think was the right way to handle it mechanically but I wasn’t very clear about the Marsh’s objective. If Remington was taken out, what did that mean? I had fun torturing him with the images of people starving to death in their cells (how they attacked him, with their memories) but really wasn’t sure what they would gain if they won (Note: I’m rarely a fan of dying as the losing condition). I think this was a case of jumping into the mechanics too quickly and not driving to the dice form the fiction.

As that conflict went on I flashed over to Rose and Raoul who had been expecting Remington to show up for the last two weeks. Rose had pressure from all sides (Alisha who thought she was aiding and possibly now harboring a fugitive), Daiske who wanted to be around to make sure Monroe couldn’t deliver the hag and Tagushi himself who was waiting anxiously for her arrival. Mostly though, Rose didn’t want to be arrested by Alisha. And as it became very clear that is exactly what was going to happen (by way of eight FBI agents that showed up to arrest her) so Rose made haste and did something she hated…she asked Raoul for help, and what is worse, she asked him for supernatural help.

And I was really happy with what happened next. Chris, who has been pretty hands off when it comes to mechanics sat down and went through the full process of casting a ritual, including all the prep to bring Raoul’s lore up high enough as well as the casting itself. Of course the entire thing was peppered with the FBI showing up and being shooed away by Rose impersonating a Korean housekeeper, and Raoul leaping around skyclad as he was casting.

And Chris is a champ because even though all went well with the spell (casting wise) he was more than willing to accept a fate chip and have Kalfu show up (compelling everyone wants a piece of me) to take him on a magic carpet ride. Kalfu knocked on the door and when rose answered in Korean he replied in kind, asking her kindly to let him in. He was of course a daper idle aged hatian man in a white suit and white fedora. The scene with Kalfu was great, Raoul being all kinds of respectful, Rose being disdainful and Kalfu being lecherous. Raoul told Rose Kalfu could give her great power if he went inside her and, well, let your dirty mind wander from there.

Soon after Rose was hammered drunk and driving a 1920’s wood paneled Ford Model-T, taking turns at Kalfu’s direction and arriving in a marsh, right in front of the Winter Knight…

…who had just freed a soul (invoking his “I am death” consequence to send the soul on to its afterlife). Of course, that was like throwing bread crumbs before flock of pigeons…only these were insane tormented wraith pigeons, who suddenly ALL knew of his presence.

Remington had nearly made it through the marsh already (the marsh had of its stress boxes filled and took a mild consequence already), but with the aid of Raoul’s command over the dead, and Rose’s “I’ll have none of this nonsense, let’s just get out of here” gumption, the heroes easy found their way through the Sea King’s Marsh and to relative safety, at the subway beneath San Francisco, aka the entrance to the undercity.

They, waiting for them was Greymalkin, who applauded the Winter Knight’s resourcefulness in finding his way here. She also presented him with a task. As he no doubt noticed there was no guardian into the undercity. Since the first story, the Red Court had lost their status as stewards of the ways in San Francisco (as they were not able to pay their tithe, specifically because the players stole it from them) and since then the ways had been unprotected. Mab had some affairs to take care of and it was in her interest that nobody be privy to them…surely the Winter Knight, a consulate thief and liar could understand wanting some discretion in one’s work…but now as Winter would start to wane (in game time it is late March), and Mab’s work was done, she once again sought a guardian to watch over the ways while her precedence cedes to Summer.
And guess what Winter Knight… you get to find the person (or rather faction) to do it! Yay.
The game ended with them leaving Never Never into the 16th street BART station. Everything seemed well…until they asked, hey, isn’t someone going to notice that Catarina looks like a monster? And the game ended with a woman who had just asked them for spare change, suddenly going pale and then screaming in terror.

Thoughts on the game.

Lenny Balsera helped me quite a bit with Mab’s “Favor”. I really didn’t want a “go kill, retrieve, or rescue X thing or person” kind of task. The task, should by virtue of being granted to a mortal servant include some choice, some very significant choice that could surprise even Mab. Also, the element of choice, by its nature includes the possibility of error or poor judgment, and passes the culpability for a poor choice from Mab to her knight. In the end, even if Remington screws up, it will server Mab well, as she will have lots of room for recourse against both the chosen steward and her knight (because that is always fun times) and, and… I get to let the PCs agonize over what to do next, which I just love.

Yay for fully engaging the spellcasting mechanics. I hand wave them often and I was glad that we played through this time, it made for a some fun complications (like the FBI showing up in the middle).

As mentioned above I jumped to quickly into “let’s have a conflict” when I should have instead started with a narrative “The swamp is filled with souls. They want to trap you amongst them, keep you their prisoner so that they can experience life through you, as the souls in hell did to Dante in Inferno”. I think making it clear that a force wanted to imprison him…and in fact even compelling his “one step away from Iron Bars” to justify why he came to THIS particular realm in the Never Never, would have been good.

There was a moment when the PCs were having a big pow wow right next to Greymalkin and Catarina. I thought for a bit about those two listening in, but decided I much preferred them being old friends that were getting caught up (as Catarina had been in prison for the last 300 years). It also introduced the possibility that Catarina can call in some old favors from Winter.

We did have one sticky point. The players turned to the Hag, who they know has no regard for human life and wanted her very much to promise that she would stay with them to complete the bargain with Tagushi. And I thought for a bit…why would she do that. She wasn’t bound by any kind of oath. She hated the guy, why would she ever agree to stick around and feign going into his captivity? So, she made them a deal. The Wizard Thomas Caine had really put a number on her. His spell gave her and extreme consequence that prevents her from taking human guise (and because it is a physical consequence also triggers her catch, it’s a double whammy). She doesn’t know how he did it but she wants Caine to fix it! So, she agrees to go peacefully with them, and they need to “heal” her.

Due to the sensational reaction he got to cheating in a duel with a troll, at the end of the session Remington took the aspect “You expect the Winter Knight not to cheat?” I’m really pleased with this because a) it shows that Remington can be a dynamic character, he has changed and two, it’s a great one to compel, because now everyone that has dealt with him (or heard of him) will expect him to cheat on their deals. Certainly Catarina (who witnessed it first hand) is making provisions for what to do if he tries to cheat her out of a cure and Tagushi, who has heard about the PCs duplicitous dealings with Red Court is going to be waiting for him to try and pull a fast one. Having everyone thing you’re a cheater will make for some fun Trouble ™.

