Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Actual Play: Dresden Files Accelerated Hollywoodland Factions

Known factions for Hollywoodland:

1. Warner Brothers Studios

Principals: Warner Brothers: Harry (President), Jack (Production), Albert (Treasurer), Sam (deceased 1927)

History: As real world but enmeshed in the supernatural because of bloody and unnatural murder.

Goal: Make movies, make money

Secret Goal: Kill Sam for good

Obstacle: Sam Warner

Resources: Plenty of cash; powerful friends and political favors; large studio with plenty of manpower; the studio grounds proper, with writers and actors, cameras and equipment, guns and weapons, costumes and makeup, etc.

Weakness: military might is limited; misbehaving stars can lead to scandals; exposure of Principals as murderers

Aspects: Money is no object; Doors are easily opened

Next Steps: Find movie reel of murder of Sam Warner and destroy it to kill him for good.

References: The Fall of the House of Warner (Brightlights Film)Casablanca (wikipedia)


2. Black Court Vampire nest

Principals: The Master (aka Sam Warner)

History: Sam Warner was murdered by his brothers in 1927 while being filmed. He became a Black Court Vampire because his soul is trapped in the film. He has blackmailed/threatened his brothers thereafter. He has created a cult of personality with a coterie of weird monsters. He is involved in a secret war with Legend.

Goal: Domination!

Secret Goal: see Goal

Obstacle: Everyone!

Resources: forces -- The Master's has the largest "army" in the area, comprised of many deceased actors, "Fatty" Arbuckle, Virginia Rappe, to name a few, who are Black Court vampires, a group of unseelie changelings on the run from Queen Mab, a pack of were-rats, a handful of weird monsters (including an Outsider or two), scores of zombies, some cultists and a few Renfields; run-down warehouse with a gladiatorial coliseum known as the Coliseum of Death and access to the sewers; under the Pier; a desecrated church in the Valley.

Weakness: Must remain hidden. Unaware that the film is a liability.

Aspects: Blood and brutality over subtlety; Welcome to my Coliseum of Death

Next Steps: Defeat Legend

References:


3. Legend and Son (secret group)

Principals: "Arthur Legend" (Dutch Schultz)

Goal: Domination!

Secret Goal: see Goal

Obstacle: Sam Warner's Black Court

Resources: barrels of cash; well-trained goons; underworld connections; mansion in the Hollywood Hills, several safe-houses

Weakness: Paranoia, limited foot soldiers

Aspects: If you can't be a good example, you'll be a horrible warning;

Next Steps: Find the film and destroy the Black Court

References: Dutch Schultz (wikipedia)


4. "Begleiter von Engeln und Teufeln" (Companions of Angels and Devils) aka Fritz Lang's Monster Hunters

Principals: Fritz Lang, Peter Lorre

History: Fritz Lang, the director of Metropolis, is a monster hunter. He started hunting monsters in Germany in 1927, the same year Metropolis came out. He was inducted into the "Companions of Angels and Devils" hunter group and rose to lead the group by 1930. M (1931) was cover for his crew killing a Black Court nest in Berlin. Peter Lorre joined him in the group. In 1933, with the rise of Hitler, the Companions were decimated by a Thule Society empowered White Court Vampire named Adrian Brandeis (German for "dark dweller on a burned clearing") and a Red Court Vampire named Persephone (Old Greek for "bringer of death"). The only ones who survived were Lang and Lorre, who then escaped to the U.S. They started a new Companions from the variety of German ex-pats.

Goal: Kill monsters, but be smarter about it

Secret Goal:

Obstacle: every monster out there

Resources: currently limited to German immigrants fleeing Nazi persecution; access to cash, equipment and locations with little preparation

Weakness: overly cautious since the Companions were decimated in Berlin

Aspects: Avenge our fallen comrades; Returning to the (misunderstood) Old Ways out of Fear of Changes

Next Steps: see Goal

References: They Cracked This 250-Year-Old Code, and Found a Secret Society Inside (Wired)150 Vampire Names Both Ancient and Modern


5. The Princes in the Tower

Principals: Edward V of England (appears age 12) and Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York (appears age 9), ghosts of the Princes in the Tower

History: Evil ghosts from England, their corpses found their way to Hollywoodland . The ghosts appeared in several Our Gang movies as "extras" and became close friends with the Our Gang stars. They created a series of children gangs to rob and steal, mostly doing B&E, mostly non-violent.

