Actual Play – This is MY Case (3/14/2011)

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

We played on Pi day, yay! And I even got a pie for us to eat, but then forgot it in the kitchen. Ah well, pie is still good on Pi-rounded-up-to-the-nearest-hundredth day.

I was a little dubious about this game, only because I was planning it as a big showdown between the killer and the cops, but the one cop that I really wanted there (VC), the red-court infected who’s sire was the killer, couldn’t make it to the game because he was sick. And this, this one event is the reason I am REALLY glad I did no prep for this game. I talked to Alec on the phone and we agreed that after he found his partner’s mutilated body and knew what kind of danger Armand presented to mortals that he was going lone wolf. Stone is dead, Hassad suspended, and VC gone AWOL. This had to mean someone else was going to step in and take over, and who better than Federal Agent Alisha Hayes, aka, Remington’s fling and Sahad’s ex!

Players, being players, didn’t want to open up the scene as the officer in command Rose Itsuaki was debriefing the task force, they wanted to start by making coffee, which you know, worked out better than I could have hoped for.

Scene 1: Remington’s coffee.

After Sinclair finally got it all hooked up, Remington made two cups of espresso for himself and Rose, who was gearing up to speak to a room full of officers who just lost one of their own. Raoul “Railroad” Rodriguez arrives just in time (he’s coming to pick up his watch…again) to see both of them spit out blood (as Sahad had cursed the espresso machine to fill cups with blood when Remington used it). Some hijinks occurred as they all watched (intently) as Sinclair made himself a perfectly regular cup of espresso, and Raoul, who knows only that Monroe is marked by power, assumed that he was practicing some kind of blood magic. This led to a lot of awesome later on.

Mechanics: A couple compels right off the bat (I like starting with easy ones, of course you’ll be in the middle of the action) to get everyone on set and focus on the interest on Stone’s murder. A few simple challenges (for Rauol to sneak his own personal new reporter in, and to notice that there was potentially something beyond a “practical joke” in two cups full of blood with not a bit of it on the machine where they came from.

Scene 2: Rose’s task force.

I gave Fattig an index card recapping all the recent events as a reminder (there had been a lot of craziness going on) as well as to give Rose some information to share with the PCs and cops in the room. She did well, er Fattig did, it was a compelling thingy. There was some confusion (intentionally on my part) of where the LT was, but Rose persevered. Just as she was about to cap, a report from CSI came in. The knife Rose confiscated was identified as the murder weapon of officer Olvido and it had just one set of prints on it: Hachi Itsuaki, Rose’s father. She took it much better than Monroe (who planted the prints on the weapon to frame Hachi on behest of Mab) expected, but just to be on the safe side, he started looking for places to hide from her.

Mechanics: I find I use presence an contacts a lot when dealing with cops. Presence to pull rank, contacts to find a cop that can do a specific job for you. I also throw in a fair bit of empathy to see through people’s ulterior motives (even if they are using Rapport instead of Deceit). We’ve also had a number of cases where scholarship, i.e. presenting the facts takes precidence. What this means is that the body of social skills called on is pretty extensive: Rapport, Empathy, Intimidation, Presence, Deceit, Scholarship, Investigation and Contacts. All things considered, that’s a lot more complex that physical conflicts which usually revolve around one attack/maneuver skill and one defense/maneuver skill. So Rose first had to assert that she was in fact the woman to lead this task force, which was a Presence roll. Later she was trying to raise their spirits and encourage the cops, it was rapport. Finally when she had to pin down the CSI guy that really did not want to blurt our that her dad was suspect #1 in front of 25 cops, she called on intimidation. Monroe and Rose had a contested Stealth vs. Alertness roll for him to hide from her, but it turned out not to be a factor, as Rose stormed out to get moving on the case.

Scene 3: This is MY case.

