Monday, April 30, 2012

Comet(h) : nWOD

World of Darkness

My fifth game for Indigo Entertainment was supposed to be an ongoing Pathfinder game, but since character creation is taking so freaking long to finish, I was wondering if it would end up being put on hold for a time.  Turns out, it would because I was then asked to run a game DURING office hours (meaning yes I got paid to do it, wheee!) for the four interns who were learning the basics of how to make games.  I was asked to run them a table-top role-playing game in order for them to expand their horizons on what gaming can be and what games can offer its players.  So with four new players who have never ever tried a table-top game in their lives before me, I decided to come up with a quick game that was to blow their minds.

Each player was given a simplified World of Darkness sheet to use.  Being new to table-top games, I wanted them to truly focus on creating a character and to be aware of how important it was to understand what character one wanted to play.  The group came up with the following:

Ric played Eric Hunter, an underdog kind of guy who happened to always have a string of good luck.  He was good at deciding things without thinking, escaping situations and asking for sympathy - traits which I felt really rode on the underdog concept.  He excelled at not getting noticed and really hated one-on-one combat, dealing with heights and thinking too much.

Armond played Croman, a vigilante type of guy who had a telepathic talent.  The concept reminded me of M. Night Shyamalan's movie Unbreakable so much I let it pass.  He was good with explosives, improvising things and creative writing.  I found the creative writing a nice touch since he saw it as a hobby the guy was into outside his concept.  He excelled in lying and had trouble with parties, shopping and had a huge dislike for smoking.

Ryan played Alex Grey, a guy who sadly often gets mistaken to be the bad one.  The concept was just pushing for a story so I approved it.  He was good with intimidation, survival skills and athletics and excelled in stealth.  He hated socializing, expression and being ordered around.

Lastly, David played Antagon Dark, a street smart guy who had a flair for detecting lies, lockpicking and surviving.  He excelled at using the knife in fights and hated having to use computers, deal with math or go dancing.

I began giving them all a touch of life, with some meeting family, others getting hanging out with friends and so forth.  The key event for the start was seeing strange lights in the sky.  An orange glow emerged in the sky and began to descend towards them.  Each reacted to the approach in their own way, but there was no avoiding the incident: the comet fell to towards the ground and slammed into them.  For some, the incident left them feeling strange.  Changed.  For others, the incident simply left them shocked.  And unharmed.

And that's when the stories began to take an interesting twist.

They began to manifest strange powers.  One found himself wreathed in fire, burning down the home of his ex-girlfriend and leading a mass of people to follow him all the way to Central Park where he had hoped to dive into the lake and douse his immolated form.  Another found himself turning all liquified, passing through a car with his sister as a witness.  The third discovered some strange control of metals, controlling them much like Magneto of the X-men.  And the fourth wasn't clear on his abilities, but I always gave hints of the weather patterns shifting with his mood.

As each of them started to grasp with these new manifestations, the second twist entered the story.  A woman of golden light approached each one of them.  In some instances, menacingly, while in others gentle and angelic.  In all, the golden woman tries to kiss them.  In all, she asks them to make a choice:  Accept or Deny the Responsibility.   As some players grapple with the choice before them, the larger story is then unveiled.

The four player characters are in stories set at different times from each other.  And the golden woman's visitation of each one actually represents her slow understanding of how to approach each of them.  The golden comet, as it turns out, is in many ways the planet's own immune system to keep the world running.  Each time it flies, it seeks a new willing vessel to be gifted with powers to help return the world to a stronger, livable state.  However, the power comes with a price: the power is fueled by the person's own life force.  A small sacrifice to save the world.  The four's choices explain the golden woman's difference in approaching each player.  The first reflected her determination and lack of sensitivity, hence her threatening approach.  The second showed a bit more kindness.  The third a grim realization of the fatality of it all.  And in the last, the player embraced the Responsibility and promised to do what he can to make the world better.  It was that moment when the Golden Woman admitted she is tired and longs to rest.  The player leaned towards her to kiss her, and accept her Responsibility as his own.

In the end, there is hope.


For a beginning game, I admit the story was kind of strange.  Fun, but strange.  But I personally would like to think it was still entertaining for the players who were in it.  While combat wasn't a primary focus (perhaps something to let them experience in another game), I would like to believe the players were still having a blast.  The fact they were asking when the next one was is one good sign they did.

Only one player opted to spend Will Power to boost a roll though.  I am starting to think I should come up with a new way to approach Will Power and make it something everyone is encouraged to use freely.

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