Friday night was the latest session of my Feints & Gambits campaign. It’s been some time since the last one, so it was good to get back to the game. We had almost a full house, too; only one of the players couldn’t make it.
It being Good Friday, and the game being set in Dublin, there seemed only one storyline that I could use for the centrepiece of this adventure – the refighting of the Easter Uprising by the fey courts, using ghosts and faeries as soldiers, with the ghost of Padraig Pearse acting as judge. The fey courts use this as part of the game they play for control of Ireland, and the group has run into the edge of this thing previously, and, well, it was Easter weekend.
So, rather than use my master list of Aspects to generate the structure of the scenario, I pulled out the Aspects related to the main story and mapped out their relationship. Then I rolled a few more random Aspects to give the characters a way in to the situation.
At the start of the session, I decided I wanted to have a quick scene with each character to give them a hook into the scenario. I had worked out a few of them before play, but swapped a couple of them around and came up with new ones on the fly to fit things a little better, and to make sure that each character got the spotlight for a few minutes ((The random rolls I had done pre-game to select character Aspects to use to hook the characters had pulled up Aspects for the same characters for the last few games, and I wanted to spread things around a little more.)). The scenes I came up with were:
- A fey messenger warning Aleister that Baglock wanted him to keep out of it, without telling him what “it” was.
- Kate returning to her flat to find an unsigned note warning her to be careful with her ectomancy, because she was close to violating a Law of Magic.
- Macha warning Mark that, because the group had involved themselves in the Game previously, they might get tangled in it during Easter Week.
- Rogan got a prophecy from Mad Mary, saying that someone was trying to change the rules of the game, and it might be the end for an unspecified “him.”
- Firinne got a call from one of her business contacts, who had someone wanting to buy thirteen black iron athames.
The main thing I was wanting to accomplish with these scenes was to hint that something big was going down, and let the fact that it was Easter point them towards stuff to investigate. After all, they had built stuff during setting creation that tied into the whole thing.
But I misjudged. Thirteen black iron ritual knives was just too sinister for them to just let them go. Firinne was very concerned that they could be used to nasty effect ((In some ways, she’s one of the more responsible and cautious characters in the group, which is odd for a trickster changeling. Obviously, I need to compel her trickster nature a little harder.)), and roped in Kate and Mark to help with that. They were able to give some general answers as to what such things would be used for, but weren’t able to get specific. However, all the general things tended to sound rather… unpleasant, so everyone agreed that they needed to figure out what was going on.
Firinne used her glamours to disguise thirteen empty beer bottles as the knives, and Mark put a tracking spell on the box that held them. Rogan decided to accompany Firinne as backup to deliver them to her contact, who worked out of a dance club called Jesus Murphy ((It got named this way: Firinne asked what the club was called, and I turned it back on her, saying she had invented the contact and where he was located, so she’d have to come up with the name. She responded something along the lines of, “Jesus Murphy, now I have to come up with the name of the club, too?” And thus it was named.)). The knives were delivered and payment accepted, but Rogan got a whiff of something odd with her supernatural sense of smell. She followed the odour, which was that of death, to a trio of young women dancing on the floor of the club.
Suspecting they were undead, she wanted to interrogate them, but not in the middle of a dance club. So, she started a fist fight ((The group seems to love them some bar brawls.)) in order to get the bouncers to toss all five – Rogan, Firinne, and the three suspected zombies – out, where they could settle things in private. This worked marvelously, but the follow-up didn’t go the way they had planned.
See, Firinne isn’t much of a fighter. She carries a gun for when she absolutely needs it, but prefers not to pull it. Rogan is a combat monster, but only in her smilodon form. And these three scrappy young women proceeded to mop the pavement with our heroines. They got to experience first-hand the hard lesson Aleister learned in the first game: numbers are a big advantage, especially when they use teamwork.
Rogan finally shifted her form, which freaked their targets out, and then everything went black and cold. A deep voice spoke out of the blackness, threatening and taunting Rogan and Firinne, and filling Firinne’s lungs with peaty bog water. Our heroines took the better part of valour, and scampered back to the waiting car.
This is the point where I had the others show up – Firinne had called them between getting booted from the club and the fight starting outside. With the numbers so bolstered, they went back to see what was going on, and found three bog-mummies – very much inanimate – that had been living humans shortly before. Rogan had had some inkling during the fight that the women weren’t undead ((You can get quite a good sniff of someone if they’ve got you in a hair-pulling headlock.)), but that the smell had been the taint of death, rather than actual death – more a metaphyiscal thing.
This, coupled with Kate’s use of The Sight on the scene and her sense of necromantic energies at Trinity College some months previous, led the group to decide that there was, indeed, some big necromantic badness in the offing. Some investigation and lurking back at the club ((Also some magic and some breaking and entering, but don’t tell anyone.)) revealed that the fake knives were still there, and they concluded that the women they had fought had, in fact, been there to pick up the knives. Come dawn, Firinne refreshed her glamour, and Mark his tracking spell, and they went to get a little sleep.
So, on Saturday, a day associated with the triumph of death and the absence of god in Christianity, the daggers moved. The gang followed them to Trinity College, where they saw ten obvious students divvying them up and heading off. One of the students kept the box and the extra three knives, and that’s the one they followed back to his dorm room. When they tried to bully him into talking to them, they found a very powerful ward set up in his doorway and, when they pressed the case, the darkness and cold came back, and their target started gurgling and gasping.
Kate used a magic dissolving potion to pull the ward down, and they snatched the boy out of his room. He was already turning brown and withering, with brown, peaty water pouring from his mouth. Mark almost blew a brain gasket, but managed to interfere enough with the incoming spell to break it and save the boy’s life. The group bundled him up and took him off somewhere safe to recover before the bad juju came back.
And that’s where we left it. The investigation is going in a different direction than I had anticipated, and leading up to a very different climax, but it should still be a good one. Next session should finish it off.