Sorcerer, part 2 — The things on the Doorstep

Our second session of Sorcerer.
The Premise as defined by the group is, roughly, “What would you give up for Knowledge? Who or what would you trade for power?”
Humanity = Empathy = Connection to and investment in the people in your life.
Previous session here.


Play began with the Kicker for our third and final character, Ken Osato. A somewhat ‘draft’ version of Ken can be seen here. Ken’s a l33t computer programmer and the current president of OsatoSoft North America. Looking over his character sheet, you can see that Ken’s player (***Dave) left more hooks hanging off of him than Fisherman’s Wharf.
It’s Saturday morning, the morning after the events of Session One (of which Ken knows nothing — he was busy closing a lucrative business deal) and it’s raining hard. The news is talking about dropping temperatures and incoming snow, possibly a nasty blizzard (the game is set around Cambridge/MIT in the Boston area of the east coast). Ken, in his robe, is padding out to get the paper off the walk.
KICKER
He open the front door and his father (who is also his sorcerer master) is standing on the doorstep. (Something of a shock, since his dad stays in Japan mostly, running the ‘main’ part of the business.) Dad says, “You’ve killed me. Now who will save –” and keels over, apparently suffering a massive coronary.

Ken, somewhat in shock at seeing his father and shocked even moreso at the collapse, pulls him fully into the entryway and checks his pulse. Nothing. He glances outside, closes the door, and checks Dad over once again, looking for some clue as to what the old bast– umm… man was talking about.
Plane tickets from Japan, one-way. His ostentatious pinky ring…
that golden amulet, engraved with the Katakana for “Knowledge” and “Power” that Ken’s never seen his father without. Hmm. *Yoink*. *Pocket*.
Ken calls the authorities, telling them that his father just collapsed on his front step. Yes, it’s awful. Please come quickly. Yes, I checked his pulse, I’m not an idiot. Goodbye.
BANG
Ken turns away from the phone, and Dad’s standing right there. Over his shoulder, Ken can see the old man’s body still lying in the entryway.

The yurei scowls at Ken’s uncontrolled shout. It glowers. Ken asks “Father, what are you doing here?” He’s willing to clarify that question further (Why are you in America/Boston/My house/returned from the dead/et cetera) if necessary, but wants to see what the unspecific query will yeild.
The yurei glowers. Finally: “See to the family.”
Ken blinks in astonishment. The ghost is gone.
Shakily, he calls the younger of his twin sisters, Hiroe, aka Ossie, and tells her about their father. She says she’ll tell their sister and they’ll both come over. Ken is nodding and half listening as he hangs up, glances in the hall mirror, sees his father standing right behind him, whirls…
nothing there.
“That’s going to get very tiring, Father!”

Shannon is moving around her house, grousing about the bruises and carpet burns from the fight the night before. Bister is trolling through political blogs and forums looking for a good argument to jump into. Shannon is meditatively reflecting on the bad weather outside and the fact that this means she will (thankfully) not have to deal with any… people… today. Why? Because people suck.
The doorbell rings.
BANG
Through the peephole, she can see a rain-soaked, bedraggled woman.
“We don’t want any, thank you!”
The woman pushes wet strands of hair out of her eyes, revealing the fact that it’s Yvonne, the sorceress from last night’s “party.” Shannon scowls at the peephole.
“Please… Shannon? Miss O’Neil? I need help.”

“I know!”
“No… there are people after me. I’m in trouble.” Her face is blasted an desperate — a woman on the last shreds of her Humanity. “I’ve got no one else to ask. Please?”
Bister’s with Shannon by this point, and is emphatically against letting the woman inside.
“I helped you last night, I think.”
“Which is why I came to you now! Please? I need help and a place to hide.”
Shannon scowls at the door for about a minute. Finally, she unlocks it and opens the door.
“Don’t drip on the floor.”
“Thank you.” Yvonne steps inside, carefully hiding her distate for the homeliness of the house. She pushes away her wet hair again. “Would you mind if I?…”
“Bathroom’s through there.”
“Thank you.”
(The above bang I devised as the first potential Humanity test of the session — really the first of the game for anything other than summoning demons. The bang worked really well and, by not rejecting the abject cries for aid from another human being (marginally still human, anyway), she avoided a Humanity Loss check — there’s even the chance for Humanity gain in the future, depending on how far Shannon sticks her neck out for Yvonne. Right now, Shannon’s helping because she ‘has’ to, and Ryan’s doing it because it might get him something.)
As soon as she hears the water for the shower turn on, she tells Bister. “Find me the phone number for that pretty boy from the party last night. His last name was Ryan. He should be in the student or faculty directory.”
“With pleasure.”

