Actual Play – Werewolf is Dead – Demon has Arisen

System: Demon: The Fallen

On Sunday we decided that our once 8-player Werewolf game was down to 3-4 regular players and it couldn’t stand on its own. So, we talked for a couple hours and decided to run a Demon game.

Here is the premise I’m shooting for:

Since the fall, Lucifer has never been with us. He disappeared and never entered hell with the rest of us. Some of us turn our backs on his cause, decided to seek power by our own means, or worse accept the punishment He gave us. But my allies held true to our cause. Our love for humanity has not faded, ever after millennia of torture.

After the gates of the Abyss were broken many of our kind returned to earth in search of him, but their reports were dismal at best. The once paradise was now a base land and the people we protected hardly seemed worth our trust, let alone our protection. My friends and I were patient. Even with the doors rent apart, we stayed in our cells waiting for a sign, a sign that the Morning Star was ready to lead us once more.

Patience is a virtue, and eventually we saw the sign, though not without sacrifice. Another faction, the Cryptics, insufferable academics that believe they can unweave what was done by merely surrendering to the fact that this was all part of His plan and that we must now figure out our new roles… our new roles in His perfect mind. I’ve got news for you Crypics, the shit has hit the fan, the plan is busted, we’re not on the rails anymore. Nobody, not even Him, knows what’s going to happen next.

But I digress, the Cryptics in their search for knowledge uncovered one of the Earthbound. Powerful angels that escaped one form of wrath only to suffer another. Instead of being trapped in Hell all these years, they’ve been trapped on earth. Separated from both sides of the choir. Yes, we’ve been tortured, but at least we had each other. They… they’ve been alone, save a very few. But maybe, if our leader never came to Hell, maybe he was on earth, maybe they know where he is. And the Cryptics have found one, or at least the artifact of one, a vessel of knowledge that could lead them to him.

And what do these great minds do with such prized information. They sit on it. Yes, that’s right. A eon to think of your next play and these morons are paralyzed by their own wisdom, moving their knight back and forth for fear of making a mistake. Well suckers, it’s going to be checkmake sooner or later, and I’m going to at least take the chance to win rather than condemn myself to His so-called infallible plan. So we talked to them, asked for the vessel, told them what we could to, how wonderful it could be, hell we even lied and told them that an Earthbound was certain to have knowledge and that the first thing we’d do is share it with them.

But this was a secret they want kept hidden. So they ignored our pleas and buried it. Locked it up and threw away the key…

…Some of us can make keys however and some of us know that the correct application of a jack-hammer with break any door. So we stole it. That’s right. We had a whole plan. One of us to distract them, one to pick the proverbial lock, one to fight out way out, one to guide the team and one… one to find us an exit. A way out from hell, where we could put some distance between the Cryptics and us and where it would bring us closer to this Earthbound.

So now we’re here, in bodies that could barely stand on their own. And our mission is clear, find the Earthbound, find the leader of the Rebellion. Or it seemed clear. This vessel is more that we thought and harder to understand that we expected. And the Cryptics didn’t take nice to our little heist. They are after us, but they aren’t alone. Other factions like the Faustians don’t want us ruining their little empires by breaking the status quo. And there are others… creatures in the darkness that have taken over since we’ve left. Some our foes, some our friends, impossible to tell until we’ve met them.  It is a dark day indeed.

You’ll then appreciate the very bitter irony when I say “May god help us…”

Actual Play – Killing in the Name of (2/22/2009)

System: Werewolf: The Apocalypse

Last night our questing pack went on another mission for the crazies who lock up other crazies. His opinions were very much reflecting what his tribe (and for that matter most tribes) thought. If the runt is weak, it’s got to die. It isn’t nice, it isn’t compassionate, it’s effing reality. Werewolves are natural predators, they have a wolf nature to them despite their human upbringing (assuming they even had one of those). Francois looked at the “reintegration” that the foundation was doing and was disgusted, he said he would rather die than be neutered like that.

