Eyes Open

Story 1 - Eyes Open: Session 2

1.2

Session2

Welcome back! Back to the second session and the first time players can stretch their magical muscles, with the guiding eye of Watson of course. This is the longest session to date as well as the turning point for me with regards to having a ‘feel’ of the dynamics of the setting I’ve created. We haven’t seen much, but kudos to the players who seem to interact awesomely well – with special mention to Gwydion’s, for… well I’ll let you see that when it comes up. ;)

Anyways, back to the murrrder scene!

Back in the crime scene tent, where Pinion has a sound dampening Veiling Force Practise around the tent so that some High Speech chanting can occur. Watson offers to let the new mages see what they can find out – considering his Legacy he has a pretty good idea about the facts. After some improvised spell casting the group found that the girl was asphyxiated, most likely strangled – with Watson congratulating them with a twinkle.

This was the point that I realised I was going to enjoy the game. Mage is awesome because of the Magic system it uses; which is freeform. Howevever, this system only becomes truley stellar when you read and understand the Practises. If you don’t know, I really recommend the source book, the Tome of Mysteries for this. It really helps the toolbox style of producing magic – something that I encouraged from the start.

If you want to know more, I recommend taking a look at the page Mage the Awakening Primer.
Reminds me of the beautiful way Ars Magica 5th Ed describes their paradigm of magic and how it works. Stellar work.

Gwydion removes himself at this point, not seeing much point just watching and start to ‘detect’. He searchs the bag, finding the identity, a student called Holly Marsh. He works out that the crime was a scuffle, where the bag was discarded and Holly attacked and killed. Working out whether he can investigate the bag magically Gwydion moves back in the tent.

Da Vinci is an Apprentice of Time, so Postcog’s the bag. He finds the bag, once on the ground, was rumaged through and a Golden Orb was taken from it. Perplexed they run out of things to do, and Watson suggests that they reconvene later tomorrow, sometime in the afternoon, to give him enough time to properly do an examination. With that the group leave for their respective homes to catch some shut eye for the morning.

Considering Watson’s Legacy, the Eleventh Question, I found this to be a challenge in handling NPC’s. How do you get an NPC to let the players to ‘do’ the plot, and make it believable? I tried to solve this by making Watson a teacher sort of character, as well as making sure he never gets all the information, so his Attainment (he’s not that far in the Legacy, but getting there) can’t solve the plot. This ofrces the players to do something. Thankfully they don’t all know the setting inside out, so they don’t exactly rely on him. Anyways, ramble over – I was happy at least.

The day after they all meet up in the morning (Pinion gets a Phd student to do his lecture, and Da Vinci pays someone to do the coursework – and Gwydion? He’s kinda on the job..) outside the Sanctum. It is a three story building in the middle of student Lenton, with a concrete roof garden on the top seemingly. The walls of the terrace house have a rune on high speech working into graffiti denoting it Consilium property.

Right on time, at ten Scribe shows up, with Silence driving for her, who stays in the car as Scribe smiles wearily in a greeting. She holds a pack of paper that looks offical, and gives them each a set of keys for the house. She the shows them around, the house having a libray on the ground floor (with a basement ritual space downstairs) and a kitchen/living room on the first floor and two bedrooms scattered about and a roof garden. This has the Hallow, a copper bowl of water that doesn’t drain, standing on a pile of bricks. Scribe explains the tass of the Hallow manifests as bricks – and the Cabal can do what they like to the Hallow, as long as it doesn’t degrade the Hallow.

She also explains, going down to the living room for the paperwork, that the main duty of the Cabal is to defend the Sanctum (which is Consilium property) and the surrounding area of Lenton from supernatural threats. The conversation moves to Scibe inquiring about the murder that occurred, reasoning that they were involved probably. At this point Gwydion snaps back at her, uncharacteristically, citing it is a police matter and she should stop enquiring.

There is an awkward silence.

Scribe cooly comments that she can do this another time, seeing as the trio are obviously busy with important duties and storms out, with the papers. Da Vinci hurries after, trying to repair the damage, and catches her at the car – apologising for his Cabalmate’s behaviour. Scribe coldly asks him to put his Obrimos on a leash in the future, hands him the papers and drives off with Silence.

This is an important scene, and totally random, with Gwydion’s players admiting he didn’t know where it came from (quite possibly with the firey personality he’s creating, for the Tamers of Fire. Needless to say, for the next couple of sessions Gwydion is hurriedly trying to find a way to repair the damage; seeing as Scribe has many friends, and is a key player in her own right.

With the other two facepalming they decide that it time the Sanctum has some magical defenses. Gwydion and Da Vinci reinforce and put some force field defenses on the windows and main door whilst Pinion asks Quark for some help. Quark builds a basic Space Ward on the house for them, for which Pinion owes him some help once some Mages from Cambridge move up.

Some research also occurs afterwards, with Da Vinci finding some plans for traps in the house and ordering the parts and Pinion researching into this ‘Golden Orb’. He finds that there are, unsurprisingly, a lot of Orbs within Awakened/Magical Culture – but amongst Awakened they tend to be Soul Stones or Artefacts, classically.

Meanwhile Gwydion finds out that Holly Marsh was a first year archaeology student, a really progidy who was working for extra credit for a Doctor Kirk, and artefact expert. However he is not in, a member of staff explaining that his been reclusive lately.

