Sunday, April 21, 2013

Lettin' it ride (Dresden)

So! Yesterday we played us some Dresden.

Recall that the last session ended with Rusty getting a call from Clive's phone. And now we flash back.

Clive left Rusty at the Horse & Barrel because Phobos, the fear-spirit that lives in him, wouldn't stop hounding him about that car wreck he saw. So Clive went and investigated. There was a dead guy in the back seat, bitten open on his neck, leg and wrist. Clive goes around to the trunk and opens it, thinking maybe someone's inside. No one is, but he hears the vampires sneak up on him.

He whirls around and finds himself face-to-face with two crazed-looking vampires, and Ian Blake. The young vampires jump at him. He throws some punches, and Ian tries to put the Overwhelmed Aspect on him but fails. But Clive is outnumbered, and unlike Rusty he's not willing to take this all the way to conclusion. His player decided to concede, and said that a large amount of the herb that makes Phobos weak (we decided it was a wild onion, like a ramp) was growing nearby. The vampires defeated Clive, stuffed his mouth with ramps, and manacle him in the silo. The herb saps his strength so he can't break free. During the day, he sees the door open and Rusty's head appear, then the vampires yank Rusty in and kick his ass (this all happened last time).

So back to the barbecue. Rusty's phone rings; it's Clive's number. A voice - decidedly not Clive - rasps, Help me.

The characters gathered round and listen (amid some Cabin in the Woods "am I on speaker?" jokes). The voice says it tastes "the bane" and it smells "wolf blood." And then the connection is lost. This, combined with Clive's conspicuous absence, makes them think Clive is in trouble. Lou asks Clarence, the Warden, to listen, but someone mentions that Clive is prone to playing pranks to scare people and the White Council officially gets less interested.

Lou turns the party over to the Valentines, and he, Alice, Bo, Rusty and Opal get in his car. They start to head to the Horse & Barrel, since that's where Clive was last seen (and they figure Cyrus might know something), but a closed exit (as luck would have it) forces them to take a different route...which takes them right by the accident scene.

By this time, the car has been cleared away, and all that remains is the damaged tree. But Alice (who swapped out This is My Blessing, Not My Curse for "I've got a bad feeling about this" at the beginning of this session) has Lou stop. They get out and look around, but Alice sees a ghost.

The ghost is a young man with bite marks on him (probably the same guy whose body Clive found). He jumps up, looks at Alice, and grows fangs. He charges at her, hissing for blood, and she screams and hides behind Bo. Lou draws a circle to keep him out, but it becomes obvious that he's not going to hurt the characters (personally, I find the idea of a ghost that thinks it's a vampire pretty darned Dresden-riffic). Rusty starts getting twitchy (and I compelled Blood Thirsty to make it worse), and he Changes and runs off toward the Horse & Barrel.

The characters leave (during which Alice felt the ghost bite her, which pleased her none too much). No one thinks to pick up Rusty's clothes.

They get to Horse and Barrel and find Rusty sitting by the parking lot in wolf form. Lou gives him a blanket, but berates him for running off. The characters (less Rusty, who goes trotting back to get his clothes) go inside and sit down with Cyrus.

Cyrus mentions that Phobos was haranguing Clive all night about the car wreck, and figures it might have been Phobos that made the call. Since he mentioned "wolf blood," and he called Rusty, maybe he's somewhere that Rusty bled a lot recently? That clicks for Lou - the vampires have Clive at the silo. They discuss options, and Opal decides that she'll just claim Clive as an assistant for the race so Billy Ray can't hurt him.

They leave Bo and Alice at the restaurant, and Alice takes this opportunity to tell Bo that she's pregnant. Bo is not entirely thrilled, but Alice makes it very clear that she's keeping this baby and she wants him to be involved. Bo eventually relents (a little bit of social combat, here), but does raise the point: When was the child conceived? Before or after Bo became a horse?

Lou and Opal arrive at the silo and knock. Billy Ray answers, and initially refuses to give up Clive, but when Opal claims him, he goes and releases the big dude. Lou also asks that Billy Ray not go after Rusty until after the race; Billy Ray agrees not to go looking for him. Rusty is sitting nearby, watching this.

The characters reconvene at the Horse & Barrel, and head back to Lou's house so Bo and Alice can get their car. Lou decides he's going to head up to Churchill Downs and cast a spell of prophecy to make the card. Opal goes out to the Kentucky Horse Park to scout it as a location. Clive goes with Lou as backup. Alice and Bo head home. Rusty goes the hell to bed.

Opal decides that this place will work nicely and she has enough pull with folks on the board (including Arthur Bingham). She decides to wait to hear from Lou to set a date.

Lou, meanwhile, goes out to Churchill Downs, bribes a guard to get in, goes out to the middle of the track and casts his spell (in which might be the first use of Thaumaturgy in any Dresden game I've been involved with). Based on that, he makes the card:

  • Waters of the River Styx (Winter Court): 2:1
  • Inferno from the Embers (Summer Court): 3:1
  • Fireball (Billy Ray): 4:1
  • Warden's Wings (White Council): 10:1
  • Veni Vidi Vici (White Court): 10:1
  • Bo (Leroy Francis): 12:1
  • Sleipnir (Albert Market): 25:1
  • April Showers (Arthur Bingham): 25:1
  • Derek's Fall (Jeannine Kemper): 100:1
The next day, Lou has breakfast with Opal and discusses the card. Opal approves, and decides that the race is tomorrow night. No sense giving folks a chance to plan and plot. 

Next time: The exciting conclusion to Let It Ride