Posts Tagged ‘ACWoD’

Abilities in M20: Brawl Additions!

September 26, 2015

Okay, so anybody that read my previous M20 related post knows that my initial reaction to the division between Brawl and Martial Arts in M20 was extremely negative. During a discussion with Satyros Phil Brucato, the game’s developer, in the M20 Facebook group, this fact came up, and I’ll shortly get to why that fact is relevant to this post. I have great respect for his wide ranging talents, his creativity and his hard-charging work ethic, even if I don’t always agree with his output. To be honest, how could anybody ever really always agree with another creator’s or artist’s or writer’s output if they’re actually thinking for themselves? It’s just not going to happen. So long as folks can be polite about those creative differences, cool.

Anyhow, Satyros argued that I was giving this particular creative decision short shrift and that I ought to take a closer look at how he integrated a meaningful distinction between the two more fully into the combat system and also built it into the Focus rules. He pointed out that this distinction was not exactly new to the Storyteller System, having appeared previously in Kindred of the East and World of Darkness: Combat back during the 2nd edition era. To that last I maintain that I disliked the division back then too and don’t care for either of those prior books. I took those rules’ having been left out of the Revised editions of Vampire, Mage and Werewolf as a sign that White wolf had moved on from the concept also at least insofar as the Storyteller system was concerned. He suggested that I step back, blank my slate and ignore the negative associations I have with the prior sources and look over the combat and focus systems on their own merits with an open mind. This I have done over the course of the past month or more, mulling over the implications of the division within the rules themselves, on play and how I feel about said implications. A more serious and thoughtful dive into the book did change my views on a number of things from my first impressions (the value of Esoterica, for example), but I hardly found all points persuasive. (more…)

Jumping Genres!

July 4, 2014

My last post was written mostly with humorous intent, but also was intended to get some thoughts churning. Protestations to the contrary notwithstanding, I wouldn’t derail an existing and relatively serious,steady game so wildly as to put something like the Deck of Many Genres into play. That would be a rather gross abuse of the social contract between GM and players, really.

I would, however, shift genres in a game as long as that made sense within the context of the game… and I would also run a game where the very premise revolves around shifting genres/layers of reality/alternate dimensions where the players move from one genre to the next and possibly back again. It might work best with a certain pre-determined number of predesigned genre/setting/layers where the players will run genre-shifted iterations of the same character/soul/self. I think that could be really, really fun.

Originally I was going to go back to the last post and edit it to that effect, but then after my friend Terry made a comment on his repost that was very much in line with my thinking, I decided this might be better suited if I post it by itself. I’ll share a few specific examples of times I’ve experimented with the genre-shifting concept already in games and found it a satisfying pursuit, point out a few narrative media where this technique or a variant has been used to good effect. I’ve never run a campaign where shifting realities and genres was a major part of the premise, though I have done individual adventures in a couple different systems that explored the concept either seriously or otherwise.
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Awakening: Procedures

June 21, 2014

(This is a side bit from ACWoD/ The Awakening Chronicle, from Story 4: City of Angels. I’ll periodically post other side bits from the chronicle here as time goes on.)

Special Agent Luz Martinez pursed her lips as the tracking bullet embedded in the Superstitionists’ bumper failed to respond to its activation code. Her tracking Procedure was being jammed. She tried several applicable alternate frequencies, but was unable to sufficiently modulate it to penetrate interference and pick up a signal, and she finally acknowledged that her own apparatus was unlikely to get a fix on their location before they could find and dispose of the device. One smack to the dash of her service vehicle communicated her annoyance, and then she was once again the picture of operational professionalism.

“So we lost them,” Agent Sumner stated matter-of-factly. The Man in Black pulled the nondescript black sedan over and looked over to his senior partner, mirrorshades glinting in the late morning sunlight slanting in through the windshield.

“Yes,” she replied calmly. “They won’t flee the city again yet; they wouldn’t have risked returning here without a solid reason.”

“Agreed,” Sumner said and checked the radio, not picking up any reference to their quarry.

“We don’t know where they are or where they’re going right now,” Martinez said to herself, “But let’s see where they’ve been.” She called the display in her mirrorshades online and patched in to the vehicle’s onboard computer and communications array with a couple of subvocalized commands into her wireless headset,

Satellite Location, UID CZ411, timestamp 30032011-1106. Magnify. Isolate targets at 1200 and 1155. Magnify.

She regarded the vehicles and reviewed their information and the analysis she had already been sent by Bates, her Amalgam’s Watcher. The sports car first: 2007 Dodge Charger, red, NY license plate # ADL 4681, registered: Brennan, Rowena Brighid. Ms. Brennan’s driver’s license photo matched the woman Martinez and her partner had seen. Ident confirmed, she notated, adding Probable Reality Deviant.

