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Magnimar Special Investigations Unit One (Inactive)

Game Master Nazard

A serial police drama set in Magnimar - unit One.


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Ended up being busy longer than I expected. A few hours, nine hours, whatever. :P

Heward Wallas wrote:
Besides how else do we explain his rising BAB?

How do we explain Auriel learning a new spell, or gaining the Well-Versed ability? Not through any training the Heward regime is going to put her through.

As for combat, I tried to find a temple of Calistria to obtain a whip, but the DM said not until 3rd level. She's not going to be interested in using any weapon other than her sap or something equally nonlethal until then. Combat is not healthy for children and other living things.


Expert 3/Slacker 4/Layabout 2
Joana wrote:

Ended up being busy longer than I expected. A few hours, nine hours, whatever. :P

Heward Wallas wrote:
Besides how else do we explain his rising BAB?

How do we explain Auriel learning a new spell, or gaining the Well-Versed ability? Not through any training the Heward regime is going to put her through.

As for combat, I tried to find a temple of Calistria to obtain a whip, but the DM said not until 3rd level. She's not going to be interested in using any weapon other than her sap or something equally nonlethal until then. Combat is not healthy for children and other living things.

That was tongue in cheek, although in Calatin's case I think the point is valid. Megan, Nero Wolfe has nothing on your creation.

I'm not suggesting we RP the training. I really have no interest when Nazard has a juicy case lined up for us.

I don't care about Auriel using a whip or lethal weaponry. Auriel is herself. As long you're happy with her.

Heward is pushing training because he thinks it's the right thing to do. It's partly his image and experience of the Watch. It's partly real concern for the team's individual safety. It's partly fear of the paperwork should anyone else die.

With that in mind, should the PC choose means of defense, other than cudgels, dagger, or staves, that prove effective, Heward will be satisfied.


Also, the issue isn't so much the actual combat training, it's that the group needs communication training. You have no protocols in place whatsoever. One of the quirks of an urban campaign is that you can't always assume the PCs will be able to shout out instructions to each other. Perhaps stressing that aspect of things would help Heward get through to the others.


Expert 3/Slacker 4/Layabout 2

I don't think he's gotten much farther than 'we got our butts kicked and next ime we could all end up dead.'


Agreed that things could be put in a way that sounded more reasonable to Auriel, but Heward's not the man to do it. His answer to a crisis is to buckle down tighter and carry a bigger stick. He's trying to pound a Chaotic peg into a Lawful hole. And then his +0 Cha bonus comes into play. ;)


M Human Wizard (Divination School Specialist)/2

Who is Nero Wolfe?

In one of the games I run, one of the mages has a nifty way of using message spells as an inter-party communications system. I think Calatin had better do some research into something similar...

What we really need, of course, is the SpellCom system from Wraith Recon! But that's a bit big for Calatin to come up with on his own just yet.


Message is a cantrip and should already be in Calatin's spellbook. Or did you just mean that he needs an in-character reason to keep such a spell learned?


Expert 3/Slacker 4/Layabout 2

Megan, Nero Wolfe is a fictional PI.


Heward Wallas wrote:
No doubt she said something that would hurt Heward's feelings. It's better he didn't hear.

Nothing that would have hurt his feelings. Might have shocked and disturbed him, though. :)


M Human Wizard (Divination School Specialist)/2

Thank you - looks like some stories that I might enjoy. Hadn't heard of him before...

Yes, I do know message as a spell, it is the novel ways in which one of my players uses it that Calatin needs to figure out...


Though if Calatin thinks that he can start staying in the house and having the rest of the party out collecting clues for him to solve while he sits around and eats, he might get a few protests!


The benefit of making 'an honest living' is probably also less attractive to our CN bard than to the rest of the party, as she doesn't have any particular objection to making a dishonest one. :)


I'll give her an objection!

:)


It's going to be hard to find common ground for agreement between Law and Chaos. :(

PRD wrote:
Lawful characters tell the truth, keep their word, respect authority, honor tradition, and judge those who fall short of their duties. Chaotic characters follow their consciences, resent being told what to do, favor new ideas over tradition, and do what they promise if they feel like it.


M Human Wizard (Divination School Specialist)/2

[Checks character sheet...] Oh, good, I did make Calatin NG! 'Cos he does sit somewhere between the two. He tells the truth (usually), keeps his word (if, that is, you can get him to give it!), mostly honours tradition, but does listen to his conscience, and is open to new ideas. He doesn't particularly mind being told what to do, he just doesn't always comply!


