innocent_man: (hunter)
We picked up some games at Michelle's parents' house in Oklahoma, one of which was Hunter. I figured that what with V20 coming out soon and W20 being announced, it was a good time to get all nostalgic and shit and do an OWoD character. So here we go!

The Game: Hunter: The Reckoning
The Publisher: White Wolf
Degree of Familiarity: Some. I wrote for a couple of the sourcebooks, and I ran it once or twice. I played in a really bad game of it in Cleveland, and then another really bad game of it in Atlanta.
Books Required: Just the Hunter book, but I happen to have the Players Guide and the Visionary Creedbook, in case I want them.

CLICK THE LINK. )
innocent_man: (mentak)
In cleaning my office, it became obvious that I needed a better system for keeping my character sheets. I run a lot of WoD games, and I consider them all connected (to get a sense of how absurd it all is, click here), so characters introduced in one game can and do show up in others. And since I'm still running Changeling, just started running Hunter, and am about to run Vampire, it behooves me to know who the heck is in my World of Darkness.

Might be interesting to you, maybe not. Anyway, it's below the cut. )
innocent_man: (hunter)
Last night I ran a Hunter one-shot, before entering into a bout of insomnia that left me with, oh, about 3 hours of sleep, and not terribly restful sleep at that.

I don't believe in ghosts, as you probably know, but I do love ghost stories. In particular, I like ghost stories in which the ghost gets "laid to rest." I never really embraced the goth lifestyle with any fervor (maybe if the goths in Toledo hadn't been such jerks), but I love the aesthetics of it, the fascination with death and the poetry and so on that went with it.

It's not entirely fair to say I grew out of it, because I still appreciate it. I can still read Gorey or Byron and dig on it, and I definitely think the goth aesthetic is, well, pretty (sometimes even hawt). And if you've gamed with me, you know I'm big on the Moment of Death. Tends to be pretty dramatic, what with declarations and clues to What's Really Happening and all. And I definitely enjoy the scene where the ghost gets laid to rest (and I hate it when players are unable to control the Quote Reflex during such scenes, but that's a gripe for another day).

Couldn't find my own rest last night. I imagine, wandering my house and then my yard and then driving around Cleveland at 3:30AM, that this is what it would be like to be a ghost. The world is largely empty, the people that you can see are the ones you want to talk to, but communication is impossible. You might try to speak, but the words lock up in your mouth. They might want to hear you, but they cannot pull themselves away from their world.

Nor should they. The dead should respect the living, and leave them to their own rest.

I am rambling because I'm tired, so I shall do the damn game write-up and then go to Columbus. This is actually a somewhat historic occasion, because, for the first time, I get to play one of the characters I made for my chargen rampage: Gibbs Boxer. Wish me luck.

Another ghost story, sort of. )
innocent_man: (Default)
Really, I should be writing Vampire stuff, but I'm so far ahead of myself at this point that even if I don't finish this assignment before Monday, it'll be OK. So, what I'd like to do instead is say some things that are going to piss some people off, and then do a Hunter character. If you just want to see some HtV spoilers, scroll down and click the little cut-tag, and go from there.

There were two really horrific, public murders recently. One was on a bus in Canada, in which a guy started stabbing another guy. The driver stopped the bus and everyone ran, whereupon the murderer hacked off the other guy's head and went back to mutilating his body.

I know. Holy shit.

The other event wasn't quite as shocking, but that's only because "dude walks into a building and shoots people for no good reason" is getting on par with "dog bites man", which is pretty goddamn sick in it own right. Anyway, that's pretty much what happened: a dude walked into a UU church because he hated liberals and their gay-friendly views and started blasting. He killed two people, one of whom took a shotgun blast to protect others. Then three other folks charged the dude and took him down.

OK, ready? Like I said, this is going to piss some people off, but it's been eating at me, so I'm just going to speak my mind, this being my journal and all.

What do you think that man's last thoughts were, as he was being stabbed to death and watching everyone run away? I'll tell you, I hope that he wasn't in any frame of mind to realize what was happening, because I think that would really suck, watching your fellow human beings flee in terror while some monster kills you for no reason at all. Meanwhile, the folks in the UU church? Awesome. Precisely the right response. You see the bad guy, you take him down before he hurts anyone else, and as quickly as possible so that anyone wounded might be saved.

I'm not going to call the people on the bus "cowards," as this blogger did (and I have no idea what she usually blogs about, so please don't take me linking to her as anything but what it is). For all I know, it was a tour group of senior citizens (but I don't think it was). What I will say is that the people in the UU church acted responsibly and courageously, and, in my opinion, the people in that bus might not have.

(As I was writing this, [livejournal.com profile] sorceror posted to a comment I'd made elsewhere to point out that the UU folks were a community, people who knew each other, while the folks on the bus were more likely strangers. That's certainly worthy of consideration.)

