Rocks fall, everyone dies

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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  Avalanche on Mon Feb 15, 2016 2:33 pm

Finished the races/classes/skills/feats pages for the Star Wars setting. Picked a few fun races from the extended universe but changed a few elements to make stuff a little more manageable. I am going to rip the fuck off the plot of Knights of the Old Republic, with some elements of Mass Effect thrown in for good measure.

Because my players aren't exactly roleplayers, I'm also going to testrun an origin system. Basically I've written out a handful of potential backstories, which the players gets assigned before making a character. Of course, I'll allow them to make their own backstory if they want to but I hope it'll encourage them to get into character a little. Even if they don't, it'll allow for easy openings for sidequests.

What's even more fun for me, it allows me to recycle the Darth Revan plot of Knights of the Old Republic. Just changed the names around a little, to Darth Iblis and Darth Astaroth, so a curious googler will end up with nothing.

Made a bit of an error during the last fantasy campaign though but hey, learning experiences. Too much handholding results in a major loss of focus. I just need to give them a setting, a vague goal, vague instructions to reach said goal and a firm slap on the bum telling them to go wild.

So next time I'm giving them a city to run amock in, a time-limit an assassination target and the mission to find a way to blackmail the regent (suggesting kidnapping his son but if they want to do something else, godspeed). That'll be a fun campaign, just need to think of a few fun sidequests now.

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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  Raya on Sat Apr 09, 2016 2:56 pm

Everyone Is Not Quite Comfortable With Small Friendly Towns: Entering The Matrix  Edition

After a holiday hiatus we returned to the TWBB WoD game. Sah couldn’t make this session due to being in Amsterdam, which actually worked out quite well, because out of every session so far this was the best one to NPC him in. I was disappointed that he wouldn’t be here for the climax, but as luck would have it he managed to jump in using his hotel internet part way through, so got to take part after all. Thanks for making the effort Sah Very Happy

This session was going to be an interesting experiment; the party would be in a small town that was being targeted by the cult. The townsfolk and the cult were operating on differently schedules, so they would do different things at different times, which would be affected by the actions of the party. So say the party were dealing with the town at 3pm, the cult would carry out their 3pm actions unimpeded. All of this would influence the climax and final outcome of the session; much like a video game, there would be multiple endings based on what the party achieved in the town. Would they manage to tick all the boxes and get the perfect ending, or would it all go to Hell in a handbasket?

After the last session the players had crossed over the state border into Texas and laid low in a motel for 2 days, watching and waiting to see if any law enforcement were after them after New Orleans (and to give the very battered Fed a chance to heal). Q and TD also slipped out at one point on an agenda of their own…which we didn’t manage to roleplay beforehand. Missing it didn’t have a massive impact on gameplay, but it’s definitely something we need to do before the next session.

Since no FBI agents were battering down their door, the players decided to carry on their journey, driving deeper into Texas. It was a pretty nice experience actually; enjoying the rolling scenery, the pleasant weather and blue skies. Unfortunately the players had begun to regret their earlier decision of ‘drivers chooses the music’, as I was driving and the yanks had to put up with all the Europeans singing Eurovision songs. Perhaps mercifully, after the fifth ironic rendition of Wolves of the Sea, the engine lost power, steam poured out from under the bonnet and the car ground to a halt. Nobody really had any mechanical knowledge, so the diagnosis of the problem didn’t go beyond ‘it’s fucked’.

The party were now stuck on the side of a highway in the middle of nowhere. Thankfully, they soon spotted a truck heading towards them, and despite Fed’s suggestion of hiding, they decided to flag it down for help.

TD: Man, that sure is convenient.
Me: Almost as if it’s a plot hook of some kind.

The truck pulled over and a man about in his 50s got out, wearing the battered clothes of a farmer. He asked if they needed help and took a look at the engine- as it turns out, the alternator had gone and the drive belt was knackered. He couldn’t fix it, but as he was heading into town he could give them a tow. His friend, John, ran a garage and would easily sort it out for them. The players accepted, and got inside the truck.

The man, Geoff, started chatting away amicably during the ride. He brushed aside the party’s thanks; after all, he said, if his kids had broken down on the side of the road he’d want someone to pull over and help them. Geoff was a pretty friendly fellow (this is one thing I badly wanted to stress- the townsfolk were genuinely nice people), who came from the small town of Fairview (fun fact: most common town name in Texas)

Geoff mentioned that the party were lucky to have broken down when they did, for the town was about to hold its annual Burning Angel festival, and they’d get to join in the festivities. This immediately put the players on guard, as they lampshaded that every time they go somewhere when there’s a special event (county fair, mardi gras etc) something terrible happens. You guys make me feel bad ;_;

Geoff dug around in the glove compartment (swerving all over the road as he did), and pulled out a leaflet about the festival, which I’d actually made for this session’s handout. This truly is my magnum opus, I will never again make something as spectacular as this:

Spoiler:

Judging by the hysterics, the players certainly enjoyed my efforts Razz Although it was pointed out that ‘bric-a-brac’ is more of a Britishism rather than the small-town-ism I thought it was. I should have really gone with yard sale, oh well.

As the truck crested a rise, the party received a fine view of the town. Fairview was a small town, a population of just a few hundred, nestled between gently rolling hills that obscured it from the highway. The nodding heads of oil wells could be seen in the distance, and to the north east was a small oil refinery. The town’s most prominent feature was a large crater to the north, looking as if part of the surface has just collapsed in on itself (which is not uncommon in oil fields, when the oil is extracted and the empty cavern below collapses). The town itself was being decorated for the festival, with bunting and flags being strung up across the streets. Curious scarecrows were also being erected outside most of the buildings; they looked a bit like No-Face from Spirited Away, with bodies made of shaggy straw and each face mask uniquely painted. Here’s the town map:

Spoiler:

Geoff took the car to Gutteridge Garage, and the owner, John, said it should be repaired by tomorrow. Since the party were now stuck in town until it was repaired- and they had no place to stay- Geoff offered to take them to a woman named Ada White, who sometimes let her house out as a B&B. Everyone agreed and was dropped off at Ada’s.

The house itself was very pretty, the sort of picturesque house you see on TV, with sky blue walls, white shutters, window boxes overflowing with flowers, cats lounging on the porch and an immaculate garden. The owner, Ada, was an elderly woman who still looked like she could throw a mean punch. She welcomed them into her home, but warned them that this was a respectable house and none of this modern sinful business was going to happen under her roof (the party concurred). As she went to cook dinner, Fed took a look around the living room, Req investigated the bookcase and Relm went to explore the house.

The living room was filled with photos and mementos of a long life lived, and Fed rolled Wits/Investigation to see if he could spot anything interesting. With just 1 success there was nothing that jumped out at him. If he’d got 2 successes, he would have noticed a man who appeared in a lot of photos, only to disappear around the millennium- Ada’s deceased husband. With 3 successes, he would have noticed that a lot of older photos featured a boy with a striking similarity to Ada and her husband, but there were no pictures of him past his teenage years. This was the first clue to the secret behind the town, but luckily they’d uncover it in other ways.

Req found nothing of real interest on the bookcase, and upstairs Relm found the stairs to the attic open. Everyone was too paranoid/polite to go rummaging through a stranger’s attic, so he left it to join the others at dinner.

Ada was a great cook and host, showing them some real Texan hospitality. She asked the players about their trip and made a fuss over Ganon, who was currently bothering the cats (she asked about his unusual name, Fed claimed it was his grandfather’s). The party queried about the Burning Angel festival that was starting tonight, and she happily provided exposition for them.

In the 1930s, the Dustbowl hit Fairview hard. Nobody could grow crops, families were moving out, and the whole town was in danger of being abandoned. The local pastor went out into the wilderness for 40 days and nights to pray for the town’s salvation. On the 40th day, an angel made of fire appeared to the pastor, touched by his piety. It told the pastor to bring it two people pure of heart, so the pastor brought his son and daughter. The angel took them both by the hand and revealed to them where oil lay beneath the dusty fields. Because of this blessing the town was saved, so each year the townsfolk hold a festival to give thanks to the angel. The festival cumulates with the lighting of the fire pit ceremony, where the methane gas within the crater is lit and burned off before it can overflow and affect the town. TD rolled to see if this made any scientific sense, and yes it actually did. Case in point: The Door To Hell in Turkmenistan.

After dinner the plan was to go to the opening of the festival and see the crowning of the festival king and queen. Before this, Ada requested the help of our burly chaps to fetch something down from the attic- a large chest labelled ‘Jeb’. The party obliged, took it outside to the porch and opened it. It appeared filled with straw, and the party were baffled until they took it out and assembled it; it was one of those strange scarecrows, this one with a mask painted with the staff of Asclepius. TD rolled Empathy, and noticed that Ada seemed quite sad towards the scarecrow, and gently enquired if she was okay.

Ada explained that these scarecrows were called nunnehi (nunnies for short), and represented loved ones who were no longer with them. This one represented her son, Jeb. He was a bright boy, sharp as a tack, and intended to go to the big city to learn medicine and become a doctor in order to make people’s lives better….but he had been called into the Lord’s service before that could happen. Ada missed him dreadfully but, as she explained, the nunnies were the guardian spirits of the town, so even though he was no longer around, he was still here looking after the townsfolk, and she took comfort in that.

The players requested to roll Occult to find out what they could about the nunnehi, since it sounded unusual/supernatural. Sah, our resident occultist, failed. Req on the other hand got a critical success, and remembered that the nunnehi were figures from Cherokee mythology, spirit people who protected particular locations. It struck them as odd this Texan town would absorb a native belief, but it wasn’t something unknown.

Being gentlemen, the party escorted Ada to the opening of the festival, where the townsfolk were gathering in the town square. On entry, everyone was given an unlit wooden torch. As everyone mingled and enjoyed the deep fried food, Relm checked out the generic pioneer statue in the centre of the square. As he did, he was approached by a nervous looking man, who asked if Relm was from out of town. This immediately set everyone’s alarm bells ringing, even more so when the man told him he shouldn’t stay in the town, for his own safety.

“Now you ain’t scaring this poor boy, are ya Gary?”

The town sheriff had appeared behind Relm, looking like a full on stereotype: cowboy boots, Stetson hat, aviator glasses and a moustache so thick you could strain soup though it. Gary backed off and left, and Sheriff O’Grady apologised on his behalf. Gary had been through some very rough times recently; his wife and son were killed by a drunk driver 5 years ago, and 2 years ago his daughter entered the Lord’s service, leaving him all alone. The townsfolk had rallied round him, but he was still hurting pretty bad. O’Grady also noticed that Relm was from out of town, and half-jokingly told him to behave himself, as the festival was important to the townsfolk, and they didn’t want any trouble. Relm made it clear it was duly noted.

As Relm returned to the group to share this development, the town mayor took the stage. After a brief welcome speech, he declared that it was time to choose the festival king and queen, the two pure souls who represented the pastor’s son and daughter and who would oversee the festival. Everyone in the crowd (party included) duly held up their torches, and after a short silence one of the torches on the other side of the square burst into flames. There were gasps of surprise, then a round of applause as the holder- a girl of 19- made her way to the stage. It was like she’d won American Idol, so overcome with surprise and happiness that she was crying for joy. Then it was time for the king to be chosen…and Sah’s torch burst into flames.

The crowd were taken by surprise that an out-of-towner was chosen, but they were good sports about it and encouraged him to the stage with a flurry of applause. The mayor said a few words and with that, the festival was officially opened! Sah and the girl (Rosaline) were taken away for a rundown of their official duties tomorrow, leaving the party to mingle. They decided to check out the fire pit, which wasn’t much- an eggy smelling crater with some crowd barriers set up to stop idiots falling in, and a makeshift stage set up for tomorrow. After poking around, they retired for the night.

