This is shaping up to be a very Catholic game. Michael Solis, the Oblate, is both observant as a person and basically owned by St. Mary’s College of Law as a auperhero, in association with the Oblate School of Theology. Finn Walsh, or Crawl, is not religious but his family is Irish Catholic as well as career U.S. military. And our third player’s character, who shows up in session 2, is another Irish Catholic, created independently; more about him next time.
I bring this up because the Oblate blew a hole in the roof of the rather nice church at the Oblate School of Theology, on purpose even, and Crawl punched out a partition inside it, crunched a supporting pillar, and adding some spice, seized a statue of Mary with his tentacles. Yes, Scorpion kicked out the other partition and Brimstone lit the interior on fire, but geez, heroes!
There’s tons to talk about for this session, which I hope to pursue in detail in the comments. First is Endurance. This was the defining mechanic of the violent encounter, beginning with the Oblate’s desperate race to get there, and especially exactly how the opponents ended the fight. I’ve already posted about it in this comment, and I’d like to follow up in detail here.
Second is the importance of personalities and daily life. I really enjoyed playing Amanda and her friends, Jennifer, Father Ochoa, and the two antagonist characters, as well as off-screen, the woman described by Father Ochoa. I liked the questions raised about Dean Weylunde. All of these were steeped in the economics and habits of life for the characters and player-characters, and I drew as much as possible on players’ input for it all as well, e.g., where Michael would go to do the Mind Scan. This is the opposite of both “entertaining quirky NPC” thespian play and “annoying DNPC you have to care about” play. It’s a skill – and once you’re used to it, frightening when you play in a relatively naturalistic game that lacks it.
Third is the “map.” I maintain that we ran that fight exactly as if there had been a hex-based battlemap in front of us. When the players asked how far things were, I was looking at my pictures of the interior of the church.
I’ve attached my notes following this session. Certain things you’re not to know are redacted, but I direct your attention to things which arose from play – the mysterious glop in the garage, Jennifer’s status as a student (which we didn’t know until we decided in play), Amanda realizing something the morning after Michael left in the middle of the night (and which by the clock happens before she gets a call from Michael in the infirmary), and as you might have picked up, that the members of Ghost figured out what Finn’s powers are, i.e., bootlegs from the historic Man o’War powers-set.
Such things are crucial to running this game. They interact constantly with the material I’m bringing in as given, e.g., Dean Weylunde colluding with ICE (or Father Ochoa’s claim thereof) and the mysterious woman who helped Father Ochoa against Xe. Don’t miss the players’ role in both – e.g., for the fixed material, everything about ICE and Noldo Rivera was extrapolated from the Oblate’s character sheet; for the play-contingent content, everything came right out of various characters’ rolls.
Here’s my official apology for thinking the control roll for Variable Power Pool is a full-Phase action; it’s half-Phase, from here on, like it’s supposed to be.
The following are real places/institutions: St. Mary’s School of Law, The Oblate School of Theology, Brooke Army Medical Center, and Xe (formerly Blackwater, most recent name is Academi, see this also). Cody’s Coffee is a stand-in for Caribou Coffee given a Texas spin (we call it “Starbucks” in the game sometimes but I need to specify that). Myrmidon is fictional, a cross between Netflix and Amazon, with more personality-driven branding; similar to Bill Gates, subscribing to the product implies approval of Noldo Viera.