I had planned to get this post done a lot sooner, but life ((And cheesemaking.)) got in the way. Our session was more than a week ago, and I had planned to do the post immediately ((Well, the next day.)). But, as I say, things got in the way. What that means is that I am not as fresh from the game as I wanted to be, and I may be light on some details. If any of my players read this, and care to elaborate on or correct any of my stories, well, I’ve got a comment section down below. Go nuts.
Because only one of our players was familiar withÂ Fate games, I spent the first part of the evening giving the group a primer on how the rules worked. We talked about aspects, skills, the ladder, fate points, invocations and compels. I also talked about three ways to make dice rolls: actual dice ((I have aÂ lot of Fate dice.)), theÂ Deck of Fate, and theÂ Deck of FateÂ app. We settled ((After a strong recommendation from me; I find the little prompts on the Deck of Fate cards to be very helpful, especially for players new toÂ Fate.)) on using theÂ Deck of Fate.
I had also printed up cheat sheets for each character. On one side, I had the cheat sheet from theÂ Evil Hat site ((Listed asÂ Fate Core Cheat Sheet and Veterans’ Guide on this page.)); on the other, I had the full text of each character’s stunts, and the rules for mini-montages. All in all, including the examples, the introduction to the rules took about an hour.
I had spent some time building our movie’s general plot: I came up with three acts – one for each session – with the general outline for each. Then, I spent some time preparing a number of scenes and the connections for the first session, fleshing it out into something actually playable.
I found, after the game, that I had prepared a number of scenes that just didn’t come into play, because of decisions and choices made by the players, and also because of time. Still, I much prefer to be over-prepared than under-prepared. And, at the end of the playtest, with appropriate permission, I may post the entire scenario in the playtest samples. We’ll see.
So, we jumped in with a few of the characters ((Doctor Zero, Ike Thermite, Ia Shakti.))running into Anthony van der Waal ((Cannot read. Can talk to animals. Possessed by a ghost musician.)) being accosted by a trioÂ of Bone Thugs. Our heroes made short work of them, rescuing Anthony, and bringing him back to Hank Fitzgerald‘s lab, where Deetz was able to interrogate the ghost possessing Anthony.
Okay, I messed up, here. I had been planning for Anthony to have been possessed by Billie Holiday, though I was planning to refer to her as Lady Day. But some of my friends went to see a Janis Joplin tribute show a few days before, and somehow, that made Janis Joplin stick in my mind. So, while Anthony called the possessing ghost Lady Day, when Deetz was interviewing her directly, I said her name was Janis Joplin.
Yup, I’m a dope.
When I realized that, I stopped referring to her as Lady Day. It didn’t correct the error, but it minimized it. And no one commented on it. I probably got away with it, but maybe not ((So, why do I bring it up? Because it bugs me that I made this dumb error, and because, if any of the players did catch it, now they understand what happened)).
Anyway, from the discussion with Janis Joplin’s ghost, the heroes learned that there had been more possessions lately, and that the Bone Thugs had been tracking down and… doingÂ something to those whoÂ were possessed. They also learned that the situation with Anthony and Janis was a little different – Anthony was a somewhat limited fellow, and didn’t take very good care of himself, but Janis was actually looking after him and helping him improve his lot, earning some money with busking and reminding him to bathe and eat and such. It was a symbiotic relationship, so they decided not to Ghost-Punch Janis out of Anthony. At least, not yet.
This led Hank and Ia to head to the police station, where Hank’s uncle Liam was a detective sergeant. There, they got the lowdown on the Bone Thugs, as far as the police were concerned:
- The Bone Thugs are aÂ local gang of long standing.
- They are working on expanding there territory.
- In the past few months, they’ve suddenly turned from a group of undisciplined ((Still dangerous.)) thugs into an effective army of biker criminals.
- Their leader, Mandible, has rather unexpectedly turned into something of a strategic and tactical genius.
- The Bone Thugs are causing problems by distributing a type of meth that seems to drive the people crazy when they take it. The description of the craziness made Hank and Ia deduce that the victims had been possessed by ghosts.