Next, the battered van that she had picked up first, and which had been the reason for her picking up the pursuit: 1975 Dodge Ram Van, brown, CA license plate # 3LUE042, registered: Milton, Irene Ruby. The identification of its color as “brown” was certainly suspect as far as Agent Martinez was concerned, but she let that slide. The flag of what had initially caught her attention earlier when she ran the plates was much more interesting to her: Vehicle matches one identified via satellite departing facility at +35° 41′ 1.46″, -116° 50′ 11.05″ designation “Overwatch HQ” prior to said facility’s destruction via aerial strike. Vehicle believed to be operated by Reality Deviant designated “Eel,” wanted for reality crimes and for murder of Enlightened and UnEnlightened Personnel in connection to attack at US Bank Tower Dispatch Center. Last confirmed sighting: Las Vegas, NV. Detain and question operator. If positive identification is obtained, subject to be processed or terminated. Subject to be considered armed and dangerous. Known associates: probable Reality Deviant designated “Steve” [status: unknown]; Reality Deviant designated “Umbra” [status: unknown]… she noted that this “Umbra” fellow was probably the same man that had been the passenger in Brennan’s vehicle.

“Bates,” she said via comm to her Watcher, “What else have we got on file for these people?”

“Getting what I can now, Agent. There. There’s not much. Both ‘Umbra’ and ‘Eel’ have very sparse information, considering that both are known to have been part of Incident 05092010-B17,” Bates responded. Off the record the area’s Operatives had dubbed the prior year’s debacle “The Non Event” in a tongue in cheek reference to the Herculean lengths to which their Methodology and the NSC had been called upon to go to contain the outbreak of deviant anomalies and to maintain the ignorance of the Masses afterwards. “I suspect that there are further details that are classified,” he elaborated, though for a moment Martinez entertained a paranoid, niggling suspicion that perhaps the paucity of records might be due to tampering instead. Further inquiry and request for access to classified documents would be warranted. There would be time for that and a review of other known associates later.

“I need to trace the movements of the two suspect vehicles, Bates. Designate Suspect vehicle 3LUE042 as Primary, ADL 4681 Secondary.”

“On it,” he answered and she heard him talking with his staffers for a moment before he patched what he had been able to get through to her onboard computer. “The satellites didn’t get complete coverage of that space and period, but I think I can stitch most of it together by cross-referencing the traffic camera system where possible and extrapolating the rest,” he advised.

Collating, her display informed her. Plotting movements of suspect vehicles back to timestamp 1036. Looking at the map of their movements, she observed that they had at one point converged on a point in silverlake and parked there for a while, and so she had the system home in on the timestamp of their arrival and magnified the imagery to see what they had been doing there. Brennan and a pair of suspects that she felt she could confidently confirm as “Umbra” and “Eel” along with several other as-yet unidentified persons emerged from three vehicles and met with the occupants of two automobiles that had arrived shortly before them.

The tense confrontation between the two parties played out silently for her. Deviance detected: increased mass and bodily transformation, three subjects. UnEnlightened observers of Anomaly: 0. Luz shook her head, grateful that the RDs had at least had that much decency. The shroud-barreled, slabsided weapon that one of the deviants brandished caught her attention as well, and she commanded the system: Search records for pictured firearm. The results came back after a moment: IMI Vanguard pistol, chambering 12.7mm Sagittarius gyrojet ammunition. Hypertech, pending approval for insertion into Consensus.

“Where did our cowboy get hold of one of those beasts anyhow?” she asked rhetorically. That would bear further investigation, but she decided that he and his companions were not the primary targets just yet, and she added a notation to open up further lines of inquiry.

She noted how after the group including the wielder of the experimental firearm departed, the group of targets swapped from one vehicle to another before splitting up and she decided to stick with the primary target for the moment, and traced the battered old van back to a neighborhood in West LA. The imaging was too patchy at that point for some reason to pick out a specific house, but Bates advised her that he could readily pinpoint their stopping point to within a one block radius.

“Sumner, we’ve got them,” Martinez said with some satisfaction. “We’ve got some more due diligence to perform and some classified records to request access to, but we’ll find them. There are a couple of fish here that really need catching.”

“What were Hart’s instructions when you reported you’d spotted the van?” Sumner asked by way of reminder.

“To proceed with all caution,” Martinez replied firmly. “Let’s get the rest of the Amalgam involved and see if we can’t requisition a little more help. We’re going to need some backup.”

Dreams, Memories and Tomorrows

May 24, 2012

(This story bit overlaps with Falling Awake and The Morning Breaks but mostly takes place after both)

It was about 2 or 3 in the morning when Ro finally rubbed her tired eyes and stretched. She could easily refresh herself and go for quite a while without sleeping, but sleeping allowed one to dream and process. Besides, Joseph was only marginally awake and she’d done all she could for this leg of Linda’s journey.

“Okay… I’m going to get a few hours of shut-eye. You do the same, huh?” Her blue eyes rested on the garou male a long moment, expression soft and a little wistful. They’d talked on and off since bringing Linda back to the house. Some surprises and ‘aha!’ moments on both sides led both of them to a greater understanding, she hoped. “Hold her tight and I’ll be back when she wakes, or a little after.”

