PDA

View Full Version : The Big Easy - Dresden Files Campaign Journal



Rizhail
2012-01-17, 12:23 AM
As an avid reader of the Dresden Files series, I was extremely interested when I heard an RPG was made based on the setting. Once I got my hands on a copy, I was hooked. As the DM of my gaming group, I decided to take advantage of the end of our Dark Heresy campaign to convince the others to try out the DFRPG.

We're one full play session (and our two character/city creation sessions) into the campaign, and so far so fun. I'll be maintaining this campaign journal as best I can, as it's something I've always wanted to do and this campaign is promising to be awesome and thus worth writing down.

For your enjoyment/commentary, here is:


The Big Easy: A Dresden Files RPG Campaign Journal


The Setting:

General Info
Though we had a lot of debate on the city to choose, initially focusing on either Seattle or D.C., we settled on New Orleans. The time period will be a year or two post-Katrina, and during the White Council/Vampire war. The city officials and important folks are completely fictional, and the general themes of the city are based on the perceptions of a group of folks who've been there, but don't live there (we're all from FL and AL), so if you're actually from NOLA, the mundane parts of the city described below probably aren't that close to what it's actually like. It's all in the name of a fun/dramatic game.

The general concept is that, pre-Katrina, House Raith and the Red Court were rivals for control of the supernatural side of the city. But, the natural disaster messed with the supernatural community in a similar manner to the normal folks, and other groups moved in during the rebuilding effort to try and gain a foothold in the city. Now, all three houses of the White Court are competing for influence against the Red Court and any number of smaller powers trying to take advantage of the major shake-up the hurricane left in its wake. The players are dropped in the middle of it all, just trying to get by (at least at first).

I'm still doing a bit of DM work on finishing out the city details, so this isn't all the important stuff, but here's some of the things we've worked out as a group.


General City Themes and Threats:

The Idea: After all that's happened, folks are worried mostly about themselves
The Aspect: Looking Out for Number One
The Faces: Louis Jeansonne, the new mayor; Ethan Stone, contractor; Victor Goldstein, lawyer

The Idea: New Orleans has a connection to many cultures, including many with a somewhat supernatural bent
The Aspect: Old World Connections
The Faces: Jorge Montoya, crooked priest;

The Idea: Multiple supernatural factions are fighting for influence over the city
The Aspect: Supernatural Power Struggle
The Faces: Tricia Raith, French Quarter Madame; Vincent Skavis, Mob Boss; Calypso, local voodoo priestess

The Faces of The Big Easy

Trish Raith: Local leader of House Raith's efforts in NOLA. She runs an escort service/brothel out of the French quarter. Has had encounters with one of the PCs before, and is trying to get back to the pre-Katrina status quo.
Trish's Details/Minions

High Concept: White Court Madam
Aspect: Seduced the government

Minions:

Lars - Not much is really known about this guy yet. Known only by his first name (if it actually is his name), this guy is a lanky, middle-aged white guy in charge of security for Trish's brothel/escort service, as well as providing contacts in the underworld (black market, drug dealers, arms trafficking, etc.). Easily underestimated due to his appearance, he is extremely sharp and likely dangerous. Puts on the appearance of being a nice, friendly guy in business dealings, but is prone to snark and parting shots to throw people off balance.


Vincent Skavis: Another White Court vamp, Vince was a mob boss in the northeast before the hurricane, and moved a chunk of his operations into New Orleans to take advantage of the aftermath. Was one of the most active of the supernatural threats...until one of the PCs, an employee at the time, ripped most of the organization apart. Is trying to rebuild his forces while fighting off the other houses for influence over the city.

Victor Goldstein (aka Vic Malvora): The last of the White Court leaders in town, Vic runs a law firm. He has the least manpower and connections of the White Court players in NOLA, but better financial resources and the only legal cover. Currently trying to keep the others off-balance while he convinces the higher ranking members of his house to support his efforts.

Calypso: A local practitioner who's using a voodoo theme to recruit the more superstitious/supernaturally inclined mortals to her cause, trying to carve out a small part of the city for herself. Presents herself as a caring, mystical sort to her followers, but is actually a bit of a necromancer and tyrant.

Louis Jeansonne: The new mayor of the city. Wants to gain wealth and power, and is under the thumb of Trish Raith. Is familiar with the supernatural community, and has an antagonistic relationship with childhood-friend-turned-voodo-priestess Calypso.

John Spartan: Head of the police department. Is a straight-laced, zero-tolerance officer trying to clean up the department while dealing with the issues of a city trying to rebuild, and despises the mayor for Jeansonne's corrupt nature (though Spartan isn't open about it). Has no knowledge of the supernatural . Former boss of one of the PCs. And yes, he's based on a couple of Sly Stallone's characters (his aspect is I AM THE LAW)

Jorge Montoya: A Red Court vampire masquerading as a priest, while also supporting a Red Court drug running operation. Competing with the White Court and various minor factions for control.

Ethan Stone: A contractor working with the mayor's office for kickbacks, while bribing numerous officials to get around building codes and what not. Under the influence of Vince Skavis, providing the vamp with a cat's paw to use against the mayor when needed.

Zombie 'Tupac' (the name we're running with for the moment, but not the intended final name): A former gang member and drug runner for the Red Court, (mostly) resurrected by Calypso. Her magic screwed up, and now he has free will. He heads a gang, and has made it his mission to take back the streets from all the vamps and spellcasters, deciding that he could do far more good for his city in death than he ever did for it in life. Unfortunately, his original death was caused by one of the PCs...and he's still kind of sore about it.

Locations (only one really defined so far):
The Green Hearth: A tavern, brewery, and marijuana operation all rolled into one, the Green Hearth is the local Accorded Neutral Ground. As befits a tavern in New Orleans, it tends to be lively and loud, with local musicians (mundane and supernatural) regularly providing entertainment. Run by a man known only as Havidson. The place only became neutral ground after Havidson got tired of barfights (typically caused by the PCs during their backstories), applying for the title to provide a bit of peace so his business could grow. The increase in supernatural clientele hasn't bothered him much. One of the bouncers, and the one in charge of the weed growing, is one of the PCs.


The Player Characters:

Just a note: We have a good mix of serious and silly ideas, but they all seemed to work out. The sheer variety of viable characters under the system is one reason I already like it.

For now, I'm just putting up the basic things (aspects, templates, general background summary. The details will go up as times goes on)

Frank Slade:
Template: Pure Mortal
High Concept: Ex-cop PI
Trouble: Short Fuse
Other Aspects:
Boy Scout
Knows Too Much
Dammit Trish, Leave Me Alone
Well Traveled
Two For One

Raised an idealist, but tempered with skepticism, joined the police to make a difference in the world. Was an excellent detective, but quit in disgust when evidence he had gathered was twisted to cover for a corrupt official. Works as a PI to cover the bills, but is also a bit of a vigilante. Has become somewhat jaded and has a short temper.

Introduced to the supernatural when he got a job from a white court vamp named Trish, tracking down a former employee of hers (Max, one of the other PCs). Has been hired by her multiple times due to his skills in investigation, but is getting tired of being dragged into supernatural issues. Unfortunately, the White Court really doesn't want to let him go.

The character is a full-on Noir style PI (the player suggested the Trish character as a femme fatale NPC) with very good investigative skills and stunts, with enough fists and guns skills to keep him from getting killed. Also the only pure mortal in the group.

Oleg 'Fun' Bodrovski
Template: Changeling (half-ogre)
High Concept: Half-Ogre Enforcer
Trouble: Mob Wants Me Dead
Other Aspects:
Hot Blooded
Loyal to a Fault
It's Clobbering Time!
Big Flashing Target
THIS IS MY TWO WEEKS NOTICE!

A Russian changeling, hired as an enforcer by Vince Skavis. Loves brawling, and heavily favors his ogre side (already has Inhuman Strength, Supernatural Toughness, and Hulking Size). Not a bad guy, but one who fell in with the wrong crew for a while. Eventually got tired of working for the mob and wanted to get out, but was told quite openly that Vince and his gang wouldn't let him leave alive if he tried. The last aspect above is what Oleg shouted as he hefted a desk and began a rampage through Vince's organization once the changeling finally worked up the nerve to actually quit.

