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[Defiance] The Black Rat Cometh

Started by MJGraham, April 06, 2009, 07:23:37 AM

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Session One

The Revolutionary Cabal

Madam Shahlei (a.k.a. Lawrence) - the owner and a former employee at one of the city's less reputable brothels. Years of service and abuse from a long line of pimps and clients has turned Madam Shahlei into an embittered transvestite. Very few – if any – know that Madam Shahlei's real name is Lawrence (though only the dimmest would be convinced that he is a woman). Even less is known about his past. Given his romanticism towards the past and unwillingness to engage with it in a less idealistic way, has many of those closest to Madam Shahlei suspecting him of hiding a secret beyond the truth of his actual gender.

Traits: Diseases most foul – regular visits to sweating house, mercury poisoning, syphilis; hardened brawler, bulging masculine frame; extremely camp; moustache covered by thick layer of make up.

    "Life is short and mine is over. Fill what's left with my wants, my needs. Beauty is forever; I'm disgusting."
    "Donald puts forth a good show, but he's an old doddering codger who's way past his prime."
    "Lucas is a sweet boy. I could teach him a thing or too about amour."
    "Reticude is uptight. Luckily, I know a few tricks that will loosen him up."
    "Vincent? Who's Vincent?"

Madam Shahlei is Ben's insurrectionist

Donald P. Wildebrand - devoted over forty years of his life to the city's longest established pantheon only to find his service was no longer needed. Although Donald claims to have been cast out for his heretical thinking, the truth lies closer to having been given the ultimatum of retiring to the countryside or remaining in the city and giving up his position in his religious order. Resentful of this treatment, Donald chose the latter path and fell in with a group of insurrectionists. In these unfamiliar surroundings, Donald soon found his thoughts straying towards the truly heretical. Only time will tell whether or not his heresy will lead him into darkness or light.

Traits: Elderly, short sighted, scholar, homophobic, repressed homosexual tendencies, showing signs of either senility or the advanced stages of syphilis, dishonest, and insecure.

   "No one is really allowed to get to know me – life's a stage and I'm the star"
    "Lucas amuses me. I predict he'll prove himself rather useful and easy to exploited."
    "Reticude might as well not exist. He's useless."
    "Vincent is a scared boy hiding behind the countenance of a capable man."
    "Madam Shahlei is a disgusting travesty; an abomination to our gender. I hope no one finds out how much he arouses me."

Donald P. Wildebrand is Frank's insurrectionist

Reticude Amundsen - was the perfect clerk for the city watch, conscientious and meticulous, he took great care in every detail of his work and never utter a complaint. All was well until he came across some documents detailing some of the atrocities committed by the watch acting under the orders of Lord Ipsissimus. Appalled by this information, Reticude quit work and soon after he was accepted into a small revolutionary cabal for his inside knowledge of the city watch and devotion to the cabal's cause.

Traits: Former clerk, physically weak, has a gift of bringing out the better part of other people's nature, polite, fastidious, and conscientious.

   "There are ways and means to get what you want. Do what you feel is morally right"
    "Donald could be a good man if he stopped looking for approval from the outside."
    "Madam Shahlei is tragic. I pity him more than he will ever know."
    "Poor simple Lucas, so weak-willed and easily influenced. It's a shame he had to fall in with unprincipled rogues in his youth."
    "Vincent is the most reliable man I have met. I trust him completely."

Reticude Amundsen is David's insurrectionist

Vincent Calver - a young assistant jailer that has resented the authority figures of the city since early childhood. This resentment stems from when his father was incarcerated for theft and avoided the gallows by volunteering for the city militia. With his father's spirit broken by fate, Vincent turned to his older brothers for guidance and enrolled as as an assistant jailer in the hopes of impressing them and making life better to the prisoners. Fuelled by his hatred and resentment for the current regime and compassion for the prisoners in his ward, he gradually earned their trust and was given information on how he might join a certain revolutionary cabal.

Traits: young, fit, hot-headed, prone to losing his temper, sense of righteousness, strongly developed sense of justice, has great compassion for those who have been unfairly treated.

   "Someone in a position of authority will always try to bring you down. Always stay one step ahead and act first."
    "Mark my words: Lucas will be hanged one day. His sort always find their way to the gallows."
    "Madam Shahlei is weak willed and decadent."
    "Donald has a wealth of knowledge but he's too much of a pontificator and he's got no drive, no ambition, no goals beyond impressing people with
     bluff and erudition."
    "Reticude is physically weak. If he's ever caught, he'll probably die under torture. Nevertheless, I know he won't blab; his morals are too keenly
     developed for that."