Goal: Become real again/raise from the dead.

Secret Goal:

Obstacle: The Law

Resources: several gangs of children; mansion in the Hollywood Hills, safe-houses throughout the city (gang members' homes)

Weakness: Supernaturally tied to their corpses, can't go long distances away or very long time away from them; can only push their child crew so far

Aspects: Translucent in Sunlight; Nobody notices a kid

Next Steps: Find the film to become real again.

References: Princes in the Tower (wikipedia)

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Actual Play: Dresden Files Accelerated Hollywoodland Session 5

Dresden Files Accelerated: Hollywoodland Session 5 Write-up

Played Friday, June 9th, 2017

Dramatis Personae

  • Father Darren O'Connell, Catholic priest and holy sword bearer (played by C)
  • Daniel Ehrlichmann, hot-shot reporter/wereleopard (played by F)
  • Sammy Wesson, Clued-in Mortal/Changeling (played by R)
  • Ted Summers aka The Dazzling Dante, White Court wizard (played by B)
  • Raymond Sanders, monster hunter/Changeling (played by N, not present)
  • Darlene Merritt, Daniel's nemesis
  • Fritz Lang, Hollywood Director and Monster Hunter
  • Peter Lorre, Hollywood Actor and Monster Hunter
  • Persephone, White Court Vampire Assassin
  • Adrian Brandeis, Red Court Vampire Assassin

Ted and Sammy went to Laurence the Fence's business to investigate the bloodmark spell. They broke in easily with the keys and Ted performed a ritual to find the blood sorcerer who cast the spell.

Ted learned more than he realized. He bound the spell into his wand and knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the blood sorcerer was Ted's father, supposedly dead for 28 years, since Ted was 6 years old!

That drove Ted into a alcoholic binge. He dropped the wand and headed straight for Mick's, demanding that Mick leave the bottle. Sammy, puzzled at Ted's behavior, picked up the wand and followed him to Mick's.

There, Ted revealed that the blood sorcerer was his dead father, which drove him to drink even more. Sammy said he understood and Ted asked how he could. Sammy showed Ted the finger from his father, given to him by Maeve. Ted looked at the finger and said that was messed up.

Darren met up with the survivors of the Berlin Monster Hunter lodge, which turned out to be actor Peter Lorre and film director Fritz Lang. Darren mentioned Persephone and Daniel's interest in her. 

Peter and Fritz identified Persephone, "Bringer of Death" and Adrian Brandeis, German for "Dark dweller on a burned clearing", as the vampires who killed their comrades. Both Peter and Fritz wanted in on the hunt to kill these two vampires. They left the restaurant and went to find Daniel before it was too late!

Daniel was making love to Darlene and started slapping her around, demanding to know who put Darlene on his tail. She fought back, thinking he'd kill her but he overpowered her.

While she was fighting back, there was a knock on the door, that became rather insistent as Darlene struggled to escape Daniel. Daniel couldn't tell who was at the door, because there was a muffled reply. Other people in the apartment building were being disturbed, so Daniel knocked Darlene out and, naked, grabbed a pillow and opened the door.

On the other side was Persephone, looking quizzical at Daniel naked with a pillow. Daniel asked her to come back in 10 minutes but she insisted on seeing him right now. She asked him to invite her in and he did.

Persephone came into the apartment and immediately pressed herself against Daniel, with only a pillow between them. Daniel was overcome with passion and dropped the pillow. Daniel picked up Persephone and threw her on the bed then jumped on her, ready to make love.

