[Dark Days] [Actual Play] The man that never was

edited September 2009 in Actual Play
This summer I ran some intense (8 hour sessions no less) Dark Days games, for playtesting purposes. This is the AP report from a single storyline, played over 4 days, back to back. I'll try and highlight the awesome scenes and what mechanics I feel promoted or created those awesome scenes as a way to show what the game has to offer in terms of play. Here we go!

Dark Days Game Premise:
Your life was shit and then you died. Maybe your life wasn't complete shit, but near the end, it definitely was shit. The reason for why your life was so shitty is probably what we call Darkness. Darkness is entropy, death, misery and whatever horrible thing you can imagine all rolled into one and the worst thing is, it gathers over people and places like flies to a corpse.

When you died, you were infected with it. It chose you and you chose it and you came back. A deal with the devil if you like. You give it a place to stay and grow and it lets you live again, allowing you to do something you always wanted to, but was too afraid or too weak to do.
Reap vengeance on those that wronged you. Help your junkie half brother kick the habit. Find out what happened to your dad. Watch over your family. Save the fucking world.

What you are is a Wayward. There's a little bit of Darkness in you, but it grows stronger every day and with it, so do you. You're not a magician, but you can do some really fucked up Harry Potter shit. All because of the Darkness. You use it and it uses you, even though you try and deny that last part.

All this takes place in a city called New Baltimore. A melting pot of the occult and monstrous, it's home to the original Hotel Babylon, a 50's era grand hotel that seems to reach to the sky. Getting a room is easy, paying the bill is a bitch, and the VIP membership? Don't even ask.

Introducing...
Each character in DD chooses an Archetype. Archetypes represent the reason you wanted to strike that deal, the reason you wanted to come back to this life. I'll talk about 3 of them here:
Avengers are out for vengeance. Not only on those that wronged them, on everyone and every thing that needs to be righted, according to taste.
Doppelgangers had such shitty lives that they wanted a new chance to live what they missed. They achieve this by stealing other people's lives or at the very least their money, house and cars.
Hellblazers want to know. They want to see how the Darkness touches each and every one of us. They want to know what makes you tick and they're very good at it. They're the wild card. They just fucking chose to come back.

Characters:

Harry is a Doppelganger. A small time criminal scared straight when his brother got snuffed out after a bad deal, he felt that his life had been to boring and meaningless, unlike the one his brother had before he died. Harry was burned alive in a trunk of a car when he wouldn't tell the nice police officers where his brother had hid the money. He didn't know of course, so that's a bonus he's got coming to him now that he's back to life.
The first few years of his unlife, he spent tracking down the crooked cops that killed him and his brother. Got romantically involved with a girl that turned out to be undead. She's a nice girl, she just needs human flesh to survive. He also makes a living scaming people and pretending to be what he's not.

Concept: Scam Artist
Darkness: 3 (on a scale of 10)

Aspects:
Asset: Contact (Guntrade) (this allows Harry to get a hold of some very illegal firepower.)
Crooked Cops (the cops that killed him and his bro will still hunt him down if the word gets out that he's alive.)
Gotta find the money (apparently his brother hid a suitcase full of cash somewhere. Harry has a key, but he doesn't know to what.)
My lovely Mary (Mary, his undead girlfriend is pretty high maintenance but a cool person nonetheless.)
Survival Instinct (Whatever Harry does, Harry has to get out of it alive.)

Scars: (Scars are Aspects that stem from a high Darkness rank.)
Voice of our Shadow (sometimes the Darkness inside Harry can speak through his mouth.)

The Game

We started the game with a little prelude for Harry.
He wakes up in a coffin, 2 months after his death. Panicked, he manages to gets out to find himself in the family tomb. Choking on dust and some very nasty chemicals they use on corpses to make them look nice, he busts through the door and starts heaving outside. After having some fun purging, he tries to find his way out of New Baltimore's main graveyard, one of the biggest and most complex in the States. His funeral suit is a bit breezy on the back side, but he ignores the humiliation and goes on.

Walking in circles in the pitch black darkness (there are no lights in the cemetery for some reason), he stumbles on a figure sitting beside a grave. What he first believes to be sobbing sounds turn out to be something far more fucked up, as the pale young girl in the Korn hoodie appears to be munching on a human arm.
Harry, taking it all at stride, has a nice chat with her. The ick factor is a big obstacle here, but is young Harry actually flirting with an undead ghoul? Yes, yes he is.

