Friday, November 11, 2016

Game Prep: East Texas University

Today was day one of Con on the Cob, but we didn't stay past booth-closing time. We'll be there this weekend, but we were tired and Michelle had dissertation momentum, and I really wanted to clean off my table.

You know, spoon conservation sucks. I can look forward to POTS hitting me once a day, give or take. Sometimes it's bad enough that it knocks me flat for the rest of the night (like, if I do something stupid like eat fast food). Sometimes I just need a Gatorade and a little rest. Sometimes I'm smart enough to get up and walk around and curtail it, but then sometimes something stresses me out (hint: this week has been somewhat stressful) and there's not much to be done, there. All this to say that last week, when I was scheduled to run Feng Shui the Monday after getting home from Metatopia, a large part of why I decided I didn't have the spoons was because the table wasn't cleared off. I could have run the game, cleared the table, prepped the game, made dinner...but not all four.

As such, I have to do things when I have the spoons to do them. Tonight, I could have stayed at the con, but I have to stay later on Saturday, I'm likely to be tired on Sunday, and I'd like to stay later tomorrow. And so here we are: using my spoons tonight to clear the table off and do game prep for Monday, because I'm buggered if I'm canceling again.

Probably that's enough filler so that my players won't casually see big secrets as they're browsing G+, if any of them do that.

So, one of the things that really appealed to me about East Texas University is the random adventure generator. Sure, crafting a game based on the characters is good, but I like random generation (for plot points, not stats), and this one looks fun. So I'm gonna use it. That means I need a deck of cards, which I have.

First thing is Who? (That is, the antagonist.) I draw a joker. Boom. There are two antagonists here. I draw twice more: king and six. Six is a cult, king is a supernatural threat. Perfect! The six is red (hearts), so the cult is mostly students, which is cool.

Next up is What? (Inciting incident.) I draw the 8 of spades. Someone is going to die unless the characters act (I need to draw on a victim table to see who.)

Next is Why? (Motivation.) Seven of spades. Someone's after power. Might be the cult or the supernatural creature.

Where? Queen of diamonds gets me somewhere in the Pinebox Environs (there's another table to draw on). And indeed, it's the next one! Four of clubs gets me Kestrell Lake. Ooh, an aquatic cult.

Supernatural Creature table: Six of spades would get me a witch or a warlock, a dabbler or new recruit. That's interesting combined with the cult of students, though I was hoping for something a little scarier. Maybe I'll redraw that. For now, we move on to

The Victim. Five of clubs gives me Faculty. Since the card is black, none of the characters have had this prof in class before. So, some member of the faculty is a-gonna die in the lake unless the PCs do something.

Complications: Seven of clubs gives me Rock Out; a hot band that the PCs like is coming to town. Hrm. Getting kind of Jennifer's Body sort of vibe, here.

OK, so let's put all this together. There's a new cult on campus, led by a young warlock named Michael Suez. Mikey is very new to the black arts, but he's a fast learner, and he's handsome and charismatic as all hell (and obviously I'll need to stat him). Mikey has a small cult of followers around him; let's say just a dozen for now. Mostly students, but also two janitors and a campus cop (the cultists will make for good mooks eventually).

Mikey takes them out to Kestrall Lake to do their rituals. That's because he wants to use the Grant Edge spell to grant himself the Noble Edge (basically becoming rich and powerful). Yes, under the rules you can't use that spell to grant that Edge, but hey, he's charging it with human sacrifice, it should work.

So, who's the target? I think there's been a rash of break-ins on campus. The cult is breaking in to faculty members' offices and stealing knick-knacks and personal items. Mikey settles on Dora Ammit, a professor of sociology.

The ritual date is next Saturday (also the last night of the waxing gibbous moon), but Mikey's hit a bit of a snag; there's a concert happening at Kestrall Lake. Low Shoulder is playing (fuck it, might as well, and then I can call up "Through the Trees" on Youtube or something) a kind of "guerrilla" concert and selling CDs. The sheriff knows about the concert, but the band has a permit. Strictly speaking there's no alcohol allowed, but that just means no one's selling it officially.

I can involve the PCs with the concert easily enough, and get them looking at the rash of thefts. I think that Mikey's cult is going to be trying to stop Low Shoulder from playing. They arrive in town Friday morning and the lead singer (Nikolai Wolfe, remember) hangs around on campus trying to get laid. We'll start the game Wednesday afternoon and just remember that the PCs have obligations.

So, I'll stat up Mikey and we'll be good to go!