Party for young Wolf (Shara's party w/out Shara)

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Party for young Wolf (Shara's party w/out Shara)

Postby hans otterson » Fri Oct 30, 2009 1:43 am

Last night we played Houses of the Blooded for the first time. There were three of us (1 GM and 2 players), which seems a bit small for HotB, but next week we'll have 1-2 more.

Player Characters

Vlachette Fyx (as in, “machete fikes”). Vlachette—meaning “A Mirror's Cruelty”—is Blooded of the Serpent, with a weakness in the Virtue of Courage. As one might expect of a Serpent, he's got his share of sorcerous secrets. But he's not too secretive: he's fairly a flirt and a gossip, going after already-married people to get his Romance kicks.

Alexensis Deka (as in, “Alex-en-sis day-kah”). Alexensis—meaning “Keeper of Secrets”—is Blooded of the Elk and keeps things far closer to the chest than our Serpent. His entire family is dead. By his own hand. He's a member of the forbidden revenge cult of Ikhalu, but as play begins he is disillusioned with the cult.

Play begins with the two Barons (both a little older than typical starting characters—what has held them to only a paltry barony?) opening the door to the coming-out-to-society party of the newly Blooded Lord Van Adrente, a young, sickly Wolf with sharp teeth. Literally. They had been sent to the party by their Count, ordered to get Van to sign a contract. They were greeted at the door by Van's Seneschal, a man tall as a mountain, thin as a twig, and very, very creepy. As soon as I defined that, the players asked for Wisdom risks, the result being that we found out Alexensis had been Van's personal guard during a period of shame/mourning over his family, and that the Seneschal owed Alexensis a favor.
As they entered the grand foyer of the party, the Lady of the house, Lara, comes sweeping down the steps, her husband in tow. As she stops in front of the dark marble fountain, A&V approach her and the Lord and make a Wisdom risk to see what they already know about the pair. Turns out, the Marquise slept with Vlachette and her husband knows about it. The Lord's name is Carnasso (“My Flavor is Grape”), and the reason he doesn't call for a duel with Vlachette right then and there is because he needs to continue to trade with the Fyx. In fact, Vlachette's family has provided the copious wine that is flowing at the party right now.
At this point, The Lady announces the entrance of her son, and he appears at the top of the stairs, walking down and coughing. As he comes down, V&C make Cunning risks to determine if they can suss out what his sickness is. They determine: It's hereditary and certainly fatal if left uncured. Alexensis walks over and yells to the crowd for a toast to the good Lord. They toast him and clap just genially enough before turning back to their circles and their drinks. He is the occasion for the party, but it is not his party. He knows this.
As Van is distracted, Vlachette slips a note in his pocket that says, “Do not trust Alexensis.” Alexensis begins speaking to Van of a cure for his ailment, and as they repair to a back room at Van's request, Alexensis determines (Wisdom risk) that he knows how to cure Van. They sit down in front of a fire, and as Alexensis desperately tries to convince Van that he's going to die if nothing is done, Van laughs him off, throws the note he's found in his pocket in Alexensis' face, and says, “This is a joke.”
Meanwhile, Vlachette is searching the crown (Cunning risk) for a drunk, any drunk. The player failed the roll, which meant I as GM determined he did find a drunk, and I got to say who (awesome!). It was a sloppily obese man ranting at some women while standing at the table and slurping down greasy chicken (this was my favorite NPC to play all night. Fantastic fun). Vlachette convinced him (I think without a risk—my bad as GM) that Alexensis slept with his daughter, and pointed him in the right direction.
Just as it sinks in to Van that he really does have a deadly illness (his old guard Alexensis wouldn't lie, would he?), and as he agrees (Cunning risk) to go to his room, and take what is given to him, the drunk obese man bursts in (Style point given by Vlachette's player to define this), challenging Alexensis to a duel. Van melts away to the back of the room, and as Obese man stalks off to the main foyer, Alexensis follows.
It should be known that Alexensis doesn't carry a sword. Which is strange, passing strange, for a Blooded ven. No matter: Vlachette gives Alexensis his sword. Alexensis calls the Seneschal over, and calls in his favor (turns out it's a favor in which the Seneschal owes his life to Alexensis—some risk was involved here but I don't remember which) to have the S deliver a huge dose of the Ikhalu's Milk poison to Van. Alexensis prepares himself to face Obese man, who is standing in front of the fountain, wavering back and forth with a bottle of wine in one hand and a stick-thin rapier in the other. He yells and points his sword at Alexensis, but blubbers and falls down drunk as the Seneschal shrieks for the Lady of the House (Style point spent by the player to place that well-timed shriek). She rushes up, the party stops, and her wall-shaking sobs can be heard as Lord Carnasso flies down the stairs and throws the party out, grabbing Alexensis and having the Seneschal grab Vlachette. They are led upstairs, into a bare room with the Seneschal. Alexensis notes how loud the Lady's screams are, at which point Alexensis' player Compels Vlachette's Aspect Court Gossip (compel: talks about inappropriate things at inappropriate times), and Vlachette player has V say, brilliantly, “She's not screaming as loud as she did last night,” at which point Carnasso enters and hears this (b/c of a Style point spent by A's player). He rages at Vlachette, but ends it simply with a “Not. Now.” He proceeds to question Alexensis, determines his innocence (at least that's what he says), and frees the pair to inspect the body.
As they enter the room they make a Cunning risk to see a hidden suicide note and Alexensis' little book of herbology & poison that he apparently left with Van.
The Lady Lara enters, and Vlachette embraces her. She has him kiss his wrist and when he vows to have revenge on the one that did this to her son, she has a servant draw up and has V sign a contract in blood (not a Sorcerous Blood contract, which I meant to do but didn't know the rules off the top of my head—a player called me on the fact that it wasn't really a Sorcerous Blood Contract) to complete his vow of revenge. She sits down next to Alexensis, finds his book, flips through it, and hands it back to him: “Best not to just leave things lying about, hmm?” she says, and leaves. The suicide isn't mentioned.
As A&V finally leave the house, Carnasso stops them and gives the Seneschal to Alexensis as a gift to procure his silence on the matter of his son's death. Alexensis gladly accepts. Vlachette is ignored.