Actual Play – You Expect the Winter Knight Not to Cheat? (11/14/2011)

GM: Sean Nittner
Players: Alec Ransdell, Eric Fattig, and Steven Dunn
System: Dresden Files

The next story, which will resolve around the goings on at Winter Court, followed right on the footsteps of our APEC/Jade Court Story. The Hecetean Hag Catarina had a been stopped (her ritual foiled), lives were saved and all was well…except that the Winter Knight had just crossed over into the NeverNever and still had a binding pact to return Catarina to a member of the Jade Court alive.

Previously on

Since it had been a little while between games I decided to recap in a more cinematic non-linear fashion. Rather than recount the events of the last game, I recounted, in a specific order some scenes from the last few games that I thought were pertinent, to give a little context for the challenges I planned on presenting in this game. Here were the cut scenes

Chief of police Lawrence Rothgarn telling VC “The 42nd is a laughing stock and the commissioner is going to have my head if we don’t close this case. We need to close this case!”

Rose and her father in the hospital “Daughter, there are wheels within wheels in APEC, you must be careful with who you trust”. As the dialog rolled over, the imaged changed to her walking into the APEC office and noticing everyone eyeing her suspiciously.

Alex Tagushi of the Jade Court meeting with Remington “Winter Knight, we have come to an accord. Bring Catarina back to me alive and I will make your legal problems go away.”

Finally we cut to the end of the last game, fighting out on the beach and under water the Winter Knight opens a portal to the NeverNever and pulls himself and Catarina through moments before lightning from Caine’s fingertips arcs through the space they were.

Fun times on the beach…

I started on the beach, with the folks left behind dealing with what Remington and Catarina had left behind. VC had lost his perp and he could hear the sirens on the bridge of officers coming to the scene no doubt (because of a compel on his “It’s better if you don’t know the details” aspect) the lead car had Chief Rothgarn in it expecting to find the perp apprehended. Fun times.

VC did what any cop did that didn’t want to talk to his boss. He hid. “Officer Caine, you know where Reminton went? Good. I need to do some of your voodoo to send me there as well. And fast!”

Rose meanwhile, was nearly arrested by agent Alisha Hayes for collusion with Monroe in escaping her custody. Yes he had found her the kidnapped victims, BUT he also disappeared! (Alisha thought Rose was aiding him because of a compel of Rose’s “Just one of the boys” aspect). That turned into a fun social conflict where Alisha was just owned, and finally consented that the best way to find Remington was to let Rose go look for him.

And finally, with the least creative interpretation I could take of “One step away from Iron Bars” I had the NeverNever around treasure island be a giant cage, containing what would later be revealed as a gigantic axe (like a 3 mile long axe) named Ragnarok (blatantly stolen from a game Ryan Macklin ran where one of the wizards had an axe of the same name, though presumably much smaller). As he crossed over, he saw himself on a giant but rounded and slippery bridge (what turned out to be the haft). The waters were roiling below and his only companion in this foreign places was a beast of a creature. Catarina could not take her human guise on account of the extreme consequence she had suffered from Caine.

The guardian

I felt a little slopping introducing two trolls in the same area, but you know, bridges and trolls just make sense. At the end of the bridge was a giant cage, large enough for Remington and Catarina to climb through, but guarded by Francis, the Troll. He offered Catarina free passage; she had already been paid for (in the previous story) but Remington would have to pay 250 gold bullion to pass… or you know challenge the troll to a fight. Ha!

Francis was a pretty savvy troll, as trolls go, and he wanted no part of a fight with a Winter Knight with the sword of winter, so as the challenger he chose the weapons: unarmed! To assure Remington his sword would not be stolen or tampered with during the fight he summoned a sprite from Winter Court to hold the blade for him in the process.

As Remintong handed it over, he made some inference that he was the knight, this sprite must be his squire. I didn’t think much of it, so I said sure “Yeah, Torsius of Winter Court is totally your squire.” Hah, how that affecting things. As the fight went on it was pretty clean Francis was toying with Remington. He swatted him around some, buried him in rubble, and generally disoriented him. Remington the whole time was preparing for a master stroke. He created a cloud of fog around Francis, obscuring his vision, locked him a in ice, preventing him from moving and then, in a surprise twist told the troll he was a fool “You accepted a challenge from the Winter Knight and expected me not to cheat? Squire, my sword!”

Apparently, witting one liners are rewarded with great rolls because not only did his roll incredibly well, then tag every aspect he could and blow his fate chips AND except a favor from Mab guiding his stroke, but Francis also failed to beat the block on his Athletics roll and was totally unable to dodge the 16 shift attack that came his way. Yeah, tough, but not tough enough. A thousand little miniature trolls sprouted forth shouting “Never trust the Winter Knight, never trust the Winter Knight. Should have known better, should have…”

Outside, Rose and VC decided the really didn’t need follow Remington after all, they knew where he was heading!

Thoughts on the game

I loved the fight. Felt a little bit bad using two trolls so close together in the game… but as Francis is dead… maybe there is a job opening for Fred now.

Really thought, one of one fights are where Fate shines. Each person doing cool moves and positioning themselves vs. the chaos of multiple combatants that don’t always interact in a manner I can wrap my head around. I didn’t detail out everything but the fight had lots of back and forth. Maneuvers, blocks, spectacular defenses, etc. As having a little pocket domain all to himself, Francis had control over the environment in ways that were just fun.

Remington is up to owing Mab four favors…and he has no fate chips remaining. Fun fun fun.

I worry a little about Rose and VC not being part of the action, but from what I suspect they are going to do, they’ll create action of their own.

The interactions between Catarina and Remington were interesting. Neither one of them was very interested in gaining the trust of other but rather in trading information and services. Catarina was impressed with Remington’s resourcefulness and if he planned to help her kill her captor, she was all for it, but she doesn’t trust him at all. She’s working on making herself valuable to him, but the progress is slow going. Not sure if I should handle that strictly through the narrative or as a social conflict. Each of them trying to get one up on the other. I need to figure out her leverage (knowledge of NeverNever, favors owed to her but Winter Court, ability to lead Remington to the Jade Court slaves) and then push that.

Actual Play – Troll Grapples Car. Legendary++ (9/25/2011)

GM: Sean Nittner
Players: Eric Fattig, Chris Vincenti, Steven Dunn, and Joe Harney
System: Dresden Files

Last session the players had freed a Hecatean Hag. That was great news. I mean, what isn’t there to love about a natural disaster caused by the PCs. So she did what hags do best, they find their sisters. And in this case finding, or rather freeing, her sisters meant using some major mojo to the count of seven human sacrifices. Yay… but I’m getting ahead of myself.