Loud, proud, and a beast in melee combat using only his fists. Currently runs with the other PCs to cover his back from the mob, and to try and enjoy life outside beating up people who didn't want to be extorted. His rampage is the main reason that Skavis hasn't been able to push House Raith out of town. Is best friends with PC Bob Smith.

Robert 'Bob' Smith
Template: Focused Practitioner
High Concept: Gambling Addicted Luckmancer
Trouble: Infamous Cheater (anyone who runs any kind of gambling operation knows this guy)
Other Aspects:
I Know This City and It Knows Me
The Ends are Guaranteed, the Means are Not
Obviously Magical to the Magically Inclined
Luck Isn't Personal
Well...That Just Happened (aka One in a Million)

A luckmancer, a caster whose ritual magic is focused on luck based spells (entropy curses, swinging luck in the user's favor, enchanted items that provide luck based aspects). An orphan, lived just fine on the streets due to good luck in finding food and shelter. Stuck living on the streets due to bad luck in finding steady resources and permanent shelter. Became addicted to gambling due to his powers often granting him lots of cash from cards and dice games (slots break if he gets too close), but always loses the money in the oddest ways and always seems to get caught cheating at the worst times. Events have shown that his luck isn't completely personal, as he saved Oleg from a bullet after randomly bumping into him at a bar, and has caused fights without directly doing anything.

Maximillian DuPaine
Template: Focused Practitioner (we have a lot of these)
High Concept: Gun-mage for Hire
Trouble: Former White Court Hitman
Other Aspects:
Don't Touch Me...Ever
Vengeful Enchanted Handgun
Never Trust the White Court
Go for Cover
Indebted to Tavish

The son of an extremely abusive gunsmith and a European woman (who passed away under suspicious circumstances when Max was a kid), who is likely the source of his magical talent. Learned gunsmithing from his father, then combined that with his magical skills to make an enchanted pistol...with which he murdered his old man. Started working for House Raith as an assassin while he continued to improve his marksmanship and his magic. Later broke away from the court after they tried to screw him over, and is trying to go legit.

His magic focuses on kinetic evocations and gun-related craftings. Evocations are typically blocks and maneuvers, focusing on effecting ballistics (redirecting rather than blocking incoming bullets, placing an aspect like All Projectiles Curve Left on an area to use against enemies and for his own benefit). His ritual magic is related to crafting and all things gun related; 'potions' are actually magical ammunition (exploding fire rounds, ghost killing rounds, etc) and rituals focus on effecting ballistics and firearms.

Russell 'Rusty' Ampersand Strawberry (not even kidding)
Template: Were-form + Focused Practitioner
High Concept: Werewolf Druid in a Jazzy Underworld
Trouble: If Only I was human
Other Aspects:
Natural Survivalist in a Modern Jungle
The Heritage and Knife, blood is not family
Same ****, Different Day
Scary Little Fireball
Fetch! Good Doggie!

The kid of a bunch of hippies from New England, living in tune with the natural world as werewolves. Has a bit of natural talent with nature based ritual magic. Left home because he just wanted to live like a normal human being. Eventually found his way to New Orleans, drawn in by the Jazz scene. Got by at first as a squatter in various abandoned buildings, taking odd jobs to get by when possible. Eventually found a steady job as a bouncer at the Green Hearth, and started making money selling marijuana grown via his magic. Hates the fact that he was raised a werewolf, as he's never been able to shake off that side of him, but still has to use his shapeshifting powers from time to time. Became friends with most of the other PCs after breaking up brawls they were involved in.

Tavish Degroot
Template: Focused Practitioner
High Concept: Black Scottish Cyclops Swordsman (not even kidding, but the character is actually interesting)
Trouble: PTSD
Other Aspects:
High Sense of Honor/Pride
Ultra Powerful Explosives
The Claidheamh Mr (item of power)
Indebted to DuPaine
Vampire Nerves

This character is, no joke, the Demoman from Team Fortress 2, turned into a serious character. A black man from Scottland, had to deal with some racial issues while growing up. Took to swordplay to relieve stress and pass the time while growing up. Found a great interest in explosives while learning chemistry in school...but his magical ability manifested, overcharged his efforts and blew up the lab, killing a teacher and injuring a number of students, while taking one of Tavish's eyes. He was able to get out of the country by the skin of his teeth, putting time into learning about magic and improving his control, wanting to avoid causing such a horrific accident again.

Caught word of a little-known magical blade while traveling the U.S. When he finally found it, it bound to him, granting him increased physical ability but pushing its bloodlust on him. He's taken to drinking to escape the craziness of his life, but has found a few others he gets along with, providing his skills when he can for a good cause.

Has ritual (alchemy), with most of his creations taking the form of magical explosives of various descriptions. Is close friends with Oleg (they're drinking buddies) and DuPaine (who saved Tavish's life after he pissed off a White Court vamp).

So, to sum it up: We have the Heavy and Demoman from TF2, Max Paine, a shapeshifting magical Hippie, the living embodiment of luck, and a noir-style detective, working together to survive against vampires, voodoo, and a few unknown threats in post-Katrina New Orleans.


Session 1 Log: "Horribly Wolfmurdered"
Setting: Friday, Oct. 19 at the Green Hearth

Scene 1:

The campaign opens on Frank, Rusty, and Oleg enjoying a night drinking at the Green Hearth ((all start with the temporary aspect Buzzed, with the additional aspect High for the weed smoking werewolf, just to make things interesting)). The evening's relaxation is interrupted by the arrival of a man named Lars - who Frank recognizes as the head of security (and a number of illegal services) for Trish Raith. He brings Frank an offer: Frank digs up information on a few people/factions that are a thorn in Madame Trish's side, and the PI gets a cool $20,000 under the table, half of it up front as incentive to take the job. While Frank is extremely suspicious of the circumstances (he's worked for the White Court before, so he's aware of how they operate, and the fact that he's being contacted outside his business hours and in public is a big tip off that something is up) , he decides to accept the initial offer so that he can figure out what his old client is up to. He agrees to split the down payment with Rusty and Oleg in return for them helping him with the assignment, and the three go back to drinking and relaxing as Lars heads out, promising to pass on a report with all the details in the morning.

Deciding that he'd like to see what the White Court lackey is up to, Rusty heads out and transforms, keeping to the shadows and alleys to track Lars' car to see where he goes. Though Rusty is unsurprised that Lars goes straight back to Trish's brothel in the French Quarter, he is happy that he can now identify Lars' car, and heads back to the Green Hearth to rejoin the others. Unfortunately, in his inebriated state he was not as careful as he normally would have been, and was seen by a few people on the street. The sight of a wolf slinking down the street is not one that most people would ignore, especially when said wolf has a joint secured in its jaws...

((As this session was meant both to start the story and to help demo the game to the group, we played around with aspects a lot, potentially more than might normally be seen in a session. We started with a compel on Frank's 'Dammit Trish' aspect to kick off the story as he once again finds the White Court madam trying to get him involved in her schemes (though the group is somewhat suspicious that Lars may be acting independently, or even for another faction rather than following Trish's orders on this one). Rusty went with a compel on his temporary aspect of High, wanting to get a fate point for his rather small pool of points while producing the humorous picture of a pot smoking wolf being seen in public. Oleg had a compel soon after...))

Not long after Rusty returns, a man who appears to be an inebriated transient stumbles in the front door, looking bewildered. "Did anyone see a wolf wander in here!?" he asks, incredulous, while scanning the room. Frank and Rusty write him off as a mundane who glimpsed the werewolf on his way back. Oleg, however, is quite suspicious. ((Which is the correct response, as I gave him an evil grin and slid a fate point token over to him.)) When the transient's gaze finally passes over Oleg, he stops for a moment, and Oleg immediately prepares for the worst. The man drops the drunk act and calls out the door, "He's in here!" as he steps out of the way of the door, drawing a sawed-off double barrel shotgun from under his ragged coat. Two more men, in somewhat more professional attire, step through the doorway with sawed-off pump action shotguns in hand.

((At this point, Oleg's player threw down a fate point and declared that, as his character's trouble is that the mob wants him dead, he would be paranoid about these sorts of things, and thus would not be caught off guard by the course of action outlined. I agreed, especially since the player was indeed immediately suspicious of the first guy, while the other players just thought it was a humorous interlude. The other players suggested a compel to not be able to act during the first exchange, based on their drinking/smoking leaving them a bit slow of reflexes, with the intention that Oleg would handle things fine by himself for a moment, giving the other players a chance to plan out the encounter and some fate points to make the ensuing fight interesting. I rolled with it since it fit the scene well.))

