This week marked the end of both of my regular games for the university’s summer vacation. While I shall be running other games during the break this was the last time we would be playing either of these games until September. As usual for last sessions I felt a degree of pressure to go out on a high, giving people something to remember and a reason to look forward to the game starting up again in the Autumn.
Spending most of the session accidentally focussing on one of the players might be a strange way to do that. Ordinarily I would agree, but that’s sort of how the game developed and ultimately I judged it to be a success judging by the reactions of my players. I started the session knowing that the Satanist interefered with by two of the group in the previous session would use his magic to track down one of the people who trespassed in his home and destroyed his profane altar.
One of the trespassers, Toby Williams, returned to his home; a London townhouse and haunt; where he is presently staying with several members of the Krewe. The other, Professor Drake, returned to his own abode. This was a reasonably pleasant rented flat in a four storey building somewhere in London.
I decided to roll at random to see which of the two trespassers the diabolist would head after and lo the die landed on Ian Drake. This was quite fortunate as I felt that it would be easier to build tension and threat with one PC rather than five. I decided to proceed on the basis that I could have the other players portray random NPCs in and around the scene and later join in their own personas to try and save Drake from the danger he was in.
The scene with Drake unfolded just about perfectly. I enjoyed the sense of tension that developed as he woke up to find a sinister shadow at the end of his bed and then the sequence of action and response that unfolded. Ongoing events highlighted the surreal and slightly ridiculous sequences of events that can occur when supernatural abilities are thrown into the mix.
First Drake activated his Shroud to increase his toughness, giving himself a very impressive armour of around nine. This meant that when the satanist tired of Drake’s insolence and attempted to blow his head off with a double-barrelled shotgun it inflicted only minor wounds. Even those he filled with plasm to convert them from lethal to bashing damage. So there he was, practically untouched, with his bed completely wrecked around him except for the human silhouette he left there….
He then used another power to develop animal features that also enhanced his combat prowess, gaining a bestial appearance. Combined with the previous evidence of his indestructibilty the Satanist immediately assumed that this must be the demon he had been trying to summon and bind for a long time. As a result he promptly bowed down before Drake to worship him.
Meanwhile I had the other players portraying residents of the apartment and the police who were summoned by them, giving them a chance to be involved in what had turned into a fairly extensive scene. Their characters were all in bed at this time (with the exception of Barry, who was out on a debauched evening with Philip Bedgebury and it was therefore pretty difficult to involve them in anything going on elsewhere.
Drake decided to try and knock the satanist unconscious with a sudden blow but was unsuccessful. This prompted a full fight to break otu even as the police grew ever-closer. There was a bit of back and forth but, with his own magic now active, the satanist was also very difficult to attack. With the arrival of the police Drake decided to break off the fight and make a run for safety, knowing that if he stayed he would have some very difficult questions to answer.
Lightly injured by now and certainly not keen on further confrontation, Drake bailed butt naked out of a top-storey window as the police burst into the flat below. He landed reasonably well and sprinted away at top speed, pursued by two police offers (giving us a chance to use the ever popular footchase mechanic) who had been on guard outside the building.
The police officers gave up the chase on foot (though helicopters were out and about as well) and Drake decided to take shelter on a building site by lying in a ditch and tipping aggregate over himself so that he would suffocate and start astrally projecting.
Once on the ethereal plane, he rapidly ran (having insufficient power to fly even when out of his body) to find Toby Williams and wake him for help. Finally I had a chance to involve more of the group. When they got to the building site some two hours later they found out that Drake’s body had been discovered and the area searched by police helicopter. His apparently deceased body was being investigated by a coroner and it took a bit of quick thinking on the group’s part to work out the best way to rescue him without giving anything away.
Ultimately a cunning ruse with the coroner’s van and Williams’s power with machinery was concocted and worked without a hitch. Drake returned with the others to the town house to huff plasm from the refreshing pool of death energies in the basement and try to get some rest after his ordeal.
So, we didn’t end on a cliffhanger but there are plenty of plot threads dangling for the group to hold on to next year. Most important was the fact that my players felt involved in the session even as spectators, watching attentively and giving feedback and suggestions about how the scene would realistically unfold while also playing local NPCs. It was very satisfying once they were finally able to get involved in a significant way and the session’s third act (to borrow from the school of film writing) had a suitably dramatic conclusion for it to feel that something had actually happened.