Expert 3/Slacker 4/Layabout 2

Maybe we should convert Auriel to a Confidential Informant rather than a full member of the team. We can use the 70s cop-movie trope. We'll go talk to her when we need to know something and then beat her senseless so that her criminal associates don't suspect she's a snitch. Heward would like that.

Spoiler:
I am serious about getting her outside chain of command somehow. That would ease tensions consideralby.


Honestly, that's exactly how she'd function if this were a TV procedural. She'd put in her one or two scenes per week and have maybe one episode a season that's Auriel-centric and sidelines the stars of the show so they can have some days off. Problem is, at the pace of a PbP, she'd be months between appearances. :P

If she were Chaotic Evil, she'd have no problem with agreeing to follow orders without having any intention of following through; if she were Chaotic Good, she could probably agree to follow orders for the sake of the greater good that would be accomplished. Unfortunately, she's just Chaotic Chaotic and allergic to the very thought of knuckling under to The Man.

PRD wrote:

Chaotic Neutral: A chaotic neutral character follows his whims. He is an individualist first and last. He values his own liberty but doesn't strive to protect others' freedom. He avoids authority, resents restrictions, and challenges traditions. A chaotic neutral character does not intentionally disrupt organizations as part of a campaign of anarchy. To do so, he would have to be motivated either by good (and a desire to liberate others) or evil (and a desire to make those others suffer). A chaotic neutral character may be unpredictable, but his behavior is not totally random. He is not as likely to jump off a bridge as he is to cross it.

Chaotic neutral represents freedom from both society's restrictions and a do-gooder's zeal.


Expert 3/Slacker 4/Layabout 2
Auriel Minick wrote:

...

Heward Wallas wrote:
Sorry for the delay.
Don't think we were waiting just for you. I know Laya/Navior has been very busy this week, and ProfPotts still isn't back.

Of course you were. You said so yourself.

Auriel Minick wrote:
Not stewing but not staying, either. I've been waiting on therealthom to counter Auriel's last proposal, but not looking optimistic. Heward's too Lawful to back down, and she's too Chaotic to agree to his terms.

Head expanding to size of ego. Explosion immanent.

Spoiler:
And yes I did spell immanent correctly.


"I (or Auriel) personally was awaiting Heward's response, but even had you posted at an earlier date, the storyline would have been unlikely to advance appreciably due to the continued absence of Laya and Garidan from the messageboards."

That is, the whole game wasn't waiting just for you; only I was.

More parsable? ;P


Expert 3/Slacker 4/Layabout 2

Was parsable the first time. I just wanted to play the selfabsorbed guy who thinks the world revolves around him. Not that that's a stretch mind you.

Actually settling the Auriel-Heward at least temporarily is the single biggest thing we could do to advance the storyline.

I do enjoy this immensely. Auriel is a hoot. Heward's going to be losing sleep and grinding his teeth a lot I think.


Glad you're enjoying it. All the preening and posturing is starting to give me a headache. :P

Even if we somehow reach an uneasy truce, with Auriel likely to be focused on undermining Heward rather than solving any given case from here on out, it might be better to just let her walk now.


Expert 3/Slacker 4/Layabout 2

Heward's been backing up for two posts now. He's setting Cap's roster ahead of strict team hierarchy. Of course he's got some limits on how far that hierarchy can unravel. He's also confident that with enough time he can bring Auriel into the fold.


I never intended for the character to be so antagonistic. I was aiming for cheekily irreverent. Intraparty conflict is exhausting. I'm afraid she'll spend more time and energy scheming against Heward than anything else.


Expert 3/Slacker 4/Layabout 2

Is she getting out of control? My PCs do that sometimes. They get ideas of their own and turn left when I want to turn right. It's terrible sometimes.


Nazard wrote:
Feeling somewhat like a pet owner watching his two cats getting into one of those roll around scuffles, I'll point out this post, just to give Heward a little more ammo. Technically, you did all take oaths of some kind to adhere to the Watch in some manner (granted, I never specifically laid that out in game). Now, whether Auriel actually meant the words is another matter. I should also note that there's a typo in that post. The Inspector rank falls above constable and below sergeant. The word below got left out..

Ah, that was before I joined the game. I had no idea Auriel was supposed to have an actual rank. That actually makes her fit even less.

EDIT: Hey, if Auriel technically "outranks" your basic Watchman, why was that one she tried to help in Lowcleft such a jerk to her?

therealthom wrote:
Is she getting out of control? My PCs do that sometimes. They get ideas of their own and turn left when I want to turn right. It's terrible sometimes.

