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Author Topic: [BtI] The Detective and the Half-Demon  (Read 4851 times)
loki's wrangling
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« on: November 02, 2006, 03:19:35 PM »

Possibly the most unusual thing about this game of BtI is that it's not a standalone game. It's a spinoff from a larger GURPS campaign in which I am currently playing.

The GURPS campaign is about supernatural investigations in a fictional Korean city. One of the PC's is Hi-yon (I'll explain how to pronounce that in a second), a half-human half-demon girl with an uncle who is a police chief. One of the NPC's, Ahn Jun-Young, is a detective in her uncle's precinct and has a crush on his boss's niece. The GM of the main campaign, Xenosia, suggested that Orches (Hi-yon's player) and I play out that date as a spinoff from the main campaign. (This is all run online, by the way, so there's no need to wonder who in the world would name their children Xenosia or Orches. ;-) I have no idea what their real names are.)

Character generation

Since the characters are already established through the main campaign, we didn't go through the usual chargen process. We just chose an appropriate Conflict that would interfere with the dates and off we went. We should really pick out some Traits for the second date, too.

The characters are:

Lim Hi-yon ("Hi" rhymes with "me," yon rhymes with "dun.")

Played by Orches. When I say "demon" I don't mean a denizen of Christian Hell. Nothing like that. Hi-yon's father was human and her mother, Jang Mei, is a mythical being of some sort. (Side note: In Korea and China it's common for the mother and children to have different surnames, since women don't change their names on marriage.)

Hi-yon herself has no idea what exactly Mei is, but the one time her mother showed her true form Hi-yon thought she looked like one of those nine-tailed foxes from Korean folklore. They're very powerful and supposedly evil beings, though Mei hasn't shown an appetite for human liver that we know of. :-) Hi-yon's own blood tends to show itself in unexpected ways. She has an unusual affinity to plants and animals, for one thing, manifesting in one heck of a green thumb and a bunch of animal friends.

Hi-yon outwardly seems like a perfectly normal young woman, just as her mother appears to be a perfectly ordinary Chinese expatriate and diner proprietor. Hi-yon has graduated from college a year or two ago but, being a) a liberal arts major and b) painfully shy, hasn't had much luck finding a job. As mentioned above her uncle is a police chief and could pull some strings to get her a desk job, which she's steadfastly refusing due to good old pride.

Hi-yon also suffers from severe motion sickness, so this was what we decided on for her Conflict.

Ahn Jun-young (The A in Ahn is like the a in "car," the u in Jun is like the u in "put.")

Played by me. Not my PC but an NPC in the main campaign, which I commandeered for the purpose of this spinoff. Jun-young, twenty-eight, is a detective in the precinct where Hi-yon's uncle is chief. An honest and hardworking young man, Jun-young has had a crush on Hi-yon for years. Hi-yon thinks of him simply as a good friend, we'll see how and if that changes.

Jun-young is seriously overworked, so this was what we chose for his Conflict.

The First Date

Jun-young finally works up the courage to ask Hi-yon out a few days prior to the session, something Hi-yon mentioned in passing during the main campaign.

1. It's a clear October Sunday morning when he comes to pick her up at her home (which is in the same building as her mother's diner) in his shaky little wreck of a car. Hi-yon is in the diner's kitchen when he enters, putting together a packed lunch for the two of them. They hop on Jun-young's car and head off to an amusement park.

They're talking and having a great time when Jun-young's cell phone rings, and from his half of the conversation it's evident that his partner wants him in the precinct. Jun-young begs, pleads, and bargains over the phone with one hand on the wheel. He manages to get a reprieve, but ends up with double night shifts  for the following week.

You should think a police officer would know better than to drive while taking a phone call. Unfortunately Jun-young doesn't, and his car swerves dangerously while he's finishing the call. Jun-young and Hi-jun do arrive at the amusement park in one piece, albeit with their hearts in their mouths.