I waffle, saying "might not" because I wasn't there. I know only what was reported, so you can't pull that card on me. You can, if you wish, say, "Oh, you talk big, Matt, but I'll bet you'd rabbit if that happened to you."

To which I respond: I'll bet I wouldn't. But I hope I never have to find out.

I was working at Office Max in 1999 when the Columbine shooting happened, and I read in the Toledo Blade a letter from a woman whose five-year-old had seen the story on the news and burst into tears, saying that he didn't want to go back to school because he didn't want to die. I was in the break room and I remember tears rolling down my face, because it made me so angry that anyone should have to feel that way. And I have watched in the years since, and barely a fucking month seems to go by without something similar happening. And every time, there's a little piece of me that thinks someone should have done something.

I'm not saying I'm right. I'm not saying I'm better. I'm not saying I'd have the courage to do the right thing if my number ever comes up. I'm saying I think I would.

And let's be honest: I work in an elementary school. It's not impossible.

Now, to segue into Hunter: It's a game about vigilance. It's about people who have the courage to take on monsters in a literal sense, not a figurative one. When [livejournal.com profile] weaver42 and [livejournal.com profile] flamesrising asked for thoughts on writing the game for the Flames Rising site, I gave them this:

I changed careers in the last couple of years, and started working at an elementary school. This was on the heels of my daughter being born, and a general growing awareness of the people around me. As I started to cultivate that awareness (and it was very much a deliberate thing - our culture encourages myopia and isolation), I started applying what I was learning to what I was writing. I always do that, which is why you got a bit about neuroscience in Intruders. What I realized was that most people in the World of Darkness must, of necessity, cultivate a skill opposite to the one I was trying to develop. Instead of looking around corners before crossing hallways and alleys, they would hurry along, hoping not to see anything. Instead of looking people in the eye when they spoke and listening for stress and intonation that communicated more than the words did, they would respond quickly, meaninglessly, trying to keep the conversation safe. But the World of Darkness is not safe. There are monsters, and they prey on people in many different ways, and they do it because they can. They’re allowed it.

And there are people in the World of Darkness who refuse to accept that, who refuse to give tacit permission to this state of affairs, and who are willing to give their lives to learn a little more, to pay attention, and perhaps to act in defense of their fellow people.

If that sounds sappy, so be it. I loved working on Hunter: The Vigil because the characters in the game are vigilant. It’s not about loading up the shotguns and charging off to battle, or at least, that isn’t the appeal to me. It’s about staying aware. It’s about paying attention.


So, anyway:

The Game: Hunter: The Vigil
The publisher: White Wolf Game Studio.
Degree of familiarity: About as much as I can, considering the book's not out yet. I wrote part of it, playtested it, and just ran a one-shot last night.
Books required: The Hunter book and the World of Darkness Rulebook. I won't use the sourcebooks, because Kelley might kill me. :)

This is where you click if you want to skip to the chargen. )

And that's it. Tomorrow I might finally make good on my threat to make a character for With Great Power.... Seems fitting, anyway.
innocent_man: (hunter)
Well, the next session of the playtest, anyway.

Desolation character later today.
innocent_man: (beast)
Links to Hunter and Innocents playtest logs, in order to make it easier for folks from WW Marketing to find it all. If you can't access them, don't worry. You will eventually.

Characters
Innocents playtest
Hunter 1
Hunter 2
Hunter 3
Hunter 4
innocent_man: (redcaps)
Tonight was the final chapter of our Hunter playtest. That said, I wouldn't be too surprised if we wind up revisiting these characters at some point in the future. They're fun. :)

Right, so, we left off in a hotel room following the revelation of the curse of Ashwood Abbey and Julian's decision to go out to the camp tonight and face the music for betraying Scissor-Man. The characters decided that a) they should all go with him, and b) having some way to combat emotional manipulation would be good. So we got to try out the "learning Tactics in shorter time periods" rules. Burning some Practical XP to raise Empathy ratings, they practiced, and bought, the Moral Support Tactic.

They spent most of the day - about six hours - on that. Then they headed for dinner. While there, they discussed their options, and figured that if Marcus Ogilvy had set up bank accounts and the like back when he was alive, they might be able to track him that way. Julian made some calls and learned that Ogilvy had, in fact, set up numerous accounts that would sustain themselves over the years, and that he'd just cleaned one out in Detroit not long ago.

Meanwhile, Graham, wanting to find some cold-forged iron, figured that checking the antique stores in the area might help. He and Dyson went shopping and found a set of fireplace irons that were apparently iron enough to count. Graham also asked the shopkeeper if anyone had come in to sell something recently. Someone had, in fact, and he fit Ogilvy's description. The item he sold, which Dyson promptly bought, was a mantle-piece clock.

