[Blood & Water] The Werespider Conspiracy

edited February 2014 in Actual Play
I want to share a guest post from w00hoo: he ran a session of Blood & Water at Conception 2014 and has created a detailed AP report all about it:

The Werespider Conspiracy
I ran Blood & Water on the Thursday night at Conception for four players; we started by drawing a house, a fairly tight three storey Victorian terrace with a bit of odd routing on the ground floor, lounge, dining room, kitchen, utility room. Two bedrooms and a bathroom on the first floor and two bedrooms on the second floor. The garden had a shed and a rotary washing line.

The four characters were a Mummy, a Werespider, a Ghost and a Vampire.

Simon, the Mummy who was turned by cultists in Egypt as punishment for spilling their pint in a bar, those crazy Settite cultists.

He is Super strong, undying and can turn in to a swarm of scarab beetles. However, people go in to his room they are cursed and die, he has rotting flesh and is vulnerable to fire.

He can't survive around humans because he stinks of embalming fluid and he can't survive around his own kind because he doesn't actually speak Egyptian.

He wants love but can't tell Jenny the librarian who he has a crush on that he is a mummy

He has the Secret Text of the Grand Communion of the Church of Set and All It's Glory. But he can't risk it being unleashed on the World and it's impossible to destroy.

To do list
Ask jenny out
Finish his online archeology assignments.

Gabriel, the Werespider who was bitten by traffic warden down a dark side street.

He can fire webs, has super senses and reactions, and can partially transform his body parts. However, he leaves webs everywhere, has to become a giant angry spider for two nights every month and his bite infects people making more Werespiders.

He can't be with humans because he leaves webs everywhere by mistake, especially when he sleeps.
He can't be with his own kind because they want to lay spider eggs everywhere and take over the world.
He has a night time show on the radio station but an appalling attendance record because he misses two shows every month.
He is watched by were spiders and they always manage to find him which was why he left Doncaster.

To do
Find a secluded area for tomorrow night
Get a band together

Ben, the Ghost who was a PhD student of palaeontology and has recently been run down by a bus.

He can instantly relocate, and choose to pass unseen even by the supernatural. However he is completely incorporeal and can be exorcised by the faithful.

He can't be with his humans because they can't sense his existence.
He can't be with his own kind because they are ridiculously tedious, just talking about their own death and repeating themselves all the time.

He wants to be corporeal but can't accept his own fate and worries that accepting being a ghost and getting more powers is also part of become tedious and boring.

He has a responsibility to look after his younger brother Peter but he can't do anything about it because he can't interact with Peter, plus he lives in Scotland.

To do -
Return Peters dog.
Finish his dissertations.

Charlotte, the Vampire, she was originally a Victorian girl with well off parents but was turned by the vampiric nanny when she was 9.

She can cast a Glamour on people, is a Survivor and is very Quick. However she is still a child at heart, has a childs form and can only be in daylight for small amounts of time.

She can't be around humans because she never grows up and it becomes obvious too quickly
She can't be around her own kind because children vampires are taboo

She wants to grow up but can't because Vampires don't age.

She has Vampire Hunters on her back and every time she kills them the Vampires just hire more.

To do
Find a kid level job as she's bored
Work out the school problems

Simon went in the first bedroom you came to as you went up the stairs. He had a lot of signs on his door saying 'No Entry' and 'Danger of Death'. Gabriel was next door, then upstairs Ben had the first room and Charlotte the second and biggest in the house. It was decided that she owned the house, even apparently 9 year old Vampires being rich and that the room was almost completely filled with staring doll toys of all vintages.

We started the game with it being around 5am, Gabriel was driving home from his radio show, Simon was asleep, and being a Mummy sometimes slept for _ages_ and Charlotte was up in her room. Ben was in the kitchen with the dog that he had found and it was barking fit to raise the dead. Definitely enough for the neighbours to wake up. Gabriel arrived home and asked Ben if he'd liked the show, Ben said 'yes' although as everyone else was apparently asleep and the radio was turned off, Gabriel knew that he couldn't have listened to it.

