Thursday, February 22, 2018

Actual Play: Firefly "Old War Horses"

I recently ran a six-session game on Roll20 using the Firefly RPG by Margaret Weis Productions.

On the whole, it went pretty well. Although we did have a turnover in players, I was able to find a bunch of other players who were interested in playing.

I'll be posting the characters as well as the session notes.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Actual Play: Blue Rose AGE "Trouble in Hyrith" Session 1

Trouble in Hyrith, Session 1

Session 1
Monday, October 16th, 2017

Dramatis Personae
  • Zajan, Night Person, Warrior, played by J
  • Sabo Duskfire, Human, Roamer, Adept, played by J
  • Kiva, Vata'an Adept, 17 years old, played by C
  • Ajax, Rhy-Fox Expert, played by Me
  • Captain Ramava, Vata'sha, Hyrith Guard
  • Iradal, Vata'an, Guard Scribe
  • Nissun, a missing girl (mentioned)
  • Fastholm, Nissun's father (mentioned)
  • Zar Mina Kazmi, Adept, favored contestant of the Tournament, lost but won several years in a row (mentioned but not met, yet)
  • Stanford, a Rhy-Cat Adept, Ajax's roommate
  • Serik Alenev, Adept, High Secretary of the Arcane Academy of Hyrith (mentioned)
  • Acheolis, winner of the Tournament, not favored to win at all (mentioned)
  • Rustam Janwari, Roamer, owner of the Unicorn and Jackal in the West Market
  • Ninziar, Night Person, Sabo's girlfriend of less than two weeks (mentioned but not met, yet)

Ajax, Zajan, Kiva and Sabo awake in gaol, with no memories of the past two weeks. As Ajax is trying futilely to escape, the others introduce themselves and ask each other why they're there.

Captain Ramava, a Vata'sha Hyrith Guard, comes into the gaol and tells them that they are persons of interest in the disappearance of a young woman named Nissun, who has been missing since the 1st of Gaileth. It was now the 7th of Gaileth.

They were questioned and held as witnesses. A guard scribe named Iradal took their statement. And now those statements were missing! 
Even then, the heroes remembered none of it. Two weeks of their life, memories gone. Which means some pretty serious sorcery.

Captain Ramava agreed to release them to investigate the mystery themselves. But they couldn't leave town without getting permission from the Guard.
Ramava escorted them to the guard scribe Iradal for release. Iradal gave them back their property. Ajax has a bill of faire from the Cosy Quail Inn, an ornate ticket with a sun on the corner, a ticket stub from an artist gallery and four stale cheesy biscuits, which he ate promptly.

Iradal told the party that we'd all been brought into gaol together. The guard picked us up while we were all eating dinner together at the Cosy Quail.

We found out again that Nissun disappeared on Gaileth the 1st. We'd been picked up because it was rumored we were in her company. There seemed to be a lot of coincidences that Nissun was at places where the party were at the same time.

Iradal also told us that Nissun's father runs the Top Run Stables outside of town. Her father was Rezean and was claimed to be willing to give half his stable to see his daughter again.

After some questioning, we learned that the tickets were for the Tournament. Every year, the Arcane Academy meet with a Martial Academy from the Capital of Aldis and compete in a variety of events. Then the winners of those events go head-to-head and winner take all. 

The Tournament lasts about a week and, while there were no dates on the tickets in the characters' possession, the games ended several days ago.
The tickets with stars were for Arcane events. The tickets with suns were for non-Arcane events. The favored Arcane contestant, Zar Mina Kazmi, who had won several years in a row, surprisingly did not go all the way in the Tournament.

Iradal showed them the notebook that had their statements in it, but the statement sheets had been removed. No one knows who took it. Ajax smelled the book and detected three distinct scents that he would remember.

After getting out of gaol, they headed out into the city to see what they could find out. Ajax suggested they go to see his roommate, Stanford. Stanford, a Rhy-cat, is an Adept and knows about the Arcane Academy and would probably be able to help get their bearings.

Ajax opened the door to his apartment, causing a howl of indignation and pain as Stanford's alchemical experiment blew up. "AJAX!"

Stanford was irate with Ajax but agreed to help the party. They found out more about the Tournament. The winner, Acheolis, did an awful showing last year, not making it past the 2nd rankings. But this year won the whole thing, a surprising turn of events.

When they wanted to find out more, and possibly meet with folks from the Academy, Sanford offered to put in a good word with them with Arcane High Secretary Serik Alenev. Then he made Ajax promise not to come back to the apartment so he could finish his experiments.

They traveled to the West Market, where there were several interesting shops, like the Dancing Door Liquor Store, Wandering Road Book Bin, the Secret Knife Fishmonger, the Unicorn and Jackal, and The Fifth Wheel.

They wandered the market. Sabo traded some fake "good luck" charms for something much more worthwhile with the Rustam Janwari, the Roamer owner of the Unicorn and Jackal. While there, Sabo learned he had recently started a relationship with a Night Person woman named Ninziar. And he had no memory of it!

Next Time: The Cozy Quail and an Art Gallery.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Actual Play: Blue Rose AGE "Trouble in Hyrith" The Return of Ajax, the Rhy-Fox!

The Return of Ajax, the Rhy-Fox!

Yes, the master of cheesy biscuits has returned. The GM of the "Mask of Ebban" adventure decided to run another game of Blue Rose AGE, set in the coastal Aldin city of Hyrith.

As of this writing, the campaign is continuing and we've had our seventh session, much to our group's enjoyment.

Unfortunately, the previous players did not join us, instead we had three new players, J, J and C. Since I don't have access to their characters, I've only posted Ajax (see prior post) but I've added some NPCs that Ajax knows that the GM can throw into the mix.