They gave that to Alice, who, entranced, moved the hands to midnight. The back of the clock popped open, and there was a note that only she could read. "If you are well-disposed toward Spring," it read, "contact me at the following number. I won't be here long." Alice called - and Ogilvy answered. He agreed to meet with the characters, and they trucked out to what turned out to be an abandoned diner.

About then, Dyson and Julian got a text message saying that the archives in London had been breached. Julian called Katherine, and she told him that as far as she knew, something had entered the room, either flew or climbed around on the ceiling, opened the safe and made off with one of Marcus Ogilvy's old journals. Julian had a sneaking suspicion that this was the work of Vellum, but of course didn't mention that.

They arrived at the diner. There, Ogilvy told them a little about what had happened to him, and answered some of their questions. He'd never heard of a "curse" on the Abbey, and more and more the group started to suspect that Katherine was either wrong or lying about that. Ogilvy also related that famous story about how he and his friends were attacked in the midst of an orgy at a standing stone, slaughtered for no good reason. He told them that it wasn't about just getting drunk and fucking - sure, that was part of it. But it was about being free, standing up for the right to have pleasure and not being defined by the mores of the day. He felt that he had been ahead of his time, but compared the Victorian society to modern-day America in some ways. Julian, now meeting the founder of the Abbey, saw the organization it was meant to be, rather than what it had become.

Ogilvy offered to help them defeat Shuck and his crew (whom he referred to as "Loyalists"). He made a pledge with them, ensorcelling them, but making them swear not to hurt or betray him. The Mask fell away, and they saw him as he was now - wrinkled, yellowed, and smelling of burnt wax and sex. He also offered to accompany them. When Lex questioned that, he said that going to face Shuck now, with allies on his side, was better than waiting until he was all alone.

Out at the camp, the characters noticed a new car in the lot that hadn't been there before, but figured it for Shuck's. They walked up the hill a ways and saw Shuck, Scissor-Man and Razor Molly standing in front of the lodge doors. As they approached, they heard a gunshot and saw a puff of earth. "That's far enough," called Shuck.

The two groups negotiated a bit, but it was tough - the motley could hear the hunters, thanks to Scissor-Man's enhanced hearing, but the hunters had no real bead on the changelings. Finally, it become obvious that the changelings would be just as happy killing them all, so Graham made ready to shoot at the sniper (whom he'd seen on the roof of the lodge - the hunters, BTW, were wearing flak jackets and had night-vision goggles). But just before he could, Alice whispered to Scissor-Man that they were about to attack...and Scissor-Man sadly told Shuck.

The cell enacted the Synchronicity Tactic, which I'm sad to report has been cut from the book ("a damn shame," according to one playtester, though I see Chuck's point in doing it). The sniper (Pretty Bill) shot Graham. Gunplay ensues, and Dyson charged Shuck with his poker, wounding him. Shuck responded by giving Dyson a severe case of agoraphobia.

Graham shot the sniper and disabled his weapon. The sniper switched to an automatic weapon and sprayed the characters in view. Ogilvy yelled, "Gun!" and Lex tossed him one. He shot...and Shuck slumped to the ground, smoke coming out of his mouth (yay for Shooter's Bargain!). Dyson, free of the magic, took a razor hit from Molly...but with Shuck dead, Scissor-Man was free. He used his Cat's Cradle on Molly, and she fell immobile. Dyson bashed her head in with the fireplace poker. John, the bird-changeling, leapt through the window into the lodge and vanished into the Thorns. Pretty Bill, presumably, did likewise.

The characters regrouped, and Scissor-Man thanked the hunters for freeing him. Then he tensed up - someone was coming. The group looked west and saw Katherine, of all, people, and two bodyguards walking toward them. She greeted Ogilvy, and Julian mentioned that there was something she should see, and asked Ogilvy to open the door. He opened a gateway to the Hedge, and then things got weird.

Katherine started muttering in Latin - "Open the book and see the page." Simultaneously, Julian whispered "Redtooth, Redtooth has two teeth." And both Fae appeared. Vellum crashed through upper window, flying and night-black wings (yeah, I know he doesn't fly in Autumn Nightmares, but I thought he should). Redtooth, Redtooth appeared in the main doorway. Two flicks of his tongue, and Razor Molly and Shuck's bodies were gone into his massive gullet.

The battle was now joined. The bodyguards protected Katherine. Vellum vanished from sight. One bodyguard grabbed Alice and put a gun to her head, but Ogilvy leapt in and touched the gun...which promptly fell apart. Lex held the bodyguard at gunpoint.

Meanwhile, the other bodyguard fought with Dyson, but didn't do too well. He took a blow to the head and tried using his stun-gun, but Dyson was too strong for that and knocked him down.

Meanwhile, Katherine started muttering in Latin, too. Graham noticed that she was finishing the rhyme that Vellum had started. About then, Argus stabbed her in the chest with a needle full of tranquilizers, and Katherine passed out.

