Friday, January 21, 2011

Season of the Witch: Episode 2

Episode 2: This Blessed Plot

Summer 2004
Willow & Tara travel to England (courtesy of Cordy) where they discover the secret of the "Journal of Tamara Swift" and their suprising connection to the Protectors of Albion.  They also run into two groups of supernaturals, one wants the Awakening to happen the other does not. Which side should Willow and Tara choose when they still don't know what the Awakening is?

Now unlike “the Dragon and the Phoenix” adventures, these are not as well playtested or developed. My group was breaking up about this time, I was getting a new job and I was moving back to playing some more D&D. The first half of the season, the “Road Stories” portion, was well thought out, but after the girls get back home was when we all started doing different things. You will notice a lack of cover art for many episodes for example.

“This Blessed Plot” is actually the first “proper” episode of Season of the Witch. While “Semi-Charmed Life” sets up the “rules” of the new series, the actual adventure is not part of the full arc. This is something Charmed did often, an aperitif before the main course.

This episode is an homage to “Coming Up Roses”, a Willow & Tara fan fic site that first convinced me that these two characters were worth playing in a game. I then created a WitchCraft RPG game based in that world (not really Whedon’s). While that was fun, it didn’t last. But that game really shaped how I playtested the Buffy RPG and how I wrote the characters. TBP is also a nod to my own playtest group. We had switched over fully to Ghosts of Albion by this point and this was our way of bring the worlds together. There was a desire to keep the girls in England for a while and make that the series. But in the end I wanted to pursue the “Road Stories” idea some more.

The episode begins with the Cast (Willow, Tara and Cordy) “orbing” (teleporting) to England. The book Tara bought, “The Journal of Tamara Swift” contained a letter addressed to Tara telling her to come to the Swift home in Highgate. When they arrive they discover that the Swift mansion is now a museum of witchcraft and magic. There they meet the curator, Millicent Stuart, and discover that Tara looked exactly like Tamara. They also meet a teen-ager, Sennen, who looks like the newest Slayer. Sennen works with Millicent, but “Millie” is not her watcher.

While in England Willow & Tara are contacted by Anya who tells them that her employer wants meet them. They are surprised that Anya knew that they were coming. I have a great seen were Anya and Cordy meet for the very first time. They don’t actually care for each other. Long story short, Anya is separated from Xander and working for Lilith’s human corporate empire. They meet Lilith (played by Angie Everhart) and Lilith informs them that they are central to the Awakening and she wants to make sure that they do nothing. She does not want the status quo to change. The Awakening could mean the end of humanity and she is rather fond of humans. She promises to make it worth their while and has Anya wipe out their student loan debt. Anya walks them out and tells them they can trust Lilith, after all they trusted the Mormo and those are her children. Upon leaving “L’Enterprises” the girls are intercepted by a van (Anya is knocked out), thrown in and driven off. They can’t use magic in this van at all, even Cordy can’t orb out. When they stop they are greeted by a woman, Morgan (played by Mia Sara), who claims she is the leader of a group known as “The Witches Committee”. She wants to make sure that the Awakening happens and that Willow and Tara are firmly on her side when it does. Morgan tells the girls that they can trust her.

The girls are found by Lilith’s agents and begin to attack the Witches’ Committee members. A magical “turf war” breaks out with Willow, Tara and Cordy in the middle. Millicent shows up and stops the fighting, we discover she is current Protector of Albion. Both sides agree to leave Willow and Tara alone, but they will be watching them.

Millicent tells the girls they are going to need to discover what the Awakening is on their own; not even Tamara figured it out. Millicent does reveal that the Veil is getting weaker. The Veil is what keeps non-magical people from learning about the magical world. As long as it is in place then any magical occurrence will always have a non-magical answer that people will believe. The Veil was not constructed by William & Tamara, but in the 1880’s they helped make it stronger. The last time it was threatened like this was the late 1970’s, but something happened then and the magic that was supposed to be used to fix it never got used. Millicent tells them that their destinies, the Veil and the Awakening are all intertwined and only they can see it all through.

The girls Orb back to the states (“Air Cordy”), once there Tara’s cell phone rings. It is Dawn, she tells her she has been trying to reach Tara for days. Tara’s father has died and she needs to go home to Alabama.

Ok setting up the big plots here. Like I said, no big bad, but I do have some lesser antagonists. I wanted to keep the players guessing on which group was really an ally and which one was not. In the end it would depend on what the Cast decided to do.

I make the William/Tamara and Willow/Tara connection more explicit here. Yes. They are reincarnations of the other. Now a couple of people felt it was a little squicky that Willow had been a man in a previous life and the brother no less. I get that really, but I also wanted to go with the idea that as Anamchara they would go through many lives in many different guises to experience love in a number of ways, including platonic sibling love. I won’t spoil the books for you all, but William and Tamara don’t have the best of luck with paramours. My idea is they gave that up and went back to what works in their next lives.

Millicent had been “the Guardian” in Coming Up Roses. Here she becomes “The Protector”. She ran a museum of witchcraft, which I decided was the old Swift mansion. Millicent and Sennen are detailed here,

The Witches Committee look like a bad Rosicrucian rip off, but in my WitchCraft Games, they are Wicce that want to protect all the Gifted in the world. It is just some have decided that the best way to do that is to control all the mundanes. They want the veil to drop and magic to be out again. This way they are poised to be humanities “protectors” from the evils of the magical world. Lilith wants the status quo to remain, but she certainly has plans in place to take advantage of any situation. There are two other factions that need to be introduced and all of them are watching Willow and Tara.

The Veil is a glamour that keeps us from seeing the effects of magic in the world. But it has been weakening for years (thus the proliferation of all the TV shows about the supernatural!). It’s going to fall. The question is what will happen when it does.

Next up, a strange sort of homecoming…

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