At this point the neighbours came and knocked on the door to complain about the dog. Gabriel apologised, blaming it on his 'son' Simon. When they'd gone he asked Ben about it and Ben explained that he'd gone to his memorial the previous day and the dog had spotted him and run off scared. It belonged to his brother who had had to go back up to Scotland without it and would be missing it. He had found the dog and chased it back to the house. It hadn't been fed which was why it was barking. They checked the fridge and there was no food in it as none of them really eat. By this time Charlotte had appeared and Simon had come down, saying they needed to get ready for Ben's memorial, not realising he'd completely slept through it.

It was decided that Gabriel would go back out to get dog food from the corner shop, Charlotte wanted to go along so Simon would stay to look after the dog. Arriving at the corner shop at half five in the morning with a 9 year old in tow got Gabriel some dirty looks from the shop keeper, but he calmed things down saying he was taking her to breakfast club before going off to work. She couldn't find any dolls she liked in the shop, Gabriel bought the dog food and a pack of cigarettes which all went in a bag for Charlotte to carry. As they headed back, Gabriel realised that they were being followed and recognised the noise of another Werespider, telling Charlotte to continue home he stopped and Frank, the Werespider, slowly descended from the lamp post. He said they'd tracked Gabriel down to the area and would find his house soon, then tried to convince him to come back and help the great conspiracy. Gabriel thought that leaving Doncaster would be enough to lose them, but obviously not, and told Frank he'd never join them before dashing off to his car, parked around the corner from the house, to drive to another bit of town and put them off of his scent.

On the walk back home Charlotte was chased by a 4x4 kitted up with all manner of extra lights and paraphernalia. She dodged down back alleys, ditching the bag of shopping, but the car dropped off one chaser and headed off her escape at the other end of an alley. Flooded in lights she saw the tweed covered figure of an older man get out of the car and start to light a pipe while a younger man with a stake in either hand, and a bandolier of extras across his chest came towards her. At this point, Ben, who was worried at the amount of time they'd been gone, popped in to the alleyway and seeing Charlotte in trouble went back to the house to alert Simon and then tried to find Gabriel. As the elder man started to monologue she turned and struck the younger with a Glamour to make him pause, as she dodged past she took the chance to sink her fangs in to him and he fell to the ground as she started feeding.

Simon flung on a hat and scarf and ran from the house towards the alleyway, seeing the elder man start to take aim with a crossbow he turned himself in to a swarm of scarabs and engulfing the man forced him back in to his SUV before turning back in to a person and running towards Charlotte and the new corpse that she was dragging towards a manhole. There was a terse interchange where Simon couldn't believe she'd killed him and Charlotte couldn't believe he wasn't going to help her drag the body and then with flashing lights reflecting off of the windows they ran back to the house. Meanwhile, Ben had tried a number of times to appear in Gabriels car and each time he'd popped in front of it and then had it drive through him, kind of reliving his death a little each time. Eventually he managed to get Gabriel to stop so he could tell him what was happening. They drove back towards the scene of the attack to find police there, very interested in the path of fresh blood leading to the sewer.

Comments

  • Back at the house and with Frank the Werespider, the police and possibly the remaining somewhat insane Vampire Hunter all on the hunt for them Gabriel offered to phone the number on the dogs collar and take it back to Peter, Ben's brother. Peter was over the moon to get the call and to hear that Benjy was alright, he worried a bit about the cost of another train trip to Newcastle, but Gabriel assured them they were coming up to Scotland anyway and could drop it off. Agreements were made that they would get there mid afternoon and while his parents would still be at work, Peter would cook for them as a thank you.

    This left a road trip to plan, with a couple of complications, Simon couldn't stay in a hotel in case he turned his room in to a cursed tomb and killed the next maid to enter it, Gabriel had to find somewhere safe to turn in to a giant spider that evening as they couldn't do it as a round trip. With all this in mind, Simon announced that he was going to the library, he had decided to ask Jenny out and now was as good a time as any. Ben said that he wanted to come along and Simon said absolutely not.

    With his books in hand Simon enters the library and goes to start making librarian small talk with Jenny, she is being helpful but probably because that's what she's paid to do, this is Ben's feeling anyway as he pops in beside Simon and starts trying to coach him in to making a move. Simon is desperately trying to get him to go away without looking insane to Jenny, at which point she turns to Ben and asks him if he thinks he is helping. Ben looks confused and is told, yes, she can see him. Thinking this might be his first step towards becoming corporeal he offers a hand and introduces himself, she responds and as her own hand goes straight through his a look of terror comes across her face, she screams and he becomes completely unseen, popping out of sight totally. Simon tries desperately to console her and starts stammering about how Ben is a Ghost and he lives in a house with a Vampire and a Werespider. This kind of knocks her off kilter a bit and eventually he manages to calm her down. There obviously was always a spark there, as she agrees to consider going on a date with him and he gives her his mobile number.

