Sunday, January 19, 2014

Gifts and Second Chances : Demon the Descent

01/11/2014

Gifts and Second Chances
Demon: The Descent

A few friends messaged me on Facebook, asking if I would be free to run them a session of The Onyx Path's latest offering to the World of Darkness setting, Demon: The Descent.  While the book isn't available on Drivethrurpg yet, they made practically all the book's text available on the Demon: The Descent Kickstarter.  Using that, as well as the free Quick Start available here, I decided to map out a game for the group.  This would also be the first new game for 2014.

The characters in the game are:
Mister Nickolai Dusk : Dusk
Using The Architect pre-generated character, played by Phil 
Mister Dusk was tasked to form a cult (Humanity Plus Institute) but ended up failing to do it well.  His failure caused Mister Dusk to fall.   He now still works at the same building, hoping to find a new life among his fellow fallen and other humans.
Shared yourself with: Musician
Suspects not human: Kat (An Intern at work)
Can give you up right now: Nice Guy
Trust: Street Kid
Thinks they have something on you: Karen (Boss at work)

Alex Green : Mister Blink
Using The Street Kid pre-generated character, played by Paolo
Mister Blink was tasked to watch over Amelia Wagner and James Boyle but failed to save them from a car accident.  This failure caused Mister Blink to fall.  He now continues to go to school half a block from the building where the other fallen work, hoping to simply live a more human life.
Shared yourself with: Musician
Suspects not human: Joseph Black (Best friend at school)
Can give you up right now: Architect
Trust: Nice Guy
Thinks they have something on you: Smith (Teachers)

Diane Zeiss : Mrs. Blank
Using The Nice Guy pre-generated character, played by Baki
Mrs. Blank was tasked to be an office worker and was supposed to terminate Rikka Tsuruta, but she found herself  falling in love with her target.  Rikka and her fiance, Daniel Coleman, remain together.  Rikka now works in the same building as the Messenger.
Shared yourself with: Architect
Suspects not human: Daniel Coleman
Can give you up right now: Street Kid
Trust: Architect
Thinks they have something on you: Daniel Coleman

Christopher Humphries : Mister Glass
Using The Musician pre-generated character, played by BJ
He was tasked to deliver a message to the public, he failed to find the courage to make the declaration.  He has found a new life after falling by remaining in touch with the other demons.
Shared yourself with: Street Kid
Suspects not human: Jose (Guard at School)
Can give you up right now: Architect
Trust: Nice guy
Thinks they have something on you: Rikka Tsuruta

The sessions opens at an office building with Dianne Zeiss being harassed by Karen, the boss of the floor she is on, as she is delivering parcels and mail.  She has been lingering longer on the floor than usual because she overheard Rikka on the phone having an argument with someone.   Perhaps an argument with Coleman.

Karen, clearly abusive in her role as a boss, reminds Dianne to know her place, then heads off to attend a meeting.

Christopher is amused at Jose, the security guard of Alex' school, who stares at him from across the street and non-verbally warns him to keep his distance from the place.   He sees Alex with his best friend Joseph heading to school and waves a hello.  Alex tells Joseph to go ahead and passes by Christopher to hand him some money.  Jose calls out at the boy to stay away, but their demon pays him any heed.  "Here," Alex smiles, "You'll need it."  Alex heads back to school and Christopher decides to check on that woman who always listens to his music (Rikka).

Christopher walks to the Richter building, but finds Karen on her way out.  She seems angry that her car has not appeared and fires the assistant who is supposed to be handling those plans.  "You," she calls out to Christopher and asks, "Do you know how to use this thing?" as she waves her smart phone.  When he says yes, she throws it to him and tells him, "You work for me now."

She steps into her car, followed by her assistants who tell Christopher to step inside as well.  Inside, Karen's power-abuse is even more evident as she insults one of her assistants who happens to have been an honor student, and has them all drink vodka in the car.

"Absolute power corrupts only if you didn't plan to be corrupt in the first place."

* BOOM *

Nickolai Dusk was at his office, talking to Dianne about how Coleman believes Dianne is actually a "Succubus" when he hears the sudden release of Aether.  The amount unleashed is frighteningly immense.  Dianne Zeiss tells him she felt it too.  She reaches inward to sense the source of the explosion and gets a general sense of where it came from.

"We can head there to investigate right now.  It might be a new fallen demon.  Or something the God-Machine is up to.  Ultimately, the others will be drawn there as well."

Mister Dusk and Mrs. Blank hit the streets, anxious to find the source of this disturbance.

*

Back in the school, Alex hears the explosion as well.  Sadly it happens just as the teacher, Mister Smith, was asking him a question.  "Your answer, Mister Smith?"  Realizing being sent to detention was the easiest way to get out of the school grounds the fastest.  He evades Jose, the security guard, and finds his way to the street before anyone else can notice.