So sit back and enjoy!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Actual Play: Dresden Files Accelerated Hollywoodland Session 6

Dresden Files Accelerated: Hollywoodland Session 6 Write-up

Played Saturday, July 22nd, 2017

Dramatis Personae
  • Father Darren O'Connell, Catholic priest and holy sword bearer (played by C)
  • Daniel Ehrlichmann, hot-shot reporter/wereleopard (played by F)
  • Sammy Wesson, Clued-in Mortal/Changeling (played by R)
  • Ted Summers aka The Dazzling Dante, White Court wizard (played by B)
  • Raymond Sanders, monster hunter/Changeling (played by N, not present)
  • Persephone, White Court Vampire Assassin
  • Adrian Brandeis, Red Court Vampire Assassin
  • Fritz Lang, Hollywood Director and Monster Hunter
  • Peter Lorre, Hollywood Actor and Monster Hunter
  • Darlene Merritt, Daniel's nemesis
  • Donny Torrez, a street kid contact of Darren's, now on the straight-and-narrow
  • Harry, Jack and Albert Warner
  • Maeve and entourage
The rain was falling on the city. A hard rain. But it couldn't wash away the grime that Darren, Daniel, Sammy and Ted were mixed up in.

Darren and Daniel, along with Fritz Land and Peter Lorre, were on the roof of Daniel's apartment building, fighting Adrian. Darren's sword flashed in the early morning darkness, while Daniel, in leopard form, clung to Adrian's back. 

Sammy was on a nearby roof, chasing after Persephone, who was trying desperately to escape.

Daniel used his cat-like tread to unbalance Adrian (used Boost: "Cat on a Hot-Tin Red Court Vampire? Cat Got Your Tongue?" to help create Aspect: "That cat's trying to trip me!" 2 free invokes).

Meanwhile, Persephone dove around a pillbox on the nearby roof and when Sammy went after her, she doubled back and leapt the distance back to Daniel's building, through Daniel's apartment's busted window. 

Sammy saw her quickly look around and dive behind a couch, holding a film canister up into the light, then dash for the door and nearly out of sight from Sammy. That could be the elusive film canister they were all looking for!

Adrian, outnumbered and wounded, held up his hands and called for a truce. "Parley! Parley! I have information that I'm willing to trade for my life!" (Attempt to Create an Advantage against Darren that failed so badly Darren got a Boost: "The Catholic Church doesn't negotiate with Evil!"). Fritz and Peter cried out to Darren to not make any deals with this fiend from hell.

With his faith on his side and desiring to destroy the evil that Adrian represented, Darren raised Durendal and struck at Adrian, scoring a nearly life-ending hit (Darren achieved 15 shifts of damage, which nearly took Adrian out). Adrian slumped against the wall, his entrails spilling on the rooftop.

Ted made it to the roof in time to see Darren's strike and, filled with the rage of his father's death, a new conviction (newly defined Character Aspect: All Red Court Vampires must die!) and fueled by his drunkenness (using Aspect: Three Sheets to the Wind), he looked at the nearly-destroyed figure of Adrian and blasted him with all his considerable magical power, fusing Spirit and Fire to create a Lightning Evocation Blast that atomized Adrian (achieving 8 shifts of damage, which utterly destroyed Adrian) and caused Daniel to leap upon the pillbox roof and Darren to step back to escape its destructive power.

From the opposite rooftop, Sammy, focused on Persephone, saw a flash of lightning out of the corner of his eye as he called upon his Winter Court magic to send a flaming comet of ice and death to smash into Daniel's apartment to stop Persephone's escape.

Daniel's apartment building shook as Sammy's spell struck the side of it, smashing giant holes into Daniel's apartment and the hallway, and separating Persephone from the canister. The explosive force bodily pushed Persephone through another apartment's front door, through that apartment, through that apartment's bathroom door, through the wall, through the adjacent apartment's bathroom door and out the adjacent apartment's front door and into the stairwell, where she was out of sight.

Sammy spotted the canister in the rubble as the party on the roof steadied themselves from the explosion. Masonry fell onto the street below, as did the fire escape they came up to the roof on, crashing down across the street to strike the building Sammy was standing on.

Daniel, realizing that the sound came from his apartment, rushed down the roof stairs, transforming back into a human midstride and walked into an apartment that looked like, nay, that had a bomb go off in it. His front door was gone, vaporized, as well as most of the hallway wall and his couch, refrigerator and end table were all embedded in another wall.

Walking within five feet of the canister, he stepped over the rubble and walked to his bedroom to check on Darlene. Shell-shocked, Darlene got dressed and walked out into the remains of his apartment, reached for the front door knob that wasn't there, started a bit in surprise, then reached out again and pretended to turn a knob, open a door and step through, and close the door behind her before she straightened her clothes as best she could and unsteadily walked down the hall to leave the building.

Darren, Ted, Fritz and Peter passed her in the corridor with nary a comment. Daniel calmly light a cigarette and surveyed his ruined apartment as Sammy used magic to step through raindrops from the other rooftop into the apartment and calmly picked up the film canister. 

The film canister had a sticker that said "Casablanca Set Shot, Vol III and Vol IV, April 24th, 1942" In addition, there was Hamish's mark "MCMXXVII-0931" on the canister. He glamoured it into a book to keep it hidden from prying eyes. To his amazement, the book turned out to be Spenser's "The Fairie Queene", with a familiar figure on the cover, who seemed to wink at him in a knowing fashion.

As the sounds of fire engines and police cars approached, Daniel asked Fritz if he had access to a film projector. Fritz offered the private theatre in his mansion and they headed for Daniel's car outside. One of Daniel's neighbors opened his door and made a comment about warning Daniel about that gas leak then shut the door before he could respond. 

As he followed the rest, Ted looked around Daniel's apartment and found a decanter of alcohol embedded in the wall. He pried it loose, broke off the neck and took a swig -- Vermouth, best for martinis or cooking but little else. He handed it off to one of the firefighters he passed on the stairs, realizing that booze held little appeal to him now that he had his father's bloodmark and, besides the knowledge that every other person who had those bloodmarks were dead, had no idea what that meant (changed Trouble: I have my father's bloodmark).

They piled into Daniel's car and made the short trip to Fritz's home. Sammy gravely handed over the film canister and watched it's contents like a hawk as Fritz loaded it into his projector. The film started and the Adventures of Superman: Volcano played on the screen.

Volcano was released in July, 1942, so it couldn't have been the film they were looking for but Darren, Sammy and Daniel realized that they'd seen Volcano before: At the Bijou Theatre the night they went to talk to Donny.