Vincent Calver is Adam's insurrectionist

Lucas Jones - former leader of one of the city's least significant gangs. Lucas is the prime example of the soldier that always blames his actions on just following orders. What Lucas believes is loyalty is actually a desperate need for approval and a desire to fit in at any cost. Lucas dreams of leading his revolutionary cabal, but the truth is that he's a born follower.

Traits: wiry frame, tough, superstitious, uncomfortable with the unfamiliar, easily influenced, comfortable with violence, moderately skilled at using improvised weapons, dreamer, tendency to be somewhat dim-witted and imperceptive.

     "The city's a dangerous place. Best thing anyone can do is find some people they can trust and stick by them no matter what."
     "I'm keeping an eye out on Vincent. I don't think we can trust him."
     "I don't trust Reticude either and I don't see how a weakling like him will be of any use to us."
     "Donald is a genius. He's done more in his life than anyone else I've met."
     "Madam Shahlei is an ugly worn-down trollope. Seen it happen to many lasses who found themselves desperate enough to sell their bodies.
      Nevertheless, she's still a lady and I won't have anyone disrespect her."

Lucas Jones is my insurrectionist

This session begins in a dimly lit back room of Madam Shahlei's Brothel. A bruised and bloody figure is tied to a chair, five figures circle him, throwing accusations of him being involved with the Veiled Hand, a secret police force and religious order that reports directly to Lord Ipsissimus. One of the figures, a small scrawny fellow, implores the bound man to speak before his companions turn nasty.

David informs us that his character is using the virtue of mercy for this challenge and that his objective is to persuade the alleged member of the Veiled Hand to speak before one of the other insurrectionist's decide to hurt him. Everyone except for David add red or white beads to a bag and David draws three beads from that very same bag.

The bound man snears with contempt at Reticude's feeble attempt at persuading him to talk. He knows that his gods will take care of his immortal soul and he has no fear about what these spiritual vermin have planned for his mortal body. His faith is strong - except that one over there doesn't seem to have any plans. He just looks like he wants to cause pain, lots and lots of unbelievable pain. Suddenly it dawns on the bound man that their amateurish attempts at interrogating him might be laughable now, but should they elect to torture him, there's no way of knowing what they will do.

The result of David draw was a failure with positive consequences. Adam declares that Vincent can't contain his rage anymore and I make it known that Lucas will try to stop Vincent in a half-arsed kind of a way as he really would like to see this guy get torn to pieces, but he feels that the rest of the cabal might not want that to happen.

As Lucas is hindering Vincent rather than directly opposing him, we add an extra white bead into the bag and everyone except for Adam adds in red or white beads depending on they feel this challenge should go or how they want the story to progress.

Vincent ignores Lucas's incompetent effort at blocking him and lays into the bound mans face with a flurry of viscious blows that almost knocks him out. Fortunately the rest of cabal hear his pleas and they pull the enraged Vincent away before he goes too far.

Adam has drawn a success with postive consequences.

"You're all going to die. You wait until the Black Rat finds you." [coughs up blood] "You'll be begging for death but it won't come quickly."

"How can we find the Black Rat?" Donald asks him, certain that this is a valuable lead and possibly a way to strike back at the Veiled Hand once and for all.

"If you're eager to suffer a long painful death, I suggest you try the abandoned church tower near market square."

Madam Shahlei is becoming visibly disturbed by the scene infolding infront of him. Lucas has already whispered to him that they have to kill their captive or he'll run back to the Veiled Hand with information on where the cabal operates. But how can they kill him without Reticude finding out? For Madam Shahlei the answer is obvious, he must tell one of his bouncers to get rid of the member of the Veiled Hand while surreptitiously ordering the bouncer to kill him.

"Oswald! Please be a darling and come here. We need you"

A large overweight man with short bristly hair enters the room and addresses Madam Shahlei.

"Oswald, darling, please take this gentleman for a long walk. Escort him out of our beautiful city. But please make sure that he doesn't die. It would be such a shame if someone were to kill him."

Ben is using Madam Shahlei's virtue of concern for this challenge. He doesn't care about their prisoner, but he is worried about his brothel. As usual beads are added to the bag and Ben makes a draw: success with negative consequence.

Reticude is convinced that Oswald won't harm their prisoner and only want to remove him from the city. Unfortunately, Oswald isn't the brightest button and he takes the bruised and beaten member of the Veiled Hand to the outskirts of the city, knocks him out, and throws him into a what the criminal underworld calls dead man's sluice.

With the scene at an end all the player-narrators earn some influence points and Adam, David, and Ben earn influence points for the challenged their insurrectionists' faced.

[end of session one]


Session Two

We began this session with a recap of the last one and a brief discussion in which we decided that Adam and David's insurrectionists past involvement with the city watch and the city jail would place them in an almost ideal position for obtaining any official documents about the Black Rat. Frank's, Ben's and my insurrectionist will try to find out who the Black Rat is by talking with Mr Sorensen, a powerful and influential man that has managed to straddle both the criminal underworld and the corrupt political world of the city.

