Friday, February 11, 2011

Season of the Witch: Episode 5

Episode 5: Veteran of the Psychic Wars

Fall 2004

The girls are driving from NOLA and end up in Southern Texas. They get a phone call from Faith (much to their surprise). She mentions she talked to Dawn and heard they were “in the neighborhood” and gave them directions to where she and a friend was. The go to the place Faith tells them about (a little out of their way) and the meet Faith (remember, this is AU Faith, the Faith of this world died in prison when the Knights of Eolhim attacked her) they also meet an older man, Nigel. Nigel recognizes Tara, whom he accidentally calls “Megan”. Bob recognizes him and Nigel can see Bob.

Nigel and Faith are here hunting Bigfoots. Bob does not trust Nigel and indeed, Nigel seem more interested in Willow and especially Tara than he does in Bigfoot hunting.

Faith is excited to see old friends and to be out of the demon hunting biz. She claims that she was approached by Nigel last year and he works for “The Hoffman Institute”. Bob knows the organization, a group of cryptid hunters.

Slowly it is revealed, mostly from Nigel himself that, that there is more history between Nigel, Bob and Megan than Bob has let on. During an argument between Bob and Nigel, Nigel reveals that he had slept with Megan (something Bob knew) and that the timing was right that Tara might his daughter and not Bob’s. This fun filled family moment is broken up by an attack on their camp by Bigfoot.

The creature is driven off and the cast discover that Nigel hunting Bigfoots is actually a ruse. Even Faith was fooled. Nigel is still working for S.A.V.E. and they are interested in Willow and Tara. In fact they have a rather large file on them and even know that Tara had died and her “sister” Kara never existed. Everyone is angry. But Nigel points out that while his methods were bad, he is really the good guy, he even asks Bob to vouch for him and his mission. S.A.V.E. also knows about The Awakening and wants to make sure that whatever happens that the population of normal humans are safe.

Though now they have a giant cryptid on their hands and Tara’s empathy tells them that the creature is afraid and being hunted by other hunters. The Cast decides to forget Nigel for a bit and instead focus on the Bigfoot. They find it with hunters on its heels. Willow and Tara cast a masking spell on it so it can get back to its home in the swamps unnoticed.

Nigel apologizes for his ruse and says the offer to join S.A.V.E. will always be open to them. He ask Faith to go with him to the Pacific Northwest where he has been told some strange occurrences are going on. She agrees and they all part.

Tara tells Bob that it doesn’t matter what Nigel told her, her father was the man that sat by her bed when she was sick and the one that taught her to ride a horse and drove her all her equestrian events. Packing up, they drive to Central Texas to get back onto course.

NOTES: Not everything in an adventure works. This one is a good example. I had higher hopes for this one. I had been reading a bunch of “Conspiracy” games at this point (DarkMatter, ConX, Delta Green) and I wanted to pull in material from all of them. I was also playtesting the new version of Chill. Well things just never clicked. I tried to merge various elements of all these games (the Hoffman Institute was from DarkMatter) but the problem was not the contradictions but the similarities. While I had not quite given up at this point, this did lay the seeds for me that WitchCraft/Buffy is fairly incompatible with Conspiracy X or DarkMatter.

I brought back S.A.V.E. since I was playtesting Chill 3.0 at the time, which led to my Chill conversions, and I even detail some of the information that Nigel claimed S.A.V.E. had on Willow & Tara.

Of course S.A.V.E. is the third “big org” interested in the girls and The Awakening (The Witches Committee and Lilith). S.A.V.E. is pretty upfront about what they want; to protect normal humans with Willow and Tara’s help. We still have one more big organization to go.

Cordy is missing here. Not for any plot based reason other then her player was not here. So I claimed she had other charges to deal with, after all she was only their “probationary” Whitelighter.
The adventure itself comes off as a weak monster of the week episode and even the monster, Bigfoot no less, is less than threat and more of an annoyance. This partially because at this point in the game it is becoming obvious that your garden variety monster is no match to the cast and my Bigfoot was nowhere near anything like a threat to this group.

I brought Faith back and totally underused her, meant to bring her back again, but could never find anything that I wanted to do that would do her justice. More daddy issues, this time it is Tara that has to show her support and love for Bob. Nigel really is not her father, but he did sleep with Megan. But to be fair she was still suffering from the after affects of dealing with demonic possession. Nigel had been tracking Willow and Tara all this time. He was using Faith as his way in with them.

Bigfoot was originally going to be a chupacabra, but I had watched this Bigfoot documentary a while back and they were hunting the Skunk Ape in Texas, so I figured I would go with that. The research I did then helped in the formulation of some my ideas for the Ghosts of Albion adventure “Almasti”.

One thing I established right away in this adventure was that Bigfoot is NOT a demon. Too many things are labeled “demon” in the original series; it was dull and unimaginative. Bigfoot is a bigfoot. Here are the stats for our guest star. He is a young (say adolescent) Bigfoot and not quite up to his full stats yet.

Bigfoot (young) Motivation: To live alone
Creature Type: Hominid
Life Points: 38
Drama Points: 0–1

Str: 7
Dex: 5
Con: 7
Int: 2
Per: 6
Will: 3

Ability Scores
Muscle: 20
Combat: 22
Brains: 10

Name Score Damage Notes
Grapple 24 — Resisted by dodge
Punch 22 19 Bash
Spear 22 26 Slash/stab

Next up. The Ghosts of Alamo.

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