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[Sorcerer] Our third session

Started by Lisa Padol, December 20, 2005, 04:20:40 AM

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Lisa Padol

Sorcerer: Third Session

The description of the characters and the write up of the first session are here:

The write up of the second session is here:

Demons are limited to Passers (in animal form) and Possessors (without Hop). Not all sorcerers know about both types, though, by now, most of the PCs do.

GM: Lisa Padol

Joshua Kronengold: Herr Doktor Professor Sebastian Black, disqualified from being Graf von Black due to his limp. Teaches Philosophy.

His demons: 'Elena, a Passer Raven, and Minerva, a Possessed Mouse. 'Elena is jealous of Minerva, but has not yet tried to eat the new demon.

Dave Demast: Herr Doktor Professor Andreas von Ouranenburg, not himself a noble, but cousin and friend of Graf Rupert von Ouranenburg. Teaches Natural Philosophy, with dissections and vivisections. Potential serial killer, falling in love with Sebastian's niece Ysabel.

His demons: Orion, a Passer Dog, and Leonardo, a nobleman possessed by a rabbit spirit.

Beth Bartley: Ingrid von Pfender, plague-scarred heiress and university student. Wears a veil to hide her scars. Like Andreas and Sebastian, she discovered the existence of Possessor demons a day ago. Unlike them, she has not tried to summon a Possessor.

Her demon: Aquila, a Passer Eagle.

Julian Lighton: Niccolo di Tarci, talented artist who would want to be Leonardo da Vinci if he'd ever heard of him. Horrified at having summoned a Possessor demon into the daughter of his patron, and less than thrilled to learn that he'd given her brother, Marcello, the idea of summoning a Possessor into his brother Leonardo. Before that, Niccolo was blissfully ignorant of sorcery, and Marcello had only summoned demons into his children, not realizing that one could summon them into adults. Since talking with Sebastian, Niccolo has gotten some idea that Passer demons exist.

His demon: Teresa Mantuo, a noblewoman possessed by a fox spirit. Leonardo's sister. Teresa is starting to lose patience with Niccolo. Her Need is physical intimacy; her Desire is Love. Alas, Niccolo sees her as the thing that killed Teresa, and the only reason he hasn't banished her is that she told him that if he did, all he'd be left with is Teresa's corpse.

Pamela Gutman: Sophia von Winterhagen, scandalously unmarried, but hardly celibate. Sophia is a swordswoman, a sort of society-approved assassin-for-hire who takes money to kill people in duels. She does not know about Possessor Demons.

Her demon: Nariya, a Passer Cat.

We met from 7 - 10 pm at a somewhat noisy Neutral Ground. The primary weakness of this session was that it was a bit too laid back to have the edgy feel I assume Sorcerer is intended to have. This was primarily due to how I ran things. I decided not to push for a final bang of some kind, as I didn't -- and don't -- know when the next session will be, what with threatened subway strikes and Pamela being out of town for intersession. I still don't think it was utterly wrong, though I should have ratcheted up the early and mid-game edginess. On the plus side, the Andreas-Sebastian relationship has taken on a lovely player-supplied edge.

As we started, Dave said that he no longer minded that Andreas' Will rose last session from 2 to 3. After all, Andreas banished a demon, and summoned and bound another -- both of the Possessor type, which he had not hitherto known had existed. He had seen The Book of the Heart of the Beast in the hands of the lovely, nubile heiress, Ysabel von Black, as she offered to help with his sorcerous experiments. And, his Will descriptor was Lover.

And, yes, Dave decided, Andreas would indeed have his first willing sexual experience -- and his first adult sexual experience -- with Ysabel, who was a virgin.

Dave: It's going to be very rough.

Lisa: Is she going to have any bruises that she'll have to cover up with heavy make up?

Dave: Oh yes.

Lisa: Cool. That's all I need to know.

This led to a brief discussion of whether Ysabel was willing -- she was -- and whether she knew anything about what sex was supposed to be like -- she didn't, what with her close female relatives having died in the plague three years earlier. This led to speculation about whether Ingrid knew about sex.

Lisa: Well, her mother was French, so...

This joined the line from our first session: These Italians! They'll do anything!

And from our second, more tongue-in-cheek: These Italians! They'll read anything!

So, Andreas and Ysabel had rough sex, while demon-possessed Leonardo, strapped to Andreas' vivisection table, watched in frustration. Leonardo's Desire was to breed.

Ysabel returned home. Andreas brought Leonardo to his own home, and found himself far to restless to get any sleep. (Dave decided to roll to see if Andreas got any useful sleep. He did not, and, as of the end of the third session, still has not.) Andreas got Leonardo cleaned up and fed him, promising to help him do something about that priapic condition later.