(Incidentally, I planned from the start that Sah would be the festival king, since a) I thought he’d like it and b) he’s the purest soul of the party. Since he had to be NPC’d for most of the session, this was the perfect excuse for him to be absent).

The next morning everyone woke (reasonably) early, ready for a day of activity. Sah filled everyone in on what he was to be doing, and seemed really excited about it- he was genuinely proud to be the festival king (truth, I’d told him about him being elected before the session, he was very pleased about it), and he seemed to be crushing a little on Rosaline. As Sah went to do his kingly duties (for which he was given some old-timey clothes and a flower crown), the party made their first stop to the school for the school play.

The school kids performed an adaption of the burning angel story, which was pretty adorable. In true school play fashion there were more kids than roles, so some kids were playing tumble weeds and other filler roles. The child dressed as the burning angel took the two playing the pastor’s children by the hands, walked around and then a kid dressed as a geyser of oil jumped up. It was cute. It was noted that Gary from the night before was helping out with the lights and direction.

As the play finished and the crowd mingled, Req spotted a man lurking at the back- a man with a pin badge in the shape of a 7 pointed star…the symbol of the cult!

The man slipped out the door and Req alerted the others. As other things were happening in the town, everyone decided to split up: Relm and Req followed the cultist, TD went to check out the museum and everyone else went to the oil depot tour.

Relmitos is our resident sneaky guy, and did a very good job sneaking after the cultist. He poked his head round a door and found the cultist deep in conversation…with none other than Gary! Unfortunately, before he could learn what they were talking about, Relm realised the error of taking along a guy with 0 in Stealth on a stealth mission. Req failed his roll and tripped over a bucket, making a huge noise. The master of suave quickly grabbed a mop and started cleaning it up, but it was too late for Relm, who suddenly found the cultist and Gary staring at him. He fast-talked his way out of it, playing the lost-out-of-towner card, and was shown the door. The pair, relived at their narrow escape, went to join the others at the depot.

Event Flag #1: The cult were planning something major at the school, and this would have been the ideal opportunity to uncover it early. If Relm had overheard the conversation he would have been tipped off to dig deeper, but right now they were lucky to have avoided any serious repercussions from being spotted, thanks to Relm’s quick thinking.

I was hoping someone would go to the museum, and luckily TD obliged. It was a small museum, covering the history of the town and a bit about the geology of the oil field. TD decided to do some investigating into the festival, and found a collection of photos of each year’s king and queen. Digging deeper, he found a photo of the 1979 festival, the king named as Jeb White- Ada’s son. His suspicions raised, TD then decided to head to the town graveyard.

Everyone else meanwhile attended the oil depot tour. The tour was very educational since it turns out I know a surprising amount about oil refining. Donning hard hats, the rest of the party (and a large group of townsfolk) had a guided tour from the foreman, explaining how they extracted the oil from the fields, refined it and then sent it on to the local area. The players asked the very sensible question about how the crater fitted into this; it was explained that it acted as a natural vent to the field, the flammable gases leaking from the oil beneath and coalescing in the crater instead of building up under the ground.

At the end of the tour Relm spotted some people acting suspiciously around an oil tanker, but this line of enquiry wasn’t pursued. Instead everyone headed into town for the prize giving ceremony.

Event Flag #2: The cult were at this point diverting the oil supply into the sewers under the town for nefarious purposes. The players could have stopped the final stage of their diabolical plot early here.

Everyone met up with Sah, who along with Rosline got to be a judge at the contest. He learnt a lot of useful things about judging vegetables, including what a marrow actually is. This stretch of the day had few events, allowing the players to have a breather/carry out their own investigations/allow time for anything they did earlier to be resolved. They had lunch instead.

TD was meanwhile carrying out his investigations in the graveyard, following up a hunch. And miserably failing all his rolls. After spending three hours fruitlessly searching, Req eventually showed up to help and found what TD had been looking for instantly: the gravestone of Jeb White. Born 1960, died Saturday 14th July…1979. As this game is taking place in the summer, TD asked what date it currently was: it was Saturday, 16th July. The alarm bells reached cacophonic status, as they realised that a former festival king had died the year he was crowned, right around the time of year the festival took place. There were increasing grounds to believe that Sah was in genuine danger.

(note: If TD had recorded the names of other kings and queens, and found them in the graveyard, he’d have discovered they all died around the same time in summer, and that the matching king/queen both died on the same day, at which point they probably would have grabbed Sah and hightailed it out of there).

Sah and Rosaline had by this point completed their Blessing of the Businesses (going from store to store giving their blessings for the year, much like the lions in Chinese New Year, and receiving sweet treats in exchange. Sah was becoming increasingly happy and proud of his role, seeing how much joy it bought to the townsfolk), and so the town had a banquet before the climax of the Lighting of the Fire Pit ceremony. After comparing notes- and deciding that Gary might be a key part of finding out what was going on in the town- they made enquiries with Ada as to his whereabouts. Ada explained that he was probably at the school, since he worked there (the party had indeed seen him at the play earlier). As the fire pit ceremony was very serious business, instead of having disruptive children attending, they held a big sleepover for the kids at the school, where they got to have an awesome movie night away from the adults.

The plan was decided: TD and Q would head to the school to speak to Gary and Fed/Req/Relm would attempt to sneak into the fire pit ceremony. Although usually forbidden to outsiders, Sah was the guest of honour so had to go to the ceremony. Since they were suspecting they may have to make a quick getaway, I was instructed to go back to Ada’s house and get everything ready for an emergency exit. The joys of effectively being an NPC.

Event Flag #3: If the players had investigated either the school, the oil depot or the fire pit earlier, they would have stumbled across the cult in the middle of their schemes and could have prevented them coming to fruition in the finale.

TD and Q made their way to the school, with the intention of speaking to Gary and finding out what was going on. Due to the fire pit ceremony the town was practically deserted; aside from a few trucks driving by and a couple of tourists, the place was empty. As they approached the school they saw the building was open and the lights on; entering, they were greeted by the strains of Let It Go echoing through the corridors. Pitying the poor teachers who were probably enduring the 15th screening of Frozen that night, the pair followed the sound into the hall where the play had been held earlier. The TV was on, but the room was completely devoid of people. Coats and chairs and snacks were everywhere, but there was no sign of any teachers or children. They investigated (TD being worried I gave him his bonus for specialisation: crime scene), and quickly determined that the room had been vacated in a hurry. Cleverly theorising that a group of children hurriedly leaving a room would leave a mess, they picked up a trail of dislodged chairs and dropped candy. The trail ended in the car park. So where had the kids gone?

Then they remembered the trucks that had drove past them earlier. The trucks heading in the direction of the fire pit.

Cursing, the two ran to the nearby garage to get the car. Their car was outside, obviously repaired, but the keys were in the locked up garage (John the mechanic being at the ceremony). After an argument over whether or not they should break in to get the keys, TD told Q to head to the ceremony and he’d sort out the keys. This immediately got Q’s suspicion, who demanded that under no circumstances should TD call Mr White to sort this out. TD bristled at this accusation and denied he was planning anything of the sort, which made Q even MORE suspicious. After a tense standoff they decided to forget the car and just run.

Back at the fire pit Fed, Req and Relm were attempting to gain entry. The road was barricaded with a fence, with the town sheriff standing guard. Despite their pleas that their friend was the guest of honour, he adamantly refused to let them pass, saying it was a sacred ceremony for the townsfolk and that they absolutely weren’t permitted to enter. Seeing as though they weren’t going to take on a gun-toting Texan sheriff, they withdrew and planned to sneak in further down the fence. This turned out to be a good idea indeed, as when they were hidden in the brush they heard the sound of blaring horns…and witnessed two trucks smash through the gates at high speed, hitting the sheriff and sending him flying like a ragdoll. The three ran back to the now open gates and the mangled sheriff, who was still alive but badly injured.

Req: I take his gun and run after the trucks.
Everyone: WHAT

I pointed out that the sheriff was still alive, and stealing his stuff then leaving him to die would be a morality sin. Req grumbled at this, but Relm volunteered to stay behind to look after him/call an ambulance. Happy with this, Fed and Req went in pursuit of the trucks heading in the direction of the fire pit.

As all of these sideplots had been kicking off, the entire town had paraded with lighted torches to the fire pit. The mayor, Sah and Rosaline stood on the temporary stage, and after a short speech, the king and queen went forward and threw their torches into the pit. They tumbled down and down into the darkness…then FWOOSH, the entire pit erupted into blazing light and flames as the methane gas caught fire. It was certainly impressive, causing the entire crowd to equally erupt into applause. Sah and Rosaline rejoined the mayor, who led the townsfolk in saying the Lord’s Prayer.

It was then Sah started to notice it was getting strangely warm behind him, and that the ground was trembling slightly. Failing to pick up every bit of bait I was dangling that he should look round, he looked to Rosaline, and then at the two people carrying two nunnehi onto the stage. One of the nunnies had a colourful pastel face mask, decorated with animals. The other…was painted with the Swedish flag.

Then Sah finally looked around.

Rising from the pit came a blazing fire tornado, at least 30ft high, towering over him. Two jagged limbs like wings of fire detached themselves from the centre, as the top of the tornado split open into a ragged serpentine maw, this new head of the fire creature bowing to take in the crowd before it. In the pit itself a wailing cacophony started as thick, writhing worms emerged, blindly thrashing and crying out, their faces human but contorted and elongated.

At this point Sah rolled to avoid going wibbleshit. He passed, but just barely, so he remained rooted to the spot in fear at the terrible, awesome sight in front of him.

(fun fact: the worm people are creatures ripped off from Call of Cthulhu, not the hell snakes the players assumed).

Sah seemed to be the only person actually bothered by this giant fire monster and its wailing worm host. Not only were the crowd pretty indifferent, they seemed rather pleased. Sensing his fear, Rosaline took Sah’s hand, gave him a reassuring smile, and started to pull him towards the pit.

“Don’t be afraid, we’ll enter the Lord’s service together.”

Sah’s reaction:

Spoiler:

Realising that he and Rosaline were intended to be sacrifices to this fire monster, that the nunnies were effigies of the worm-things that he was about to be turned in to, Sah decided to make a stand, be a big damn hero and-

Wait, no, no he didn’t. He grabbed Rosaline, kissed her passionately, then jumped off the stage and ran for it.

As the crowd stood baffled at this sudden turn of events there came a roar as the two trucks arrived, screeching to halt. Sah took the opportunity to dash for safety, diving behind the cover of some rocks as Fed and Req arrived to take in the scene. Several men (the cultists) got out the trucks and the tarp was pulled back- revealing the captured school kids. The crowd reacted in horror, going for their guns (it’s Texas after all), but now they were trapped in a Mexican standoff- if the crowd shot, the cultists would shoot the kids. The cultists started backing the townsfolk towards the fire pit, with the very obvious intention of sacrificing the whole lot of them, ostensibly to siphon off the power that would result from such a mass sacrifice for their dark lord.

Someone emerged from the truck and climbed onto the top of the cab, armed with a megaphone- Gary! In an increasingly angry speech to the crowd he called them deluded fools and hypocrites, that they’d taken what was precious from him, and that he was done with this whole charade, finally cumulating in an enraged, desperate scream.

“GIVE ME BACK MY DAUGHTER!!”

Cue collected intake of breath from the players.

Sah requested to roll Occult to see if he could figure out this fire creature still looming over the proceedings. With a mighty 7 successes the terrible secret behind the town of Fairview hit him like a freight train.