Donny must have been involved in the theft from the beginning, working with the Princes to get the film. Then he stole it from their mansion and took it to the Bijou, where he switched it with the Superman Volcano film. Darren and Daniel remember him going on an errand that evening, so he must have picked Daniel's pocket for his apartment keys, hidden the Superman Volcano film there in the Casablanca canister, then come back to the theatre, slipping Daniel's keys back on him.

Racing to the theatre in the early morning, in the hopes of getting the real film, they spotted a posh car out front and the lights in the marquee on. The driver refused to say anything except he let slip that he works for "Mr. Warner" and he got in his car to avoid them.

As they walked into the theatre, they heard the projector starting up. Stepping into the theatre proper, they saw a film playing on the screen. In the darkness, they saw a figure of a man watching the film, smoking a cigarette, the ember glowing bright.

The screen showed the three Warner brothers, Harry, Jack and Albert, murdering their brother Sam in a ritual sacrifice. After the murder, the three left the view of the camera for a few minutes. In the intervening moments, the dead body of Sam moved, then stood up, then shambled off, out of view. The brothers looked shocked when they came back and there was no body. Daniel took a careful picture of the actual crime on his pocket camera before the film stopped and the lights came one.

Harry Warner looked at Darren, Daniel, Sammy and Ted, and then turned to Donny, seated nearby with a briefcase, presumably filled with money, nodded his head and gave a wave of the hand. Donny got up, gave Darren a look that said "Anything to get my mom and me out of here" and left with the money.

Harry looked back at the group as Jack and Albert appeared in the theatre with the film in hand. He nodded at them and turned back, saying "We sacrificed Sam for fame and fortune. We had no idea he would become a vampire and the 'Master' of the Black Court here in Hollywood."

While he talked, Jack thumbed his lighter and set the film on fire. The film went up, burning to ash.

Harry smiled at them, as if to say "go ahead and see if anyone believes you. I'm betting not." He and his brothers left, leaving the group in the theatre.

At the same time as the film was burning, in a desecrated church in the valley, the Master of the Black Court, formerly Sam Warner, sat on a throne, surrounded by his court. He stood suddenly, cried out then burst into flames, burning to ash before his followers' eyes. 

In the shocked silence that followed, the Master's most trusted lieutenants, "Fatty" Arbuckle and Virginia Rappe, looked at each other with unbridled enmity and then at the rest of the court. Sounds of a riot erupted from the church.

Epilogue

Sammy walked home in the early morning. Suddenly, he was aware of a familiar presence. He heard the ringing of horse bells and saw Her and her entourage riding beside him. She was pleased that the film was destroyed, that it ended the Master and factionalized the Black Court for a long time. "I still have work for you, just remember that. You still owe me," She laughed as she and her entourage rode off.

Ted had a lot of thinking to do. His father's recent death, after thinking his father dead all these years, and acquiring his father's bloodmark, had shaken him to the core of his being. He went onto a dark path.

Knowing the danger that Persephone posed, Darren tried to track her down.

Daniel also sought Persephone, but he dealt with his problem, Darlene, by slipping her an envelope with some of her nude pics and the picture of the Warner brothers murdering Sam. She moved to a different paper and tried to get the Warners' murdering ways published but none of the respectable papers would touch that story with a 10 foot pole. She was reduced to having it published in a "yellow" newspaper, which lead to her losing her job and moving to the East Coast. Daniel heard she married rich and got out of the newspaper business.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Actual Play: Dresden Files Accelerated Hollywoodland Factions

Known factions for Hollywoodland:

1. Warner Brothers Studios

Principals: Warner Brothers: Harry (President), Jack (Production), Albert (Treasurer), Sam (deceased 1927)

History: As real world but enmeshed in the supernatural because of bloody and unnatural murder.

Goal: Make movies, make money

Secret Goal: Kill Sam for good

Obstacle: Sam Warner

Resources: Plenty of cash; powerful friends and political favors; large studio with plenty of manpower; the studio grounds proper, with writers and actors, cameras and equipment, guns and weapons, costumes and makeup, etc.

Weakness: military might is limited; misbehaving stars can lead to scandals; exposure of Principals as murderers

Aspects: Money is no object; Doors are easily opened

Next Steps: Find movie reel of murder of Sam Warner and destroy it to kill him for good.

References: The Fall of the House of Warner (Brightlights Film)Casablanca (wikipedia)


2. Black Court Vampire nest

Principals: The Master (aka Sam Warner)

History: Sam Warner was murdered by his brothers in 1927 while being filmed. He became a Black Court Vampire because his soul is trapped in the film. He has blackmailed/threatened his brothers thereafter. He has created a cult of personality with a coterie of weird monsters. He is involved in a secret war with Legend.

Goal: Domination!

Secret Goal: see Goal

Obstacle: Everyone!

Resources: forces -- The Master's has the largest "army" in the area, comprised of many deceased actors, "Fatty" Arbuckle, Virginia Rappe, to name a few, who are Black Court vampires, a group of unseelie changelings on the run from Queen Mab, a pack of were-rats, a handful of weird monsters (including an Outsider or two), scores of zombies, some cultists and a few Renfields; run-down warehouse with a gladiatorial coliseum known as the Coliseum of Death and access to the sewers; under the Pier; a desecrated church in the Valley.

Weakness: Must remain hidden. Unaware that the film is a liability.

Aspects: Blood and brutality over subtlety; Welcome to my Coliseum of Death

Next Steps: Defeat Legend

References:


3. Legend and Son (secret group)

Principals: "Arthur Legend" (Dutch Schultz)

Goal: Domination!

Secret Goal: see Goal

Obstacle: Sam Warner's Black Court

Resources: barrels of cash; well-trained goons; underworld connections; mansion in the Hollywood Hills, several safe-houses

Weakness: Paranoia, limited foot soldiers

Aspects: If you can't be a good example, you'll be a horrible warning;

Next Steps: Find the film and destroy the Black Court

References: Dutch Schultz (wikipedia)


4. "Begleiter von Engeln und Teufeln" (Companions of Angels and Devils) aka Fritz Lang's Monster Hunters

Principals: Fritz Lang, Peter Lorre

History: Fritz Lang, the director of Metropolis, is a monster hunter. He started hunting monsters in Germany in 1927, the same year Metropolis came out. He was inducted into the "Companions of Angels and Devils" hunter group and rose to lead the group by 1930. M (1931) was cover for his crew killing a Black Court nest in Berlin. Peter Lorre joined him in the group. In 1933, with the rise of Hitler, the Companions were decimated by a Thule Society empowered White Court Vampire named Adrian Brandeis (German for "dark dweller on a burned clearing") and a Red Court Vampire named Persephone (Old Greek for "bringer of death"). The only ones who survived were Lang and Lorre, who then escaped to the U.S. They started a new Companions from the variety of German ex-pats.