And then things changed… With half a mind to kill the runts himself Curb Stomper and the rest of the pack continued looking into the rumors of wolves attacking farmers. It turned out to be quite the opposite and when we discovered the rest the pack they had been brutally tortured, murdered and defiled. It was a horrific scene and Francois was instantly set on vengeance.

What ensued for me was a very graphic description of killing the eight red neck hillbillies that perpetrated the crime. Francois’ revenge was severely brutal. He raged (as per the rules) but his rage wasn’t the raw primal one, it was full of cruelty and vindictiveness, clearly something struck a very strong cord in him.

After that we perused Sam Haight, the one that got away, but he disappeared down a mine shaft.

What rocked

I got to have a couple scenes with Worm, one were Francois set him up to get laid and another were they pulled an A-Team on the busted up truck. Both very fun. I was even humming the theme song.

I like the uneasiness of the foundation, I don’t’ think any of us fully trust them, and yet, we’re acting as their questing pack. I know that something very bad will come of this.

Francois has had some moment of reflection. He claimed that the wolves should have been put down, like a dog with rabies. He said that sympathy for them would be giving then a clean kill. And yet, when he saw the massacre, it stirred something inside him. I don’t’ think Francois is nearly as over his own issues of abandonment as he says he is.

What could have been improved

I was really tired and didn’t bring my A-game. Just need more sleep.

Down to four of six players. Considering the pack was originally eight it felt very small. In some ways that is good, you get a more personal game but as I wasn’t expecting it last night, it took me some time to adjust my mode of play. (Mostly from being a peanut gallery to actually trying to take part in the decisions we made).

The Storyteller dropped a bomb on me at the start of game. He needed to go home to get character sheets so I had to give another player a challenge to rise in rank. I’ve got no problem with this in general, but because I was so tired I think I did a crappy job. I really had no idea where I should take it so I made up some trickster riddle that raccoon pulled on Races, forcing him to judge people’s intentions. It was okay, but I was just making it up as I went along and knew it could have been better.

The adventure does one of those things that I don’t like. The module says “and now he gets away” and leaves it to the Storyteller to figure out how. This is one of those cases where I really wish we had aspects from Fate. With an aspect, the GM can just compel us to do something. “Francois, you’re so filled with rage that you waste time killed the hillbillies and he slips away” or “Dick, you’re such a cocky SOB that you don’t look down and step on a caltrop, maiming you long enough that he gets away” and then you follow this up with a cookie of some sort (a fate chip, or in this case maybe a point of renown) and the players are satisfied…. Hmm… actually that is a pretty good idea. Aspects in Werewolf. Hmm…

Edit, details added by the storyteller that I forgot.  More stuff that rocked.

Francois getting ripped off regarding weapons.

My prop. A smashed bud can left by the hunters, who were drunk as skunks.

I thought they were both great. Francois knows nothing at all about guns (no dots in Firearms, no reason to really know more than which end you point at people) and I had a blast getting ripped off. The can, especially for it’s acoustic qualities when you tossed it on the ground was great. I think the fact that my floor was really dirty with leaves that had been tracked in helped as well!

Actual Play – Werewolf in Par, er Wyoming (1/25/2009)

System: Werewolf: The Apocalypse

Last game started with a tribal moot, and then led into an adventure in Wyoming trying to help the sick Fianna that we rescued some time back.

Only one of our pack members were at the moot and he stirred up some crap, mostly however he was just the catalyst for some well laid plans set in place by some NPCs. I think the Storyteller wanted to make some changes in the political structure and wanted us to see them as they happened (which is cool) but there wasn’t much participation because a) we weren’t playing our characters and b) the characters we were playing really didn’t have much of a say or an agenda. There was a story to be told, but not one that our characters were really part of. (More on this below)

Afterwards we realized that our pack was going to eat some shit if we hung out, so we took a Moongate to Wyoming where we met some Uktena and then head to the Valkenburg Foundation, a place to care for wolves. This place creped me out. It felt like going to Arkham Asylum only the nutters were the once outside the cages. I just got this fucked up feeling that we were going to end up helping the wrong people. But, of course, I love it when that shit happens, so while I had reservations in the beginning, I was all over it by the time our characters were overcome a supernatural force that made us weep.

