Friday’s story is set in the spring. It opens with Rowan getting a visit from the Warden Regional Commander for Western North America – one Carlos Rodriguez. Her parents are out of town, so she’s the White Council representative for the city. Warden Rodriguez has received a vague warning from the Gatekeeper that something bad is going to happen in Winnipeg. As it’s another of the Gatekeeper’s cryptic warnings from the future, Warden Rodriguez has no further information, and wants Rowan to monitor the situation and act as necessary. Rowan had sensed some disturbance in the magical flows and background of the city, but that’s not unusual during the changeover from Winter to Summer. She determines to investigate more closely, and to enlist Gerhardt’s help in doing so.
Gerhardt, meanwhile, is hip-deep in strange gang deaths. A number of gang members have been found savaged to death, seemingly by wild animals, always in gang houses. Most of the gangs have been hit, though the Mad Cowz have been hit slightly more often, and were hit first. The animalistic style of the attacks seems wrong to him, so he wants to talk to Rowan about possible supernatural aspects to the crimes.
Legion is feeling some tension. The demons he contains are getting stroppy; there’s something out there that resonates with them, some sort of hungry, predatory force. He does a little research to see what might be going on, and finds out about the gang murders. Looking for answers, he seeks out Gerhardt.
Elaine normally avoids her old neighbourhood, not wanting to get spotted by her family or former friends. She heads back there when she hears that the Mad Cowz have started moving in on the normally gang-free area, looking to recruit and claim the turf. This has prompted a response from the Manitoba Warriors, as the area is predominantly native and metis. Snooping around, she finds out that the gangs are looking to recruit because of the losses they’ve recently suffered, and are pushing into new territory because of the lack of safety in their old territory. She also finds out that Gerhardt is heading the investigation, so she goes to talk to him about what’s happening.
The group gets together and decides to go to the site of the most recent murder to investigate for clues and pick up some blood and bits so that Rowan can try a locator spell to track down the culprit. Rowan scans the scene with the Sight, and sees a rolling savannah with the slaughtered corpses of antelope and something malign moving through the tall grass towards her.
She warns the others and scribes a magic circle on the floor for protection, but can’t control the energy she pumps into it finely enough, so a lot of it bleeds off as very bright light. This causes Elaine to panic and flee, breaking the circle, and leaving everyone vulnerable to the shadowy hunting spirits that appear and attack.
The fight is panicked but very quick, as Gerhardt takes out most of the minor spirits with his shotgun, and Rowan, Legion, and Elaine tear apart the larger one. They then gather up some blood and some of the shadowy spirit essence, and retreat.
Gerhardt and Rowan start investigating in different directions, Gerhardt studying the crimes while Rowan summons an intellect spirit to question for information. They discover that the crimes seem to emanate out from an area in the middle of Mad Cowz territory where the gang members’ families live, and that several more of the creatures were summoned in the neighbourhood around Rowan’s home, resulting in the deaths of a number of pets.
Our intrepid team gets back together and decides to go to the untouched neighbourhood at the centre of the crimes to see what they can figure out. They are spotted cruising aimlessly through the district, and are confronted by two carloads of Mad Cowz armed with baseball bats and pistols. After some… strenuous negotiation, they get one of the gang members to admit that there’s sorcerer preying on gang members. He won’t say anything more, though, because if he does, he’s dead. He says that the only ones who can name the sorcerer are the dead.
So, our group decides to pay a visit to the Council of Ghosts to see if they can’t talk to a dead gangbanger. We’ll find out next Friday.
Comments about this session:
- The magic system is tremendously flexible and powerful – probably a little too much so. This is currently a hot topic of discussion on the playtester list, and Evil Hat are looking at ways to correct it. They’ve already added a fix for Evocation that keeps it from being ridiculously overpowered, now they need to do something with Thaumaturgy. The problem there is not power, but range: Thaumaturgists have the potential to steal any scene they want, relegating the other players to almost NPC status, because of the range of choices it offers.
- Using compels to force monsterous PCs to act like monsters works well, but came as a bit of a rude awakening for some.
- The mystery structure of adventure seems easy and natural for adventures. I’m not sure if that’s a result of the source material, the constraints of the playtest structure, the assumptions of modern fantasy play, or my own views and predilections, but thinking about adventures for the system, I naturally fall into constructing mysteries.
- I almost made Rowan’s character do a spit take with a jalapeno popper with the following conversation:
Rowan: Are there any of these shadow things within a kilometer of me?
Spirit of Intellect: There are six.
Rowan: How close is the closest one?
Spirit of Intellect: Five hundred meters.
Rowan: Five hundred meters?
Spirit of Intellect: Less, now.
Tonight, of course, is the Monday Night Game, episode two. We’ll catch up with our heroes in the aftermath of the faerie battle, and see how Christian explains his man-eating ghoulish nature to his companions.
I can hardly wait.