Goal: Kill monsters, but be smarter about it

Secret Goal:

Obstacle: every monster out there

Resources: currently limited to German immigrants fleeing Nazi persecution; access to cash, equipment and locations with little preparation

Weakness: overly cautious since the Companions were decimated in Berlin

Aspects: Avenge our fallen comrades; Returning to the (misunderstood) Old Ways out of Fear of Changes

Next Steps: see Goal

References: They Cracked This 250-Year-Old Code, and Found a Secret Society Inside (Wired)150 Vampire Names Both Ancient and Modern


5. The Princes in the Tower

Principals: Edward V of England (appears age 12) and Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York (appears age 9), ghosts of the Princes in the Tower

History: Evil ghosts from England, their corpses found their way to Hollywoodland . The ghosts appeared in several Our Gang movies as "extras" and became close friends with the Our Gang stars. They created a series of children gangs to rob and steal, mostly doing B&E, mostly non-violent.

Goal: Become real again/raise from the dead.

Secret Goal:

Obstacle: The Law

Resources: several gangs of children; mansion in the Hollywood Hills, safe-houses throughout the city (gang members' homes)

Weakness: Supernaturally tied to their corpses, can't go long distances away or very long time away from them; can only push their child crew so far

Aspects: Translucent in Sunlight; Nobody notices a kid

Next Steps: Find the film to become real again.

References: Princes in the Tower (wikipedia)

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Actual Play: Dresden Files Accelerated Hollywoodland Session 5

Dresden Files Accelerated: Hollywoodland Session 5 Write-up

Played Friday, June 9th, 2017

Dramatis Personae

  • Father Darren O'Connell, Catholic priest and holy sword bearer (played by C)
  • Daniel Ehrlichmann, hot-shot reporter/wereleopard (played by F)
  • Sammy Wesson, Clued-in Mortal/Changeling (played by R)
  • Ted Summers aka The Dazzling Dante, White Court wizard (played by B)
  • Raymond Sanders, monster hunter/Changeling (played by N, not present)
  • Darlene Merritt, Daniel's nemesis
  • Fritz Lang, Hollywood Director and Monster Hunter
  • Peter Lorre, Hollywood Actor and Monster Hunter
  • Persephone, White Court Vampire Assassin
  • Adrian Brandeis, Red Court Vampire Assassin

Ted and Sammy went to Laurence the Fence's business to investigate the bloodmark spell. They broke in easily with the keys and Ted performed a ritual to find the blood sorcerer who cast the spell.

Ted learned more than he realized. He bound the spell into his wand and knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the blood sorcerer was Ted's father, supposedly dead for 28 years, since Ted was 6 years old!

That drove Ted into a alcoholic binge. He dropped the wand and headed straight for Mick's, demanding that Mick leave the bottle. Sammy, puzzled at Ted's behavior, picked up the wand and followed him to Mick's.

There, Ted revealed that the blood sorcerer was his dead father, which drove him to drink even more. Sammy said he understood and Ted asked how he could. Sammy showed Ted the finger from his father, given to him by Maeve. Ted looked at the finger and said that was messed up.

Darren met up with the survivors of the Berlin Monster Hunter lodge, which turned out to be actor Peter Lorre and film director Fritz Lang. Darren mentioned Persephone and Daniel's interest in her. 

Peter and Fritz identified Persephone, "Bringer of Death" and Adrian Brandeis, German for "Dark dweller on a burned clearing", as the vampires who killed their comrades. Both Peter and Fritz wanted in on the hunt to kill these two vampires. They left the restaurant and went to find Daniel before it was too late!

Daniel was making love to Darlene and started slapping her around, demanding to know who put Darlene on his tail. She fought back, thinking he'd kill her but he overpowered her.

While she was fighting back, there was a knock on the door, that became rather insistent as Darlene struggled to escape Daniel. Daniel couldn't tell who was at the door, because there was a muffled reply. Other people in the apartment building were being disturbed, so Daniel knocked Darlene out and, naked, grabbed a pillow and opened the door.

On the other side was Persephone, looking quizzical at Daniel naked with a pillow. Daniel asked her to come back in 10 minutes but she insisted on seeing him right now. She asked him to invite her in and he did.

Persephone came into the apartment and immediately pressed herself against Daniel, with only a pillow between them. Daniel was overcome with passion and dropped the pillow. Daniel picked up Persephone and threw her on the bed then jumped on her, ready to make love.

Persephone inspired Lust in Daniel and started to feed, but Daniel realized that something wasn't right and cooled off the passion, claiming that now wasn't the right time.

That's when Darren, Fritz and Peter showed up, busting through Daniel's door ! Darren drew his holy sword Durendal and attacked Persephone.

Persephone dodged Darren's attack with inhuman speed and picked up Peter and Fritz with inhuman strength and threw them around the room, which clued Daniel into realizing that Persephone was dangerous.

Persephone escaped by jumping out the window, onto the fire escape, then started climbing the ladder to the roof in the driving rain. Darren followed, sword in hand.

Ted and Sammy continued their drinking binge and Ted focused on the wand to point to his father, the blood sorcerer. It first pointed to him and to the bottle that he was drinking from, as if to accuse him, then pointed out the door. They finished their drink and hired a cab to follow the wand where it lead them. 

They traveled all about town, finally ending up in front of an apartment building. Stepping out of the cab, they spotted Darren chasing Persephone up a ladder to the roof. Ted blasted Persephone with a water blast (plenty of water around with the driving rain) and Sammy froze the water blast, both in an effort to knock her from the ladder.

