Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Crux Session Report 4: The Keepers and the Machine

So I got to run my first session of the Keepers on last Saturday.

Here's the debrief on that.  My opening scene was less about the plot and more about giving each character a chance to be introduced.  Each character would learn a piece of the overarching plot, but my question for each of them was: "How would does this character learn about the Machine going missing?"

The other questions were "Do they agree to work for the Chancellor?" and "Do the Keepers find the bodies left behind after the Machine's theft?"

Opening Scenes
For each character I used some characters they made with their 3x3 to introduce them a little.  I started with Pyro, and introduced the characters of Professor Zosef Fulcrum and the android 4626.  After a great bit of RP, Pyro learns that Machine has gone missing after the three of them find the Machine missing from the Detonation Test Room 3.  

Meanwhile, Ash woke from her parent's home in the Wolf Quarter.  Unable to sneak out without catching her mother's attention, Ash does hear about members of Clan Boar-Roar being found dead, murdered by some sort of monster the night before.

Ishida, on the other hand, receives mystical orders from the Prophet herself in relation to the Machine.  He has been hired to keep an eye on the Machine and the Keepers, but isn't told much more than the Prince is interested in the Machine as well.

Gav wakes up at his home in Poorfellows, and made the long hike up to the front gatehouse of the Skullmount.  There he ran into his old ex-girlfriend Rainel, a prominent student of necromancy.  Gav on the other hand, manages to run into Ishida on his way to an interview with the Chancellor about hiring the Keepers.

And here is when things started to go "players do things" and I just react to them.

Do they agree to work for the Chancellor?
The answer is yes.  But that came with some intergroup tension.

Pyro went off at all speed to the Chancellor's office.  On the way, he stumbles into Ash who knocks him down rather than take the brunt of his charge.  Ishida runs into Gav, and the two quickly ascertain- based on Pyro's behavior- that something has happened to the Machine.  Ash realized this too, and follows along.  Ishida cheats a little, using his Nobody Sees A Ninja aspect to sneak ahead.

Pyro and Ishida make it past the Chancellor's secretary, especially after they learn that the Chancellor has a meeting scheduled with the Keepers in not that long anyway.  Pyro reports what has happened to the Chancellor: The Machine has gone missing!  When Ash and Gav arrive, they are there to more or less agree to help find the Machine for the Chancellor.  The Chancellor uses some racial slurs, showing his detest for Ursyklons- Gav uses magic to keep Ash from exploding at him.

They investigate the Detonation Test Room to for clues, and find a hidden wall.  They take it down to a hidden shaft deep beneath the University.  Gav finds the magical presence left by the Machine too potent, too foul.

Do the Keepers find the bodies left behind after the Machine's theft?
Another yes, as the Keepers find the shaft the leads out to Bellamy's stair, through a illusory wall.  Ursyklon graffiti covers the walls of the shaft, indicating that Ursyklon have been using this route into the university for years.  As they climb down Bellamy's stairs for more clues, they find something even more wrong.

A pair of Metro police stand over a pair of splattered bodies.  These bodies are ursyklon, having been left after whatever monsters had slaughtered them from the night before.  The police are quick to leave, having left the impression they might've been performing an illegal investigation into the pair of murders.

Gav uses his mother's flute to call forth the dead Ursyklons.  The music stirs them, and the two dead tell their tale to them.  They had died to whatever monsters had been created by the Machine.  They revealed that the monsters at the concert on Palace Hill had been created when a piece stolen from the machine had accidentally gone off.  The machine is Abolethi, and being of Clan Boar-Roar, these Ursyklon took upon themselves to steal it.

They also reveal who their inside source is: Ash's mother, Professor Wiseowl.  They promise not share this information.  But as the Keepers prepare to leave to talk with Ash's mother...

"ISHIDA HANA GOLD-SUN!" Ono screams as he leads a group up Bellamy's stair.  "At last I will have my revenge!  At last you will face dishonor at my blade!"

And that's where I ended it.  Cliffhanger for the win.

Things that Worked and Didn't
One part of the session was introducing characters.  Over the years, its seemed easier to do this by giving characters a chance to do something on their own.  A bit of private RP if you will.

The part where players played NPCs worked out perfectly, only flawed because I didn't prepare enough ahead of time.  Oh well.

However, another part of the session was me teaching Fate Core.  Of course, I think I failed at this because I need to re-read the main book again.  I've let some cracks show in the facade it seems.

Things mostly went right.  One player wants more combat I think, and I held off on that as much as I could.  There was a question of "how would Ono know where we are" at the end of the session, but I shrugged it off.

I'd made it up on the fly.  It'll stick next session.

I need to brush up on my prep and fate core knowledge.  Players also need more bits and pieces, cheat sheets to make their jobs easier.  I also need to do some stats for my NPCs and enemies before next time.  Plot is easy; comprehensible bad guys?  Now that's hard work.