Oleg reacts immediately, standing up while grabbing the table, hurling it at the doorway and slamming the first man into the wall and leaving the heavy wooden table neatly blocking the entrance and the two gunmen standing in it. ((Oleg has a stunt that lets him use his unmodified, i.e. pre-Inhuman Strength and Hulking size, Might skill to throw heavy, improvised objects as weapons. Gunman one took something like 7 stress from the hit, and I decided that he'd be taken out, looking to get away as fast as possible after his target hurled a freaking table at him that hard. I also added the aspect Blocked Entrance to the scene to represent the table now providing an obstacle/cover for the gunmen)). The gunmen open fire, but Oleg easily dodges the attacks ((good athletics skill, combined with a fate point to invoke the Block Entrance aspect to boost the changeling's dodge on the first attack, arguing that the thrown table would mess up the gunman's aim)).

Oleg then charges, slamming a fist into one shooter's gut while the other opens fire; the man hit by the table takes the opportunity to slip out the door and get the hell out of dodge ((the guy that got hit took a mild consequence, moderate consequence, and 3 stress. Oleg's fists count as Weapon:4 with skill of Great, thanks to his Inhuman Strength and a fists stunt. He's ridiculous in a fist fight, as one expects from a half-ogre)). The shotgun blast takes Oleg in the gut, and to his surprise, the gun is loaded with steel shot, causing respectable injury ((Oleg took a solid 9 stress hit, bypassing his armor:2 and 2 extra stress boxes from Supernatural Toughness. He took two mild consequences, thanks to a superb Endurance skill, taking on Bruised Torso and Mild Burns, thanks to the steel causing a burning effect on his half-fae flesh)). Now able to act, Frank dives into crowd of patrons that is moving to the sides of the room to avoid the gunfire in their midst, intending to move to the entrance and catch the attackers off guard. Rusty shifts and charges, but misjudges his attack and slams into the table in front of the gunmen ((even invoking an aspect, Rusty failed his attack horribly)).

The shooters go to fire again, but the first one isn't able to hit the surprisingly agile changeling and the other's aim is thrown off by his wounds ((at this point the players were becoming very comfortable and happy with the concept of consequences, temporary aspects, and tagging aspects)). Oleg punches the uninjured shooter as hard as he can, shouting, "Take on someone your own tiny, baby size!" ((something like an 11 stress hit; I decided that the blow killed the man instantly, hurling the man out the door and across the alley the bar's entrance is in, cracking the wall on the other side)). Frank tries to disarm the injured one, but is unsuccessful; Rusty, now pissed off that his bar and friends have been attacked, leaps on the injured man and ends up killing him with his fangs and claws. Frank takes off into the alley after the first gunman, the one who'd escaped, while Oleg and Rusty check on their downed enemies (now figuring out that the two attackers are quite dead).

((A chase began here. I decided that, as it was Friday night in NOLA, in a busy part of town, it shouldn't be that hard to disappear. However, the gunshots had scared people off the street a bit, making it easier to see a fleeing foe and chase him. I set the finish line at 15 shifts, merely to see how it worked out. The gunman had a +3 athletics compared to Rusty's effective +6 in wolf form, Oleg's +5, and Frank's +0; however, the group was quick to look over their skills to see if any others might apply. Ultimately, Frank relied on his Superb Alertness to pick out the fastest ways through the crowds, while the other three focused on Athletics, shoving their way through the people on the street as they ran.))

Frank is easily able to pick out the best spots to get through the crowd, moving through the panicked people like a fish through water as Rusty sprints over and around parked cars and Oleg simply pushes his way forward, the gunman similarly shoving his way through the crowd ahead. As they close on the fleeing hitman, the changeling gets tired of shoving his way through and simply shouts, "GET THE F*** OUT OF MY WAY!" ((intimidate check. Effective +5 thanks to Oleg's base +3 skill, and +2 from hulking size. Very effective)). The crowd before the angry, 7' 6" half-ogre parts and he is able to simply run the fleeing human down with his massive stride, the PI and werewolf hot on his heels.

Scene 2:

Hoping to avoid the cops, they carry the man back to the Green Hearth (magically protected to not appear to anyone who doesn't already know it's there or isn't traveling with someone who has been there, in order to keep out police and mundanes who might interfere with the clientele/marijuana growing operation); they take everything the gunman and his two dead buddies have on their way back, consisting of nearly four dozen shells of steel shot, the three shotguns, and a single cell phone. Havidson has already cleared everyone out, making sure none of his customers are injured while sending them on their way. When the three arrive, the bartender sits on the bar, shotgun in hand, and points them to the back room to interrogate their prisoner and figure out what exactly just happened.

The trio sets the prisoner down on a chair in the middle of the brewery/growing room. Oleg lifts up the chair until the gunman is at eye height, and slams the chair into a wall. "Why is the mob coming after me now, after all this time!?" he shouts into the terrified man's face, pissed that the mob troubling him for the first time in half a year. ((Mental attack via intimidation, putting the mild consequence 'Terrified' on the man)). The hitman replies that he has no idea what Oleg means. Frank follows up with his own questions; "Who hired you, and how did you find this place?" ((Interrogation via the Investigation skill, gained as a stunt, doing excellent mental stress and bringing the poor fellow to the point I decided that he was 'taken out' and thus compliant with the trio's questioning)).

The hit man explains that he was hired a few days before by an anonymous contact, one who had provided some details via phone call along with a hefty down payment that had mysteriously appeared in the gunman's bank account. A follow-up email had included instructions on two other hired guns to work with, what kind of weapon and ammunition to use, and where to watch for Oleg, including a small note explaining that 'any extremely strange happenings should be investigated, as they will likely lead to the target'. The gunman thought that a pot-smoking wolf wandering down the streets was odd, and had followed Rusty right to the bar.

The trio takes the number of the mysterious caller from the hitman's cell phone, and convince the hitman to give over his account info, in exchange for them giving the man 48 hours to withdraw his money and secure a means out of town (the hitman afraid that his mysterious client will come after him for failing).

Havidson gives the trio a stern talking to after the hitman scurries out the door, essentially telling them to stay away until whatever trouble is following them now is taken care of. Not wanting to piss off him off, they agree and head out. Oleg heads home, downing minor pain killers and applying first aid to his burns before nodding off, while Rusty goes out to wander the club scene, trying to relax after a stressful change of plans. Frank goes home and hits up the internet, trying to figure out who might own the phone number that had provided the hit on Oleg, leaving a message with a friend at the phone company when the internet proves useless.


Scene 3: (new format starts here)

Frank receives a call from his contact in the phone company, an old friend named Alexander Bell. Alex passes on what little he was able to learn about the number the anonymous client had used to hire the hitman: most of the information that should have been attached to that number had been deleted somehow; only by digging through Alex's own list of contacts within the company was he able to track down anything useful. By luck, he'd found the serial number of the cell phone attached to the number, and the store and time at which it had been purchased. Alex has little else to offer, but Frank is happy to have at least this much of a lead, though he's somewhat concerned about a potential foe that has the means to erase (most) of his tracks in such a manner.

Mechanics: A few of the players have a high Contacts skill (Frank and Rusty both have Superb Contacts). So long as the players had a good setup for how they might know a character (and a good Contacts roll), I let them come up with the name and general concept for an NPC, which the player then records for potential later use. This will come up several times during the game, as both Frank and Rusty use their contacts to help track down information and other NPCs.

I've noticed while DMing (I've been running games in various systems for about 8 years now) that character names are a fiddly thing. In the case of Contacts, I let the PCs handle naming the contact NPCs instead of doing it myself, because it ensure they'll remember the NPCs' names. For example, Frank's player is an engineering student and a fan of history, so coming up with a contact at the phone company produced Alexander Bell. Potentially cringe worthy, but at least it's one that he will remember.

The trio meets up at Cafe du Monde, grabbing coffee and breakfast while waiting for Lars to contact them. To their complete lack of surprise, Lars shows up in person with a tray of beignets and coffee, along with a bound report for Frank. After a bit of light conversation, the White Court security man makes his exit, leaving the trio to plan out their investigation.

