Saturday, April 21, 2018

Preppin' the Games, part one

As one does. As usual, this is gonna include thought processes, plot spoilers, and general things-players-shouldn't-know, so if you're a player in one of my games, skip this post (or like, just don't read the stuff for the game(s) you're in, but that's easier for some than others. Plus I'm not even sure if anyone in my games reads my blog. Anyway. This is a long parenthetical. Send help. I can't find the exit.)

(Wait, there we go.)

I'm doing Blades and Promethean today, I'll do Chill and Night's Black Agents tomorrow.



Blades in the Dark

I'm running this Monday and it's probably the least work. 

Last time they took on a bigger job and it went OK. It does mean that there are demon bags on the streets of Duskwall, which probably should have some consequences. As far as jobs go, the eggs, luxury fence, and turf jobs from last time are still very much open (and I think that the crew might pursue one of those latter two, but who knows). The other is the whole Unseen/Spirit Warden thing, but that's got such big implications for Duskwall that I kinda want the crew to have a hand in deciding it, whether they realize it or not. So maybe we consider that the Wardens are distracted, the Unseen have done everything they can without a bigger leg up, leave those clocks alone for the moment.

The Bakoros thing...I dunno. I think maybe that ship has sailed, but if the crew wants to try and pull it, they could.

I'm gonna bump the "losing patience" clock up one, since the both of the last jobs the crew pulled were noticeable. I think maybe one of the Lampblacks needs to visit one of the crew.

The Gondoliers are still investigating the whole "desecrated hollow" thing, and I'm fine with them making a breakthrough without the crew (because that's just one piece of a larger issue). So making a fortune roll, I get a 5, so that bumps them up, let's say, 2 pie slices. They've realized that the waters flowing in from the Void Sea is "activating" these hollows, but they still aren't sure why. I think that's good fodder for a job, actually.

Circle of Flame and Fog Hounds can stay as they are for now.

Grinders I think should get some kind of a boost, just because they're kinda against the Leviathan Hunters and the crew just did a job that stung said Hunters. So let's say that they've got a potential job for the crew as well.

And then the Red Sashes, wow. I forgot Cage completed his project, so he knows the movements of Gargoyle via spirits. Well, if the crew wants to take on killing Gargoyle, they have that job from the Red Sashes and that'll reset the "losing patience" clock. If they want to play both ends against the middle, sure, they can, and I'll just have to wing that.

Clocks

  • Unseen: Infiltrate the Spirit Wardens (6/8) 
  • Spirit Wardens: Uncover the infiltration (4/8) 
  • Gondoliers: Investigate the desecrated hollows (6/8)
  • Scurlock: Fulfill debt to Seterra (0/12, on hold) 
  • Circle of Flames: Obtain all the remains of Kotar (Eye, Hand, Heart, Tongue): 6/8 
  • Grinders: Build an army (5/12), Fill war treasury (5/12) 
  • Fog Hounds: Obtain a regular patron (3/6) 
  • Lampblacks: Losing patience with Widdershins (4/6)

Jobs

Making an Omelet: This just still stands from last time. The Spirit Wardens use deathseeker crows to seek out people who die in the city. The Unseen wants to weaken that ability by training their own, but they haven't managed to breed them. They want some eggs from the rookery at the Belleweather Crematorium. Grull (a carriage driver, but actually one of the Unseen) told them about this score already; it's still available. He'll meet them wherever they want with the goods, but they have only an hour to get the eggs from the Crematorium to him or else they don't get paid. Complications: Ghost guardians, guards with sparkcraft weapons, someone might recognize Cage's mask, doing this loud will mean going to war with the Spirit Wardens.

Vice Den: Same as last time. This shifts because it makes so much more sense this way, and can really be a combination of this and the Ruby. All the crew has to do is figure out how to get Ulf to let them run the place. Ulf Ironborn's gang has taken over a gambling den near the Widdershins' hideout. It's got a long gangplank leading over the canal, so it's become known as "the Island." They deal mainly in card games, dice games, and the occasional rat race. Ulf is using it mostly as a way to generate money, and the boys who run it aren't from Nightmarket; they're Skov refugees and their "people" are in Dunslough.

Luxury Fence: Same as last time, but with some wrinkles. One-Eye put Cricket on retainer last time, so that's already an in. Also, the Fog Hounds have heard that Penderyn is looking for a high-end fence, and is sniffing around Cricket as well, but they don't want her so much as her client list. That could lead to fighting if the crew decides to start this off (if they don't, I'll have to decide what happens). Cricket (she tends to chirp/whistle when she's nervous or bored). Cricket is short, wears her hair in a bob, and dresses somewhat less than luxuriously, but she can find a buyer for some really high-end stuff. At present, though, she's under the employ of the Hive. The Hive, of course, doesn't really do business with occult or arcane things, meaning that the if crew can "taint" Cricket somehow, they could drive the Hive off and start using her as a fence. This can start off by Penderyn mentioning that he wants to fence some higher-end objets d'arte but Widdershins doesn't have that kind of rep.