Ignoring a voice in his head that tells him to leave her and run away (literally, there is a voice), he offers to buy her a burger instead. She agrees and leads him out of the cemetery. Remembering his ruined suit, he leaves her alone for a few minutes while he attacks an old man and steals his clothes and wallet. The voice is back, asking him to steal his watch too. It's an old looking watch, probably has sentimental value. Harry decides the voice is wise and takes the watch.
He gains 1 point of Tenebrae. Tenebrae is your ''fuel'' for using the powers (called Talents) that Darkness provides. You earn Tenebrae whenever you follow your Archetype's path. In this case, Harry just stole a part of this person's life. The clothes and wallet are one thing, but the watch meant a lot to the old man and now Harry is wearing it. In a way, he's wearing the old man isn't he? Since he's a Doppelganger and that's what Doppelgangers do, he gains the point.

Harry goes back to the girl (now Mary) and takes her to the nearest burger joint where she asks for a raw burger, hold the bread. We then fast forward the whole thing a bit and 4 years later, Harry is still with Mary and they're living at a fancy hotel that thinks that Harry is a wealthy Russian businessman that may or may not be involved with the mafia. Harry is tracking down the cops that killed him and trying to figure out where the money is, or who might know where the money is. He has a few leads, but is still trying to figure out what to do to the cops.

next: A strange phonecall and 1 million dollars up for grabs! Stay tuned on Dark Days: Fucked up things for more!

Comments

  • I'm typing this out over a few days, so there will be some minor spamming, but I promise to keep it at a minimum.
    Shoot me some questions (if you have them), tell me what you think, any feedback is welcome and necessary.
  • I'm excited to see moving on DD, George. Between talking to you about the setting and the artwork I've seen, I'm definitely intrigued, and I want in on the latest round of playtesting. Ferreal.
  • I would like to know more about this game.
  • Jarrod, thanks. It's cool to see how the game evolved from it's ''Van Dread'' days to this.
    spookyfanboy: Just read on brother!

    Part 2

    The actual story begins when Harry, a guy you go to whenever you want something retrieved or stolen, receives a phone call on his ''work'' cell phone. The mysterious voice wants him to track down an object and invites him and his partner (chosen by the mysterious man) to his mansion.
    The man is called ''Jonsson'', apparently.
    Harry, a smart chap, does some research based on the name and address given to him. Jonsson appears to be old money, a wealthy guy that moved to New Baltimore in the 50s, made some noise (partying, drinking and fucking everything) only to disappear from the public eye and become a recluse.
    No one has seen him in 55 years. Since nothing concerning comes up, Harry calls up the designated ''partner''. Enter Joe the mechanic.

    Joe is the Avenger. He led a quiet life until he came home to find his wife splattered around their living room. Now he's an alcoholic that owns a car shop and pretends to be a car mechanic while he drinks in the back office. He also takes strolls through New Baltimore and kicks the living shit out of pimps and dealers. He is known to use a lead pipe on occasion.

    Darkness: 2

    Aspects:
    ''They travel by night...'' (the things that killed his wife drive an old black Cadillac and just drive through the US. He knows where their next stop is.)
    Alcoholic (Joe loves his whiskey...)

    pending...(need to find my notes, bear with me for now.)


    Joe didn’t get a prelude, but he did get to show what his character was all about when he went on a stroll with the express purpose of kicking someone’s ass. New Baltimore has some really shady neighborhoods that serve as his hunting grounds.
    Tonight, Joe happened upon a seedy motel and the screams of a woman coming from one of the rooms. Joe quickly disposed of the pimp-looking guy in front of the room with a kick in the groin and proceeded to break down the door.
    The scene in the room turned his stomach more than a little bit, as it seemed like the john had smashed the woman’s face against a mirror, cutting her face in the process. After beating the living shit out of him, the man begging for his life got a bullet in the face. Madness checks ensued.

    Mechanic Highlight: Madness Checks
    Joe has a Madness: Violence rank of 2 and a Madness: Self rank of 3. The ranks here represent both how broken he is and what his threshold is. Shooting someone point blank in the face is worth at least a Madness: Violence rank of 5-6, so he gets to roll his Mind stat, minus 3 dice to make up for the big gap (From rank 2 to rank 5). It could have been a Self check, but I figured that under the circumstances, Joe didn’t really find his actions to be against his nature. Joe failed the check, thus earning him a Violence rank of 3.