Here is where things really lit up. The doors from the precinct opened and in walked two figures. A very confidant FBI agent Alisha Hayes and a very irate LT Alvarez. The LT stormed into her office and tossed something against a wall, while Alisha calmly approached Rose and said that since there were officers murders from multiple precincts the FBI would be lending their support to the case. Rose saw right through it, called her out and told her she wasn’t going to take the case away from the SFPD. Just then Remington (who had almost snuck away) turned back with to stand in Rose’s defense and rekindle his relationship with Alisha. Who promptly cuffed him for the forgery of Rauol’s watch. The showdown ended with a victory from Rose (she stayed lead on the case) but Remington being hauled off (to a federal building by Agent Hayes.

Another fun bit of player tension came out. Alisha returned Raoul his watch, and then told him it was a fake, made by Remington. This ended up working out great. Alisha is the only person who reasonably can spot Remington’s forgeries, and spilling the beens in front of Raoul Rodriguez gave her a great reason not to trust Remington as well as creating a divide between the PCs (Remington and Raoul). This was excellent.

Mechanics: This was a full fledged social conflict between Rose, Remington and Alisha, with at least four different goals (take over the case, arrest Remington, win Alisha’s heart and keeping in charge of the case). Since there are no real social “powers” I’ve taken to handling social conflicts differently than physical ones. Each side gets a turn and one representative gets to acts on each turn. In this case it was Rose and Remington vs. Alisha so she took an action that one had to defend against then one of them took an action she had to defend against. It’s basically using the Mouseguard format without volleys, and I think it keeps conversations making more sense. as not everyone is talking on top of each other. We had a whole slew of maneuvers, some vicious attacks, several consequences, and ended with a concession. Good stuff in my book. I also used a compel or two to keep the various parties interested. I didn’t want Remington to miss out on the show down, for instance, so I tagged him with “the girl that got away”. I also compelled Raoul’s “Demons come in many colors” to encourage him to be extra suspicious of Remington (He’s marked by power, perhaps used some blood magic, and now it turns out had forged his watch the whole time and never told him). Good stuff.

Three directions…

From here the scenes split. Alisha and Remington having the conversation in the car, him trying to prove to her that he was a changed man, that she changed him, etc. Her not wanting to buy any of it. Tenacity (and big pile of fate chips he built up form all my compels) won over Alisha and she agreed to give him another chance… once he had completed his sentence!

Meanwhile, with all the commotion Raoul had been generating the press finally broke into the precinct and he and Rose had to “smile for the sham”. After the press finally died, the players split again. Raoul headed into the LT’s office. We had already talked up some of their chemistry before and she was clearly very stressed about the feds coming in. She hated them showing up as much as Rose. Raoul played it very smooth, he sweet talked her for a bit and after a massage and an invitation to dinner laid it on her: “I could help you with this case Margarita, if I had a badge” And with the kind of smile that goes on a million baseball cards he sold her on deputizing him for the case. Completely ridiculous? Probably. But so much fun.

Rose didn’t realize it but she had the exact same intent as Raoul, to get Remington out of custody, only for VERY different reasons. She wanted him to help her find VC, where as Raoul thought he was doing some Dark Magic. Regardless, she was going to get Remington back on her leash. After piling up a mountain of paperwork she went above the LT (she was busy anyway, good that Raoul was distracting her) and talked to the captain. She dumped the paperwork on his desk and bullied him into giving her a warrant to take Remington back into HER custody. Not an inexpensive move in his part, given that he had to trade favors with the feds to make it happen, but worthwhile to find the killer.

Mechanics: Remington and Alisha had another full blown social conflict with pretty high stakes. Essentially either “your a crook” or “I’ll give you anther chance.” Both of them were just walking out of a tough fight as well, each with a moderate consequence (and Alisha had a mild as well). Remington did what any good FATE player would, he bided his time taking stress and consequences doing maneuvers to rekindle some of the old fire and then finally hit her with everything he had, including all four fate chips he had left. Luckily Monroe has LOTS of aspects that help him try to appease women in authority (her majesty’s leash, The girl that got away, plus now a consequence of heartbroken as well as her’s “sympathy for the underdog”). Result: Alisha has a new aspect: Giving Remington a fresh start… once he serves his time! Awesome.