Persephone inspired Lust in Daniel and started to feed, but Daniel realized that something wasn't right and cooled off the passion, claiming that now wasn't the right time.

That's when Darren, Fritz and Peter showed up, busting through Daniel's door ! Darren drew his holy sword Durendal and attacked Persephone.

Persephone dodged Darren's attack with inhuman speed and picked up Peter and Fritz with inhuman strength and threw them around the room, which clued Daniel into realizing that Persephone was dangerous.

Persephone escaped by jumping out the window, onto the fire escape, then started climbing the ladder to the roof in the driving rain. Darren followed, sword in hand.

Ted and Sammy continued their drinking binge and Ted focused on the wand to point to his father, the blood sorcerer. It first pointed to him and to the bottle that he was drinking from, as if to accuse him, then pointed out the door. They finished their drink and hired a cab to follow the wand where it lead them. 

They traveled all about town, finally ending up in front of an apartment building. Stepping out of the cab, they spotted Darren chasing Persephone up a ladder to the roof. Ted blasted Persephone with a water blast (plenty of water around with the driving rain) and Sammy froze the water blast, both in an effort to knock her from the ladder.

She was buffeted but managed to make the roof, with Darren right behind her. Sammy used his Unseelie magic to ride lightning from the ground floor up to the roof in an instant, joining Darren in the fight with Persephone. Ted followed the wand into the apartment building and up to the fifth floor, right at the stairs that led up to the roof, where he found a body, face down.

In Daniel's apartment, Fritz and Peter picked themselves up and jumped onto the fire escape, using the ladder to climb to the roof in pursuit of Persephone. Daniel quickly dressed then pulled out his camera and took naked pictures of an unconscious Darlene as blackmail!

Darren swung Durendal at Persephone and she dodged. A figure stepped from out of the darkness and rain on the rooftop and attacked Darren, just barely grabbing onto him. It was Adrian, a Red Court Vampire Assassin. Both Fritz and Peter tried to assist the heroes but did nothing but get in the way. Adrian pulled Darren close to feed but Darren used his strong Faith to resist!

Sammy attacked Persephone, blasting her with his Unseelie Magic as Fritz and Peter again tried, and failed, to assist, just getting in the way. Daniel came up on the roof and transformed into his jaguar form, jumping on Adrian's back.

Ted stared at the body laying face down in front of him, frozen in indecision. The wand pointed straight at the body. Trembling, he turned the corpse over and saw his father's face, drained of blood by a Red Court Vampire. 

Filled with rage about all the lost years and mourning his father's death a second time, Ted brutalized the body, smashing his fists into his dead father's face. At the height of his drunken rage, his magic merged with his rage and his father's bloodmark fused into him, gaining him knowledge about the others who were also granted bloodmarks by the evil ritual. 

He felt that two of them were on the roof, dead. Ted headed for the roof. 

Meanwhile, Persephone, seeing that there were more opponents than allies on the roof, turned tail and ran. Sammy tried to stop her but she managed to get off the roof, with Sammy in pursuit!

Next time: the conclusion to the fight with Persephone and Adrian! Will this lead to the film canister?

On a personal note: This was a difficult combat. I had never run vampires in this system, so with their strong and varied abilities, they were hard for me to run for the first time. The strength of Darren, a Holy Knight with his Holy Sword Durendal, proved to be his Faith +5 approach, which gained the PCs a strong advantage. It would have been a far different combat without it and I doubt that Darren would have avoided being fed upon by Adrian. On the whole, it was a good first try and hopefully I will improve in the next session.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Actual Play: Dresden Files Accelerated Hollywoodland Character Profile: Ted Summers

CHARACTER NAME: Ted Summers
Played by B

AGE

LOOKS:

ORIGIN:


REFRESH: 2

ASPECTS:
High Concept: Black Sheep of the White Council
Trouble: later became: I have my father's bloodmark.
Aspect: Locked or Unlocked, It's All the Same To Me
Aspect: The Supernatural is the answer, even when it isn’t
Aspect: The Red Court Must Die!!!!!!

