Friday, June 25, 2010

Willow & Tara: Chill

Willow and Tara in Chill

The world the girls live in is not exactly the same as the world described in Chill. A lot of what is “Unknown” in Chill is common knowledge to our girls. Let’s be honest even Tara has seen more vampires than the average 1st Edition Chill character would see in a lifetime.

So how do we explain the differences? I see the worlds as being the same, the different rules are just different ways at looking at it. Let’s steal a page from the WitchCraft RPG core book. Chill and S.A.V.E. were most active in the 80’s and early 90’s before their Dublin HQ was destroyed. So we only have records up till then. In WitchCraft it has been documented that as we approach the Reckoning supernatural occurrences have become more and more frequent. By the time the girls start their “career” in battling the supernatural in the late 90’s early 2000’s supernatural occurrences are far more common than 10 or 20 years ago.

This is even supported by the move from 1st to 2nd Eds of Chill. 1st Ed was lighter, a little campy, but emphasis was on things that go bump in the night. It was more Ghostbusters than Ghost Story. 2nd Ed was a child of the paranoid late 80’s and 90’s. Elements of X-Files were abundant and the same zeitgeist that gave us the World of Darkness, Kult and yes WitchCraft was at work in Chill as well. To further the “world is much darker than you think” idea, 2nd Edition Chill makes the (somewhat silly, somewhat crafty) claim that the Pacesetter version was propaganda by S.A.V.E. sent out as disinformation. And let’s be honest, a lot of people played Chill as “monster of the week” adventures anyway. Maybe it was years of “Dark Shadows” and “Night Stalker” or more likely years of AD&D, but that’s how we did it in my house.
Chill 3rd Edition looked darker still, but it did not come out so I can’t say.

Relations with S.A.V.E.
Willow and Tara’s relationship with S.A.V.E. (Societas Argenti Viae Eternitata, Society of the Eternal Silver Way) begins before either girl was born. In the “Dragon and the Phoenix” canon Robert Maclay had been an envoy of S.A.V.E. working in the southern part of the United States. They had discovered an area of reported spiritual activity during the Summer of ’76 and were ordered to investigate. They came to an old plantation that later been converted to a brothel after the Civil War and was rumored to be haunted by the ghost of the former owner. Realizing that Maclay’s team would need magical aid, S.A.V.E. assigned a “craft worker” to the team. This infuriated the young Robert Maclay. He was a devout Christian and the idea of working with a witch was as unacceptable to him as working with a vampire. The young witch, Megan Rose O’Kelley, was however more than a match for Robert’s head strong attitude. The mission would have been a complete failure had it not been for Megan’s magic, though it was not with out complications. The reported “ghosts” turned out to be demonic ethereal spirits. Megan had been possessed by one of the demons in the course of the fight, she fought off the demonic thrall (with Maclay’s aid), but she suffered reoccurring ill health and nightmares. These persisted into her courtship and marriage to Robert till the end of her life in 1997. The demons were banished, and Robert and Megan left S.A.V.E. soon after.

S.A.V.E. knew that any offspring of Robert and Megan Maclay would be a formidable witch in her own right, so they watched Donald and Tara for years. It was soon obvious that while Donny lacked the ability to even do a card trick, Tara was a different story. She began to manifest her powers very early in life. They even observed her display feats of power that would have been difficult for a witch three-times her age, though she was always very careful to not show her power anytime she felt her father or older brother were watching. When Tara was murdered, the remaining members of the fractionalized S.A.V.E. prepared to close the book on what would have been a promising recruit and recorded it as a profound loss for humanity. To their shock and surprise S.A.V.E. found themselves “re-opening” that book when Tara was discovered to be alive and well due to a rare occurrence of divine magics (S.A.V.E. was later made aware of the miscast Art that substituted Tara’s death record for a previously unmentioned or unrecorded twin sister, Kara).
In late 2005 S.A.V.E. operations in Washington DC approached Willow and Tara (after observing what they refer to as the ‘Leviathan / Pan-dimensional Incident’). S.A.V.E. had learned of the supposed recent activity of Erszébet Báthory (Elizabeth Bathory) near the girls’ new Boston home and hoped to make use of the girls unique understanding of vampires and witchcraft. That it was reported that Willow had encountered Dracula was only another bonus in their favor. The details of that encounter will be dealt with at a later date. Willow and Tara are not members of S.A.V.E. at this time, but their contact is Dr. Robert Samuels, Deputy Director of S.A.V.E.’s American Operations. (Geek Note: Dr. Robert Samuels was one of the pre-generated characters from the 1st Ed. Chill rule book.)

These stats represent Willow and Tara after the Dragon and the Phoenix, during the Season of the Witch, series but sometime before the Mid-Semester's Nightmare mini-series.  So about 2005.