First, Catarina the hag had to get rid of people who might get in her way, namely her prior captors (Rose’s father and a tool named Alex Tagushi), and the Warden who had made it pretty clear that he was going to try one his head separating from body sword tricks on her if he could.

READ: I got to throw baddies at the player characters and their loved ones and see how they dealt with it. Yay.

The game was mostly two fights. Catarina had cashed in some favors from back in the DAY, to get some fey for hire to kill her enemies. An ogre named Ronnie and a troll named Fred. Really, Ronnie and Fred? Yep, those are their names and I’m sticking to it.

Ronnie ploy was simple, using a glamour to conceal his ogre-ness he made his way into SF General where Mr. Itsuaki (roses dad) was receiving care and planned to smother him to death with a pillow.

Fred’s plan was simpler. Wait for the Crown Victoria owned by Detective Thomas Caine, license plate 4HRG775 to cross the Bay Bridge. (Fred knows things, and one of those things is every person or car that
pays toll crossing his bridge. Fred was the bay’s FasTrak). After it passes treasure island, leap down and throw it off the bridge!

The fights were fun for me, mostly. They allowed me to do several things at once. Give the characters some good physical challenges where they could unload their big guns. Create sympathies and tensions between PC-NPC-PC triangles (like Rose, Mr. Itsuaki and Remington), and drive home the point that Catarina was a calculating menace. Oh… and I got to grapple a car!

Some things that weren’t so hot. I really dislike playing NPCs that are on the side of the PCs. It’s way too much math and attention for me. Figuring out what three wardens in a car were going to do was tough. Luckily I had some plans for that. First off, it was meant as a chance for Caine to shine in front of his people, so I intentionally gave them environmental hazards to deal with (namely being trapped in
a crushed car that was being grappled) while he got his zorch on. Still, making their athletics rolls and such took time and distracted me.

These fights had some awesome action in them. After ramming a cold iron shaft into Fred’s knee and nearly having his arm chopped off by the same troll’s axe, Caine took a flying leap off the bridge to save his fellow wardens as the car with them in it tumbled off the edge. He earned two characters changing their aspects to reflect his actions. Ramirez now has “Caine doesn’t cry wolf” and Amalia has “Caine saved my life”.

In the aftermath it turns out that Fred is a huge (get it “huge”) Giant’s fan (get it “giant’s fan”) and not only did he happily take Railroad’s autographed car but after the man pulled a shaft of cold iron out of his leg for him (very Androcles and the Lion), Fred vowed that he owed a favor to Raoul. Can’t want to see how that one turns out.

In the hospital, the Winter Knight and Rose Isuaki did their best to protect her father from Ronnie, which for a while meant being the ogre’s punching bag instead of letting him murder Mr. Itsuaki. As it became clear that he was going to toss Mr. Itsuaki’s bed, patient included, out the windows of a 5th story hospital room, Rose got desperate and leapt on the bed so it went out the window with both of them. Camera pans to Ronnie, satisfied with his work and storming out (the Winter Knight had put some pretty big holes in him), then to the outside of the hotel with Rose hanging from the windowsill with one hand and holding the injured Mr. Itsuaki in the other. Yeah!

Thoughts on this game.

I’m not sure how to handle conflict where there are multiple people with potentially different agendas. There doesn’t seem to be a “win” condition, there is just a “lose” condition and once everyone else has lost (elimination style) you are the de facto winner. The problem with that is that who takes out who dictates the terms under which they leave the conflict. So, with Ronnie, his goal was to kill Mr. Itsuaki. He walked out the door, thinking he completed his work but really he lost the conflict (he was tricked) without actually taking any stress to that effect. I ruled that he conceded, believing he thought the job was done.

Joe brought up some points about how I handled the troll fight. One of them was the fear that I was trying to kill his backup as soon as it appeared. My intent there was to give Caine a chance to prove himself before the other Wardens, both that calling them to his aid was necessary and that he was one hell of a Warden. It’s a fine line for me there. Should I tell someone outright “even though I’m putting your friends in danger, it’s not like I plan on killing them” or leave them in the dark regarding my intentions? I think this falls into the “secrets” category. I hate secrets.

One of the other issues he brought up about the fight was how I negated one of his actions on a whim; effectively allowing the troll to toss the car of the bridge even after Caine had broken Fred’s grapple. We agreed that for story purposes, flying off the edge of the bridge was awesome, but I should have really taken an “action” to prompt it.

I’m still gauging what I can toss at the players and whether or not to give my badies any fate chips, generated through compels or lost conflicts I can imagine them having before they ever saw the PCs. Sometimes I do it, but I’d like something more consistent.  I really like that games like Agon and Smallville give the GM as pool of resources to pummel the players with. but I notice that in both of those games the focus is more on the cast completing with (or having drama with) each other than it is on the external threats. Hmm.

Actual Play – Return to the Sea (10/23/2011)

GM: Sean Nittner
Players: Chris Vincenti, Joe Harney, Steven Dunn, Alec Ransdell, and Eric Fattig.
System: Dresden Files

This is the first time I’ve had all five of the current players at Dresden. As adults are schedules are wonky and so we’re often missing a player or two, since Joe came on board this is the first time we’ve had all five. And it was good timing, this was the final game in our story of Catarina and her sisters.

We started with a few flashbacks, one of which resulted in Raoul being owed a favor by the troll of the bay bridge for removing the cold iron pipe that had been shoved through his knee. The other involved Remington maintaining his “grim reaper” status by not being willing to let Rose’s father die.

The game started with way too many people (all the PCs plus three wardens) in a single recovery room (Thomas Caine, after having jumped off a bridge). The discussion was pretty headed, regarding what to do with Catarina, some wanted to kill her, others wanted to capture her and Raoul thought she could be reasoned with.

After a while the conversation went from fun antics to what was looking like a stalemate and I stepped in with Carlos Ramirez making some downright lies (and doing wonderfully on his deceit roll in the process) to assure everyone they would get what they wanted, when his intention was very simple: kill the monster.

Before finding here there was some fun interstitial scenes. Monroe got arrested (again) and was being hauled off to FBI headquarters when he dropped the bomb that he knew where the kidnap victims were. His confidence got him an entire convoy of FBI agents heading down to treasure island.