She was buffeted but managed to make the roof, with Darren right behind her. Sammy used his Unseelie magic to ride lightning from the ground floor up to the roof in an instant, joining Darren in the fight with Persephone. Ted followed the wand into the apartment building and up to the fifth floor, right at the stairs that led up to the roof, where he found a body, face down.

In Daniel's apartment, Fritz and Peter picked themselves up and jumped onto the fire escape, using the ladder to climb to the roof in pursuit of Persephone. Daniel quickly dressed then pulled out his camera and took naked pictures of an unconscious Darlene as blackmail!

Darren swung Durendal at Persephone and she dodged. A figure stepped from out of the darkness and rain on the rooftop and attacked Darren, just barely grabbing onto him. It was Adrian, a Red Court Vampire Assassin. Both Fritz and Peter tried to assist the heroes but did nothing but get in the way. Adrian pulled Darren close to feed but Darren used his strong Faith to resist!

Sammy attacked Persephone, blasting her with his Unseelie Magic as Fritz and Peter again tried, and failed, to assist, just getting in the way. Daniel came up on the roof and transformed into his jaguar form, jumping on Adrian's back.

Ted stared at the body laying face down in front of him, frozen in indecision. The wand pointed straight at the body. Trembling, he turned the corpse over and saw his father's face, drained of blood by a Red Court Vampire. 

Filled with rage about all the lost years and mourning his father's death a second time, Ted brutalized the body, smashing his fists into his dead father's face. At the height of his drunken rage, his magic merged with his rage and his father's bloodmark fused into him, gaining him knowledge about the others who were also granted bloodmarks by the evil ritual. 

He felt that two of them were on the roof, dead. Ted headed for the roof. 

Meanwhile, Persephone, seeing that there were more opponents than allies on the roof, turned tail and ran. Sammy tried to stop her but she managed to get off the roof, with Sammy in pursuit!

Next time: the conclusion to the fight with Persephone and Adrian! Will this lead to the film canister?

On a personal note: This was a difficult combat. I had never run vampires in this system, so with their strong and varied abilities, they were hard for me to run for the first time. The strength of Darren, a Holy Knight with his Holy Sword Durendal, proved to be his Faith +5 approach, which gained the PCs a strong advantage. It would have been a far different combat without it and I doubt that Darren would have avoided being fed upon by Adrian. On the whole, it was a good first try and hopefully I will improve in the next session.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Actual Play: Dresden Files Accelerated Hollywoodland Character Profile: Ted Summers

CHARACTER NAME: Ted Summers
Played by B

AGE

LOOKS:

ORIGIN:


REFRESH: 2

ASPECTS:
High Concept: Black Sheep of the White Council
Trouble: later became: I have my father's bloodmark.
Aspect: Locked or Unlocked, It's All the Same To Me
Aspect: The Supernatural is the answer, even when it isn’t
Aspect: The Red Court Must Die!!!!!!

MANTLE(S):
Magical Practitioner

Mantle Conditions:
Exhausted (sticky) [ ]: Check condition to boost your Magical Power. GM has a boost to use against you. Clearing Exhausted requires a rest.
Burned Out (lasting) [ ]: Check condition to boost your Magical Power again. If Burned Out, can't use magic until fully recovered.
The Third Eye (sticky) [ ]: Check condition when using Magical Sight.
Memory is eidetic.
Everything is viewed in their metaphorical expression of it's true nature.
Ignore supernatural disguises.
Supernatural have scale on you.
Recover by simply closing your Third Eye.

STUNTS:
Evocation: Cast spells out of elements of fire, water, air, earth and spirit. Push yourself by taking Stress +1 for 1 stress, +2 for 2 stress, or mark Exhausted for +4, or mark Burned Out for +2
Thaumaturgy: Do ritual magic, +2 to prepare.
Soulgaze: make contested Intellect roll to learn one bit of info, a tie both learn something.
(Additional) Evocation Specialist: (Using Guile to Overcome an action with Spirit) -- from the forum

APPROACHES:
Guile +3
Focus, Flair +2
Force, Haste +1
Intellect +0

EQUIPMENT:

3 x 3s:

ALLIES/FRIENDS:


CONTACTS:


RIVALS / ENEMIES

Monday, January 1, 2018

Actual Play: Dresden Files Accelerated Hollywoodland Session 4

Dresden Files Accelerated: Hollywoodland Session 4 Write-up

Played Friday, May 26th, 2017

Dramatis Personae
  • Father Darren O'Connell, Catholic priest and holy sword bearer (played by C)
  • Daniel Ehrlichmann, hot-shot reporter/wereleopard (played by F)
  • Sammy Wesson, Clued-in Mortal/Changeling (played by R)
  • Ted Summers aka The Dazzling Dante, White Court wizard (played by B)
  • Raymond Sanders, monster hunter/Changeling (played by N, not present)
  • Concierge at the Biltmore Hotel
  • Kenneth the waiter
  • "Mr Smith", Legend's associate
  • Arthur Legend, enigmatic businessman
  • Legend's goons
  • Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, Black Court Vampire
  • Black Court cultists
  • Darlene Merritt, Daniel's nemesis

The session started with Ted Summers still on a bender (Compel that creates Aspect "Three Sheets to the Wind"), realizing that he needs to earn his $10,000. He uses magic to track down Father Darren, knowing him from church.

The magic leads him to the Los Angeles Biltmore Hotel, where the others are exiting from Daniel's car.

After a brief discussion, they go into the hotel and the concierge, thinking Ted is a homeless person, gives him a dollar and tells him that there is a homeless shelter down the street. Ted pockets the dollar as the concierge turns to Daniel, the best dressed of the lot, and asks what he can help with.

Daniel says they are there to meet with the Boss and expects to be shown right up. The concierge acts like he wants a tip, something Daniel refuses to do, but Ted gives him back his dollar as a tip and soulgazes him.

Ted learns that the concierge is an active participant in criminal activity (Aspect: In on the Take) and uses that to blackmail the concierge to giving them free access to the bar. The concierge calls up to the penthouse and tells them that they might as well wait in the bar till the Boss is ready to see them.

In the bar, Ted gives Kenneth the waiter the pass for free booze from the concierge and orders whiskey. Darren orders Irish Whiskey and Sammy orders a brandy. Daniel has coffee. The waiter returns with their drinks and they enjoy them. 

