Following the events of the previous night, Kane awoke to find himself in the bathtub. His clothes were still ruined from where he had been staked and he was hungry. Very hungry. There was a knock at the bathroom door and he heard Karl, Dimitri’s ghoul, ask if it was OK to come in. Kane get his Beast in check, and allowed Karl to come in, who told Kane that Dimitri had asked him to feed Kane so that he would be sated until the herd they had called arrived.
Meanwhile Thessaly was once more at her desk in the icy cold of her run down house in
There was a knock at the door, and
She headed up stairs and greeted the Dr. He was dressed in his typical tweed suit and bow tie, and took out a pocket handkerchief and dusted a chair off before sitting. He asked
Kane, now having fed and healed a little, took a call from the Constable, Ihram. They needed his presence at a house in the suburbs. The address was the same one he had in the message from his sister.
Arriving at the house, with Dimitri who had driven them there in his Porsche, they saw that the house was in fact a police crime scene. At the front door was Ihram, and it was simple to presume that the officers working the case were ghouls.
Going into the house with Ihram, Kane and Dimitri were hit by the stench of blood. The house was a squat. It was filled with junk and rubbish. But worse yet was the kitchen. Sat in a chair, bloodied and bruised and pale and gagged, was the body of Kane’s sister. She had been drained of blood from multiple cuts. But no bite marks. It was a shocking scene to see her like this in such a terrible place. Even Dimitri was disturbed by the scene.
But there was more. Ihram gave Kane a portable DVD player and four tarot cards. The cards were ‘The Final Judgement’, ‘The Four of Cups’, ‘The Devil’ and ‘Temperance’. They then watched the DVD. On it they saw Kane’s sister, alive, struggling with her bonds as a knife could be seen in shot. There was a voice and it said;
“You’ve gambled with life now twice. First you gamble as mortals. You were born. Then you gambled again and were reborn. And now you keep on gambling. Every day the world has the odds stacked against you. And now you have gambled against the odds and lost. Give up. Give up your crusade, give up on the election, plug the plug on it, stop gambling with more that you can afford. Admit to all that you have lost. That, or next time you come to the table make sure you have a full house or a royal flush. Or maybe play with a different deck.”
It was Ihram who was also able to answer Kane’s mystery regarding the vampire who he rescued from the hunters. Apparently she is the first vampire in some time to bear a symbol that has only been seen on members of the Brood. Ihram suggested that the coterie be careful and on the look out for these vampires, as the Brood is an even greater threat to the city and had only just been eliminated from city 5 years ago. Taking the cards, the DVD and one of the knives used to kill his sister, Kane left, shifting form and flew to
Almost two weeks pass, and on Friday the 17th of December the coterie is gathered again by Patrick Falken. In the last two weeks
Patrick Falken thanked the coterie for their service, and that he only one more thing to ask of them. He asked them all of their opinion of the election and if they believed that he would win the election. He then asked if there is anything that they truly wish to have. Kane of course wanted more influence within the Carthians and a chance to find his sister’s killer. Dimitri asked for more influence within the Carthians and control of the Ascension Club (which had been taken by the Myrmidon) while Thessaly wanted more guarantees for the Circle of the Crone and access to any texts that may be of use to her grandsire.
Patrick Falken explained the election process. He told them of the Rite of the Puppet King. This ritual of blood magic tied would bind the election ballot box to all those who were taking part in the election. If the ballot box is tampered after the ritual and before the count then all of those taking part in the election would feel it. However, there is another lesser known ritual that can be used on the ballot papers, called the Rite of the Thousand Fangs. This ritual would be able to alter the vote on the ballot papers. It would be this ritual that Patrick Falken would have used on the ballot papers. But for this to work he needs the help of
The coterie deliberated and concluded that they would help fix the election for Patrick, in exchange for the things he promised.
Patrick gave them the location of the printers where the ballot papers were being prepared. The election would take place on the 21st of December, the longest night. So the coterie had only 4 days to act. However, that night would not be one as they had a prior engagement with the Circle of the Crone. That night was the night of the Winnowing ritual.
Driving up to a farm on the hills about
In the warm of the kitchen of the farm house Magus Gregor spoke to
The main event of the Winnowing was the Four Seasons, a play that demonstrated to the Acolytes the cycle of life and the roles of the Acolytes within it and within the covenant. On stage masked Acolytes performed the play and human sacrifices were brought out. There was blood and fire and screams, and
Roleplay games require characters. Characters for your players. But also characters for your players to interact with. These are the cast of the show. These are you allies, enemies and those just passing by. Now as the Storyteller of the game how do you deal with this cast, which can range from just a half dozen for some stories, or scenes, to over 20 or 30? How can we keep all those characters in our heads without either a) going mad or b) turning into Johnny Depp?