The report is somewhat sparse on details, but focuses on two main factions: the followers of a voodoo priestess named Calypso, and a gang building up in the lower 9th Ward. Calypso has been spotted in various parts of the city, but appears to also be based in the 9th Ward, with numerous reports of strange happenings and what look like walking corpses in the area believed to be her base of operations. The gang has been building up in one of the areas devastated by the hurricane, which still hasn't been rebuilt a few years later; rumor has it that the gang's leader is a bit of a revolutionary, and amongst the supernatural community it is held that he's not human. In both cases, the groups are proving resistant to various initiatives the White Court supports, and Trish wants as much information as Frank can gather on them.

Rusty decides that he'll handle looking for the gang, as he has contacts in the area (namely, friends who frequent the Green Hearth and help with the growing operation), with Oleg tagging along to protect him. Frank wants to focus on the lead from the phone company first, hoping to find out specifically who is trying to kill Oleg. Though the group is pretty certain it's Vince Skavis, Oleg's old boss, they aren't willing to take anything for granted.

Scene 4:

Frank heads to the east side of town, to the store that sold and activated the cell phone of the hitman's client. However, he is immediately rebuffed by the store's manager, who is unwilling to pass along sales/customer information unless it's a police investigation backed by a warrant. Deciding that that isn't a bad idea, Frank steps out of the shop and contacts one of his old friends in the police department, John O'hare. He passes along enough info about the case to O'hare to convice the policeman that the phone information is related to the double homicide near the French Quarter the night before (as the two thugs Oleg and Rusty had killed had been discovered by the cops, with the two bouncers being referenced as 'a suspect built like an NBA star and his husky' in the news). Frank's hope is that the police can get a warrant and do an in depth search, hopefully catching the attention of the hitman's client and covering up Frank's own efforts. However, it's saturday morning, and he doesn't expect to be able to get hold of anything to police dig up for a few days, if they even go after the lead.

The PI heads back inside, not yet ready to give up on retrieving some information himself. He takes a moment to size up the manager, a middle aged woman, hoping to find something he can use to get her to open up. From her body language, he picks up that she's bored and likely irritated at his continued presence, so he applies a bit of pressure, mentioning that the information he seeks is related to the homicide the night before and that his own best friend is in danger. Frank manages to get through to her, and she says she'll give him the name and home number of the purchaser of the phone if it will get Frank out of her store; he readily agrees, and heads out to meet the others, new information in hand.

Mechanics:
This is the point where we played with Assessments. Frank Slade is big on various information based skills (Contacts, Alertness, Investigation) but not so much on social ones (his social skills all being less than +3). By using his Superb Investigation skill several times, reasoning that his time as a PI and a detective would give him experience reading body language, he figured out two of the store manager's aspects. He then tagged them to massively improve his next social skill roll, convincing her to give him at least a little bit of information.

Scene 5:

((Initially, Oleg and Rusty meet up with one of Rusty's contacts in the 9th Ward, trading a dime bag and a few bottles of Green Hearth beer for information. However, I do not have the name of the contact written down, and cannot currently contact Rusty's player for a reminder of just how the encounter with the contact went. This part was written the night of our second play session, and as noted in that session's log, Rusty's player had a family emergency of some sort and wasn't able to come to the session. I'll fill this in once I can talk to him again. Suffice to say, this initial part wasn't very eventful or important.))

The pair head down to the neighborhood the contact had indicated. The area was devastated by the hurricane, and is still in ruins. Many homes are damaged or outright ruined, with a large number of lots empty. Surprisingly, there are a lot of people around, congregating around a single block. Oleg and Rusty stand out horribly: both white in a predominantly black neighborhood, with Oleg built like a cross between a linebacker and an NBA star and Rusty appearing as an old fashioned hippy with an old, stained poncho and unruly hair. It's thus not surprising when they are called out by a small group of people on the street corner as the pair approaches the block.

A few young men approach them, all armed with various types of handgun, asking what the odd pair was doing in the area and generally warding them off. Oleg and Rusty openly admit they're there to meet the leader of the local gang, and after a tense conversation in which the locals tell them off repeatedly, one of the men gets fed up and fires on Oleg...who was waiting for it to happen. The half-ogre actually moves into position to take the shot to the sternum, barely flinching as the 40 caliber slug flattens on his chest, leaving him unharmed. He and Rusty reiterate their request to meet the gang's leader, and the young men decide it would be better to take the pair to their boss than to piss off Oleg.

Mechanics: After a number of failed social rolls, things turn to violence. Oleg's player is confident in his ability to take small caliber rounds without injury, and declares that he's making an Athletics check not to dodge the bullet, but to get shot in a spot that will provide the least injury while showing off how tough he is. He rolled excellently, taking only one or two stress from the hit.

He wanted to turn the failed attack into a bonus to his Intimidate skill, as Oleg would subtly imply that things would go wrong for the shooter and his friends if they didn't acquiesce to Oleg and Rusty's request. I agreed, since it fit the scene well, and let him tag a new aspect for the purpose. We didn't name it at the time, but Oleg's player decided that he liked the thought of Oleg being a confident tank so much that he changed his 'Loyal to a Fault' aspect to 'Silly B****, Your Weapons Cannot Harm Me!' at the group's first minor milestone after Session 2.


The pair are led to one of the still standing houses, one that is full of people. In the living room, a man sits in a lazy chair, having a discussion with about a dozen others. The discussion halts when Oleg and Rusty enter the room, with the two party's sizing each other up, surprised at what they've found.

((As a preface to the next bit: if you've read the City details, you likely noticed the 'Zombie Tupac' NPC, wherein I mentioned that the name was a placeholder. Well, the players nixed that idea, basically saying that no matter how I treated the character, to them, he is simply Zombie Tupac. Silly as it is, I ran with it, and I think it actually worked out. Don't ask me how.))

The leader of the gang is a black man, apparently in his 30s...who happens to have the pallor of a corpse and a few bullet holes in his torso. Introducing himself as Tupac, the gang leader is surprisingly open and friendly to the two strangers in his presence. Deciding that they don't want to cause a fight, the pair reciprocate, introducing themselves and explaining that they think someone has it out for Tupac, and that they want to warn him and figure out what exactly is going on.

The pair begin to explain that some of the members of the supernatural community are interested in Tupac, but the walking dead man claims some skepticism that such a community even exists...until Rusty shapeshifts in front of him, with Oleg explaining a bit about the supernatural side of the street. Seeing a chance to gain some information, Tupac agrees to trade information about his activities and intentions in exchange for as much as the odd pair are willing to explain about the side of life that the mundanes don't see. Rusty mentions that a vampire is the one who wants to know about Tupac and his people, explaining the concept of a White Court vampire and what Rusty knows of how they operate.

Tupac explains his situation rather quickly. He woke up in a ditch in the lower 9th Ward a month beforehand, not needing to breath or eat and unsure of how he'd gotten there. His memories of are faint, with nothing from the days leading up to his death remaining. After he'd gotten his bearings (curious as to how he'd gotten from Nevada to NOLA in the decade following his death), Tupac had decided to settle in and help out the folks who had offered him a place to stay. The plight of the locals stirred something in his (no-longer-beating) heart, and he'd begun helping them organize.

He tells Oleg and Rusty something they didn't know: the government and a number of local contractors are trying to buy up all of the land in the area for some sort of development project. The offers for the land are too cheap for the locals to be able to do anything with the money, but with no actual reconstruction happening, no one can really continue to live there. Most of the people never really recovered from the twin flooding of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and now most of them could barely afford food and transportation; most of Tupac's efforts went into organizing people to spread out supplies and watch out for each other. In the last two weeks, odd things had been seen at night in other parts of the lower ward, and now he had to organize a defense for the area as well (like the young men who'd first accosted Oleg and Rusty).

The pair take a liking to the zombie and his followers, curious as to what Trish's interests in the area are and deciding that they'd prefer the White Court not get good information on Tupac and his folks. In a fit of inspiration, Rusty even offers to help the locals with the food and supplies situation, putting his magic skills to work to help grow vegetables and fruits to supplement what the locals could purchase.

Oleg decides to head out to meet Frank, hoping to call in some of the other members of the group to go investigate Calypso (who he is sure is behind the odd happenings in the ward), while Rusty stays behind to work some magic and subtly pick up more information on the conditions in the neighborhood.