    After Joe called an ambulance, he left the room and started walking away. After a few steps, he came back and shot the now unconscious pimp in the head as well. This prompted a Madness: Self check that Joe succeeded in.

    Back at the garage, Joe popped open a bottle of Jack and got shitfaced.

    Why Joe was chosen for this job is a mystery. Joe has no clue why the hell anyone would pay him to track down an object is anyone's guess, but the half million promised paycheck can buy a man a lot of whiskey and so he reluctantly agrees. He makes it clear from the start that although he's not new to shady dealings, any weird shit goes down and he walks. The two men strike a weary alliance.
    Things got a bit complicated when Harry decided to take his girlfriend Mary with him, to the garage where Joe lived and worked. The problem was that the garage had a particular...strange past.
    Joe came to own the garage when he murdered the original owner. In one of his walks through the city, he noticed the man acting strangely and getting involved with some very bad people. His research (stalking) was fruitful: The man was a cannibal that liked storing corpses (and sometimes living people) behind the walls of the garage. Add to that the fact that Mary hadn’t had a chance to feed in over 2 weeks due to some bad time management by Harry and we got a problem.
    I guess Joe hadn’t gotten all of the ’’meat’’ out of the walls because Mary managed to find a part of drywall that still contained rotting, disgusting human flesh. She took the wall apart with her bare hands and started chomping on an arm.

    Mechanic Highlight: Aspect Compel
    Behind the scenes, I compelled one of Mary’s aspects (’’Hunger for human flesh’’ or some such) and Mary ’’chose’’ to allow her hunger to overtake her. Joe was appalled at the scene and so was another character (I won’t mention him because the player wasn’t even there).
    This led to a Reservoir Dogs type scene, with Joe and the other guy pointing guns at Mary, Harry pointing guns on both of them and Mary looking at everyone like they were Happy Meals.
    After Joe got promised that Mary never hurt a human being (she just ate their flesh), things calmed down a bit and they sat down to discuss their new assignment.

    (I'll post another part today, don't worry!)

    Next up: Meeting Mr Jonsson and a strange movie!
  • I have some mechanical questions on Harry, and some fluff questions:

    Why would the Darkness return people who want to save their siblings from their drug addiction? Doesn't it want to increase misery and entropy?
    Is the darkness sentient? Etc.

    What does the Darkness rating mean, the 1-10 meter?
    Does the GM play the "voice" Harry listened to, giving him suggestions that provide a benefit when listened to, or is it fluff, and when the player adheres to their archetype, they say they did, the GM agrees, they gain a point of Tenebrae and the "voice" is merely colour?
  • Hey Guy

    I wouldn't say that the Darkness is exactly sentient, it's more like a force of nature kind of thing. Although the Wayward might sometimes have noble goals, most really don't (Haunters, Avengers, Hellblazers, Doppelgangers). So they strike a deal with the Darkness. What the Darkness gets out of it is a host, someone they can control slightly and even try and take over completely (reach Darkness rank of 10). That's a huge tool for it's purpose.

    The Darkness meter is essentially a meter of power and Darkness control. Higher Darkness ranks mean you have access to more fucked up powers than before, that you can do them more often, etc. At the same time it measures how much of ''you'' is still left inside of you. A Wayward with a high Darkness rating will begin to lose control of the thing inside of him. Mechanically, you gain ''Scars'' that are a form of Aspects with usually negative connotations. I have a good example of that further down the line in the AP, but a Scar can be anything from a physical deformity to a way for the Darkness inside of you to act upon your base instincts.

    The voice is played by the GM yes. In this particular instance, it's just fluff, a way to show the character that this Darkness is inside of him and it usually wants him to do some really horrible things. Listening to it can help, like in this case. It was a nice way for me to show a new player how Tenebrae works and how their Archetype works in general. This is later toned down, since it would get old fast to have a voice tell you to shoot everyone you come across, but it's still used in specific situations, when the Darkness thinks that a nudge in the right direction can lead you down a certain path (like having a fight with a friend might lead you to start drinking again, something that will undoubtedly lead to more misery down the road).
  • Sorry for the delay, been crazy busy.

    At this point, I wanted to highlight some issues that came up in these first sessions.