Four big burly bodyguards enter the bar and "Mr. Smith" slides between them and introduces himself. He's very pleasant to the group and is satisfied with their answers. He escorts them up to the penthouse where Mr. Legend is. When Sammy is too familiar, by calling him "Arthur" instead of "Mr. Legend," "Mr. Smith" corrects Sammy, as "Mr. Legend does not like familiarity until friendship is established."

They pass many guards in the hallway and in an outer room until they get into a room that has a single desk and chair, which Mr. Legend is sitting behind.

Both Sammy and Daniel recognize Arthur Legend as Dutch Schultz, a gangster who was killed in New Jersey in 1935, after supposedly hiding $7 million. 

Legend eschews a handshake with Daniel, claiming to have "a cold" and Darren, drunk, gets abusive. Legend subtly threatens Vaughn Owen, saying he'll get what is coming to him and implies that he'll get the canister, not Owen.

Ted wanders over to the window and look out, down 11 floors to the ground while trying not to be sick.

Daniel hears noises in the outer room and the hallway as Black Court cultists bust through the doors and smash through the windows! A Black Court Vampire orders his minions to kill everyone. Daniel recognizes the vampire as Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, a Hollywood star who died in 1933.

Daniel, thinking fast, tries to rush past the bodyguards to get next to Legend but can't manage to get past the closest bodyguard to Legend (failed Overcome). 

The cultists attack, killing several bodyguards, attacking Daniel, Sammy and Ted. Daniel is hard pressed against the desk (Boost: Hemmed In). 

"Mr. Smith" is attacked by the cultists as well and starts freaking out. Legend's men open fire on the cultists, killing several. Legend, observed by Darren, sinks into the floor, escaping and leaving his men to their fate. Perhaps he's a spectre or a ghost!

Sammy rises up and uses the full force of the Winter Court on several cultists near him (Stunt: Winter Fear), causing 4 cultists and one of Legend's bodyguards to flee in fear. Ted lights two of the cultists on fire with alcohol and magic, while Darren, still drunk, draws Durindal and cuts through three of them.

The remaining cultist escapes through the window as "Mr. Smith" has a freakout in the corner. Daniel rushes up to Arbuckle and roughly interviews him (Aspect: Don't Mess with the Press) and the vampire flees.

The room is filled with dead, blood and fire. Daniel takes a bunch of pictures of the carnage, especially of "Mr. Smith". Two of the remaining bodyguards grab "Mr. Smith" and leave while the third grabs some of the papers and tries to burn the rest. Daniel manages to grab one of the ledgers before the desk goes up in flames. 

They flee into the master bedroom, where they descend a fire escape to the ground. Once there, they push through the crowd and drive off in Daniel's car.

They noodle through the info they have so far and determine that Legend also wants the canister, the Princes don't have it and the Black Court attacked simply to try to kill Legend, it doesn't seem they were after the canister. Darren reveals that Legend is some sort of ghost, having escaped through the floor, and Legend didn't know that Eddie from the Princes was also most probably a ghost as well.

The other three try to convince Daniel that Persephone is a vampire and bad news but he won't hear anything against her (Compel: Pretty Face). He drops them off at Mick's and goes off to visit Dimi, giving him Legend's criminal ledger.

Ted, Sammy and Darren have a few drinks and decide on some action. Ted and Sammy go to Laurence the Fence's shop to see if they can get a ritual spell to track down the remaining Bloodmarked mobsters and the sorcerer who cast the spell. 

Darren goes to find the remnants of the Berlin Monster Hunters, the "Begleiter von Engeln und Teufeln" (Companions of Angels and Devils). He goes to meet them at a local restaurant and, unexpectedly, Peter Lorre and Fritz Lang walk through the door and sit down at the table with him.

Daniel gets home and sees the newspaper headline: Vaughn Owen dead the night before! Legend couldn't have done it since he thought Owen was alive several hours ago. Daniel dismisses Persephone as responsible for Owen's death, recalling and then dismissing the voice he heard in the background when he talked to her calling for help as Owen's.

He gets a few hours sleep but is awoken when a naked woman slips into bed with him. He recognizes Persephone's perfume and makes love to the woman, not realizing until later that it is his nemesis, Darlene!

Next Session: the thrilling conclusion! The final fight! Will they find the canister and solve the mystery?

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Actual Play: Dresden Files Accelerated Hollywoodland Character Profile: Sammy Wesson

CHARACTER NAME: Sammy Wesson
Played by R

AGE 26

LOOKS:

ORIGIN:
Sammy is a 26 year old have changeling half-Sidhe. His Sidhe father had a one night stand with his mother Tammy Wesson and the result was Sammy. He was born is Salem Oregon but his mother moved to Portland for work as she struggled as a single parent. Sammy had a relative normal childhood until his wayward father introduced himself to Sammy when Sammy was 17. Sammy was very intrigued by the Fae but he is not sure he wants to be a Winter Fae... their cruelty turns him off despite the fact that he can demonstrate a cruel streak himself. At the age of 19, his father disappeared from his life again and a few months later another Fae entered his life who called herself Marta. She told him to abandon his university studies (scholarship to Reed College) as he was no working for her as his father owed her a debt which he know has to fulfill. Last few years he has been working as an Agent for Marta on behalf of the Winter Court.

REFRESH: 2

ASPECTS:
High Concept: Half-sidhe coldblooded Enforcer for Marta (Maeve)
Trouble: left with dead beat dad's debt on a string with the the Winter Court (Maeve)
Aspect: Wrong kind of friends- rebellious allies as my dad was a celebrity fae on the wrong side of the winter queens
Aspect: Wanted Secret benefactor (dear old dad is around and helps I just don't know it)
Aspect: show off mage

MANTLE(S):
Clued-In Mortal
Changeling

Mantle Conditions:
Knowledge sticky(5 box) -- one box for occult knowledge
In too Deep -- one box mark to recover all knowledge gain aspect of enemy
Called (5 box) -- mark one box to use fae stunts

STUNTS:
Chasing Rumors -- +2 advantage or overcome with each knowledge box used
Preparation -- mark box knowledge for useful item
Unseelie Magic -- see rules
Familiar Face -- see rules
Glamour -- see rules
Winter Fear -- Because I am Maeve's enforcer, once per session I can create +2 attack to Force attack against targets I am hunting for Marta when telling them Marta wants them dead.
Infamy -- Because of my dad's infamy or fame, once per session I can create +2 guile attack with Fae and Changelings.
Fancy Magic -- Because I will go for some ambitious fancy magic, once per session I can create an advantage for Force with fancy changeling magic.