Julian was dragging her toward the gateway when Vellum appeared and grabbed her in his claws. Alice shot, aiming at Vellum's claws, and he dropped Katherine. Once again, Redtooth, Redtooth opened his maw...and Katherine was gone. The gluttonous Fae returned to the Hedge, his bargains fulfilled.

Vellum, meanwhile, was furious, but Dyson threw his poker at him. He missed, but Vellum apparently decided he didn't want to stick around and fight foes armed with iron. About this time, too, Alice started singing ("How Can I Keep From Singing?") at Ogilvy's request. Enraged, Vellum flew back into the window and into the Thorns.

Lex, about now, tried to shoot the remaining bodyguard. He shot him in the chest, and the bodyguard grappled him (the characters aren't the only ones wearing vests). Lex wrestled free, but the bodyguard ran in the trees, out of sight. The other bodyguard, now bleeding from the head wound that Dyson gave him, related that Katherine had told them that the cell was in league with those things from the Thorns...which apparently they were.

They offered Ogilvy the opportunity to come back to the Abbey, but he didn't want to make himself a target for hunters or the Fae. He and Scissor-Man got in Shuck's car and headed out. All Ogilvy asked was that the characters make the Abbey what it was always supposed to be.

The characters picked up their shell casings and cleaned up a bit, and headed out, Alice's song still in their heads.
innocent_man: (Default)
I find that if I do these write-ups quickly, they come out with more detail. Besides which, I'll be busy this week.

So, last time, I said the first words today would be "roll initiative." That didn't turn out to be exactly true, but it was pretty close.

There was a knock at the door - it was the bellhop from downstairs, saying that the characters had a package waiting. Dyson, who'd answered the door, said to bring it up. The strange creature in the bathroom stepped backwards and vanished again, and Argus ran out into the room to keep everyone informed. Alice, meanwhile, had seen the bellhop somehow leave his image behind as he walked away. His real image was a white guy in a black shirt, with big weird eyes.

Dyson ran across the hall and knocked on the door. A guy in a robe answered, apparently flushed from sex. Dyson offered him a grand to let him in to look out the peephole; the guy agreed. The girl he was with got her robe on, and recognized Dyson from his Olympic days...and then Dyson felt the razor blade at his throat. The girl had pulled a straight razor, of all things.

Dyson disarmed her, but she pulled a second razor and sliced him. He screamed for help. The others rushed out, but suddenly there were two more in the hallway - a man in dark glasses fiddling with a cat's cradle, and the man in a black shirt that Alice had seen.

In the room, the man with the claw-like fingers emerged again from the bathroom and grabbed Argus. Julian responded by shocking Argus with his cattle-prod, dropping him to the floor.

In the next room, the man in the robe shot Dyson (yelling to the woman, "Molly, duck!"), but his vest absorbed the blow pretty well. Dyson slashed at the woman with the razor he'd taken off her, and then bolted out the door. The man in the black shirt gave a loud whistle, and then the attackers left. The dude in the room backed into the bathroom and disappeared again.

Argus shakily tended to Dyson, and the characters packed up and headed for the parking lot. There, though, they discovered that their cars had been disabled (distributor caps removed), and Lex called the front desk to discover that their packages (with all the gear they'd ordered) had already been picked up and signed for.

(About this time, we stopped and did the Practical Experience thing, winding up with 11 points, I think. The group had already spent some points on Skills and whatnot, and had used Synchronicity during the fight, so that was neat.)

The cops arrived. Julian, Lex and Graham stood off to the side, but Alice, Dyson and Argus got noticed. Alice started bawling that her car wasn't working, and Argus claimed to be Dyson's doctor (but Dyson still got taken away in an ambulance). Alice wound up getting a ride to a parts store to replace the caps, and then joined up with the other folks.

Dyson and Argus, meanwhile, got separate questions at the hospital. Dyson claimed to have stalker problems, and that Lex (who'd rented the room) was his buddy and sometime employer. The cop later called Lex's corporation and got through to Lex, who claimed not to know Dyson. Yi.

Meantime, Argus got paged and wound up talking with Ogilvy. Ogilvy said that his former master - Vellum - was looking for him, but that Argus and the others were members of the Abbey and should be able to figure this out. Back in Dyson's room, Argus noted that Ogilvy had apparently slipped him another of those thorns, and jammed it into Dyson's hand, which healed up his wounds. He then helped Dyson check out of the hospital and the group took off.

They checked into a cheap motel and did some research. "Molly" turned up a story from Detroit about "Razor Molly," a kind of urban legend that sounded very much like a vampire - pale, seduces men and leaves them drained and in pain, if they're ever seen again. Alice also found a page with a bunch of latitude and longitude points, along with "keys." Included was the "key" at Innisfree. Doing that key backward, as Alice had, summons "Them," whatever that meant. Alice continues to worry.

With that, the cell looked for a nightclub and found one down by the docks that looked promising.