    In the car Simon is furious with Ben for turning up while Ben is over the moon that Simon got a date, they all drive north having taken Simon's book with them because Gabriel hopes it might have something in it about the Werespider conspiracy. Charlotte turns the pages so that Ben can read it and sure enough, near the back, is a lot of stuff they can't read but with pictures of huge spiders and pyramids. Gabriel looks over from the drivers seat musing "looks like this is bigger than Doncaster then".

    They arrive at Ben's family home early afternoon. Peter is happy to see Benjy and when they ask tell them he was named after his brother, who promised to stay in touch when he went of to Uni, but just never really did. Peter, who is about to go to Uni himself, paints a fairly negative picture of Ben as someone who said he'd be around but got caught up in other things and ignored them, while Ben makes excuses over his shoulder. With food about to be served Charlotte goes to explore the house so she won't have to explain not eating. She had agreed to walk Benjy before they left, but Gabriel explained that both of his children suffered from a rare skin disease which meant they couldn't be outside for very long, Simon having it worse which was why he was bundled up on a hat and scarf. Peter thinks they could walk Benjy at sun down and tries hard to convince them that he can make up spare rooms for them, his parents would love to meet them. Ben is desperate to get them to leave and in a moment of concentration manages to flip his graduation portrait, one of the only photos of him older than Peter in the house, on to the kitchen floor, smashing the glass. Peter tries to make this a sign that they should stay, but Gabriel, wary of the curse and his impending spider transformation, insists that they go.

    As they leave, Simon gets a phone call, someone called Frank has been pestering Jenny about a book that he knows Simon and his friends have. Jenny thinks he is creepy and while he hasn't directly threatened anything he has said that he is watching her and will be back. Simon knows that Gabriel won't be able to drive them back in time, and they hatch a plan, when Frank comes back Jenny is to tell him that the book is in the house, in Simon's room. He gives her the address and she says she will pass on the message if need be.

    Having got themselves away from Ben's family home the group decide the best option is to buy tents for Simon and Charlotte, drop them at a camp site and have Gabriel go off to somewhere remote to change. The salesman at the camping shop is a bit confused when their first question is how flammable the tents will be as they want to be able to burn them after. Sensing a desperate customer he feigns only having expensive expedition tents and annoys Charlotte to the point that she bites him on the calf with the other three chastising her she detaches, announcing most times she only takes a little, and then Glamours the salesman in to forgetting the biting incident and giving them a serious discount on the tents. The ease that this is done doesn't actually fill Charlotte's housemates with joy.

    Simon and Charlotte pitch tents and Gabriel heads off to be set up before darkness comes, knowing he has little time left. Ben follows Gabriel so he knows where he is, and pesters him to be allowed to hang around and watch the change happen. Gabriel really doesn't want him there, but knows that convincing Ben isn't that easy. Eventually he convinces Ben to return to the others, hoping he'll get distracted. At the campsite a hiker comes up to the group and starts talking to Ben, initially Ben is surprised that the hiker can see him, and spotted him popping in to existence, but after a very short time it becomes apparent the hiker is a Ghost. Initially the others can't believe just how boring and repetitive the guy is, nor that stating this to Ben right in front of the guy doesn't get a rise out of him. Exasperated Ben gives up and pops back to the house. The other two are now lumbered with the hiker and try desperately to convince him that Ghosts have the option to play global hide and seek. Eventually they get him to pop away. Ben then returns, he was at the house and saw Jenny and Frank heading towards the front door.