In the end my character had a “stalled car” moment with Yvette, the hottie Bone Gnawer he’s been after for a while. He didn’t put any serious moves on her but he’s ready to next time. Once they have some time alone he’s going to try and get her to commit to something more than just being pack mates. This should make for some fun times, provided I don’t end up making the player uncomfortable, which I hope not to.

What rocked

The tribal moot was coon in concept. I liked that we as players go to see firsthand the machinations that were going on behind the screen. It was brief, which was good and got across the point that there is a major political coup going on to usurp power from the Silver Fangs. I’m sensing tribal warfare happening soon and I don’t think it will look pretty.

We got to become the questing pack (again) for a sept who’s last questing pack died (again!). There is just some really funny irony to the fact that we keep filling the shoes of dead werewolves.

We got some fetishes, which was cool, though mostly flavor. One was a rock that glowed according to the moon cycle. Another was a some face paint that gave access to different gifts and can be used 10 times. There was a killer dagger that I was hoping for but my alpha took (what’cha gonna do when you’re a bone gnawer). All in all, it was cool go get some “loot”.

What could have been improved

Despite liking the moot in concept I felt that we didn’t really have a role in it. Even the player who got to play his own character was just being a puppet of the Shadow Lords. I got some of this “ooh ahh…. Look at how powerful the NPCs are effect which tends to chafe me.” Ironically that is exactly the thing I’ve seen a couple times in my Burning Wheel game when Arthas, Uther and Jaina show up. I was EXTREMELY happy the other night when Jaina was bested in a Duel of Wits, it proved to me how mortal the characters are. Still, I know I have done it some, and I don’t like having the NPCs overshadow the PCs (regardless of which side of the screen I’m on). I don’t think this was intentional, it was an experiment with some story exposition, which is always hard for any GM.

Modules. Modules. Modules. I’m sorry, it’s evil, but my brain turns off when boxed text is being read. I mean it really does. There was this 40 something roundish woman named Mary Knu that I was totally hitting on because I paid absolutely no attention to her when the boxed text was being read. I just feel like boxed text is the sign that the blinders are about to be but on, and we can only see or go one direction. The storyteller wasn’t railroading us (trust me, that would be another entry all together if he was) but there was a bunch of the module that I just ignored because of my dislike of boxed text and one way streets.

This was a transition episode, as step between our last climatic show down with the Get of Fenris and the work for the Valkenburg Foundation. As such there wasn’t a lot of conflict. Which is cool by me but did leave us with a little “what did we do” feeling at the end. We did deliver a crazy mo fo and talk to some other crazy mo fo, which is something, it just didn’t feel like a lot. There’s really nothing to say about that though, sometimes there are transition games, I’m sure the next one will be much more action packed.

Actual Play Report – Werewolf in Paris (1/11/2009)

System: Werewolf: The Apocalypse

I’ve got some mixed feelings about our werewolf game last night. On one hand I think there was some very interesting character development, on the other, I had to acknowledge something about my character that I didn’t want to. He’s a coward. He’s also got a lot of bravado and threatens people all the time, which probably means that he’s also a bully.

The important decision for my character was: Do I act responsibly and stand with my pack or do I save the man that the woman I care about loves? My character didn’t respect the customs of the person we made a deal with, he didn’t care about being honorable, he caved to the fact that he was badly hurt, out of gas and would have to go through his Alpha in order to the right thing. I’m disappointed, he isn’t the kind of hero I thought he would be and despite what others may think, he does back down. In retrospect I was searching for justification to do something more rash and the reasons were there, they just weren’t coming to me quickly enough. 1) Javert was getting fucked over because something our PACK did, not him. 2) One of our pack mates loves him and hurting him means hurting her.