For both Raoul and Rose I didn’t want a full fledged conflict, instead I just said that both the LT and the captain where mountainous obstacles to overcome. The LT because deputizing someone just isn’t something people do, and the captain because it meant calling in favors from the feds, which isn’t cheap. I made both their difficulties Fantastic (+6) but gave each of them a chance to make a preemptive rapport roll because they had both just given the precinct a lot of press. They both rolled really well so they started each of their scenes with the aspect “I look good”. With that, and some good rolls, both got what they wanted. I gave Raoul a very special aspect of “Deputized” and told him that like all created aspects he could invoke it once for free and after that had to spend fate chips to invoke it. The aspect has a very specific effect in that in can be invoked to allow him to do something that normally only a cop could do (like be issued a uniform, sidearm, vehicle, or arrest someone). Raoul immediately double tapped that aspect and got a set of officer’s blues and a .38 derringer (remember, this precinct is broke).

Final Scene: The boys are back in town…

Armed for bear (figuratively and literally), the somewhat disgusted Rose and the very happy with himself Raou drove down to FBI headquarters to pick up Remington. Which of course royally peeved Alisha who said him being released into Rose’s custody did not count as having served his time! Then there was a subtle (okay maybe not subtle) but powerful exchange between Raoul and Remington. The all star baseball player, now acting officer removed Alisha’s cuffs (having been provided the key) and then immediately slammed a new set of cuffs on him! Yes. Then I was surprised. Remington had made an origami flower for Alisha and as he was walking out left it on her desk. Seeing that Raoul tried to hide or destroy it by throwing her cuffs on top of it. Suddenly a surge of cold and terror raced through Raoul’s body, literally freezing the cuffs to him, like a licking a metal pole in winter. He struggled and with some effort and pain was able to drop them to the ground, an exchange unnoticed by anyone else. Oh yeah, it’s one. Demons DO come in many colors!

Mechanics: The only real rolls that came up in this scene was a bit of Unseelie magic. Monroe created a block to prevent Raoul from dropping the cuffs. He didn’t quite make the roll (Raoul does have a Great [+4] Athletics so this was tough but Mab stepped in to help, she such a generous sponsor. That’s TWO free compels she’s got on him!

Fall out.

I had two players change aspects at the end of the game. This makes me REALLY happy. It means that the events that have happened IN game are are becoming a more defining part of the character than the original concept. Yes, the “high” concept of these character is unlikely to change, but the nuances of the, what they care about, those are all changing as they have meaningful interactions in the game. I love it!

What rocked

  • Well, the aspects changed mentioned above was great.
  • All the pressure from one cop being AWOL, another suspected and two dead just created so much internal struggle no actual crime fighting was done at all this game. Perfect!
  • The players were being AWESOME about following each other’s leads and reincorporating. Remington wanted the the blood coffee to be noticed and Raoul did. Raoul wanted to be suspicious of Remington and Remington played up to it. Rose wanted this being her case to be a big deal and everyone scrambled around that. I loved their dynamism and supporting each other.
  • The conflicts were fun and not to slow. I usually find conflicts a bit tiresome and filled with too many inconsequential actions, but every verb jab in these (and sometimes physical jabs) felt meaningful.

What could have improved

I’m a little leery of where to start off next game. I don’t want VC to just show up because I don’t want to invalidate the work they have done to find him but just dropping him on their doorstep, but I also don’t want to leave Alec out of the game. I think what I’ll do is play them in parallel for a bit. We’ll see what VC has been up to for some time and then pan back over to the three Rs (Rose, Raoul and Remington) to see what they are doing. It may be a bit slow, but I think it will work.