APPROACHES:
Force +3
Focus, Intellect +2
Flair, Haste +1
Guile +0

EQUIPMENT:
sword
pistol
backpack with magical components
trenchcoat

3 x 3s:

ALLIES/FRIENDS:
Yancey Eaton -- ex high school friend who is police sergeant

CONTACTS:
Ben Crooker -- information broker on the street
Lana Young -- Warner Brothers Actress Friend

RIVALS / ENEMIES
Printemps -- a Seelie Changeling who hates his father and makes it his business to mess with Wesson as much as he can

Monday, December 25, 2017

Actual Play: Dresden Files Accelerated Hollywoodland Session 3

Dresden Files Accelerated: Hollywoodland Session 3 Write-up

Played Friday, May 12th, 2017

Dramatis Personae
  • Father Darren O'Connell, Catholic priest and holy sword bearer (played by C)
  • Daniel Ehrlichmann, hot-shot reporter/wereleopard (played by F)
  • Sammy Wesson, Clued-in Mortal/Changeling (played by R)
  • Raymond Sanders, monster hunter/Changeling (played by N, not present)
  • Ted Summers aka The Dazzling Dante, White Court wizard (played by S, not present)
  • Maeve and entourage
  • Darlene Merrit, Daniel's nemesis
  • Some mobsters, dead and alive
  • George McJiminy, of the East Coast McJiminy's, getaway driver

Sammy snuck out of the back of the theatre and hot-footed away from those Unseelie goons. He went to Darren's church, figuring that would be the last place his pursuers would look.

As he crossed the threshold, he heard the clatter of hooves on the street behind him and knew he'd been found. Turning slowly, he saw Her astride a beautiful but slightly otherworldly horse, surrounded by an entourage of Fae, mounted on lesser but still beautiful and slightly otherworldly horses.

Banter was exchanged. She wanted what he was hunting, not for herself but for the betterment of everyone. It would go a long way to overcoming his debt to her (Compel Trouble: "His Father's Debts to be paid"). He promised either to bring it to her or to tell her where to get it, which was pretty foolish on his part as that put him indebted to her to at least find it. His escape clause of "where to get it" might save his bacon.

She and her entourage rode off, but not before she dropped a small cloth bundle onto the street. Sammy retrieved it, knowing that he was safe (for the time being) since he was ostensibly working for Her. Her patience, however, was not infinite.

The cloth bundle was small, about the size of a hand holding an orange, tied with a dark ribbon. When he opened it, he saw it contained a severed and bloody ring finger wearing a well-recognized ring -- his father's. His father's finger, too. Freshly cut off. 

That's when Daniel and Darren walked up and saw him staring at the severed and bloody finger.

The threat of "one piece at a time" was present, but She didn't do just the obvious. There was more purpose to Her actions than merely a pound of flesh. No, Sammy figured that the ribbon and the finger would lead him to where they needed to go (Aspect: "My Father's Finger will Point the Way").

Darren and Daniel were disgusted by the grisly trophy Sammy held and Daniel started asking questions. Sammy revealed it was his father's finger and ring and it would help them find what they were looking for.

They piled into Daniel's '33 Dodge and Sammy sat in the rumble seat in the back, focusing his energy into the finger to find the ghostly kid they spotted earlier.

As Daniel was driving away, a bicyclist ran in front of his car, causing him to screech to a halt. A pretty redhead dropped her bike and walked up to the driver's side door. It was Darlene Merrit, Daniel's nemesis at the Paper.

She smiled and asked what they were up to. She propped herself through the window, over Daniel and shook Darren's hand, then jumped into the rumble seat with Sammy. Darlene asked Darren to grab her bike and secure it to the back of the car so they could get going.

Daniel argued with her, trying to get her out of the car. She told them that some people say that a bunch of folks, including a big-time reporter, got $10,000 each from Vaughn Owen to find something for the Warner Brothers. She also said that these folks were present at Mick's Bar when a known fence was shot and that a later investigation into the fence's shop turned up a large pool of blood but no bodies.

Who could those people be? Darlene asked innocently. Daniel managed to entice her out of the car with a possible lead then escaped, jumping into the car and roaring away into the Hollywood Hills.

Sammy used magic to invoke the finger (Aspect: "The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, Moves on"), which pointed at him as if to accuse him of failure, then he managed to get the finger to point towards the leader of the Princes (named Eddie) and they followed the finger around the mansions, until they found one that was large and had a large yard, enclosed by a 8-10 foot wall. The mansion was dark, no light was visible there.

While driving around it, casing it, Darren noted that the name on the mansion gate was "York" and that at one corner was a dark car, idling, the driver only visible with the bright ember of a cigarette. Sammy noted a ladder against the back wall.

Suddenly three gunshots rang out. Then another four, then one, and finally two more. Ten gunshots in the space of a minute or so. Then silence!

Daniel was convinced that the story was in the mansion, so he parked in the back. They noticed that the driver of the idling car was gone but the car was still idling, so Daniel stole the keys and monkeywrenched it.

They climbed the wall using the ladder and saw that the other side had another ladder (someone was thinking). Once on the grounds, they cautiously approached the house and found their way into a room.

They went room to room, looking for the kid Eddie and following the finger. In the great hall, a severed head rolled down the stairs at them. Darren went up to investigate and found a decapitated mobster and a medieval axe stuck in the wall, on the opposite side of the room was an old set of armor, the previous owner of the axe. Darren continued to explore the upstairs.

Sammy found himself in a library, where there were two more mobsters, frozen and dead. He recognized them as some of Legend's men. Legend is a new faction in the area, had barrels of cash and well-trained goons. This is a first for Legend being involved in this sort of situation.