This creature was an elemental spirit of fire. It was no burning angel who appeared to the pastor in the desert, it was this spirit. Spirits feed off the essence of living things, and this thing had weaved itself a perfect conspiracy to keep itself sated. The spirit did indeed keep the oil flowing, but at a cost. It had lied to the town, telling them that the two innocent souls bought to it each year would enter God’s service as guardian’s to the town. This was a blatant lie; the spirit was instead consuming their life forces, leaving their souls as the empty wailing husks that filled its crater. The innocent townsfolk had no idea they were sacrificing their children to this monster, grown huge and powerful on their offerings. They genuinely thought that the young couples were entering Heaven, the chosen few selected as special, instead of becoming food for this terrible spirit. And that was what had happened to Gary’s daughter, and why he’d snapped to side with the cult- his daughter was all he had left after the rest of his family died, and she’d been sacrificed to this spirit. No doubt the cult had promised him his daughter back in exchange for what they were about to do with the townsfolk.

(Fun fact: Not once did the townsfolk refer to any of the sacrificed couples as dead or deceased, even though they had tombstones in the graveyard. They always referred to them as ‘having entered the Lord’s service’. Not quite the euphemism the party were thinking…)

Overcome with horror at this revelation, Sah leapt to his feet, shouting at the townsfolk that they had been misled, and what they worshipped wasn’t an angel, but a monster instead. This unfortunately did very little, except attract the attention of the armed Gary on top of the truck.

Luckily by this point Q (aka the person with actual dots in dealing with people) arrived with TD, and stepped in before Sah could get his head blown off. Q tried to reason with him and did pretty well, but not enough to get past this broken man’s desire to have his daughter back. As Q didn’t get the required amount of successes in the time frame (close, but no cigar), a cultist carrying a shotgun came round the truck asking who Gary was talking to, then saw the party and raised his gun.

Req: I’m going to intimidate him.

Req rose from his hiding place, crossing his arms and pulling out his pistols from within his dramatically billowing trenchcoat. Actually, he didn’t describe it as such, but I imagined it like that and apparently so did everyone else, causing hysterics at how ridiculously cliché the image was. Well, it still worked, and Req rolled well enough to make the cultist take a step back in fright. The party took the opportunity to shoot first.

Then all Hell broke loose.

Remember the Mexican standoff? Since the cultist had their backs to the trucks, and the townsfolk were being herded towards the pit, nobody was able to see what was cracking off with the party. So when the gunshot went off, nobody knew where it had come from. Meaning everybody thought the other side had started shooting, so everybody immediately went for their guns and opened fire.

Having ignited this powder keg, the party suddenly found themselves right next to a major gunfight, bullets whizzing overhead and in every direction. Realising that negotiations were indeed over, Sah decided their best option was to save the children, so dove into the nearest truck’s cab and slammed the accelerator. Sah had no dots in Drive, so he was pretty shit at it, but still managed to get the truck to pull away and head back into town. Gary promptly failed his roll and fell off the top of the truck. The party followed suit, with TD taking the other truck and the others leaping into the back as they drove past. Req got a critical success here, dramatically backflipping as though he was in the Matrix. Goddamn, Req really was Neo tonight.

The party blazed it back to Ada’s house, successfully saving the kids. As they got out, they discovered that in their absence Raya had fetched the car, had loaded up all their stuff and was waiting to leave. How exactly she’d got the keys from the locked-up garage was the cause of some suspicion, but they had bigger fish to fry…namely, what to do about what was kicking off at the fire pit.

(How I got the keys was simple- I’m now at Morality 6 [thanks to stabbing Fed a few sessions back], meaning I’m okay with petty theft, so I stole them back. I want to get back to Morality 7, which requires me to behave at that level, so refraining from stealing. However, since this was a genuine reason for needing the car back, I justified that this was acceptable and took them anyway).

Lawful Good Sah was adamant they should go back to help. His last sight of Rosaline was her scared and confused on the stage, her day of honour incomprehensibly destroyed, and he was determined they should head back to the pit. This was a big dilemma for the party, as although they wanted to be Big Damn Heroes and save the day, they were still a small group vs a giant fire spirit and an enormous gunfight of cultists and Texans. In the end (partially out of pity for the tired GM, as it was about 2:30am my time) they elected to flee.

It was a sombre drive out of time, though they were reassured by the sight of sirens flooding into the town- Relm had called an ambulance a while ago after all, and someone had called in the cops. Poor Sah was despondent in the back seat, still in his festival king outfit with a ragged flower crown on his head. He repeatedly tried calling Rosaline’s number, but to no avail. No answer.

Not all hope was lost though. In the early hours, Sah got a text message.

R U OK?

--------

So, session review, how did it go? I had a lot of fun as the GM, juggling these timelines, and it was interesting seeing how the party chose to act. Very impressed at TD independently finding the clues about Jeb in the museum/graveyard, and how everyone separately followed the trails to the fire pit climax. Also, Sah avoided being sacrificed, which was a good thing. By triggering the gun fight, they also unintentionally prevented the final stage of the cult’s plan. The cult had to cover up the fact an entire town’s worth of people had seemingly vanished, so they’d planned to make it look like an accident. By pumping oil into the sewers, once the sacrifice was complete, they’d set it on fire and blow the town sky high (inspired by the fact that oil refinery explosions are apparently quite common in Texas). By disrupting the sacrifice the players unknowingly prevented this disaster from happening. Well done guys!

So congrats everyone, you didn’t get the best ending, but you didn’t get the worse either Very Happy

Next time: The GM is sick of the party mocking the fact that bad things keep happening to them when they go to parties. They will soon regret their hubris.

_________________
HG/SS Friends Code: 2364 8721 9695   B/W Friends Code: 2193 7770 9554   X/Y Friends Code:1805-2682-3033
"Foxes never lose their tricks, do they?" - Quaetman
"We'll be going about our business one day and then someone will be like "hm, where's Barda" and Raya will all suspiciously be like "WELL DON'T LOOK AT ME"..." - Rocket Admin Camilla
King Avalanche:
Spoiler:

FUCK YOU RAYA.

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

AND

FUUUUUUCKKKKK YOOOOOUUUUU

the one time I trust you with my back and you plant a dagger in it.

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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  Quaetam on Sat Apr 09, 2016 3:14 pm

Oh man, this was a fun one.  A few quick things to add on:

Regarding the gunfight: the party didn't decide to shoot first - we were focused on reasoning with him and I was about to continue persuading him.  Req rolled higher in the order on the initiative tracker, and as we were all standing off, the cultists cowed and unsure of what to do, Req said "I'm gonna shoot."  Everyone exploded into argument as the standoff exploded into chaos, and while we gave him a lot of shit for just saying fuck-it, he actually saved the day by distracting them too long to set off the gas main.

The greatest moment came from Raya arguing morality with Req about the wounded sherrif:

Raya wrote:The three ran back to the now open gates and the mangled sheriff, who was still alive but badly injured.

The way this was actually said during session was "He's still alive, but he's pretty hurt."  Req took this to mean he had a broken arm or something, and midway through the argument, I think it was Fed who asked "how hurt is this guy?", noting the disconnect.  Raya said "his arm's practically hanging out," which prompted a lot of hysterics and conversation about British understatement Wink

Actually, that was the second-greatest:  The award for understatement goes to King of the Festival Sahrimnir, who upon being led towards the fire-pit by Rosalyn responded by saying:

"I'm not entirely comfortable with this."

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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  Raya on Sun Apr 10, 2016 2:15 pm

Quaetam wrote:
Actually, that was the second-greatest:  The award for understatement goes to King of the Festival Sahrimnir, who upon being led towards the fire-pit by Rosalyn responded by saying:

"I'm not entirely comfortable with this."

I was so busy trying to get everything down I managed to completely forget the greatest line of the campaign! Can't believe I didn't include it, shame on me. The greatest understatement of all, and so perfectly timed as well. It's still making me laugh 2 weeks later Laughing

_________________
HG/SS Friends Code: 2364 8721 9695   B/W Friends Code: 2193 7770 9554   X/Y Friends Code:1805-2682-3033
"Foxes never lose their tricks, do they?" - Quaetman
"We'll be going about our business one day and then someone will be like "hm, where's Barda" and Raya will all suspiciously be like "WELL DON'T LOOK AT ME"..." - Rocket Admin Camilla
King Avalanche:
Spoiler:

FUCK YOU RAYA.

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

AND

FUUUUUUCKKKKK YOOOOOUUUUU

the one time I trust you with my back and you plant a dagger in it.

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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  Relmitos on Sun Apr 10, 2016 9:14 pm

Req doesn't get to come on stealth missions with me anymore. He cramps my style!

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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  Requiem on Sun Apr 10, 2016 11:11 pm

Excuse me, I was stealthier than you were back in New Orleans

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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  Relmitos on Mon Apr 11, 2016 12:11 am

A.) You aren't always going to have Will Power

B.) When? I do not remember this.

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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  TD260 on Mon Apr 11, 2016 8:45 am

I think he's referring to when he trailed the vamp to the club, but you snuck into the house alone. So... I dunno.

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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  Relmitos on Mon Apr 11, 2016 1:53 pm

I mean, I was with him when he did that. So I don't know if that really qualifies as "More sneaky"

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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  Requiem on Mon Apr 11, 2016 8:39 pm

Yeah, I got more successes on that particular stealth run with fewer dice

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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  Relmitos on Tue Apr 12, 2016 12:00 am

Yet I didn't ruin the stealth attempt, like a certain someone during the last session

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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  Avalanche on Tue Apr 12, 2016 8:38 am

So instead of staying in the city and wait for their assassination target to arrive, my players decide they want to go out and meet their target on his way there.... Thing is, their target is basically the Avatar and without doing at least one of the sidequests needed to weaken him he is probably going to turn them into minced meat. He has doublecast AOE spells and they have two partymembers with insultingly low HP.

Do I fudge this encounter and give the Avatar lower stats anyway?
Will I allow for them to be killed after trying my best to keep them in the city?
Do I simply not allow them to go next time because I can guarantee none of my players remembers what general direction the Avatar is coming from?

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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  Relmitos on Tue Apr 12, 2016 3:11 pm

Sounds like the option should be option B. Make them suffer for their foolishness.

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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  Raya on Wed Apr 13, 2016 12:07 pm

Avalanche wrote:
Do I fudge this encounter and give the Avatar lower stats anyway?
Will I allow for them to be killed after trying my best to keep them in the city?
Do I simply not allow them to go next time because I can guarantee none of my players remembers what general direction the Avatar is coming from?

I'd say none of these. Getting massacred by an enemy they have no hope of beating is no fun for players, neither is the GM demanding they don't do what they want to do. But giving him lower stats is just encouraging players to ignore the adventure and just go straight into the hack and slash.

My vote is to turn it to your advantage. Have the Avatar still be powerful and have him utterly bitchslap the party, but not kill them. Have them left for dead on the side of the road, declaring they're not worth the effort. For added humiliation, have him send the town guard in 10 minutes later to arrest them.

This way the players have an idea how powerful he is- and so will better prepare for the actual assassination- and gives them proper motivation to kick his ass since now it's personal.

_________________
HG/SS Friends Code: 2364 8721 9695   B/W Friends Code: 2193 7770 9554   X/Y Friends Code:1805-2682-3033
"Foxes never lose their tricks, do they?" - Quaetman
"We'll be going about our business one day and then someone will be like "hm, where's Barda" and Raya will all suspiciously be like "WELL DON'T LOOK AT ME"..." - Rocket Admin Camilla
King Avalanche:
Spoiler:

FUCK YOU RAYA.

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

AND

FUUUUUUCKKKKK YOOOOOUUUUU

the one time I trust you with my back and you plant a dagger in it.

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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  Avalanche on Thu Apr 14, 2016 2:32 am

Raya wrote:
Avalanche wrote:
Do I fudge this encounter and give the Avatar lower stats anyway?
Will I allow for them to be killed after trying my best to keep them in the city?
Do I simply not allow them to go next time because I can guarantee none of my players remembers what general direction the Avatar is coming from?

I'd say none of these. Getting massacred by an enemy they have no hope of beating is no fun for players, neither is the GM demanding they don't do what they want to do. But giving him lower stats is just encouraging players to ignore the adventure and just go straight into the hack and slash.

