Etheric Laboratories - Making grim horrors


[actual play] Changeling: the Lost - Venice
virtual adept
kris_ether


 

Changeling: the Lost

Venice: Broken Masks, Shattered Dreams

Episode 3 - Skulls - parts 1 & 2

 

      It was the New Year, 2010, and Stitches was at church. It was Sunday, and mass had finished. Stitches often came to church in order to seek some form of forgiveness for the sins he committed during his time in Arcadia.

      That day, however, was different. Stitches mind was distracted by the mounting number of deaths. The Rib Thief had struck 9 times in total, and the riddles and clues made little sense. Stitches knew he needed some insight into the events. And so, knowing the power of the Wyrd, Stitches committed himself to his next course of action.

      Stitches’ local church was that of San Salvador. The priest, Tommaso, was in his late 40s and one of the more forgiving priests that Stitches had met. Asking for privacy, Stitches and Tommaso spoke first of the strange deaths that had been occurring around Venice, to which Tommaso acknowledged that he knew that some had in fact occurred near a number of churches. It was then that Tommaso revealed to Stitches the meaning of the stars and the alchemical symbol of the sun. He told Stitches that it referred to Titian, the great painter of Venice, known by the verse from Dante’s ‘The Divine Comedy’ as the ‘Sun amidst small stars’. So in some way the painter Titian is related to the deaths.

      Stitches, finally spoke to Tommaso of something more strange, of demons and angels. He asked if Tommaso was willing to see the world for what it was, to see the truth, and so help Stitches repent for the sins he has made. With that Stitches held the hand of Tommaso, and recited the words of a pledge, binding Tommaso and himself into a pact of honesty and trust. With that Tommaso looked upon Stitches with new eyes. He could see how thin and frail  looking Stitches really is. He could see his pointed ears, and the stitches that criss-crossed his body. Tommaso was stunned and over the next hour Stitches explain what happened, and Tommaso realised there were many others who he might need to help.

     There was then a scream from within the church, and Tommaso and Stitches raced out to see a man dragging another of the church congregation, a woman called Veronica, away and out of the side entrance of the church. Stitches raced after the man. He followed the screams to a side alley where he watched the man, a strange fellow with a trimmed beard and desperate eyes. He kept a knife to Veronica’s throat and as he stepped backwards he disappeared with her, fading into the wall. Stitches called upon his Fae eyes, he peered behind the veil of reality. Where the wall stood was a gateway, into a dark tunnel. It smelt awful and there was the sound of rats and the buzzing of flies. But where ever it led to it wasn’t the Hedge. Stitches then around and there waiting was a man with long blond hair and a leather biker jacket. Stitches could see that he had a shadowy figure nearby, covered in nets and barnacles.

 

*****

 

      Elsewhere in Canneragio, Sonata was sat outside a café, sipping at an abandoned drink. He loked up and sat across from him was an old man. The man looked pale and passed to Sonata a photo of a woman. He said to Sonata to save her, and then as Sonata looked up he was gone.

      Sonata began to ask around about the woman, and it turned out she lived locally, as did her grand father. Sonata eventually tracked down the apartments where the old man lived, and broke in. he found it dusty and abandoned, as if it hadn’t been lived in for months. He looked about until he stopped in the bathroom. The mirror steamed up and a message was written in it. ‘Save her’ it said. Sonata left, knowing he needed the others t make sense of this.

 

*****

 

      Freki had been running errands, it was the only way to keep her mind of the fact that she was being haunted by crows flowing her. She tracked down Sonata and together they went looking for Stitches. They eventually ended up at the San Salvador church and found the police there. They asked around, knowing Stitches went to church there, and they found out that the woman they were looking for was the one who had been kidnapped. They were then approached by Father Tommaso, who spoke to them as if he knew what they were. They seemed puzzled and asked after Stitches, and then they realized that Stitches had reveal the truth to Tommaso.

 

*****

      

      At the Teatro Fenice, Stitches and Ralph were at the entrance to the House of Autumn. Stitches was surprised by a number of things. That Ralph knew of the House, and that Ralph also knew of the key to open the door to the House. Inside they met Codexial, and they discussed how Ralph knew the House of Autumn, and that he was what was known as one of the Bound. They also discussed the missing woman, that a gate to the Underworld had been opened, and that Ralph had come across a ghost of one of the dead killed by the Rib Thief. They ghost spoke of ‘Sine Sole Sileo’. Stitches recognised this as ‘Sins souls lie’. But the version Ralph knew meant something more. ‘I am silent without light’. With another verse that they had learnt from a victim, Stitches realized that it referred to a sun dial. But how did a sun dial and the work of Titian, and ribs fit together he wondered? Furthermore, Codexial informed them that they had found something of importance in the diary of one of the victims. It was a rhyme or riddle.