Following the aetheric trail, Mister Blink knew the others were most likely on the trail as well.  It was only a matter of time before he caught up with them on his skateboard.  What he did not expect, however, was to see his dear friend Joseph walking on the opposite side of the road.  The poor boy looked exhausted.  And worse, his hands were stained with blood.

*

Christopher heard the boom as well.  While Karen had her driver bring the car to a nearby McDonalds, for her to taunt the drive-through operator, Christopher realized it was time for the amused musician to take a back seat and for Mister Glass' concerns to take precedence.

Shoving the door open, Mister Glass bid Karen goodbye and walked off, leaving the open-mouthed boss in shock.  Mister Glass did not see how the staff of McDonalds, incensed by Karen's unkind words, gathered around the car.

*

Another Boom.

Mister Dusk and Miss Blank feel the second release of Aether swoop over them.  Knowing its somewhere near, the two quickly survey the area and try to figure out the most likely location.  Though the unleashes were immense, somehow the exact location seemed shielded from their senses.  They stood at a commercial block, with cafes on opposite ends, a flower boutique, a diner and a day care center.  "One of these was the location where the Aether was unleashed.   I'll take the cafe on the far end," Miss Blank suggested.   Mister Dusk, however, focused instead on the details and noticed the trail of smoke from the Diner's chimney occasionally glitching, moving backwards back into the exhaust than out.  He decided to head there.

At the cafe, filled with people in suits, Miss Blank was surprised to find Karen seated at the center, berating the people around for being in the cafe.  "We all know the real reason you folks are here is because none of you have the skills to brew your own coffee!  This junk is like mostly just milk, cream and sugar with a dash of some caffiene."  Surprised to find here here, but amused nonetheless, Miss Blank opts to use Devil's Advocate to instigate some people to talk back.  As the shouting match begins, Miss Blank pulls away and let's the fireworks fly.  Karen, however, sees her and calls out, "I know what you are Dianne Weiss!  I know what you are!"  She does not follow her, however.

Mister Dusk, on the other hand, is surprised to see Karen in the diner.  Standing in front of a white door, Karen seems disheveled and tired.  "Anything I can do for you," the bearded man behind the counter asks, but Mister Dusk ignores him for now.  As Mister Dusk steps inside, Karen opens the door and light floods out, enveloping her in a bright white glow.  The door is closed, and she is gone.

Another BOOM.

At this vicinity, however, the sound is more than just sound and Mister Dusk, Karen and Mrs. Blank are all forced to the ground from the immense eruption of Aetheric energies that is unleashed.

*

Joseph seems to be in a state of shock.  He mutters strange disjointed statements about having shot his classmates, about seeing Alex still alive, about making the mistake, about the room undoing it, about all the jokes and taunts and having enough..  Mister Blink guides Joseph to the side and leads him to what looks like a nearby laboratory clinic.  He calls for the attendant inside and asks for her help to make sure Joseph is safe.  The attendant yells at them to get out, but Mister Blink convinces her to watch over Joseph to keep him safe.  He slips the gun Joseph has with him into his pocket and hurries out the door.  He ponders on what "Room" Joseph was blabbing about and then hears the third Aetheric explosion.

He realizes he cannot waste anymore time and hurries as fast as he can travel with his skateboard.  He does not see Mister Glass in the bus that drives past him.

Mister Glass, however, is bothered.  Since he got on the bus, he's noticed that the walls all over town seem to have more and more graffiti of stick figures in various acts of fornication.  He began to notice that the graffiti vanishes after one takes their eyes off them.   At the last stop light, the wall beside the bus had over four figures of stick men on them.  When the light turned green, Mister Glass glanced back at the wall to find it empty of the marks.

Calling upon some of his powers, Mister Glass uses Mirror Skin to conceal himself, then Phasing to drop to the street from the bus safely.  As the bus turns the corner, Mister Glass sees the bus has four stick figure drawings graffiti-ed onto its side.

"Angels," Mister Glass realized.    Mister Glass and Mister Blink quickly discuss things, and seeing the news report on the television of Joseph being accused of shooting at school, Mister Blink opts to head to the explosion while Mister Glass tries to check on Joseph.

*

Mrs. Blank rushes back once she recovers from the explosion and helps Karen to her feet.  Unlike everyone else, only she and Karen were affected by the explosive sound.  As they hurry away from the cafe, ignoring the curious stares of onlookers (or the applause as they people realize the annoying woman is leaving), Karen mumbles something about trying a "room" multiple times to correct all the problems in her life.  They get to the diner to see Mister Dusk getting up from the floor, and confused at their arrival.

"But she just stepped through the door.."

"We have to go.  That sound is sure to draw more angels here."