My vote is to turn it to your advantage. Have the Avatar still be powerful and have him utterly bitchslap the party, but not kill them. Have them left for dead on the side of the road, declaring they're not worth the effort. For added humiliation, have him send the town guard in 10 minutes later to arrest them.

This way the players have an idea how powerful he is- and so will better prepare for the actual assassination- and gives them proper motivation to kick his ass since now it's personal.

I like the way you think.

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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  Sahrimnir on Mon Apr 18, 2016 2:48 pm

Quaetam wrote:Actually, that was the second-greatest:  The award for understatement goes to King of the Festival Sahrimnir, who upon being led towards the fire-pit by Rosalyn responded by saying:

"I'm not entirely comfortable with this."
I mentioned this to my bff and we realized that I actually say this quite a lot IRL. Occasionally some variation of it.

"Jag är inte helt bekväm med det här." (I'm not entirely comfortable with this.)
"Jag är inte säker på att jag är helt bekväm med det här." (I'm not sure I'm entirely comfortable with this.)
"Jag vet inte om jag är helt bekväm med det här." (I don't know if I'm entirely comfortable with this.)
Etc.

Usually in response to a conversation taking a weird turn, rather than being about to be sacrificed to a fire spirit though. But anyway, it seems like I have a catchphrase.

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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  Avalanche on Mon Apr 18, 2016 3:04 pm

Sahrimnir wrote:
Quaetam wrote:Actually, that was the second-greatest:  The award for understatement goes to King of the Festival Sahrimnir, who upon being led towards the fire-pit by Rosalyn responded by saying:

"I'm not entirely comfortable with this."
I mentioned this to my bff and we realized that I actually say this quite a lot IRL. Occasionally some variation of it.

"Jag är inte helt bekväm med det här." (I'm not entirely comfortable with this.)
"Jag är inte säker på att jag är helt bekväm med det här." (I'm not sure I'm entirely comfortable with this.)
"Jag vet inte om jag är helt bekväm med det här." (I don't know if I'm entirely comfortable with this.)
Etc.

Usually in response to a conversation taking a weird turn, rather  than being about to be sacrificed to a fire spirit though. But anyway, it seems like I have a catchphrase.

Sahrimnir confirmed for actual sitcom character.

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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  Raya on Sun Jun 12, 2016 2:08 pm

Remember that How To Be A GM panel I'm doing next month at the con? Here's the layout for it, let me know what you think and if there's anything to add. Some points:

- The GM deadly sins/commandments will be scattered throughout.
- Things in square brackets are personal stories I'm sharing.
- Some things I've expanded with further details from when I've been brainstorming.

Spoiler:

1- Overview

2- GM names

3- Job of a GM
Oversee the game
Create a story
Play the roles of the NPCs
Referee the rules
The Golden Rule: Make sure the players have fun!

4- 5 traits of a GM
Honesty
Knowledgeable
Adaptability
Patience
BS

5- Choosing a setting- what do the players want?

6- Planning a one off

7- Planning a short game

8- Planning a campaign

9- Make it relevant to the characters

10- World building:

- The BBEG [using Disney villains as examples]
Top tier: Jafar
Powerful opponent
Has influence on the plot right from the beginning
Good motivation
Interesting henchmen
Actively causes problems for the heroes
Is defeated by brains as well as brawn

Mid tier: Maleficent
Powerful opponent
Little influence on the plot
Poor motivation
Generic henchmen
Stereotypical boss fight

Shit tier: Hans
No build up
Is fairly useless
Minimal influence on plot
Big reveal is a joke
Flat character, no payoff

- NPCs and recurring characters
Do:
Make them individuals
Give them motivations
Make the players love (or love to hate) them

Don’t:
Make them flat and boring
Make them stereotypes
Turn them into a pile of stats

- Locations
Make your descriptions interesting
…but don’t waste time on them
Use music
…but prepare it beforehand

- Encounters
Make them realistic
Use them sparingly (unless it’s a dungeon crawl)
Use them as leads
…or as punishments
Have non-combat resolutions [Jurassic Park 3 egg scene]

- Loot, exp and goodies
Players like shiny stuff!
But don’t give them too much [Halfling chef breaking game with haggle]
But don’t be stingy either
Keep artefacts rare or dangerous
Keep it balanced
Players like levelling!
Short game: Every 2 sessions
Campaign: Every 3 sessions

1 for turning up
1 for good roleplay
1 for surviving combat
1 for any cool or useful thing a player did
X for a significant milestone achieved
1 for Man of the Match
1 for Emperor’s Finest

11- Problems:
- Game stalling
- Too powerful/weak monsters
- Players ignoring the plot
- Players using extra splat

12- Problem players:
- Rules lawyer
- Shy player
- Chaotic stupid
- Players on phones
- Uninterested
- Player making the same character regardless of setting
- Magical realm characters
- Cheaters

Maps/miniatures vs freeform?

Commandments:
Thou shalt learn the rules
Thou shalt ignore the rules when you see fit
Thou shalt not be a dick

Deadly sins:
Railroading
Magical realm
DMNPC
GM’s girlfriend

_________________
HG/SS Friends Code: 2364 8721 9695   B/W Friends Code: 2193 7770 9554   X/Y Friends Code:1805-2682-3033
"Foxes never lose their tricks, do they?" - Quaetman
"We'll be going about our business one day and then someone will be like "hm, where's Barda" and Raya will all suspiciously be like "WELL DON'T LOOK AT ME"..." - Rocket Admin Camilla
King Avalanche:
Spoiler:

FUCK YOU RAYA.

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

AND

FUUUUUUCKKKKK YOOOOOUUUUU

the one time I trust you with my back and you plant a dagger in it.

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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  Raya on Sun Jul 17, 2016 1:36 pm

I've been regaling my BFF with tales of the TWBB WoD adventure. She drew us a picture :3

Spoiler:

_________________
HG/SS Friends Code: 2364 8721 9695   B/W Friends Code: 2193 7770 9554   X/Y Friends Code:1805-2682-3033
"Foxes never lose their tricks, do they?" - Quaetman
"We'll be going about our business one day and then someone will be like "hm, where's Barda" and Raya will all suspiciously be like "WELL DON'T LOOK AT ME"..." - Rocket Admin Camilla
King Avalanche:
Spoiler:

FUCK YOU RAYA.

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

AND

FUUUUUUCKKKKK YOOOOOUUUUU

the one time I trust you with my back and you plant a dagger in it.

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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  Raya on Thu Jul 21, 2016 1:26 pm

WoD TWBB Game: Ghost Nazi Soviet Werewolf Conspiracy Edition: Part 1

Spoiler:

I say Part 1, as when we originally started playing this session Q/Req had to drop out part way through, and TD had to bail for dinner, so since we’d reached a nice halfway point we decided to call a halt (conveniently, just before the shit hit the fan) and carry on next time. This is the writeup for the first part, sans spoilers.

This session was a little different from the previous ones. I’ve had this idea in my head since the start- the party investigate a decommissioned bunker, spooky things happened. As the campaign went on though, it became more and more fleshed out- I realised I could tie it into the werewolves, previous sessions and other things that have been happening behind the scenes with the party. Also it was a chance for me to get revenge on my players for mocking the fact that every time they go into a town something bad happens. They’ll be wishing they were in a nice little town with a dark secret by the end of this Razz

After fleeing Fairview at the end of the last adventure, the party spent several hours putting as much distance between themselves and the town as they could, eventually holing up in a motel that didn’t ask too many questions about the ragtag group. What surprised me was that, last session, they were insistent on checking news sources to see what was happening at Fairview. Nobody bothered this session. I dropped a lot of hints about the party doing things before they went to bed (obviously, I couldn’t outright tell them), but all what happened is that Q comforted Sah (in a rather touching bit of roleplay), Fed/Req had a beer and Relm bought peanuts. Oh well.

In the morning the next journal page was revealed and, to be honest, I don’t really like how it turned out. The text in the background is actually the transcript of a senate investigation into Project MK Ultra, the CIA-run project that did rather unethical things such as mind control experiments and drugging unwitting participants. I tried having an actual leaked document be the page, but it just didn’t look right. Bah.

Spoiler:

Q: Man, it sure is strange we only ever look at what journal page we need instead of reading through the entire book.

Following the coordinates took the party off the beaten track down a dirt road, which eventually ended in a roadblock, sealed off with prominent signs declaring this was military land, strictly out of bounds, and all trespassers would be shot. They went in anyway. Following the coordinates, they were lead to an area of open grasslands surrounded by some hillocks. The sky overhead was becoming choked with clouds and turning a very funny colour. As the resident swamp boy, Relmitos recognised this as a sign of an impending heavy storm, or perhaps even a tornado. They had to move quickly.

A search of the area quickly turned up an overgrown road, which strangely seem to lead into one of the hillocks. Clearing away the overgrowth revealed a metal structure- the door to a bunker!

Cue the players cursing at having to go investigate a spooky abandoned bunker. Everyone combined their strength and managed to get the door open, the vault opening sliding to the side. Beyond was blackness and the smell of dank air, when suddenly in the distance came the sound of whirring, and the internal lights began to turn on. Now illuminated, they could see ahead was a long, wide corridor, leading about 30ft towards security checkpoints. It didn’t go unnoticed that attached to the ceiling were rusted, unresponsive gun turrets- half pointed in, half pointed out. Were they there to keep something out, or to keep something in?

They cautiously made their way to the security checkpoints; there was little of interest save some tatty pulp paperbacks and a Superbowl ’58 mug. On the wall however was a large plaque:

Spoiler:

Sah immediately had the reaction I was hoping for, as OOC he recognised the logo on the bottom right: it’s Task Force Valkyrie, which in WoD are the secret government organisation that studies, contains and eliminates the supernatural. Not that the players knew this in game though Wink This revelation did not sit comfortably out of character.

After the plaque they discovered a floor directory of the bunker, which would prove very useful throughout the game:

Spoiler:

What followed was an insanely long debate over the exploration itinerary and what order the floors should be investigated in (logic would dictate one after the other, but y’know). The only thing that was instantly agreed on was that the Pyrrhus System on the bottom level sounded like Very Bad News and should probably be saved until last (everyone became even more wary when they pooled their knowledge and realised that it’s named after Pyrrhus, the classical general from whom we get the term pyrrhic victory- a victory so devastating in cost to the victor it might as well have been a defeat. Cue conspiracy theories as to why the base has a system installed called that).

Eventually everybody decided on checking out the control room first, but before they set off unloaded all their stuff from the car and moved it into the corridor, just in case the storm hit and they no longer had a car afterwards. This also included Ganon the pig, who was put on his leash and taken with them (rather than be left behind and get eaten by coyotes).

The control room level had three main rooms- a mess area, facilities and the control room itself. Fed and Relm enjoyed a game of table tennis whilst everyone else explored. Entering the control room was like stepping into a timewarp. The room was filled with computers which were no doubt state of the art in the 1970s, but were now charmingly retro. There were big chunky switches, lightbulbs everywhere, a wall of monitors and even big spinny wheels attached. At one of the desks stood an old-school commentator’s microphone. Although there was power going to the room the computers were deactivated. The party fiddled around to see if they could get things going again.

To activate the various systems, the party needed to achieve different milestones of accumulated successes with Int+Computer checks. Unfortunately with one or two exceptions everyone kept rolling low, meaning it was a bit of a slog to get things working. During the session they managed to activate the radio, the security cameras and the loudspeaker system. Perhaps there’s more they could do. The radio was interesting, as the only signal they picked up was a number station, a robotic voice counting down from 10 to 1 in Russian (turns out my Russian is passable but terrible). Unable to do much with the station, they muted it.