   ‘We all stand on the field of battle at Marostica. None can take first blood, such is our honor, such is our law. We are the armies of day and night.’

     Codexial explained that the town of Marostica lay to the north of the Veneto, renowned for it's human sized chess board.

      Soon Freki and Sonata arrived and in time Clio and Else. Else had been repairing a boat for Etiene Epee, a knight of the House of Summer. In passing he mentioned that another of the House of Winter had turned up, murdered, and that the night patrols would be upped to find the killer, but that Else should keep and eye out

     Else informed the motley that she had also seen some other strange things in the Museo Correr. She had gone to research the creation of astrolabes, globes and other devices for the studying of the stars. It was here that she witnessed a strange being, seemingly unseen by the tourists. It was like a large fly, with translucent skin, and with skin, tattered, trailing as if it were wearing some cape. However, when it was almost spotted it morphed and turned to stone, nothing more than another piece of Greek stone work from the ancient times.

     With the motley gathered they learned that Ralph and his krewe deal with ghosts on a pretty regular basis, but that his team were off on other business and that he had to stay to deal with the coming Carneval and the issues with the two ghostly doges. He explained that in the south of Venice cases of illness due to what looks like the plague, had been increasing. He suggested that for them to work out what was going on and to save the woman that perhaps they were best off going to the Casino Degli Spiriti, the House of the Spirits, and consult with the ghosts that gather there.

 

*****

 

     That night at the House of the Spirits, the troupe prepared to enter. They had approached from the north on boat, the house looks out onto the lagoon, and has always had legends about ghosts and spirits and murders.

    The motley stood outside the gardens of the House. It was dark and foggy and cold, and the house looked imposing and with a life of its own. Wooden shutters flapped in the wind. Else reached out and touched the lock of the garden gate and the lock crumbled and the gate swung open and squeaking hinges. The motley headed in led by Stitches, with Else bringing up the rear. With each step they were bombarded with strange sensations. Crows gathered, voices whispered for them to leave, statues moved, and Else saw visions of her time in Arcadia, the experiments and the pain and the abuse. She was wracked with pain and she became panicked.

     The haunting ended and at the door to the house a figure in 16th century garbed wave to them to enter. In the house they watched ghost of all periods, and in all states, dancing to the tune of the ghostly waltz. Their host offered them drink, food and entertainment, and then after some time, he spoke of the island of Poveglia, the plague which he lived through, the mad doctor and the asylum. If there is a gate to the Underworld and something to do with the plague it makes sense it would be that one that is open since old ghosts, the plague dead, have been seen wondering Venice, hungry. 

 

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Vampire - The Endless Waltz
virtual adept
kris_ether
So here I'll let Sam explain her character for Vampire.

 

 

OK, this is the DEFINITIVE, Wiki-style guide to my Vampire character, Dimitri. He's a Daeva Carthian. I wanted to post this prior to any future games we do, because a) the character has had some adjustments made to his backstory, and b) you guys just have to know how COOL he is. It has pictures (courtesy of the lovely Ben Barnes, who basically is the doppelganger of Dimitri in real form, and also the guy I would choose to play Dimitri any day of the week). Enjoy. This bitch is HOTTTTT.

 

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Posted via email from Etheric Labs


[actual play] Changeling: the Lost - Venice
virtual adept
kris_ether


 

Changeling: the Lost

Venice: Broken Masks, Shattered Dreams

Episode 1 - Promises - part 3

      The motely were once more in the hallway of the building of one of the previous victims. Their investigation was not over yet as they planned to go to the square where the the female suicide was last seen. Freki joined them there and they filled her in on what they had discovered. Asking around at the bars that opened up onto the square they discovered that the suicide had left with a local man, Cicero, and with a little more time they discovered the Cicero lived in a block of flats near the Ghetto. On the TV they heard that a boat had gone missing, but with the weather being so poor it was impossible for the police to find it.

*****

      The motely arrived at the block of flats where Cicero lived. Something was wrong, it smelt bad. outside the flat some dogs were barking and scratching at a door where the garbage bags for the flat were kept. Freki called upon her contracts and spoke to the Pomeranian in the pack. It spoke, as dogs do, of little that made sense. but Freki did work out that in the garbage there was meat, a different meat. More than likely the remains were a persons. Opening the door to the garbage they found numerous bags, and Stitches had a root about. He finalyl came upon a bag that to his trained eye contained human bones. They had been gnawed upon and the marrow sucked out. Stitches ran out and found a place to vomit.