Daiske, Rose and her father had a pow wow, that started with pow (Daiske destroyed ANOTHER hospital room) and ended with a wow (APEC, the company they all work for, is actually at odds with itself and Rose had been manipulated by a member of it that is part of the Jade Court. Oh… and there is a Dragon on Alcatraz guarding monsters and selling them off to the highest bidders. Wow!

The fight itself was pretty brief. Raoul tried to reason with her and when it seemed that she couldn’t be reasoned with (she set the building on fire), Caine popped in with a one liner (something along the lines of “yeah, but I can”) and let loose hell on her. I gave Catarina an Alertness roll but failing that she was torn apart by Caine’s spell (to the effect of the Extreme Consequence: Hideously disfigured, she can no longer take a human guise and her catch has been permanently activated).

After that she tried to flee and make it to her power source (the seven victims under water) but was frozen in her tracks by the Winter Knight. VC despite hating water (bad infections he still remembers from Vietnam) swam under the surface to find the intended spell energy source and free them.

In the last moments, the Winter Knight opened a portal to the Never Never (appropriate I thought by the bay) and disappeared with the hag, working towards his oath to “capture” her.

There was lots of confusion about whether or not Raoul was using necromancy, whether Rose really wanted her dead or captured, and how much she could use that to manipulate Ramirez. Also Daiske is a warlock… I mean he’s worked with the Red Court, he must be a warlock, right. And he’s got a soldier of the White Council chasing him down.

Thoughts on the game.

To complicate matters further with Mr. Itsuaki, rose and Monroe, I totally should have made Remington drop Mr. Itsuaki in order to make sure the chill of death didn’t pass on to him. Ah well. It was good as is.

My players love SF General. Collectively, I think they got rid of four or five consequences there. Serious stuff. Lacerations, cracked ribs, burns, you name it. I need to make a couple doctors as NPCs, someone to give the place some flavor.

I should have dinged some more consequences in the last fight to give Catarina a little more help. Caine came up and sucker punched her with a 14 stress lightning bolt. I gave her an alertness roll to be prepared for it (he did deliver it after an awesome one liner after all) and when she failed that he tagged her really hard. I should have taken all his physical consequences into account when considering how much that might slow him down and give her a moment to react.

You know it’s hard for me to play characters bound by nature. Like, as a hag, her motivation was simple, free her sisters from an arcane prison. I don’t think that makes her unable to work with people, or show something resembling human emotion. It’s just hard for me to consider someone so alien they can’t be talked to.

Steve played this VERY smart. He both impressed Agent Hayes with his knowledge and intentions as well as infuriated her by disappearing again. He kept his oath to “capture” the hag alive but is going to make a deal with her to kill her captor, and out of that I’m pretty sure he can get information on the location of the Jade court’s intended gift.

I don’t like playing canon characters, especially ones I’m not very familiar with. It’s been while since I’ve read anything with Rameirez in it and besides remembering that he’s a “virginal ladies’ man”, I really can’t say I remember much about him. My performance was disappointing.

For the sake of not antagonizing players, I really need to give the Warden of the White Council a head he can chop off, and or show just how messed up breaking the laws of magic can be. I mean Donald Morgan is fine in the books, but Joe didn’t sign up to play Morgan, and he shouldn’t be pigeonholed as the “Magical Cop.” Wait… that is exactly what he is… a magical cop. Damn!

I dislike squabbles that don’t seem they can go anywhere. I want to find a better way to put concrete wedges between the players and have them hash it out. What I should have done was call for a social conflict, but with eight people involved and at least three different agendas I didn’t know how to handle it. If I had been playing Burning Wheel, this would have been a clear cut duel of wits. So, why does a social conflict feel different in Dresden? Part of it was that I knew the discussion would go from a discussion to a formulaic decision about what actions to take. Like the flow of conversation would break. Hmm, more to think on this.

Actual Play – Ice My Arm Down Coach (9/11/2011)

GM: Sean Nittner
Players: Steven Dunn, Chris Vincenti and Joe Harney
System: Dresden Files

I finally figured out how to compel Raoul’s trouble. It is “Ice My Arm Down Coach” to represent how Raoul’s coach Frank Ortiz tries to protect him from doing things that would mess up his career. In the past I’ve used it weakly to try and stop Raoul from getting into danger. That was just lame, it was like I was saying “it’s going to cost you a fate chip to be part of the action and have fun.” I tried it once and, seeing Chris buy it off, instantly knew it was the wrong way to compel the aspect.

So, what is the right way, Frank doesn’t try and stop Raoul from making mistakes, instead he tries to clean them up himself. In all the wrong ways. Last session to foil a kidnapping, Raoul had effectively kidnapped an Olympic figure skater named Mao Asada. The press was all over her absence and Frank was sure if she came forward she could ruin Raoul’s career, and thus deprive the Giants of their starting pitcher. Frank couldn’t have that. So he did what coaches know how to do, he planted a performance enhancer (Klomifen) in her locker and then circulated some rumors that she was juicing. Once that was discovered any claims she made would fall on deaf ears. Now that’s how to use that compel.

And Roaul took it too. And did nothing. He left it for the Winter Knight to sefl-compel “The Girl I Couldn’t Save” to go sneak into her locker room and steal the stuff out…before the authorities arrived. All in all, that was the highlight of the game for me.

On top of that Caine was told to arrest Raoul for kidnapping, charges quickly dropped.

Roaul, after a Legendary+ resources roll to dress up for a meeting, created a new, extremely crass and bold fashion, called the “Railroad”, or RR depending on the piece. New city aspect “Railroad is the new Pink”

Oh, and they met with a dude how identified himself as a member of the Jade court. Alex Tagushi. Someone who thanked the Winter Knight for preventing the red court from making an offer to his patron, but wondered why they had meddled with his property (a hag named Catarina that they had freed last game).

Tagushi made an offer to Remington. Capture this hag for me and I’ll make your legal problems go away. Yep, flat out. He was ready to wipe out Remington’s Trouble “One Step Away From Iron Bars”. They agreed and a pact was made. A VERY powerful pact. A 10-shift block that hangs like a guillotine over his neck should he try to break the bond. And, about five acres of fresh sod was turned to dust in the process. So much for Tagushi’s private golf course. I guess he’ll have to use one of his others.