Sebastian woke to find Minerva had made herself a miniature broom and was industriously sweeping out a tiny bit of bookshelf. Everyone found this charming and a little disturbing. 'Elena was sulking, and continued to sulk even after Sebastian said he'd sing to her on their was to the university. He did not praise her once the entire session.

Sophia headed for Sebastian's class with Nariya and Sigrid. Sigrid had no classes, but, having been rescued from her kidnappers, decided to stay close to her aunt the swordswoman. Sophia understood.

Niccolo woke to discover that, despite her need, Teresa had slept far enough apart from him that they weren't touching. He also discovered that she had arranged for a group of students to escort them to university, just in case her brother, Marcello, should try something. Julian explained to Pamela that he'd made the mistake of telling me to play the demons more actively.

Julian: And I'm regretting it. Especially since mine is the easy one.

Ingrid tried to find a way of explaining to her great-grandfather, Siegfried von Pfender, the 90-year-old patriarch of the family, that Klaus, one of her uncle's servants, was lying when he said that he had absolutely nothing to do with the kidnapping of Sigrid. Ingrid did not want to let anyone know that she was a sorcerer.

We figured out what Beth could roll to spot corroborating, non-sorcerous signs, and she rolled well. Ingrid explained to Siegfried that Klaus wasn't nervous enough when facing him. Siegfried was disturbed, especially as he knew well that Horst disapproved of Siegfried's decision to name Ingrid his heir, rather than Horst, but he agreed to look into the matter. Ingrid was content with that, and went to Andreas' morning lecture. On the way, she asked Aquilia to kill any sorcerer who managed to put a Possessor demon inside of her. This freaked Aquila -- sorcerers are scary creatures to demons!

Ingrid: It's not that easy?

Ingrid knows that she is a sorcerer, but thinks that power is a matter of Lore, not realizing that her strong Will makes her very much to be reckoned with.

There was a brief digression about why Stamina, rather than Will, was used for resisting being possessed. Josh thought that this was for game balance reasons. Dave was startled to learn that a Banished demon is still Bound to the sorcerer who originally summoned it, and we searched the rules, but couldn't actually find this bit. I was pretty sure it was in there, and Julian says that he's sure as well, and that he knows it's in Nev's summary.

Meanwhile, as Sophia led Sigrid to Sebastian's lecture, Sigrid froze, and whispered in a fright that she had just heard the voice of the man who had questioned her when she was blindfolded and kidnapped. The voice had been coming from the direction of the crowd heading for Rainer Schwanhausser's lecture. Sophia led Sigrid that way.

Andreas gave a fine lecture, in top form, and with lots of entendres. I am not sure if Ingrid noticed the entendres. She did notice, through her link with Aquila, that Siegfried was riding with Edmond von Black, a man easily old enough to be her father, and who had been carefully inquiring through his daughter Ysabel whether Ingrid would agree to become his second wife. Having been turned down by Sophia years earlier, Edmond had no intention of publically proposing only to be turned down by the scarred Ingrid.

Ingrid had spoken of Edmond's inteterest to Siegfried, and had told him her dealbreakers. First, she would not give up going to the university. Second, there was certain property she considered hers, not hers and her husband's. This included many small things, but primarily Aquila. Third, she did not insist that her husband support her claim to be Siegfried's heir, but she did insist that he not oppose it.

Julian was impressed that the 90-year-old Siegfried could still ride a horse. At one point, I summarized the issue of Ingrid's inheritance, saying that her great-grandfather backed her claim, but that he wouldn't live forever.

Julian: Anyone tell -him- that?

I hadn't necessarily intended Siegfried to be such a tough old coot, but it makes sense.

Sebastian and 'Elena went to class. Sophia wasn't there, and the students were gossiping about how she'd defected to Rainer's class. Sebastian was not unduly concerned by this, as he knew that Sophia had been to see Siegfried to ask about von Pfender involvement in Sigrid's kidnapping, and who knew that Rainer was involved, as 'Elena had followed Rainer's horse, which was also a demon. Still, he noted that the rumor did give him a good reason to look her up after class.

Ysabel was present, dressed more conservatively than in the last couple of days. One of Sebastian's friends, Cornelius Eidechse, professor of Astronomy, asked to speak to Sebastian for a moment. Sebastian excused himself, setting a topic for his students to discuss. Cornelius asked Sebastian why he, the established, respectable professor of philosophy, had challenged the newcomer Rainer Schwanhausser. Sebastian realized and explained that this was the doing of the Philosophy Chair, Volkert Horsenfeldt, who did not care for Sebastian, and who was dying.