Offshore Drilling: Griggs gives this job to Copper. The Gondoliers aren't sure why hollows are washing up on the beaches or crawling out of the canals, but they know it hasn't something to do with the waters coming in from the Void Sea. They want someone with a ship to go past Whitecrown and dump three iron bells in the water. The bells are about three feet high and two feet wide each, weight hundreds of pounds, and must be kept with a charge running through them (so they don't magnetize and stick to each other; if they do they can't be pulled apart). This is meant to "de-power" any incoming hollows, and hopefully give the Gondoliers a little insight, but they don't have a ship up to the task and they don't really want to risk tipping their hand anyway. They'll pay Widdershins to do it, though. Complications: Stormy weather, Leviathan Hunter ship incoming, hollows from the deeps.

Papa's Got a Brand New (Demon) Bag: (I couldn't resist.) Sercy, from the Grinders, gives One-Eye this job. The Grinders have managed to purchase a specter and they want to add it to their war room. They've got the room set up to handle it, but they need it smuggled from outside Nightmarket to the Docks. It's in a demon bag now, but the Grinders figure that a crew experienced with transport spirits might be a better fit (plus they're kinda persona non grata with the Gondoliers anyway). Complications: It's really a horror, and if the bag opens it bursts forth, tries to possess people, and generally tears up the town.

Promethean

Feels weird, but I'm actually running this before I'm running any of the monthly games. OK, then. 

The throng has left Lexington and headed to Columbus, which is all of about three hours' drive. I need to update sheets, make some milestones, and then I should take the notes. I know I want to include the demon, which means I need to find that post and stat that character, and then there's still the Jovian to deal with (which the demon could probably help with; demons can do anything). OK, dealing with character sheets, be back in an hour.

OK, that was more than an hour, but you didn't notice.

Anydangway, here's what I want to do with this story:
  • Follow up on the "God-Machine vs. Principle" thing that we started last story
  • Lay down clues getting the characters to a Shrine 
  • Introduce more info about Jesse, but maybe also Spence and Carla Two (who were part of his throng leaving Detroit) 
  • Stat up the demon and have the characters meet him
  • Involve the police and scrutiny, because maybe then Avalon can get arrested
Now, Jesse left Detroit at the end of the The Water of Life with Spence and Carla Two. Carla had discovered a book on the BotherĂºd, which is something that I could use to spur on further interactions, with the God-Machine especially. So, sure. We could say that each of the three of them - Carla, Jesse, and Spence - each created a Shrine or an Athanor in each of these cities. They were all there when Marty and Cancer Boy went into the Machine, too (as were Nathan and Jesus, but they went off on their own, so maybe we deal with them later), which means that finding those Athanors should give some clue and help the throng find out what to do about, like, the angels or some shit.

So, one Shrine in Columbus, one in Tulsa, one in Detroit (now, there was a fourth Key victim in Erie, but it was on a different night so we'll assume that the Machine had already achieved the output it wanted by then). 

We'll say the Shrine in Columbus was made by Jesse (because I want Spence to have made the one in Tulsa and Carla the one in Detroit). They were just there as recently as May, it's now June, and I'd love to have the characters there just as Origins is winding down. I kinda like the idea of the Shrine being in a city jail, so then that'll give Avalon something to do if she gets arrested. I think that having another Athanor is probably unnecessary. Oh, but actually, how about if it's a Jovian Athanor? Kinda like that, that might be why he hid it.

So, I want clues to lead to it. Let's say that the characters can discover:

The Marks: There are four Pilgrim Marks hidden around the downtown area, all created by Jesse before he hid the Athanor. They mean "this is the place," "jail," "keep away", and "afraid" (that last one has a slash through it). The marks are in the basement of the Hyatt ("afraid"), the bathroom of the McDonalds at Noble & Main ("jail"), the Book Loft (south of the jail in German Village; "keep away"), and on a bench across from the jail itself ("this is the place", though the Jovian can alter it to say "rough neighborhood"). 

The Demon: The demon is at Origins; it's taken on the Cover as a vendor at a corset booth. It calls itself Mr. Angel, though its current Cover is a patchwork job named Jenna Tassler. It can, of course, spoof and read as a Promethean if it needs to. I think it would like to purge its data (its data is related to the God-Machine, remember) but it needs a way to do that. I think something in Saturninus would allow that (Plumb the Fathoms, perhaps?), and would definitely spur the next leg of the trip.

The Athanor: It's in the jail. The floor is (lava! wait, no) sealed because Jesse was on Mercurius when he did this, but basically any Alchemicus Alembic can probably dislodge it. Touching it instills Disquiet in everyone within 100 yards and begins a riot. It also contains the Fugue Condition. If anyone other than Matt touches it, it summons the Jovian and reveals it for what it is...but in Fugue, meaning the Promethean has to fix the Fugue before they can fix the Jovian.

Ok, so, for the next session, I want to let them get settled, and get them to Origins because it'll put them in the right place.