2. Hi-yon, still shaken from the close brush with disaster, sits down on a bench. Jun-young gets her a canned drink from a vending machine by way of apology. They're talking comfortably as only old friends can when Hi-yon's weak stomach (and Conflict) acts up, and she throws up all over Jun-young's coat. Talk about your embarrassing first dates. :-) Hi-yon's almost crying from humiliation but Jun-young acts quickly, helping Hi-yon to the ladies' room and telling her to meet him in the bench in front of the restrooms when she's ready.

Then he washes his coat out in the men's room, begs a clean garbage bag from a janitor, wraps up his coat and stuffs it in the car. He rushes to the pharmacy for stomach-settling medicine. (A pharmacy in an amusement park? I'm willing to bet it's their hottest seller.) He's actually at the appointed bench before Hi-yon, out of breath and coat-less in the early autumn air, but inexplicably happy.

3. Hi-yon apologizes for the way his hard-won day off is turning out, but Jun-young assures her that he's having the best day ever. Hi-yon mulls over that and feels a little better, and after that they're chatting happily when her job prospects come up. Jun-young makes the mistake of reminding her of uncle's offer to get her a job, and tells her she should take it. Hi-yon gets defensive and pointed words are exchanged.

Not wanting to fight over this they manage to cool down, but (wouldn't you know it) the quiet doesn't last long. A woman nearby screams that someone ran off with her purse and Jun-young, ever the lawman, rushes to investigate. It turns out no one's caught a clear sight of the cutpurse in all the confusion, though.

4. Hi-yon is standing alone, wondering how she can help when a homeless cat wanders over to her and... strikes up a conversation! This is the first time Hi-yon manifested the power of animal speech, with the blessing of our GM Xenosia who was watching the session. He actually continued it into the main campaign, too. (Did I mention how cool he is?)

While Hi-yon stands there totally freaked that a cat just TALKED, the old cat offers a detailed description of the cutpurse in exchange for the lunch she brought. Hi-yon agrees, and the cat walks off with the food after telling her what the guy looked like. Hi-yon gives the description to Jun-young and the local policemen, enabling them to nab the perp in no time.

There's a brief comic moment when the homeless cat comes to return the empty food container and makes himself comfortable on top of Jun-young's head. The tough police officer dissolves into allergy-induced sneezes, and Hi-yon has to shoo the feline away while hiding a smile.

Jun-young, disappointed that the lunch is gone, suggests that they drive back to the diner for the next best thing. They finish off their eventful morning with a late lunch courtesy of Hi-yon's mom.

Hi-yon and Jun-young's original plans for the date might have been shot to hell but they did grow remarkably closer, gaining two Attraction levels and one Compatibility ("The memory of the amusement park date"). 

After the Date

Then it was time to roll and see if they could keep the increased Attraction. Orches and I each rolled one die. One was a success but the other failed. Fortunately (or not) Hi-yon has an older cousin, Si-jun, who despises Jun-young and hates the idea of "the dork" anywhere near his little cousin. It was decided that Si-jun would make the couple's life miserable on their next date, and the re-roll came up a success!

The result: Three levels of Attraction and one Compatibility. Not bad for a first date, eh?

Comments

I think a possible problem with a crush in BtI is that one character will inevitably try harder to win the other over. This was particularly true in the second turn, where Hi-yon's player was in the active role yet Jun-young was the one running all over the park trying to help her. This was compounded by the fact the Orches tends to be a reactive rather than active player, and that Hi-yon was too humiliated and unwell to do much of anything.

The fourth turn, with Orches in her second round as active player, worked out much better. Hi-yon was able to use her supernatural abilities to help Jun-young out, impressing him without going out of her way to do so.

Overall we played a little fast and loose with the rules, which seems to be how they're meant to be played. For one thing I awarded both reroll and Conflict dice when Hi-yon threw up all over her date. I also awarded reroll dice in the fourth turn for Hi-yon's having to conceal how she got such a clear view of the perp when nobody else did.