    The World of Dark Days
    I wasn't really happy with how the world the characters lived in looked and felt like. I played up the crime and poverty angle too much and generally gave it a very World of Darkness vibe, everything the same just a little bit darker. It felt like I was playing a White Wolf game and the players picked up on that too. This isn't directly related to game design, but it was still a problem that highlighted the need for a more original setting, thus changing my plans of creating the city of New Baltimore and just leaving it at that.
    I tried to fix this in the next few sessions, mainly by ignoring the city and zooming in on a few places that made New Baltimore unique, like Hotel Babylon. I had a few more places in mind but I didn't get the chance to show them off. The fact remains though, I had to play up the weird-occult part of Dark Days a lot more both in my games and the product itself.

    The Weird
    The second problem came up whenever anything supernatural in nature took place in the game. The players felt that they didn't know what they ''proper'' reaction was. Sure, they were undead and had weird voices talking to them in their heads, but how are they supposed to feel towards a ghoul or a vampire enjoying a drink at the local bar? Although this is definitely up to the character/player, there definitely was a problem here.
    In addition to that, there was a disconnect between playing a character solo (dealing with your Obsession, your loose ends) and playing the game Dark Days is supposed to be: a horror investigation/occult romp where the characters are a team.
    I tried to ignore it at first, but as luck sometimes has it, I found a solution during playtesting. I'll talk about it when I reach that point, but long story short, I introduced ''organizations'' that the players can join (during character creation or later) in order to be a part of the weird underground so to speak.
    These organizations provide background for the characters that allows them to have contacts and knowledge on different occult and supernatural things. Aside from that, it supports the notion that the world of Dark Days is filled with weird things that are connected in a myriad ways.
  • Posted By: northerainzooming in on a few places that made New Baltimore unique, like Hotel Babylon. I had a few more places in mind but I didn't get the chance to show them off. The fact remains though, I had to play up the weird-occult part of Dark Days a lot more both in my games and the product itself.
    Tell us more about this, George! You give us just enough of a tease on the hotel itself in your post. I think you instinctively picked up on the Babylon as being exemplary of your setting. Especially in the way that Dark Days is set apart from the standard modern horror as exemplified by White Wolf. It feels nightmarish and surreal. What other places like this exist in the setting?

    What other kinds of Madness are there? Actually, can you post us a character sheet? I'm curious about all the mechanical tidbits.
  • Speaking as one of the editorial team on Protodimension magazine, we would be interested in supporting your game when it eventually escapes into the world. My fellow editor TadK told me about it, and I'd love to see more about it myself!
  • edited September 2009
    Although you'll see a lot more of Hotel Babylon in the AP, it can't hurt to talk about it a bit.

    Hotel Babylon

    Hotel Babylon is one of the few things in the Dark Days setting that is nearly done (though not written). It came into being in my first playtest because it wasn't a planned game and I had to come up with something fast.
    The Babylon, at least the one in New Baltimore, is a 20's era grand hotel that appears to disappear into the clouds. It sits on a huge empty lot, behind a chain link fence, for those that can't see it for what it truly is, which is most of the people in New Baltimore. But if you have the key or the knowhow (this will show up on the AP), you can enter it. The Babylon is essentially a neutral ground where the supernatural can conduct business, reside and have extravagant parties. It has a VIP membership (more on that on the AP later) where everyone who is someone is a member and can provide housing for people and creatures that might find it...hard to exist on the outside.

    The Babylon is a freaky place, but that's part of the charm. It's interior shifts like the weather, turning into any kind of hotel from any decade it feels like. Each floor usually has different decoration, one that extends into the essence of the floor itself. One floor can be the same as the rest of the Babylon, a luxurious 20's hotel with brass mirrors and leather furniture, while another can look like a cheap motel, shaggy carpet and broken TVs and that familiar nasty smell of car air freshener and piss.
    Sometimes the look of the hotel has meaning, sometimes it doesn't.

    Delving deeper
    The Babylon is every hotel that has even been and will be. Every room, of every hotel or motel or rented room where something significant has happened in, exists within the doors of the Babylon. Everyone that works there (including the concierge with a meat cleaver for a hand) works there because they signed their souls over to Babylon, or because they met their end in a dirty motel somewhere. It's personnel is limitless. The VIP members can probably make you shit your soul and if you want to get a room, well, you better be able to pay what they're asking.

    But then again, you're one of the Wayward, so you should feel right at home.
  • There are 3 types of Madness: Unnatural(or Darkness), Self and Violence. Unnatural is for weird phenomena and monsters, Self is for vile actions your character may choose to take and violence is for...well, violence.