“I’ll do that,” he said softly and flashed her a charming, white-toothed smile. Joseph was undeniably handsome, but he was also a man that knew how to listen and was good at drawing people out to talk about themselves. Also, he remembered the details later and could retell them to sound more exciting and meaningful than they had to the original teller. “Sleep well, Ro. She’ll be safe with me.” (more…)

The Morning Breaks

May 19, 2012

(The below is a direct follow up to Falling Awake)

Amrita had rolled into lotus after her last pose of the morning, body sweating pleasantly from one of her more strenuous routines. Her connection to Gaia was still strong this morning, and she let her awareness expand in the meditative state, flowing into “all that is” with each exhalation. It was a kind of pleasure that was difficult to explain to anyone who’d never felt something similar, that letting go of the ego-self in favor of the ultimate release into everything at once. But those who’d been there knew it too, and sometimes that had to be enough.

She was deeply aware of the shifts of consciousness in the house. One such shift rang like a bell in her own consciousness, just as the sun peaked above the eastern horizon.

Linda had awakened. (more…)

Falling Awake

April 12, 2012

All was pain and anguish. Howls and the beating of drums pounding in her head, a scratching and clawing beneath her own skin, and a horrid, agonized shrieking that only she could hear.

A powerful, furred set of arms was wrapped firmly yet gently about her and her face was pressed into the chest of their owner, a tender, slim human hand was clasped hard in her ghastly claw, and a cooling, soothing sensation radiated from the little metallic devices that were adhering to her temples. These few comforts she clung to as best she could through unknown hours of suffering.

Again the howling came, and the comforting hand, the supporting arms and the calming devices were gone.

Her eyes closed. (more…)

Awakening: The Battle of Cinder Cone

December 20, 2011

This sequence is a cutscene related to chapters 2-3 of The Enemy of My Enemy, the second story of the Awakening Chronicle.

*     *     *     *     *

Joseph Chases-the-Dream rejoined his pack after consulting with the mixed task force of mages, Garou and Kinfolk that had volunteered to strike at the witches beneath Cinder Cone and found his pack alpha Mingan Leaps-Like-cougar, the Wyrmfoe of the Sept of the Boiling Earth, addressing the several gathered packs. Joseph noted that a ways off from the group stood a tall, ragged bespectacled white man with close-cropped hair: Marcus Falcon’s-Resolve, who had been Ostracized. The other Garou present were ignoring his existence, neither welcoming nor forbidding him: he did not exist in their eyes, and Joseph blinded himself to the disgraced Silver Fang as well.

Mingan spoke: “We of the Warpath shall be the head of the arrow aimed at their hearts. Spear Dancers, follow immediately behind us, and the rearguard shall be the Black Wings,” Leaps instructed them as he reviewed the plan of attack. He gave each pack their assignments of which portions of Cinder Cone’s peak each was to sweep clear.

“The Wyrmbringers have numbers. They have high ground, and distance, and they are armed with silver ammunition,” Leaps stated gravely, “We must advance up a steep slope to fight them, and we have no cover other than what we ourselves can create. (more…)

Awakening: Those Left Behind

November 9, 2011

(This post focuses on what’s happening to some of the various NPCs in the Awakening chronicle in the time around the end of The Enemy of My Enemy, Chapter I)

It had been a bit of a strange day for Joseph Chases-the-Dream, all told.

After putting together a Litany Q&A for Amrita and having to call that to a premature conclusion, he had been left alone with Linda, the attractive yet mousy Kin woman that had recently been adopted into the tribe even though she was a creepy white girl formerly associated with the Black Spiral Dancers. (more…)

Awakening: You’re Family Now

October 12, 2011

This is a side scene/blue book focusing on one miss Linda Lee, who until a few minutes before this scene was Kinfolk to the Black Spiral Dancers, but now has renounced them and been adopted into the Uktena.

*     *     *     *     *

Linda huddled in the ritual robe that Mapiya Sacred Hoop had been kind enough to drape over her thin, freezing shoulders and the moccasins that had been provided for her feet once the Rite of Adoption was completed. Sunset on a mountainside in springtime was no time to be standing around with nothing but some body paint between oneself and the elements. She took a few moments as the Garou cleaned up after their rite to rescue her abandoned overcoat and slip that across her shoulders like a cloak for a bit of extra warmth. (more…)

Awakening: A Gift

October 4, 2011

This is a transcript of a brief scene that takes place immediately after the most recent scene of The Boiling Earth (part of Chapter 4), where the troupe had just come from meeting with Solomon Wright. It focuses on Linda and Amrita.

*     *     *     *     *

Aladdin pulled up at the Seneca Motel in Chester. It really was a bargain basement sort of a place, but on the plus side they didn’t ask questions when Linda came in with blood on her jumpsuit the day before.

Linda clambered out of the vehicle and uttered a slight gasp. “Oh, ah almost fergot… Am? Ah still got that present fer ya.” (more…)