 

*****

     Freki and Sonata entered the foul smelling flat of Cicero. The kitchen come living room was small, with a sink filled with dirty pots and pans. Freki checked the bathroom and was met with a horrific stench. Filth coated the toilet and sink. There was a pair of pliers and teeth on the sink top, and the shower was coated in blood, with smeared hand prints. Freki just about held back from vomiting. The scene was no better for Sonata. The bedroom was a mess. Sheets were torn and stained with bodily fluids. There was vermin and the walls were covered in bloody words. Something about the Burning Eyes.

     Outside the others watched as the lights in the apartments flickered and dimmed. It was suddenly quiet outside. In the apartment the TV flicked on and was nothing but static. Freki tried the front door but it was shut. She and Sonata back away, and were up against the sink. They watched in terror as two burning eyes looked out from the tv. Skeletal hands pushed at the glass, warping it like rubber, and slowly the figure crawled out. It had double joints and was just a big black cloak. The eyes looked out and it spoke. "Cicero? Where are you?" It walked about the flat repeating this. It went to the kitchen table and picked up a video tape, and with glee pulled out the tape and smashed the casing. It then went to the fridge and took out what looked like a jar of pickled human fleshed, and sucked down a piece. The pots in the sink shifted and the Other looked at Freki and Sonata, or at least in their direction. It peered closely, looking past them, and then moved away, back into the TV.

*****

      Sonata and Freki joined the others and knew that they had to get to that island. The news report had come in of the 4 people missing, and it fitted with Sonata's dream and picture the girl had drawn. They took Else's boat, and using her token to get the boat to the island of Lazzaretto Vecchio quickly. At the island, in the pitch black, the lagoon was a seething storm about them. They could barely hear the dogs inside the gates. They went ashore. With a brief talk to the mongrel dogs, Freki worked out where the captives and Cicero was. Sonata drew upon the contracts of darkness and the night became blacker, fog and mist rose up from the waters and the wind above howled. The motley was invisible within the night.

     They approached the old hall and could see some light and shadows. There was a scream and the motley moved forward, with Sonata, Freki and Stitches climbing up to the roof to find a way in, while Else and Clio watched the doors. Inside Cicero, now a savage shadow of a man, was driving a knife in the chest of a woman on the table. She was dead and her husband and the 2 other captives watched as Cicero tore her heart out. Stitches made a move, but the sound alerted Cicero. He looked up and proclaimed that he would not be taken and that he no longer wanted the nightmares he suffered from. With that he vanished.

      Freki and Stitches got down into the hall and freed the captives while Sonata returned to the boat just in case. Freki then sniffed the air and spotted foot prints moving towards Stitches. Cicero was visible again and lunged at Stitches. He cut at him but Freki lept forward. Her claws tore at the man before she killed him, driving her claws deep into his throat.

*****

     Freki and the others, along with the surviving captives, escaped to the main islands. Freki was deep in thought about how she had killed a man, and all now feared the Gentry. However, it seemed the magic of Carnival had allowed for them to hide from the Gentry, but it would mean that just regular people would be used as tools of the Fae more often.

*****

   Near the church of Sant'Andrea della Zirada another body is found in the cold. Again two ribs removed, but this time with the number '7' marked in Roman numerals on the forehead, and nearby the bloody writing 'Sins souls lie'.

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[actual play] Changeling: the Lost
virtual adept
kris_ether


 

Changeling: the Lost

Venice: Broken Masks, Shattered Dreams

Episode 1 - Promises - part 2

      Perplexed by the death of the man the motley headed to the Teatro Fenice and the House of Autumn, while Clio headed to the Ca da' Mosto and the House of Spring. There they headed straight up into the roof of the building and entered the hallow, using the particular knock that they knew and allowing the door to recognise their mantle. In the dusty and dark library of the hallow the troupe met Athena, a member of Codexial's motley, the Library of the Lion. Athena was a large eyed woman, her mien showing that she was more like an owl. She swooped down from the upper levels of the library and listened to the motley. She informed them that the House of Autumn did have information with regard to this case. She explained that the Watchmen were aware of the issue but had not yet looked into it as the police seemed to be doing a good job of keeping it under the carpet. Athena gave the motley a folder of information and photos that the Watchmen had gathered so far. There were 3 other victims, all similarly scratched, all suicides. One was a family man, the previous victim. He had slashed his wrists in the bathroom. He had left behind a wife and daughter. The other two vicitims, another man and a woman, had all gone missing after a night out with friends. The woman had drowned herself while the man had jumped from his flat. All lived in and around the Ghetto area.

 

 

 

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Posted via email from Etheric Labs


[actual play] Changeling: the Lost
virtual adept
kris_ether


 

Changeling: the Lost

Venice: Broken Masks, Shattered Dreams

Episode 1 - Promises - part 1

      Late at night a couple are in bed making love. Later we see them asleep. One wakes up and leaves the room, while the other, a woman, is left there, eye open, panting, pinned to the bed by some invisible force. Terror flickers across her face and we hear the wardrobe door creak open.