It was pretty amazing how the rules pushed towards the kind of events that those involved could laugh (and wince) over for years. It was also surprising how natural it all felt for two people to get closer through a series of mishaps and heartfelt connections. We were all really enthusiastic about it.

An interesting part about playing BtI as a spinoff is the continuity aspect. Aside from the power of animal speech, mentioned above, the character of the homeless cat was also carried over into the main campaign storyline. (Did I mention our GM rocks? ;-))

Hi-yon also speaks considerably more warmly about Jun-young than before, reflecting the three Attraction levels. And once the three dates are done we'll be able to actually play out Jun-young and Hi-yon's future in the main campaign, which I think is really nice.

The second date will most likely be Jun-young and Hi-yon celebrating her birthday together. I'll see if I can rope Orches into another session tomorrow; I can't wait! :-)
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Emily Care
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« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2006, 06:00:31 AM »

This is SO cool.

I've many people talk about doing this, it's fabulous to see a write up, and to hear that it is working so well.  I sounds like you are really getting what you would have wanted: a believable beginning for their relationship, growing connection between the characters and even new elements for the ongoing plot. 

Quote
While Hi-yon stands there totally freaked that a cat just TALKED, the old cat offers a detailed description of the cutpurse in exchange for the lunch she brought. Hi-yon agrees, and the cat walks off with the food after telling her what the guy looked like.

This is my favorite thing. The cat brought everything together, and sounds like a character I'd love to see more of if I was playing the game. Kudos to you and your gm.

Quote
Overall we played a little fast and loose with the rules, which seems to be how they're meant to be played. For one thing I awarded both reroll and Conflict dice when Hi-yon threw up all over her date. I also awarded reroll dice in the fourth turn for Hi-yon's having to conceal how she got such a clear view of the perp when nobody else did.

There's definite flexibility in the order that dice are awarded. Some people have played by rolling bonus dice one by one, and going for re-rolls immediately after. That tends to slow the pace down, but if it makes sense for the plot then I'm all for it. You guys came up with an awesome story and had fun, so you're clearly doing it right. :)

Can't wait to hear how the birthday party goes!

all the best,
Emily
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Koti ei ole koti ilman saunaa.

Black & Green Games
loki's wrangling
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« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2006, 07:02:54 AM »

Yup, the continuity is a big part of the fun. It's great to see how the main and spinoff games interweave and affect each other.

On to date no. 2...

Before the Second Date

Si-jun, Hi-yon's cousin, is shocked to learn that Hi-yon has actually started seeing that loser cop. He decides to do something about it and calls Hi-yon the day before her birthday. He demands that she gussy up and meet up with him the next day so he can introduce her to a friend of his.

The Second Date

It's Hi-yon's birthday, and at six in the evening Jun-young shows up at her door with a bouquet. They walk outside arm in arm, but Jun-young's car is nowhere to be seen. Turns out he actually left his car at home (or maybe the precinct, since that's where he spends more time). He's made reservations at a restaurant that's close enough to walk to. This considerate gesture earns Jun-young a look that makes his knees go weak and me craploads of dice.

They're having a pleasant stroll when Si-jun calls Hi-yon to demand she show up right away to meet him and his friend... or else. Hi-yon pointedly tells him that she's with Jun-young and has no intention of meeting his friend, then hangs up. This was a particularly nice character moment because she's always had trouble standing up to Si-jun in the past.

As if that wasn't enough trouble they come across a bunch of street toughs on a desolate roadside. These thugs and Jun-young know each other the way petty criminals and policemen tend to, and the thugs start to make really crude passes at Hi-yon. Jun-young is frantic with worry for her safety, and the head thug uses the distraction to rough him up.

In a twist that I really enjoyed, Hi-yon stepped up to bat... literally. See, she's studied kendo since she was a little girl and advanced practitioners of the martial art are deadly with any kind of stick. She picks up a stick of scrap wood from the ground and proceeds to kick the thug leader's ass. All that birthday primping really paid off when she slammed her high heel into his crotch, too. The toughs take the hint and skedaddle.

