Friday, August 27, 2010

The Dragon and the Phoenix: Episode 1

So my Fridays are likely to be very busy so I am thinking of going through my big CineUnisystem adventure season The Dragon and the Phoenix.  These will be mostly plot summaries and some actual play reports.  Keep in mind that these games are now almost 10 years old.  I wrote and ran these a long time ago.  They were the playtest bed for Buffy, Angel and Ghosts of Albion.  Plus I have talked about these for so long I assume everyone already knows everything about them and that is really not the case.  So sit back a enjoy.

Episode 1: Will We Burn In Heaven?

Willow (crying): I thought…I thought I had lost you!
Tara (kissing her face): I’ll find you. I will always find you. 

- Willow and Tara: The Dragon and the Phoenix, Episode 1 “Will We Burn in Heaven?”

November 7, 2002 Thursday
(Ran this during Summer 2002, right after the Dark Druid)

Willow and Buffy have just been visiting Tara’s grave when they get two unexpected visitors, Cordelia and Tara. Tara comes back from Heaven to help the cast defeat a group of fallen angels bent on finding the Enochian Tablets and destroying all of creation with the Word of Unmaking. Tara helps, but is torn between her duty to the Creator and Creatrix and her love for Willow.  Te tablet is found, in the hands of a magical merchant named E'rif E'nur.  He is found dead and his local contact, Spike is horribly burned.  Anya is later found also burned.  Tara is able to heal her by touch, but both Spike and Anya tell her that they are "afraid" of her now. The fallen angels are found and there is a great battle.  An angel tries to burn Willow, but Tara gets in the way and engulfed in flames.  She walks out of the flame, unharmed, and in full angelic form to fight back.  The fallen angels are defeated with daggers given to them by Anya.  The tablet is destroyed and Tara must choose whether to return to heaven or remain. In the end Tara chooses Exile; she gives up her powers and angelic life force to be human again.
Giles discovers that the dead god Leviathan will be entering our reality.

Story Arc and Game Design elements: Introduce the new Ascension, Other Worldly and Geas quality/drawbacks.
Soundtrack: Foo Fighters “Learning to Fly”, Enya “Exile”

Notes and Comments: This is the first adventure and it is fairly linear, but also fairly combat heavy. What is new here is the first time we have seen angels in the game or universe, and they are evil ones. We also see the return of Tara and her exile. One thing quickly became obvious to us that a demonic Anya is not a playable character. She can't die, she is totally beholden to her demonic master D'Hoffryn and really she should be out to kill the Cast. Finding things to do with Anya was a problem. Another problem was Dawn. We had big plans for her, but no one wanted to play her. Spike gets burned pretty badly in this episode by the angels so we could have an excuse not to have him. The focus of this of course is the return of Tara and how Willow could deal with it. In the begining I wanted Willow to be completely de-magicked; unable to cast any spells. It would have been great for a story, but for a game people want Willow to have spells. So we comprimised and had Willow's magic reduced. Throughout the series she begins to gain it back. Tara shows off some of her new powers too here, the ability to heal and her "otherworldlieness". We liked the idea that every demon and vampire in town was now terrified of Tara. Later in Episode 4 Spike describes her as appearing as if she was on fire.
Some elements from my old AD&;D game appear here. Luna is a former character and E'fir E'nur was an NPC. E'Fir E'nur was also going to be part of the D'jinn arc as a summoneer and binder of Iffrits.

Like the D'jinn series, this also had a tie to the Dark Druid episode that was published in July of 2002. The Dark Druid, with your cast, acts a prelude to the D'jinn or with the original cast as a prelude to this.

Tara Maclay
Keribum (Ascended Human Witch)

Life Points 71
Drama Points 20

Strength 5 Dexterity 4 Constitution 5
Intelligence 4 Perception 3 Willpower 5

Qualities Ascended
Attractiveness +3
Fast Reaction Time
Hard to Kill +7
Nerves of Steel
Sorcerery 5

Drawbacks Adversaries (lots) 5
Honorable (Serious)
Minority (Gay Wicca)
Obligation (Major)

Acrobatics 2
Art 2
Computers 1
Crime 0
Doctor 2
Driving 2
Getting Medieval 3
Gun Fu 0
Influence 2
Knowledge 3
Kung fu 3
Languages 1
Mr. Fix it 0
Occultism 5
Science 1
Sports 0
Wild Card (riding horses) 3

Combat Dodge +7 -
Magic +15 varies
TK +10 2xSL

This is Tara at the beginning of the first episode of the Dragon and the Phoenix. She has returned as a Keribum (or not exactly a Kerubim from WitchCraft) to stop the Knights of Elohim from the Unmaking. Or at least she (and we) think so at first. She allowed to go into exile but keeps the healing touch power of the Keribum and demons and vampires still fear her.

After Episode 1 her stats return to what appears in the Magic Box or revised Core (which were based on the above stats in the first place).

I also made a print quality pdf of her character sheet.

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