******

      It was morning, and the snow was thin on the ground. Else, sat in her overalls, was outside a cafe in Cannaregio, sipping a coffee as she took a break from fixing boats. She was near to the church of the Madonna dell'Orto. There was a commotion as staggering through the streets came a young man. He was naked, and he was covered in scratches. Every inch of his body was scarred, and he brandished a large kitchen knife. He stood in the court yard and mumbled. "A Knife through Butter, A Knife through Butter. In the Ghetto Blades get Hotter!" With that he slit his throat and there was panic as people ran over to help him. But it was too late. Else, shocked, went over to the body. She had heard what he had said and she called upon her Fae eyes, to see if reality was as it looked. The blade seemed normal, but then there was omething odd about the scratches.

 

******

      At his pharmacy Stitches was having a pretty normal day, but had heard about the strange death on the radio. He was surprised when Else turned up, and she asked if he might come look at the body. He knew it wouldn't be easy considering the police would be all over it, but what with Else sensing something from it, he shut up shop and headed over.

******

      At his warehouse squat Sonata was not having a good time. He slept through the day, such was the influence of the sun upon his Fae form. He dreamt, and not nice things. He was at first running, in the Hedge, with Briarwolves at his back. But then the dream changed. He was in St Mark's Square. He saw the Campanile, soaked in blood and from it hung cage with prisoners within. From the tower people were falling. Many were hitting the stone floor, their bodies being broken by the force. And the bodies were piling up. Amongst the bodies a lone figure moved, gnawing at the bones, slurping out the marrow, tearing at the flesh with it's teeth. The sky above was a boiling rage, and two eyes hung in the sky, burning with fire, looming over the city.

      There was a growl from behind and Sonata was soon being chased by the Briarwolves. He ran forward, up the pile of bodies, and scaled the walls of the Campanile. At the top he had pause for breath and from here he could see an island, shrouded in fog, and from it he could hear the sound of dogs howling. The Briarwolves were upon him once more, and so Sonanta jumped.

      Sonanta awoke with a jump and fell from the beam he slept upon and hit the floor below. Dazed he got up and left the warehouse, looking for breakfast.

******

      At the scene of the death there was now a police tent up and the area had been surrounded by the police. Else and Stitches were soon joined by Freki, who had heard about the death and had headed over. Stitches, attempted to get past the police, however they did not accept him as a police doctor and so asked him to leave.

      Meanwhile Sonata had made his way to the square and was helping himself to the food that was left on the plates by some of the people at the cafes. He spotted the motley and joined them. Deciding they needed help getting in, Stitches called Clio, who worked at the Florian tea room in St Mark's Square. She was able to get a break and headed over to the crime scene.

      When Clio arrived, she drew on her contract of Spring, and to the police officers appeared as their superior. Within the tent Stithes took some photos of the body and looked at the wounds. There was certainly nothing weird save for the scratches. They looked at the copy of the report that was there with the detectives, and it appeared the man had no signs of drugs in his body. They also learnt that the man was gay, and that he was had no partner and kept to himself. This fitted the opinion people were forming about the case, that it was some form of divine justice. However, there was a comment by the person that lived in the same block of flats, that he had seen someone leaving the apartment late at night, and that is was a man.

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Just what were you expecting it to be about???
virtual adept
kris_ether

      Ever picked up a game and thought 'How do I run this game?' What is the first thing you do? Yes you read the setting material. You read the rules. You read the small short stories and the examples of play. And of course, if it is included, you watch films, read books and listen to music that are quoted as being inspiration for the game.

      So recently, in a very lengthy online discussion on forum (so yes it did get a little bitchy) I was confronted with problem. A person wanting to run Vampire: the Requiem, and his players, dislike the setting of the game because they found the Covenants too shallow, and that there was no 'ancient enemy', like in Masquerade, and that the exploration of what it means to be a Vampire was too boring (or too emo). What he, and his players wanted, was an in built purpose (i.e. I am this type of monster and this is what I do) more akin to say Hunter: the Vigil, or even the Forsaken in Werewolf: the Forsaken. He wanted clearly designed goals for the players, and in his terms, quests. In turned out he and his players wanted their game to be more like the PC game, Vampire: the Masquerade - Bloodlines.

     So I sat back and had a think about this, how he could play a game within the Requiem setting that also gave him and his players what they wanted. And what I realized is this. Some STs are really quite lazy and unimaginative. All the things present in Masquerade were easily simulated in Requiem. In fact you know had books that presented you a multitude of options that you could use. It was up to the ST and not White Wolf, to say what was fact, what was history and what was just a myth. The complaint this ST had was that he was not given a consistent origin for Vampires.