    This is an early version of the character sheet we used for the playtest, sans Madness meters.
    image
  • OK where was I?

    Joe and Harry decided to drop by Jonsson's mansion and find out what the deal was. They got in Joe's truck, since Harry didn't want to mess up his nice Bentley and arrived at the mansion on time for their appointment with Jonsson.

    Greeted by the old-school butler, they entered the mansion and had to wait for Jonsson in the living room for a while. The faux-victorian interior, coupled with the library filled with occult tomes and the paintings depicting what must be Jonsson's ancestors, judging from their looks. Jonsson himself entered the room soon after, a young looking fellow that wore an old-school suit and used a cane to support himself.
    This raised some questions in our investigators since they expected a frail old man, but no one dared to breach the subject.

    What followed was a narrative of what Mr Jonsson was after: A rare and obscure movie from the early 20s, in which his grandfather had a starring role. He had no information aside from that it was filmed in Maine sometimes in the 20's and the title: ''The man that never was''.
    He also had a few stills from the movie, stills where his grandfather was depicted standing outside the gates of a mansion, holding a cane just like his grandson was holding now. The reward was $1 million for the movie, 200k for proof that the movie existed.
    The group accepted the job and left the mansion.

    Harry and Joe felt there was something fishy going on, but they both needed the money for their own reasons. The only real hint they got from Jonsson was that a film collector named Kraus that had earlier tried to find the movie himself but failed.
    The two went home for the night and set up a date to go meet him the next night.

    ...

    Harry picked up Joe from his garage (Joe was wasted so he couldn't drive. Joe's player compelled his own Aspect, ''Alcoholic'' to get a much needed fate point).
    They had checked out where Krauss was supposed to be the night before and got a name and an address: Hotel Babylon, on St Cecil street.
    Driving through the city, the state of the buildings and the kind of people on the street got progressively worse until they actually hit St Cecil street. The drunks and dealers loitering about this part of the city where nowhere to be found on the particular block where the hotel stood, nor was much else.
    A couple of broken down cars where parked in front of the street where the hotel was supposed to be on, but behind them stood a huge empty lot, surrounded by chain link fence. The gate was padlocked.

    Joe and Harry looked around for a while, trying to find the mysterious hotel Babylon, apparently a shitty motel, judging by the area it was in. Once it was clear the empty lot was the right address number, they figured out something else was going on.
    They broke the padlock with a crowbar Harry kept in his car and entered the lot.

    At this point things got a bit bogged down because I had to include a new player in the game. This was the only time he played so the character didn't make another apperance. But he did come in handy here, because he (having been to Babylon before) knew how to enter the hotel.

    So what happened was, Harry used The Sight to have a look at the world behind the world. What he saw was a 50's era building appear in front of him, stretching upwards into the clouds. This prompted a rank 1 Unnatural check which he made, so no Madness notches. The big sign on the front said ''Hotel Babylon''.
    With the help of a mysterious stranger (the aforementioned guest star), they managed to enter the real life Hotel Babylon by cutting themselves and using the blood to paint a specific sigil on the front doors. This granted them access to the hotel.

    Mechanic Highlight: The Sight
    The Sight isn't really a mechanic. It's not even an original idea, but it definitely works in Dark Days. The Sight is an innate Talent that all characters possess. It allows them to see things that aren't there in reality, like Hotel Babylon (which is masking itself from the outside world), monsters and dead people.
    In game terms, it allows a character to see how Darkness flows through things.
    This is how Joe figured out there was something wrong at the garage (the cannibal storing people remember?). What he saw when he looked at it was a symbolic representation of the hidden reality: A black mass of writing, breathing human parts with a thousand mouths and a thousand eyes, all screaming. The Sight is a good way to figure out what the hell is going on, when you have no clue about what you're facing.

    At the door, they were met by one of my staple NPCs: The concierge with meat cleavers instead of hands. This cheerful fellow wore the traditional red Hotel Babylon uniform and welcomed them with open arms. A bit off-put by his appearance (his face was rotting), they quickly proceeded towards the lobby.
    The interior was pretty luxurious looking, with a double grand staircase leading up to the ballroom, high ceilings and gold-plated everything. At the desk was a young girl that wore a summer dress. She didn't have a tag and was clearly out of uniform.
    Joe asked about Mr Krauss's room and got the floor and room number. When the girl turned around to do something else, he got a view of her right side and noticed that half her face was missing, probably from a gunshot wound. The girl didn't seem to be bothered by this. Freaked out, everyone got into the elevator, trying to play it cool. Unfortunately, the elevator operator was a man with no eyes and his mouth sewn shut. A few Unnatural checks were made but everyone seemed to roll well that night so nothing bad happened.
  • They got off at the 13th floor as the nice girl told them and turned right, towards room 656. They knocked at the door and it was answered by a guy that appeared to be around 40, with graying black hair and a face that said ''I drink too much and I never sleep''.
    They introduced themselves and mentioned Mr Jonsson, at which point the man gave them a dirty look and invited them in.

