Tuesday, February 5, 2013

White Picket Witches am Gratisrollenspieltag

My first game of White Picket Witches took place at the Gratisrollenspieltag event in Nuremberg. It was a sort of convention game atmosphere. When I first arrived at Ultracomix around 11:00 am, there were about half the tables reserved for events of the Gratisrollenspieltag and half for the regular Magic games happening on Saturdays. A demo team from Ulisses Spiele, German publisher of Pathfinder and Das Schwarze Auge, had set up shop on a good part of the tables. But there was a game of Star Wars: The Edge of Empire scheduled as well as my FATE game.

At first I thought, I would end up with no participants, but a curious gamer who already knew the Dresden Files RPG stopped by the table and we got into talking about DFRPG and the difference to White Picket Witches. Then two other gamers joined who had only played D&D, Shadowrun and so on. The three guys quickly decided on characters while I explained the game to them. They picked Caleb Gifford, Zachary Grant and Linda Gardner. We completed the characters and then went on to create three places of power, a witch hunter as an antagonist and some more facts on the three families present.

The FATE beginners picked out surprisingly good aspects for the game and understood FATE rather quickly.

The three places of power were:

Gifford Mausoleum
Leitmotif: The Phantom of the Opera
Great (+4) Dangerous, Good (+3) Powerful, Fair (+2) Classy
An imposing edifice that serves as a monument to the dark power of the Gifford family.

Moon Island Hospital
Leitmotif: The theme from emergency room
Great (+4) Sensitive, Good (+3) Savvy, Fair (+2) Brilliant
A place where the ability to emphasize with patients and improvisation carries the day as oppossed to any brilliant medical training.

Seven Oaks
Leitmotif: Rococo music with strings and flutes
Great (+4) Classy, Good (+3) Powerful, Fair (+2) Sensitive
A majestic clearing throbbing with the power of the earth and nature

Veronica Allen
Canon aspect: Rich, arrogant witch huntress
Tragic flaw: Morbidly clean
Casting aspect: Blonde bombshell
Further aspect: Judicial power
Further aspect: Carrier of the Mystic Cross

Assets: Great (+4) Classy, Good (+3) Powerful, Fair (+2) Brilliant, Average (+1) Dangerous.
Stunt: Money talks on Moon Island (same as Felicia Gifford).

Her aspects were created by the players, the assets and stunts by me.

The game opened with the characters meeting at O'Malleys, a local Irish pub. They bantered a bit about old times before getting serious about the metaplot (someone had opened the family crypts and disturbed the rest of the dead). Especially Caleb taunted Linda about her fear of graveyards and the darkness. Nevertheless, they finally decided to head over to the graveyard and examine the tombs at night. They ended up going first to the Gifford mausoleum.

They used a hidden entrance, as to escape notice by the gang of goths hanging out in front of the mausoleum, but nevertheless one of the kids followed them inside. They discovered him and chased him off. After that there was a short Face-Off between Caleb and Linda about her fear of the dark. Caleb clearly wanted to intimidate her and won, gaining the intent aspect of "Linda is such a crybaby". Linda's player conceded the Face Off and got to add "sometimes" to the intent aspect.

Afterwards, Caleb discovered that the oldest sarcophagus had been brutally opened and the bones were disturbed. But via Create an Advantage he discovered an Ancient Dagger had been left behind.

Then the group went on to investigate the Gardner and the Grant crypts. Both crypts had been disturbed. Always the oldest grave opened. The group retreated to the Grant mansion to mull things over. Zachary hit the books in his family's library and discovered that the founders had been burried with a piece of a Mystic Cross bane to all witches. Apparently whoever was behind the graverobbing intended to recreate the cross.

At that point, I decided to move things to the conclusion of that short 4-hour convention game. They got a mysterious call asking them to meet the caller at Seven Oaks, if they wanted the cross back.

Final Face-Off at Seven Oaks. A hooded figure carried the cross and attacked the group with its powers (area attack invoking the "Carrier of the Mystic Cross" aspect). Then all hell broke loose. Caleb repeatedly attacked with his Bone Work magic skill, Linda tried to convince the assailant of the purity of magic and nature, and Zachary went for the cross. Seven Oaks mostly ended up attacking Caleb Gifford for bringing his dark magic to bear on a place of nature, in the end almost swallowing him in the earth. The Face-Off turned into a rather long conflict, because Linda initially failed an important roll and decided to succeed at serious costs bringing in reinforcements for the hooded assailant. Finally, the hooded assailants conceded rather than risk to be taken out.

The players had fun at the game and the dynamic between the three characters was very interesting. Everyone had a good time.

Notes: I goofed up at the final Face-Off, dragging it out unnecessarily. Instead of having two contenders, I allowed all three players to perform attacks. If only Caleb had attacked and Zachary and Linda playing support, the conflict would have ended much earlier. Also, the FATE points dried up rather quickly in the final conflict. Usually, I don't have issues getting the FATE points flowing, but with unfamiliar players and a new hack that got a bit difficult. Even though, we had flashbacks that I didn't mention above. They worked well, but it was a bit hard coming up with the appropriate stories.

After the game, I took some time to explore the store and ended up buying lots of comic books (The Caste of the Metabarons and a new series called Nosferatu). All in all a fun day in Nuremberg.

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