      You see, as stated in a recent White Wolf pod cast, Requiem replicates somewhat the experience of vampires in 'Interview with the Vampire'. The vampires are not gods, they have to fear humans, and they have no true clue as to their origin. Using this in a game, where the players and the NPCs are all for all intents and purposes immortal is important. It means myths and legends remain so. And that Vampires, due to the imperfect memories they retain by sleeping through the ages, have to rely on faith for their beliefs and codes of conduct. It means younger Vampires do not have to taken an elders beliefs as fact. This to me is exciting and means it is up to the players and ST to come to their own conclusions. Requiem is thus built on contradictions so that conflict arises due to conflicts of faith/belief/philosophy. And all of this is important to Vampires, as it up to them to believe what they want so that they can better understand their own place in the world and reconcile their monsterous nature. But, with such tropes so common in Vampire media, why is this such an issue? What was this ST and has players wanting from a game about Vampires? Ah, cool powers, things more darker than the player characters to kill, and some sort of higher calling. They wanted to be dark heroes.

     This left me wondering. Is it bad to think that people are really not running the game as intended by the designers. Now, you can say, and this is fair, that players can run the game the way they like it. It's their game after all. But when you run a game that is so against the grain of the game as it is designed, where many of the important issues of the setting and systems that reinforce those, are made moot by the 'collateral damage' attitude taken in the game, why even bother using that game to run what you want. Why not find something that caters for the action you seek but simulates the Vampires in a more action orientated way. Hell just play Masquerade if you want ancient evils, and forget about whining how Requiem does not have that in the setting. And if that is still not enough why not just make the modifications to the game yourself. All the tools and ideas are there. And failing that do your own research and make up your own setting material.

    I often feel like those that complain the most about the game are those who are too lazy to put in the hard work to make the game their own.

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[actual play] Changeling: the Lost - Venice
virtual adept
kris_ether


 

Changeling: the Lost

Venice: Broken Masks, Shattered Dreams

Prologue - part 3

     As the evening became night the motley left the Winter Market, heading back up to the upper levels of the cavern, and through the tunnels, our into the back streets near the Doge's prison. Sonata's Cocorange was now just a simple football to mortal eyes, and the other's hedge fruits and tokens were also equally mundane in appearance. It was decided that they should head to Stitches' pharmacy and leave the items there and go to the Teatro Fenice and speak with those of the House of Autumn.

      Having left the pharmacy and now in the streets of the Frezzeria, Clio and Freki could hear something down one of the alleys growling. A bin was knocked over and on the roofs above a number of people moved, apparently armed. From the alleyway something like a big dog burst out and ran past, and the people above gave chase. One, armed with a spear stopped and with easy dropped to the streets and approached the troupe. She was dressed for combat. Her spear tipped with a battered iron blade, and she burned from within with fire. She introduced herself as Cinder Belle, and that her Watchmen were on a hunt. She offered to lead them forward since it was dangerous. The motley learnt that the Watchmen were a group of predominantly Summer courtiers who kept watch at night. They hunted all manner of things, even Vampires who strayed from the shores of mainland Mestre.

      In a courtyard Cinder signalled for the motley to stop, and she hurried off with her spear down a side street leaving the motley alone in the courtyard. Soon enough something stirred, and the motley watched as two wolf like beast crawled down the side of the buildings towards them. Their jaws were wide with teeth and saliva dripped from their fangs. They were Briarwolves, and they rushed the motley.

      Acting quickly Sonanta drew the shadows about him, calling on his Contract of Darkness, and he moved to make a sneak attack on the beasts. One lunged at Freki, tearing into her side with it's claws, as the other failed to strike the nimble Wizened, Else. Stitches called out for Cinder while Clio drew on her voice, and sang and enchanting tune to distract the wolves. Sonanta grabbed the one briar wolf, but was easily thrown off, but Freki struck back, claws grew from her furred hands and she racked the beasts back, causing it to howl out in pain.

      Above Cinder and her motley appeared, her mien burning and melting the snow about her. She unleashed her spear and it impaled one fo the wolves, it's form collapsing into nothing but gnawed bones and rotting meat, while another of her motley let loose an arrow that struck the other beast.

      Safe once more, and having thanked Cinder, the motley headed to the Teatro, where they were let in via the back entrance by the bookish Wizened, Codexial. She shed dust as she moved, and her skin was aged and thin like paper. She led the motley upstairs into the very rafters of the theatre, and through a door into the Hedge and the true House of Autumn. The Hollow was a massive library come attic, lit by animated candle sticks that offered their light to those changelings nearby. Freki and Stitches headed to the infirmary where they could get bandages and Hedge Fruit based salves to repair Freki's wounds, as the others sat about. A candle stick tried to give Sonata some light, but he blew it out and the candle stick, upset, walked away. A growl rumbled from within the library, and a large man came out of the shadows. It was Mad Dog, a fearsome member of the House of Autumn, a gangster and trafficker. He looked like a cross between a man and a Doberman dog. He barked at Sonanta for hurting the candle stick's feelings before explaining to them that he had heard of their run in with the Briar Wolves, and that for their own saftey it was about time they considered forming a motley pledge.