The thing is it is all a matter of scale and importance. Some characters need elaborate histories while others just need a few lines of description. Some need a whole host of stats while others just need a suggestion on how powerful they are in the actions that they get involved in.
Let’s work from the top down then.
At the top, are, after the player characters, the other main stars of the game. These characters are critical to the story, and to the plots that they engage in or even instigate. For this reason these characters need the most detail, both in terms of stats and background. We need to understand their motivations, their hopes, their fears, and just how far they are willing to go to see their plans come to pass. It is by being able to answer these questions, and determine their game stats that we now have some idea of the personality that is required to live through these actions and decisions. After all only a certain type of personality is able to commit to these types of actions and goals. And of course in turn they will only have certain stats. It’s a lot of hard work, and of course you want each of these key characters to be different, but the pay off is big. These characters will stand out and are the signature of your game, and will be instantly remembered by your players. You now it had worked when you begin to describe who they spot on a video screen and before you have finished one of the players respond with “Oh great it’s that fucking bitch!” Job’s a good ‘un!
So what little things can you do that make these characters stand out? You have elaborate backgrounds, well thought out motivations, and stat lines. Well there are their physical descriptions. Now it is so easy to fall into using certain clichés here. All Daeva vampires become sooooo beautiful, sooo sexy. But really the best thing you can do is to make these descriptions fit with their backgrounds. The mundane is not boring, it is believable. And it is also the canvas upon which the more interesting character traits stand out. Too many strange and unique traits become confusing. More useful is when the players can hear a clicking of a case and next see a person who is known for always flicking open and closed a pocket watch. A vampire who smokes is also interesting and means that you can use the smell of that character’s cigarettes as a storytelling device. It’s these quirks that sell a character. Now quirks don’t just have to be physical traits, they can be psychological. Perhaps the character prefers certain colours, or always buys the same newspaper each day at a certain time.
So let’s move down the ladder. Characters at the mid and lower levels of importance require a decreasing amount of detail. But just because they don’t have character backgrounds that cover every detail of their life, or have complete stat lines, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have character. Not all taxi drivers are all the same. This means that even the pedestrians have quirks.
But why should they have quirks? Why should you try and have each character stick in the player’s mind? Well in may turn out through the course of a game that even lesser characters become important and these quirks are what make once unimportant, stat free, background less, characters memorable. They suddenly remember where they met that homeless guy, or that cop who reads Shakespeare.
There are other tools for making characters memorable and stand out. We have mannerisms and their voice. Something that I have seen is that all bad guy characters can end up being the same type of Saturday morning cartoon villains. Deep voices. Menacing stares. Now not all of us are good at mimicking accents. Some of us are just not that confident. But still making the effort to at least describe the manner in which they talk, and their mannerisms (another clue to the personality of the character), makes these characters memorable.
Now we can even apply this on the fly for characters that we need at a moment’s notice. All need is a few seconds to note down a few descriptions for each trait; Physical Description, Personality, Mannerisms, Quirk. Now for the time being you don’t need to note anything about their background but if this character is worth using again it is worth going back to these notes and expanding these.
With our cast of characters ready what do we do in play to manage them? Well you know those quick notes for on the fly new characters? That can be applied to characters that have already been written up. We can think all characters in terms of a few descriptions for each of those categories. This means that in our head is a summary of each character, and we can then refer to their full notes if we need details. These summaries can be written down on flash cards and kept on hand if, God help us, we have to deal with many characters at once being spoken to by the player characters. Having to jump between personalities is not easy but the trick for you and the players are these short summaries. If they are memorable to the players then they will be memorable for you.
So there you go, my hints on playing characters, and really how to make a cast of individuals rather than cookie cutter Saturday morning bad guys.
Next up will be some of my opinions on the games I have played. What things I have run, how I have run them, what things worked, what didn’t, and what I have still to run.
Following the issue with missing ghoul Kane headed down to the loading bay of the shopping centre while Dimitri informed Patrick Falken of the issue and that he will try and and get everybody to leave before there are any more problems. Meanwhile Thessaly was still at the hospital for the insane and was breaking into filing cabinets.
In the loading bay Kane and the other vampires and ghouls on security discovered the missing ghoul. He had been burnt to death. Splitting up they went looking for the reason why. But things just got worse as the other vampire soon went missing. Kane and a ghoul found blood stains and then his body, hidden away. He had been staked and beheaded. There was also a van that looked suspicious and Kane was certain he could see containers in there that looked like it was a bomb. Kane then watched as the ghoul on look out was consumed in flames. Kane hid and watched the hunters kill the ghoul with the flamethrower. Kane could barely keep the fear in him down, taking the shape of a raven and flew away before regaining his composure.