    The room was relatively clean, aside from the clothes and whisky bottles thrown all over the floor. The man (obviously Mr Krauss) asked them if they wanted a drink and offered them a seat. Since there were no chairs anywhere, Harry sat on the bed while Joe decided to stand.
    I compelled Joe's Aspect ''Alcoholic'' again, since the smell of whisky was hanging on the air and his buzz was fading. Joe accepted the fate point and silently but surely proceeded to get wasted on Krauss's liquor.
    The two men explained the situation to Krauss and asked him a few questions concerning his own research and any help he might be willing to provide.
    Krauss told them the movie was a myth and that his own research had led to the same conclusion. Joe pulled out the file that Jonsson had given them (containing some movie stills) and waved them in his face. Krauss insisted the movie did not exist.
    When Harry shrugged him off and told him he knew it existed and he was going to track it down, Krauss pulled out a gun and put it to his temple. He then offered to spray his brains all over the wall and ruin a perfectly nice painting that hanged there.

    And with that little cliffhanger, I leave you once again.
  • edited September 2009
    Hands-down the coolest character sheet I have ever seen.

    EDIT - I want in on whatever playtest stuff is happening for this.
  • Posted By: skinnyghostHands-down the coolest character sheet I have ever seen.

    EDIT - I want in on whatever playtest stuff is happening for this.
    Thanks man. I was inspired by John Harper's Dagon Character Sheet
  • edited October 2009
    Part 4

    My two players were kicking themselves for allowing Krauss to get the jump on them (I described in detail all his movements and everyone had a chance to act, but alas, they trusted him too much. Maybe it had something to do with them thinking he was actually a fat, lazy movie aficionado).
    This was a sticky situation. Fortunately, Krauss didn't appear to be interested in killing them at the moment and just kept on talking, calmly.

    He asked them a few more questions about what they thought they knew about the movie and their employer.
    Joe and Harry didn't mind answering under the circumstances, both trying to stall and get the drop on Krauss. A feeble attempt by Harry earned him a pistol whip and forced him to sit down again.
    At this point, it became obvious that Krauss didn't want for anyone to actually find the lost movie reel, or even get near it. He implied as much and more or less told them that this movie, whatever it was, should never be allowed to survive. He asked them if they were planning on giving the reel to Jonsson, should they find it. Surprisingly, they both agreed that should they consider the movie to be a threat to anyone, they would burn it. Joe wasn't really sure Harry meant what he said, considering he was in it for the money, but he decided he had to trust him for the moment, seeing as there was a madman with a gun in the room with them.

    Krauss asked them if they were willing to swear on it. Joe and Harry agreed, but got a bit squeamish when Krauss instructed them to take some paper, cut their hands with a knife and write the contract down in their own blood. Suddenly, lying wasn't an option.
    Krauss assured him that any contract signed in Babylon was binding, with the Hotel as witness.
    The terms were easy: Destroy the tape, or your soul belongs to Hotel Babylon, forever.

    Joe and Harry both signed. Krauss asked them to look in the bathroom before they leave and feel free to help themselves to anything in the room. Then he put the gun in his mouth and shot himself.

    Mildly shocked and realizing that whatever they got themselves into is no laughing matter, the two stumble into the bathroom. The lights are out, but by the light of a flashlight they can see there's a person chained up in the bathtub. Knee-deep in rotting human body parts, the woman chained to the walls says ''I'm so...hungry''.

    A few seconds and two Madness checks later, the two brave men are running out of the room to try and calm down and figure out what to do. Harry thought they should forget the dead man and the cannibal in the bathtub and get the fuck out. Joe reminded him that they have no clues towards the mysterious movie, besides the woman. Harry agreed to stay but lets Joe take the lead while interrogating the woman.

