- Agrivain Tashaslan (played by Travis E.): Inhumanely attractive and a genius spellcaster, Aggravaine is trying to make a name for himself in the supernatural world of Ceteri.. Tagline: “TBA.”
- Leo Brienza (played by Emily S.): A werewolf private investigator. Leo has a fondness for Twinkies and is a disappointment to his family. Tagline: “TBA.”
- Ranulf Graeme (played by Christopher D.): Ranulf is a man that introduces himself with a heavy sigh, not only because his name would bewilder the most experienced barista, but also because his life has recently gone down the toilet. Put in administrative leave for something that wasn’t his fault, he’s now forced to join up with some of the folks that actually caused his misery until they make his life better. He’s not going to rely on them alone though, as a tychomancer, a tellurgist, and he simply is one of the best cartographers and survivalists on the Autumn Road. Tagline: “No amount of careful planning can beat pure luck.”
Previously . . .
When we last left off, Aldrick and Trish were bound to the recently rebuilt Tower of Babel to keep things stable. Boston is barely recovering after the death of Mr. Friendly, the neighborhood vampire, at the hands of a friendly neighborhood werewolf. Yannay has gone to live with werewolves to find a way to rescue Aldrick, Mike has gone off with Suzette, Raleigh is off doing what he does best: “Not intervening”, and Landon is still in a coma. This leaves Leo and Agrivain are the only ones left around together after the dissolution of Brimstone Law, working together as Private Investigators. A lot of Cabals have been affected by the events in Dogtown, leading to dirty looks being tossed their way. Vampires have been moving into town following the power vacuum. Olivia, Agrivain’s handler, has been going to hearing for the last month to explain away the actions that occurred during the battle and dealing with a large amount of paperwork which Agrivain helpfully offers to help with and gains another job on top of being a private dick.
Cubicles and Bureaucramancy
Agrivain, Leo, and Ranulf
Soemwhere in Downtown Boston
Friday, June 3rd, 2000, 11:30 am
Boston, MA 02108
Starting now, in the Conclave headquarters, Agrivain is dropping off some paperwork for Olivia, written and forged properly in her handwriting, the loopy G is perfect. Leo is attempting to try to quietly open a pack of twinkies while Aggy explains to Olivia that he’s living at a local start-up company, plenty of use of fast-talk and mastermind gives him some chance to get free living space. Olivia sighs at both of them and gives them the paperwork to officially dissolve Brimstone Law as a Cabal, forcing them to have painful hand cramps as they sign and initial several dozen pages of documents.
After learning that Leo is living in a small apartment that Aggy can’t share, Olivia tries to suggest that they do some honest work. What else could they do? Other than try to use Brimstone Law’s non-magical existence to make money. Instead she comes back with a manila envelope with magic wax, showing them some documents, telling the sorcerers that these gentlemen have been taking advantage of the situation, a security company known as Silver Lion that is just a PMC company in the mundane world. In the magical world, they’re comprised of sorcerers and supernatural creatures that have high combat abilities. The conclave were looking into the matter before the Dogtown incident, but now it’s been pushed to the side. Instead they’re offering a reward to take care of things along with a per diem.
Unfortunately, the company tends to utilize wards and ley lines to get things done, necessitating someone that has some experience with telluromancy to get in, giving them the contact information for a Tellurgic mage that was recently placed on administrative leave from his position for being the person on duty when the Tower of Babel was assembled. Leaving them with the request that Agrivain stops sleeping in random buildings.
Searching out the Telluromancer, they still find him in the Telluric department despite his administrative leave. They’re not letting him go until they’ve got everything signed in blood in triplicate. Every time something gets placed in his outbox, it looks like another five items get dropped in his inbox, and desk, and floor, and filing cabinets.
And before long, two men are standing before Ranulf, holding more paperwork. The first thing noticed is the paperwork, then the smell of twinkie, then the fact that these two are the ones that ruined his life. Contemplating simply tipping the paperwork over onto them, he instead is mollified by them that they didn’t ruin his life. He offers him the inbox/trash can and tells him that he’ll get to it after his current work load. The three manage to get the paperwork done, and it’s all handed into the boss. Ranulf is grateful, but still has to go to the bathroom.
Coming back, he finds that the dossier says that he’s the one that signed off on the paperwork for the Silver Lions back when he was still somewhat in training. Apparently this was an unusual event considering that it’s a magnitude 5 ley line, a magnitude 5 out of 6 means they’re drawing more than they should. Aggy thinks that Ranulf may have been a fall guy, possibly for one of the upper supervisors. Setting off for the department filing, grabbing it first thing picking up things where the original signer for the ley line acquisition is now part of the security company.
Trying to determine the best course of action, Aggy attempts to contact Helen Taft, someone that has a grudge against the original signer and now retiree, Richard Morrow. Helen had been previously fired around the same time that Richard retired, the reason in the file being obviously false. Aggy’s seduction of the Conclave HR lady gleans no other information than her home address, out in Dorchester. Ranulf deciding to stay with the two since they ruined his life, he’s going to stick with them until they make it better.
Where’s the Earthshattering Ka-Boom?
Agrivain, Leo, and Ranulf
Silver Lion, LLC
Friday, June 3rd, 2000, 11:30 am
100 Summer Street, Boston, MA 02110
The trio decides to investigate the Silver Lion, Aggy trying to fast talk the security and Leo skulking around. The front desk has some of the stupidest that exists, sitting there out of shape and eating doughnuts. Ranulf strolls in straight and decides to tell the folks that he needs to get into the basement. Getting one of the stupid guards that Aggy spotted earlier, he was able to be led to the basement. Ranulf, annoyed at them using his name for the ley line decides that it’s time to revoke their permit and twist the ley line.
