Actual Play Mistery: Darkening Sky

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Actual Play Mistery: Darkening Sky
« on: August 20, 2012, 05:47:22 AM »
Monster of Week: Darkening Sky

Stella Bennet - The monstrous
Stella is a girl possessed by an evil spirit with which she have to live with. She wears in a style Dark and got many piercings.
Stella is in love with Rachel (see below).

Natsu Segawa, order of the Black Sun - The initiate
Natsu wears a Japanese traditional kimono dress and has got the traditional japanese samurai hair styles. Faithful follower of the order of the Black Sun that since the dawn of time battles the threats of the unknown and the paranormal. Natsu and Javerth have been companions in past hunts and battles.

Javerth (real name classified) - the professional
Javerth is an agent of the "Bureou for Unknown Menaces", a secret government organization. He's a man with a mysterious pastand he is the representative of his organization during missions.

Harachel / Rachel - The Divine
Harachel (slanged in "Rachel") is an angel on a mission on behalf of a higher power. She's been unintentionally summoned on earth by a prayer of Javerth.

The team of hunters is a joint venture between the Bureau and the Black Sun which are considering the profit from this collaboration. Their mission is to face and battle the unknown threats with the support and the unspoken approval of the U.S. government.

Darkening Sky
I report the mechanics below highlighting them with text within brackets "[...]", separating them from fiction and make it easier to read or at least I hope. Anyone wishing to read only the Fiction can ignore that part.

The episode opens with the preliminary move from Natsu, who receives a mission from the Black Sun. Natsu is sitting at a table in a Japanese restaurant and listens in silence his contact: the order has predicted that one of his companions will betray the mission and thus putting a large number of lives at risk. He'll have to keep his eyes open and kill him/her before he/she could do so. It's probably Javerth. [This was an hard move on my part because Natsu Failed the roll. I must admit that at first I was in trouble as a keeper, but then I thought how I wanted to set the atmosphere and chose the one written above to increase the tension between Natsu and the other characters, at the same time doing "reveal future badness" :) I dd not plan on it and it showed up during play. we'll see what will come from this depending on what the characters will do]

Somewhere else: Gary, Indian, 21.32, 12th August 2012
A car runs through a suburban street, in a deserted wooded area. It stops just in time to avoid hitting a little girl crossing the street walking. The driver exits the car and rescues the girl, immediately calling an ambulance when he notices that she is in shock. In the bush a couple of large Phosphorescent eyes are watching the scene.
[Here I made a move to open the session with a monster lurking in a situation seemingly mundane, I used the move "reveal offscreen badness"]

Scene change
Direct flight to Gary 11:30, 13rd August 2012
Javerth is reading the documents in the folder detailing the discovery of a missing girl. He's on a plane together with the hunter group. What caught the attention of the Bureau has been discovering an artificial implant of unknown origin at the base of the neck of the girl. The girl, Janette Myers had mysteriously disappeared last week. Javerth being an old-fashioned man takes another pack of documents searching for similar cases, but without any success. [Javerth is doing a "investigate the mystery" move. While describing how he does that it's interesting noting that Javerth is an "old-fashion" investigator who prefers handwritten notes instead of a laptop computer. He fails the roll and then I make an hard move: "Reveal information to the monster"]

Somewhere else
At the Airport someone browses the passengers' list pointing his finger up to the names of the hunter's team members.
[I decide that the information revealed means the monster now knows of the arrival of the hunters and it can act accordingly]

Gary Airport
Upon arrival the team decide to go to the hospital where Janette has been hospitalized and is undergoing therapy.
[In this part, I asked the players how they would organize the investigation reminding them that the Bureau has given them the goal to secure the implant and investigate the mistery behind it. Roleplaying their characters, the players decide to go to the hospital in Gary. Of course, the hospital is a location that I prepared before playing]

Gary Hospital
Natsu and Javerth go to the laboratory where the implant is kept while Rachel and Stella and Rachel go to Janette's hospital room.
[Javerth takes leadership and organizes the hunters into two groups.]

Analysis Laboratory at the Gary Hospital
Natsu and Javerth enter the room and find Dr. Sarah Clark examining the implant found on the little girl's body. As soon as she notice them, Clark asks them who they are. Javerth poses for a Ranger and asks for further details on the Implant.
[Javerth makes the move "Manipulate someone" and succeeds, however he has to let her keep the implant found on the girl]
After being assured that the implant will remain in her possession, Clark explains that it's way ahead from conventional technologies, something far more advanced and sophisticated.
[Natsu and Javerth examine the facts. I suggest, therefore, a roll for Javerth "Helping out" Natsu "investigate the mystery". The roll succeeds (only thanks to the help of javerth) and the question asked is "What can it do?". I answer with the following fiction]
After listening they deduce that the device is a tracer and it certainly interferes with the nervous system controlling the victim. During the Cold War, the CIA has done research of this type regarding mind control systems within the Project "MK-ULTRA".