    The woman in the bathroom is able to answer questions, but her speech is awkward and difficult to understand. The pair managed to figure out the following:
    Her name is Anna. She is a movie prop, created for the movie ''The man who wasn't there''. The creator is her master and she must do what he says at all times. Since he is not here, Joe is now her ''Holder'' and she will do as he says, unless her master tells her otherwise. She doesn't know where her master is. She doesn't know where the tape is. She doesn't know what would happen if the movie is destroyed. She doesn't know if her master has the tape.
    She is very hungry.

    Joe and Harry regrouped and discussed the situation. Joe made an awkward call to room service and found out that the Hotel actually can supply them with human flesh. They put it on their tab and the Hotel feeds Anna, as it has been doing for years, evidently.

    Creeped out by the situation and the fact that their bill at the Hotel keeps getting bigger and bigger without the concept of money ever mentioned, they decide to take a break.

    Harry went back to his girlfriend, who's pissed off at him for disappearing for all those days. Eventually, they patch it up.
    Joe went back to his garage and had a few bottles of whiskey.

    Later...

    ¨The next evening, they went back to Hotel Babylon, this time using the front entrance. The girl at the reception was still there, still had half her head missing and was still very friendly and helpful.
    The two men went up to the room. In the vault from which Krauss took out the paper to write up their contract, they found some papers, a couple of pistols and a key. They key has the letter MM on it, as well as the Hotel Babylon logo. A phone call later, they found out the key is for a room in the VIP wing of the hotel, a room that Krauss kept. Since he left it to them, everything in it is theirs, but they can't actually visit it, as they're not members of the Hotel Babylon club. This throws a wrench in their plans.

    Joe went down to the reception and asked the girl there how he can apply for membership. She sent him to a man named Gibson, on the 15th floor. Gibson is responsible for VIP memberships.

    Hesitant, Joe decided to take the plunge and try and become a member. He knocks on the door and after waiting for an answer that never comes, opens the door.
    Gibson's office is radically different to the rest of the Hotel's interior. It's chiefly decorated in tones of black and white, a giant black mahogany office dominating the space. It is furnished sparingly, with only a single chair for the guests to sit and a single potted plant that seems to be long dead.
    The windows go floor to ceiling and wall to wall on the north side of the room. In the middle, there's a gaping hole made out of jagged glass, where something apparently went through the window. The room is windy and pieces of paper are flying around.
    Gibson is standing in front of the window, his back to Joe. He motions him to sit with one hand, without turning around. He appears to know what Joe is here for and gets directly to the point.
    There are two ways to become a member of the Babylon club:
    You're either a member already (by virtue of being invited to join, usually due to being a Someone) or you give your soul to the Hotel and you gain access to the VIP wing.

    During the discussion Gibson seems to imply that a few presidents of the US have been members previously. Inquiring about the membership fees, Gibson replies that it's up to the individual. They're definitely unpleasant. Joe can't seem to decide, seeing as becoming a member is almost impossible and giving up his soul doesn't sound like a good idea, considering that means he'll become a Hotel employee for eternity.
    At that point, Gibson offers him a third alternative. He asks him if he has seen the young girl in the reception desk. Joe remembers her and answers as such.
    Gibson explains that the girl is not yet a permanent employee. She's on the verge of becoming one, but if Joe seals the deal, he'll get into that room.
    Asked for further explanation, he says the girl is on the verge of killing herself because her stepfather is abusing her. Right now, she's dreaming of the Babylon, but once she's dead, she'll belong to them forever. All this, because it all started in a hotel somewhere where Babylon's tentacles have taken roots.

    Joe asks to think about it and proceeds to leave. Gibson, turning around to wave goodbye, reveals his face, pieces of glass lodged into it and the front side of his body, with the largest piece going through the heart. His suit is bloody and his eyes are dead.
    Joe stumbles out into the hallway.

    Two days later, Joe kills the girl's stepfather and goes on a killing spree on the bad side of town, probably in order to garner infamy and gain membership to the Babylon club. Harry watches the arrest on TV.

    Next time: Harry gets a new partner and the mysterious room is revealed!
  • Well, I want a pic of the hotel, like a front shot, that would rock as a wallpaper I think

    The characters totally are awesome. You have such a great product here. dang dang dang

    The setting is awesome. i would love to steal the Hotel for my own ends and goals. Might have to do some writing inspired by it. Very cool.

    The NPCs are totally Kult and beyond, very nice.

    I want to play now, it is more than enough to make me want to play.