- Hank took advantage of Ia and Liam chatting to copy as much as he could of the Bone Thugs’ police file.
So, with that information, the gang started investigating. Ike and Deetz interrogated a captive Bone Thug, playing good cop/bad cop ((And learning how to use the Create Advantage action to co-operate.)), and found out where the Bone Thugs hung out ((A bar called Velma’s.)), and who was cooking their ghost meth ((Some dude named Hoke Mason.)). They thus formulated a… well, let’s be kind and call it a plan. Really, it was more a loose collection of aspirational ideas.
Ike decided to head off to Velma’s and see what he could find out. He went as his cover identity, Pierre Chambeau ((Avant-Garde Performance Artist,Â Overbooked)), claiming to have been booked to perform at the bar. This seemed kind of impossible, but he, against all my expectations, made it worked. With the aid of Moog ((Robot with a heart of gold. The ladies love him.)) ((I’ll be honest – I was not all that hot on the existence of Moog on the cast list. It struck me as too silly. But then, thinking about it, I came around. After all, even one of the Rocky movies had a robot in it, right?)), who was working at the bar as a jukebox, he did an interpretive dance about the sorrow of the death of comrades. It won the gang – including Mandible – over so much that Paul wound up with the aspectÂ Honorary Bone Thug.
The rest of the group, meanwhile, was kind of bogged down in figuring out how to set up a drug buy to get their hands on some of the ghost meth in order to… well, they weren’t quite sure about the next step. I had a scene involving some Bone Thug meth dealers written up, but the group was just talking about it.
It was getting late, so I had Liam call Ia ((She had made a more favourable impression on Liam than his own nephew, Hank, had.)) and let her know that there were some police reports about a house party getting out of hand, and rumours of Bone Thug meth being involved. In most cases, I would have suggested a montage at this point, but our heroes had been clever and lucky enough to not have incurred any consequences. Instead, I suggested each character take advantage of the mini-montage to show how they individually geared up for the expedition to the crazy party.
I unleashed a swarm of partygoers under the influence of broken and insane ghosts on the four of the heroes who arrived at the party ((All five of the characters went to the apartment building, but Doctor Zero lagged behind because of anÂ Old Coot compel.)), things got nuts:
- Hank had a partial ghost tried to invade his mind ((To be fair, they had tried to invadeÂ everyone’s mind, but Hank was the one who made a bad, bad Will check.)), and Deetz worked to shake him free of it.
- Ia used her prana blast to supercharge Ike’s Ghost-Punch ability, and they managed to clear the possessing spirits out of the whole mob in record time.
- Doctor Zero, lagging behind the others, followed a pair of retreating Bone Thugs down the stairs and into a trap set by Mandible to take care of some Tarantulas, the gang that currently controlled the area they were in. So, into the middle of a rumble.
At this point, one of the players wanted to compel one of Doctor Zero’s aspects, but wasn’t certain how or which aspect to compel. I suggested to her that, if she compelled hisÂ Spirit of the Weird aspect, I had an idea. If Doctor Zero agreed, of course. He did, and so I had Mandible recognize Doctor Zero, and reveal that the ghost possessing him was an echo of Doctor Methuselah. They squared off in social combat in the middle of the rumble, and Ia, watching from six floors up, gathered up all her fate points and all the aspects on the board, and sniped Mandible with a prana blast that laid him out in the middle of the argument.
We wrapped things up quickly, after that, with Ike using theÂ Honorary Bone Thug aspect to get the group into the lab where the ghost meth was made. There, they found a number of clues that UGen Medical, a biotech conglomerate and all-around evil corporation, was responsible for teaching the Bone Thugs how to harvest ghosts and grind them up to empower their meth.
That brought us to the Call to Action milestone, and I got each player to talk about how they were getting ready to take on UGen. The general tone of their statements sounded very heist-like, so the big advantage I’m giving them on the next session isÂ Inside UGen Security.
And now I have to write up that session. Should be fun!