Actual Play – Officer Down (2/28/2011)

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

Omar leaving

This game was Omar’s last. He was a few days from moving to LA so I wanted it to be his send off game. We talked a little before the game and decided that Kyle Stone should be presented with a no-win situation and we’d just see how he handled his own personal Kobayashi Maru. Omar was down, so we talked about a couple possibilities and decided going toe to toe with a vampire noble was the way to go. He’s the criminal; the PCs have figured this out already, so it was just a matter of seeing what Kyle would do when he found out.

My bangs for this session.

Rose Itsuaki (Smile for the sham). We all knew Rose was going the APEC Free Trade conference her father was hosting, but when she showed up in a silky slinky sexy dress, the last thing she expected was her father’s attaché immediately tasking her to resolve a dispute between the a delegates from the Republic of China and Korea. It was ugly; one was a steadfast supporter who didn’t approve of the new representative. They argued over a 2% margin and neither would give.

Kyle Stone (Juris-My-Diction). We kicked Stone back to a flashback. Being on the table, tended to by one of the VCs stitching him up and warning him to back off and let his partner settle something. Not only was it personal but it was too dangerous for a cop, at least a “normal” cop to get in the middle off. And of course VC was acting strange, going lone wolf, and not talking to his partner. Doing all the things he always scorns Stone for doing himself. Yeah, that was the easiest fate chip I ever handed out.

Actual Play

The game ended up being split into three scenes. The first was following Stone as he tracked down Armand in a shipping yard by following his goons. The center piece was Rose and Monroe at the APEC gala and somewhat in the background we had VC doing some actual police work.

What came out of it were some bond level spy action as Monroe hobnobbed with guests, met his target, stole his fingerprints, put them on the murder weapon and finally used a bit of unseelie magic to put the attaché in a slumber and plant the weapon on him (with a little boon from Mab herself).

Rose on the other hand resisted the forces around her. She snubbed her father and Daiske (his attaché) and decided to party it up with Chad, the only other guy at the gala that didn’t fit in at all either. When Monroe called enough attention to himself that she had to make a good show though, she found the arguing delegates, got their stories and in one beyond legendary berating (she really got [+9]) completely tore through all their excuses and found out that one felt cheated out of a table tennis championship and until they played another match to settle the score, would not be satisfied.

VC after finding the body of Tony Si-Yen in a dumpster (and tossing said dumpster over while Stone was watching him) figured out that his boss was probably in danger as well and followed up. It just so happened that his boss, was Rose’s father, who was also the dupe Monroe was framing for murder. Fun times all around. VC made his way to the part, met Mr. Itsuaki and found that he had purchased the watch… a giant clusterfuck. What surprised me as GM was that once he had the watch, enough to completely incriminate Mr. Itsuaki, he just thanked him and told him the watch would be safer in his hands.

Stone, following VC to the dumpster with Tony’s body and watching him walk away, hung around until the goons showed up to pick up said body and followed them back (at least the one that survived his beating) back the docks where said thug reported his failure to Armand, who out of frustration snapped his neck. The inevitable showdown between Stone and Armand was brutal. Stone never really stood a chance, but he was never going to give up. He took consequence after consequence getting torn apart by the Vampire who in the end left him wrapped in the twisted metal of a cargo container, but not without doubt in his mind, and potentially walking into a trap. The fight was gnarly, involving drowning, breaking bones, and crumpling cargo containers. We never saw the end, only the reaction the next day, when VC arrived at the scene and screamed into the heavens his vengeance (very point break style).

What rocked

The end fight was doomed for stone the whole time, Armand was double his refresh and then some, but he found that by stacking maneuvers up on him, he was able to deliver one nasty blow before going down. Armand, however was doing the same, toying with Stone, shattering him to deliver one devastating killing blow. It took a while, but it was an awesome fight.

Seeing the interplay between Rose and Monroe is great. I’m going to have to keep giving them different things to argue about, so the debate doesn’t get stale.

VC really blew me away when he didn’t care about the watch being evidence, we’ll see where this goes.