Yeah, I don't know. I was going for loveable scamp, but then everyone got all patronizing with her and Heward called her a streetwalker the first time he met her and things have just spiraled. :P

Honestly, she should have died back at Rimblesnuffin's when the party ignored the snake's ultimatum. I've felt like she's been on borrowed time ever since. If she knew what had happened while she was unconscious, she would have quit a long time ago.


Expert 3/Slacker 4/Layabout 2

Heward thought that streetwalker comment was just some harmless hazing of the newbie, an initiation ritual if you will.

He's supposed to be a hard-nosed kind of guy, a gumshoe, but with a little streak of 'greater good' idealism that may let him bend the rules sometimes, and a great devotion to the Watch as an institution. He's thought about it and decided he wants to be a good sergeant, but it's going to take some time for him to get there. This won't be the last thing he gets wrong.


I think I've just about talked myself out of the game. Auriel as originally envisioned might have sworn an oath to the Watch, but Auriel as she's actually turned out certainly wouldn't. I expected she'd make some friendships in the group and have a motivation to stay out of personal loyalty, but the only relationships she's made are antagonistic. A bard is a support character, and she has no one she cares to support. She probably has a lower opinion of the Watch now than before she was enlisted. And even the supposed benefits of working for the city haven't materialized like she thought they would: She's still getting disrespected by the likes of Timmery Chader, who was nicer to her before she flashed her badge than after!

I had expected that being part of the group would flip her more toward CG than CN, but it's turning out the other way around. She's actually a lot nicer away from the party than with them. Besides, Heward might get in trouble with Captain Percival if his first act as group leader is to lose a member. :)

Shadow Lodge

Joana wrote:
but the only relationships she's made are antagonistic.

If that's your definition of antagonistic, Awgin's gonna work to make her hate him.


Well, that's a new development, one that was intoxicant-fueled and that she has no reason to believe will effect any long-term changes in the team. She's used to one-night stands. See: Lerath, Lyeban. :)


Well, if you can think up a character you'd enjoy playing more, I think there's plenty of in-game justification for Auriel to leave, and take on that CI status mentioned earlier. I have no problem bringing her back like that from time to time.


Joana wrote:

I think I've just about talked myself out of the game. ...

I had expected that being part of the group would flip her more toward CG than CN, but it's turning out the other way around. She's actually a lot nicer away from the party than with them. Besides, Heward might get in trouble with Captain Percival if his first act as group leader is to lose a member. :)

Joana, if you decide you don't want to continue with Auriel, I hope you are staying in the game. You are fun to play with. The quality of your posts and characterizations are unbelievable.

If you settle on a new PC, maybe you could design us a team leader who takes Heward's place after Percival demotes him for losing Auriel on his first day in charge.


Thanks, therealthom. I want to reiterate that I don't have a problem at all with you or the way you're playing Heward. This is a thoroughly IC thing.

I don't know, Nazard. I've been trying to think of an alternative character, but you've seen my list of classes I don't enjoy playing. I've just about run out of character concepts; I had to recycle one from an old game for Jade Regent. On top of that, I get bored really quickly playing Lawful characters. I definitely wouldn't play a leader. I don't have the tactical sense in real life for that, and I much prefer playing the group misfit. But then I'm just playing a watered-down version of Auriel, and that's not fun either.

I won't make a decision today. I was up until 5AM with a kid with the stomach flu, and I'm exhausted and in a crappy mood. Not a good day for being rational.


Sadly, I've flipped through every archetype out there, and I'm still coming up empty on character concepts. The only gap in the party is the skill-monkey role, and that's what Auriel was built for. I can't imagine any self-respecting rogue accepting a commission in the Watch. I love the group and the storyline; the campaign's just taken too Lawful a turn for me to fit in. :(


Expert 3/Slacker 4/Layabout 2

Joana, a couple of options, respectfully tendered --

Spoiler:
How about dredging up the old urban ranger? Or the replacement I had in mind for Heward when he went down in the first fight, a minor nobleman's or wealthy merchant's child. Bit of a rake, but wanting to make his own mark? Daddy bought him of her a commision. A neutral, neutral good, or chaotic good alignment would have plenty of reason to be with the team and scope for individuality .


Awgin's an urban ranger. A spoiled upper class kid slumming could be interesting ... but I still have the issue of selecting a class to play.


