Thursday, August 18, 2011

Mystic Locales: Halfway

A while back I came up with this idea to post small write-ups on mystic and magical places you could put into your games.
Halfway was one of my first ones and still one of my favorites.

Type: Supernatural Tavern
Location: American Southwest

Located in the middle of the Arizona desert on a lonesome stretch of forgotten highways lies one of the strangest sights, one that the characters might not see again in their life. It is a bar, in the middle of nowhere. The parking lot is often full of motorcycles and semi tractor trailer trucks. Its bright, but broken neon sign proclaims this place is called Halfway.

Inside the clientele are of all shapes and sizes. In addition to humans, demons, vampires, Bast, even were-creatures and an angel or two can be seen inside. The curious thing is no one is fighting. Not that the place is quiet or sedate, it is quite loud and the occasional argument does break out. Anytime it looks like an argument might escalate to a physical or magical fight glances are haltingly directed to a man sitting in back playing cards. The man, only known as The Dealer, never acknowledges these glances, in fact he never sees them, but the fight looses steam as soon as it almost started.

The Dealer continues his game. The cards he uses are old and appear to be about a hundred years old. They appear to be playing cards, but also look like an old set of Tarot cards written in Spanish. When playing he keeps the Major Arcana tucked away, but that is not why people come here. People come here because this blind man can see the future.

The rumor is that the Dealer made a deal with Fate hundreds of years ago. To gain his ability to see the future his eyes were burned out of his head. He now wears dark sunglasses to cover his injury. He came to this bar and challenged the then demonic owner to a game of cards. The demon, seeing the burned out eyes of an otherwise normal human, took that bet. That is when Fate played Her hand. Within hours the Dealer, as he was now calling himself owned the bar, the former demon owner, and much of the money of the other players at the table.

Since then people come the world over for the contacts that only Halfway has, but mostly they are here to get insight to their own futures.

There is also quite a bit of speculation what the name Halfway means. Most assume it is because it is half-way between Las Vegas, NV and Santa Fe, NM. Though most of the clientele say it is half-way between our world and Hell. The Dealer, when he comments about it at all will say that it is halfway between where you were and where you need to go.

The Dealer
Human agent of Fate

The Dealer has no stats. He does not enter into combat of any sort not does he seem to need to sleep. Attacks on him always fail do to some random occurrence. For example if a character pulls out a gun to shoot him the gun will jam, or as the bullet is fired someone from the upper level falls over the railing and connects with the bullet. Spells deflect and physical attacks fail. Whenever the characters come to Halfway he is sitting at the back table playing cards. He is typically found with a 9ft tall demon with deep red skin, black horns and wings who spits fire when he laughs and an angelic humanoid of indeterminate gender. Typically al three will be playing cards, usually poker, with a fourth. When the characters arrive he will address them, not so much by name, but by their recent deeds and actions. For example if the characters just finished off a group of demons, the Dealer will work that into conversation. He will deal the cards to whomever wishes to have their fortunes read. This is not a gypsy-style fortune telling, and he will say a much. He will refer to sacred geometries of chance or the ebb and flow of probabilities. He will only deal three cards representing the characters past, present and future respectively. In cases where the future card is especially dire he allows the character to keep the card.
Directors need to work hard in preparing for the Casts visit to the Dealer and Halfway. If they are there for information, it is likely that they will get it, for a price. For a fortune read (and never ask the Dealer to read your fortunes he will only reply, what makes you so sure you are going to be fortunate?)

The Dealer is played by Viggo Mortensen.


Wymarc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wymarc said...

Love the idea of Halfway. I first saw a From Dusk till Dawn idea but love that you took it somewhere else. Could easily be made into a movie or better yet a TV show where the stories start and end in Halfway.

Timothy S. Brannan said...

Sorta like the Twilight Zone with the Dealer as the gravely voiced narrator? Yeah I can very easily see that!