Our story opens in February in Winnipeg, in the middle of a stretch of weather that’s abnormally cold, even for here, with night time temperatures dropping to -50 C with the wind chill, and day time temperatures never getting above -30 C. A couple of dead bodies have turned up at the Forks, a historical site/park/shopping centre where the Red and Assiniboine Rivers meet. Both bodies show signs of suffering from massive strokes and collapsing, freezing to death in the horrid cold.
Anne is drawn to this case because of her sister, who suffered a similar incident (minus the freezing to death) near the Forks. She wants to see if there’s a connection. Lucky is assigned to investigate the bodies, though it seems obvious to everyone that they are both accidental deaths. And Christian is asked by Madelein de la Neige to check into the possibility that the cold is a new assault on the Red Court by the White Council.
We ran into a bit of rough road getting the characters together, and had to use some hand-waving to justify some of it. This is because each of the three characters came from a different character creation session, and none of them shared a novel with any of the others. Also, there were some last minute changes of player and character, so I had to revamp some of the intro material on the fly. Still, once people got together and smoothed over the initial bumps, things went smoothly enough.
Christian’s examination of the bodies, Anne’s personal experience, and Lucky’s sighting of a tiny man with a bow and arrow in the trees led the three to conclude that the dead people had been elf-shot, inflicting stroke-like symptoms on them, and then had collapsed and died of exposure. They found tracks, some huge and some tiny, near the scene, and concluded that something was up with the faeries of the area.
So, they sought out Crazy Tom, Herald of the Assiniboine Ramble, finding him at the Lighthouse Mission on Main Street. He was fairly evasive, and somewhat crazy, but told them that the Bramble King had declared the incidents an internal matter under the Unseelie Accords and the Consecration of the Two Waters. He specifically warned Christian that interference by his mistress would be viewed as a violation of the Accords. The core pieces of data that they got were that the faeries of the Assiniboine Ramble were involved, and that the Bramble King had disallowed the use of elf-shot except under his direct orders.
Still not satisfied they had enough information to act on, they sought out one of the few independent faeries in the city: Amadan. Dealing with Amadan was a little more tricky, because he wanted something for his information, but the tacit promise of favours owed finally got him to cough up some information on where to find faeries who might be involved in this: Assiniboine Forest after dark. He also intimated that the Winter Court might be involved (the Assiniboine Ramble is a wyldfae freehold under the Bramble King), and that he’d be more than happy to discuss things further with Anne over dinner. She declined.
So, out into the cold, dark, windy night. Lucky brought his pistol, Anne brought a bag of fireworks fixings, along with some iron filings and holy water, and Christian brought three pair of stainless steel filleting gloves. Good thing, too.
After about an hour and a half (and several Endurance checks to avoid physical stress from cold), they wound up in the middle of a faerie battle. On one side were a bunch of fur-clad, beadwork-bedecked elves, brownies, and gnomes, and on the other were a flock of tiny ice sprites, ice hounds, and an ogre, all in the livery of the Winter Court. After a pitched battle, the characters managed to dispatch the Winter Forces; the other faeries took advantage of the interference to vanish.
And that’s where we left it.
Some overall comments:
- The system is strong and flexible. I was never at a loss for more than a second or two to come up with a way to let the players try whatever they wanted, or to simulate what I needed, like the terrible cold.
- Christian is strong. He went toe to toe with the ogre, and held his own. When the others got around to help him, the ogre didn’t stand much of a chance.
- It was fun to be able to use the characters I had created in the sessions as NPCs. In fact, I would recommend to all GMs running this style of game to create characters along with the players, to give you a stock of NPCs that have specific ties to the PCs.
- No magic use this session. Paul Roman is joining in the fun next Monday, so we’ll see what wrinkles a sorcerer adds to the mix.
Friday night is the other playtest group, with Rowan Aurelian, Legion, Gerhardt Rothman, and either Elaine de la Roche or Lyn McBride. That’s a much more mystically-potent group, so it’s going to be interesting to see how they handle things.