Monday, March 4, 2013

Goodnight but not Goodbye

This weekend was the close of the New World of Darkness venues in Domain of New York City. It's been a long run, two years for me and nearly a decade for some. This has been a very trying and emotionally draining weekend for quite a lot of us. This blog is me processing that weekend from my perspective.

Friday Night- Changeling The Lost

Oh Lord. So New York was faced with dealing with a Keeper. One that ran on Narrative and used Toy Soldiers to do his bidding. So, in preparation, the Freehold started making Goblin Vows. These vows involve making deals with Concepts.

Let me explain, in World of Darkness, there is a hierarchy of Spirits. Rank 1 Spirits are very basic beings of the Shadow Realms, Ten are Unknowable Concepts like God. Most Mages, who have access to Spirit Magic, rarely deal with anything higher than Rank 4 or 5, Lesser and Minor Gods. In Changeling, they can make deals with Concepts, which are technically speaking Rank 8 Spirits. Those don't have stats. They can't be killed or fucked with.

And we're making deals with it. Now, Declan is an Author in both occupation and Kith. So when it came time to make a deal with the concept of Narrative to make their plans as Narratively succinct to counteract the Keeper's Narrative Causality. However, Magic comes at a Price. Declan made a deal with Narrative to write the story of the Changeling he came in with at the beginning of his chronicle, who was part of a major plot that he was emotionally invested in. He rights the novel to that, and everyone involved forgets it until they read the novel.

So in short, Declan doesn't remember the details of his coming into game. Keep that in mind as I go on.

The night went by quietly as the Sovereign's all plotted and planned. When it came down to it, and everybody rolled out, Declan was the only one that stayed behind. My PC is a non-combatant, and since his main function is basically a Living Black Box for Lost. The idea is for him to survive and move on. As such, I moved myself out of the room to speak out of Character to a friend. Before hand, Declan runs into his Sovereign, Erised of the Spring Court. At this point, Erised has made a plan to try and take the True Fae's place and then sacrifice himself. Declan, who was just named Erised's successor, does not want this to happen. Declan doesn't want the Throne, especially since the Throne was recently burned down.

So, when it came time for the final dungeon, Declan stayed behind and Craig went to another room. I spent the next twenty minutes speaking to a friend in the Out Of Character room, talking and bullshitting. Then, a player comes in, in character, holding a long white coat with green flames on it.

Erised's coat.

I don't actually remember my reaction, but from what I was told, it was just stunned silence. I had no idea what had gone on in the room, I had no idea. So when Declan is being informed of the situation, I'm being informed. The look of abject shock and sadness was probably the most in the moment acting I've ever done and franklly it was the sweetest thing.

AND THEN GAME ENDED.

I walk into round robin after game was called, and people saw me walking in wearing Erised's coat, and the reactions out of character were just as real as IN character. And I was just one of a few horrible tragedies that happened that night. It ended on such a high note that it may continue next month just to wrap up, which, in a way, I'd be for, since I want to play Declan-as-Sovereign. This is Changeling, where they can never have nice things. But it isn't about Changelings always lose, it's about Changelings getting further fucked and dealing with it.

During round robins both Greg and Chris, who were responsible for building the Lost venue six or so years ago, were at the point of tears as they said their goodbyes. And I'll admit it, by the end of the night, on my way home, I cried to.

Fuck you Changeling, that's twice now you've hit me in the feelings. Stop that.

Saturday Evening- Mage

This is the one I was running. In a way, this is the game I've felt the least bit nervous about running, because the players had something to work with already going in. There was a purpose to the whole thing and not a Monster of the Month game.

A lot of the plot of the game has revolved around the concept of "What would happen if the Abyss were gone tomorrow". There has been a lot of discussion about how that would reflect, what would happen to the Sleepers, would they all wake up? How would the Seers react. It got to the point where the Abyss was seen as a levelling tool for all the Mages. Last month, two PCs took it upon themselves to enact a ritual designed to eliminate the Paradox from a City. When they pulled it off, the City was plunged into perpetual Paradox and Abyss.

Mage: Infinite Cosmic Powers, and the reason we can never have nice things.

This month, the plan was to fix that, using the surviving of the two PCs. They drugged him, controlled him, and sent him willing back to the site of the ritual to sacrifice himself to shut it off. They did that, with some trouble caused by what I can only describe as "Abyssal Shamblers". I figured there needed to be combat at the end, and I was missing out on Dystopia Rising. So having constructs made out of the metaphysical and physical Pattern of the Abyssally Ravaged New York Consillium building made a good final encounter, especially since it took forever to get them out of there in the first place.

In the end, when the PC made his sacrifice, the Paradox stopped. All of it. This lead to one of the other PCs going "Wait...were those two RIGHT!?"

From then on, Anarchy reigned. Because the one thing that kept Mages in check was GONE. SO it became asshole central. This lead to the consillium edging towards fighting each other. So, like the responsible ST that I am, I did the only sensible thing.

I pushed them off the edge.

The player of the Hierarch wanted to kill his character off. He had purchased a Merit called Destiny, which while it gives you points to add to any pull, comes with the Catch of a Bane. The Bane can be anything thematically speaking and agreed upon purchase with the Storyteller. So, in short, the player was cashing out his Destiny. So as everyone was talking about all to whatfores and whyhows of a Paradox free New York, the Hierarch went outside, where by coincidence (hey folks, Fate magic. This shit is WEAPONIZED COINICIDENCES) the husband of a woman he had an affair with recognized him. This was the same man who shot him, thereby initiating his awakening in the first place. In a split second, Doc was shot in the head. The man shot himself.

The mages, stuck with leaving Doc outside to not arrise suspicion, stayed downstairs and began arguing over the top spot. Now it was getting to be an arguement and Mages started leaving. Historically, this is in keeping with New York's tradition of actually not having any form of centralized government in it's magical circle. So the game ended with the Consillium collapsing around them, all while the Mages got the greatest boon of their existence.

At the end of the game, the Hierarch's death was called "The Joss Whedon ending". I take this as a fucking compliment.

Saturday Night- Requiem

Requiem was a subdued game. And by game I mean that it was to resolve a scene that was put on hold due to massive combat scene (read: 50 characters involved, those are convention numbers). I was part of the plot scene, defeating a Spirit created by an artifact running on Narrative Causality by using Narrative causality. I was a tertiary character, not doing much but staying in the back line and roleplaying. By the end, the monster was destroyed, the players got some jollies in about the delay. It felt more like a series ending, because of all the Narrative Causality, and my PC just walked away with a smile on his face as he has one more scene to do before the end.

The bulk of the night was about establishing the settings and introducing everyone to their New Chronicle characters. It'll be fun, but I still feel a lot of ennui about Requiem. A lot of the reasons I won't go into in this blog. Requiem is a game I loved since I started playing it two years ago.  I have a lot of faith in it, but it has just as much going against it.

In the end, I'm sad to see the old Chronicle go. My characters, even the ones I didn't like, ended up in odd places. Declan, even if I don't get to play him as Spring Sovereign, is due a story about the aftermath. Rhys is getting imported over to the Accord venue when it starts. Taglia still has one more thing to do in the end. And then I have Jin, Ides and Owen to work with for Lost, Awakening and Requiem.

Goodnight but not goodbye

C