What could have been improved

I felt a little like I was orchestrating moves, trying to maneuver it such that Monroe would incriminate Rose’s father without realizing who he was incriminating and without Rose noticing either. It all worked and the players played along but it felt contrived on my part. Not sure what I should have done with that.

The round robin style, even with only four players, seemed to leave a lot of down time. Going to have to try and frame scenes with more parings.

For next time

I want the case against Rose’s father to be something nobody can easily write off, at least not without consequences. I’m going to have to hammer on that.

Also, VC knows what happened, but how will he deal with it, especially if he gets pulled off the case. Should be good times.

Actual Play – Dead End Alley (1/31/2011)

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

Travis keeps saying that the 42nd precinct is insane. We let a baseball star parade around in riot gear. We arrest people that look like Elvis and when we should be chasing crooks at least one of us is eating Dim Sum. You know, he’s right, and I’m okay with that.

Here is my theory: if I go for self-aware wonky then the game will go gonzo and cap out way beyond where I want to see the game. If I try to keep the game really serious, that will keep breaking as the players do nutty things and the game won’t make any sense. So, here’s my tempo, wacky things will happen and they will be more or less ignored by everyone. It will just be seen as something that happens every day and nobody really bats an eye or assumes the behavior is out of the ordinary. I think this will work well when supernatural events start cropping up, most people will just shrug and let it pass without ever really acknowledging if they really notice it or not.

Opening scenes

I had three in mind, but one got lost due to the “guide my hand” power. Which was hilarious.

The first was a back at the station, with VC alone getting reports on the proprietor of Chopsticks, a man with several priors and a couple open assault charges named Chang. I wanted to create some instant suspicion but in truth Sahad did it for me…

In the second scene, the moment Sahad walked in he found Chang and told him that Rose was going to arrest him for murder… and the chase was on. Rose chasing him down and Sahad and Raoul eating dim sum and hitting on the waitress.

The Heat is on

The chase was very fun. Instead of trying to use some hokey chase mechanic (they all infuriate me) I just made it a physical conflict but allowed “athletic” attacks, “endurance” defenses and lots of other options. Rose made a scholarship roll to declare there was a Chinese New Year parade clogging up the streets. Change made a maneuver with burglary to know a back alley to run down. Rose did some intimidation along the way and eventually caught Chang, a big guy, trying to slip between two brick buildings and getting stuck half way down. She called in the station “I’m going to need some backup… and a tub of grease”.

From there an investigation ensued where we found out that nobody but Sahad knows how to investigate worth a damn, something I’ll have to bring up, probably many times. A body was found, blood, and refrigeration. Stone asserted his alpha dog status mostly by waving his gun around, which was many kinds of awesome.

Back at the prescient VC and Rose went to town on Chang and got him to break. He didn’t know how the body got there, he just cleaned it up. But he did know that Olvido’s girlfriend D’walla had sold him the watch a few days prior for $500. When she found out how much it was worth, and that Olvido was going to get it back, she said she would kill to get her hands on it again. Chang is probably off the hook but they’ve got another lead. But he didn’t go down without a fight, VC lost his temper and got throw off the case (moderate consequence)

After the interrogation, Rose’s father showed up at the station, with a man in his employ to share some information about the case, information he hoped Rose would keep under wraps… but Rose disappointed him again (Trouble: Daddy’s little disappointment) and hid in the CSI lab. Mr. Itsuaki and his employee, who was notably affected by red court addictive saliva, had to give the report to the only officer responsible enough to take it, VC.

Ending scene (which was going to be the opening) was Raoul leaving the station and getting picked up in a Limousine, where Armand, the man who blackmailed Mr. Itsuaki’s employee told Raoul that he wanted the watch. He also told him that the Accords protected Raoul from aggression from the Red Court. The car stopped, he got out of the limo and reminded Raoul that he wanted the watch, and that the two good on either side him were just mortals, not part of the Accords at all…

What rocked

Man, the character drama was on fire. I loved all the disputes between the cops (and not cops). I’m going to have to keep stirring the pot to give them things to disagree about, because that stuff is awesome.