Meanwhile more kidnappings were happening. Seven to be precise, and not any of them subtle. Men, women, children, grabbed indiscriminately off the street. Several security cameras got footage, all of them confirming they looked like a woman Kyung Soon, one of human chattel the Jade Court is planning to make as an offering to Winter Court, but more accurately, the human guise that the Hag Catarina had taken. She was kidnapping people and in a hurry, nothing good could come of this…

Thoughts from this game.

Dude, personal stuff is where it’s at. I tell all these epic stories to justify giving my PCs challenges where they can use their big swords and spells and juju, but the stories I really love don’t have anything to do with that. They have to do with the ramifications of our power, of how much work Superman has to do to maintain Clark, of how much Peter gets the short end of the stick compared to Spidey. Every hero must make personal sacrifices and those are the stories I love to tell. I know, they can’t exist unless someone does something heroic, like nobody wants to play Ryan the bathroom attendant (except maybe me), but that personal fallout, is the stuff of legends.

In comparison I felt the meeting with Tagushi was a little flat. He waved his giant magic codpiece around and bullied the PCs into working with him, or at least the Winter Knight. He was a consummate douche, and pretty paper thin. I don’t like playing high status characters. I tend to play them as assholes (my general experience with people that have a lot of power), which just feels antagonistic. Also, I think in reaction to that, my players often chafe against them, totally indiscriminate of how dangerous it might be, and then I’m REALLY reluctant to have them strike out because I think it would be cruel and petulant (both of me and the NPC). So, I’m left with this giant ego-inflated ham of a character, all bark and no bite.

Having VC and Rose miss this game, when so much of it focused on Rose, really hurt. I had a couple of compels (read: bangs) ready for those two, that I really wanted to see them react to. I kind of wonder if I should have just postponed the game. By the time Fattig returned, I felt very much like he and Rose were out of the loop. To a lesser extent (because this wasn’t his story) the same was true for VC.

In general I’m liking the format of having each story center around a major component of the the PCs lives. The first one was about the Red Court, specifically Alec’s sire. The second was all about voodoo, bringing in Raoul’s loa into the foreground and this was about APEC, the organization that Roses’ father, and now Rose, works for. Next up… Winter is waning.

Actual Play – The Girl That Got Away (8/28/2011)

GM: Sean Nittner
Players: Chris Vincenti, Steven Dunn, and Joe Harney
System: Dresden Files

This adventure was meant to do a couple things.

  • Follow up on the exploits of the heroes with the Jade Court from the first adventure. They had given Jade and opening and now the court was taking it.
  • Shine the spotlight on Rose, her father and the organization they worked for, the Asian Pacific Economic Conference (APEC).
  • Create ties between Remington’s prior promise (to rescue the human offerings intended for Mab) and Rose’s duty to her father (becoming chief of security at APEC).

In retrospect, it did all of them in varying degrees, though not as succinctly as I’d like it to have. For instance, we did learn about APEC and the Jade Court involvement, but besides a hag who took the form of the of the human offerings, we really didn’t learn anything about where that offering was.

This was complicated somewhat by the absence of Rose and VC. Especially Rose, who I intended to have calling the shots.

All of the characters were sent, specifically through unofficial channels to attend a gala to celebrate Japanese figure skaters Mao Asada and Akira Sasaki making it into the winter Olympics.

Major events at the gala

A fake kidnapping of Mao Asada turned into a real kidnapping (of sorts) when Raoul put in her in a cab and sent her off to his agent to keep her “safe”.

Meanwhile Caine and Remington saw through the smoke and mirrors and realized the real heist going on was the pickup of a package. Specifically a package containing a trapped (circle of power style trapped) Hag named Catarina.

Naturally Raoul being Raoul, she was freed and let out into the night, notably having pledges not to harm Raoul or his kin, which giving that he is an emissary of power…

Some fun times included…

A shootout between Caine and some APEC security, which worked very well because neither side had the goal of killing the other side.

Raoul insulting one of the skaters (Akira Sasaki) and being put in a brutally painful wrist lock for his efforts.

Caine getting a lot of crap from the wizard Helios and being offered sponsorship in the affairs of the White Council from the wizards and treasure hunter Johanna Duska.

Monroe cheating his way out of the hot seat again by telling the cops that the Raphael in the MOMA was a fake.

Thoughts about this game.

Missing Fattig/Rose really threw me for a loop. What I get for creating a centerpiece character.

Johanna’s social conflict with Caine felt like it lacked some teeth. I’m not sure that she really had something he needed and therefor I don’t think she had leverage. If there is no leverage, there is no conflict, something for me to remember.

When Remington was slipping past APEC security, I handed each individual move as a contested roll, when I should have really called it one conflict. APEC wins he is caught, Monroe wins, he finds out what they are smuggling. Playing it out as separate contests worked out okay, but I would have been much happier to hit him with mental stress by having guards hear a noise and come after him, put maneuvers on the scene like “on alert”, etc.

Actual Play – Introducing Warden Thomas Caine (8/15/2011)

GM: Sean Nittner
Players: Joe Harney, Steven Dunn, and Rose Itsuaki
System: Dresden Files

Our voodoo story wrapped up revealing two brothers, one hougan (David), one bokor(Jean Emmanuel), that have rivaled through the ages. As practitioners they have been around for a while, and played out their personal rivalries through their children.

When David’s daughter overdosed on heroin, provide to her by Jean Emmanuel’s grandson, he could not let her go. Instead he call a Loa, Marinette Bwa Chech (a spirit of vengeance) to “ride” his daughter and give her strength to find vengeance on the men who poisoned her with drugs.

If this game sounds familiar, especially if your Kevan Forbes (), it’s because I stole it, nearly in its entirety, from Kevan’s ConQuest 2005 World of Darkness game.

The players naturally got mixed up in these affairs both as cops (Marinette killed quite a few drug dealers…who were then raised as zombies to kill her host) and a Warden (some serious necromancy going on here).

The end was perhaps unsatisfying to a warden tasked with killing necromancers. The real Magical Law violator disappeared into the NeverNever (not my action by the way, he was summoning something out of it and got thrown in by Remington) and the one who skated by the edge just didn’t quite do anything definitive enough to remove his head. Two voodoo practitioners (three if you count Raoul), and no heads rolling. Sad Panda Waden.

Some fun bits.