      Upon leaving the Teatro, and heading back to Cannaregio and their squat, Freki and Sonanta spotted a commotion going on near the church of Santa Maria Maddalena. Outside was gathered police and locals. A man had been found, dead. His stomach was ripped open and on his forehead in blood was the letter 'V'.

 

 

 

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[actual play] Changeling: the Lost
virtual adept
kris_ether


 

Changeling: the Lost

Venice: Broken Masks, Shattered Dreams

Prologue - part 2

     As the night drew to a close the motley left the Teatro and headed home. However, as Sonanta looked up he spotted something on the rooftops. There, on the roof of the Church of San Salvador sat a dark being, its cape flapping in the wind and its eyes red and glowing. Sonata acted quickly, calling out to the others are then drawing upon the Wyrd. His Contract of Darkness, allowed him to easily scuttle up the face of the church. Soon he was dashing across the snow covered roof, his quarry however was already onto the next rooftop. Freki was also trying to follow, digging her claws into the marble face of the church. The others simply kept watch or followed on foot.

     As Sonata neared the edge of the roof top he flung himself across the gap to the next roof. He barely was able to keep his footing, his contract allowing him to scrabble up the side and up onto the roof, all the while his quarry widened the gap between them and had already crawled over the next building before disappearing. Sonata looked for the highest rooftop nearby and clambered up and sat there looking for the red eyed being, as snow and wind whipped about him.

     The next day was the Winter Market, the 3rd of the season so far. Clio had finished her shift at the Florian,  and Stitches closed up the pharmacy where he works. So the motley met at Else's boat repair shop on the northern edge of Cannaregio. Here they discussed the previous night's events and that they may find out something at the Winter Market. Getting into Else's boat, they departed for the docks near the Doge's Palace, and Else made use of her token, a small broken chess piece. To their Fae eyes the piece was a crystal king piece, and it glowed as the boat ploughed through the waters of the lagoon, making good time, and just before the engine of the boat over heated. Steam was pouring off the engine and Else cursed the machine. The motley stood on the docks watching Else, and then when she was done they head off towards the Palace prisons and the Winter Market.

 

 

 

 

      The motley approach a door, Freki knocked on the peeling green wood, three times, and proceeded to turn, widdershins, 13 times. As she did she became dizzy and lost count. So stitches did the same. Upon finishing he then sighed, then turned clockwise once then opened the door. The motley saw that they had opened the door to the Hedge, and that before them 2 grim looking Darklings stood. They were the security for the market, members of the House of Winter's Wight Guard. They were allowed in and they proceeded down the dank, dark tunnel.

      In the Hedge the thorn squeezed through the stone walls, and barred windows hung in the air, suspended by the vines. Looking through the motley could see that these windows showed the real world. Continuing along the vines opened up and they found that they stood above a deep chamber, and below they could hear the music and smell the food and drink of the Winter Market. They continued down the stair case and into the market. There were a number of stalls, all with a variety of wares on offer. The tents kept off the dripping water from above, and steam rose from bubbling pots of grim looking food. Oink growls and chatter of Hedge beasts.

      At the bar, run by the Green Caps, the motley ordered some food and drink. Captain Saor, a grim looking sailor, served up plates of what looked like scrambled egg, but red, with a strange nettle like leaf sprinkled over and a black ooze dressing. Payment was taken in a clump of their own hair, which Saor used to make his own brew. Sonanta picked up a Cocorange in exchange for a poem, Freki got a couple of mapples (meat apples) and Else got some Coupnettle, but had to pay with  bloody toenail.

     The next stop was Triton's stall. Triton was of the Cleaner's motley of the House of Winter. He had quite the collection of random trinkets and tokens, with Clio picking up a ribbon of never miss, Freki getting a random pebble with no idea what it could do, and Else getting a needle capable of stitching steel together with the catch that it would give you pins and needles for a week. But she would only get it if she fixed a old TV that only showed repeats of the last 10 minutes of events that happened near it. The TV needed new batteries for it to work better, as it currently had a goblin called Cedric powering it by crank.

     Next up was the cattle market, where they could of bought Cloud Pigs, Canal Rats and a musical, if aloof, cat in a bowler hat.

     Finally they went by the bordello, run by the Lords of Love motley, lead by the beautiful Madam Rose Blood. None were interested in any sex or narcotics, save for Sonata who tricked them into giving him some time in their smoking room. 

