Monday, January 12, 2015

City of Curses: The Keepers Session Report 5

Episode Title: "Station Street"
|Previous Session|

And after four sessions of the first arc, I decided my next series of arcs would be character-centric ones.  These "spotlights" would let each player's character get a bit of story around themselves, introduce a part of Crux to the group as a whole, and more or less let me work on setting up a subplot or two.

I wasn't feeling 100%, so this session was shorter than normal.  My players were stellar as always- asking questions about details I hadn't considered, more or less driving me to write things like the priot blog post on Poorfellows in depth.  Poorfellows is Crux's worst slum- a crowded, disease ridden island with the potential to explode, but literally and into riots as well.

This arc is focused on the character of Gav Zarak.  Gav is a Magus and is considered somewhat of a genius.  Discovered by the Voice and her agents, Gav's current slate of work at the university is the result of her efforts to help him make a better life for himself.  Gav appears to be human, but doesn't know that he is one of the Aethamir.  Half-blooded hybrid descendants of the cursed Aether-blooded, the Aethamir almost never know of their arcane ancestry.

Gav is also of a old Tomasi bloodline, tracing back to the generals and war mages of the Ancient Tomasi Empire.  He has a gang in Poorfellows, one dedicated to protecting the citizenry of the slums from the worser elements.  Although he has spent less and less time with the Station Streeters in the last few months, Gav still is loyal to them, especially considering his best friend Aldo Oppi is the gang's leader.

The player was kind enough to provide the details of all the gangs members, the oldest of which was Aldo, about the same age as Gav himself.  This sort of thing makes my job easier, and it means the story is made much better because of it.  Collaboration is one of the great cornerstones of gaming, and trying to bring his gang to life is part of what I tried to do.

Scene Question: Do the Keepers save Davit from the Gnolls pursuing him?
The game opened with me pre-compelling my players to go answer someone at the gates of the University, a odd Android who had arrived demanding to give Gav a message.  Outside the university gates, on the high bridge connecting it to the rest of the city, they first meet Davit.

The size of a gorilla, this android clearly wasn't a standard model.  He wore a bowler hat, his left arm a massive crane rather than a arm.  He looked grim.  Nervously looking behind him, he tipped his hat in Gav's direction.

"You are Santos Zarak's son?"  He asked.  "I've got a message for you."

"Is my father alright?"  Gav just stopped talking as a trio of Gnoll thugs appeared.  Bullets ricocheted as they shouted at Davit.  Hyena laughter echoed as they charged toward them.

"Android!  Surrender!"

Gav reacted on impulse, throwing a enchantment at the Gnolls.  Memory Lapse, creating a advantage, trying to make the thugs forgot why they were even there.  It worked, and instead the thugs concluded they must've been there to mug them instead.

Ishida snuck around the Gnolls, checking out the guardhouse on the other side.  It looked empty.

Ash on the other hand, offered the Gnolls some food.  Her player passed me a fate point, asking to compel the Gnolls to take the food and leave.  Because they clearly were trying to mug them for food.

That was too odd and funny not to say yes to.  The Gnolls left, and Ash realized she'd given up her lunch.  The injustice of it all.

Davit thanked them for the rescue; Ash's current Ferret companion (this time it was Paku, who considered himself a researcher into non-ferret society), had climbed onto the huge Android, studying him up and close.  The android looked at the tiny ferret, offering him a walnut.  Paku concluded that the android was trustworthy.

Davit explained that Varsooth (Gav's mentor and contact with the Voice) had sent him about Poorfellows.  Something had gone down, one member of his gang had gone missing.  Mirrabella.  Aldo had started to go on the war path.  So Davit and Gav left for Poorfellows, with Gav asking Pyro to look into the guardhouse's missing guard.

Ishida followed the Gnolls in the meanwhile.

The guard returned as Pyro started to investigate.

"Where have you been?  Some people got past- isn't that your job?"  Pyro asked.

"Sometimes with the proper lubrication, you can get what you want from anybody, know what I mean?"

Pyro believed he did.  The guard on the other hand, learned quickly that Pyro didn't understand his double entendre.  He refused Pyro's offer of further lubrication, as Pyro was more than willing to apply some oil to help the Skullguardsmen out.

Scene Question: Do the Keepers find and stop Aldo from starting a gang war in Poorfellows?

Ishida followed the Gnolls back to their den in Poorfellows.  Once there, he perched and watched them report back to a massive, obese female Gnoll.  After intense conversation, she shot one of the three.  Then she threw him onto a spit.

After more barking Ishida didn't understand, the two Gnolls left again.  Ishida followed them to a crowded plaza.

Ash followed Gav despite his attempts to ask her to help Pyro.  Pyro caught up to them before they crossed the bridge from the Wolf Quarter onto Poorfellows Island.  Ash meanwhile tried to get Gav to buy her some form of lunch.

No go, although some Rat vendors were tempting.

On Aquitane Street, Davit disappeared into a manhole.  Gav explained to Pyro that it was a bribe, and Pyro suffered a bit of a meltdown of a mental sorts.  Ash fixed him, however.

When they crossed over onto Station Street, it was to walk into a mass of people.  Elzio Plaza was filled with people.  On the fountain in the middle, was Aldo Oppi.  Leader of Gav's gang, Aldo looked to be leading a War Council.  Gav made his way over.

In response to Mirrabella going missing, Aldo started to recruit other gangs to join them to get her back.  Gav learned that Mirrabella had last been seen with one of the vampire gang of Patrizo, the Nightfish.  Gav acquised, helping Aldo with trying to do something about Mirrabella going missing.

Conclusion
I ended the session only after introducing a cliffhanger.

I introduced the members of Gav's gang, the Station Streeters, most of whom were watching Aldo's war council from a nearby shop, Sadix's.  Ash got some food, as well as meeting Dafni, a Bloodrager and girlfriend of Aldo's.  Faru, a little orphan boy with a druidic bent  stayed outside, more or less keeping an eye on things in his own fashion.  Pyro conversed with Ru, who was fascinated by his arm joints- but instead the two began to discuss bombs.

Gav entered, along with Ishida.  They started to discuss what to do next.  The Ratkings had promised open support.  Gaim'lr's Husbands went back to their boss to ask her if they would help or not as well.  Gav wanted to perhaps go and look into the Gnolls, although he still wanted a way to find Mirrabella soon, especially since Mirrabella was a stabilizing influence on the gang in a lot of ways.

Then Aldo crashed through the front window of Sadix's.

Patrizo vampires stood out in Elzio Plaza.  The Nightfish.

"I won't ask again!"  The vampire shouted.  The fountain behind him started to overflow, the Patrizo's water magic making it start to flood the plaza.  "Where is MY SISTER?!  She was last seen with one of yours!  Tell me or I will drown you all!"

It was then that Gav lept into the breach that I ended the session for the night.