Arriving at this club, they saw the man in the dark glasses at the bar. Julian and Alice approached him and he seemed willing to talk with them. He was drinking tea, and showed them the leaves. "Betrayal," he said of their future, "betrayal and pain." He introduced himself as the "Scissor-Man," and showed Alice how that cat's cradle worked - he could use it to immobilize her. He warned them against direct action, and demonstrated his skill by looking into Julian's mind and pulling out something that scared him - the song that Mr. Powell had sung all those years ago.

Scissor-Man told them that he wasn't sure what Shuck (his boss) wanted with them, but that Shuck might be willing to talk with them. He made a call, pulling out his earplug (apparently he's got sensitive ears), and then he and Razor Molly (who'd been hunting to heal up the damage that Dyson had done) took the characters for a walk through the Hedge. Scissor-Man warned them to stay on the path, and told them the story of why he made a deal with the "Gentry," as he called them (if you've got Changeling, check out the full-page fiction before Chapter Four, and imagine that going horribly wrong - that's what happened to him). He also told Alice, if "They" take you, shoot yourself. It's better than going to Hell.

They arrived at a bank of thorns and Razor Molly opened it with one of her straight razors. Inside, they saw Shuck (the man in the black shirt, now inky-black himself) and John Capp, the bird-like man. The fourth guy, Pretty Bill, wasn't visible, but Shuck indicated that he was nearby and armed with a rifle. And they all sat down to talk.

The crew was working for Vellum, Shuck revealed, trying to recapture Ogilvy. Shuck had reckoned that by ruffling the character's feathers a little, he could send them back to the Abbey and made get lead to Ogilvy, but that hadn't worked out. He said that he bore no malice toward them, though, and agreed to have Scissor-Man show them back, though he couldn't promise that there would never be problems between them. He did mention, though, something that chilled them. "If we want to kill people like you," he said, "we wait until you sleep and then Molly comes out of your mirror and slits your throat. Or Pretty Bill pops you in the head when you walk out your door. Or Scissor-Man reaches into your dreams and drives you crazy. We don't need to fight you."

Before they left, Dyson gave Molly her card. Molly, it seems, really is a fan of Dyson's.

(Another note: They got a few points of Practical Experience for this exchange.)

Back in the Hedge, Scissor-Man talked with Alice (she held his arm, afraid in the Thorns). He mentioned seeing his soul hanging on the thorns as They took him away. He was leading them back to the club, but at that point Julian very quietly started muttering, "Redtooth, Redtooth has two teeth...".

Scissor-Man, of course, heard. He's a Cyclopean. And he wasn't pleased. He tried to leave the path, but Alice, with strength belying her dice pool, kept him there. Lex tackled him, though, and sent them both off the path into the Thorns. Lex released him and Scissor-Man said that he'd seen betrayal in the characters' future, but hadn't expected this. He showed Lex back to the path and buggered off.

Redtooth, Redtooth arrived. Alice was hysterical with anger and fear, and promised the hungry Fae two meals if he'd go away. He agreed, and even opened a gate for them. They emerged back at Innisfree.

Alice stomped away into the woods (Graham followed). Julian explained what he'd done and why (he was trying to repay his debt), but admitted he'd screwed up horribly. The characters hotwired a car and went back to the hotel, where Alice took another room and called Katherine at the Abbey.

Katherine asked about Ogilvy and Alice told her that she'd seen him. Katherine told her that Abbey was cursed - the members would die horribly, aging beyond their years, if the Abbey stopped recruiting. She also mentioned that Julian's family had a special history in the Abbey, but not what. She said that Ogilvy - or perhaps Vellum! - knew something about the Abbey's history that might help break this curse.

Julian and company called her, too (she called back; she was talking with Alice, after all) and they told her much the same as what Alice had. She asked if she could help, and Julian tried to lure her out there with wondrous tales of the Thorns.

Graham went into Alice's room and kept her company. While she slept, he looked into the Abbey's records and found stories of creatures that behaved this way - faeries. He learned about their association with iron, and that they apparently don't go back on their word.

Everyone else slept. Julian dreamed, of course, and in the dream he met the Scissor-Man. The changeling showed him Alice, changed into Powell and Katherine, and basically tormented him, but Julian stood firm and apologized for what he'd done. Scissor-Man said that he couldn't hide anything from Shuck, and Shuck would insist on revenge. He arranged with Julian to come out to the camp the next night, and there they'd put things right - whatever that might mean. Julian said he was willing to face whatever punishment that meant.

In the morning, Julian told the cell about the dream and said he was going to the camp that night. The others, of course, insisted on going, too. Today, however, they want to try and find Ogilvy.

Next week: The exciting conclusion!
innocent_man: (morbo)
No point in posting Matt-stuff in this space, because it's filtered. With that in mind, let's get to Hunter!