Daniel went through the gallery and a sitting room but wasn't paying close attention and found himself with a gun in his back! Another mobster was holding it to his kidneys and talking blather about getting the kid in a snatch-and-grab. Half his face was bleached white, including the hair.

Darren found a terrace looking down into the house and spotted Daniel being forced through a door by the mobster. The mobster took a shot at him (2 Stress to Darren) as he jumped down and knocked the mobster out (taken out with 4 Stress to mobster). Sirens meant police were on the way.

Sammy caught up with the others and, from the three corpses and the knocked-out guy, deduced that the frozen dead, the axe and the white face were the result of ghosts and poltergeists removing the heat from a room (frozen guys), moving objects (flying axe decapitation) and fear (white face and hair). The frozen guys would have caused a ghost to discorporate for a while until it got it's mojo back.

The knocked out mobster had the bloodmark on him and they presumed that the rest did, too.

The finger started pointing all over, meaning their quarry was either not here or out of range. They quickly escaped, noting an old 1900s painting depicting Eddie and (presumably) Dicky in medieval dress in a dark tower room.

They dashed to the wall as the police arrived and climbed the ladders. They dropped the ladders against the wall so that they were hidden for a while by tall grass and bushes then ran back to their car.

The mobsters' car was still there and the last mobster was trying to get it to work. Daniel stopped and offered him a lift, which he happily took.

He said his name was George McJiminy (of the New England McJiminy's) and they thought it was a fake name. He asked to be dropped at the Los Angeles Biltmore Hotel.

Daniel convinced him that they were mobsters, too, (Aspect: "The Boss sent us.....") meant to make sure his group did the job right. He was completely fooled. They got everything out of him, that he was the driver and they were just supposed to go in there and grab the kid and bring him to their boss. Sammy dropped Legend's name and George nodded.

They dropped George off, telling him to be scarce for a while since the boss would be sore about his gang's screw-up and headed for the Biltmore.

Darren realized that he had seen the painting before, in England and it depicted King Edward V and his younger brother Richard, Duke of York, imprisoned in the Tower of London. The painting was by John Millais, painted in 1878, and titled "The Two Princes Edward and Richard in the Tower, 1483" and that the princes disappeared and were supposedly murdered by their uncle, Richard who became Richard III.

Daniel realized that Darlene was tipped off about them by someone with inside info and was probably being followed so that they were followed. He dismissed as rubbish the obvious culprit, Persephone, (Compel: "Pretty Face") and figured it was her boss Vaughn.

Sammy figured info about Legend. His name is Arthur Legend, he's probably a mobster from back East but Legend is not his real name. He's in conflict with the Black Court vampires and this is the first time, as far as Sammy knows, that he's involved in black magic, with the bloodmark tracking spell. Legend's company is called "Legend and Son" and he's got a mansion of his own in the Hollywood Hills, so why would he be at the Biltmore Hotel?

The session ended with some questions answered but a whole bunch more unanswered: Where's the film? Who all want it? What do the Princes have to do with this? What does Legend want?

Friday, December 22, 2017

Actual Play: Dresden Files Accelerated Hollywoodland Character Profile: Father Darren O'Connel

CHARACTER NAME: Father Darren O'Connel
Played by C

AGE 31

LOOKS:

ORIGIN:
Darren is an Irish immigrant who commissioned as a Roman Catholic Chaplain when he was 26. Transferred to support upcoming operations with the 34th Infantry Division, and ultimately deployed with the 1st Ranger Battalion.

The ensuing massacre in Dieppe, France left thousands of Allies dead and wounded including one young Irish man with No. 4 Commando. In his dying breath this young man asked Chaplain O'Connel for his last rights and to promise safe keeping of chipped, rusting iron blade.

Moments after picking up the sword, sweeping heavy machine gun fire began claiming more of 1st Ranger Battalion and they were forced to retreat. Medically retired after machine gun fire took his left eye in the Dieppe Raid during extraction. While recovering and rehabilitating at West Los Angeles Area Station Hospital, he would have severe nightmares.

Eventually he started having nightmares while he was awake, the flashback of the massacre and things that never happened. Even when he closes his eye he can see evil walking around in human skin, men feeding on the very souls of those they touch.

He sought guidance from priest nearby: what was it that he was seeing and if he was damned and this was his curse. That priest was shocked, but explained that what Darren saw was indeed real and this curse means he is the bearer of Durendal Explaining that the Almighty had told him that one day he would be tasked with training a broken man to bear a great burden.

To rid himself of this burden, he must follow His guidance to destroy the evil which haunts his vision and dreams. Unsure of how a rusty blade could be used to destroy much of anything, the doubt was known to the priest.The blade was blessed such that it will only cut when the intent is righteous so that evil may not bear its strength.

Of course, a man traditionally trained with a M1911 has very little experience with a sword so Darren made his way to Hollywood to learn apt swordsmanship from a Frenchman at Beaulieu, at the advice of the priest.

REFRESH: 2

ASPECTS:
High Concept: A broken warrior priest seeking redemption
Trouble: Sleepless nights and waking nightmares are a strain on faith
Aspect: Lord forgive me for what I'm about to do, but these bastards must die
Aspect: Rangers lead the way
Aspect: These closed eyes see your true nature

MANTLE(S):
Holy Knight

Mantle Conditions:
On a Mission from God (sticky)
Crisis of Faith

STUNTS:
Sword of the Cross (Holy Sword): If On a Mission from God is checked, ignore differences of scale and the weapon attack is considered supernatural. Using the sword while not On a Mission from God, then Crisis of Faith condition is invoked.
Right Place, Right Time: Once per session, arrive at the right time to help someone in need.
(Additional) Divine Defender: Once per session, can take the damage in place of another.

APPROACHES:
Force +3
Haste, Intellect +2
Guile, Focus +1
Flair +0

EQUIPMENT:
Durendal (Holy Sword)

3 x 3s:

ALLIES/FRIENDS:
Miseur Beaulieu - Fencing instructor, mentor
Father DeMonte - Priest who works at a the church near the hospital

CONTACTS:
Donny Torrez - Street youth who tried to rob the church, but took some advice from Father DeMonte to change his way after seeing Darren with his holy blade on his back. Sweeps floors at the Bayeu Movie Theater during night showing.

RIVALS / ENEMIES