 

Posted via email from Etheric Labs


[actual play} Changeling
virtual adept
kris_ether


 

Changeling: the Lost

Venice: Broken Masks, Shattered Dreams

Prologue - part 1

      In the night of Venice a young man ran through the streets. At every turn he could feel it on his back. He would burst through gathered crowds, who would stare at him. But when he looked at them he would just cry and run even faster. In the Calle de'la Morte his pursuer caught him. Blood splattered the streets and seeped into the snow, just as the clocks struck 1 am.

      It was mid December, 2009, and a cold night in the city of Venice. The wind from the North blew down snow from the Dolomites, and fog rolls in off the lagoon. In the quaint little English pub, the Devil's Forest, Clio awaits her motley to arrive.

      Clio, dressed in a simple black dress, is curvy and with dark Italian features. However, her mien shows her skin is a light green, with silvery scales and vibrant red hair. She looks up from her drink of Campari as the door of the pub opens and from the cold walks in one of her motley. Stooping under the door frame, the gangly and dishevelled Stitches rubs his arms to get warm and goes to the bar to meet Clio. Stitches is as his name sounds, with his mien showing his skin to be pallid and grey, with stitches about the joints of his limbs and long lank black hair.

      Hearing the sound of familiar voice, Freki looks up out of her booth in the pub and realises she was in fact early, and joins her motley. Freki nurses a pint of ale, and scratches her tufty hair and ears, her wolf like nature causing her no end of issues with fleas. Her nails are gnarled and she gnaws at one while they wait for the rest of the motley to gather.

     Finally Sonata, scruffily dressed in a battered suit with shoulder length hair, almost drifts in from the fog. His mien shows that he is composed of mist and smoke, with his hair drifting about on and unseen breeze. He puts out his cigarette and orders a whiskey. Else arrives shortly after Sonata, wearing a large waterproof coat and her work overalls, all covered in grime. Compared to the others she is much shorter, and her mien shows that she has dark eyes, and oil stained skin and pointed ears.

      With the motley gathered, Clio informs them that they have been invited to a party held at Club Casanova, by the Spring Courtier, Malvolio, leader of the Hundred Masks motley. Stitches adds that they have also been invited to a show being performed by the Skulls of Arlecchino at the Teatro Fenice, home to the House of Autumn. The motley decides that they will call in on Malvolio and then head onto the show at the theatre. However, not liking the company of others, especially the House of Spring, Else decides to go and wait at her boat and will meet them later to go to the theatre.

     Walking through the quiet, foggy streets of the Northern district of Venice, Cannaregio, the motley makes it's way to Club Casanova, near to the train station. As they approach they see it is shut, but sat on the steps is a woman in a black trench coat. Her skin is reptilian, her eyes red with slit pupils, and smoke puffed out of her nostrils. Clio recognised her as Maria Cutlass, a Draconic Fairest, and Malvolio's bouncer. They should her the invitation and after berating Clio for not show her face at Malvolio's parties more often, the troupe went to the back entrance and to the party.

     Entering the party, they were hit by the smell of opium, absinthe, hashish and flowers. This back store room of the club was now a salon, with sofas and make shift beds covered in luxurious throws. There was a warm fire and people lazing about, both mortal and changeling. Malvolio, a swarthy and smartly dress man, in a fine suit and a goatee, greeted them. He flashed his smile and he smelt sickly, of carnations and other intoxicating flowers. His mien showed his skin was pale like petals, his lips as inviting as a flower to a bee, and his hair was purple.

      The motley sat, discussed how things were, how the House of Autumn fared and if they were going to the opera. Malvolio offered a variety of narcotics and food, with Sonanta enjoying a cigar, Freki almost getting stoned on a brownie, and Stitches getting his water spiked with LSD. They also spoke to Tybalt, another of Malvolio's motley. He took an interest in Freki before insulting her, calling her a dog. Tybalt himself was a Beast, his seeming being cat like.

      There was a knocking on the door and two more changelings entered the club. The first, dressed in a smart yellow jacket and with yellow feathers sprouting from under his collar and cuffs, was Count Carnelian. The Count was the leader of the motley known as the Harlequins of Carnelian. He was also the Columbine, a title within the Court of Carnival. As a Spring courtier and of Carnival, it was up to Carnelian to organise the official balls of Carnival, but also to ensure that other parties did not get out of hand and attract too much unwanted attention. Clio remembered that the Count had banned Malvolio from holding parties previously for a year due to the unfortunate deaths of 3 mortals at one of his parties. They had died of drug overdoses from glamour infused drugs derived from goblin fruit.

      The motley watched as Malvolio and the Count spoke to each other and strong words were exchanged. The Count's companion was another of his motley, the Glass Elemental, Lady Murano.

