Sunday, May 10, 2009

Campaign Postmortem: Scion (Part Three)

Scion Campaign Post-Mortem Part One 
Scion Campaign Post-Mortem Part Two
Scion Campaign Post-Mortem Part Three
Scion Campaign Post-Mortem Part Four

In my last post I talked about the male NPCs I came up with before getting really rolling into the campaign. After I did those, I wrote up a set of female characters. But this point some of the details of the game were starting to gel for me.

Female NPCs

Pamela March-- Ghost eater-- looks for those with gifts. Greedy. Skilled at her Witchy tradition.
(Hoarding, unfair exchange--- False faith, heresy--- Bravery; protection of kin and tradition; skill and mastery)

Another of Prometheus' Sins that I had a name for early on. Had a basic idea and I reference her in mind campaign, but by then they'd killed or incapacitated four of the seven characters. I opted to save her and the last two for the big fight in the end, so I never followed up on this particular plot thread-- I just left it off to the side and had her as a big bad at the end.

Marjani deCosta-- African-American cop. Got mixed up with IA and shit assignments. Strong sense of right and wrong.
(Insurmountable challenges; unstoppable danger-- Contamination, contagion, corruption transmitted--- Regulation, law, self-discipline)

Another dropped NPC. She didn't quite fit when the PCs did run into the cops after a really bad scene at one of the local hotels. Instead I came up with another guy on the fly who felt more correct for the situation.

Rayen Smith-- Gambler turned anti-gambler. Reformer with a proven track record.
(Temptation relieved; avoiding betrayal of self--- Enlightenment, return to faith--- Intuition, guess-work, instinct)

This character came out of some of the this I read and watched about las Vegas-- and how difficult coping with gambling addiction could be. I Wasn't sure what role she'd play in the game, but the character herself felt right. I ended up not suing her anywhere.

Audra Segva-- Sex-worker with a heart of butter. Gotten mixed up with infectious tantric sex training she's immune to but passes on to other folks.
(Lack of rest, wearing-out, exhaustion--- Unreliable, thoughtless, impulsive companions or ties--- Self-development, self-exploration, understanding)

I always have to have some really creepy stuff in these games. This character's plot line ended up being the basis of a couple of really horrific scenes. In the cours eof the game when I looked back on my notes here I realized I could tie this into the Prometheus Sins, by having her assuming the mantle of Lust. However, I decided that she would be all the way there yet and Prometheus would be in the midst of converting her. The PCs managed to intercept her, figure out a way to tame what she was doing and convinced her to leave town.

I also liked this character just for her name.

Luisa Hispolo-- Vigilante group leader. Devoted to fixing things for the put upon service workers.
(Companions, loyal associates or ties, reliability--- Freedom, release, unfettered self-- Hero, the leader; a call to cause)

At the beginning of the campaign, I thought I might delve into the idea of the underclass and the role of service workers in Vegas. However, the level the game ended up running at meant that this was a little too much of a sidebar, so I dropped this idea. Another character never used.

Bridgette Harker-- Wrath. Indie Rocker who is half-ghost. Sold her soul. Determined to steal someone else's-- tied up with Titan Blood. Deadly voice. Kind of Zombie-out.
(Indirect experience, self-deception--- Lust, rape, seduction--- Berserker; destructive if without purpose, kin or community; hardened neutrality; xenophobia & prejudice)

I don't know what I meant by “Zombie-out”. This would be another one of the Sins. She would also serve as a link between the plotline of Trask's creation of an Underworld through his gambling and the Prometheus plot. I thought that was a reasonable connection-- in addition to the fact that Prometheus would want Trask in any case. I set up a couple of investigative opportunities for them to cross paths with her, but we never got to them. Instead I had to Jerry-rig their encounter in a combat. She managed to survive and lasted until the final fight of the campaign.

Idoya Skip-- Fixer and professional assassin with a bad head for money. Constant debt. Burdened by curse in regards to this. Manages to keep head above water.
(Open revelation, enlightenment--- Captivity, bondage, the damped, a caged self--- Enlightenment, return to faith, Value or success through endurance, maintenance)

I liked this character concept right away. There's a certain appeal to the deadly female assassin with personal problems. I also know that some male PCs find “broken” female NPC characters attractive. There's a classic trope in which they can become the rescuer to such characters. Sometimes I try to play off of that, and sometimes I reverse it. As a GM you also have to avoid objectifying such characters-- that they're waiting to be rescued. I want to balance my own adverse reaction to players buying into that role too much against the fact that it works as a classic dramatic story.

In the case of Skip I introduced her early and had her reappear as the PCs seemed to like the idea of the character. Later in the game I tied together a couple of plot threads and linked her up with the Fisher King plot. I realized in retrospect that the choice wasn't the best one. Basically we had established that Trask's step-sister had hidden herself in Vegas under an magically assumed identity. It made sense from a narrative viewpoint that Skip be in that role, since she was one of the few strong female NPCs we had out in circulation at that point. However that also changed some of the basic details of the character that players liked. I ended up not entirely reversing that decision, but redacting it so that she returned to more of her old self by the end of the game. That worked better and helped to create a more satisfying ending to the story.

Solada Moyens-- Wants in at the Fisher King's table-- has killed several potential Queens. Hunted by brother. Wicked nasty-- has one of the original tarot cards, the devil, Zemboah.
(Deceit, lies, falsehood--- Easy to victimize; dupe to that which destroys what is valued most; too slow to act; virtue clouds all else--- Greed, overindulgence and empty seduction;hatred of men;facile lies and betrayal; pleasure for pleasure's sake)

By this point in the creation of the NPCs I'd kind of come up with the skeleton of the idea of how the potent original tarot cards would be vessels for the lost Slavic pantheon. I'd done some online research and had a set of names. They worked really well because of their dualities-- most gods seemed to have two faces that reflected that tarot cards can be upright or reversed. Also, the lack of real substantive details on them meant that I could write them any way I wanted to. I'd made up a character linked to this from the men, intending him to be the major character for that thread.

Then I came to this NPC and I had the idea to create an adversary—trying to use those figures for evil. I also decided that the other representation of the Slavic pantheon would be the various neon and fiberglass sculptures in Las Vegas. I found a number of references to them-- and to graveyards where the worn out ones were dropped off. I ended up dropping the brother detail that I mentioned above as it overcomplicated the situation.

Next post-- last bit on this, an overview of the good and bad things from the campaign.

Scion Campaign Post-Mortem Part One 
Scion Campaign Post-Mortem Part Two
Scion Campaign Post-Mortem Part Three

Scion Campaign Post-Mortem Part Four