Then in true Scooby Doo fashion, the gang split up. Sah and Relm went to the offices, Req went alone to the barracks, Fed and TD checked out the archives, and Q, myself and Ganon remained in the control room. Q had a doozy of a line here, suggesting that the Americans should stay safely in the control room whilst the Europeans went exploring the spooky bunker. He meant in terms of skills, but the unintentional racism didn’t go amiss, much to the hilarity of the Europeans. Obviously, the plan was to have the Europeans flush out the monsters, then the Yanks would turn up at the last second and claim they saved the day Razz

Sah and Relm investigated the offices and the meeting room, finding it full of filing cabinets, old maps and typewriters. At everyone’s insistence, one of the desk name tags was ‘Deborah’. Relm rolled zero for searching, instead becoming distracted by a nodding bird toy. Sah on the other hand got an exceptional success and managed to locate some very important looking documents…referring to Project MK Ultra. The two didn’t know what this signified, but later when they reconvened in the control room, it turned out Q actually knew about the project and explained why this probably meant things were going to go from bad to worse.

Req went to explore the barracks, which were divided into three sections: officers, ancillary staff, and troops, with the associated facilities. He didn’t actually do all that well with searching, finding some fancy medals, a key card and some 1970s porn magazines. He took all of them. He decided to put the medals on and admired himself in the mirror. Man, he certainly was a true hero. America’s enemies wouldn’t stand a chance.

Q meanwhile had been messing around with the security cameras and had seen his friend preening in front of the mirror. He passed his observation test and noticed that the closed door behind Req had since been opened. Oh dear. He activated the loudspeaker to inform Req and get him to head back. Req got rather paranoid over this; how long had Q been watching him? What the hell had he been doing up there in the control room? He’d better be careful.

TD and Fed were in the process of ransacking the archives, which contained more paper files, a film projector and sealed film canisters. A search turned up three promising films: ‘Orientation’, ‘Lab Orientation’ and ‘Project Lycaon Data Presentation/Subject Analysis’. After fiddling with the projector, they grabbed the metaphorical popcorn and watched.

‘Orientation’ was just that, an orientation video for new employees. A stern looking general gave them an overview of the basics, stressing that the bunker’s work was highly top secret and breaches of secrecy would not be tolerated. He also explained fire drills and the Pyrrhus drill (same thing- stay calm and make your way outside). ‘Lab Orientation’ was similar, with a stereotypical 1950s scientist explaining about basic lab safety, wearing PPE, reporting accidents. He also worryingly made mentions of safety regarding subject handling and evacuation during containment breaches.

The third film, ‘Project Lycaon’, had degraded over the years, the sound choppy and the picture jumpy. It showed the scientist again, apparently discussing the work they were doing, cutting to 6 different subjects. The party sadly didn’t find all the information about the subjects, which didn’t massively affect gameplay, but would have provided a bit more fluff and helped with the horror. Here’s the information for completion’s sake:

Spoiler:

1-      Alpha, male in his 20s, an optimistic young soldier. Contracted lycanthropy in Vietnam when his platoon was attacked by a mystery beast. Eager to help the government study his condition to protect the country and fight America’s enemies.

2-      Beta, Native American male in his 50s. Convinced he’s become a wendigo and that his soul is damned because of it. Scared and confused.

3-      Gamma, black male in his 30s. Complete racist and furious at his cracker captors, convinced that his lycanthropy is a way of striking back at the white oppressors.

4-      Delta, female in her 20s. Hippy flower child, possibly stoned. Rambles that her lycanthropy is a gift from Mother Gaia, making her closer to the wild animal soul, and people need to embrace that.

5-      Epsilon, female in her 40s. Stereotypical housewife, looking traumatised and afraid. Was randomly attacked ‘by a big dog’ on her way home, was summarily kidnapped by the government and incarcerated at the bunker. Doesn’t understand what’s happening to her, desperately wants to go home to her husband and kids, but nobody will let her go.

6-      Zeta, male in his 60s. Rugged mountain man, looking unhappy but resigned. Contracted lycanthropy decades ago, and realising he was a threat to people, moved to the Montana wilderness to live as a hermit. His life of solitude was ended by the government discovering him and transporting him to the bunker. After all he’s been through, he no longer expects anything other than bad things.

The six people represented different ways that people saw their lycanthropy: a tool, a curse, a weapon, a gift, a nightmare that couldn’t be woken from, and just something to deal with. I wonder how the party view things.

Very little else could be gleamed from the film, the quality was so bad. Although they’d arranged to head back to the control room at a certain time, they couldn’t resist having one more look. They were fortunate enough to discover one further film, entitled ‘Hati/Skol Results Presentation’, which they took back with them.

Back in the control room, everyone compared findings. Q explained to Relm/Sah what MK Ultra was, and TD/Fed told everyone about the films, and that they’d just found a fourth film. Req, however, didn’t volunteer he had the key card. He was still paranoid about what the others had been doing behind his back.

On revealing the fourth film’s title, Sah, as our resident occultist/norseman, knew exactly what it was referring to. Skol and Hati were the sons of Fenrir, who at Ragnarok were fated to devour the sun and moon (respectively). This was certainly cause for concern, given the earlier hints that there was some kind of government conspiracy going on in this bunker, so the party trooped down to the archives to watch the film.

Again came our ageing scientist giving an introduction, but this time the sound was completely absent. Turns out that that was a good thing. The film cut to footage from presumably a security camera, showing a patient strapped into a dentist’s chair, scientists in lab coats pottering around him. A scientist appeared from off screen, carrying a syringe. He injected the man and stepped back. Suddenly the man began to thrash and convulse, bloody froth pouring from his mouth (which Relm recognised as a seizure sufferer biting through their tongue). The man messily and painfully expired.

Then came the second clip, a different man strapped to the chair, desperately trying to get free and obviously begging the indifferent scientists for mercy. They ignored him and injected him again. This time his arm erupted into pus-and-fur filled tumours, which rapidly spread across his body and turning the poor bastard into a horrendous, fleshy abomination, suffocating under his cancerous mass.

Then came the third clip. The familiar, horrific sequence of someone strapped to the chair and being injected. This time, however, the person didn’t meet a horrific death; they convulsed and mutated, growing fang and claw, limbs snapping and twisting into new shapes- they had transformed into a werewolf. Cue the scientists shaking hands and slapping each other on the back as in the chair the monster thrashed and howled.

The scientist reappeared, gave his introduction again, then presented us with some new clips. This time it was a werewolf, securely strapped to a table, muzzled and looking extremely pissed. Again came the injections; the first caused the werewolf to convulse and die, the second caused horrid mutations before death. The third however…the werewolf seemed to collapse in on itself, fur and ferociousness disappearing, turning back into its human form. The footage ended.

Silence from the party. Just what had the government been doing in this bunker? Were they creating their own army of werewolf soldiers? Were they finding ways to combat others using werewolf soldiers? What exactly had they done…and more importantly, what was still in here?

New plans for exploration: first to the storage level, then backtrack up to the labs. TD and Q remained in the control room. The storage room contained the items a base would need to operate in isolation: tools, tinned food (nobody wanted to try eating them), utensils and military gear. At the back they found a door ominously labelled ‘Neurotoxin Storage- KEEP OUT DANGER OF DEATH’). There was an odd, frothy stain emerging from under the door. The players promptly nope’d and grabbed a load of gas masks, just in case. As they left storage, there was a load clang as a tin fell off a shelf somewhere in the distance. Fearing something was in there with them, Relm went a-sneaking, but couldn’t find anything. The players headed warily to the lab, with Q and TD keeping an eye on the door to the neurotoxin storage through the security cameras. Just in case.

Entering the lab level, the players initially investigated the manager’s office and the lab areas themselves, Fed managing to find a case containing three filled syringes labelled ‘Hati’. Exploring further, they came across what appeared to be an operating theatre, complete with observation room. Strapped to the dentist’s chair was a skeletal corpse. Fed made a Medicine check (excited he finally got to use his Radiology speciality), and determined it was a young adult male, who didn’t display any canine features. Was this potentially one of the subjects they’d seen in the footage earlier? (It was: Alpha, the optimistic young soldier)

Leaving the theatre, they discovered the subject holding area beyond security doors, which appeared more like a prison. Six cells, three on each side of the corridor, each with a door and a wide window for observation. Three of the cells were occupied by corpses; one lying on the cot, one slumped against the door, one collapsed in the middle of the floor. Relm peered through one of the windows and saw scratch marks from where the occupant had desperately tried to escape. I asked if they wanted to go in and investigate. It was a unanimous nope.

But still, the thought remained…there were six subjects in the video, but they’d only found four bodies. What happened to the other two? And why were the security doors open in the first place?

One place left to check in the lab level: a door clearly marked as ‘Authorised Personnel Only’. For the party is might as well as read ‘Please Enter, Free Cake and Cookies Within’. Inside was another lab, but what caught their eye was what was in the middle. A glass case, containing a shotgun. It was black in colour, the barrel inscribed with runes even Sah didn’t recognise. It was hooked up to wires and sensors, perhaps to study it?

(incidentally, if Q or TD had been there, they would have recognised this shotgun, but that’s a story for another day).

Gingerly lifting the glass case, they debated who should pick up what was christened the Spooky Satan Shotgun. It was decided that someone with the least skill in Firearms would be the safest option, which were myself and Sah. Since I’d recently developed the habit of going off the deep end, Sah got the vote. He picked it up; it felt oddly warm, like room temperature instead of the cold metal you’d expect. It also felt hefty enough to give that feeling of invincibility and power people get from wielding such an awesome weapon. Seeing that Sah didn’t turn into a homicidal maniac upon holding the weapon, it was then given to Req, the actual firearm expert of the party (who was feeling extremely agitated that the clueless werewolf was the one handling this clearly dangerous weapon and not him).

As this was a nice halfway point (right before shit went down), I called it there. Afterwards with the players that were left we had a discussion, and it seems the consensus was that people were really enjoying the whole shadowy conspiracy thing. What was going on in the bunker? Was there something in there with them? What was the deal with the werewolf research? And just what exactly was the Pyrrhus system? Everyone agreed it was something put in to stop something, but what that was and to what scale was anyone’s guess. Much to my delight, conspiracy theories abounded. My favourite- courtesy of TD- was that it was a final failsafe in the event of a Soviet invasion of the US, triggering the nuclear destruction of the North American continent (which also explained the ominous Russian countdown on the radio). All would be revealed next session, but if any of the non-players reading this has any conspiracy theories, please share Smile

Next session involves things getting out of hand and many, many spiders…

_________________
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"Foxes never lose their tricks, do they?" - Quaetman
"We'll be going about our business one day and then someone will be like "hm, where's Barda" and Raya will all suspiciously be like "WELL DON'T LOOK AT ME"..." - Rocket Admin Camilla
King Avalanche:
Spoiler:

FUCK YOU RAYA.

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

AND

FUUUUUUCKKKKK YOOOOOUUUUU

the one time I trust you with my back and you plant a dagger in it.

Raya
Guardian of the Kingdom

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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  Raya on Wed Aug 17, 2016 12:27 pm

I’ve admittedly been a bit slow with this writeup due to being busy preparing for the con/my presentation etc, so if memory proves rusty or I neglected to mention something, please let me know.

WoD TWBB Game: Five Nights At Freddy’s Bunker Edition: Part 2

We rejoined our heroes from where we’d left off previous session: standing in the lab room, having retrieved the Seal of Wrath (aka the SSS, the Spooky Satan Shotgun). As they made to leave and head back upstairs, Req announced that he saw something move behind them in the room. Falling for the oldest trick in the book, everyone turned round to look.

Then Requiem shot them in the back.

