The second session of Victorian Magic Earth took place Sunday, February 28th, 2016. Starring Dennis K. as Jacques Allard, a French Templar currently residing in London, and Tim O. as Rosaleen Quinn, a demon-touched occultist and Irish Traveler.
Through the Fire and the Flames
Our heroes found themselves where they left off: atop a building near the church after being attacked by a strange individual who seemed to have some stakes in the carnage that surrounded them. Jacques lay bitten and bleeding on the floor. As she hurled herself back on to the roof, Rosaleen came to the aid of her fallen comrade.
Slapping a makeshift tourniquet on the Templar’s neck, she helped Jacques back on his feet. With the city burning all around them and, as Rosaleen urgently put it, a cure for the lycanthropy Jacques had most likely contracted need, the two of them departed with haste. Jacques led, knowing the center of the city well and having traversed its back alleys routinely. Rosaleen suggested they seek out her fellow Travelers, who were west of the city. But first, they had to seek out horses – fortunately, she knew of a amiable fellow that could help them not far from the church.
Out of Character:
The first major role of the session, which would result in a quasi-timer throughout, was Tim O. rolling to determine what Rosaleen could discern from Jacques wound. He rolled extremely well – a total of 20 – determining that lycanthropy was likely and that they had a limited length of time to deal with the disease before it took.
The first major hurdle came when navigating an alley. Already acutely on alert as they trekked through a London center under siege by raging beasts, the pair were quick to pick up on a new arrival to this particular alley: a lycanthrope. Jacques, his blood already close to boil, leaped into the fray. His blows can fast and furious, his shield moving with stunning alacrity. Rosaleen, magically drained, played distraction, hurling glass bottles and other debris into the face of the werewolf. The beasts snarls of rage turned into whines and cries of pain – Jacques paid these no heed, a lust for violence overtaking him as he hacked the creatures head off in several chopping strokes.
The werewolf was dead. Jacques kicked its head towards Rosaleen, it rolling to her feet. The demon-blooded occulist was seemingly unphased by these uncharacteristic displays of brutality, instead focusing on urging them onward. It had been nearly half an hour since Jacques had been bit at this point and time was growing short.
Out of Character:
This was a fun scene, though it was one where I most wished I was using Fate instead of FH&W.
Instead of using a random chart, I simply asked Dennis to pick a number from 1-6. He chose a 6, and I rolled. If it had landed on the 6, they would have gone on their merry way…but it didn’t! Dennis immediately felt, as I hoped he would, shades of Lamentations of the Flame Princess (as it employs similar d6 mechanics for its skills).
During the actual fight, Tim very wisely, and to the character of Rosaleen, employed the use of distractions. While I believe we handled it well mechanically, it was at this point that I really wished I was using Fate because of Create Advantage actions and Aspects. Tim’s actions practically screamed to me “HEY, I’M TRYING TO CREATE AN ASPECT ON THE SCENE”, thus reinforcing Fate as the right system for me.
They moved on, weaving their way through the backstreets until they came to a main road. From the shadows, they could see a military checkpoint. The soldiers, even from across the street, looked disheveled and sweaty. They were firing into the air and at the adjacent houses in a frenzy, but from what Jacques and Rosaleen could tell they weren’t actually firing at anything. Down the street, a house burned…the screams and cries of those trapped inside echoing down the lane.
Rosaleen prepared to continue on, going down the block opposite of the checkpoint then around it. But, as the cries of civilians reached Jacques ears, the Templar had other ideas. Compelled to stay , to help, Jacques maneuvered by stealth to the burning home. Rosaleen could only watch and ensure the holy warrior didn’t get himself killed.
Out of Character:
This was another “I wish I was using Fate” moment. Though handled well through dice-rolling and role play, I could help but think that I wish I could simply issue Dennis a compel here. That would have given us a chance to have a back and forth about it, and it would have been a CHOICE for him to take the Fate point (reward) and accept the complication (rescuing the civilians). It’s amazing how much clarity we gain by trying out other systems, how it shows us exactly what we want out of the mechanics.
Successfully reaching the burning building, Jacques found it barricaded and barred. With rapidly increasing strength, he removed the barricade and (in one Herculean effort) smash the barricaded door down. The people inside began to flee, only to be shot at by the checkpoint. Enraged, Jacques charged into the checkpoint, hacking and slashing.
As this was going on, Rosaleen made her way to the burning house. Assuring that all the civilians had made it out, she helped herself to a pair of rapiers and pistols. Loading the shot, she took cover behind a walled garden next to the burning house, taking aim at the checkpoint. With their combined force of their onslaught, and the fact that these soldiers appeared to be very ill, the checkpoint was left in shambles and the civilians made safe as Jacques and Rosaleen fled into the night to the stables.
Who the Hell Cares About Kyle?
Dawn broke over the burning city and, after having been chased by a large pack of werewolves, they arrived at the campsite of the Travelers. Rosaleen immediately began asking for the Maven, the matriarch of the band and her teacher, but was told that she had been missing for days. She would have to speak with Kyle, who led them in more mundane matters.
Rosaleen was not a fan of Kyle. Nevertheless, with her friends condition worsening in the back of the cart they harnessed to the sole steed they could find, she went to speak with the man. Swallowing her distaste, she knocked on the back of his caravan.
Kyle, who had been asleep, woke and informed her that the Maven had gone missing in the nearby woods. They had been searching for days, but no sign of her. Rosaleen was angry, but before she had a chance to dress down Kyle another problem arose.
Jacques, who had been resting quietly in the back of the cart, awoke with a furious roar. His body began to contort and change, his mind raging. Only through his faith, force of will, and a little persuasion from Rosaleen was he able to retake his complete human form.
That was the end of this session of Victorian Magic Earth. Tune in for the next and final session on March 12th at 4 PM GMT/11 AM EST.