Meanwhile, Sophia saw Rainer standing on top of his desk, listening to cheers from his adoring students. After basking in this for a couple of minutes, he ordered them to sit, and Sigrid recognized his voice. This was the man who had interrogated her!

Sophia asked Nariya to jump on Rainer's desk, causing a distraction so that she and Sigrid could leave the room before  Rainer spotted them. Nariya did, and the two women hurried out.

Rainer (recognizing Nariya as a demon): Get that cat!

Hm. I think I may have rolled one die for Nariya, forgetting that the demon has Cover. Ah well, even if I did, I'm not going back and re-doing it.

In any case, Nariya eluded pursuit, joining Sophia and Sigrid at the house Fritz von Winterhagen kept for his mistress and for Sophia, his sister. Fritz joined them, and noted that his brother, Sigrid's father, had been uncharacteristically closeted with Graf Rupert von Ouranenburg, a 32-year-old, ah, bachelor, who was known by some to be the lover of Ludwig, the nephew of the head of the University. Not that Fritz thought that Frederick and Rupert were lovers, he hastened to say. After all, Frederick has a wife, a mistress, and a bastard daughter. And Rupert had helped rescue Sigrid. Still, Fritz was sure that something odd was going on.

Sophia explained about Rainer, and asked whether it would be fair to Professor Sebastian Black to kill the man before Sebastian had debated him. After all, people would think that Sebastian had hired Sophia to do the deed, and that would not be a good way to repay Sebastian for his help in retrieving Sigrid. Fritz suggested sending a note inviting Sebastian to dinner, and Sigrid agreed. Andreas was lumped into the invitation as well, we later decided, but this did make sense, as he had helped in the rescue, he taught at the university, and he was Rupert's friend and cousin.

Continued in next post.


Lisa Padol

Part Two of the Write Up

Sebastian's class ended, and he was impressed that Ysabel seemed to begin to follow at least some of what he was saying.

Josh: It usually takes students at least a full semester!

He pointed out that Sebastian would have started modifying his lectures on the nature of Man, given his experiment of the night before. I want to see a paragraph or two from the new lecture!

As Ysabel moved to go, she froze, looking at something behind Sebastian. He looked through 'Elena's eyes and saw his brother, her father, Graf Edmond von Black. Ysabel curtsied, then left, hurriedly. Sebastian was surprised by her reaction to Edmond.

Edmond had decided to talk with Sebastian, taking him out for a meal and paying.

Josh: I will naturally suggest a very expensive restaurant.

Edmond asked about this academic debate he'd heard that Sebastian was having.

Edmond: Is it like a duel?

Sebastian: In a way.

Edmond: And, you will win?

Sebastian: Of course!

Edmond: Good.

He decided that he would attend.

Edmond: Ysabel will explain it all to me.

Sebastian tried to dissuade his brother from going, saying that he'd be bored, but Edmond was determined to attend. After all, his daughter would be there, and she could explain it all to him.

Edmond also revealed to his brother that he was courting Ingrid von Pfender. Josh rolled his Cover of Aristocrat against one die, and Sebastian totally failed to realize that Ingrid was The Pfender Heiress. These professors, with their heads in books. Edmond went on to say that he was considering having Ysabel wed Ingrid's uncle, Horst von Pfender, and settle the whole inheritance question that way. Sebastian, having no idea what that meant, nevertheless said that he wasn't sure it was a good idea to have Ysabel wed. After all, she knew her mind and she had only begun her studies.

Edmond asked if her studies were going well, and Sebastian confirmed that they were. He asked if Ysabel had a beau in mind, and Sebastian said that he did not think that she did.

After parting from Edmond, Sebastian received Fritz von Winterhagen's invitation, and he accepted it.

Edmond sent a note to Ingrid, suggesting that they meet. She agreed, and they met at The Gilded Swan. They had a frank discussion about marrying.

Ingrid (to her great-grandfather, later): He has no tact. But the matter of (gestures to her veiled, scarred self) me is beyond tact.

Edmond found the idea of Ingrid attending university classes odd, but was prepared to tolerate it. She could chaperone Ysabel, who had this same odd idea, and she could keep an eye on the girl, he said, especially in his brother's class, as Ysabel had the position that Sebastian, as Edmond's older brother, would have had, but for his deformity. It would be to Ingrid's advantage, Edmond hoped, to protect Ysabel. He probably also hopes that Sebastian will reconsider any designs he has on killing Ysabel or Edmond, as a second marriage means that he can't just kill them both off and inherit. The entire von Pfender family would object.

Julian: This family is just so close and trusting of each other.