I asked Req if he wanted to spend willpower to activate the gun’s power, and of course he said yes. Usually, the SSS functions like a regular shotgun. Activating it causes the gun to inflict aggravated damage. And also forces the user to take a morality test as it’s the Seal of Wrath, and therefore will erode your mental stability. Req failed his morality test and joined me at Morality 6, but passed his roll to avoid gaining a derangement. Not that he wasn’t deranged enough at this point, but that was for other reasons…

The gun roared like a shrieking demon, blowing a chunk out of Fed and, to a lesser extent, Sah, showering the rest of the party in a spray of blood and gore. Sah promptly failed his stamina roll and passed out from the shock and the pain. Fed on the other hand remained upright, and he was rather pissed off at this sudden betrayal. Declaring that he was going to spin and kick Req in the face, he ranted a rather impressive bit of trash-talk, and rolled his mighty dice pool.

And got zero successes.

Cue about 10 minutes of solid laughter at Fed utterly botched his attack after his fate-tempting bragging. So Fed kicked with all his might, only to find his shin parried by Req flicking his arm upwards. Fed stared in surprised at the impassive Req, before Req heaved and knocked him to the ground.

Combat rolled around again, and Fed realised he was in a desperate predicament; he was prone on the ground at point-blank range, and one good shot would kill him. He decided to scramble for safety, ducking around a corner, so a) Req wouldn’t get a clear shot and b) if Req went in pursuit he’d have to round the corner, giving Fed a chance to retaliate. Req didn’t give chase at all; instead, he slammed the lab door shut and blasted the lock, trapping the other three inside as he made his getaway.

As the fight was occurring between Fed and Req, I was attending to the unconscious (and heavily bleeding) Sah. Realising that this was beyond my skill, and fearing for his life, I bit the bullet and called Mr White for help.

“Sah’s been badly hurt, I need…yes, yes, that’s right…wait, what, no! You can’t expect me to…fine, fine, it’s a deal.”

Concluding the call I raced over to one of the workbenches, pulled open a drawer and found some bloodstop powder, dumping it over Sah’s wound and stopping him from bleeding to death. Relm, who had witnessed this whole event, didn’t comment and instead focussed on trying to get the door open. He did actually manage to figure out the electronic lock and would have gotten it open, if Req hadn’t decided to blow the whole thing up seconds beforehand.

Sah meanwhile had come round, and passed an Empathy roll to notice I was looking shaken. Assuring him I was fine, we took stock of the situation, and the boys decided to try and break down the door. Much to everyone’s surprise (and Req’s annoyance) they got an impressive amount of successes and managed to bust the door down in one turn by charging at it (problems with communication I feel; the door was just a regular one, but I think people were under the impression it was a reinforced metal one due to the lock. My bad here).

Fed heard the door being kicked down and decided to charge back into the fray, declaring he was going to sprint down the corridor and tackle Req to the ground. I asked him to roll it. Secretly I was desperately hoping for him to fail badly again, just so I could declare he slipped in his own blood, faceplanted, and slid to a halt at Req’s feet with a loud EEEEEEE noise. Sadly (from my perspective) he passed, bullrushing Req and knocking him flat. Req responded by slamming the butt of the rifle into Fed’s face, smashing his nose open and inflicting even more damage on the battered Austrian. Sah declared he was going to run forward and seize the gun. This was an opposed combat action, and since Sah is absolutely rubbish in a fight, I expected absolutely nothing to happen.

Nope, Sah rolled amazingly, and from Fed’s perspective the mighty Norseman soared overhead, grabbed the gun in a powerful sweep and leapt backwards, head illuminated in a glowing aura by the overhead lights. At the player’s insistence, Fed rolled to see if he developed a crush. He passed, no manlove here.

What followed was a beatdown on Req, with Relm having the sensible idea of tying him up, before they dragged him cursing and swearing back up to the control room. This had actually badly screwed up my plan for the session, as I’d been counting on Req to escape, with the whole session being the party trying to retrieve the shotgun from their insane friend who was running rampant in the bunker, setting booby traps and acting like a crazed survivalist. Oh well, Plan B it was.

Before Req was taken upstairs, Fed pointed out that he was quite severely hurt, and a crazy plan started to form. In human form he healed the same as a regular human, but in werewolf form, he could regenerate at an insane rate. If he securely locked himself away, and injected himself with werewolf heroin the Skoll formula, he could transform and heal himself back to normal. Plus, it would be a chance to try out the formula. Because injecting yourself with 50 year old mutation chemicals is a splendid idea. It was agreed, so Fed went back to the lab and securely locked himself into one of the cells. He braced himself, injected, and transformed. The cell did its job and withstood the rampaging werewolf inside. For now.

Back in the control room Req was strapped to a chair, the party debating what to actually do with him. He was being highly uncooperative, struggling against his bonds and throwing curses their way. Obviously, something wasn’t quite right with him to behave so completely out of character, so they came up with the plan of everyone hiding out of sight, me putting on the mind-controlling Lust Jacket, and interrogating him.

My dice pool for activating the jacket is rubbish, plus, for reasons, Req was resistant, so rather than mind control him it just made him a lot more cooperative. I started questioning him on his actions, leading to him rambling about communists, traitors, being a hero and defending his country. This gave me an idea, and I asked him who the current president was. He said Nixon.

Returning with my findings, it became clear that Req wasn’t in his right mind, and was being influenced/controlled by something. With Req apparently believing it was still the Cold War, Q’s theory was that he’d somehow become a victim of M K Ultra. Their insistence that they weren’t communists fell on deaf ears, so they discussed ways to prove their loyalty to the US to him, and Q had the great interesting idea of playing ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ on the harmonica. And failed. It was awful, and probably convinced Req that he was indeed being held captive by communists, since no red blooded American could butcher the national anthem so terribly. Gave us all a good laugh though, especially as Q continued to play despite it clearly doing nothing.

Suddenly the power cut out and the bunker went dark. After some terse seconds the power came back on, and with it the lights and the security cameras.

The door to Fed’s holding cell was open and he was no longer inside.

Massive panic ensued, when suddenly there came a banging on the other side of the door; it was Fed, frantically pounding and yelling at them to let him in, there was something after him (it wasn’t Fed, merely something impersonating him, but I PM’d Fed and asked him to roleplay it as though it was him. He loved the idea Razz). The party were suspicious, but they couldn’t risk their friend being genuinely trapped outside. So they levelled their guns and Q opened the door a fraction.

And saw this on the other side.

Spoiler:

The guns roared, the creature screamed and they slammed and locked the door. Now they were clearly fucked; there was a large werewolf loose in the bunker, whatever the fuck that ghost skeleton wolf thing was, Req was possessed by something, and they were all trapped inside the control room. Now what?

Only one thing for it: the Pyrrhus System. The party had concluded that this was a final failsafe, and as this bunker was involved in unethical research on highly dangerous creatures, it seemed logical that the system was designed to put a stop to any monsters that had gotten loose. So they came up with a plan: Relm would stealth his way through the air vents to the lowest level, activate the Pyrrhus System (using the codes they’d located in the user guides they’d found last session), and then they’d all escape.

At this point I was rocking back and forth in glee, as activating the Pyrrhus System was a VERY bad idea, and I’d originally wanted the possessed Req to be the one to turn it on, but was stuck for what to do since he’d now been captured. How nice of the players to solve my dilemma for me Razz

To prevent the loose (and hungry) Fed from going after Relm, TD decided to monitor the werewolf on the security cameras, and use the loudspeaker system to lure him away from where Relm was. This was actually a pretty good plan, as although werewolves are much more intelligent than regular wolves, they’re still not as bright as humans, so the trick would work. It was pointed out that this was pretty much the gameplay of Five Nights At Freddy’s 3, but oh well, if it worked…

As Relm went into the air vents like any good character in a horror story, attention turned back to Req, and it was decided to try and exorcise him. So the poor guy got tied spread-eagled to the ping pong table as TD gave resident occultist Sah a crash course on performing exorcisms. This lead to a debate on the use of holy symbols, and the consensus was that it didn’t have to be a religious icon, rather something the wielder had uttermost faith in (eg, a stockbroker could use a credit card). So Sah dusted off his best POWER OF CHRIST COMPELS YOU and got to work.

This all worked out quite nicely, as the rolls for navigating the air vents and performing the exorcism ritual all represented a span of time and an extended effort, so we alternated back and forth. For Relm each roll was how far he travelled and how quiet he was, for Sah it was how well the spiritual battle was going.

Exorcisms in WoD are a contest of wills, the exorcist vs the possessor. The loser of each roll forfeits a point of willpower; if the exorcist reaches zero first he collapses, exhausted, if the possessor reaches zero, it’s ejected from the host body. Sah, to his credit, proved to be an excellent exorcist, and it looked highly likely that this was going to over extremely quickly as he spiritually bludgeoned the possessor to a pulp. From Req’s perspective it felt like Sah was driving red hot needles into him, his brain burning with writhing spiders, and he was not happy about this, thrashing against his bonds. Sah only narrowly missed out on completing the exorcism, and if things hadn’t gone to hell shortly after, he may have very well managed it. It had taken a heavy toll on him though, and the Swede was mentally exhausted from the effort.

Partway through the exorcism Sah suggested it might be more effective if he read the exorcism prayer in his native tongue rather than English. We agreed and…holy shit. Much like the state fair session, Sah proved that Swedish is the most diabolic tongue of Hell, and we had to make sure he was actually performing the exorcism rather than trying to summon a demon.

Meanwhile Relm was having a party in the air vents, by which I mean he was alternatively being awesome or fucking up and making a racket. Luckily TD was on hand to direct Fed away…although after one failed roll, Relm was confronted by something scratching underneath the vent, and it wasn’t Fed. He waited until it went away and continued, finally reaching the bottom level.

As Relm dropped out of the vent, TD noticed something odd about Fed. The werewolf paused, looking at something TD couldn’t see, then abruptly changed direction and started heading downstairs towards Relm. He completely ignored TD’s attempts at distraction, and it was realised that someone or something was guiding him downwards. TD informed Relm over the speaker there was a ma-hoo-sive hungry monster heading his way, and to hurry up.

The Pyrrhus System’s control room was a lot like the control room upstairs, except sparser and darker. With his computer skill it didn’t take long for him to figure out how to turn everything on and punch in the codes. Then, with a turn of the keys, he activated the final failsafe.

The bunker immediately plunged into darkness, then the emergency lights came on, red warning beacons started spinning, a wailing siren sounded and an announcement came over the loudspeakers.

“ATTENTION PERSONNEL, THE PYRRHUS SYSTEM HAS BEEN ACTIVATED. PLEASE EVACUATE IMMEDIATELY IN AN ORDERLY FASHION. THIS IS NOT A DRILL, I REPEAT, THIS IS NOT A DRILL. PLEASE EVACUATE IMMEDIATELY. YOU HAVE 10 MINUTES REMANING.”

This wasn’t good.

Realising that he needed to get to the top floor as quickly as possible, Relm elected to sprint up the stairs rather than reenter the vents (shame, I was really hoping for a scene of him frantically scrambling through the claustrophobic vents on his elbows and knees, desperately trying to stay ahead of the angry werewolf forcing himself through them after him). This did mean however that he would need to outrun Fed, who was also in the vicinity. Chase sequence!

In WoD chases work as extended opposed rolls. Relm needed to accumulate a set amount of successes to reach the safety of the top floor, and to represent his head start he was given some ‘free’ successes. Both he and Fed then had to keep making athletics rolls, adding up all their successes; if Relm reached the target number before Fed, he would escape. If Fed matched or surpassed Relm’s total, he would catch up to him. I asked the players to make their first roll.

At this point, we discovered that Relm’s athletics dicepool was 3. Fed’s dicepool was 7.

Oh dear.

Needless to say Fed caught up with Relm by the second roll, pouncing on his fleeing form. It was scenes like this that really made me wish I could draw, as it was one of my favourite images of the campaign so far: Relm flat on his back, terrified, with wolf!Fed standing astride him, bared teeth inches away from his face, illuminated by the red flashing lights. Wonderful.