Val Ryan (Sebastian in the first game log) is getting his chest bandaged by a pre-med coed that he dates sometimes (the player has worked up quite a little harem of NPCs). The phone rings. Shannon informs him “That skinny wench that set up the party last night is at my house. I want her not to be.”
“What can I do?”
“You’re the one she wanted to seduce… Pied Piper her butt out of my house!”
Ryan ponders his options and considers that having the Librarian owe him a favor (or Yvonne for that matter) is worth a little effort on his part. He agrees to a date with the premed girl for several nights from now and gets ready to head out. CLV (Ryan’s mentor) calls him on his cell on the way to Shannon’s house. She just got a very interesting web page link emailed to her. Ryan figures he knows which one. CLV is not happy that someone seems to be burrowing into Ryan’s life… the two of them are of an accord on this. Ryan mentions where he’s headed. CLV, after hearing the Shannon took Yvonne into her house says “It sounds like she gave Yvonne Sanctuary… that’s very noble of her.” It doesn’t sound like a compliment.
Ryan asks about “sanctuary” and CLV explains that it’s basically what it sounds like: sorcerer in danger asks for aid and protection, if they’re taken in, the other sorcerer agrees to protect them.
Ryan parks, gets out, walks up to the front door of Shannon’s (small) home and knocks.
“I’m sure she wouldn’t have done that,” he comments, before hanging up.

Ken talks with the detective who’s looking over the scene. The paramedics have covered the body. The detective seems curious about Dad’s unexpected arrival in Boston… his relationship with Ken, what happened before he died, et cetera. He give’s Ken his card “in case you think of anything pertinent”, and leaves. Out on the walk, the detective sees the sisters show up and stops to talk with them. Hanae is perfectly under control, Hiroe is in tears. The detective and the girls talk for a bit, so Ken takes the opportunity to get properly dressed and stash the amulet in his front pocket.
The sisters come in and they talk a bit about what happened. Ken makes tea, Hiroe tries to be helpful and brings in the paper that Ken never got. Ken’s object-demon Doji (a PDA) gets quite cold at one point in the conversation when ambitious Hanae starts asking about what will happen with the company, while the amulet in his pants pocket gets quite warm. Hanae makes several comments regarding Ken’s good luck with business and ‘how much Dad taught you that he wouldn’t teach us’ (ostensibly speaking about business, but who knows?).
Ken excuses himself to the master bathroom to take a look at the amulet and Doji the PDA, but nothing seems overtly amiss, and he heads back out to the rest.
BANG
Hiroe is looking at the paper’s front page with big eyes and asks Ken if he doesn’t “know this girl”. There’s a front page article in the side bar about two missing Harvard coeds, one of which is a girl Ken dates
(currently they aren’t getting along, because she found out that Ken hacks his Everquest accounts to give himself an unfair advantage — it’s more fun that way — gee, wonder where he learned to think like that). The other girl in the article (the players know) is the girl that Ryan found hanging in his closet the day before… the one in the snuff film. Both live in the same organized post-grad grant-housing off campus. It doesn’t look good for the girl.

Ryan steps into Shannon’s house, looking wet but perfect. Yvonne is coming out of the bathroom and Shannon points between the two of them. “I think you know each other. Time for you to both go.”
BANG
Yvonne: “But… you said you’d help me and you took me in!”
Shannon: “And now you’re leaving.”
Yvonne: “But you can’t do that!”
Shannon: “Why not?”
Ryan: “Ahh… are you familiar with the concept of Sanctuary among sorcerers?”
Shanon: (huge pause) “What?”

A quick double check of Lore indicates that, despite her good score, she’s never heard of the practice of Sanctuary. In fact, further checks throughout the session indicate a clear pattern — hard facts on sorcery and demons are there in detail, but the social niceties of sorcerer interaction is very absent from Shannon’s father’s books — as are any mention of other sorcerers he knew. Looks like Dad was as antisocial as Shannon is.
Shannon, resigned to ‘doing something’ about Yvonne, engages in a conversation with Ryan about the mysterious snuff film that he’s asking Yvonne about. Yvonne’s in the ‘sleazy film’ industry but only knows a few rumors about such things as snuff films. Ryan shows them the video and both Shannon and Yvonne seem to to sense something odd about it… possibly arcane?
(Player add-in here — I liked it a lot.)
Yvonne knows a video doctor who might be able to take the feed and pull something more informative out of it, so they all pile into Ryan’s Audi TT and head to the south side of the river and the docks.