As for the inheritance issue, Ysabel will inherit from Edmond, and Ingrid's oldest will inherit from her. Inheritance for the rest of Ingrid's and Edmond's kids would be worked out in contract.

Marcello visited Andreas, asking after his brother, Leonardo. Marcello had summoned a Possessor demon into Leonardo, and had not realized that Andreas was a sorcerer, while Andreas had recognized Marcello as a sorcerer and Leonardo as being possessed. Marcello also did not know that Andreas had banished the demon possessing Leonardo and summoned a new demon into him, this one bound to Andreas. Andreas, naturally, had no intention of enlightening Marcello.

Andreas: Oh, your brother has made much progress.

Marcello: He has?? I mean, ah, that is wonderful!

He asked if he might see Leonardo.

Andreas: Perhaps tomorrow.

Andreas tutored Ysabel in the library, and they wrote notes setting up an assignation. Ysabel told him, aloud, that her father was at the university.

Andreas: Oh.

Ysabel (quickly and a bit shrilly): To get a wife for himself.

Niccolo's student helpers were put to use getting him and Teresa moved into new living quarters, closer to the University. Meanwhile, Language Chair Joanna Gavelli dropped by to shoo away the hangers on and to greet fellow Italians, Niccolo and Teresa, and to ask how Teresa's father was doing. She revealed that she knew some of Niccolo's story.

Niccolo: May I ask how?

Joanna: Oh, old professors are far worse gossips than young women. And the older, the worse.

Niccolo: And none of them are very young.

Joanna assured him that she would not try to get a handsome young man like himself to turn his affections toward her when he had a sweet young woman like Teresa devoted to him.

Dave noted at one point that, even though no doubt several male students were interested in getting into Niccolo's pants, and even though the term "homosexual" is fairly modern, it still would not have been done to talk openly about wanting to have sex with Niccolo. However, as Niccolo had a mistress, any of the male students interested in the artist could speak of their desires in a socially acceptable way by praising the charms of Teresa.

In the first session I ran, Niccolo had sent a note to the nephew of the head of the University, Ludwig, asking if there were any volumes Ludwig thought that he should look at. Ludwig sent a note to Niccolo in the next session, inviting Niccolo to visit him at Graf Rupert von Ouranenburg's house. Niccolo had forgotten the invitation by evening.

Ludwig now showed up to pay Niccolo a visit. He was veiled, and Joanna was surprised, both to see Ludwig and to see that he was veiled. This meant that he was probably plague scarred, like Ingrid, and may also explain why he hadn't been seen around the University since the plague. She excused herself.

Ludwig renewed his invitation, and Niccolo suggested that he visit Ludwig the next day. Ludwig agreed, adding, as an afterthought, that Niccolo could bring Teresa if he wished.

As day turned to night, Ingrid headed home. She met with Siegfried, who said that he had confirmed that Klaus had been lying. Klaus had now revealed to him that he paid the men who had kidnapped Sigrid, and that his orders to instruct them to do this had come from Ingrid's uncle Horst. Siegfried said that he would need to speak with Horst to acertain whether it were true or not, and Ingrid agreed that it might well not be true. Privately, she noted that there were demons who possessed people, something she had learned only yesterday, and that this might account for an odd order from Horst.

Siegfried went on to say that Horst had suggested to Edmond that he, Horst, wed Ysabel. This would be a nice, tidy way to settle the various questions of inheritance. However, Siegfried said, if Horst had indeed kidnapped Sigrid, then allowing him to wed Ysabel would be out of the question. Siegfried was convinced that Rainer Schwanhausser was behind the kidnapping, and he asked Ingrid to warn Sebastian, who had challenged Rainer to a debate, to be careful. Siegfried added that Ingrid should ask Sebastian to meet with Siegfried if he needed to hear more.

Ingrid, who had seen Rainer ride to the house where Sigrid was being held via her link with Aquila, and who knew that Rainer's horse was a demon, knew that her great-grandfather was correct to think that Rainer had something to do with the kidnapping. She wondered again what Siegfried knew of magic.

Niccolo worked in his studio in the university, while a few students stood guard outside the room, lest Marcello come to make trouble for their artist. By now, Teresa had departed. I think she had told him that she didn't care if he slept with any of the students or professors.

Julian: How high up is this room?

Lisa: How high up do you want it to be?

Julian: No higher than the second floor.

Lisa (Getting It): Sure, you can slip out the window, no problem!

Niccolo did so and went down to the docks.

Sebastian and Andreas met with Sigrid, Sophia, and Fritz, exchanging information. Fritz asked Sebastian how rude it would be for Sophia to kill Rainer before Sebastian defeated him in the upcoming debate.