Last time, the characters killed a vampire in Argus' first hunt with the Abbey. They got some Practical Experience out of it, and so the first thing we discussed tonight was spending it. The group really wanted the Harvest Tactic, but were having trouble with the pre-reqs (which doesn't stop them having it, just using it).

I think, BTW, that this is going to be a good check on the problem of "getting PXP and loading up on Tactics", because making sure that everyone has the necessary pre-reqs is going to require spending PXP or normal XP on those traits. Bears noting also that tier-one and tier-two hunter cells are going to get Tactics more often, because they don't need to buy Endowments, and all hunters are free of that pesky Blood Potency/Gnosis/Wyrd/Prima-Urge/Azoth thing.

Anyway, moving on. With that intention (Harvest) on the table, the characters trekked up to an Abbey mansion for Argus' coming out party. Lots of congrats, and Katerine O'Boylan was there (see under the cut for the fic that [livejournal.com profile] nearside wrote to meet Katherine). Julian had warned Alice about Katherine, but tried to stick near her (Alice) anyway, just to keep her safe.

Katherine talked with Lex and then Alice about the future of the cell. Dinner is served, and the cell is seated near Katherine. They mention their desire to get scientific data and samples and whatnot (and drugs to give the Abbey; remember Julian's looking to destroy the Abbey from within). Katherine tells them that Lt.-Col. Colhurst down there (the gruff-looking fellow missing his left eye) pretty much pioneered that trick, so he'll teach them tomorrow.

Katherine finds them and says that she has a good assignment for them. Marcus Ogilvy, the founder of the Abbey, was supposed to have died in 1855 in a fight with (she opens a book and shows them a sketch of a three-armed goblin) this. But now, we've got a photo from Toronto taken a few days ago that indicates he's alive and well...or at least walking around. If it is him, as Julian thinks, he stands to do a lot of damage or provide a lot of information to the Abbey. If not, as Lex thinks, he's still wandering around with our founder's face on, and that's not cool. But we don't know where he is, so no point leaving now. Go rest up.

Tomorrow rolls around, and we try out the "learning a Tactic" system with some RP thrown in (allowing me to do a quasi-John Cleese in Eric the Viking for the Lieutenant). The characters practice all day; meantime, Argus has bought Occult 2 (normally I don't allow going from 0 to 2 so quickly, but we've only got three sessions and it'd be nice for them to have a useful Tactic, and Argus is really best suited to be the primary actor). At the end of it, Julian, Graham, Argus and Alice can participate in the Tactic. Argus can be primary actor and Graham (now with Occult 4, since Occult is an Asset Skill for him) can be the secondary who calls out what to cut off.

After the training, we make the "finalization roll," and the player comes up with 7 successes. The Tactic costs a whopping 6PXP, plus all the points spent on getting individual folks' traits up to snuff, of course. That leaves enough left over for sundries later.

Katherine finds the cell and tells the hunters that Ogilvy was spotted heading for Traverse City, MI, but no one's sure why. The hunters spring into action, getting flak jackets and various weapons geared up and chartering air travel to the city (remember, two of these people have Resources 5).

The cell, drained and wasted from being thrown to the ground 1000 times, goes to freshen up. Alice goes and gets a massage. Katherine comes to visit her, and gives her a taste of her special port (see fiction). The two of them wind up, well, doing what the Abbey does best.

Julian, meanwhile, is doing research with Graham, Argus and Lex. They discover that Traverse City and the surrounding area have a weird pattern of missing people. Folks go missing, and then return a few hours or days later, but with "lost time." This especially seems prominent from a now-defunct summer camp called Innisfree (now, where might I have seen that name before?). In fact, the camp director went missing once a few years back...and is missing now.

That's the only lead the cell has, so they follow it. Gearing up, the hunters fly to Traverse City, rent a couple of vans, and truck out to the camp.

Weirdness ensues almost immediately. They find a lot of cars parked here, from all over the country, but no one's gotten into them in a few days. Graham finds a bizarre scrap of paper, reading: "KEY: 12, 3, 6, 9, step forward, turn around, step back". Graham, Dyson and Lex track people's movements from the cars, while Julian, Alice and Argus walk down to a house they spotted on the way in. That house belonged, apparently, to Eric Schultz, the now-missing onetime director of this camp.

In the house, Argus finds a swath of discoloration on the doorjam. Looking closer, he realizes it's from a gigantic tongue. Alice finds that the room upstairs has been broken into from outside (Larceny 5, remember) but nothing's missing and the only damage is from the wind. The phone's off the hook, so Argus redials, and gets a woman who hands the phone to her daughter when she hears the word "Innisfree." When Argus says something about investigating missing people, the daughter hangs up. Also in the kitchen, the trio finds bloodstains as though someone entered bleeding, but no blood on the doorjam or outside. Julian and Alice hotwire some of the cars and move them to block the road, just to deter others from coming in.

