Full recap here.
As previously stated, we were down Sofia’s player due to work-related madness – I think she left work early on Friday and went camping or something, mostly to try and relax so as to head off her desire to go postal on her co-workers; thankfully, she let me know about this very early in the week. This session was an interesting example of me being more satisfied with how it played out immediately following the game than I was after I’d had time to think about it.
There were two major fights that dominated this session: Lee’s fight with the “bash brothers” (who were basically just Werebears from Monster Hunters 3 p26) and then the OSBI firefight at the “Sweet Tooth” plant. We then followed that up with more of Jenks … heh. I was about to write “hijinks.”
The fight with Lee took longer than I had planned on and that was entirely my fault. Sometime back (I think it was Volume 3: White Trash), Lee obtained a cursed faerie sword, Ævenchos, and for whatever stupid reason, I was inexplicably expecting him to draw it a lot sooner than he actually did. Lee’s player (Gigermann) and I chatted later about his reasoning for not breaking the sword out and they made perfect sense – for starters, it’s a freaking sword and he’s basically a cop; he also didn’t go for the gun either since they were in an office building – but I clearly wasn’t thinking straight here. At any rate, once Ævenchos came out, the fight was basically over … and even better, one of the werebears survived (albeit missing an arm) so he’ll be coming back for revenge down the road. The woman that Lee rescued is clearly a seer of some sort because she gave him a glimpse of where he was supposed to be, complete with a flash of Jack lying motionless in a pool of blood. Ultimately, the entire purpose of this scene was to point Lee back toward the other PCs since I realized after the fact that I’d mostly written myself into a corner with him.
We then jumped to the two OSBI guys and their firefight. As an aside, Gigermann told me later that he really liked that transition, but to be honest, I was just lucky. Which is ironic because I love cool transitions – the first Avengers movie has a bunch of really neat scene shifts early on – e.g., when Cap tells Fury that they should have left the Tesseract in the ocean and the scene then jumps to Iron Man … in the ocean. Once again, Jack being effectively invisible to the bad really altered the combat landscape and once again reminded me that I need to figure a way to walk that one back. That said, the level of cinematicness in this fight crept up higher than originally intended, with Woo’s player once again desperately looking for a place to do a flying jump kick after he let the forklift that Jack was driving drag him around the combat environment. On purpose. Fortunately, I managed to avoid the jump kick this time … I’m intentionally trying to curtail that because I want him to find that opportunity in the climax when I can have him ‘accidentally’ activate his future super-powers (e.g., the equivalent of the Iron Fist.) To the credit of both players, these two law enforcement PCs keep trying to take their opponents down without killing them so they can slap them in cuffs (or zip-ties if no cuffs are available), and I’ve already given them both kudos for that very fact. My ending sort of set up more zombie action next week and, until one of the players pointed it out, I hadn’t really considered that for Jack and Woo, this has just been a really hectic five minutes or so; both of them have taken at least 1 HP or so of damage and I’m fairly certain they’re both down some FP (not quite half, I think, but close, at least with Woo.) This has led me to reconsider how I’m going to jump off with them next week, but more on that later.
Related, I found this cool image and then a buddy of mine (play with him on Saturdays in the regular Fantasy Grounds game) went in and added hexes. While it’s not that useful for minis, it still gives you a great sense of the facility.
Finally, we jumped to Jenks and this is kind of where the session fell apart for me (though no one else seems to wholly share that opinion.) My entire objective with this whole side mission thing for Jenks was so I and the player (Gigermann again) could really figure out who this character is since he’s new, so I’ve been throwing weirdness after weirdness at him. This time was the three tests and I suffered way too much target fixation here, which as a result, caused the entire scenario to be a bit too railroady. I knew how I wanted him to respond to the events and then pushed toward that, which was a mistake. I should have just stepped back and let Gigermann decide exactly how he accomplished everything. On the bright side, at the conclusion of it, he did reach a realization about the character so I guess I should consider that a partial win? He and I also later discussed some other connective elements that sort of explain away why the super-powerful NPC let him get away with some stuff, but still, I was left with a bad taste in my mouth from that sequence which sucks because in my head, it was going to be awesome. Live and learn, I suppose.
The Fantasy Grounds technical difficulties continued but I think we’ve narrowed it mostly down to the internal office network not playing well with the program. Fortunately, I’d prepared for that and had the Power Point presentation ready to go; I was still running FG on my laptop, mostly for the combat tracker and to quickly figure out total modifiers and the like, so I think I’ve probably found my “happy medium” here … though setting up the Power Point is still a pain.
Next week – presumably – the entire group will be back but simply based on where everyone is at narratively, I’m expecting that “Clean Slate” will be six episodes, not five. This is fine – I can use “chapter 5” to put everyone in place and then kickoff the big climax in six. Hopefull.
Straight away, I’m likely going to pick up with Sofia immediately following her vampire extermination. Now, she’s a Weirdness Magnet and it occurred to me that I haven’t abused that this adventure, so that’s going to come into play. Way back in volume two (“Foul Play,” chapter 3, actually), she encountered (very briefly) a Denarian. For those unaware, Denarians are, essentially, Fallen Angels. Officially they are known as the Order of the Blackened Denarius and each of these Fallen Angels are bound to a silver denarii. There are thirty of them in total (so you can see where this is going.) What I’m intending on doing here is that the Denarian she encountered is going to drop out of the night in full-on Demon Lord appearance, complete with whips of flame and a cloak of shadow. And then, as everyone is scrambling to get away from it, the Denarian will demand of Sofia … directions. That’s right, this nearly omniscient Fallen Angel is lost. This will result in Sofia basically having to chaperone the fallen angel to a meeting with a not Fallen Angel – the two are trying to convince the other one to join their side – and they will assume mortal appearances. So Sofia will have the “luck” to ensure that a Angel/Demon date actually happens. (Sadly, none of the other PCs are present to get the negative benefit of her Weirdness Magnet, but Auric, the NPC apprentice, is and will no doubt spread word of this weirdness.) I’m planning on having fun with this scene, but it should end with her heading toward the Howell Estate.
Following that, I’m probably going to jump to Lee and have him arriving at the Sweet Tooth plant and immediately come under fire by some shooters. This lets me do a quick firefight with him (and the other players who’ll get to run said shooters) while also putting some bullets into his personally owned car. Once that fight is over, he’ll hear the sound of gunfire coming from inside the actual plant and once he storms in there, he’ll see the aftermath of Jack and Woo having shot up the zombies. This way, I can avoid having Jack & Woo be immediately thrust into yet another fight … plus, they’re in a refrigerated facility so the fire zombie guys are totally less than useful. Additional cops will arrive – thanks to Jack’s foresight in dialing 911 prior to last week’s firefight, then leaving his phone behind – and then paramedics. Once the characters (inevitably) share information, they’ll be pointed back toward the Howell Estate. I can also use this to setup some other facts, like that their boss at OSBI is off with the tactical team doing … something and that cops are crawling all over the previous action scene location (City Tower.)
Meanwhile, Jenks is on the Gray Road and heading to the “great Stone Bridge.” At the Stone Bridge, I absolutely have to have a Troll guarding it that he must get past. This time, I’m not going to try and pre-figure out what the player will do or should do to get past it. All I’m going to do is set the task here and let him figure it out. Although … dammit. Jenks is a computer guy, so this troll simply has to be an internet troll if I can figure out how to make that happen. Once Jenks is past the bridge, he’ll find a hill and the West Gate. Ideally, I’d like to end the session with him inserting the Key and unlocking the Gate to reveal … a big TO BE CONTINUED sign.
Here’s to hoping…