  • Simon phones Jenny who tells him that Frank has turned up again and when she told him the location of the house he insisted she went along. She is very scared and Franks threats haven't been particularly veiled. When Ben saw them he was pretty positive that Frank had a claw poised at Jenny's back. Simon tells her to keep calm. Ben goes and tries to put Frank off, but he can't act, he sees Frank break in to the house and start searching and Frank mocks Ben's inability to do anything saying that he will be in need of sustenance later, indicating Jenny, who he refuses to let go of. Simon phones Gabriel, who is still not quite changed, and Gabriel says that Frank will be changing too. He phones the landline at the house, an old style Bakelite handset rings and Frank picks it up, Gabriel tells him that he will never get the book and finds out that the Conspiracy consider it the key to taking over the World. Gabriel tries to convince Frank that the book isn't in the house, but realises that this isn't going to save Jenny, then the change comes upon both of them, Gabriel drops his mobile, Franks claws snap through the home phone. The only positive is that the phone call distracted Frank enough for Jenny to run, Ben leads her upstairs to the top floor, she tries to go in to Simons room to hide, but he explains she can't. They end up in Charlotte's room, where Jenny is initially freaked by the dolls, but able to hide under the bed. Ben desperately tries to drop things on Frank as he rampages through the house, filling the corridors with webs, but Ben just can't find anything that will damage him. As Frank tries to find Jenny, Ben flicks in to Simons room, and in desperation manages to knock something over. Hearing the noise, Frank rushes in, ignoring the warnings and is hit by the curse, turning to dust.

    Jenny is near catatonic, so Ben tries to calm her down, explaining that Simon is a Mummy and his room is cursed because of that, but it means Frank is gone. She decides to just stay curled up under the bed, despite her fears that she might get bitten by Charlotte when she returns. The following morning, Gabriel brings the car to a stop outside of the house. They force the webbed door open, the inside is trashed which causes Charlotte a lot of distress. They work their way up to the top floor, cutting away web to get through and finally free Jenny, there is a tearful reunion, she's been through so much, but Simon and his friends saved her. The credits roll as Charlotte explains to Jenny how she couldn't eat her, as the friend of one of her friends, it would be rude.


    Finally, here's w00hoo's own assesment of the session:

    This was a very full game, probably because of having four house mates, we used a few of the 'to do' options but as with everything bits fall by the wayside, none of the characters felt particularly extra to the plot though. (I remember now, one of the dissertations came in to it, probably Ben's, as it was scattered across the room during the chase through the house). The stories interwove nicely and I was helped a lot in the GMing role by players re-incorporating from the character sheets, so the book suddenly coming up again before they went on the road trip was good inspiration for me to link things together, especially when Gabriels player felt it might have Spider Conspiracy stuff in it (well, yes it does :-) ). There was a fair amount of dice sharing going on which resulted in a lot of Consequences, most of the badness that led to the road trip was consequence led for instance.

    The game had bits of everything and really did feel like the TV show it aims to emulate, not only in my mind, but a couple of the players who were self confessed lovers of the show also pointed it out. We managed the blend, humour, horror, action and small town plots. Some of the conversations between the characters, Simons horror at Charlotte's feeling on random killing, Ben's attempts to be at everything that happened, the moments in Ben's family home, were really strong and again felt like the trials and tribulations of the show. And the comedy was there but didn't feel forced, throw away comments (Gabriel realising the Werespider Conspiracy was in Ancient Egypt and deadpan announcing 'well, it's bigger than Doncaster then' was just glorious) and some more situation driven moments worked. I felt a little controlling pushing Frank and Jenny together, but thankfully the players didn't feel a need to question the 'how' because it just worked for the story and I think the TV format it emulates gives the GM that ability to make little leaps without them seeming out of place.

    I've played/run this game a handful of times now and it deserves to be seen around more, it's easy to pick up, rewards player creativity and once the first few unsteady steps have been taken (an issue with any 'blank sheet' game) becomes easy to create meaningful story in. My intention is to run the system as a three session home game sometime soon, and also to get in to a game as a player, I've got this cool idea for a monster I want to try out...
  • I've been quite pleased myself, since I playtested this for the first time at Indiecon in 2012 and got what felt like a full season of Being Human into one bleary-eyed Sunday morning. Since then, w00hoo has played in a couple of unconnected sessions at Concrete Cow and the London Indiemeet and then gone that extra mile to actually GM the game himself at Furnace and Conception, so it's getting a decent amount of convention play.

    There's another full AP from the Furnace game that I'll post up later; I'm currently hoping to get Blood & Water properly published this year, once I've fleshed out the core text and sourced some artwork.
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