Both hear the sound of screeching wheels.  Then turn and see a car heading straight for the diner!

*

"They're angels," Mister Blink realizes, similar to the Polis Men he had encountered before, and he decides to stealthily make his way to the rear of the diner.  The car had crashed through the window, and while he knows his friends are inside, he decides to try and get closer as quietly as possible.  He notices the multiple graffiti markings all around him and pretends not to notice as they soundlessly move last him and gather around the walls and doors of the house.

The angels are the graffiti.  They have surrounded the diner and seem to be waiting for something.  They have not decided to dive straight in.  Mister Blink sneaks in the back and sees the two angels flanking the door as it swings open.  Mister Dusk and Mrs. Blank are rushing through with Karen when the angels move!  Mister Blink draws a shooting star from In My Pocket and hurls it at the angel, grazing it, but drawing its attention long enough for Mister Dusk to strike at the other angel.  In the end, the group realizes that they will have to get away before the angels make things worse.

*

The school is in lock down.   Strangely, the campus however seems to have lost the boy and the clinic claims he was picked up by his uncle.  When Mister Glass gains the description of the man, it doesn't ring a bell.  The others, had they been with him though, would have told him it matched the bartender in the diner.  Mister Glass rushes to the diner where the others were, sees the graffiti all around, and nervously walks into the diner to join the others.

The others are there, all staring at the bartender who seems to not be too bothered that a car just crashed into his diner.  And the white door that is rimmed with light.

*

Karen calls.  Sobbing and scared.  She apologies for being cruel.  She wants a second chance.

*

Rikka is heading home.

She is seconds from walking into Kat, the intern, having sex with her fiance Daniel.

*

The bartender tells the demons to sit down.  Mister Dusk determines the door is the source of the explosions.  Whatever it can do is related to their own Aetheric powers.  What he isn't certain of, is who the bearded man is.

"What time do you close?" Mister Dusk asks.

"Dusk," the bearded man replies.  Then offers them both, "Glass?"  He turns to Miss Blank and asks, "Are you drawing a blank?  Or have you figured out who you're all facing."

"You're an angel?" Mister Blink asks.

"Nope.  Blink and you might miss the answer," the man replies, "The door is a gift to you all.  But only for those who deserve it.  Naughty ones don't get invited."

"You sound like Santa-" Mister Glass starts, then stops.  The demons had heard of exiles.  Of other supernatural entities that were neither angels nor demons that were in the world.  Rejected or forgotten by the God-Machine, some still kept at their own duties.  "No way.."

The bartender explains the door is a gift.  "Second chances.  Every one deserves them.  But only when they finally do deserve them.  Karen there, she had four tries so far.  Your friend Joseph just went through.  Happy to have had second thoughts about the gun."

"This is wrong," Mister Dusk mutters.

But the demons realize the exile is offering them the door.  And they realize the angels outside?  They were waiting to see what happens as well.  Santa offers them a key.  "This opens the door.  It is yours now.  Do what you think you should."

Mister Blink takes the key.  He considers throwing it out to the angels.  Bargaining with them.  But some of them start thinking of how far the second chance can go.  He warns them that some of those they loved are about to commit huge mistakes.

Others have already gotten their second chances.

Miss Blank tells Mister Blink to Teleport to Rikka's condo unit.  Blink arrives in time to see Rikka walking into the bedroom.  He activates Halo and forces them all to fall asleep.  He slips them all together, to lie in bed as if they had all slept together, then jumps back to the diner.

The demons watch as the bartender leaves.  He tells the angels, "It is all up to them now."  They do not stop his departure.

The demons give up the room.  They throw the key at the angels and tell them they're leaving.  The angels seemingly accept their exchange.

*

In the end, Mister Blink is back at school, and learns that Joseph changed his mind.  Joseph was considering bringing the gun to school but decided it was best he didn't.  The mother talks Alex for being a friend to Joseph.  Alex wonders if Joseph will ever realize how much he helped the demon find himself.

Dianne slipped back to the condo and found Kat and Daniel still fast asleep.  She fears Rikka leapt of the balcony and heads there to find her hugging her own legs and silently weeping.  Dianne asks Rikka if she wants to get away from here.  Rikka agrees and the two leave.  Dianne feels her heart leap, knowing at least this time she will be truly close to the woman who caused her to fall.  And maybe, in time, admit her feelings to her.

Nickolai finds a strangely kind and generous Karen at work.  The woman seems genuinely nicer and throws compliments at everyone at work.   She definitely seems to be a changed woman.

And finally, Christopher finds himself landing a desk job.  Karen was so happy of how he handled her that he has been hired to replace the spot of Diane Weiss.  As far as Christopher is concerned, at least now he does not have to worry about needing money.

Second chances.

One would think everyone got gifted one in the end.



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