Dimitri had just got the guests to leave, and the drugged up Annabel Barbican taken to a taxi. But he was confronted in the club and before the other Kindred still present. Patrick's rival, Julia Reinhart, demanded to know what was going on. However, Dimitri was not taking any crap, and knowing he had the support of those guests still present, just said it was his party and would do what the hell he liked. Julia, seeing how she had no command of the situation, stormed off, leaving Dimitri to go and find Kane.
Thessaly opened the cabinets and found files on medical blood experiments, Astra Zenca drug trials, autopsy reports on Kindred, and also files stolen from the Ordo Dracul, and information taken from the Sanctified and Acolytes. She read through some and grabbed what she could, noting a CD that bore the same code as the piece of arabic manuscript they found in Dr Tobin's abandoned car. It was just in time as she spotted issues with the security cameras. Some one was burning them out with flares. And that some one was Lauren Esten and her Ordo Dracul friends. Thessaly acted quickly and made an escape, knowing the main entrance to the wing was blocked off, she found an old laundry chute and escaped through the boiler room of the hospital.
In the loading bay of the Great Northern shopping centre, Dimitri and his ghoul Karl, watched as the hunters made their escape, they took the vans with them, knowing that the party above was over and they had lost their opportunity. Dimitri then noticed the other ghoul security come out of hiding as the vans left, and a strange raven that flew over their heads, Dimitri's and then went flying off following the van.
Kane arrived at an old metal working factory near the canals and so he approached, his form offering him the element of surprise. Inside the hunters were removing the explosives from the van. But also the leader of the hunters mentioned that their contact had better have some more information on when to hit the bloodsuckers next. Within the factory there was also a cage which held a bloody and battered woman. She was clearly a vampire who had been captured and the leader of the hunters was questioning her, before beating her again.
Kane landed down on the factory floor and shifted back to human form, before shifting to his cat form. Playfully he tried to get the attention of the hunters, before making such a distraction by which he could steal the key to the cage off the table. With the key in his mouth he once more made his way to cover and shifted back to his human form. He had a plan. Kane had earlier contacted the Constable about the hunters, and that a police strike team would be there to apprehend the men on grounds of terrorism. Kane waited.
There was then a commotion as the police stormed the factory. Gas grenades were fired in, giving Kane the cover needed to get to the cage and release the female vampire. But as he did so Kane was shot in the back by one of the hunters. Undeterred by the shotgun slug Kane opened the cage and released the woman he launched herself at the hunter and tore his throat out. Kane Grabbed her and they fled, just in time as the entire factory went up in flames.
On the streets Kane and the woman hid in an alleyway, the police helicopters had not been able to track them. Kane called Dimitri to get picked up as it was an hour before dawn. But as Kane put the phone down he felt the pain of a piece of wood being rammed through his chest. The woman turned on him and sneered. "Thanks for the help". Dimitri arrived to find the body of Kane left behind some rubbish bags. Dimitri removed the stake and fed Kane some of his blood.
Meanwhile Thessaly tried to put the clues together. She was researching in her haven, the cold of winter not affecting her. There she learnt more about the daemon Si'lat, about the book the Kitab Si'lat, the myths of the Tremere, and wondered how all this linked to the Ordo Dracul, the Coil of Blood, stigmata and the Lancea Sanctum.
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From the White Wolf Wiki, the most complete White Wolf reference
Changeling: The Lost is the fifth game for the new World of Darkness, published by White Wolf. It was announced via an advertisement in the back of Promethean: The Created, and was released in August 2007. Like the main three games (Vampire, Werewolf and Mage), it is a re-imagining of one of the original World of Darkness games - Changeling: The Dreaming - but it radically departs from it's predecessor. It is heavily inspired by traditional stories of the Fae and other tales of abduction, encompassing everything from cautionary fairytales told to children to modern-day urban legends and UFO stories.
- Follow the Links to get ideas so we can do a character design session
- Also remember you will be playing experienced characters so you will have lots of room for customization
Following the events at the labs and the junk yard the coterie had revealed what they had discovered to Patrick Falken and Chamberlain Odans, who both advised that with respect to the issues with the Ordo Dracul that they should continue as if they were not aware of them. Instead they should lure them out and their Invictus allies. As for the traitors to the Carthians, Lauren Esten had gone to ground and was currently being sort out by the Myrmidon so that she could be questioned over the events of the Prefect’s death. As for the final death of Jacob Lewis as Kane’s hands, the issue was to be brushed under the carpet by Patrick Falken, Kane having previously revealed this issue to him.
It was December now and the nights were getting very long, the perfect time for any real chaos to occur within the ranks of the Kindred. Kane awoke and met with Constable Ihram in a church grave yard to discuss the issue of the Ordo Dracul and Lauren Esten. Lauren had still not been found and Kane was ordered to keep an eye out. Kane then received a call from an old work college who said that he had just met Kane’s sister and that she was in the city and she had been looking for him as it had been some time since they had last spoken or seen him.