Sebastian: I have already defeated him.

Someone: Not in public.

Sebastian: Oh, not formally, but quite publically.

Sophia and Fritz pointed out that if Sophia killed Rainer before the debate, rumor would point to Sebastian as the one authorizing it, a poor return for his friendship to the von Winterhagens. Sebastian graciously allowed that he would appreciate Sophia waiting to skewer Rainer physically until after he skewered the man verbally. He agreed with Fritz and Sigrid that, debate or no debate, Sophia needn't wait if Rainer tried something.

At some point, someone said something that confused Sigrid, and someone else, Sebastian, I think, said that it was a metaphor.

Sigrid: Vat is metaphor?

Then, someone, I think Julian, noted that Andreas and Sebastian

a) knew that Sophia's cat, clearly present at the dinner table, was a demon

b) knew that neither of them had summoned it

c) didn't think that Sophia was a sorcerer

d) were talking rather freely in front of it

The two scholars of sorcery finished eating and left the von Winterhagens, going elsewhere for a private conversation.

Niccolo hunted for rough types he could get to give Marcello a beating. I rolled a 1 on one die, and Julian rolled well enough on whatever we decided was the relevant score to earn a total victory. I decided that Niccolo found exactly what he was looking for, 3 men who would follow precise instructions as best they were able in return for the artist's money.

Niccolo drew them a picture of Marcello, explaining that he wanted the man roughed up, not killed. They agreed, but did caution him that sometimes, if someone moved unexpectedly or panicked, accidents did happen. They'd try to prevent this, but did want Niccolo to know. Niccolo said that he understood, and that he wanted their quarry thoroughly roughed.

Julian: Niccolo actually hopes that they'll kill Marcello.

Niccolo returned to the university and slipped back through the window, not wanting his student guard to worry about him. This had the added advantage of giving him an alibi, but he wasn't thinking about that.

Andreas and Sebastian talked of sorcery. Andreas gradually worked up to revealing the secret of the existence of Possessor demons, only to learn that Sebastian already knew of them. I gather that Sebastian plans to introduce Andreas to Minerva, the campaign's first instance of a Possessor demon possessing an animal. Andreas is considering introducing Sebastian to the possessed Leonardo.

Sebastian also spoke to Andreas about Ysabel, asking if he had noticed anything unusual. After all, Andreas had been tutoring her, and Ysabel had been acting a bit oddly today, dressing more conservatively, and seeming a bit frightened to see her father at the university.

At this point, it was 9:45, and Neutral Ground closed at 10. Rather than try to force a bang, I decided to wrap here, leaving us all with time to pack up and avail ourselves of the restrooms.

We hope to game again on Thursday, but this may depend on whether the MTA and the TWU have resolved their differences and agreed on a contract. It is extremely likely that we're going to get a transit workers' strike at 12:01 am on Tueday, December 20. Wish us all luck.

En route home tonight, Josh talked about putting pressure on the PCs. His advice boiled down to two principles. First, do split the party. Or, more verbosely, make the various characters' climaxes happen at the same time so that they have to make choices. Second, do what author Lois McMaster Bujold does: Figure out the worst thing that could happen to the characters, and then do it. Caveat for gms: This should be the worst thing that the social contract of the game allows for.



How are you coping with your system issues?
AKA Jeff Zahari


The third session predates the thread on the second one, so the system problems discussed there were accumulated over the first three.

With neither combat nor sorcery, the system didn't really come up in the third session, anyway. I think I rolled dice once.

Lisa Padol

Quote from: Julian on December 20, 2005, 08:21:13 AMThe third session predates the thread on the second one, so the system problems discussed there were accumulated over the first three.

With neither combat nor sorcery, the system didn't really come up in the third session, anyway. I think I rolled dice once.

Yah, to see if Niccolo could find rough folks to, um, rough up folks. Total success.

The third session did not cause new system problems, in part due to my going a bit low keyed. It may have helped Josh with his Secret Agenda, that of getting me to set default difficulties where we want a roll on the Everything Else table to one die.

And, we have ourselves a strike. Unless it resolves really fast, we won't be gaming this week. After this week, Pamela's away for intersession, and we wait until she's back in town.


Lisa Padol

The TWU voted to end the strike, but by the time trains and buses are running anything remotely approaching normally, I think Pamela will be back home. So, next session really will need to wait until next year. On the plus side, I realized that I have long since stopped thinking in terms of my original source material (Ellen Kushner's Fall of the Kings), and am thinking in terms of the, um, actual characters, both PC and NPC, if that makes sense. And, we got in 3 sessions, not just one.