Willow Danielle Rosenberg

Strength 30
Perception 67
Dexterity 33
Willpower 81
Agility 42
Luck 50
Personality 67
Stamina 50

Unskilled Melee 36 (1st Ed)* / 18 (2nd Ed)**
Sense Unknown 13%
Movement 34
Sprinting 92
Initiative 4

Name CIPs Notes
Ambidexterity 1
Attractive 2
Curiosity -1
Improved STA Rec 1
Improved Will Rec 1
Phobia (Frogs) 1
Psychological flaw 1 Addictive personality

Name Rank Score Calc
Armed Melee S 51 (STR+AGL)/2 +15
Crossbow S 48 DEX +15

Anthropology T 101 (PCN+WPR+PER)/3 +30
Biology T 104 (PCN+WPR)/2 +30
Computers M 129 (PCN+WPR)/2 +55
Investigation M 121 (PCN+WPR+LUCK)/3 +55
Language, Latin T 104 (PCN+WPR)/2 +30
Legend/Lore T 104 (PCN+WPR)/2 +30
Mathematics T 104 (PCN+WPR)/2+30
Mechanics T 80 (PCN+DEX)/2 +30
Occult Lore** M 116
Ritual Magic** M 116

Age: 23 (in 2004)
Ht: 5’3”
Wt: 115#
Hair: Red
Eyes: Green
Gender: Female

Nationality: American
Profession: Software Engineer
Education: B.S. in Computer Science, 2003 University of California, Magna Cum Laude

Name Score* Calc Base** Rank**Score
Telepathic Sending 67 (PCN+PER)/2 44 M 94
Telepathic Empathy 67 (PCN+PER)/2 44 M 94
Sphere of Protection 61 (PCN+LUCK)/2 39 T 69

* Indicates a 1st Edition Rule.
** Indicates a 2nd Edition Rule.

Tara A. Maclay

Strength 38
Perception 70
Dexterity 32
Willpower 65
Agility 36
Luck 40
Personality 65
Stamina 40

Unskilled Melee 37 (1st Ed)* / 19 (2nd Ed)**
Sense Unknown 14%
Movement 32
Sprinting 86
Initiative 4

Name CIPs Notes
Animal Empathy 1
Attractive 1
Destiny 1
Improved Will Rec 1
Pet (MKF) 1
Psionic Ability 1 Empathy

Name Rank Score Calc (1st Ed)
Armed Melee S 52 (STR+AGL)/2 +15
- Axe S 52 (STR+AGL)/2 +15 SR 2/4
- Sword S 52 (STR+AGL)/2 +15 SR 5
Crossbow S 47 DEX +15

Animal Training** T 87
Art T 98 (PCN+WPR)/2 +30
Calligraphy** T 81 (AGL+WPR)/2 +30
Horseback riding T 81 (AGL+WPR)/2 +30
Investigation M 113 (PCN+WPR+LUCK)/3 +55
Language, Japanese T 98 (PCN+WPR)/2 +30
Legend/Lore T 98 (PCN+WPR)/2 +30
Occult Lore** M 108
Painting** T 81 (AGL+WPR)/2 +30
Ritual Magic** M 108
Psychology M 123 (PCN+WPR)/2 +55

Age: 24 (in 2004)
Ht: 5’4”
Wt: 125#
Hair: Blonde
Eyes: Blue
Gender: Female

Nationality: American
Profession: Graduate Student in Counselling Psychology, working as part time QMHP.
Education: B.A. in Art History, 2003 University of Southern California, Cum Laude,
M.A. in Psychology, Counseling emphasis, 2005 University of Southern California. Thesis: “Daughters without Mothers: Long Term Depression and Survivor’s Guilt in Adolescent Girls and Young Women” ERIC Abstracts Online

Name Score* Calc Base** Rank**Score
Telepathic Sending 68 (PCN+PER)/2 45 M 95
Telepathic Empathy 68 (PCN+PER)/2 45 T 75
Sphere of Protection 61 (PCN+LUCK)/2 36 T 66

* Indicates a 1st Edition Rule.
** Indicates a 2nd Edition Rule.

Notes:  I advanced the characters to 2005 and have Willow and Tara graduated. Education level was a big deal in Chill; I am thinking this is because it was a big deal in Call of Cthulhu, so I detailed that here.  This is right before (game world here folks) Willow created a small company that wrote security programs for industries.  Her stock split many times and she sold off most of it and was retained as executive consultant to Red Witch Software.  This gave her a lot of freedom and a few million dollars.  That though is a detail for another time and game system.

The biggest issue with Chill and witches like Willow and Tara is one of power.  Chill simply does not handle PCs with a lot of power well.  Chill was designed as "normal people fighting the monsters" game, a role that is serves well.  Call of Cthulhu has the same issues, but again at least in Chill the PCs are expected to make a difference.  Willow and Tara are beyond what most humans can do.  Chill is great for "Supernatural" or even some episodes of "The X Files", but not the likes of "Charmed" or "Willow & Tara: The Series".

What I did do during "Season of the Witch" was have a flashbacks with Tara's parents, Robert and Megan, and they were perfect for Chill since it was the late 70's and the power levels are much less than they are today.  Like Harry Dresden said in "Storm Front" the world is getting weirder and darker all the time.  This is something I have used in my games quite a bit.

Chill was great to look back on, but it is not s substitute for a more modern game for me.  If I ever run another 70s-80s flashback game though I will pull it out.

Another note.  While the stats above reflect the girls in or around 2004, the Chill timeline above is 2005.  So there is one crucial element missing from Tara's stats.  In 2005 she gave birth to a baby girl.  That is also for another day and system.

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