Before the action started I asked everyone to do some back story question about Caine. Showing their familiarity with him as a cop, and he in turn was asked some questions about the precinct. We determined that he was transferred out of CPD after a terrorist attack using biological warfare in a park, and that the rumor was he panics in the line of Fire. What Caine had heard about the 42nd precinct is that they are a bunch of screw offs. Hmmm… some thoughts on that below.

We also found out that the Dwarf Durin, a member of the Winter Court had a begrudging respect for Caine, and that Caine owes Durin free passage once.

On their way I took over for VC (Alec wasn’t at the game) and hit Remington with this. Look at what exposure to the supernatural has done to Rose, look how it’s make her lose her job, nearly lose her father. Any you want to bring Alicia (Remington’s would be girlfriend if she wasn’t an FBI agent that wanted to arrest him) into this? Monroe took the bait (and the fate chip) and left Alisha handcuffed to the ancient radiator in VC’s apartment.

Rose made a big deal of rigging the getaway boat to explode. When it did, with Marie/Marinette onboard, I liked the scene very much of her holding on the railing, willing herself to stay there and burn, to finally be free of the mortal coil and send the Loa home.

Helios, a wizard who really believes the earth and the moon revolve around him showed up to give the warden the tip off about the necromancers and rub his status in his face. Helios is a prick if a wizard with his own personal agenda. More of this to play out later.

Thoughts on this game.

This story had some personal touches I liked. A father who was controlling his daughter to mirror Rose and her Father’s relationship. Questions of free will and of when you’ve gone to far. Some of the stakes weren’t about defeating one side or the other but making them admit they were wrong.

My biggest struggled in this game, and one that would continue for the next two games was missing my spotlight PC. This was Raoul’s big mess to sort out. The other PCs were there for backup, but this was my attempt to give his facet of magic a face inside the city and to give Raoul an inkling of the power on the other side waiting for him to grasp it…and Chris wasn’t at the session. Bleh. It worked, but only barely.
A legendary ward that has no effect on mortals? Awesome way to get folks thinking out of the box. Not something I’ll pull every time (it would get old fast) but in this case it made a lot of sense.

Zombies inhabited by the spirits of French revolutionaries. Awesome! Yay for Rose being a Linguist.

I made a move I wasn’t sure if it was kosher. When Caine electrocuted a kid (albeit a kid with a tire iron) he describe the effect as high voltage, low amperage, non-lethal. Then proceeded to do an excess of 10 shifts of stress (I only remember then number because I had the kid take and extreme consequence and he was still taken out). The kid dropped to the ground, catatonic (his consequence) from the shock. Too harsh? I wasn’t sure. In Dresden/Fate when you take someone out you get to decide what that means. For a wizard wary of breaking the first law of magic, the system allows you to use as much firepower as you want and still describe the effects as non-lethal. There seems something wrong with that to me. Like there should be a certain bullshit factor called when you use extreme force against a mortal, but who am I to draw straws? Someone is taken out, they are out, it doesn’t matter how much stress did the job. Three would have been enough (assuming I didn’t have him take consequences) so should I really react so much to 11+? Well, I did, in a fashion I thought was befitting the attack. Nope, not dead, but comatose due to an extreme consequence. Damaged for life. Is that punishing a PC for using his toys (something I don’t want to do) or presenting the perils of power in a moving way?

Later, the building was caught on fire by the Winter Knight (I know, fire and winter, ironic) and everyone forgot the comatose boy inside until well after they had fled. Now where does THAT sit with the first law?

Warden Caine had a total Batman entrance, cape and all. It was pretty cool.

One of the first things I mentioned above was some backstory questions I asked. What I wanted was some hooks and common ground for the characters to either agree or disagree on but at least share the same knowledge of. What I got out of it were a couple responses that felt deprotagonizing to the characters. The 42nd was made out as a joke and Caine was described as someone who panics under fire. Now, in a group that had been playing together for a while, or where I just had the vibe that they would take these conflicts and use them as grist of the mill of character drama, I’d probably be happy. But bringing a new player into an existing group, it felt like it set up the precedent for un-fun ribbing rather than making the others look awesome.

Since then I’ve seen it manifest, most often but not exclusively between the Winter Knight and the Warden, who each describe the other as incompetent, specifically a klutz with a sword despite a good [+3] weapon skill and a second rate replacement for Rose as a cop and custodian. Now we’re all adults at the table and I don’t think any of the players are walking away from this hurt, I’d have brought it up to them specifically if I did. And maybe it’s just relationship dynamics set up so the characters can riff off each other, but I struggle with it at times. I think it’s my job to give the characters challenges that are opportunities to be awesome (Dresden is pretty high in the competence porn rating). I don’t want those moments of awesome diminished or negated by anyone (PC or NPC) tearing down the spotlight PC.

Also, its worth nothing some awesome friction has come up, specifically ideological differences. Like, as much as I don’t want the players squabbling over nothing, I totally LOVE it when they fight over things they believe in, like Raoul and Caine’s totally different outlook on magic and monsters (and possibly free will).

Actual Play – The Grim Reaper’s Keeper (7/31/2011)

Players: Alec, Steve and Fattig
GM: Sean Nittner
System: Dresden Files

The hiccup

The game gave me a bit of a twist. Chris couldn’t make it and the game was pretty centered around his character. Luckily we had some really pressing matters for the PCs to address, namely there very short lived chance of proving their innocence.

The game is the thing

One of the victims at of the slaughter at All Star’s house was still alive but in intensive care. I took a page from Apoc Worlds and put the NPC in the crosshairs. He was found all cut up and it was some time before the EMTs arrive so I ruled that he was going to die unless the PCs could do something about it. The main conflict in the game ended up being a fight with Death itself. A character who ended up being a mix of DEATH from Discworld, a grim reaper ala “Dead like me” and tough Latino gangster.

The character ended up at the hospital through some circuitous means. Rose and Remington wanted to go there to prove their innocence. They needed to know where he was so Remington used his contacting skill to talk to Campbell and have him ask around. This was pretty funny because the contacting roll basically covered whether or not Campbell would talk to him knowing he was on the lamb.

Afterwards they opted to remove his “exhausted” consequence by getting some sleep in the park at union square. While he was resting Rose saw two beat cops walking by and quickly through her jacket over him to make him look like a bum sleeping on the bench and then darted into the bushes with his sword. This was a fun moment for me because the sword was not at all keen on Rose picking it up. She managed a great endurance roll to resist the attack, but had it one she would have been frozen stiff from the cold. That would have been fun times.

