Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Game Writeups, part 2: Truth or Prometheans?

While I'm at it, Monday night was also the first session in the third story of my Promethean chronicle, and the first since we've converted to the rules revisions from the God-Machine Chronicle.

I start off all of my stories here with a song from one of the players and one from my own. So from Matt, Enoch's player, we get "Dark Angel" by Blue Rodeo, and from me we get "Devil Song" by Beth Orton.

As the story begins, the characters have been in Truth or Consequences, NM for a couple of days. Rather, they're about 30 miles outside the city, in a makeshift trailer park that's sprung up near the construction site of what will eventually be the spaceport (not kidding, it opened in 2011). There are a couple of empty trailers, since many of the workers are undocumented (and thus have to leave in a hurry sometimes), so the characters take over two adjacent ones. I asked them for something that they found in those trailers, just for flavor's sake.

Matt found a loaded revolver.
Enoch found a chess set.
Avalon found a Chinese finger trap.
Feather found a can of instant coffee.
Skip found a knife hidden in a closet.
Grimm found a 12 pack of cheap beer.

So as we open, Grimm has gone off away from the trailer park to drink his beer and sleep in the desert (he's on Cuprum, remember, so this is appropriate). Skip is out on a lawn chair sketching plans to build a deck between the two trailers. Enoch is teaching Avalon to play chess. Feather is making coffee and watching over people. Matt, wanting to learn to shoot (he took it as an Aspiration - the players actually got to use the Aspiration system this game, and most of them liked it once they figured it out), goes to find Grimm.

He asks Grimm for a lesson, and Grimm, obligingly, set a beer can on a rock and instructs him. He shoots, and hits it. Grimm then takes a beer car and puts it on his head, telling Matt to shoot. Matt is horrified, and refuses. Grimm pushes him, saying that having something there that he'd rather not shoot would give him a good impetus to hit his target. Matt finally shoots, and hits the beer can, but then starts walking back, angry, not really wanting to shoot anymore. Grimm followed. As they walk back, a man from the trailer park approaches and dresses them down for shooting - that kind of thing would bring la 'migra, and no one wants that. Grimm apologizes and promises not to do it again, saying that he understands and just hadn't thought about that. This fulfills a milestone for him (Get a person to leave the throng alone without scaring him).

Skip keeps sketching, and a couple of kids are hanging about tossing a half-deflated football around. It flies toward Skip, but he sees it coming and catches it, tossing it back.

Avalon and Enoch play chess, and Avalon askes what the point was, beyond just playing a game. Enoch talks about strategy; Avalon only knows this in the context of battle, but comes to understand that talking with people requires strategy as well (Enoch put this in the context of getting Skip to do a chore for Avalon without actually asking him). At this point Matt and Grimm get back. Feather gives folks coffee, and the group decides that the next day, Matt and Feather will go to the construction site and see if they can find work.

That night, though, they decide to make the alchemical pact official. Feather and Enoch go off into the desert (a good mile+ away) to find a good site, and make a firepit. Matt wanders off again, and Grimm goes after him and they make up. Avalon and Skip decide to work on the alchemical brand. Avalon draws it, and fulfills a milestone (Draw something original without using her Device).

Following this, Skip decides to go break into another of the empty trailers and scrounge for scrap wood. He figures he can use it to build frames for some of Avalon's artwork, which isn't a bad idea. The trailer in question is locked, so rather than kick the door in (as that would have been uncouth), he finds a window, jimmies it open, and starts crawling in.

A man and a woman are on a sleeping bag together. As he crawls in, they jump up, and the woman runs to the bathroom. The man stands up and rebuttons his pants, but Skip obliviously finishes crawling in. The dude dresses him down for it, and the woman leaves. Skip says that he'd come in the window because the door was locked, and the guy says, "Yeah, the door was locked. What did that say to you?" And he leaves as well.

Skip, from there, takes his tools and starts working on the wood. This, I decide, is an extended action. The player fails the first roll, though, and takes the Distracted Condition (Skip is thinking about the people he disturbed). I decide he gets a -1 penalty on focus-related rolls until he finds them and follows up, maybe apologizes, but just investigates more. He also fails the second roll, though, and rather than take another Condition, he opts to make it a dramatic failure. Skip punctures the septic line and gets sprayed with shit and chemicals. Having had enough, he leaves to find the others.

Feather helps him clean off, and the others remind him that there's a construction site nearby that probably has scrap wood. He and Matt go looking, slipping under the fence and grabbing a bunch of wood from the bin. They don't go investigating the site, though, which as it turns out may have been wise.

They get back, and the throng goes into the desert.

Enoch takes lead on creating the brand, and they complete it quickly (teamwork roll with six people? Yeah). Now with the throng established, they walk back to get some rest. They also create a Mystical Mark out here, but by doing it so far from the trailer park, they manage to avoid risking a Wasteland.

Next day, Feather and Matt go to the construction site. There they meet Mike, the foreman, who asks if either of them have ID. Matt does (one dot of Alternate ID Merit), but Feather doesn't. Mike offers to just pay them under the table like he does the rest of the workers, and puts them to work. Since neither of them are skilled, they're just lifting debris and rocks into wheelbarrows and moving them.

Avalon and Enoch go to town, taking the van, so that Avalon can try and sell some of her wares. She manages to sell the first one, using her Sweet Talker Persuasion Specialty to good effect. Over the course of the day, she makes a few hundred bucks.

Skip goes and finds the girl from the night before. She's hanging up laundry. She's frightened at first, but Skip makes a Persuasion roll and comes off as mentally challenged rather than dangerous (especially when he genuinely doesn't know why the couple was there - he figures they were there to sleep). She accepts his apology and admonishes him to take "locked" for an answer in future. A couple of kids come out of the trailer and look at Skip for a minute before running off to play.

Grimm decides he'll go walkabout, and heads away from the trailer park. He uses Sense Flux, and gets a sharp sense of it - coming from the direction of the park.

Meanwhile, at the park, one of the dudes with a jackhammer calls to Matt and has him take over. Matt, not really able to argue, turns on the jackhammer and some of the ground gives way. Something is moving under there, and it splurts a liquid at him. Matt moves just in time, and the stuff hits the ground behind him. It sizzles like acid. Matt, freaked out, puts the hammer down and finds Feather. Grimm, too, is the by the fence. Grimm tells them what he sensed, and Matt tells them what he felt. The foreman yells at Feather and Matt to get back to work, and Matt mentions what happened.

The ground caving in, the foreman says, isn't really new - this area is riddled with such pockets because of all the hot springs. As for the acid, well, the stain on the ground just looked like tobacco, and nothing seemed to be moving in the hole now. (Matt, by the way, achieves a milestone: Awaken Pandorans.)

After the shift, Feather and Matt head back. Enoch, hearing their story, confirms that what they saw were probably Pandorans, but he tells them that when humans are around, Pandorans go dormant. So as long as no one goes to the construction site at night, they should be safe.

Next time, we'll find out how safe they are.