Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Dark Before Dawn Session Summary: Freedom From Darkness

IMG_4542The players began this session in the venue’s rather long corridor, clutching their prop stones that were used to vote for the God Machine or the Ghost (or for themselves if they chose not to vote) during the first session.  As they slowly came through the corridor, they discussed their circumstances among themselves and used Obfuscate where necessary to cover any blood stains.  Once they left the corridor, they were described as entering North Terrace from the front doors of the SA Art Gallery.  They also realised when they checked their mobile phones that three months had passed since they were last out and about.  It was now the Autumn Equinox while their last memories were of the Summer Solstice.

There they stood in the central game space, discussing where to go now, and they decided to go to Amity Fine’s nightclub.  I’d already chatted with Amity Fine’s player about The Velvet Nightclub as it seemed a likely option and I’d dressed the main game space accordingly.  I’d also set up a playlist for their arrival.
However I wanted to give the PCs a chance to gossip among themselves and witness the strange darkening shadows that pressed around certain sections of the city (namely a chunk of the ring road around the Adelaide CBD) so I set up Amity Fine’s player and two new players whose characters weren’t present thus far to describe what they saw en route as temporary assistant Game Masters.  We used the two side rooms and the main game space to represent the cars and I set up the chairs accordingly.

Amity Fine offered to drive a few of the vampires while the others had to go in taxis (portrayed by the two new players).  One was meant to be an overly exuberant driver who liked to honk the horn, and the other was slightly creepy.  Naturally one of the players decided his PC would walk to the destination instead so he had to wait awhile in the kitchen before being paired with the taxi driver player (once the others had been dropped off) who now played the role of a random drunk here to harass him.

Finally they head into Amity Fine’s nightclub, returning to the main hall as the music goes on, and the players are given a description of the club’s VIP section.  We assign one side room as a private meeting area within the VIP area and the other side room counts as “Everywhere Else” outside the club.  Having three rooms really works out brilliantly as it’s great when people need to split up for more personal (or political) roleplay.

I, as Lead GM, portray Amity Fine’s simpering ghoul for a bit and do a little bit of fetching here and there.  One of the taxi driver players enters the game pretty quickly after their arrival as her actual PC, Guilherma de Miramont, is a local vampire who just happened to not be sucked off into the first session.

The other taxi driver player had to wait a bit, but not too long, as his PC was getting picked up from the docks by Gary Dodd (a PC currently in the game).  I sent the two of them into the “Everywhere Else” room for ten minutes to represent the car ride and give them a chance to chat en route.

I do recommend doing this as small group roleplay really does give people more of a chance to roleplay and get a handle on their characters … just don’t enforce too long a “sitting out period”.  Five to ten minutes does marvellously to sim.
Everyone had a name badge to help people remember.
There was a third PC to be introduced in game whose player wasn’t available until halfway through the game.  That worked out brilliantly as it gave a new injection of excitement just as the game was starting to slow down at the halfway mark.

I enter as an NPC from the first campaign arc called Peter Walsh and haul in a staked vampire that he’d fetched from inter-state.  Staked vampires from other cities certainly cause a bit of a splash and there was some searching of his pockets before unstaking him and later some interrogations in a side room.

Walsh ended up owing a boon to Amity Fine for just dragging in a random staked vampire unannounced.  He also ended up owing another one when the staked vampire (called Thomas McAllister) drank half a bottle of Lacrima without asking (vampire wine, costs around $1000 due to rarity).  An expensive night for the NPC!

There were words exchanged between McAllister and Amity Fine, and finally he was kicked from her club.  That could have been an awkward moment as the player would have nothing to do but as Amity Fine’s player needed to head off early, they all simply went to a different location where he could attend.

Amity Fine ended up in the harpy role that session, too.  Vampires and their love of boons.
Other major events that happened included:

*  Siobhan O’Baoill got drunk on Lacrima after realising that she dumped her fiancĂ© to protect him after her Embrace (she has no memories of the past few years) and despite the other fledglings trying to distract her, she slipped out with Talitha Salvatore and was spotted by a police co-worker.  The trio almost went out through one of the (deadly dangerous) Shadow Walls together in his car when a ghostly image of her sire, Seamus, flashed before her eyes and she grabbed the wheel to swerve them out of the way.  They then went to bust into the old Women’s & Children’s Hospital where Talitha and Siobhan had once been held hostage but their antics were stopped at the door by Seamus’ arrival.  All of this occurred in the “Elsewhere Room.”

*  Jonathon Williams was a ghoul who had been drained to death in the first session and then came back as a Mekhet.  This means he has no sire.  In fact his creation just after his possession by a Strix has left him a creepy Khaibit who has connections to the incorporeal world.  He accidentally manifested some shadows on a few occasions, creeping out the court.

*  I traded notes with people to represent them texting people they knew though most of the vampires from Campaign 1 were incommunicado.

*  Much of the session was taken up with discussions from those with history in the city (i.e. from the first campaign), those who attended the first session and knew about the votes, and those who had newly arrived.

It was a pretty quiet first session (compared to the later sessions) since most of the characters didn’t know each other enough to feud and scheme but it worked out pretty nicely and gave people a good launching point.

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