Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Changeling Lost Vegas: Orientation (Part One)

As a follow up to the first Changeling Lost Vegas session (write-up here) I wrote up their "Interlude" orientation. This covers the time between the prologue session and the first present time session of the campaign. I wanted the players to be new from the hedge, but have some sense of things- as much getting acclimated to the society as to their new nature. I also wanted to give them different voices and perspectives on the unique challenges of the city. Part Two later (together it seemed a little long).


CHANGELING LOST VEGAS:
POST-PROLOGUE INTERLUDES
As the meal began to wrap up, two Changelings arrived at the buffet- clearly Simon’s people. The woman came in first, looking across the restaurant. When she saw the group she startled and the light shifted as she spent glamour to raise her Mask. A moment ago she’d been a snake-woman, now she appeared as  a tall Japanese female, buff and cut. The changeling behind her had no such compunctions about his appearance, a tall and wide pig-headed Ogre who gestured to Simon to speak with him. The woman came and sat at the table, resisting conversation as she waited- trying to assess the group.

Doc Porcelain
They could hear the Ogre raising his voice with Simon, who simply nodded patiently. Brief snippets, “…told you not to feed them rich food…” and “…I’m not cleaning up the van later…”. Finally the Ogre came over to the group, a little more relaxed for having vented. He introduced himself as Doc Porcelain, a Physiker. From a doctor’s bag he produced a handful of small boxes and rolls which he placed on the table: Tums, Rolaids, Pepto-Bismol, Immodium. “You may not be feeling it now, but you’ll want to keep some of those for when the food catches up to you…”. Simon explained that Porcelain would be on call should they need anything and that his companion, Kappachani Leather Swan, a Beast, would be taking them to Thorn Haven. She would be one of two mentors helping them out. Kappachani nodded seriously.

Thorn Haven proved to be a former YWCA. The three story brick building had a gate and a courtyard with a wall high enough to keep the casual passerby from looking in. Kappachani led them into the lobby where another changeling waited. He introduced himself as Terrible Job. It was difficult to say exactly what he was, but the group would come to note that each day he seemed to have a new injury, with the old one healed: a bandaged eye, broken arm, missing ear. He shook his head a little as he took in the five new arrivals.

“I should have known I wouldn’t get Christmas Eve off.” He stopped as Kappachani glared at him. “No, no problem. We’ll go through the starter orientation tomorrow. You’ll need to get adjusted.”

“Here’s how this works. There are no locks in this building, except for the outside doors, to keep anyone from just walking in. But everything’s exit-able. You’re not trapped here. You’ll each get a room and there are showers on each floor. We have a kitchen, a TV room, a small gym, and even a little half-pool. Kappachani and I will be staying here with you. We’ll give you a couple of days to settle down…”
He paused. “That was hard for me, for everyone at first. Taking in the changes…you’ll have trouble sleeping for a while, probably. And you’ll want to watch what you eat until you come down from the rush of your escape…”

“Too late for that,” Kappachani interjected.

“Ah, OK. Well if you get sick we can call the Doc.” He gestured to the building. “You’ll likely want to walk around, check the building out, find a place of your own to crash or crash together in the common room. We have clothing, blankets, all the basics. If there’s something you need Kappa or I will go out and get it for you.”

“We’re kind of stuck together for the next few weeks. That’s because new and unready changelings can be a danger to themselves, to others, to the community of Changelings. And because bad Changelings sometimes show up posing as new escapees. But that’s something we can talk about later. Kappa and I will give you our take on it…which may differ.”

“Duty rotates at Thorn Haven, but when there’s an intake those changelings on call help out and agree to stay for a while. Sometimes that means just hanging in the empty place for a week. And sometimes we get new arrivals like yourselves. But it isn’t bad- the Courts give us pocket money and expenses, cover meals and once you guys get settled we can go on some paid day trips…”

Kappachani Mein
“Job…these guys are tired.” Kappachani cut him off.

There were questions from the group still, and answers, and the inevitable food coma and sugar burnout. And the group, each in their particular way, found a place to sleep and feel a little secure.

The first dreams were the worst. Nameless heard the clicking sounds as they checked and rechecked the chains; Amber saw the lights and knew the next cuttings would be soon; Andi watched as the stars winked out one by one; Syd heard the slow razor rub of the film cutter coming down again and again; and Morosa listened to the babble until she realized her tongue had been stolen…

THE NEXT SEVERAL WEEKS ARE TAKEN UP WITH SIT-DOWNS, TV WATCHING, DINNERS, SHORT TRIPS FOR SIGHT-SEEING, VISITS FROM SIMON, AND VARIOUS & SUNDRY ACCLIMATIONS.

The discussions cover many of the basics of Changeling existence - the nature of the Mask, harvesting glamour, the Seemings, bad Changelings, and so on. But they also cover mundane considerations of identity, getting around, current events, and so on. You can chose to have your character operate knowing those things- or with blank spots representing sections where they zoned out or were distracted. Up to you how you want to balance that.

TERRIBLE JOB TALKS OF THE COURTS
“The four Seasonal Courts help keep things together. Together they form the Freehold and offer some protections- material and magical. It means that They have to work through more obstacles to find us. Each Court, you know, has duties and a theme, but it can vary depending on who’s in charge. There’s a balance of power. In the case of Las Vegas, you’ve got two greater courts and two not-so-great. They take turns in power- or at least the time when they hold the most responsibility for decisions. Obviously the greater courts hold that for a little longer…

You’ve already met the Prince of the Winter Court, Simon Maggots. He’s a Darkling Stalwart, he’s easygoing. But he has a small Court, I think five or six people total including him. They’re “in charge” from early December to late January, but those dates keep shrinking. Some people regard his rule as ceremonial and Simon’s never made a big deal of that. On the other hand, the other low Court, Summer, remains a little pissed that they’ve lost ground in gambles and ritual to the other two. They’re aggressive, but haven’t had the strength to carry that out in years- despite being mostly Ogres and Beasts. Part of that comes from Summerlin…

…see there’s another Freehold up in North Vegas, Summerlin. It’s a planned community built on land Hughes left behind. That in itself ought to be a warning. But it’s a planned and gated set of communities put together over the last couple of decades. Anyway the Freehold up there is exclusively run by their Summer Court and they have a dangerous weirdo in charge who scares lots of Changelings. They stole a bunch of magical power from the Summer guys around here- leaving them trailing behind for the last six or seven years. Lean-and-Hungry-Mike runs the Summer Court here. She lets other people look obviously dangerous, but she’s just as tough.
But the two big hitters here are Spring and Autumn; they split eight months plus between them. They call Spring Court the Court of Gambles. That’s a little ironic in that they manage it more like a business than anything else. That’s run by Beckoncall, a Fairest. His opposite number, his big rival, is Shark Fingered Princess who leads the Autumn Court. Around here people sometimes call that the Court of Debts. She’s a Wizened Gameplayer, but looks like a Fairest. She’s old-school Vegas and classically Courtly, with style and presentation- putting on a show when she has to.”