The daredevil bard is fun looking. A noble's son or daughter, forced by daddy to work for the Watch, if he or she gets kicked out she's cut off from the family fortune. You could play a chaotic, forced to go along with the team, plenty of opportunity for friction that doesn't derail the party...


That's pretty much exactly Auriel's motivation, only replace "cut off from the family fortune" with "charged for criminal mischief." How could I make her any different? She'd probably end up with the same stats, even. I could just erase Auriel's name from the character sheet and write a new one. It's like telling Navior to play a halfling cleric with the same stats as Laya ... but not Laya. More importantly, if Auriel couldn't get along with the team, why would this new bard be any different? I can't see a noble daredevil worried about her money and prestige clicking with any of the other team members.

Honestly, none of the PCs seems to have any kind of relationship other than co-worker with anyone else on the team. There's no chemistry between anyone. Which makes it hard to figure out what kind of character could possibly fit. It's just six (now five) people working the same job.


Expert 3/Slacker 4/Layabout 2

The party has only known each other for a couple days(IC). Developing relationships will be part of the game I think. So for now the job is what holds them together.

As for class, pick any you like. Nazard strikes me as capable enough to adjust the adventure to any party.

Shadow Lodge

I have a question. What happended to her original motivation? Why isn't Auriel concerned about being punished anymore? She was lured into the job with that threat, but now isn't worried about it? That's not CN that's crazy.

How about coming up with a character that has a background that gives a connection to the job from the outset? You could go with a 'rogue' Watchman foisted off on Percival in the hopes of getting rid of two birds with one stone. You could love the job but grate under the rigid authority of the standard Watch organization. It's a cliche' really.


It's not that she's not worried about it; it's just that it's not immediate anymore, she has doubts about them being able to pin anything on her that'll stick, and MSI seems more like hard labor than anything the courts would dish out for being an accessory to a failed burglary attempt. Entirely possible she's wrong and will regret it later. As I said, I expected her to bond with at least someone in the group that would give her an ongoing personal reason to stay and help out, but that didn't happen. The real meta reason is that her characterization has painted her into a corner and there's no way forward other than constant intraparty tension, and that saps my enthusiasm for the game. I don't want to have to constantly be in conflict with the people my character lives and works with.

I've looked at every archetype, bloodline, and subdomain; last night I even read the whole chapter on Magnimar from "The Skinsaw Murders." I've got nothing. Inspiration has totally failed to strike. It's not the matter of a race/class combination or character background; I have no ideas for a personality, motivations, manner of speech, anything. My inner green room is empty, and no one's answering the casting call. I can't play a <insert race here> <insert class here> without an idea of why they do what they do, what they want out of life, what they fear, what's their biggest failing, and that's where I'm coming up empty. If I have a glimpse of a person, I could figure out the mechanics, but I've run out of character concepts.


So, of course the door is always open, but I'm gathering we should be opening things up for a new player? I'd like to keep this invitation only, so if anybody has a suggestion, by all means, just let us know here first, so we don't have four or five personal invitees showing up at once.


*sigh* Yes, I guess it's time to move me to the Previous Players section. I loved Auriel and really, really enjoyed playing her up until it all turned into fighting at the end. I love the unique concept of this game and will miss playing with all you. :(


Expert 3/Slacker 4/Layabout 2

Joana, rather than see you go, I'd be willing to try a different PC, someone less hide-bound than Heward.


That's very chivalrous, therealthom, but Heward is the one PC that's an absolute perfect fit for a campaign where everyone's part of the Watch. It's not like everyone but Heward got along with Auriel, either. Garidan's never been able to stand her, and Awgin only likes her because he's hoping to get in her pants again. ;)

I was talking about the game with my husband at lunch today and had a thought. What if the Watch sent in an Internal Affairs agent to monitor MSI in the wake of the collapse of Rimblesnuffin's and Lord Millis' complaints about the damage at his house? Someone to be looking over Heward's shoulder and sitting in the corner with a notepad and quill when he's leading the team? Some sort of LN Inquisitor seeing if the whole unit needs to be shut down? I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want to play her for more than one case (I'm not fond of Lawful PCs, and whenever I've tried to put together an inquisitor, I've found the mechanics off-putting), and no one would like her at all. But it's definitely a procedural trope: the IA investigation that makes the team pull together out of their hatred for a common enemy. That might give me some time to get over Auriel and see how the group chemistry pans out for a new character for case #3. Or I could be shocked and enjoy the character, and she could warm up to the group during her observation period and stick around.