MANTLE(S):
Magical Practitioner

Mantle Conditions:
Exhausted (sticky) [ ]: Check condition to boost your Magical Power. GM has a boost to use against you. Clearing Exhausted requires a rest.
Burned Out (lasting) [ ]: Check condition to boost your Magical Power again. If Burned Out, can't use magic until fully recovered.
The Third Eye (sticky) [ ]: Check condition when using Magical Sight.
Memory is eidetic.
Everything is viewed in their metaphorical expression of it's true nature.
Ignore supernatural disguises.
Supernatural have scale on you.
Recover by simply closing your Third Eye.

STUNTS:
Evocation: Cast spells out of elements of fire, water, air, earth and spirit. Push yourself by taking Stress +1 for 1 stress, +2 for 2 stress, or mark Exhausted for +4, or mark Burned Out for +2
Thaumaturgy: Do ritual magic, +2 to prepare.
Soulgaze: make contested Intellect roll to learn one bit of info, a tie both learn something.
(Additional) Evocation Specialist: (Using Guile to Overcome an action with Spirit) -- from the forum

APPROACHES:
Guile +3
Focus, Flair +2
Force, Haste +1
Intellect +0

EQUIPMENT:

3 x 3s:

ALLIES/FRIENDS:


CONTACTS:


RIVALS / ENEMIES

Monday, January 1, 2018

Actual Play: Dresden Files Accelerated Hollywoodland Session 4

Dresden Files Accelerated: Hollywoodland Session 4 Write-up

Played Friday, May 26th, 2017

Dramatis Personae
  • Father Darren O'Connell, Catholic priest and holy sword bearer (played by C)
  • Daniel Ehrlichmann, hot-shot reporter/wereleopard (played by F)
  • Sammy Wesson, Clued-in Mortal/Changeling (played by R)
  • Ted Summers aka The Dazzling Dante, White Court wizard (played by B)
  • Raymond Sanders, monster hunter/Changeling (played by N, not present)
  • Concierge at the Biltmore Hotel
  • Kenneth the waiter
  • "Mr Smith", Legend's associate
  • Arthur Legend, enigmatic businessman
  • Legend's goons
  • Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, Black Court Vampire
  • Black Court cultists
  • Darlene Merritt, Daniel's nemesis

The session started with Ted Summers still on a bender (Compel that creates Aspect "Three Sheets to the Wind"), realizing that he needs to earn his $10,000. He uses magic to track down Father Darren, knowing him from church.

The magic leads him to the Los Angeles Biltmore Hotel, where the others are exiting from Daniel's car.

After a brief discussion, they go into the hotel and the concierge, thinking Ted is a homeless person, gives him a dollar and tells him that there is a homeless shelter down the street. Ted pockets the dollar as the concierge turns to Daniel, the best dressed of the lot, and asks what he can help with.

Daniel says they are there to meet with the Boss and expects to be shown right up. The concierge acts like he wants a tip, something Daniel refuses to do, but Ted gives him back his dollar as a tip and soulgazes him.

Ted learns that the concierge is an active participant in criminal activity (Aspect: In on the Take) and uses that to blackmail the concierge to giving them free access to the bar. The concierge calls up to the penthouse and tells them that they might as well wait in the bar till the Boss is ready to see them.

In the bar, Ted gives Kenneth the waiter the pass for free booze from the concierge and orders whiskey. Darren orders Irish Whiskey and Sammy orders a brandy. Daniel has coffee. The waiter returns with their drinks and they enjoy them. 

Four big burly bodyguards enter the bar and "Mr. Smith" slides between them and introduces himself. He's very pleasant to the group and is satisfied with their answers. He escorts them up to the penthouse where Mr. Legend is. When Sammy is too familiar, by calling him "Arthur" instead of "Mr. Legend," "Mr. Smith" corrects Sammy, as "Mr. Legend does not like familiarity until friendship is established."