Following this meeting Kane headed to the Great Northern centre where Club Hangman’s was located, and where he would meet Thessaly, Dimitri, Patrick, Spokesman Rain and a few others to discuss last minute preparations for the following night’s party. Happy with the arrangements Patrick congratulated Dimitri and the others before they were interrupted by Dr Hugo Emris Auldwyn. He wanted to meet with Thessaly, and in a curtained off area he asked if she, being a member of the Crone and so with not real ties to the party tomorrow, would go to the asylum and keep watch over a patient and observe him. He needs someone to watch and she will be compensated by the Chairman. But he also wishes for Thessaly to give her insight on the man, her knowledge and skills being of use.
The next evening Thessaly arrived at the Cheadle Hulme Hospital, a psychiatric centre and the former Manchester Asylum. It was a dark and imposing red brick Victorian building, and the rain only made it seem more sinister. She had been given by a ghoul of Hugo’s a uniform and access cards, and a map, that would lead her to the hidden research wing maintained by him. She walked through corridors that at this time of evening were now fairly empty. The odd orderly wheeled a patient to their room, another patient would be walking about, barely noticing her presence. As she got nearer to the west wing she noticed an empty recreation room. It was dark and then the TV blinked on. The screen was just static. It blinked off. Then on again, and from down the corridor Thessaly could hear someone moaning. She went to look, and on a bed, almost forced into the mattress, was a man, his eye wide open looking straight up. He turned to look at Thessaly and spoke.
‘One who stands in the helm of shadows and the cloak of nightmares. He is seeking his name, the fallen angel, the bringer of pandemonium, he shall take your souls and lay them bare to the beast. The crows circle and blood will seep from the land and he shall rise!’
The man then went quiet and Thessaly watched as shadows cast by the tress outside, like fingers, fell across his body and then, by some manner, began to creep closer to her. She stepped back and cast a circle of protection. The shadows backed off and all went quiet once more. Thessaly hurried on to the dining hall.
Back at Club Hangman’s the party was just getting started. Dimitri had got there early and was dressed up in a smart McQueen suit and a Venetian mask. The other Kindred present were also smartly dressed, some more than others, and they too wore masks for Dimitri had said the party was also a masquerade party and also his death day party.
Eventually the club was filled up, and Kane and Dimitri conversed with Priscus Neils of the Daeva, the Myrmidon, Chamberlain Odans, Spokesman Rain, some of the neonates and ancillea of the Carthians. A few punkish Kindred turned up at the doors, but were soon turned away by security. They were anarchs, those Carthians willing to go to extreme measures for a change in power. But then one person arrived who caught the attention of Dimitri, Annabel Barbican. It seems that the Invictus had taken his bait and accepted his invitation. He proceed to talk to her and to the Chamberlain, exchanging biting remarks until the Chamberlain reminded Annabel to be more courteous in the presence of their host. Kane then received a voice message from his sister. She said that she needed to see him and gave him an address that was located in the suburbs. Kane ignored it and continued with the party.
It was now that Dimitri hatched his plan, and offered her one of the nicest of the herd to feed on that night. Unknown to her, Dimitri had drugged the man with morphine. He took Annabel to one of the curtained areas and privately watched as she fed on the drugged man. Soon she too was feeling the effects. But before Dimitri could carry out his insidious plan, Patrick Falken had arrived and Dimitri had to present him to the gathered Carthians.
Meanwhile Thessaly had made her way to the secret underground hospital rooms. Accessed from a false freezer door the underground hospital wing was a dim and dark place. It was damp and cold, and deadly quiet. Gone were the mad ramblings of the patients from above. As she made her way down the corridor Thessaly passed a number of empty rooms and then came to the office from which Dr Hugo worked, his laboratory and a room with a large steel door. Within Thessaly could see a padded room, stained with damp and blood and bile. On the walls were things written in blood. Dr A, Dr R, Dr H, and tallies next to them. There was also the name Williamson, and one word that was new to Thessaly. Tremere.
Suddenly at the view hatch her eyes met those of another. His eyes were yellow, his pupils fully dilated. She could see little of his face and so a conversation began. The man spoke of strange things, of experiments, elixirs, his father (who he did not name), and of the things waiting in the shadows. Thessaly could see from his aura that he was quite mad, but also truthful.
Back at the party Dimitri introduced Patrick, first thanking everyone for coming and attending the party, his death day party, and of for showing their support for Patrick. With the pleasantries over Dimitri return to the curtained booth to find Annabel still intoxicated. It was now that he committed his perverse act.
Meanwhile Kane was in the club and over the radio he had heard that one of the ghouls on security in the loading bay below was not responding. Something was not going to plan.