Now here came another problem, as Relm wouldn’t stand a chance against being mauled wolf!Fed, and it looked highly likely that we would be facing our first character death. Fed argued that he should be able to roll to see if he hesitated, since he knew Relm well, and as it was logical I agreed. Luckily Fed rolled well enough to not instantly rip his face off, which bought Relm a few seconds to figure out what to do.

Escaping was unfeasible, as he was flat on his back and it would likely trigger a hunting instinct. Fighting back was also an unlikely option. Then Relm revealed something.

He still had the silver letter opener he’d confiscated from Raya.

Making no sudden movements, he gently slid it from his belt and, with an apology to Fed, stabbed upwards.

Fed roared in pain, throwing himself backwards as his stomach erupted in black smoke and burning pain. Relm seized the distraction to make a break for it, leaving the injured Fed whimpering in the stairwell…until he composed himself enough to give pursuit again.

Up in the control room the evacuation alarm called everything short, and everyone decided to make a run for it. As everyone grabbed their stuff, unbolted the door and went for the exit, Sah untied the equally mentally shattered Req, grabbed his hand and pulled him along. They reached the exit door- bumping into Relm- and to their horror discovered that someone or something had closed it. The announcements were getting more and more urgent as time ran out, and now they were trapped, inches away from safety, with less than a minute left before Pyrrhus activated and exterminated everything inside. In absolute desperation, ignoring everything Q had demanded, TD grabbed his cellphone and called Mr White, screaming that he’d agree to anything, just get them out of here!

…..

Dyes-yat, dyev-yat, vo-syem, syem, shest…

All that answered him was the Russian number station, counting down from 10 to zero. They were absolutely, completely fucked.

And TD finally broke. There was no hope, no rescue, and they were now trapped and facing certain death. For someone with the Cowardly flaw, it was just too much to bear. The seconds counted down, the characters either making peace with their respective gods or suffering complete breakdowns. Finally, the timer reached zero.

“On behalf of the United States government, I wish to thank you all for your service to the country and all its citizens. Your sacrifices will not be forgotten. God Bless America.”

The Star Spangled Banner began to play, the bunker plunged into darkness, and a faint hissing came from the air ducts as the Pyrrhus System activated and the bunker flooded with deadly neurotoxin gases, killing everyone and everything inside.

…except, after a long minute of holding their breaths, the lights came back on. To everyone’s surprise, they weren’t dead.

Turns out that after half a century of being neglected, the neurotoxins had denatured and were now harmless. Phew.

The party were alternatively relieved, embarrassed, or wishing they’d bought a change of pants. At this point Sah noticed that his charge was acting a bit peculiar. Before he’d been struggling and ranting about them being communist traitors, now he was just standing there, limbs dangling like a hanging puppet, head cocked at an angle with a rigor mortis smile on his face, gun hanging loosely in his hand. Slightly unnerved, Sah reached out to unarm him.

Requiem screamed, his face ripping open like the Predator, and he attacked.

Now here were the true monsters that were living in the bunker: there were no ghost or zombie werewolves, nor neglected and hungry experiments: the bunker was in fact infested by fear and paranoia spirits (who, naturally, took the form of spiders), who had formed and bred from the negative emotions saturating the base whilst it was in operation. When the bunker was shut down the spirits starved and went into torpor, but were awakened by the arrival of the party.

As they fed off fear, the spirits’ aim was to frighten the party as much as possible. Initially they could only do minor things, such as pushing a small object over or flicking a switch. As the party became more and more scared, the spirits would become more powerful, doing things like causing hallucinations, poltergeist activity and, eventually, possession. Throughout the game I had been keeping track of the character’s fear levels, and once a particular threshold was reached, the spirits were able to manifest more power (such as appearing as the skeletal werewolf behind the door). Now, thanks to the deluge of terror caused by believing themselves about to die, the spirits had just reached critical mass.

From right when he entered the bunker, Requiem had become a target of the spirits, as they realised he was their best agent for sowing fear and mistrust. He’d become what’s called a spirit-urged, someone who isn’t directly controlled by spirits, but finds their behaviour being nudged in certain directions to fulfil their goals. Behind the scenes I’d been sending Req loads of messages of the thoughts the spirits were implanting into him, making him suspicious of his friends. Now with this massive influx of power, the spirits had completely taken over Req and possessed him. Req was in on this manipulation plot right from the start, and he totally loved the idea. I let him control spider!Req, but would take over for plot purposes if need be.

Out of interest, here’s the powers spider!Req could manifest. A lot of these caused damage to the host body, but it’s not like the spirits cared about that:

Spoiler:
Poison Bite
1 Essence + 1 Lethal
Gain a venomous bite for 2 rounds. Strength + Brawl, 0B, damage inflicts Toxicity 2

Heal
1 Essence
Heal 1 lethal or turn 1 agg into lethal

Infuse
1 Essence
Raise 1 attribute by 1 point for 1 turn

Jump
1 Essence
Jump like a hunting spider- can make a single leap up to 10ft in distance/height

Spider Walk
1 Essence
Can walk on walls and ceilings for the rest of the scene

Web Spit
1 Essence
Spits out entangling spider silk. Dex + Firearms. Targets gets defence. If successful, target must make a strength test. 2+ successes = break free, no penalty, but go last next initiative order. 1 success= tangled, miss their next action due to breaking free. 0 successes = entangled and immobilised, cannot do anything until 2 successes rolled to break free.

Spider Legs
1 Essence and 1 lethal per leg, maximum of 8.
Large spider leg rips out of your back. Can make an attack with the leg, strength + brawl, inflicts lethal. Can make additional attacks with more legs, 1st= -1, 2nd = -2, 3rd+ = -3

Spiders Eyes
1 Essence, 1 lethal
Additional eyes erupt on your face. Gain +2 to detecting things, plus ability to see in the dark.

Drider Body
5 Essence, 2 lethal
Turn yourself into a drider. Gain +1 size, +1 strength, +1 stamina, +1 dexterity. Causes a composure/resolve fear test first time seen. Can turn back to normal for free.



So now Sah was flat on his back trying to fend off the possessed Req, who was clearly carrying grudge over this whole exorcism thing, managing to bite him and inject him with venom. TD ran in to help, but Req’s back ripped apart as a black, chitinous spider leg tore its way free in a spray of blood, lashing out and raking across his chest. TD decided things had officially gotten out of hand and scooted back to the supplies, a plan forming.

Then, just to make matters worse, Fedaykin then arrived on the scene.

The werewolf was hungry, angry, and now everyone was trapped between him and the sealed door. Realising that this spider monster was the biggest threat, he charged in and attacked.

I have to say, when planning this session, I didn’t expect a massive scrap to break out between a spider host and a werewolf. It was supposed to be traps and spooky stuff, not a monster mash in the tunnel. Well, that’s how games get derailed I guess. As Sah took the opportunity to get the hell away, TD revealed his master plan. Specifically, making Molotov cocktails out of Req’s alcohol stash (and, in what’s becoming a running gag, it was the most expensive bottle). When all else fails, kill it with fire.

As tough as spider!Req was, he was still no match for wolf!Fed, so decided to make his escape by leaping onto the ceiling and scurrying away. TD took the opportunity to chuck the Molotov at him. The throw was pathetically girly, so rather than engulf him, it only set his leg on fire.

Funnily enough, setting Req on fire was one of the best things they could have done. All spirits have a ban, a supernatural gaeas they cannot break, which could be an action they absolutely must/mustn’t do, or something they cannot abide. For the spider spirits possessing Req, it was fire. These spirits were the embodiment of fear, and their antithesis was fire- the embodiment of hope, light and warmth, which mankind has used to chase away the darkness for countless millennia. If Req had become engulfed, the spirits would have automatically fled. If he was only partially on fire, the spirits would cling on for a turn, and if the fire was still burning after that, they’d flee then. Req dropped off the ceiling, but was unable to put the fire out in time, so the spirits fled their host, leaving him broken but sane(ish) again.

Now the problem was the werewolf.

Wolf!Fed was pretty pissed his prey had escaped, and now the party were in a precarious situation; they were trapped in a narrow tunnel with a monster, and if he turned it would be like a fox in a chicken coop. The situation was a flashpoint. What were they to do?

I FINALLY GOT TO DO SOMETHING

Since I’m practically the only person in the party with the Animal Ken skill, plus Fed and I are bros, I decided to take a chance and try to soothe the savage beast. Very slowly approaching the large snarling monster and making shushing noises, I made my roll…and passed! Rather than instantly tear me to shreds, wolf!Fed managed to recognise me as a packmate (or at least not a threat), and was placated enough to allow me to place his head in my lap, stroking him to keep him calm enough for TD to bring over the Hati formula. Injecting him turned him back to human, so now I had a naked Austrian in my lap who was quite contented with being petted.

Now the immediate crisis was resolved, the party decided, very sensibly, to get the fuck out of there. They hauled the door open, revealing the storm had passed and left the world fresh and bright, a world of difference from the dark and despair of the bunker. They piled in the car and got out of there as fast as the vehicle could take them.

------------
Well, the party certainly had the crap kicked out of them this session. Req has a badly burnt leg, a torn up face/back and had a mauling, Sah has a bullet hole and a toxic bite wound, and nearly all the party are roughed up in some way. I think downtime is mostly going to be spent taking painkillers and slathering Req in aloe vera.

So, how did I think the sessions went? Well, it worked out completely different from what I’d imagined; I was expecting a claustrophobic game of cat and mouse between the party and the insane Req, with the spirits screwing about with everyone. Instead we ended up with the re-enactment of the Exorcist with a werewolf scrap. Not quite as intended, but if the players enjoyed it I can’t complain.

I had quite a few scenarios planned out that never got used due to the players being too genre savvy and handling the crazy Req situation too professionally. Here’s some of them:

Spoiler:

- Someone hiding in the control room (inevitably TD) directing the others as they searched the bunker. Once they’re nice and alone, having the skeletal wolf start howling and scratching at the door, trying to get in.
- The spirits hijacking the loudspeaker system, mimicking whoever’s in the control room, and directing the party into danger; danger the control room user can see but can’t do anything about.
- Someone getting hunted through the air vents.
- The spirits taking on the form of one of the party members who is elsewhere and fucking with the party to the extent that when they meet up with the real person, they wouldn’t know who to trust (but like when the spirits mimicked Fed, I’d have that player play the role of their fake character so nobody would catch on).
- Bleeding walls, sobbing noises, mysterious howls, lots and lots of spiders etc.
- The one scene I’m sad I never got to use: the party tracking down Req just as he’s about to activate the Pyrrhus System. So we get the wonderful image of Req standing in front of the control panel, arms wide, grinning at the party as the lights flash, the sirens wail and the darkness around him dissolves into a multitude of giant, pitch black spiders, all scurrying towards them.

I quite enjoyed these sessions though; they were something a bit different, and the players seemed to like the government conspiracy angle. Hope they enjoyed it too.

_________________
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"Foxes never lose their tricks, do they?" - Quaetman
"We'll be going about our business one day and then someone will be like "hm, where's Barda" and Raya will all suspiciously be like "WELL DON'T LOOK AT ME"..." - Rocket Admin Camilla
King Avalanche:
Spoiler:

FUCK YOU RAYA.

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

AND

FUUUUUUCKKKKK YOOOOOUUUUU

the one time I trust you with my back and you plant a dagger in it.

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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  Relmitos on Wed Aug 17, 2016 6:59 pm

Few things to point out that you missed, maybe not in order of where they are in the post. Just as I think of them.

Raya wrote:Since I’m practically the only person in the party with the Animal Ken skill, plus Fed and I are bros, I decided to take a chance and try to soothe the savage beast. Very slowly approaching the large snarling monster and making shushing noises, I made my roll…and passed! Rather than instantly tear me to shreds, wolf!Fed managed to recognise me as a packmate (or at least not a threat), and was placated enough to allow me to place his head in my lap, stroking him to keep him calm enough for TD to bring over the Hati formula. Injecting him turned him back to human, so now I had a naked Austrian in my lap who was quite contented with being petted.