Having thought about that, I really would have like to have seen Curb Stomper challenge the samurai that held Javert as hostage. It probably would have meant having to challenge my way through the Alpha, but if I had thought of the above to things and could have articulated them, the master of challenges would have accepted. The end result would have been either that Francois lost the challenge, proved he was more loyal to an individual than he was to the pack and probably lost a lot of honor, or won the challenge, became the Alpha, and challenged the Samurai. We would have won because I would have fought dirty and had my entire pack jump him… with an effing flame thrower!

Alas, regrets.

What rocked

The character tension between Javert seeking revenge, Yvette trying to prevent him from getting himself killed and the pack trying to scrape together some shred of honor was great. I think all of the characters were put through the ringer.

Though I said above that my character failed, I can imagine him growing from that failure, provided Yvette is willing to entertain it. He’s constantly going to feel that he wasn’t as brave as Javert, who was only a human and stood up to that garou… by himself! This could make for some fun times as François (Curb Stomper) keeps trying to prove himself by comparing his courage to a person that isn’t even there.

The Big Brawl. Before all the drama we had it out with another pack. There was the Nazi, the Executioner, the bodyguard, the whip guy and a few others. It was a bloody brawl and both sides got pretty torn up. More gore ensued! With all the streamlined rules, I think the combat went at a pretty reasonable pace, I was happy. Woot!

What could have improved

We spent a whole lot of time at the end of the game working on paying a ransom to get back our missing “friend” only to have the character be unplayable. I get why people retire their characters, I’ve done it when I just felt like I couldn’t play my character with any real integrity in the current group or situation, but in this case I think the character could have really survived and stayed with the group. He took some very hard knocks, because of something we did. I could see why he would hate us, but I also could see why he would want to stay around to see if we would do good, and potentially kill us if we didn’t, which would be a very cool moral dilemma. Overall I really like having Javert in the game and most likely I’ll be less enthusiastic about his next character, although another player may connect with him (or her).

One of the other players is leaving the game. Understandable, he’s in a lot of games, and I’ve done the exact same thing with the D&D game when I started feeling overwhelmed. This isn’t really a “could have been improved thing”, it’s just something I’m a little saddened by.

Actual Play – Werewolf: The Apocalypse (12/14/2008)

System: Werewolf: The Apocalypse

You know, the way the schedule is we have 3 games in 24 hours. Werewolf Sunday Night, PTA for Monday lunches, and then 7th Sea Monday night. Crap. I don’t think I even played that much in high school. Well this week no 7th Sea because of the holidays and all, but it is still baffling to think about.

Werewolf was fun last night. We had a couple firsts. First use of a Wyrm Tainted fettish. First challenge for leadership. First change in leadership. We finally bought the Hotel. And maybe, just maybe, Francois is going to learn about the right of binding.

What rocked:

The vomiting French man who just saw the umbra. That was sweet. Very good role-playing by Javert and Yvette.

The aforementioned challenge. It was cool to see how it worked.

Being “compelled” by the wyrm to fuck shit up really bad. My character, who already has anger management issues, really lost it on this spirit possessed werewolf. I messed him up something fierce. Fun times. Francois earned some black veins and some white fur out of the ordeal. Woot, battle scars are wicked cool.

T did a really good job of planting the seeds for a conflict and then letting us discover it. I really liked that the trouble we got into was because of something we instigated rather than because it was jammed down our throats. Cough*7th Sea*Cough*Module*Cough.

Francois really had a moment of uncertainly. Side with the logical and probably right Races with Winds who he had just been getting close to or back his Alpha, who was probably being tainted by the Wyrm. It was actually a tough decision, I ended up having the players roll, but still, it was hard. It is cool when characters (players for that matter) are put in that position. In retrospect I really could have seen Francois going either way. I wonder what that says about him?
Real Garou. Francois, or Stops the Curb as he’s going by these day, saw Real World and though it would be perfect for the Questing Pack. A sort of “what is the world of the questing pack like” show. I think it will be awesome.