     The motley left the club, needing time to meet Else and go to the Teatro Fenice. Stitches was suffering from the spiked drink, and he saw streamers in his vision and gargoyles leered back at him. It took a moment for him to get a grip and realise that his Keeper was not here and that he was safe with friends.

      They met Else at the Rialto bridge and carried on towards Campanile, and from there to the Teatro. The Teatro, loomed over them as they exited into the square from the Frezzaria. The large, classical building towered above them. The steps swept up to the entrance. The motley entered via a side entrance, being greeted by an Autumn courtier, Mr White, a Gravewight and mime artist of the Skulls of Arlecchino motley. This motley was in charge of performing and organising the commedia della'arte, a means for the Autumn court to harvest glamour and teach through plays the dangers of the Fae.

      In the seats, high up in the theatre, the motley watched the Skulls perform an Opera, not unlike that of Wagner, depicting a terrible tale of elves and the tricks that they can play. Sonanta noted that in the aisles there were others, also changelings, dressed as goblins, moving about trying to scare the audience.

      The opera reached its terrible conclusion, and the motley could feel the fear rising, and some of the audience gasped and cried out in fright. Glamour was plentiful and the night drew to a close, with the motley being ushered to a private bar where the rest of the changeling audience gathered.

      The motley had the pleasure of meeting Captain Polo, a Water Dweller Ogre, and some of his motley, the Silk Road Pirates. Polo was the Ranger of the Thorns for the House of Autumn, and so knew Else well she had helped fix a boat for the Pirates. They also met some of the Library of the Lions, the motley that took care of the tomes and books kept by the House of Autumn. Sonanta tried to speak with one of them, the mad artist Wizened, Tristan Titian. Lastly there was the Eric Red and Sidney Signus, a wax like Mirrorskin ringmaster, and a swan like dancer. Both were of the Skulls, with Eric being the leader of that group.

     As the night drew to a close the motley left the Teatro and headed home. However, as Sonanta looked up he spotted something on the rooftops. There, on the roof of the Church of San Salvador sat a dark being, its cape flapping in the wind and its eyes red and glowing.

Posted via email from Etheric Labs


Getting New Players
virtual adept
kris_ether

 

"If we have it, they will come" - Daisy - Spoofing 'Field of Dreams' - Gatherings - Spaced Series 1

So recently I have been busy working away on my Changeling setting. More importantly writing up NPCs for the game which is due to start soon. I have the first two episodes drafted and the rest of the chronicle outline is ready. But more importantly I have new players.

Some of you who have been reading my own personal blog, or this one, will be aware that my wife is one of my gaming group. She has now had 2 tours of duty in gaming. The first being a few games of Unhallowed Metorpolis. The other being my long chronicle of Vampire: the Requiem. Let's just say she has got into gaming with little issue, enjoying the roleplay aspect over the dice rolling.

Of course getting some new players is tricky. You want to find people that mesh with your gaming style, the types of games you run, and of course as a group will all get along. I have succeeded and failed at recruiting players to a varying degree. This time round I went hunting once more. First to the local wargaming group meetup in town, and then to the pub to meet some mutual friends of a previous player from my group.

The result. 4 new players. Two are fairly young and a couple. One is an avid wargamer of the GW line of games. His girlfriend is also a wargamer. She however has only ever had the experience of playing DnD, while her man has been dying to find a World of Darkness gaming group.

The other two players are also a couple, and work in the computer games industry as artists. Needless to say they have their own history of wargaming and computer games. However neither has roleplayed table top wise.

So a good mix. I have one player who knows the system to the games and others who are just looking for a fun time.

To break the ice we played through the Terrifying Tale of James Magnus, from World of Darkness: Ghost Stories. I had some pre-generated characters for everyone to play. What was a great surprise was how in character they played, and the extra details they added to their characters as the game went on. Characters got spooked, knifed, shot and killed as the ghosts haunted the house. I was utterly impressed by the level of in character gaming I was getting from all the players, especially from those newest to the hobby.

All  in all then a good batch of players who have now provided quite the mix of twisted changeling characters.

 

So some advice with getting new players?

Don't be shy. Be confident. Players tend to flock to storytellers who are confident in their own skills.

Gut Feeling. We may all be gamers but we don't all have to be friends. If you don't think someone will suit your gaming group then don't be afraid of saying no. Just because we are gamers doesn't mean we are friends by default. Your gut feeling is always a good indicator.

Boot Camp. Boot camp the players. Just as you must prove to them you can run the game, they have to prove that they a) can game b) fit your group c) not be social trolls and weird out the other players.

Noobs are Uncut Diamonds.  Yes really. You can find some of the best players in the world in those who haven't played/played that game system.

Social Networks are your friend. Use them to find players, organise players, make the gaming exciting (a written form of trailer to the game perhaps with images attached to inspire). All these things grab the attention of the players. 

 

Posted via email from Etheric Labs


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