VC is a good cop, it didn’t take him much to figure out that is exactly where they would be. First he pulled rank and took charge of the manhunt. Something the police chief didn’t like but his LT backed him on and that was good enough. Given that he had direct access to records, he was able to beat them to the punch and arrived early enough to see the end of the first surgery… the one that was supposed to stabilize him… the one that failed. So he’s sitting there watching this guy die. This guy that he knows can either incriminate or exonerate Rose and Remington.

Then Alec (VC) asks me the million dollar question. Can my vampire blood save him? Well, who the fuck knows. I tell him that is a Lore declaration if I ever heard of one. He made the roll and we determined that sure, he could recover (picking up “inhuman recovery”) but he’d be infected in the process, and likely become a Red Court Vamp, without VC necessarily crossing the line himself. Wow. That was a heavy cross to bear. Sure, you can have what you want, but you’ve got to create a vampire to do it. As soon as that came up I compelled his High Concept to make his thirst for blood surge at the sight of this dying man. And all through the upcoming conflict, I kept hitting him with hunger stress. That was awesome.

The conflict began in earnest when everyone was committed to save this guy’s life and they got into a fight with the Grim Reaper, or rather death’s hold on the victim. The conditions I set were that if anyone was taken out in the fight, the guy was dead. I also told them that if the conceded they could make him lucid enough (ether by turning him or by pumping him with some adrenaline) long enough to get a statement from him but then he was dead (or infected). I decided that Death’s hold on him was great, so no matter what I rolled, I was rolling at +4 against them. This included intimidation attacks from the doctors and the instruments all showing bad vitals, cops from outside barging in to arrest Rose and Remington, and VCs growing hunger. All in all, death hammered them. Looking back, as close to death as I said this guy was, I probably should have given death’s hold on him a superb +5 rating, but I think this worked out fine. Death notably only had one stress track, but he had four stress boxes and was going to take ALL the consequences before giving up (the mild one was “he breathes”, the moderate was “coughing restlessly” and the severe was “his eyes open”).

The players were really inventive. Rose used her knowledge of first aid and the fact that she knew what kinds of wounds he suffered to offer legitimate medical advice to the doctors. VC and Remington tried to hold off the cops at the door but when that got more and more tense, VC used his inhuman strength to crack all the guys ribs so he could apply pressure to his heart and jump start it. Remington, seeing his blood loss was a big part of the problem used his Winter Magic (and a favor from Mab, he’s up to 3) to literally freeze him to slow the blood flow and give the doctors some more time.

This is when the real “magic” happen. Not only did his magic hex the holy hell out of all the machines in the room, but he ended up taking a severe consequence to stay in the fight. Severe. I was just too hard to pass up. A Latino janitor wheeled his mop bucket into the hospital room, ignored by all the mortals and gave Remington the fifth degree. “You puta bitch pendejo! What the fuck are you doin’ in my territory. This sorry ass brother is dying, and I’m here to take him. What are you getting up in my business?” The had some discussion and eventually Remington agreed to take on Death’s mantle and earn this man’s life back by being an executioner, killing those marked for death. He now has the severe consequence “I am Death”. Hell yeah, that should be fun to play through.

Afterwards we had a tender scene of FBI agent Alisha Hayes arresting Remington when he went back to his apartment to gear up. She agreed to give him 24 hours to clear his name but insisted on coming with him. On went the handcuffs!

What rocked

As usual, Dresden really shines for me when we do non-fight conflicts. I find it VERY easy to figure out ways to make attacks and maneuvers against all kinds of things. In this case, I was thinking about the “can I save his life” conflict you enter into in Dogs in the Vineyard when someone rolls high enough on the fallout that they will die. Dresden was great for this.

I’m glad I got the “party” together again. I felt like VC has been a little on the sidelines, so having him there was fun.

I loved, LOVED, the tension of trying to keep a guy from dying by any means possible.

The deal with DEATH was delicious

Alisha is a vanilla mortal, and at one point all the PCs start talking about voodoo, zombies, vampires, magic etc in front of her. I had to decide what she was going to do. But since it was just them talking about it (nothing actually displayed) she just decided it was all code for something or another and they were trying to psyche her out with creepy sounding jargon. It was a nice way to make it all “fit”

I was really worried about this session just feeling like I was stalling the game, but as is they really did a lot both in the fiction (clearing their name, saving a guy’s life, uniting everyone, gearing up for the big fight, trying to prove himself to Alisha).

What could have improved

The intro with Raoul walking off with Daiske (and NPC) and telling them to meet him in 24 hours at a location felt pretty forced. The players went along with it, but the game started a little weak because of it. Should have hit them with a chase through tunnels, or something else a bit more urgent.

There are lots of times when NPCs need fate chips. Like, they’ve got aspects, they need some currency to use them. I’ve been thinking about this a while and this time I arbitrarily gave DEATH three of them. DEATH may be all nature and no free will, but he’s been compelled a few times to take people he wasn’t quite ready for. He’ had some ammo stored up for this occasion. And he got three more back after the fight, for all the consequences he took! Still, my rationale was a little arbitrary and rushed. I’d like a better foundation for this.

Actual Play – One Step Away from Iron Bars (6/20/2011)

Players: Steve, Chris and Fattig
GM: Sean Nittner
System: Dresden Files

This game started with a really fun intro. Namely a bunch of cops that Rose and Remington didn’t know finding them in the middle of a blood bath, trying to resuscitate the single survivor of a brutal attack. From the cop’s perspective they found a crime in progress and these were the obvious perps (one holding a gun, the other with a sword on his back). From the player’s heroes perspective, this was not a time to negotiate, this was a time to run (thanks to some handy compels).

We started off their scene with a chase. Each party inflicting stress on the other (physical, social and mental stress) on the different participants (four cops vs. Rose and Remington) with the goal to “catch” the other. This worked like a mix of a fight and a chase. Some of the moves were offensive (knocking a gun away, plowing through someone), some were defensive (running full speed), and some were in the middle (like creating a block by slamming the door shut behind you).

The chase broke down a little in the end. Remington turned on his super speak and bolted. I had him make an athletics roll (giving him +2 like he would have gotten as s dodge bonus) and decided the cops would a) but a little stupefied by how fast he ran and b) have trouble perusing him in cars (at least for long). He finished off with a stealth roll to fit in the crowd and though he hadn’t stressed out the two cops following, we called the chase over for him.