...and that ended it, pretty much, the only postscript being Alexensis' player saying he told one of his roadmen to “take care” of the Seneschal, whom of course he does not trust. Does he get “taken care of?” Hmm, we'll see.
The players also pretty much ignored seeking a contract for their Count. That'll probably come back to bite their asses. I have no clue why Alexensis killed Van, other than that he's a murder-hate machine. I want to see where that goes. I wish I had gotten Vlachette's player in on more action—I felt like he got a little short shrift in this game. But perhaps I was simply pushing too hard for them to be in the same place at the same time doing the same thing. At the end, when Carnasso was herding people out, it didn't make any sense for him to need to keep Vlachette there, but he did, because I was afraid of cutting him out of the action. If he had been kicked out, perhaps something cooler could have happened, like Vlachette breaking in the Master Bedroom balcony to steal away Lady Lara in her grief. Anyway.

I had fantastic, great fun. The most fun I've had in my (short) roleplaying career.

Niggles:

1.I wasn't giving out enough Style. I wasn't giving out paltry amounts, but it was hard to give it out when most of the “Hell yeah, awesome!” moments that the players contributed were contributed because they spent a Style point per the “Establish simple facts” rule. It felt weird to give them back the Style they just spent. Were those “facts” (an NPC jumping in at an opportune time, etc) too much for the “Establish simple facts” rule? I'm not sure we're getting the spirit of the law correct here. I hesitate to smack those moments down, though, because they, as gamers can't help but say on the internet, “brought the awesome”.
2.Aspects weren't used as much as I thought they would be, considering each character had 4. This isn't really a problem, as it's the beginning of the game and we're still really working through the system. There were a couple cool moments with a tag and a Compels, though.

Hmm, if I think of more I'll amend this post. Thoughts, comments, and questions welcome!
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Re: Party for young Wolf (Shara's party w/out Shara)

Postby Keith Fyans » Fri Oct 30, 2009 4:43 am

Style: I had found the same with my game. What I do now is count out 10 style at th start and keep them to hand.

Now *every time* something I like happens I hand one out. No matter what. Witty comments, keeping on topic, etc...

Sometimes when players use Style for something I really like I just say "keep it" and let play continue.

Also, from the pool, use peoples Compels. Offer them when they would be most fun or most inconvenient. Remind players that any time they follow their compel they get Style and they can offer it to others. Also remind them if they like an NPC to hit them with Style least they fade away...

And now and again have the Villain they hate Tag them. The first time it really matters. Esp when the players came for him and don't know his Weaknesses. Then have the Villain choose to fail intent in a way that screws/humiliates/weakens the players.

Before long the points will flow all over!
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