Reticude and Vincent enter the Hall of Records, an old squat building situated near the Courthouse. In the reception area is a large wooden desk behind which sits a mentally exhausted clerk and beside him stands a bored guard. The clerk blinks slowly and asks Vincent why they are here.

"This fellow with me is prisoner 2647. You probably remember him as Reticude Amundsen."

"Can't say I remember the name."

"Well he use to work here as a scribe and he reckons he has evidence which will lead to the capture of almost a dozen of the city's most violent insurrectionists. Only problem is that he left it in his desk."

Adam's insurrectionist is now facing a challenge. Rather than make it a normal challenge, we decide that it should be a contigency challenge. Vincent won't fail to persuade the clerk and the guard to allow Reticude to check his desk but how much time Reticude will have to find information on the Black Rat will depend largely on how long Vincent can keep the clerk and the guard occupied.

Adam makes a draw as normal and gets three red beads. As it is a contigency challenge it means that David will have three more red beads than normal when he draws for his challenge.

Vincent and the guard are getting along like old friends as Reticude searches the upper chamber of the Hall of Records for information on the Black Rat.

David has three more red beads in the bag than normal when his insurrectionist takes his challenge. The rest of us add more red or white beads depending on how we feel this challenge should go. David draws for his insurrectionist's challenge and gets a failure with negative consequences.

We all discuss what this should mean. Should he not find any useful documents? Should he find false or misleading documents? Should he be caught in the act?

The door of the room swings open and the guard spots Reticude thumbing his way through a ledger in which he has found a page mentioning the Black Rat is working with Mr. Sorensen...

Mr. Sorensen's favourite haunt is currently The Nightengale (the city's version of the Hellfire Club). Donald walks around the place like he been there a hundred times before and is best friends with the owner. Madam Shahlei seems almost bored by the sons and daughters of aristocracy playing at being degenerates. But Lucas is shocked and appalled by what he believes to be utter depravity. In fact, he swears that he saw a half naked couple in communion with a demon. (This is not true. Lucas is the kind of person frighteningly comfortable with violence, but unable to deal with moral shades of grey in sex and religion, and inclined towards feelings of awkwardness around the upper classes. As such he is prone to assume the worst in places like The Nightengale).

It doesn't take Donald long to get an audience with Mr. Sorensen. In a large plush back room filled with gaudy decorations and silk cushions, lounges the morbidly obese Mr. Sorensen. Part Jabba the Hutt and part Baby-Eating Bishop of Bath and Wells, Mr Sorensen uses the back of his hand to wipe the grease from his fat jowls before giving a slobbering kiss to an androgynous woman. After swapping some friendly banter, Donald offers Mr. Sorensen a small box of nose powder and Mr. Sorensen returns the favour with a fine bottle of absinthe.

Frank is going to see if Donald will succeed at his challenge to persuade Mr. Sorensen to divulge useful information about the black rat. Towards the end of the previous scene, we decided that David's failure with negative consequences would impact Frank's draw. With this in mind, Frank pays some influence points to draw additional beads...

The doors of The Nightengale are flung open just as Donald is about the ask Mr. Sorensen about the black rat and in runs Reticude and Vincent shouting out warnings to the other insurrectionists in their cabal. Less than three seconds later, Reticude has been knocked unconscious and Vincent is a quivering blob of agony surrounded by half a dozen pairs of boots stomping and kinking any available part of his anatomy.

Donald falls to his knees, chocking and vomiting, his head filled with a thick mist and his muscles burning. Mr. Sorensen's poison is acting particularly fast this time and it won't be long before Donald is either passed out or in a comatosed. Madam Shahlei leaps into Mr. Sorensen's arms and beg's him to save her from Donald. (Due to a good draw by Ben, this tactic works and his insurrectionist is momentarily safe from Mr Sorensen's wrath). My insurrectionist does what he knows best and wades into the crowd of regulars that are giving Retiduce and Vincent a thorough hiding. As Lucas is a renegade and violence is a renegades main way of dealing with problems, he gets to Vincent without much harm to himself and manages to drag him outside. (I drew a successful outcome to my insurrectionist's challenge). However, two figures are watching both us from the roof tops and they start to slowly make their way towards us (Unfortuntely, it was success with a negative consequence and both our insurrectionist's have been spotted by two spies from the Veiled Hand).

We finish the session by everyone being rewarded with influence points and we discuss how Donald has been taken captive, Madam Shahlei is with Mr. Sorensen, Reticude was assumed to be unimportant and his limp unconscious body thrown into the dead man's sluice, whilst mine and Adam's insurrectionist's are running from from the Veiled Hand.

[end of session two]