In the lodge, things are just as weird. There's evidence to suggest that people left their cars and walked up the hill to the lodge, but in the dust in the main room, there are only a few sets of prints. And, it looks like someone climbed straight up the wall. There are notches in the doorjam going out, at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o'clock.

The hunters regroup and discuss this "key." Finally, Julian taps at the four points, and steps forward. Alice sees the room behind him get muted, as though fading away. He takes a step back, and flies up into the air, trapped by a snare. The hunters start forward, but he stops them and cuts himself down. He steps forward across the threshold...and vanishes. The GPS doesn't find him. He doesn't answer his radio. He's gone away.

Meanwhile, in a land of briars and thorns, Julian hears something horrible and heavy trudging around in the background. "Redtooth, Redtooth, has two teeth," it says. "Redtooth, Redtooth likes to eat." Julian converses very politely with Redtooth, Redtooth, and he reveals that he has seen Ogilvy (not by name, but by picture) and that yes, he can help Julian find him - if Julian gets him a meal before the next full moon. Julian agrees, and the giant creature tells him that the door will reopen in an hour, as long as the sky stays blue.

The cell, meanwhile, is going nuts. They can't find Julian, and now it's starting to cloud up. Alice, in desperation, performs the knocking key backwards, and is rewarded by a thump and a ripple, like an earthquake. She feels it, and Julian, now checking out the carnage in the field (remember that?) feels it, too. Redtooth, Redtooth shakes its head, and mutters that Alice is in trouble.

Finally, the portal reopens, and Julian steps out. Redtooth, Redtooth is standing behind him, and everybody makes a quick Morality roll to keep their heads on straight. Argus fails, and gulps down his entire stash of pain pills in an attempt to get the image of the giant toad-beast out of his head. He collapses, stoned to the point of being comatose, and Dyson (who as a professional athlete knows a little about medicine) gives him a shot to counteract the effects. But he fucks up the dosage, and Argus goes into shock and starts convulsing.

Frantically, Alice goes to get one of the cars they used to block the road. As she hotwires, a man taps her on the leg. It's Ogilvy. He warns her that now his master has been alerted, and will come for her to lock her away in the labyrinth for 100 years, just as happened to him. Alice asks what that did to him, and he shows her - he's wrinkled, yellowed, jaundiced and gray-eyed, but only for a moment. He hands her a thorn and tells her to jam it into her wounded friend's palm, and then he runs off.

Alice does this, and manages to do it without drawing any notice...except from Julian, who lets it go for the moment. Argus wakes up (the 6 lethal damage he took converted to bashing), and feels nauseated but alive. The hunters retire to their hotel room to discuss it.

What has happened to Ogilvy? What is happening to Alice? And why, whenever anyone says "Redtooth," does she hear the correction "Redtooth, Redtooth?"

In the bathroom, Argus lifts his head from the toilet and sees the shower door open. A man with a hook-like nose and claws steps from the shower, and behind him Argus sees the thorns. They fade, and the man becomes normal-looking. He holds a threatening finger to his lips and sends a text message with his phone.

There comes a knock at the hotel room door.

We'll see who's there next time.

Julian's Meeting )
innocent_man: (Default)
Please note: This is a playtest. Some of the aspects of Hunter: The Vigil that you read about here may have been removed from the final product. Just lettin' ya know.

This chronicle needs a name, but I ain't thought of one yet.

You'll recall that these characters had a really bad night back in 1990. Let's update:


  • Julian's father died on the job some years back, leaving Julian fantastically wealthy and in his Dad's old job as a recruiter for the Abbey. He's been working on finding real monsters in high society, and getting them admitted to the Abbey. This way, they die and the Abbey is weakened. Profession: Socialite.
  • Alice has become a socialite and a high-class thief. She gives away or fritters much of what she steals; she's not in it for the gain. Julian's been keeping a very close eye on her. Profession: Criminal.
  • Alexander (Lex) has made his money working for a weapons company, testing new engines of death and firearms and so on. Profession: Professional.
  • Argus has become an infectious disease doctor and diagnostician, and has also become hooked on pain pills to control the pain from his leg (yes, [livejournal.com profile] matrexsvigil is playing House, which is better than playing Smith from Shoot 'Em Up). Profession: Doctor.
  • Dyson's father was murdered some years back. Throat slit and head bashed with a tire iron. That drove Dyson away from his Olympic career and into kicking ass for the Abbey. He and Julian are some of the local bigwigs. Profession: Athlete.
  • Graham, over time, has become a professional ghost-hunter and easily the most knowledgeable person in the cell about the occult. Profession: Occult Investigator.


We spent most of the evening spending XP (I gave them all 75) and talking about Tactics. At the end of the expenditure, a couple of them had Professional Training 5 and Resources 5, which means that they'll be able to afford just about whatever technological apparatus they need. I gave them one Tactic; they chose Synchronicity, because it was the only one that they had the pre-reqs for (though they were interested in Net, Staking and Harvest).