We had two conflicts, both of which ran really well. Rose’s chase after Chang and then Chang’s interrogation. I was very happy with our flexible use of skills, cool maneuvers and great consequences.

My players all walked right into several compels and really made them awesome. Raoul got into a Limo with a vampire, no questions asked. Stone totally earned himself a dressing down by the Ltd, and VC was front and center when the Red Court got involved. Just great all around.

I had a lot of underlying structure, probably too much (see below), but it was enough to hang all the scenes on, enough t keep adding grist to the mill.

The characters are all turning out to be believable, if a little nutty, but totally believable people, which I love. I love how human they all are. I think some of this was because I specifically asked them to make very human characters with very human troubles (as in their trouble aspect).

What could have improved

I focused just on one crime, the murder of officer Olvido, when I meant to mingle in details about the other, and possibly even add a third to keep the feeling of things moving. Eh, only so much time.

While I am glad I had a good understanding of the crime, I think I built in too many twists and turns. I wanted to keep it always looking obvious, without ever being obvious until the end (like House, like Castle, like Lie to Me). Doing that however made the whole thing a little convoluted in my head and I think it came out convoluted as well.

Related, by having specific bits I wanted to get out, I ended up with kind of a monologue scene with Mr. Itsuaki and VC where I was clearly doing an information dump, which I don’t like doing. Less is more.

VC was at the station, where I imagined Stone would be as well during the first scene. I thought the two of them would have something to talk about while the action happened. As it turned out he was along and didn’t get much screen time at all. I cut back to the station a few times, but he really deserved something more, perhaps something personal.

Actual Play – First Week on the Job (1/17/2011)

GM: Sean Nittner
Players: Steve Dunn, Chris Vincenti, Travis Lindquist, Alec Ransdell, Eric Fattig and Omar Camacho.
System: Dresden Files

After a few weeks of character creations we had our first game. That’s the upside. The down side was that I didn’t have any time to prepare for it. Between the minicon on the 15th and non-game responsibilities (I know… for shame), I barely had 30 minutes to figure out a couple crimes and some wedges (see how Smallville has affected me) to drive between the PCs.

We started of f with some questions, both to get the players into the game and also to give me a little fuel for my fire.

  • So VC, how do you feel about your partner, Kyle Stone, a.k.a. Sergeant Nuts over there? He drives me fucking crazy. (A nice start)
  • Monroe, when was the last time you heard from Alisha (you know the girl that you were dating but was actually a fed, and actually dating Sahad? We talked just before I went into the joint.
  • Sahad, who amongst the squad is your “family”? Rose. The Rose that treats you like crap all the time and constantly tries to edge you out? Yep, that one. Very cool.
  • The 42nd precinct is broke as a joke Rose. On a cold December night light tonight, how do the cops stay warm? We stand around in the server room. Awesome!
  • Raoul, what has you coming down to the station tonight? They recovered a watch of mine, a Calais. One of a kind. And who was responsible for finding it? That fine officer over there [pointing to Monroe, you know, the crook].

That last one really started me off. I had intended to start the game with an art theft, something that Monroe would have some insight to and a few foreign dignitaries would have interest in, but Raoul handed me the crime on a golden platter. The just recovered the watch, with a tip from Monroe, but the watch they had to give back to Raoul was a fake. Oh, and the original that Raoul had owned for the last year or so… that was a fake too, made by Monroe, though nobody knew about that except Monroe.