The couple arrive at the restaurant, Jun-young sporting a split lip and various bruises but fairly glowing with pride at Hi-yon's prowess. They're having a wonderful meal when the most unwelcome sight imaginable barges through the door: Si-jun in his wheelchair (he's had a motorcycle accident and had to wrangle a temporary discharge from the hospital), an obviously rich and bored-looking prettyboy in tow.

Si-jun tells the restaurant staff that he and his friend are with Hi-yon and Jun-young. Then he proceeds to make himself and his friend, Hyon-uk (hyon rhymes with son, u is like in put), comfortable at the couple's table. One the son of a prominently rich family and the other an overworked civil servant, Hyon-uk and Jun-young make for a study in contrasts.

Hi-yon, however, is furious at the intrusion and cannot stand Hyon-uk's arrogant, disdainful attitude. Hyon-uk, on the other hand, has never had a woman reject him before and pegs the older woman as a fascinating challenge. (Maybe I could move on to Shooting the Moon after the three dates are done! :D)

Jun-young and Hi-yon make their escape and walk back to Hi-yon's, having a funny little debate over who should be walking whom home. At the front door Jun-young works up the courage to kiss her good-night. I got a strong "Kiss the Girl" vibe from the Little Mermaid here, with Hi-yon's animal friends encouraging the couple from the sidelines.

However, Si-jun shows up in Hyon-uk's chauffeured car before the kiss can actually happen. He insists that Hi-yon and Jun-young see him to the hospital since he has to get back from his one-day discharge. Jun-young and Hi-yon, knowing Si-jun will find some way to make them pay if they don't agree, pile in.

On the way Hi-yon falls into an uneasy slumber due to motion sickness, while Jun-young finally succumbs to sleep deprivation and starts snoring. Thus ends their big birthday date, not with a bang but a whimper. Or a snore, in Jun-young's case.

Continuity

The rich prettyboy, Hyon-uk, is actually my PC's little brother. They don't get along that well, so things should be interesting once the events of the spinoff spill out into the main campaign.

Also, Si-jun's father and Jun-young's boss (and Hi-yon's uncle) will start putting the screws to Jun-young trying to put a stop to the young man's courtship. Hi-yon's uncle has been like a father to her, after all, and has vowed long ago that he won't give her hand in marriage to a cop. Even though he likes Jun-young, he doesn't want Hi-yon to go through the things his own wife did, the financial hardship, a practically absent husband, the constant agony over his safety.
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Emily Care
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« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2006, 02:12:53 PM »

Quote
Also, Si-jun's father and Jun-young's boss (and Hi-yon's uncle) will start putting the screws to Jun-young trying to put a stop to the young man's courtship. Hi-yon's uncle has been like a father to her, after all, and has vowed long ago that he won't give her hand in marriage to a cop. Even though he likes Jun-young, he doesn't want Hi-yon to go through the things his own wife did, the financial hardship, a practically absent husband, the constant agony over his safety.

Sweet.  This is good stuff. What is the current attraction/compatibility count? And by the way, does Jun-young know that Hi-yon is a demon? Does she?

best,
Em
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Koti ei ole koti ilman saunaa.

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loki's wrangling
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« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2006, 07:00:46 PM »

Sweet.  This is good stuff.

Thank you. :) We had a lot of fun coming up with this stuff.

Quote
What is the current attraction/compatibility count? And by the way, does Jun-young know that Hi-yon is a demon? Does she?

Attraction is still at three, since we failed the Attraction roll even after rerolling. We concentrated on Compatibilities instead, adding three more for a total of four. Those are: "The memory of the amusement park date," "We watch each other's backs," "Si-jun can be a pain in the neck," and "The kiss that could have been."

Jun-young has no idea about Hi-yon's heritage. Hi-yon saw her mother's non-human form some years ago and so knows she isn't entirely human, but has no other information. Her mother certainly isn't talking. We have no concrete plans for a third date yet, so it's possible Jun-young might get some inkling during the course of the main campaign before then.
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