Mechanics: Not much to discuss here specific to this scene, but I feel it's worth mentioning: the magic system in the DFRPG is ridiculously open-ended and flexible. Case in point: we have four focused practitioners in our party, and none of them overlap as far as their magic skills go. As talked about above, Rusty is focused on 'nature magic', a rather nebulous theme of thaumaturgy involving anything related to natural conditions (plant life, weather, soil conditions, and the use of the above to accomplish things).

Despite sharing a template with three other party members, his theme (combined with how open the system is) allows him to do things the others can't, and to consider options others wouldn't. Offering to use magic to help grow and maintain food in an area that normally wouldn't be good for heavy gardening is an option a Wizard wouldn't likely consider, but a hippy druid who happens to use that kind of magic to feed his smoking habits has no issue coming up with it.

The luckmancer Bob works all kinds of luck based magic; in a system like D&D, the concept would require a number of pre-set spells and concepts, but here it's up to the player to decide what 'luck magic' truly is (with DM approval, of course). Bob's idea of a defensive item is one that alters luck around him, making deadly attacks into close shaves and causing enemy weapons to jam, break, or otherwise spontaneously and unluckily fail (basically, a superb, two round shield vs. all physical attacks, flavored to fit his theme). He uses magic to place Luck aspects on a scene or to create interesting magic effects. One item places the aspect Lucky on Bob, which is taggable twice per use, while another item places the Unlucky aspect on an enemy, requiring a +6 Conviction roll to overcome. These aspects are vague, allowing any number of potential invokes or declarations (the regular joke at the table being that Bob will one day kill someone by causing a random piano to fall from the sky and kill them). He has an enchanted sword cane that grants him Superb Weapons skill for one scene; rather than making him an expert swordsman, the effect merely makes him ridiculously lucky at swordfighting. Mechanically, there is no difference, but playing up the theme makes the item fun and interesting.

The character of Max DuPaine, gun-mage, will likely have similar ideas. Kinetic effects to place aspects like 'Bullets Curve Left' on a zone to debuff enemies and buff himself have been discussed, and the potion rules (especially the ability to burn a fate point and have just the right potion on hand when needed) will be used for magical bullets for Max's handguns (exploding fire bullets, holy rounds, oversized/enchanted iron nails for Fae, etc.), providing the feel of a character who can pull off movie and video game shooting stunts while always having the right tool for the job (provided he has fate points...)

In summation, as a DM and potential player, I LOVE THIS MAGIC SYSTEM. Theme and entertainment are everything to me, and the fact that the players have very different ideas of magic while using the same two basic abilities (channeling and ritual) is awesome.




Editor's Note: I have not had the chance to go back through and do a full proofreading of scene's 3-5 of Session 1. I know my grammar isn't perfect, but I do try and keep it readable. If there are any glaring flaws in those scenes, please mention them in a post. I plan to clean this up as soon as possible, but school/work are keeping me busy. That part of the post alone was nearly 3,000 words (I need to work on brevity :smallbiggrin:) and takes a lot of time to type and edit that I don't quite have right now.

Any comments or questions are certainly welcome. :smallbiggrin:

Kiero
2012-01-17, 12:19 PM
I laughed at the last character, because in our DFRPG game (http://cityontheriver.wordpress.com/), the Wizard is based off Red Spy from TF2.

You seem to have a plague of Focused Practicioners; what's up with that? Did everyone want to shoehorn magic into their concepts?

We didn't manage to keep City and Character generation to a single session, but it was fun and worthwhile in any case.

Rizhail
2012-01-17, 12:53 PM
Most of the character ideas were made up before the group had gone over the various templates, so we went for what fit each one. All of the pracitioner characters were actually made by folks who aren't familiar with the setting, and wanted to dip their toes into the magic system without going all-in with a sorcerer or wizard. Since all of them had somewhat narrow concepts for their character's magic abilities, the template worked perfectly.

Though originally we were going to end up with a lot of White Court vampires from the newbies; one of them even managed to basically make Thomas Raith without knowing about that character. :smallbiggrin: It was only when they started to realize all the things that go into being a vamp that they switched ideas, though you can see that a lot of them kep ideas at least dealing with the White Court.

Our city/character creation actually took two sessions, but we had a three day weekend due to the MLK day (we're all college students), so we played two days in a row to get everything put together.

Rizhail
2012-01-22, 09:56 PM
Play Session 1: Horribly Wolfmurdered

Session note: The players for Tavish, Max, and Bob were unable to make it to the session for various reasons. We went ahead and had the session so that the other players and I could get a feel for the rules in play and get the story started up. Due to work scheduling, the player for Tavish may not be able to play for the rest of the semester, so that character may not show up in any of the sessions for this campaign.

I'm still playing with how I want to format things. I'm thinking mechanics type info will be in double parentheses (()) when appropriate, but if anyone has any suggestions on how to make things clear and easy to understand, I'm all ears.

Session 1 Log: "Horribly Wolfmurdered"
Setting: Friday, Oct. 19 at the Green Hearth

Scene 1:

The campaign opens on Frank, Rusty, and Oleg enjoying a night drinking at the Green Hearth ((all start with the temporary aspect Buzzed, with the additional aspect High for the weed smoking werewolf, just to make things interesting)). The evening's relaxation is interrupted by the arrival of a man named Lars - who Frank recognizes as the head of security (and a number of illegal services) for Trish Raith. He brings Frank an offer: Frank digs up information on a few people/factions that are a thorn in Madame Trish's side, and the PI gets a cool $20,000 under the table, half of it up front as incentive to take the job. While Frank is extremely suspicious of the circumstances (he's worked for the White Court before, so he's aware of how they operate, and the fact that he's being contacted outside his business hours and in public is a big tip off that something is up) , he decides to accept the initial offer so that he can figure out what his old client is up to. He agrees to split the down payment with Rusty and Oleg in return for them helping him with the assignment, and the three go back to drinking and relaxing as Lars heads out, promising to pass on a report with all the details in the morning.

Deciding that he'd like to see what the White Court lackey is up to, Rusty heads out and transforms, keeping to the shadows and alleys to track Lars' car to see where he goes. Though Rusty is unsurprised that Lars goes straight back to Trish's brothel in the French Quarter, he is happy that he can now identify Lars' car, and heads back to the Green Hearth to rejoin the others. Unfortunately, in his inebriated state he was not as careful as he normally would have been, and was seen by a few people on the street. The sight of a wolf slinking down the street is not one that most people would ignore, especially when said wolf has a joint secured in its jaws...

((As this session was meant both to start the story and to help demo the game to the group, we played around with aspects a lot, potentially more than might normally be seen in a session. We started with a compel on Frank's 'Dammit Trish' aspect to kick off the story as he once again finds the White Court madam trying to get him involved in her schemes (though the group is somewhat suspicious that Lars may be acting independently, or even for another faction rather than following Trish's orders on this one). Rusty went with a compel on his temporary aspect of High, wanting to get a fate point for his rather small pool of points while producing the humorous picture of a pot smoking wolf being seen in public. Oleg had a compel soon after...))

Not long after Rusty returns, a man who appears to be an inebriated transient stumbles in the front door, looking bewildered. "Did anyone see a wolf wander in here!?" he asks, incredulous, while scanning the room. Frank and Rusty write him off as a mundane who glimpsed the werewolf on his way back. Oleg, however, is quite suspicious. ((Which is the correct response, as I gave him an evil grin and slid a fate point token over to him.)) When the transient's gaze finally passes over Oleg, he stops for a moment, and Oleg immediately prepares for the worst. The man drops the drunk act and calls out the door, "He's in here!" as he steps out of the way of the door, drawing a sawed-off double barrel shotgun from under his ragged coat. Two more men, in somewhat more professional attire, step through the doorway with sawed-off pump action shotguns in hand.

((At this point, Oleg's player threw down a fate point and declared that, as his character's trouble is that the mob wants him dead, he would be paranoid about these sorts of things, and thus would not be caught off guard by the course of action outlined. I agreed, especially since the player was indeed immediately suspicious of the first guy, while the other players just thought it was a humorous interlude. The other players suggested a compel to not be able to act during the first exchange, based on their drinking/smoking leaving them a bit slow of reflexes, with the intention that Oleg would handle things fine by himself for a moment, giving the other players a chance to plan out the encounter and some fate points to make the ensuing fight interesting. I rolled with it since it fit the scene well.))

