[Mortal Coil]Black Pegacorn

Started by sirogit, February 15, 2008, 03:02:58 AM

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Near the end of my previous roleplaying game, I asked my girlfriend what sort of game would be good. She said "Changeling sounds really neat!". I talked to her about the different versions, and she picked Changeling: The Lost.

So for the system, I was thinking of a few possibilities, including Sorceror and TSOY, and upon reading Mortal Coil's description on IPR I thought "This is either exactly what I need or some bullshit GURPS noise." - I took a chance on the former and am so far pretty happy with it.


The group is the same that played my Mountain witch game inspired by Castlevania. We all agreed it was successful, but I became attracted to the idea of a longer term game.


I read Mortal Coil, skimmed through C:TL and seperated the wheat from the chaffe(Wheat = most of 'theme' section, some of 'storytelling systems' and 'Gming', some of the color from superpowers as inspiration, Chaffe = Freeholds, Courts, everything else.), summarized the premise and came up with suggestions for the Theme document from  the 'wheat'.


Chris - Brother - Playing "Major Luke Barnaby", a police chief.

Angela - Longtime friend - Playing "Richard", A PI from the 30-40's.

Miel - Girlfriend - Playing "Morgan", an orphan kid from the 15th

Diana - Roleplaying aquitence - Playing "Julie Taylor", starlet from
the 50's.


We threw around concepts from Dark City, Sin city, Bladerunner and Brom
artwork, and came up with - The modern day with changelings displaced
from different time periods, most unaware of their exact natures, a
black pegacorn should somehow be used. Pretty expectable C:TL theme stuff, with
an important provision for NO UNDEAD in the creatures section. I guess
the castlevania game was a pretty good capstone on zombie skeleton vampire

I made a preformatted theme document which turned out to have a few problems discussed  later.


We didn't get through many, I added "Changelings can distort the time
in faerie", Angela set the price as "Weird  glitches happen in the real
world when they do this." and "Mortals who get closer to Changelings
end up getting pulled into their time displacement", Diana set the price
to "This attracts the attention of the true fae."

Chris added "Faeries can create dopplegangers to replace Changelings's
lives", I set the price to "Dopplegangers must be unaware of what they


Angela's character, Richard, is based strongly on the time displacement concept, basiccly being stuck in the role of a 40's PI. Chris's character, Barnaby, also plays on this in that he's concerned about Richard's state, but Barnaby himself has trouble with the asshole dopplepops that's raising his son.

Diana's character, Julie did the best in terms of being tightly interwoven with other characters (having an (unannounced?) love for Richard, a desire to have a father-type relationship with Barnaby, and a duty to protect Morgan, the young'un.

Morgan's mostly pretty miffed about her parents dying, but also is interested in having crazier magic powers.


- Most of the game went pretty smooth. The magical fact system seemed to grab people pretty well. Most of the stuff people came up for the theme document with was very grooving with my tastes.


- Chris seemed a little doubtful on Miel choosing to play an 'Ancient' character, while everyone else was pretty enthuastic. I'm not sure if he felt comfortable with his veto power, or just choose to wait and see how it plays out.

- Miel also choose aptitudes like 'Glimmer' and 'Shapeshifter', before we setforth that changelings have those powers. Shouldn't be too much of a concern, as I can just raise the question before play begins.

- I felt it a little hard to ask for a group consensus on how many magic tokens we should go for, seeing as people hadn't seen how far a magic token goes really, so I just pushed for 10 and people were pretty happy about that.

- The neato formatted theme document I printed up didn't have room for all the stuff. Blast. I'm working on a revision.

- Chris is gonna miss the next session, which sucks because a lot of the PCs have him as their character-relating-to-passion and he has such neat magic fact ideas! Next time I run Mortal Coil I'll probably ask people 2 passions that relate to characters.

Sean Musgrave

Brennan Taylor

Sounds quite interesting, Sirogit. I haven't read Changeling, but how close to the published setting did your theme end up in the Mortal Coil system? Did you guys drop a lot, or are you letting the setting as presented in Changeling stand as part of your theme (with just powers to be defined via Magic tokens)?

I'm also curious if using an established setting was easy for you with the MC rules.


Hey Brennan,

Its kind of a hard thing to answer, how much of the 'setting' was dropped. I'd argue that Changeling:The Lost doesn't present so much a setting as a few interesting themes and a bunch of half-baked superpowers and random color. The vast majority of the book provides setting in the form of "Things might be this way possibly maybe, but there are exceptions also. Perhaps." from Kiths to Changeling society to super powers to whatever.

In terms of the absolutes(about 5% to 8% of the book), I'd say I kept most of it (Changelings have traumatic experiences in faerie, try to escape and do a combination of live in fear of evil aliens and reconstruct their lives) Discarded the piffle (they also have societies nearly identical to nearly every other white wolf game with bullshit identity politics) and left the interesting but unnecessary bits as options to introduce later if it seems ripe (Changelings have power over dreams, changelings can have contracts with abstract concepts, halfway-place between the real world and faerie).

So playing with Changeling is an entirely different experience than playing in Middle Earth or Hyboria.

The theme document ended up as:

Tone: Dark, surreal, exaggerated and Mind-bending.
Setting: Modern-Retro

How Common is Magic?: Moderate
Magic Tokens: 10
Feel of Magic: Subtle
Folklore-only creatures: Folklore only, but strongly re-imagined.
What magical creatures?: Changelings, Fae, Dopple-gangers, NO UNDEAD
Who Knows about Magic? Fae + Extrordinary people.
How is Magic learned/taught? Observation/exposure to the fae,
Is magic innate or learned? Mostly innate, some learned.
Place of Magical Power? Yes, places of historical consequence

Questions to be answered: How do you get home? Who can you trust? Can you avoid how you were made?
What kind of issues? Altered perspectives, insanity, togetherness
Sides in the conflict: Changelings - trying to get home, Mortals - naturally misunderstanding of changelings, Fae - Trying to take the changelings back.
Villians: Corsica - evil solipsit princess, John - Changeling the group betrayed to escape, Jameson - Twisted changeling who likes his role of 'security guard' for Corsica.