    The CHARACTER SHEET is da bomb. I love it
  • edited January 2010
    Oh boy it's been a while hasn't it? I was hoping to get in touch with one of my players and talk to him about the game (he also kept the character sheet and I don't remember his Aspects), but I figured it wasn't terribly important. I remember his background a bit.

    The character of Joe wasn't working out for the game. He was a bit too single minded and quick to kill things and the player wasn't very happy with that. So he rolled a new character and we put some down time in effect.

    During this time, Harry wanted to take care of some business. If you remember from earlier, Harry wants to find out what his brother did with his money. His only hint was one of his old girlfriends, a girl with black hair that his brother never let go even though they broke up years ago. He doesn't remember much because he was a kid at the time, but with that being his only clue as to the whereabouts of the money, he decides to try and find her.

    Harry doesn't have much family except for some cousins and aunts. One of his cousins still lives in his old neighborhood, in a bad part of town. He runs a video store and barely makes a living, but he's a slob so Harry doesn't really care. He pays the old cousin a visit. Things are like they've always been in the old neighborhood, just more run down and dangerous. The cousin is surprised to see him (he knows he's dead), but Harry manages to keep him calm. Harry's nonchalant behavior, coupled with the fact that Harry's body was never found, convinces the cousin that he never was really dead, just hiding. He asks him about the girl he's looking for, but the man knows little. He thinks the girl lives near one of their aunts place though, because he remembers her mentioning something about meeting the girl on the street. He promises to call and get an address.

    Harry has to leave because Mary calls him and asks where the hell he has been. They go out and have dinner at a fancy restaurant. Harry is pretending to be a wealthy Russian businessman at the time, one of the few identities he has in store. They also visit a club, where a man appears to be hitting on Mary from across the bar. Pulling a fast one, Harry punches out half his teeth with his brass knuckles and then disappears in the crowd, only to return to Mary and take her home while everyone panics. True Doppelganger tactics.

    For the next couple of days, Harry does some research on the police officers that murdered him in the trunk of a car a couple of years ago. He plans to kill one of them soon.

    He decides to play this the easy way, to get a feel for the game's rules and his own powers. Dopplegangers have a Nightmare (power) that allows them to take on the forms of other people. You can choose what aspects you want to keep, such as appearance, voice, specific things like clothing, hair, face and such. He tracks down the police officer at a quiet suburb outside of New Baltimore. He spies on him for a couple of days, sees he has a wife and a little boy. He doesn't care.

    The next morning, he bumps into an old man out jogging. That's all he needs to steal his appearance. He hides in a car he stole earlier and takes on the old man's appearance. When the police officer gets out of the house to go to work, Harry drives by and shoots him with an automatic. He does massive damage and the bullet-ridden body of the man falls on the gravel, car keys still in hand. His son runs out of the house and to his now dying dad. Harry speeds off.

    Back at his hotel room, he gets smash drunk and sleeps. Mary senses something is wrong but he pushes her away.

    New character:
    Daniel, Hellblazer
    Daniel was a priest. He became one in order to heal the world of everything sick and depraved. At some point though, the grey areas started to dissappear and in his attempt to protect humanity for evil, he took drastic measures in order to do what he thought was right. He sunk into the occult and started killing sinners. He eventually died and in his rebirth as a Revenant, decided to go back to his original mission: understand evil and destroy it.
    Aspects: (pending until I track down my player

    To push play forward, we decided to make Daniel into an experienced character, with acess to the Hotel Babylon upper floors and thus able to check out the room that contained the movie props. We just needed a hook.

    So Daniel, who has VIP membership, although he has never ''paid'' any dues this far, gets called into Gibson's office. While he's an experienced Hellblazer, he is a bit freaked out by the whole situation, like a kid called in to the principals office. Gibson offers him a seat and reveals his messed up face (remember that?) and tells Daniel it's time for him to pay his membership dues.
    Daniel asks what he can do for him and Gibson explains that the Hotel would like to receive an item, in the hands of a man in a small town. It's a kid's toy horse, from the early 20's. A bit perplexed, but wise as to the Hotel's weirdness, Daniel accepts. He is instructed to meet with the other player, Harry, who is heading the same way and provide any kind of help he can, as their goals are similar. He is to tell him that the Hotel sent him to help Harry.

    ...more tomorrow, where Harry, Mary and Daniel all travel to a small town, Harry gets in a huge fight with Mary while Daniel has fun fucking up their relationship.
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