They pass many guards in the hallway and in an outer room until they get into a room that has a single desk and chair, which Mr. Legend is sitting behind.

Both Sammy and Daniel recognize Arthur Legend as Dutch Schultz, a gangster who was killed in New Jersey in 1935, after supposedly hiding $7 million. 

Legend eschews a handshake with Daniel, claiming to have "a cold" and Darren, drunk, gets abusive. Legend subtly threatens Vaughn Owen, saying he'll get what is coming to him and implies that he'll get the canister, not Owen.

Ted wanders over to the window and look out, down 11 floors to the ground while trying not to be sick.

Daniel hears noises in the outer room and the hallway as Black Court cultists bust through the doors and smash through the windows! A Black Court Vampire orders his minions to kill everyone. Daniel recognizes the vampire as Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, a Hollywood star who died in 1933.

Daniel, thinking fast, tries to rush past the bodyguards to get next to Legend but can't manage to get past the closest bodyguard to Legend (failed Overcome). 

The cultists attack, killing several bodyguards, attacking Daniel, Sammy and Ted. Daniel is hard pressed against the desk (Boost: Hemmed In). 

"Mr. Smith" is attacked by the cultists as well and starts freaking out. Legend's men open fire on the cultists, killing several. Legend, observed by Darren, sinks into the floor, escaping and leaving his men to their fate. Perhaps he's a spectre or a ghost!

Sammy rises up and uses the full force of the Winter Court on several cultists near him (Stunt: Winter Fear), causing 4 cultists and one of Legend's bodyguards to flee in fear. Ted lights two of the cultists on fire with alcohol and magic, while Darren, still drunk, draws Durindal and cuts through three of them.

The remaining cultist escapes through the window as "Mr. Smith" has a freakout in the corner. Daniel rushes up to Arbuckle and roughly interviews him (Aspect: Don't Mess with the Press) and the vampire flees.

The room is filled with dead, blood and fire. Daniel takes a bunch of pictures of the carnage, especially of "Mr. Smith". Two of the remaining bodyguards grab "Mr. Smith" and leave while the third grabs some of the papers and tries to burn the rest. Daniel manages to grab one of the ledgers before the desk goes up in flames. 

They flee into the master bedroom, where they descend a fire escape to the ground. Once there, they push through the crowd and drive off in Daniel's car.

They noodle through the info they have so far and determine that Legend also wants the canister, the Princes don't have it and the Black Court attacked simply to try to kill Legend, it doesn't seem they were after the canister. Darren reveals that Legend is some sort of ghost, having escaped through the floor, and Legend didn't know that Eddie from the Princes was also most probably a ghost as well.

The other three try to convince Daniel that Persephone is a vampire and bad news but he won't hear anything against her (Compel: Pretty Face). He drops them off at Mick's and goes off to visit Dimi, giving him Legend's criminal ledger.

Ted, Sammy and Darren have a few drinks and decide on some action. Ted and Sammy go to Laurence the Fence's shop to see if they can get a ritual spell to track down the remaining Bloodmarked mobsters and the sorcerer who cast the spell. 

Darren goes to find the remnants of the Berlin Monster Hunters, the "Begleiter von Engeln und Teufeln" (Companions of Angels and Devils). He goes to meet them at a local restaurant and, unexpectedly, Peter Lorre and Fritz Lang walk through the door and sit down at the table with him.

Daniel gets home and sees the newspaper headline: Vaughn Owen dead the night before! Legend couldn't have done it since he thought Owen was alive several hours ago. Daniel dismisses Persephone as responsible for Owen's death, recalling and then dismissing the voice he heard in the background when he talked to her calling for help as Owen's.

He gets a few hours sleep but is awoken when a naked woman slips into bed with him. He recognizes Persephone's perfume and makes love to the woman, not realizing until later that it is his nemesis, Darlene!

Next Session: the thrilling conclusion! The final fight! Will they find the canister and solve the mystery?