Busy Weekend

I spent this weekend working on preparing for various games that are going to be starting soon.

Hunter: The Vigil

First, I’ve almost finsihed knocking the Hunter: The Vigil campaign into shape. I’ve made more work for myself with this than I was intending; see, I did a co-operative world-building thing with the players, and we wound up with something a little farther off the core rules than I had expected. Far enough that I’ve had to create a free-form special powers system to support what I want to do. Which is fine, as far as it goes, but it means that I have to do some extra work with each individual player to set up mechanics for their special abilities.

This is  a little harder and more time-consuming than I had expected. A large part of that comes from the fact that I’m not as familiar with the New World of Darkness system as I am with the old one, and I’m having to do some more reading to make sure I’m not creating more problems for myself than I’m solving. Another part of the delay is the fact that building the powers is enough work that I’ve been putting it off.

But I’m in the home stretch, now, almost done with the power, and with the initial adventure fleshed out. We’re starting the game in a version of Magical Winnipeg that we developed for the Dresden Files RPG Bleeding Alpha Playtest. As we created it for the Dresdenverse, it doesn’t have the dark, horrific aspect that Hunter does, so I’m tweaking things a little. Still, the setting is more in keeping with the power level and the desire for playing supernatural (or at least unusual) characters that the players indicated.

One of the things we did during character creation for this game is to have a sort of collectively-narrated shared prelude for the characters, bringing the group together for the first time. This weekend, I finally got that typed up and distributed. Here’s how the party met:

As Below, So Above

In the spring of 2009, a number of disappearing students at the University of Manitoba attracted the attention of several people who had interests in investigating supernatural occurrences. Izzy, lecturing on civil engineering at the University, knew two of the missing students, and Nicholas knew another – she was the lead singer in his band, Divine Comdey. Liv was the one who tied it together, tracking the information on her site, and that attracted the notice of Vivianne and Ellis.

They began investigating independently, with Vivianne infiltrating the University occult crowd. She found most of them to be posers, but discovered that one of the missing students was a member. She delivered that information to Liv, who had come to town to investigate things in person.

Liv tracked down Izzy and convinced her to give her access to the University computer systems. She found unusual plans for expansion and completion of the tunnels under the University, plans that didn’t make a lot of sense.

Meanwhile, Ellis was on the trail of some stolen rare earths, substances used in many geomantic rituals, from one of the science labs at the University. His investigations lead him to the dorm room of one of the missing students, where he meets Nicholas, who has come to see where they lead singer has disappeared to.

After they established that they are after the same things, they searched the room and find most of her belongings are gone, but discovered her phone in the pocket of a pair of jeans. They decided to take it to Liv, being familiar with her website and tech expertise.

The various investigators got together and compare their findings. Izzy’s interpretation of the building plans allowed Ellis to identify the shape of a sigil linked to earth magic, similar to the patterns used by Neolithic societies in their underground constructions. They were able to tie together information from the occult poseurs with the symbol, the missing rare earths, and their knowledge of the supernatural, determining that someone was planning to sacrifice “builders of stone and delvers of earth” – the engineering students – to power a geomantic rite that would shatter the floodway and flood downtown Winnipeg.

Arming themselves, they proceeded into the steam tunnels, looking for the centre of the ritual – an underground maintenance room beneath the administration building. Earth spirits, roused by the beginnings of the ritual, obscured the area with drifting dust and shifting shadows, distorting the distance and size of the area to make traversing the tunnels difficult. Members of the cult attacked the hunters physically, and the heroes were forced to fight their way into the ritual space.

One of the students had already been sacrificed, and Nicholas’s friend was next on the list when they burst in. In the ensuing battle, the villain managed to sacrifice the singer, and Nicholas killed him for it. They freed the other two sacrifices and fled the tunnels as the backlash from the interrupted ritual called in a deluge of river water to wash the place clean.

So, things are finally moving forward on that front. The first game will happen soon.

The Phoenix Covenant

Finished the map of the area around Stayyin Keep and Covenant, where the game is going to begin. You can see it on Obsidian Portal here. I’m not great with maps, and this one has a number of flaws that jump out at me as I look more closely at it, but all-in-all I’m satisfied with it. It’s got 13 locations marked on it for the party to explore, and about the same number of places that are only marked on my GM version that they may or may not find out during play. The entries of the marked locations are already up on the wiki.

Have I mentioned how much I love Obsidian Portal? I love them lots.

And that was my weekend.

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