Ken talks a bit more with Hanae, with the girl making veiled comments and he sidestepping them and thinking about possible moves to make regarding OsatoSoft and his Uncle, the CFO back in Japan. The three agree to meet for dinner in a few days and figure out the logistics of timing the funeral back in Japan with the Thanksgiving break coming up in the next week. Hanae has already called her professors to arrange for bereavement extensions on her work.
After the girls leave, Ken pulls out the Amulet and sets it on the table, then pulls out Doji and ‘talks’ with him (he writes on a notepad screen and the demon’s replies fade in over them, which we realized a little ways in was a bit like the evil diary in the second Harry Potter book, but cool despite that).
Doji says he was getting cold because… well, maybe because they were being scryed or watched? Ken asks Doji about the amulet, because he believes it’s a demon (is kinda pretty almost sure) and has realized that binding it would probably (a) get him a lot of power and (b) be a really big coup if he decides to make a play for the whole company and usurp his uncle. Doji gives out some info but none of it is reassuring enough to make Ken feel that he shouldn’t try to bind the amulet on short notice.
Ken ‘talks’ with Doji a bit more and asks it (I think — my notes are sketchy here) to see what it could do about his missing girlfriend. The screens goes back to the leering Oni screensaver and shuts down.

Shannon, Ryan and Yvonne are driving out to the a disreputable area of warehouses and storage facilities along the river (Ryan drives very fast, but (Price: Arrogant) doesn’t pay a heck of a lot of attention to the road). Ryan is asking Yvonne how she knows there are people after her. She describes ‘grey men’ who’ve been dogging her steps since she escaped the house and tried to grab her twice. She’s pretty sure they’re demons, but doesn’t know if they’re spawn or not or who they might serve.
Right about then, Shannon yelps and Ryan (finally) notices the grey… homeless-looking man standing right in the middle of the street in front of them. He swerves, but sort of tries to clip the guy, since he suspects this might be one of Yvonne’s stalkers. (mothmen mimics — made up on the website about three minutes earlier when I suddenly realized I needed some stats)
Ryan’s cover roll for the fancy driving isn’t good — the car spins out a bit on the wet pavement and they essentially hit the thing going sideways down the street. The passenger door crumples and the ragtop above Shannon caves in as the body folds down over the car.
First combat series, listed in the order it resolved:
Ryan wants to go straight forward with the car, hop a curb to bounce the thing a bit loose, then spin and throw it clear of the car.
Yvonne goes for a Punishment.
Shannon is going to command it to leave them.
The demon is going to grab (Hold) Yvonne, so as to take off with her.
Ryan shouts “there’s a gun in my satchel!”
The car manuever works pretty well, but the demon aborts its action to get a decent defense roll and, when it’s thrown away from the car, its ‘coat’ flares out and helps it float to the ground easily — what’s underneath ain’t human. Yvonne goes for the Punish, but she’s shaky and doesn’t get any kind of effective dice. Shannon uses her Lore to address it in the ancient Babylonian it’s expecting for commands, but it stands its ground against her command.
Second series, listed in the order the negotiated actions were rolled:
Ryan peels out, trying to get clear of the thing.
Yvonne goes for the gun and shoots the thing.
The demon wants to grab Yvonne.
Shannon goes for Punishment.
(This order was TIGHT — three people had at least one 10 on d10s and Shannon, the slowest, had three 9’s and two 7’s. The demon didn’t roll so well. Of the PC’s demons, Shade was still at Juli’s appartment and Bister doesn’t have Travel and didn’t want to get left behind if he left the car. Yvonne’s had apparently all been eaten by Yzor.)
Ryan guns the car. Shannon opens the satchel but grabs a loose bit of paper and a pen instead of the gun. Yvonne goes for the gun and, with only two dice, gets a 10 and 9. The demon has Armor, but defended with only one die and gets a three: total success (I rule) essentially negates the effect of Armor, so two successes resolve against it on the Small Arms row and leave it with -4 die for its next action — its attempt to grab onto the back of the car fails miserably. Shannon rises up in her seat, turning around as the car speeds up and flings her sketched paper like an Anime-style yori prayer strip at the demon’s head. The thing blows its roll and the paper plasters over its featureless face, the runes glowing a fiery red. It hits the ground writhing like a wasp that got hit with Raid (four successes on the Punishment roll).
The trashed Audi speeds away (Ryan’s player is considering a good classic Cadillac with a big trunk), the group deciding NOT to turn around and Contain the demon when Shannon (Lore roll) notes that those kind of demons usually don’t act alone.
And that’s the session.


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One Reply to “Sorcerer, part 2 — The things on the Doorstep”

  1. The episode’s quote log:
    RANDY: [Pulls one of the coffee table halves down the end of the long couch and setting up his soda and books on it.]
    DAVE: [to Jackie, as we set up our stuff on the other half.] I guess that’s Randy’s table.
    JACKIE: Next thing you know, he’s going to pee on it.

    YVONNE [NPC]: But you promised I could stay!
    JACKIE: Why woul I say that?
    RANDY: Are you familiar with the Law of Sanctuary?
    JACKIE: [after a long, long pause, staring at him] What?

    I’m sure I had another, but it vanished mysteriously.

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