Then again, if Nazard prefers to open up the game to some new blood, that's entirely his call. :)


Joana wrote:

That's very chivalrous, therealthom, but Heward is the one PC that's an absolute perfect fit for a campaign where everyone's part of the Watch. It's not like everyone but Heward got along with Auriel, either. Garidan's never been able to stand her, and Awgin only likes her because he's hoping to get in her pants again. ;)

I was talking about the game with my husband at lunch today and had a thought. What if the Watch sent in an Internal Affairs agent to monitor MSI in the wake of the collapse of Rimblesnuffin's and Lord Millis' complaints about the damage at his house? Someone to be looking over Heward's shoulder and sitting in the corner with a notepad and quill when he's leading the team? Some sort of LN Inquisitor? I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want to play her for more than one case (I'm not fond of Lawful PCs, and whenever I've tried to put together an inquisitor, I've found the mechanics off-putting), and no one would like her at all. But it's definitely a procedural trope: the IA investigation that makes the team pull together out of their hatred for a common enemy. That might give me some time to get over Auriel and see how the group chemistry pans out for a new character for case #3. Or I could be shocked and enjoy the character, and she could warm up to the group during her observation period and stick around.

Then again, if Nazard prefers to open up the game to some new blood, that's entirely his call. :)

Like I said, the door's always open. Maybe we'll get you to see the fun side of Lawful before we're done. Do you watch the Mentalist? The bald guy with the funny eyes is my absolute favorite example of that trope (can't remember the name right now).


Hey, I have one Lawful character. Every time it's his turn to speak or act, I just ask, "What would John Casey do?" :)

I've only seen ads for The Mentalist. That's the one with Patrick Jane, right? Honestly, the only police procedural I've ever watched is Castle. And Monk, if you want to count that, but it's not very police-y.


Expert 3/Slacker 4/Layabout 2

IA, eh? That's a brilliant idea.

Regarding Inquisitors, I'm trying out my first right now. I agree the mechanics are a little strange and some of the class features are wonky, but he's kind of fun. Gorum is his deity. I'm trying to fill a ranger's shoes.

Are you sure Chuck isn't a procedural?


I like the flavor-text on inquisitor, but every time I sit down to actually make one, I give up. I don't know what to do with my point-buy. I hate the fiddliness of switching out judgments round-by-round. :P

"Chuck" as procedural? Well, they did have that one episode a few seasons back where Sarah's job as handler came under scrutiny from an on-the-job evaluation, and she got temporarily replaced. And early on, Chuck was always the liability who was told to stay in the car and out of the way. Maybe Auriel just needed the Intersect so she wasn't so expendable.... ;)


With inquisitors, you want to focus on your combat stats, have enough wisdom to cast spells (don't focus on saving throw spells unless you go high wisdom, but the spell-casting isn't potent enough to really warrant that approach), and use enough Charisma for the social skills (though there are a couple Inquisitions that let you use Wisdom for them and dump Charisma. That gives you an unlikeable bloke who's still a smooth talker or Intimidation bad ass.

I've seen one inquisitor in long-term play (played by Alexander Kilcoyne), and he's quite effective in combat and with great role-playing opportunities out of combat. You don't have to worry about tracking and switching judgments all the time if you don't want to; just stick with what you like, although it works quite nicely to get into the front for a bit, take a few hits with your attack or damage judgment going, then pull back and switch to healing judgment for a bit. A lot of the spells are self-buffing combat spells, which can make you an excellent, strong fighter, with all the role-playing versatility of a cleric. Fantastic class, really.


Yes, I was in a gestalt game with AK's two-weapon-fighting goblin rogue-inquisitor. The full-sized fighter-ranger was reduced to mop-up work on mooks, and my paladin-bard never did anything but stand around and sing. By the time we got to anything, it was already dead. He soloed a dragon while the rest of the party was getting murdered by its minions. :P

I'm very unlikely to focus on combat, as I don't enjoy the melee role. (I haven't played a fighter since 2e!) Plus, she's here to observe the team, which is hard to do from the front lines.

EDIT: Found the inquisitor you're talking about. You are going to be sadly disappointed if you are expecting AK levels of optimization. He can turn any character class into a party-dominating effectiveness machine. I, on the other hand ... well, that fighter I played in 2e, I put the 16 I rolled into Charisma, even though it had absolutely no game effects under that ruleset, despite everyone trying to convince me to put it into Strength or Constitution where it would be useful. I just envisioned her as being very pretty. :)

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