Meanwhile Rose ran to the top of a building and got taken out by an intimidation “threat” I made in the form of a hail of bullets hitting the fire escape beneath her.

Across town we visited Raoul, possessed by Kalfu. My presentation of possession, especially the possession of a character who’s high concept is “Papa Legba’s Saturday Night Special” was pretty light. Essentially Kalfu was just there, standing next to Raoul, whenever he wanted to speak with him, bolstering his own ego, giving him instructions on how to do things and generally giving him bad advice. As needed I offered a few compels but I never says “now Kalfu makes you do this”. I did this for two reasons. First off, Raoul is marked by power. Kalfu knows that if he fucks with him too much, he’s got Papa Legba (his brother) to deal with. Second, taking away a player character’s free will in a game is LAME. Agency is what playing is about, at least for most people and without that, why are you playing the game.

So, instead Kalfu had a light touch and Raoul responded by being very congenial with him, acting in a very unhealthy way of his own accord (sleeping with hookers, drinking rum with gunpowder mixed in, and beating up old men in jail cells). I was tickled pink. When it came time for Raoul to want something from Kalfu, I thought it was entirely reasonable for the Loa to help him, especially as his goal was traveling and Kalfu’s domain is the cross roads. They traveled from one intersection (near the 42nd precinct) to another, exactly where Remington was.
Together Remington and Raoul decided they needed everyone on board. They caught VC up to speed, told him the Loa were unhappy and that they were going to round up Rose.

Well… rounding up Rose ended up being an earth shattering proposition. They came to Daiske for help, knowing he (or at least Roses’ father) is well connected. He visited her in the cell and asked how she wanted to be freed, the legal way which would mix her father’s name up in her affairs or the no-so-legal way. Rose gritted her teeth and opted for the not so legal way, she didn’t want to mess up her father any more.

Last scene of the game. Daiske (the Wizard who specialize in earth magic) created a seismic event under Rose’ cell and literally ripped the floor out from under it so that she fell into the unused BART tunnel under the precinct.

What rocked

I was really pleased with the way Chris and I negotiated his possession. It felt like something that was great for the story and still fun for the player.

Both rituals so far (Raoul’s and Daiske’s) have involved getting ritual materials that everyone could help out with. On this one, Remington secured blue prints of the original precinct, VC was able to update the records (he worked there) and Raoul pick up some other bits (I’m not remembering now)

What could have improved

It should have been an active BART tunnel (way to create the pressure)

I didn’t like the way I handled a gunshot as Intimidation (threat) vs. Discipline for a mental stress attack. The problem is that most people don’t have discipline, so it really jacked Rose much harder than it probably should have.

Actual Play – Take a Ride on the Loa Train (6/6/2011)

GM: Sean Nittner
Players: Chris, Steve, Alec and Fattig
System: Dresden Files

I think this week’s game is best described by the bangs/compels I started it with, and the totally unexpected things the players did with said bangs.


First things first, I wanted to get Raoul’s connection to the Loa in play. The Loa Marinette had been running around unchecked for too long and there were forces that want to balance this. So, right off the bat Raoul is approached by an old man with a crutch and a broad brimmed straw hat, petting a little black basenji. An iconic avatar of Papa Legba if there ever was one.

In no uncertain terms Papa Legba said he’d send a friend named Ghede Nibo, who would show Raoul how to help him from the Spirit World into Raoul’s. He met Ghede in Jean Emmanuel Baptiste’s apartment where the Loa told him everything necessary to prepare a ritual to allow the Loa to possess him. Yep, possession!

There was a funny moment when Raoul asking Remington (who he also knows is marked by power) if getting possessed was safe.  It ‘was like asking a chiropractor if neurosurgery is safe.  I liked Remington’s response.

Raoul headed off to get the goods: a black rooster, coconuts, pistachios, herring, cigars and many other offerings for Ghede Nibo.

This was Chris’s first whack at Thaumaturgy (Rituals). I tried to walk him through it as a player, as the Loa walked Raoul through it as a character. There was some confusion all around but he muscled through it… until he didn’t. He failed a roll midway through the casting and I gave him the standard options to reroll/get +2 with fate chips and aspects, take backlash (stress) or fallout (spell goes wrong). I should have known that Chris would take the latter, it is the most fun option.

So, what happens when you try to let a Loa possess you and make a mistake in the ritual? You get the wrong one. Good by Ghede. Hello Kalfu!

Rose and Remington

On the other side of town Rose was busy quitting her job, which NO ONE took well. Remington in particular, who realized it was only a matter of time before his “probation” would be revoked. Also, to put a point on it Remington cares about Rose and didn’t trust for a moment that her father wasn’t using his injury to manipulate her.

The scene with Rose and L.T. Alvarez was great. Rose had been hen pecked by so many people for years but there was literally nothing Alvarez to could say to stop her. So long officer Itsuaki.

A small side note. Rose quitting actually poses something of a problem for a game premised around characters playing cops in San Francisco. We’ve gone from a ratio of 2:1 to 1:3. Ah well, the game goes where it goes. I’m not going to pin anyone down. Besides Raoul is a deputy!

After the quitting Remington got a tip that something bad was going down at All Star’s place from Little Mikey. Just as soon as Rose had quit being a cop, Remington dragged her back into the case, like any good friend would do. And sneaking into All Star’s apartment they found a blood bath! Another massacre, bodies cut up by a short, razor sharp blade. And as they examined the bodies and found one still living, Remington heard the stomp of boots below. He only barely had time to sheathe his sword before the door was kicked open and cops from another precinct were yelling “Freeze! SFPD!”


And just for kicks VC was trying to do some police work, catching up with the body of Ringo… being carried out of the precinct by a dead man.

What rocked

I loved the tension between Rose and Remington, you’re never sure who is watching after who.

Chris was awesome in allowing a mis-possession. Fun times with Kalfu will ensue!

Remington got the name of a sword smith Melvin Rachter, looking forward to their meet up in Golden Gate park.

The pickle Rose and Remington left off in was great.

What could have improved

The story, as it does, feels like it’s slipping away from me. I know Steve has genuine concern about status of his character should Rose leave the force permanently.

There are a lot of NPCs at the precinct with to no personality. I’ve got to spend some time fleshing them out and giving them simple characteristics and motivations.

I haven’t worked out what APEC (Asian Pacific Economic Conference) is up to exactly (besides in some parts trying to prevent the expansion of the Jade Court). If Rose is going to work for them, I’ve got to get on that.