Showing posts with label dap. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dap. Show all posts

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Dragon and the Phoenix: Episode 3

Episode 3: The Serpent of Destiny 

December 13, 2002 Friday

The cast are transported to the legendary Thebes of the Gods. Here they learn that the god Set has been corrupting Willow with magic for his own nefarious needs. The God Osiris also has issues with Willow. The Goddess Isis intercedes when they learn that Willow and Tara’s battle with Leviathan was foretold on millennia old cartouches. Isis gives Willow an amulet to protect her from dark magic.

Story Arc and Game Design elements: Willow receives The Ankh to protect her from “dark magic”. Try to make some sense out of “dark magic addiction” to a group that has a collective 90+ years on writing about magic and witches. Do away with magic addiction rules.
Soundtrack: Santana “Black Magic Woman”.

Notes and Comments:I can't tell you how much I hated the magic addiction rules. Well, not the rules themselves, but the concept from the show. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid! It was everything I felt went wrong with the show. Playtesting rules for them was like polishing a turd.  We opted for a different metaphor.  We originally wanted to go with Taint from WitchCraft.  But for various reasons we didn't.  I think if I were to do this again I might go with Taint and the Ankh would still draw off the Taint from Willow.  The Ankh plays a greater role in the Willow-centric episode "Shadows in the Rain" later in the season.

We also wanted to add more mythos for other cultures to our game, this is the Egyptian one. Dealt with the whole Osiris nonsense. We began more myth building here and establish that Willow and Tara had been through other lives before and were together then too. Their connection to Leviathan via Set is also established.

Author Kirk Baldridge was one of the people that helped me with the Road Stories ideas and this was his second adventure.  His first was second season episode, Deep in the Heart. 
The cover was designed by Kitten artist Shinnen, whose work I have always liked.  The interior art was done by me and featured some Egyptian cartouches that detailed the events coming up in the series. These disparate events and prophecies became part of the larger Elder Prophecies which has appeared off and on throughout all my games.  Again basically saying that if a world does not have a living Willow and a living Tara it is doomed to be consumed by Leviathan.  Sorry for your world if this not the case. ;)

The plot kicks up next week in Episode 4 where we meet our enemy and Tara becomes a stripper.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Dragon and the Phoenix: Episode 2

Episode 2: The Dead of Night

November 13, 2002 Wednesday 
A group of necromancers (the Order of Six) is using zombies of people killed by the cast, including Ben/Glory, and a shape shifting spirit to try and unlock a portal to Leviathan’s plane.
Story Arc and Game Design elements: Monster of the week (mostly). Necromancy rules for Cinematic Unisystem. Establishes that Tara keeps a Journal that she writes in religiously. Also introduces the Codex Albius and the first of many cults.

Notes and Comments: This adventure was written by Garner Johnson based on a draft he was doing for a story. It was designed as our playtests of "Monster Smackdown".
We featured a weak shape shifter as our first among many jabs at “The First”, but mostly we wanted to deal with some glaring issues, such as why some people get do all the killing of normal humans they like and never be held accountable for it (Spike, Buffy), while others are treated like pariahs (Faith, Willow).
We also wanted to do a “zombie” episode since we were all getting into AFMBE by this time and really just wanted a monster of the week one. The title was my idea and Garner objected, but he saw it my way after spending a week trying to come up with something better.
The episode itself doesn't advance the arc much save for the fact that we established that others are going to be interested in what is going on here.  This was part of my "your characters do not live in a vacuum" philosophy.  This was stage building.
The idea was to have the characters have to deal with the deaths, accidental or otherwise, that they have caused, but it didn't quite work out like that.  The players saw zombies and zombies had to be destroyed.

Tara's journal writing was one of those things that seem to come out of several different places at once. Lisa (our Tara) and Sass (our Willow) both talked about it. Later on it was reinforced when we began work on Ghosts of Albion and Tamara Swift also kept a journal. In fact the Journals of Tamara Swift became magical tomes in their own right, as did the Journal of Megan Maclay would in the next season.

Yes. I know there is a typo in the cover. I have been meaning to fix it for years.

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.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Dragon and the Phoenix: The Dark Druid

A Gen Con treat for those of you who can't make it to the "Best Four Days in Gaming".

The Dark Druid: The Director's Cut

A bit of history.  Back in 2002 Eden was getting ready to release their newest game, The Buffy the Vampire Slayer game.  As you know, I had already been playing a Willow/Tara focused WitchCraft game for about a year, so I was pretty excited by this.  Well I got asked by Eden to write the first Buffy adventure that would appear in "Games Unplugged" along with an interview with C.J. Carella talking about the game.
I took an idea I had been working on for my other game (tentatively called "All Soul's Night") and thus the Dark Druid was born.

The original featured, rather prominently, Willow and Tara, as to be expected.  I had to make some changes to make it playable for others and to make it an "intro" or season opener type episode.  The plot dealt with an enemy from the Cast's past as a portent to greater evil in the future.  It was designed to be a opening episode of the season, but one that may or may not be directly related to the seasonal arc.  We were going to use this i n part of the great "Djinn" story, but that never happened.

Fast forward a few years and I was finishing up work on Ghosts of Albion and another adventure that sprang from "All Soul's Night" called "Blight" (which I have played at Gen Con before).  I felt it was time to bring back the Dark Druid and restore it to the mythology that I had created in my games.  Now you can have it too.

I updated it not only to fit better with my world-myths, and with some of the work I did on Ghosts of Albion and the adventure Blight.  In fact you can run Blight and The Dark Druid as co-adventures, separated by time.

The story is rather direct and linear.  This was partly due to the nature of the story and what is was supposed to do (introduce new players to the game) and part of just me writing for the Buffy game for the first time.  I have opted not to change that here, despite nearly 8 years of Cinematic Unisystem adventure writing since then.  It is supposed to be a quick, fun little adventure dealing with past lives.