The entire 13th floor has exploded outwards. Thankfully, a bit of foresight on Aggy’s part allows for him to yank the fire alarm before it happened. Leo and Ranulf head out, demanding the legal department’s number from the guard, trying to sneak out while the guard finds it, trying to avoid the gaze of the Silver Lions that have come down the stairs.
Aggy sticks around long enough to try to help the wounded from the floor after making sure that no one has died, luckily enough none have died. And while being altruistic, Agrivain also takes the opportunity to cast a spy spell on an executive’s “walking stick” before they leave the building among the other survivors
After Action Report (GM)
Back to Ceteri again! The first game back is the C-Team. We lost several players in this particular setting alone (Alex, Annia, Kevin, and Andre), not to mention one of the players (Josh) who came aboard for Aersalus and Halcyon. It was nice to get back to familiar characters played by familiar people. Travis remains the backbone of the team having the unique “honor” of being the only player who has stuck with C-Team through all its current campaigns.
Now! To the notes on this game.
It started out a little slow as I (the GM) did my best to find my feet again. Having so much player turnover and the destruction of Brimstone Law’s HQ only made since that the nascent cabal was blamed by the PTB for all the craziness that happened. It was easy because the owner is in a coma and his employees have all gone their separate ways. A way for the Conclave to show they did something without actually doing anything. In other words, a political win. I threw something to the players in the form of Silver Lion LLC, a small, but agile firm of defense contractors for the mundane and supernatural worlds. Introducing Chris D.’s new character (Ranulf Graeme) was an adventure in bureaucramancy. When they finally got to go observe SLL’s HQ, Ranulf managed to blow up the top of the building (though really, it wasn’t his fault). Overall, a good start.
“Every Day Is Exactly The Same” by Nine Inch Nails (Opening Song)
“The Killer is Me (Unplugged)” by Alice in Chains
“When Things Explode” by Unkle (Closing Song)
As the PCs were dealing with the paperwork and bureaucracy of having been victims or witnesses of a violent incident, that appeared to have a connection to a quadruple homicide in another location, one player said, in a deeply aggrieved voice: “Can’t we just get attacked by something ordinarily horrible, like octopus people or vampires? I can’t handle any more of this *bureaucracy*, they’re sucking out my soul!!!”
Unfortunately for the players, their GM has the sort of mind that would whimper and cease to enjoy any world where actions were so divorced from consequence as to eliminate the inconveniences attendant of coming to the notice of official authority. By design, the PCs enjoy a very favorable position for their Patron to minimize their discomfort from official scrutiny, but still, there is paperwork.
I admit. I can be a mean GM. But the players went along with it and were laughing with me the whole time. 🙂
Yeah, I guess players will tolerate different levels of complexity and while some are prepared to drive adventures along and flesh out the setting without any more input from the GM than an initial odd incident, others want to be attacked by something every time things have been mundane for more than five minutes.
My players in Caribbean by Night are all engineering and technical types. Two computer scientists and two different kinds of engineers. I am ashamed to not remember exactly what kind of engineers, though I know one of them used to be a software engineer before changing specializations and that he now makes complex computer models that sometimes have something to do with power grids, but also makes robots for fun. The other has worked at a firm where they did civil and structural engineering, but also built power plants, consulted on manufacturing and all kinds of other engineering, and he might have something to do with… flow dynamics? In real life, they resent and distrust the people in their companies that demand more paperwork, impose bureaucratic protocols and otherwise interfere with their ‘real’ work.
They don’t exactly have a high tolerance for the level of bureaucratic busy work that any police investigation entails. As for proper medical procedure, evidently they’d rather risk being infected with supernatural pathogens than wait around for medical tests.
They really want Hollywood consequences to violence and crime, i.e. none other than one liners, but in order for their GM (yours truly) to buy into a setting enough to run it, it can’t have rubber psychology, sociology or organizational dynamics. Complexity can’t be wished away. So I did my best to give them NPC support to take care of legal problems and tangles with bureaucracy, in the form of a Patron who is locally influential enough to circumvent 99% of the hassles ordinary people in the same situation would face, but the remaining 1% still caused widespread frustration.
One player specifically asked for a focus on ‘investigation’, but they seem pretty bored with those parts of adventures which involve it. I’m beginning to suspect that ‘investigation’ might translate to ‘dungeon crawl’, i.e. moving slowly through rooms in a Bad Place full of evidence of mass murder, which they do nothing to collect or preserve, but focus on stalking a monster they know to be there, rather than using social skills and legwork to gather data about something unknown and investigative skills to analyze it.
I suppose NPCs will carry a larger part of the load when it comes to discovering what the hell is going on, with the PCs, despite theoretically being incredibly smart and perceptive experts in relevant fields, serving more as blunt instruments.
If I were you I’d get them to talk about exactly what they mean. Things might get ugly otherwise. My players are pretty varied in their backgrounds so it’s always interesting to see who likes what.
I did. I do.
The players mostly want cinematic action, with the Rule of Cool trumping consistency, logic, rationality or worldbuilding.
I can’t even watch modern superhero movies because the inconsistent settings and constant plot holes make me cringe. I can enjoy fantasy, but it had better be fantasy where logical consequences of the powers are explored and the effects on the world follow naturally from the premises.
We compromise, so that both parties can play.
Cool! A good compromise leaves no one happy, but everyone satisfied (as I’m sure you know).