Oleg reacts immediately, standing up while grabbing the table, hurling it at the doorway and slamming the first man into the wall and leaving the heavy wooden table neatly blocking the entrance and the two gunmen standing in it. ((Oleg has a stunt that lets him use his unmodified, i.e. pre-Inhuman Strength and Hulking size, Might skill to throw heavy, improvised objects as weapons. Gunman one took something like 7 stress from the hit, and I decided that he'd be taken out, looking to get away as fast as possible after his target hurled a freaking table at him that hard. I also added the aspect Blocked Entrance to the scene to represent the table now providing an obstacle/cover for the gunmen)). The gunmen open fire, but Oleg easily dodges the attacks ((good athletics skill, combined with a fate point to invoke the Block Entrance aspect to boost the changeling's dodge on the first attack, arguing that the thrown table would mess up the gunman's aim)).

Oleg then charges, slamming a fist into one shooter's gut while the other opens fire; the man hit by the table takes the opportunity to slip out the door and get the hell out of dodge ((the guy that got hit took a mild consequence, moderate consequence, and 3 stress. Oleg's fists count as Weapon:4 with skill of Great, thanks to his Inhuman Strength and a fists stunt. He's ridiculous in a fist fight, as one expects from a half-ogre)). The shotgun blast takes Oleg in the gut, and to his surprise, the gun is loaded with steel shot, causing respectable injury ((Oleg took a solid 9 stress hit, bypassing his armor:2 and 2 extra stress boxes from Supernatural Toughness. He took two mild consequences, thanks to a superb Endurance skill, taking on Bruised Torso and Mild Burns, thanks to the steel causing a burning effect on his half-fae flesh)). Now able to act, Frank dives into crowd of patrons that is moving to the sides of the room to avoid the gunfire in their midst, intending to move to the entrance and catch the attackers off guard. Rusty shifts and charges, but misjudges his attack and slams into the table in front of the gunmen ((even invoking an aspect, Rusty failed his attack horribly)).

The shooters go to fire again, but the first one isn't able to hit the surprisingly agile changeling and the other's aim is thrown off by his wounds ((at this point the players were becoming very comfortable and happy with the concept of consequences, temporary aspects, and tagging aspects)). Oleg punches the uninjured shooter as hard as he can, shouting, "Take on someone your own tiny, baby size!" ((something like an 11 stress hit; I decided that the blow killed the man instantly, hurling the man out the door and across the alley the bar's entrance is in, cracking the wall on the other side)). Frank tries to disarm the injured one, but is unsuccessful; Rusty, now pissed off that his bar and friends have been attacked, leaps on the injured man and ends up killing him with his fangs and claws. Frank takes off into the alley after the first gunman, the one who'd escaped, while Oleg and Rusty check on their downed enemies (now figuring out that the two attackers are quite dead).

((A chase began here. I decided that, as it was Friday night in NOLA, in a busy part of town, it shouldn't be that hard to disappear. However, the gunshots had scared people off the street a bit, making it easier to see a fleeing foe and chase him. I set the finish line at 15 shifts, merely to see how it worked out. The gunman had a +3 athletics compared to Rusty's effective +6 in wolf form, Oleg's +5, and Frank's +0; however, the group was quick to look over their skills to see if any others might apply. Ultimately, Frank relied on his Superb Alertness to pick out the fastest ways through the crowds, while the other three focused on Athletics, shoving their way through the people on the street as they ran.))

Frank is easily able to pick out the best spots to get through the crowd, moving through the panicked people like a fish through water as Rusty sprints over and around parked cars and Oleg simply pushes his way forward, the gunman similarly shoving his way through the crowd ahead. As they close on the fleeing hitman, the changeling gets tired of shoving his way through and simply shouts, "GET THE F*** OUT OF MY WAY!" ((intimidate check. Effective +5 thanks to Oleg's base +3 skill, and +2 from hulking size. Very effective)). The crowd before the angry, 7' 6" half-ogre parts and he is able to simply run the fleeing human down with his massive stride, the PI and werewolf hot on his heels.

Scene 2:

Hoping to avoid the cops, they carry the man back to the Green Hearth (magically protected to not appear to anyone who doesn't already know it's there or isn't traveling with someone who has been there, in order to keep out police and mundanes who might interfere with the clientele/marijuana growing operation); they take everything the gunman and his two dead buddies have on their way back, consisting of nearly four dozen shells of steel shot, the three shotguns, and a single cell phone. Havidson has already cleared everyone out, making sure none of his customers are injured while sending them on their way. When the three arrive, the bartender sits on the bar, shotgun in hand, and points them to the back room to interrogate their prisoner and figure out what exactly just happened.

The trio sets the prisoner down on a chair in the middle of the brewery/growing room. Oleg lifts up the chair until the gunman is at eye height, and slams the chair into a wall. "Why is the mob coming after me now, after all this time!?" he shouts into the terrified man's face, pissed that the mob troubling him for the first time in half a year. ((Mental attack via intimidation, putting the mild consequence 'Terrified' on the man)). The hitman replies that he has no idea what Oleg means. Frank follows up with his own questions; "Who hired you, and how did you find this place?" ((Interrogation via the Investigation skill, gained as a stunt, doing excellent mental stress and bringing the poor fellow to the point I decided that he was 'taken out' and thus compliant with the trio's questioning)).

The hit man explains that he was hired a few days before by an anonymous contact, one who had provided some details via phone call along with a hefty down payment that had mysteriously appeared in the gunman's bank account. A follow-up email had included instructions on two other hired guns to work with, what kind of weapon and ammunition to use, and where to watch for Oleg, including a small note explaining that 'any extremely strange happenings should be investigated, as they will likely lead to the target'. The gunman thought that a pot-smoking wolf wandering down the streets was odd, and had followed Rusty right to the bar.

The trio takes the number of the mysterious caller from the hitman's cell phone, and convince the hitman to give over his account info, in exchange for them giving the man 48 hours to withdraw his money and secure a means out of town (the hitman afraid that his mysterious client will come after him for failing).

Havidson gives the trio a stern talking to after the hitman scurries out the door, essentially telling them to stay away until whatever trouble is following them now is taken care of. Not wanting to piss off him off, they agree and head out. Oleg heads home, downing minor pain killers and applying first aid to his burns before nodding off, while Rusty goes out to wander the club scene, trying to relax after a stressful change of plans. Frank goes home and hits up the internet, trying to figure out who might own the phone number that had provided the hit on Oleg, leaving a message with a friend at the phone company when the internet proves useless.


Scene 3: (new format starts here)

Frank receives a call from his contact in the phone company, an old friend named Alexander Bell. Alex passes on what little he was able to learn about the number the anonymous client had used to hire the hitman: most of the information that should have been attached to that number had been deleted somehow; only by digging through Alex's own list of contacts within the company was he able to track down anything useful. By luck, he'd found the serial number of the cell phone attached to the number, and the store and time at which it had been purchased. Alex has little else to offer, but Frank is happy to have at least this much of a lead, though he's somewhat concerned about a potential foe that has the means to erase (most) of his tracks in such a manner.

Mechanics: A few of the players have a high Contacts skill (Frank and Rusty both have Superb Contacts). So long as the players had a good setup for how they might know a character (and a good Contacts roll), I let them come up with the name and general concept for an NPC, which the player then records for potential later use. This will come up several times during the game, as both Frank and Rusty use their contacts to help track down information and other NPCs.

I've noticed while DMing (I've been running games in various systems for about 8 years now) that character names are a fiddly thing. In the case of Contacts, I let the PCs handle naming the contact NPCs instead of doing it myself, because it ensure they'll remember the NPCs' names. For example, Frank's player is an engineering student and a fan of history, so coming up with a contact at the phone company produced Alexander Bell. Potentially cringe worthy, but at least it's one that he will remember.

The trio meets up at Cafe du Monde, grabbing coffee and breakfast while waiting for Lars to contact them. To their complete lack of surprise, Lars shows up in person with a tray of beignets and coffee, along with a bound report for Frank. After a bit of light conversation, the White Court security man makes his exit, leaving the trio to plan out their investigation.

