Saturday, March 26, 2016

Changeling: Parliament of Dreams

So, here's a thing that's always, always bugged me about OWoD games: Why do the books say that all of these characters are sooper-ultra rare, but then the books are also written from the perspective that every decent-sized city has enough of a population to make up a court, a parliament, whatever, and not only is it a fixture but it's grand. Like, Elysium in Vampire is a high-dollar affair. Who organizes it? Ghouls, OK. Who feeds them? If it's one vampire per 10,000 humans (which is dumb as hell because it means that Cleveland has like 20 vampires, so that's what, four PC groups?), then how are all of the governmental positions filled?

Anyway, I thought of that last week when running Changeling, because the Parliament of Dreams met in an old gym. To back up a bit:

Last time, the motley got into a fight with some plague-chimera, and Thaia wound up feeling ill. Parliament was the next day, and Zulkis had put in a call to Kelodin, his mentor and the Duke, to give his motley some face-time to address people about the rat-blood graffiti. Thaia opted not to go; she was sick and didn't feel like being a Typhoid Mary.

The characters noticed, as Parliament began, that the room had pretty firmly divided itself up along Court lines, and things were generally tense. Kelodin began the proceedings with a warning: A nocker knowing for repairing Treasures and chimera had been attacked and his store robbed; he was alive but had been chimerically "murdered," so he was kind of wrapped up in the Mists right now. Kelodin advised anyone who had something in Spruce's shop to see if it had been stolen. This sent some murmurs through the crowd.

Next, he talked about the plague - yes, some folks were ill and the source seemed to be a chimerical illness, but it wasn't serious. He pointed out a piskey healer named Kara; she was Unseelie and standing there without her motley, and there was a bit of an outcry from the Seelie folks. Sander called her over to the motley so she'd be a little less alone.

Finally, he talked about the graffiti and said that Zulkis and his motley knew something about it. And at that point, a lot of folks in the room started chanting "RAT QUEEN! RAT QUEEN!" Krysa kind of shrank a little.

Zulkis, not wanting to play to the crowd, had Ambrose get up and speak for the motley, ensuring that the crowd would have to strain to listen. Ambrose shut everyone up with a glare (he's intimidating as fuck), and explained the situation as best he knew it. The room burst into squabbling again; the Seelie blamed the Unseelie for the graffiti, but the Unseelie retorted that all these attacks were taking place on their turf.

Kelodin adjourned the meeting, and the motley asked Kara to come with them and see to Thaia. They headed back to Thaia's apartment, and Kara brewed up some tea and mixed in some burnt Thaia-hair (bunk!) and cured her illness. She said that her motley wasn't there because they'd gotten into a fight (not the first time the motley had heard that!) and were nursing some injuries of their own.

The characters debated what to do next. They decided to go investigate Spruce's shop. They found the place blocked off with police tape, and Ambrose sneaked in so effectively that the chimerical centipede guarding the place didn't see him. He got the thing's attention and told it they were friends, here to help. The centipede (Sennek), told them what it knew: It had been out running an errand for Spruce when the attack happened. The attacker had used a crossbow, but the bolt had shattered Spruce's Treasure armor and left him chimerically "dead" (and thus unaware of his fae self). The attacker had also stolen everything Treasure or chimerical from the shop.

The characters found his ledger, and at least could discover what was taken, but it didn't help much. Spruce didn't work on anything super-powerful, Treasure-wise; anything like that if you needed it fixed you took it to a trusted expert and stayed while they worked! The characters did realize that breaking Treasures resulted in a burst of Glamour; maybe using all these things at once would be enough to power something really big?

They decided they needed more answers, but for that, they needed to talk to Spruce. Pulling someone out of the Mists early is tricky; too much Glamour too fast and you punt them straight into Bedlam, and no one wants that. They went to his apartment. Ambrose picked the locked and managed to dodge the chimerical darts that flew at his head, and then crept in and found Spruce tinkering with some machinery at his table. The motley jumped him and tied him up, and then got Kara over there.

She said she'd help, but the motley needed to contribute Glamour because she was tapped out (long night of curing plague). They all put some Glamour into a beer and forced Spruce to drink it, and managed to get just enough successes to wake him up without driving him nuts. They untied him, and he told them what he remembered: Someone...a woman, maybe an eshu?...had come into the shop and shot him with a crossbow. But the crossbow had no chimerical mien, so maybe it was real? His armor had been designed to convert physical damage into chimerical, but the bolt had been well-placed enough that it destroyed the armor as well (which Spruce was grumpy about, but he's a nocker, he's generally grumpy. I picture him played by J.K. Simmons, by the way).

Spruce wasn't sure why someone would steal the stuff he was working on; half of it didn't even function. Still had Glamour, though, so that was the going theory.

Next time, perhaps, they can track down this mysterious thief.