My Borg wear got fixed up all skippy, and then… freaking destroyed again! By me. Awesome!

Francois walking around naked… A lot. Fun times.

What could have been improved:

The storyteller was late so the game was short. Not his fault really, he had shit to do, but still meant we didn’t get all the things done that we wanted t to do. We talked about some of the loose ends over lunch and I think they may just end up happening off screen and pull them in next game anyway.

I really wanted to be more graphic about how I messed up the Garou. I wanted it to show how dirty and ruthless a fighter Francois is. My bad for not narrating it. Next time I need to focus more on the “look” of my moves and less on the maneuvers. Speed is important in this game. We’ve got 7 players!

Actual Play – Werewolf: The Apocalypse (11/30/2008)

System: Werewolf: The Apocalypse

Werewolf was solid last night. Mostly the game ended up being exposition, but with a very clear lead as to what to do next, which I think every game, hell every scene, needs to end with. Otherwise, you’ve got a lot of lost players. We were also told at the end that we’d have some down time, so that makes me pretty happy, as Francois’ goals rarely fit in with the group’s central conflicts.

What rocked:

The interplay between characters was great, as always. I had a particularly good time playing out what it was like shifting to Lupis form and suddenly being able to smell really well, which lead me to a lot of crotch sniffing much to the discomfort of the lone human (er hunter) in the group, especially as his was the crotch that was being sniffed, aggressively, and repetitively.

Thrall of the Wyrm = The alpha shot me. Point blank, in the chest. It just goes to show, when a dog goes mad, you’ve got to put him down. Fun stuff.

Yvette flashes a little leg (and even took off her shirt) to hail a trucker down, whom we then beat up, took his clothes, took his truck and left him on the road. It was cruel and not appropriate for noble Garou, therefore we took a pretty heavy honor and wisdom hit, which I thought was appropriate. The game definitely rewards a certain play style.

The modifications we made did speed things up a bit, but there was still a little confusion. Do you need to hit the difficulty or exceed it? We went with hit, which I think was the right call. I think static defense is great. Also, I liked the removal of 1s taking away. It means are rolls will be better overall, but same for the bad guys so it’s fair in the end, and way less discouraging than eating turd on 1.

Political intrigue. Our characters killed a Shadow Lord kin gone wrong, turned Shadow Dancer kin I guess. This means for some complications with the Shadow Lords. I look forward to seeing how this plays out.

I lost my clothes. A lot. Like 3 times. It was really funny to be naked and then laughed at by the Yvette. Good times. I don’t think I’m going to bind clothes, the humor factor of being naked all the time is just to great.

What could have been improved:

Francois (my character) raged big time and hit the Thrall. It was very cool in concept but added another 20-30 minutes to the game that didn’t really move the story, except to show us what happens when an Ahroun looses it (apparently not much, the worst I did was hit a guy with a safe, ouch, but nothing that could kill him). So, as usual, “time is always against us.”

Looking forward to next session having some down time and meeting up the the big SL!

Actual Play – Werewolf: The Apocalypse (11/16/2008)

System: Werewolf: The Apocalypse

We had most of the group, minus Worm at the game last night. The game started with plenty of leads, but a new one showed up that was more pressing so we followed than, and of course, mayhem ensued. Yay, the game I can commit random violent and antisocial acts and be rewarded for it. I love Werewolf.

Actual Play Report

Actual Play – Werewolf: The Apocalypse (10/5/2008)

System: Werewolf: The Apocalypse

Last night was our first “real” session of Werewolf (see previous session here). Six of the Eight players were there, which was something of a small mercy as many of us were still either getting reacquainted with the old system or (in one case) learning it for the first time.

Actual Play Report

Actual Play – Werewolf: The Apocalypse (9/21/2008)

System: Werewolf: The Apocalypse

We started playing old school and I put up a play report over at story games here:

I’ve got a character recap here:

I’m seeing what kind of response they get over at Story Games to determine if I should be posting over there or here.