The report is somewhat sparse on details, but focuses on two main factions: the followers of a voodoo priestess named Calypso, and a gang building up in the lower 9th Ward. Calypso has been spotted in various parts of the city, but appears to also be based in the 9th Ward, with numerous reports of strange happenings and what look like walking corpses in the area believed to be her base of operations. The gang has been building up in one of the areas devastated by the hurricane, which still hasn't been rebuilt a few years later; rumor has it that the gang's leader is a bit of a revolutionary, and amongst the supernatural community it is held that he's not human. In both cases, the groups are proving resistant to various initiatives the White Court supports, and Trish wants as much information as Frank can gather on them.

Rusty decides that he'll handle looking for the gang, as he has contacts in the area (namely, friends who frequent the Green Hearth and help with the growing operation), with Oleg tagging along to protect him. Frank wants to focus on the lead from the phone company first, hoping to find out specifically who is trying to kill Oleg. Though the group is pretty certain it's Vince Skavis, Oleg's old boss, they aren't willing to take anything for granted.

Scene 4:

Frank heads to the east side of town, to the store that sold and activated the cell phone of the hitman's client. However, he is immediately rebuffed by the store's manager, who is unwilling to pass along sales/customer information unless it's a police investigation backed by a warrant. Deciding that that isn't a bad idea, Frank steps out of the shop and contacts one of his old friends in the police department, John O'hare. He passes along enough info about the case to O'hare to convice the policeman that the phone information is related to the double homicide near the French Quarter the night before (as the two thugs Oleg and Rusty had killed had been discovered by the cops, with the two bouncers being referenced as 'a suspect built like an NBA star and his husky' in the news). Frank's hope is that the police can get a warrant and do an in depth search, hopefully catching the attention of the hitman's client and covering up Frank's own efforts. However, it's saturday morning, and he doesn't expect to be able to get hold of anything to police dig up for a few days, if they even go after the lead.

The PI heads back inside, not yet ready to give up on retrieving some information himself. He takes a moment to size up the manager, a middle aged woman, hoping to find something he can use to get her to open up. From her body language, he picks up that she's bored and likely irritated at his continued presence, so he applies a bit of pressure, mentioning that the information he seeks is related to the homicide the night before and that his own best friend is in danger. Frank manages to get through to her, and she says she'll give him the name and home number of the purchaser of the phone if it will get Frank out of her store; he readily agrees, and heads out to meet the others, new information in hand.

Mechanics:
This is the point where we played with Assessments. Frank Slade is big on various information based skills (Contacts, Alertness, Investigation) but not so much on social ones (his social skills all being less than +3). By using his Superb Investigation skill several times, reasoning that his time as a PI and a detective would give him experience reading body language, he figured out two of the store manager's aspects. He then tagged them to massively improve his next social skill roll, convincing her to give him at least a little bit of information.

Scene 5:

((Initially, Oleg and Rusty meet up with one of Rusty's contacts in the 9th Ward, trading a dime bag and a few bottles of Green Hearth beer for information. However, I do not have the name of the contact written down, and cannot currently contact Rusty's player for a reminder of just how the encounter with the contact went. This part was written the night of our second play session, and as noted in that session's log, Rusty's player had a family emergency of some sort and wasn't able to come to the session. I'll fill this in once I can talk to him again. Suffice to say, this initial part wasn't very eventful or important.))

The pair head down to the neighborhood the contact had indicated. The area was devastated by the hurricane, and is still in ruins. Many homes are damaged or outright ruined, with a large number of lots empty. Surprisingly, there are a lot of people around, congregating around a single block. Oleg and Rusty stand out horribly: both white in a predominantly black neighborhood, with Oleg built like a cross between a linebacker and an NBA star and Rusty appearing as an old fashioned hippy with an old, stained poncho and unruly hair. It's thus not surprising when they are called out by a small group of people on the street corner as the pair approaches the block.

A few young men approach them, all armed with various types of handgun, asking what the odd pair was doing in the area and generally warding them off. Oleg and Rusty openly admit they're there to meet the leader of the local gang, and after a tense conversation in which the locals tell them off repeatedly, one of the men gets fed up and fires on Oleg...who was waiting for it to happen. The half-ogre actually moves into position to take the shot to the sternum, barely flinching as the 40 caliber slug flattens on his chest, leaving him unharmed. He and Rusty reiterate their request to meet the gang's leader, and the young men decide it would be better to take the pair to their boss than to piss off Oleg.

Mechanics: After a number of failed social rolls, things turn to violence. Oleg's player is confident in his ability to take small caliber rounds without injury, and declares that he's making an Athletics check not to dodge the bullet, but to get shot in a spot that will provide the least injury while showing off how tough he is. He rolled excellently, taking only one or two stress from the hit.

He wanted to turn the failed attack into a bonus to his Intimidate skill, as Oleg would subtly imply that things would go wrong for the shooter and his friends if they didn't acquiesce to Oleg and Rusty's request. I agreed, since it fit the scene well, and let him tag a new aspect for the purpose. We didn't name it at the time, but Oleg's player decided that he liked the thought of Oleg being a confident tank so much that he changed his 'Loyal to a Fault' aspect to 'Silly B****, Your Weapons Cannot Harm Me!' at the group's first minor milestone after Session 2.


The pair are led to one of the still standing houses, one that is full of people. In the living room, a man sits in a lazy chair, having a discussion with about a dozen others. The discussion halts when Oleg and Rusty enter the room, with the two party's sizing each other up, surprised at what they've found.

((As a preface to the next bit: if you've read the City details, you likely noticed the 'Zombie Tupac' NPC, wherein I mentioned that the name was a placeholder. Well, the players nixed that idea, basically saying that no matter how I treated the character, to them, he is simply Zombie Tupac. Silly as it is, I ran with it, and I think it actually worked out. Don't ask me how.))

The leader of the gang is a black man, apparently in his 30s...who happens to have the pallor of a corpse and a few bullet holes in his torso. Introducing himself as Tupac, the gang leader is surprisingly open and friendly to the two strangers in his presence. Deciding that they don't want to cause a fight, the pair reciprocate, introducing themselves and explaining that they think someone has it out for Tupac, and that they want to warn him and figure out what exactly is going on.

The pair begin to explain that some of the members of the supernatural community are interested in Tupac, but the walking dead man claims some skepticism that such a community even exists...until Rusty shapeshifts in front of him, with Oleg explaining a bit about the supernatural side of the street. Seeing a chance to gain some information, Tupac agrees to trade information about his activities and intentions in exchange for as much as the odd pair are willing to explain about the side of life that the mundanes don't see. Rusty mentions that a vampire is the one who wants to know about Tupac and his people, explaining the concept of a White Court vampire and what Rusty knows of how they operate.

Tupac explains his situation rather quickly. He woke up in a ditch in the lower 9th Ward a month beforehand, not needing to breath or eat and unsure of how he'd gotten there. His memories of are faint, with nothing from the days leading up to his death remaining. After he'd gotten his bearings (curious as to how he'd gotten from Nevada to NOLA in the decade following his death), Tupac had decided to settle in and help out the folks who had offered him a place to stay. The plight of the locals stirred something in his (no-longer-beating) heart, and he'd begun helping them organize.

He tells Oleg and Rusty something they didn't know: the government and a number of local contractors are trying to buy up all of the land in the area for some sort of development project. The offers for the land are too cheap for the locals to be able to do anything with the money, but with no actual reconstruction happening, no one can really continue to live there. Most of the people never really recovered from the twin flooding of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and now most of them could barely afford food and transportation; most of Tupac's efforts went into organizing people to spread out supplies and watch out for each other. In the last two weeks, odd things had been seen at night in other parts of the lower ward, and now he had to organize a defense for the area as well (like the young men who'd first accosted Oleg and Rusty).

The pair take a liking to the zombie and his followers, curious as to what Trish's interests in the area are and deciding that they'd prefer the White Court not get good information on Tupac and his folks. In a fit of inspiration, Rusty even offers to help the locals with the food and supplies situation, putting his magic skills to work to help grow vegetables and fruits to supplement what the locals could purchase.

Oleg decides to head out to meet Frank, hoping to call in some of the other members of the group to go investigate Calypso (who he is sure is behind the odd happenings in the ward), while Rusty stays behind to work some magic and subtly pick up more information on the conditions in the neighborhood.

Mechanics: Not much to discuss here specific to this scene, but I feel it's worth mentioning: the magic system in the DFRPG is ridiculously open-ended and flexible. Case in point: we have four focused practitioners in our party, and none of them overlap as far as their magic skills go. As talked about above, Rusty is focused on 'nature magic', a rather nebulous theme of thaumaturgy involving anything related to natural conditions (plant life, weather, soil conditions, and the use of the above to accomplish things).