Stage set, I open the game with a camera panning down over San Francisco at night, seeing the lights of the Golden Gate, the reflections off the mirrored glass of the skyscrapers and finally down to the 42nd precinct where as soon as a car pulls up to the lot two beat cops are already warming their hands over the still warm engine. I cupped my hands over my mouth and in my most naval voice opened up as the Dispatch. “42nd this is Dispatch. We’ve got a vandalism on Sutter and Polk. A man dressed as Elvis, who may or may not be wielding a Rod of Lordly Might.” (Yes, taken right from the Unusuals)

Two scenes, well three really, emerged from this. First we had Stone and VC out on the beat to catch Elvis. Then we had a publicity shoot right at the station where Raoul Rodriquez, famous pitcher for the Giants was coming to receive his stolen watch. And in the back of the station a scuffle between Monroe and Sahad, who were seeing each other for the first time since the “Alisha incident” (where she was dating Sahad but trying to seduce Monroe undercover).

Some highlights:

  • Sahad freaking out on Monroe and chucking Rose’s bonsai plant at him. That is coming back next session with daddy Itsuaki shows up.
  • Stone and VC driving each other nuts looking for Elvis and eventually letting him get away because Stone has a soft spot for people that are broke. The “Rod” was taken into custody however.
  • Sahad and Alvarez having it out with each other about who has jurisdiction over the CSI Lab. Alverez did let a known criminal inside it, but she’s got way to big an ego to admit when she makes mistakes.
  • Rose stealing the camera spotlight and planting it firmly on herself so that there wasn’t coverage of the fight that was breaking out inside the precinct between Sahad and Monroe.
  • Raoul’s publicist sending flocks of photographers and journalist to follow him… everywhere.
  • Rose and Sahad having the PA wars, insulting each other over the intercom.
  • Sahad inadvertently digging into Alvares’ unmentionables.

What rocked

For having about twenty minutes to prep this game went off REALLY well. I largely give that up to the players, who drove home a lot of their own character issues (Sahad’s jealousy, Monroe trying to get free, Raoul wanting to be part of the force, VC and Stone just hating each other, Rose grabbing the spotlight), which caused some very fun chaos.

The “actual” crimes slowly starting to unfold. Currently we’ve got a potential death (no body or cause of death yet found), a missing watch (grand theft, forgery, and potentially other crimes) and vandalism. Still, wonder if I shouldn’t have been more direct (see below)
We had some good compels. I hurt a few of the characters in the spot they like to be punched in, which is good, and I have more plans to follow.

The little bit of time I did have to prepare I used to make wedges (taken from Smallville), designed specifically to bring conflict between the player characters, I think that worked pretty well.

What could have improved

I took REALLY liberal use of an aspect to compel a character who didn’t have any fate chips left, and who would have resisted it. I think that was an abuse. “File that paperwork” should not get someone stuck with having sex with co-workers in political positions. Looking back, that was pushing it.

As mentioned above, I did have a “serious” crime in mind behind the ridiculous “Who’s on first” game of finding Raoul’s watch, and that only got hinted at by the start of the first episode. I didn’t accomplish my goal of ending the first session with a reason for all the characters to be part of a “team”. I’ll keep working on this.

Alvares came off as too one-dimensionally pushy. She needs to show that while ultimately unfit for her job, she does care a lot about her station. Most likely, too much.

There was no supernatural elements brought up at all. I mean, I frequently told Sahad about blood in the area that only his fine-tuned hematomancy revealed to him, but other than that I never challenged Monroes role in the Winter Court, Raoul’s duty to Papa Legba, VC’s blood addition or Stone’s squirrel brain. I know they will come into play eventually but for being a “Dresdenverse” game it felt pretty darn mundane.

I need to start making more red herring characters. Folks that look guilty at first glance but have not only an excuse but also more information. Campbell was one of these, but even he was pretty clearly a pawn. It is part of the genre to know it’s got to be this person “for sure” and then to have that just turn into another lead.

Some fun leads for next time.

  • Someone running background on “Olvido”
  • Mr. Itsuaki showing up at the station
  • Sahad examining the blood on Stone’s shoe and from the “rod”
  • Alisha’s appearance on the set.
  • Brining in a few more of the cops from the precinct. So far only Alveres has a face. Others will appear next session.