We had the Hati formula because Q and I weren't in the fight, decided it was not a good idea to join the fight, and spent time exploring trying to see if there was something we could do to help. I started flipping through the camera feeds while Q was frantically trying to come up with a plan, shifted to the one room we hadn't actually explored, and there it was. The briefcase with the Hati formula. After a brief debate on if it was worth it, we ran for it, got it, brought it back up.

Raya wrote:Funnily enough, setting Req on fire was one of the best things they could have done.

Q was the one that figured this out and he spent a little bit of time yelling over the loud speaker to Td and Sah to use fire, hehe, poor Req. WHAT A SICK BURN!

Raya wrote:What followed was a beatdown on Req, with Relm having the sensible idea of tying him up, before they dragged him cursing and swearing back up to the control room.

I did some contested rolls against Req here to tackle & restrain him at this point, didn't just come up with the idea to tie him up. That came after I spent some time holding him down.

Raya wrote:it was decided to try and exorcise him. So the poor guy got tied spread-eagled to the ping pong table as TD gave resident occultist Sah a crash course on performing exorcisms. This lead to a debate on the use of holy symbols, and the consensus was that it didn’t have to be a religious icon, rather something the wielder had uttermost faith in (eg, a stockbroker could use a credit card). So Sah dusted off his best POWER OF CHRIST COMPELS YOU and got to work

Hehe, originally Td was "helping" Sah perform the exorcism, but at some point Q swapped out with him to cheer him on, that was pretty funny. "Good job Sah! You're doing great, at exorcising the damned!"

Raya wrote:At this point Sah noticed that his charge was acting a bit peculiar. Before he’d been struggling and ranting about them being communist traitors, now he was just standing there, limbs dangling like a hanging puppet, head cocked at an angle with a rigor mortis smile on his face, gun hanging loosely in his hand. Slightly unnerved, Sah reached out to unarm him.

Pretty sure it was actually Td who tried to unarm Req, not Sah. That and Req didn't have the gun all that time as it kind of suggests. Td had been holding it until just after the Pyrrus System went off, when Req took it back.

Raya wrote:
He still had the silver letter opener he’d confiscated from Raya.

Making no sudden movements, he gently slid it from his belt and, with an apology to Fed, stabbed upwards.

Fed roared in pain, throwing himself backwards as his stomach erupted in black smoke and burning pain. Relm seized the distraction to make a break for it, leaving the injured Fed whimpering in the stairwell…until he composed himself enough to give pursuit again.

Somewhere around here Q had shown up because he had reasoned I was in trouble with WereFed and he wanted to try to help.

Raya wrote: They reached the exit door- bumping into Relm- and to their horror discovered that someone or something had closed it.

I don't remember meeting with Sah and Td again until after the fight had ended, Q and I made it back to the control room from the confrontation with WereFed around when the Pyrrhus system went off and the 4 of you were at the gate.


Other things to say, not corrections though.

Raya wrote:Concluding the call I raced over to one of the workbenches, pulled open a drawer and found some bloodstop powder, dumping it over Sah’s wound and stopping him from bleeding to death. Relm, who had witnessed this whole event, didn’t comment and instead focussed on trying to get the door open. He did actually manage to figure out the electronic lock and would have gotten it open, if Req hadn’t decided to blow the whole thing up seconds beforehand.
He may not have done that if you had just done the turn order properly Razz but seriously, I didn't comment because I was more concerned about saving Fed then arguing with you about the merits of agreeing to things Mr. White says, and clearly I didn't need to worry about Sah because of the Mr. White deal. Still don't know how Req shooting one of the control panels blew up a completely different one Razz


Raya wrote:At this point, we discovered that Relm’s athletics dicepool was 3. Fed’s dicepool was 7.

Oh dear.

Yeah all my xp is going into Athletics for awhile. Then probably Brawl.

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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  TD260 on Wed Aug 17, 2016 9:55 pm

You forgot that I dropped the SSS when I curled into the fetal position and cried.

Also the fact that we spent literally about 3 hours debating the exact chronological order of events surrounding the ten minute scrap with req. Namely, how I called White to save Fed, only for Quaetam to take the phone and buy into Mr. White's 2-for-1 deal.

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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  Quaetam on Fri Aug 19, 2016 12:45 pm

This was a very, very well done session both by Raya and by the group.  There are definitely a few holes in the writeup, so here's a few moments I loved in the session:



Mr White: The Mr. White call was a pretty dramatic moment.  Essentially, two people called him independently - Raya's DMPC, and TD, who called while I was out checking supplies.  

For some background: In character, I don't trust White as readily as many of the others.  Obviously we don't know the consequences of manipulating the future, and I recognize that with his assistance, we're gathering the apocalypse seals, which seems to mirror the goal of the cult - so I'm wary.  In a mini off-session in-character discussion a couple months ago, my character had insisted TD not call White so readily. 

Flash back to the present, I returned to the control room to see Req shooting everyone, Fed bleeding out, and TD sobbing into the phone, shouting and pleading for White to make Requiem stop:


I shouted for TD to take a second and think, and that there had to be a better way.  He insisted this was the only way, and without a moment's hesitation went continued talking, so I (in character) got angry and grabbed the phone.  

Mr. White, of course, was unsurprised.  As I asked about the specifics of the deal, White explained that saving Fedaykin would come at a cost: a life for a life.  I privately considered whether there might be any other option (any way to solve this ourselves), when White let on that that another member of the party (Raya) had already accepted the deal, but for Sahrimnir, who was already in danger.   To save Fed, someone else had to accept the deal - and, generously, he would consider a one-time two for one offer: If two of us worked to murder someone, White would save our friends.  I looked back at TD, who was curled up in a ball in the corner sobbing, and realized he wasn't ready for this; he was losing his mind.  So I accepted the deal in his place.

I hung up the phone and lost my cool, confronting TD, and reasserting the importance of working together and not acting on a whim.  Td, being stubborn, didn't buy in - his initial in-character reaction was that he needs to be more careful that I don't see him calling White.  However, at the end of the session, White failed to come through to us when TD called as we ran out of options with the Phyrrus system counting down.  OOC I personally considered the russian countdown coming over the Mr. White line to be him mocking us.  TD didn't find it mocking, but he DID note that White isn't always available for him to use... so in character it's making him think twice about dismissing my advice and insistence.  It will be interesting to see how this develops.

I also, in character, noted a difference in this deal: For the first time White did not specify a target.  A previous deal (vampire immunity) was made for burning down a specific church.  The one prior (for getting the pig) was made for sabotaging a specific politician's car.  This time, White simply expressed that "we have to take a life to save our friends".  No mention of a location, a method, a target - just a trade, just the two-for-one deal.  For the first time, we have a genuine loophole based on the exact deal he offered, and I'm pretty excited to see how this plays out.

Overall I thought that both of us (TD especially) roleplayed this conversation and scenario really well and stuck to our characters.  It was a pretty dramatic moment in the session - definitely worth sharing.  I'm eager to see how the followup around the White deal plays out, and to continue developing the clash over how to interact with White.



Setting Requiem FreeAs Raya mentioned in the writeup, she and I tried to interrogate Requiem - and when we weren't reaching success, Raya tried using the Technicolor Lovecoat.  One point not mentioned in the writeup is that Raya asked "what would it take for you to trust us" and Requiem shot back "You could start by untying me."  The conversation continued, but this is important later.  

Later, during the exorcism, Raya (character) remembered via occult role that spirits are supposed to have a "Ban" - an object that or idea that can automatically expunge them from their hosts.  Raya dropped some strong hints that we should be able to figure out the ban and we have whatever it is with us, so TD and I frantically searched our supplies and tried to think of what could be going on.  Unfortunately, we found nothing... and we were running out of time.  We agreed we had to get moving, so Raya + TD left to move supplies toward the exit so we can get out of there quickly, and I took over encouraging Sah, as TD's willpower was spent.  

My thoughts returned to the ban, as the exorcism wasn't going fast enough.  I did an intelligence + investigation roll to reason out the spirit ban.  I rolled 4 successes - not enough to figure it all out but enough to get an idea.  Raya (DM not character) revealed that the spirit seemed to be the embodiment of fear and paranoia, and that the spirit's ban must be the opposite of fear and paranoia.  

I reasoned that the opposite of fear and paranoia is trust and dedication, so I realized we had to show Requiem that we trusted him and we were there for him.  As we had only minutes left, I heard Relmitos screaming from down the stairwell, and knew we couldn't finish the exorcism and get out in time.  In the previous full session (the oil town!) my character was reminded of the importance of decisive action, so I chose to take action here. 

Because the exorcism was nearly complete, Requiem had calmed down significantly.  I caught his eye and told him directly that if I can't make him trust us, all I can do is show that we trust him.

I set him free, and he seemed okay, but there was no clear change so we had no way to tell whether the ban had worked.  I told Req + Sah to help TD + Raya move the bags, while I go save Relmitos, and took off down the stairs.  

This was passed off as me playing "big damn hero", but I didn't see it that way - This sequence was a pretty logical chain of thoughts and actions, even if it ultimately wasn't the answer:
- She'd had revealed that the ban was "the opposite of fear and paranoia" - so trust and dedication seemed the right thing.  
- Earlier, Req had hinted to Raya and I that tying him up was a big part of the problem - so untying him would be a good show of trust.  
- Relmitos needed help, there was a werewolf attacking him and we had like 5 minutes to get the fuck outta dodge.  There's no greater show of dedication than putting yourself on the line for a friend.



Requiem's Real Ban: 
I arrived after Relmitos had fended off Fed with the silver knife, and helped him up the stairs.  We holed up in the control room and grabbed gas masks as the neurotoxin was released.  Werewolf fed passed by outside, and there was a tense moment when he had t odecide to go for his earlier prey (Relm) or join a thrilling battle, and given that Relm had stabbed him with silver, his animalistic fight-spider-req instinct won out.

We then saw the brawl by the entrance over the cameras and realized everyone's in trouble.  With the opportunity to frantically come up with a plan, and Relmitos had the great idea that we run back down to the Lab and grab the briefcase.  

As we did this, I thought about the ban again (since the Monster Mash was happening by the entrance), and did another intelligence + investigation roll again.  

This time I spent willpower and got 5ish successes, for a critical success.  I learned the ban was fire (much to my surprise!), and to spice things up I shouted over the loudspeaker for everyone to BURN IT, BURN IT, KILL IT WITH FIRE.



One criticism - I definitely enjoyed the session, but it really feels that I'm kinda irrelevant to the plot when nothing I did was worth the writeup other than the harmonica attempt and unintentional racism.  In addition to the above moments being missing, any of my clever ideas/contributions were attributed to TD instead Razz For example:
- When TD came up with the idea of Relmitos using the vents to activate Pyrrhus, it was my idea to play FNAF and distract the monster with the mic.  TD took over at a certain point because I had to go get my hair cut (OOC Razz)
- Burning the monster was also my idea based on the realization about the ban - it wasn't TD's master plan, though the molotov creation and execution was phenomenal


Last edited by Quaetam on Sat Aug 20, 2016 2:48 pm; edited 20 times in total

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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  Quaetam on Fri Aug 19, 2016 12:52 pm

Oh, also - my god, mimicking the loudspeaker voices would have been evil.  So many of our plans relied on two people staying in the control room to direct and supervise the people searching the floors.  This was first Raya and I, then TD and I, then just TD for a little while while I was gathering supplies and everything kicked off at the start of the session.

Also, Fed's trash-talk, to be eternally enshrined alongside Sah's memorable "I'm not entirely sure I'm comfortable with this".....

"PREPARE TO FACE YOUR RETRIBUTION!"

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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

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