Janette's Hospital room
Meanwhile Stella and Rachel reach Janette's room but a policeman is guarding the door. Stella approaches him and uses her power to control him and let them enter.
[Stella has used his special move by Monstrous to control the policeman. She rolls and gets three "hold" on him to force him three commands.]
Inside are his mother, Gloria and Janette. Janette fixed the wall in front of him without saying anything. Gloria asks them who they are and Stella looks like support staff of the hospital for Janette.
[Stella is rolling to "manipulate someone" to calm down Gloria.  the appearance of being psychologists or nurses will be collaborative Gloria]
Gloria calms down and tells Stella about Janette and that she is in shock, not speaking since he was found. Gloria is sad while telling what happened. Stella asks questions to Gloria to collect some informations about the girl's condition.
[Stella rolls an "investigate the mystery" move but fails and I make an hard move in response]
Janette breaks her trance and turns to Stella pointing an accusing finger saying "YOU ARE EVIL."
[This is an hard move to see what Stella would do when cornered]
Rachel, having seen the wound at the base of Janette's neck, tries to heal her using her healing touch.
[Rachel uses the Divine special move to heal the kid. However, She fails and this leads me to make another hard move]
Rachel, when touching the girl, is shaken by a vision, seeing herself tied to an operating table with strange instruments, pointy needles hanging over her face. The shock makes her fall to the ground.
[With this move, I have revealed something about the nature of the monster but at the cost of an harm]
Javerth, Natsu and dr. Clark enter the room. Clark calms down Janette while Javerth and Natsu and take control of the situation.
[Because it was time to give Spotlight to other characters I made them gather after these events. Javerth makes a move to "Act Under Pressure" to avoid being thrown out of the room because Gloria is upset and could call for help. The roll succeeds and Gloria calms down but she requires that Stella and Rachel to be sent away because she is afraid they hurt his daughter]
Gloria calms down and Javerth make Stella and Rachel go away.

Corridor outside Janette's room

Stella tells the cop to leave, and after some hesitation he goes away. While the cop is walking away, Stella notices a small light flashing at the base neck of the policeman, evidently from under the skin. Stella tells this to Natsu and he decides to follow the policeman.
[Here I introduced a situation where something seemingly mundane and so far underestimated is actually wrong. The policeman is obviously hiding something.]

The Cafeteria is in the hospital and Natsu asks the policeman to follow him to stop a fight in progress upstairs.
[Natsu does a move "manipulate someone". The policeman follows him until he believes to be going to stop a fight]
Just arrived Natsu stuns him by hitting him with the hilt of his Katana and Rachel transports him into Javerth's van using the wings of an angel.
[I let the cop be stunned without rolling the move: it was too easy and failing it would not have added anything. Instead I wanted to see where they wanted to get the characters. Rachel instead used his move to the Divine Angel Wings to teleport in the van of Javerth. The shot is successful and there are no problems.]

Javerth's special operation van
Javerth removes the implant from the policeman and Rachel takes care of the wound.
[the surgery was not a move in my opinion. I thought it was well within the capabilities of Javerth and the context of the fiction so I let him do it without problems. I also felt that a failure by rolling would not add to the story and moreover a second plant could have been interesting for later. Rachel uses again her move "lay on her hands" and rolls well. The policeman is now in good shape and without signs of the surgery]
The policeman, Isaac Kowalsky, is scared and confused. He remembers being subjected to a surgery but does not remember the circumstances. He knows it was a terrible and scary experience.
He asked for protection to Javerth.
[The policeman is a bystander that I had not planned on, and was promoted to this role in the field by the characters. I then proceeded to give it a name from a list that I had previously prepared. The policeman is now free from the influence of the implant and is confused and scared, more than willing to work with some form of authority that makes him feel safe.]

Corridor outside Janette's room
Meanwhile, Natsu was guarding the room and sees Gloria holding Janette by hand exiting it. Gloria tells Natsu that wants to go home and Janette says "We gotta get away. they mostly hunt at night... Mostly... " and it was dark outside ...
[Here I made a soft move "reveal future badness"]

With this we ended the episode.
A session about mystery and investigation rather than action. I have aimed deliberately at an 'X-Files inspiration to play something slightly different.
I followed all the advices in the manual and I found easy to be a keeper. It's well-written and fairly clear, and unlike many others it was enough to read it once to get a feel and just a second to catch the details. It is also a good reference during the game, as the variuos rules are well organized.

I hope I wrote in english good enough to be understood :)

I include the pictures I drew about the non player characters in the mystery (just sketches):

Re: Actual Play Mistery: Darkening Sky
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2012, 06:00:36 AM »

I love all the implants and MK-ULTRA stuff you included. Good to see that it worked well in that style, too, without a single monster to take out. I knew it's a possible way to play it, but it's not one directly suggested in the text.

Re: Actual Play Mistery: Darkening Sky
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2012, 06:20:51 AM »
The monster is actually there, lurking. It's only hinted as of now.
Just wait for the second episode for it to come fore.

I include the drawing of agent kowalsky (the policeman) and an hint to a creature hiding :)

Re: Actual Play Mistery: Darkening Sky
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2012, 03:12:17 PM »
The monster is actually there, lurking. It's only hinted as of now.
Just wait for the second episode for it to come fore.

Oh, cool.

The sketches are great, too.