With this dead end Gwydion decides to go to her Hall of Residence, Ancaster – in order to search her room. He gets Pinion to help, as he is now free up and surprisingly better at talking to students than a grumpy detective. As he gets in, after talking to the porter and with Pinion blanketing the students, Pinion senses a spell activate. He can’t recognise the spell, though thinks it’s a space practise. Shrugging, Gwydion searches the room and goes over the papers on her desk and find her diary, but does find a small iron coin wedged behind a poster on the wall, it has a High Speech Rune that Gwydion doesn’t recognise. Meanwhile Pinion is having little luck with the students, a doctor does not make good fresher company.

Pinion returns after ordering some materials online and senses the same magic when walking into the room that Gwydion experienced. Although this time something, definately a scrying portal opens then quickly closes. Weirded out they leave, with Gwydion pocketing the student’s notes (which mentions a ‘project’ under Kirk’s supervision).

Whilst Gwydion moves downstairs to ask the porter questions Pinion and Da Vinci have a little experiment. Whilst Pinion waits on Da Vinci, listening to his phone in case something dodgy happens, Da Vici climbs into the room via the window – which doesn’t set off that spell interestingly.

This occuring outside, inside Gwydion is talking to the porter, who mentions that he’s surprised the police are here again, considering that Dante fellow came around. Now definately feeling paranoid Gwydion looks around, spying some Karni students lazying about about in the common room. It’s at that point the window opens again, but closes quickly enough that Gwydion can’t cast down it. But then, he doesn’t need to worry about that though, because one of the students suddenly has a spell settle in his pattern, and stares right back at Gwydion, smiling.

As Gwydion moves to talk to this guy, the student – in a voice that screams NOT STUDENT – politely offers to “continue this outside”; which Gwydion politely accepts. The student says to Gwydion, we know you, “Darran Williams” – and then blinks with the spell gone.

With the group reconvened, and sort of shakened, they decide to meet with Watson – and in the car the srying opens again, which the cast fail again to interact with.

I loved this bit, and finally introduced the paranoia part of the game. Poor Gwydion, making rookie mistake after mistake with Space magic today. Was very amusing – and point making. Being Mage, the careless ones don’t survive long.

And yes, the Seers are in town ;)

They drive to Watson’s, which is the Mortuary under the QMC. Outside they are let in by an intern and Watson reveals what he suspected. Holly was ‘corpse masked’, with the true cause of death hidden by magic. She was actually stabbed by a knife, which Da Vinci tries to postcog the knife with a Death/Time spell. The knife is a ceremonial looking knife, with no obvious supernal imagery on it – and he draws a rough sketch of the thing. Watson suggests that she may have been killed over that Orb, when he is interrupted by Silence. She walks in and asks for a report on the dead body, noting that the Sentinels are interested. Among the frosty exchange the players excuse themselves and go home.

Gwydion goes back to the Police Department and mentions this ‘Dante’ to his Chief Inspector. The Inspector, clearly afraid under Mind Sight, tells him to drop it, as well as to report to a Murdoch this evening. With directions in hand, and putting the coin in evidence (but keeping the notes) he meets with this Murdoch – in the basement in “Project Indigo”. Upon entering, someone points to a gruff Inspector in the corner of the room (which is covered in suspect boards) who is talking to a red-headed woman in a crisp suit. She is introduced as ‘Jenny’, a reporter. Murdoch says goodbye to her, and explains that the murder is under his jurisdiction now, and Gwydion is to handover the case and debrief at 9 on Monday (it being a Friday night). We leave Gwydiin this session going over Holly’s Notes in his apartment.

This is the introduction of Project Indigo, a police investigation that the Seers totally haven’t been keeping an eye on. They case all the paranormal stuff that occurs away and try to solve it. Think Gene Hunt meets Karrin Murphy of Dresden File fame.
Jenny is a Sleepwalker. Hopefully she’ll arrive at some point again, when Gwydion becomes an established Mage. This is a plot hook for Gwydion, if his player wants to be the ‘defender of Sleepers’ schtick.

On the other hand Pinion is reading in the Sanctum, where he is interrupted by Fraser, Galeas and Venkman – who drag him out onto the town, citing the new guys should socialise! (and Galeas as well).

Meanwhile, Da Vinci tries to call Holly’s ghost at the murder scene (which is opened again) – but fails after several attempts. Pissed off, his phone suddenly rings. Weirdly it’s his mother, calling to inform him that his parents are coming up soon, and would love to meet him, to see how his course is going. Agreeing (he has little choice) Da Vinci walks to the student bar, Mooch, and becomes Charles Templeworth to meet up with Sam.

When drinking with his mates, he notices Sam keeps mentioning the caging of man – citing the only way the world can keep going is for the dull to be given their own cage. Suspicious now Da Vinci casts some investigative magic and realises that Sam is a Mage. It’s then the group go to a bar in the city, Pit and Pendulum.

There he meets up with Pinion, and they go to the toilets, for Da Vinci finally being able to tell someone that his best friend is a Mage, and an unknown Mage. It is at this point there is a scream from outside, and Fraser and Venkman burst into the bogs, with excited faces and one word, “Vampire!”

And that’s it! A pretty fun session that flew past, and I finally got into my momentum, which was then lost the next session. Ho hum, but the game definately got three-dimensional for me at least ;). The session included NPC politics, with the Scribe debacle (which is still important at time of writing) and Ritual magic for the space ward being included. Which was an… education. But we’re finally getting the mechancis.

So see you later, with Vampires!

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EdGilbert

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