The magical facts we have after the first session are:

- Fae can replace changelings w/dopplegangers / Price: Dopplegangers are unaware of what they are.
- Fairies can distory time / Price: Causes distortions of matter in the real world.
- Mortals close to Changelings get drawn into their time distortion / Price: such anomalies bring unwanted attention from the fae.
- Witches are mortals that gain ESP through fae commonion / Price: Fae maintain interest in witches.
- Faeries can alter peoples dream / Price: Only on the full moon
- Charm ability can compell others to do things / Price: Limited to altering one's perception.

Ron Edwards

Hey Sean,

... umm, what is a black pegacorn? Something from Changeling, right? Not a facetious question, I'm trying to get a stronger idea of your game.

The bit from Changeling that sounds neatest to me is making a contract with abstract concepts. It also sounds like the part that would be hardest to get established into a game of Mortal Coil using facts. Were you thinking of working this concept into your game?

Regarding Chris ... it seems like a choice between having one session with kind of light, high-adversity but low-thematic events, until he returns; or taking time off from this game until he returns. Which works better for this group?

Best, Ron


Quote from: sirogit on February 15, 2008, 03:02:58 AMChris is gonna miss the next session, which sucks because a lot of the PCs have him as their character-relating-to-passion and he has such neat magic fact ideas!

Then, with his permission, you can tie the group together by having them address his absense.  His character has disappeared for a time during a crusical juncture in some event and the other players can rally to discover why, etc.  That way, they can be linked to his chracter and working on that relationship without his actual presence.
Judd M. Goswick
Legion Gaming Society


Ron: You know unicorns? And you know Pegasuses? Now imagine if a unicorn had wings but it was pitch black. That was pretty much the extent of the discussion, but it set the aesthetic mood (Exaggerated and 'dark', but we're not taking ourselves -too- seriously.)

I don't see the difficulty with establishing the idea ("Fact: Faries can make bargains with abstract concepts, Price: The concept demands service to itself. Fact: Johnny has a deal with Music so that he can serenade chicks hardcore. Price: He always must spend more attention to his guitar than his romantic partners") But sometimes I can underestimate these things.

We choose to take a mini-session without Chris to add a new player and have two tiny scenes (very much high-adversity and low-thematic content, you called it.) that mostly served to demo the conflict resolution system.


This is Chris, here to report on the second session of our Mortal Coil game.

The new player who came in on the session I was absent from is my good friend Jacob. Jacob is new to role-playing and I have been trying to get him into a game for a year or so. Jacob is playing Mr. Book, an as of yet unmagical Lector-esque serial killer who lives in the same building as the rest of the characters. There has been some talk of him being one of those exceptional non-changeling people capable of perceiving and interacting with the fae and other magical beings, but it hasn't come up in play yet. Diane was absent from this session, but everyone else was there.

The game was picked up from where they left off last session with Morgan having charmed some poor passerby into thinking she was his daughter, causing him to both abandon his own daughter and offer her some gifts, including a pocket watch that had been determined to be somehow magical (Me, when I found out: "Oh! You are so grounded! No magic for a week!"). The matter was brought to Maj. Barnaby's attention when the man made a huge scene outside Morgan's window begging her to come home.

Mr. Book took the opportunity of the daughter (Lisa) being abandoned to offer her a ride home, with the explicit intention of, well, executing his character concept. I had Barnaby catch wind of the disappearance, and spent the remainder of the session tracking them down. I dragged Richard into it for back-up. In the meantime Morgan took the pocket watch to a fortune-telling NPC we'd established during the first session with hopes of deciphering its magical nature.

We switched back and forth through the scenes as Mr. Book poised to finish his deed, Barnaby and Richard raced after him, and Morgan was deprived of the watch on the grounds of it being too powerful for a little girl. After a couple scenes passed, Jacob narrated Mr. Book finally murdering Lisa. I objected to this, and opted to spend a power token to introduce an event to delay the execution until Barnaby and Richard could arrive. Sean offered to resolve the situation instead by having Lisa be revived after being killed by the power of the pocket watch (which, as you might recall, belonged to her father and is presumably bound to her in some way). The price for the magical fact that enabled this caused Lisa's memory to be erased, leaving Mr. Book off the hook for now.

All in all this was a very fast session with very little downtime or extraneous exposition. I went through about half of my magic tokens establishing facts both to overcome obstacles in my pursuit and to establish a more ubiquitous magical presence in the game. Significant among these facts are that changelings have special powers relating to the role they played as servants to the fae (Barnaby was a guardian, and is physically invulnerable, Richard was a hunter and has enhanced perceptions) and that there are little pagan spirit things everywhere that changelings are able to perceive and bargain with. I like to imagine them as muppets with a quirky awareness of the modern world; think a combination of Labyrinth and Neverwhere.

Overall I feel Mortal Coil serves our game very well and I am excited about continuing to explore the system. Its release is a great excuse to never play a WoD game again, one that I hope sees plenty of use. I suspect that Sorcerer might have made an even better fit, especially considering how a lot of the prices we have involving attracting the attention of the fae or being drawn out of reality into the fairy's world would work well as humanity loss events.