Despite sharing a template with three other party members, his theme (combined with how open the system is) allows him to do things the others can't, and to consider options others wouldn't. Offering to use magic to help grow and maintain food in an area that normally wouldn't be good for heavy gardening is an option a Wizard wouldn't likely consider, but a hippy druid who happens to use that kind of magic to feed his smoking habits has no issue coming up with it.

The luckmancer Bob works all kinds of luck based magic; in a system like D&D, the concept would require a number of pre-set spells and concepts, but here it's up to the player to decide what 'luck magic' truly is (with DM approval, of course). Bob's idea of a defensive item is one that alters luck around him, making deadly attacks into close shaves and causing enemy weapons to jam, break, or otherwise spontaneously and unluckily fail (basically, a superb, two round shield vs. all physical attacks, flavored to fit his theme). He uses magic to place Luck aspects on a scene or to create interesting magic effects. One item places the aspect Lucky on Bob, which is taggable twice per use, while another item places the Unlucky aspect on an enemy, requiring a +6 Conviction roll to overcome. These aspects are vague, allowing any number of potential invokes or declarations (the regular joke at the table being that Bob will one day kill someone by causing a random piano to fall from the sky and kill them). He has an enchanted sword cane that grants him Superb Weapons skill for one scene; rather than making him an expert swordsman, the effect merely makes him ridiculously lucky at swordfighting. Mechanically, there is no difference, but playing up the theme makes the item fun and interesting.

The character of Max DuPaine, gun-mage, will likely have similar ideas. Kinetic effects to place aspects like 'Bullets Curve Left' on a zone to debuff enemies and buff himself have been discussed, and the potion rules (especially the ability to burn a fate point and have just the right potion on hand when needed) will be used for magical bullets for Max's handguns (exploding fire bullets, holy rounds, oversized/enchanted iron nails for Fae, etc.), providing the feel of a character who can pull off movie and video game shooting stunts while always having the right tool for the job (provided he has fate points...)

In summation, as a DM and potential player, I LOVE THIS MAGIC SYSTEM. Theme and entertainment are everything to me, and the fact that the players have very different ideas of magic while using the same two basic abilities (channeling and ritual) is awesome.

Arraxis
2012-01-23, 08:39 AM
Sounds like an eclectic cast of characters there. I enjoyed the way you've set it out, and I like how you make comments to the side detailing the system and how the players respond to it. Looking forward to more, and seeing the other characters in action!

Xefas
2012-01-23, 09:36 AM
Looks awesome, although with Louisiana as a setting, I am deeply disappointed with a lack of a Cajun voodoomancer as a face/PC.

Need_A_Life
2012-01-23, 09:48 AM
Sounds interesting, indeed. I'll keep an eye on this :)

Dragonmuncher
2012-01-23, 10:35 AM
Cool stuff! Thanks for showing how you use the mechanics as well- I've never seen this system used before.

Rizhail
2012-01-23, 12:42 PM
Looks awesome, although with Louisiana as a setting, I am deeply disappointed with a lack of a Cajun voodoomancer as a face/PC.

I never really saw Cajun and Voodoo as being all that related (I may obviously be wrong :smalltongue:). We do have a voodoo magic wielding face character, Calypso, who will be mentioned in more detail in the second part of session 1, and should show up in session 2 this coming sunday.

As for the cajun part, well, I can't let the PCs know all the fun things out there. (hint: it starts with a 'w' and ends with 'eregator', and will be involved in future plots, once the current scenario has been finished and the fallout has been plotted).

Glad to see everyone's enjoying the campaign journal. :smallbiggrin: I'll see about separating out the mechanics portions a little more to make things easier to read, and I'll see about taking more notes on the mechanical side of what the players do. I know I missed recording a few times during our first session where aspects were used besides the above (I know for a fact that Oleg invoked both It's Clobbering Time! and THIS IS MY TWO WEEKS NOTICE! during the session, but I couldn't remember exactly where. I'm pretty sure the former sometime during the fight, and the latter when intimidating the crowds to get them to move, but I didn't record it exactly and didn't want to throw in wrong info).

Xefas
2012-01-23, 05:31 PM
'weregator'
Win. :smallcool:

Rizhail
2012-01-29, 10:44 PM
Play Session 2: I Killed A House! (to be added soon)

It's that time of the week, folks! Time for an update on The Big Easy!

The second session post won't be up for a few days due to time constraints, but I'd like to handle a few administrative type things here.

First, I'm writing session 2's log (and the last part of session 1) a bit differently that I did the first part of session 1; the mechanics portions will be in spoilers at the end of paragraphs (when needed), rather than in double parentheses in the middle of the narrative. I'm going to leave the first part of the session 1 log alone for now; let me know which version works best for ya'll. I'd like to keep this campaign journal clean and easily read for the folks who're interested in it.

Secondly, I'm going to start adding titles to the session logs. Each session (potentially each scene) will be titled by something said by one of the players or myself during that period of play. We've had enough fun lines so far that I feel it would be a waste not to use them somewhat.

Thirdly, my memory and notes failed me when writing session 1's log, as one of my players informed me that I got two things wrong. I'll edit them in when I get the chance. In that session, Rusty and Frank didn't give up their first turns as a compel, but took big penalties to their initiative (the actions taken were the same, they just happened a little faster than I'd remembered. That's what happens when you type these things up while tired :smallbiggrin:). Secondly, it was Frank who caught the fleeing hitman, with Oleg and Rusty right behind him. Otherwise, things are (or are close enough) correct for session 1.

The end of session 1 has been added to the session 1 post (and to the OP).

When I've had the chance to write it up , Session 2 will be posted here.

Session 2 Log: "I Killed A House!" (to be added soon)

Need_A_Life
2012-02-09, 05:32 AM
*Poke*
[Annoying voice]Is it up yet? Is it up yet?[/Annoying voice]

Rizhail
2012-02-09, 07:53 AM
Not yet. It's been a ridiculously busy two weeks (I'm an undergraduate researcher in mechanical engineering, and I've been pulling crazy hours getting an experiment set up). Session 2 is partly written and should go up tomorrow. We also played session 3 already, and we actually recorded the entirety of it, so I'll be able to listen to it and write up the session a little easier than the first two sessions. It will probably go up this weekend.

Barbarian MD
2012-02-25, 09:46 PM
Subscribe!

Rizhail
2012-03-04, 08:47 PM
*Looks around, realizes he hasn't updated the campaign log in over a month*

Apologies folks! School has been eating my time. We've been playing the campaign regularly, and have recorded all of our sessions save for the first two, but I just have not had the time to really type up/edit/post everything.

But, a number of my players are pushing me to get back to updating, so I'll do my best. For now, I'm just going back over my session two notes and (incomplete) write up and the recordings for sessions 3-6 (we missed one weekend due to me being out of town, otherwise we'd be on session 7 now), and doing what I can to make some coherent entries to get around to posting here.

Because my players have demanded it, just to get something interesting up here, the proposed titles for all of our play sessions so far:

Session 1: 'Wolfmurdered. Horribly Wolfmurdered.'
Session 2: 'I Killed a House.'
Session 3: 'I'm Looking for the Warlock Who's Compensating for Something.'
Session 4: 'Zombies Go Down the Hole' or 'Ma Deuce'
Session 5: 'Too Awesome to Fail.'
Session 6: 'I Am the Dread Pirate Ambien Wolf and I'm Commandeering Your Bus.'

And, because Oleg's player demanded it: a listing of things he's currently wanted for by the authorities (which now include the NOPD, Mobile PD, FBI, and Department of Homeland Security)


Wanted on suspicion of:

-6 counts murder (in his defense, they were all bad guys)
-1 count attempted murder (they needed a guy to interrogate)
-2 counts breaking and entering
-2 counts Grand Larceny (One of which was stealing a bank vault. Not the contents, THE VAULT ITSELF)
-4 counts assault on a minor (he really only threw them off a bus. They were fine. :smalltongue:)
-1 count kidnapping
-Uncountable charges of resisting arrest
-Uncountable charges of damage to gov't property
-1 count operating a vehicle without a license
-Numerous counts Mayhem

Most of that in session 6. I will try to get the sessions up so that the above makes sense. And is even more hilarious.