And then, the hunt! We started off in medias res, chasing a vampire north from New York City. This guy had been shooting people with a 12-gauge, and then draining their blood. Local cops had tipped off the cell (several of them have contacts in the police - OK, Professional Training 5 makes you obscenely well-connected), and so they found the dude and pursued him. This, by the way, was Argus' first hunt.

They pursued the vampire out of the city, and his car left the road and rolled down an embankment into some trees. They peeked over the edge and saw him hide, and looked to Argus for advice. They hemmed and hawed a bit too long, and finally took off down the hill, but Argus tripped (Lame Flaw) and rolled to the bottom. Julian grabbed his cane on the way down, and they found the vampire's trail. Note: Tracking is hard when no one has much Survival.

They followed the trail into the woods, and heard a gunshot. Dyson rushed off and found a dude bleeding from a gunshot wound and in shock. Argus arrived and patched him up, and Lex called the police (which got some grousing from the other hunters, since it meant they had to haul ass). They followed the vampire's trail down the dirt road, trying to stay near Argus, but Dyson and Alice got ahead. Dyson heard a noise and crouched, and the vampire shot him.

The fight was joined. The players put it to Argus' player about whether to use the Tactic, but they decided not to. Dyson ran over to the vampire and tried to disarm him with his sword (remember, Olympic fencer) but failed. The vampire cocked the shotgun, but Graham took a shot with his pistol and knocked the gun away (probably saving Dyson's life, as a shotgun blast at point-blank might have finished him). The vampire frenzied, but Alice ran over and grappled him, and Julian followed suit. Lex, who had been hiding and waiting for a shot, ran over and put two rounds (Gunslinger) into the vampire at close range, and Dyson, recuperating, risked some Willpower on his sword attack, gaining 9-again.

He got, oh, about 11 successes, and took the fucker's head off.

The vampire crumbled to ash, its head rolling over and landing at Argus' feet. Argus, now finally believing in vampires, did not wind up with a derangement, but did pop some pills. He patched up Dyson, and the hunters got the hell out before the cops swarmed the area. They also remembered to chase their brass after the fight, removing traces (exceptional success on Julian's Investigation roll to find said brass helped).

OK, so, for that scene, they got 15 Practical Experience. I'm interested to see how they divide it up and what happens next time, which will be 11/11.
innocent_man: (funtime)
Tonight we got together to make characters for the eventual Hunter game. The characters are starting out as kids in the year 1990, students at a prestigious boarding school in New England (probably Massachusetts, but I dunno yet). [livejournal.com profile] dandelionclock, that probably means I'll be using your scenario.

If you're on this filter, it's because you are a playtester or an author on one of the books involved, and in any case you're NDA'd up. So, here's the list of character:


  • Alexander LaCroix (played by [livejournal.com profile] danieltallon). 10 years old, 5th grade, this kid plays soccer for the school team and is darned quick on his feet. Manipulative and dishonest, but will cover you if you need an alibi (and, y'know, you're his friend). Asset: Calm. Fault: Dishonest.
  • Alice Devereaux (played by [livejournal.com profile] ulaliya). 9 years old, 5th grade, wants the attention her parents won't give her so she skips out of class and otherwise gets in trouble. Handy with lockpicks. Has the Guardian Angel Merit, which I'm fully intending on having fun with. Asset: Creative. Fault: Hyperactive.
  • Julian Forsythe (played by [livejournal.com profile] nearside). 12 years old, 8th grade, the oldest of the bunch. A well-known nice guy at school, equally at home in most cliques. His dad is a member of Ashwood Abbey (though Julian doesn't know the details, he just knows Dad's into some weird shit). Merits are spread the heck out, but this kid's got lots of friends. Asset: Optimistic. Fault: Egotistical.
  • Argus Castle (played by [livejournal.com profile] matrexsvigil). 11 years old, 6th grade, the boy genius (to the point of the Mental Prodigy Merit with the Study Skill). Likes to read college-level textbooks, already wants to be a doctor. Has an aide that his parents assigned to "help him in class." A loner by choice. Asset: Calm. Fault: Egotistical.
  • Graham Walker (played by [livejournal.com profile] hobbesthetiger). 10 years old, 5th grade. Knows some shit about ghosts, but mostly he knows shit about everything (Trivia Hound Merit). New money, and catches some shit about that (his dad struck is big investing in this rising computer thing; hope he gets out before the dotcom bust). Asset: Creative. Fault: Brash.
  • Dyson Neely (played by [livejournal.com profile] rook330). 12 years old, 8th grade, an Olympian-in-training (fencing). His dad pushes him to WIN, and he's got a local coach who comes to the academy to train him while other folks have gym class. Got a pet dog named Duke who would die for him. Asset: Brave. Fault: Brash.


That's what we've got. The first game is schedule for October 7th, and then we see what weirdness has infected the boarding school.

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