Vengeance is due

Game Master Darkness Rising

"Nobody ever became extremely wicked suddenly"
-- Juvenal

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To discuss things!

Just to let you know I'm travelling this weekend - limited access to internet, but back on Mon!

In terms of family, it completely makes sense that Elodie doesn't give a damn one way or the other; but Benedicte is Lawful so things like structure, tradition and, yes family, do matter to him. I've therefore emphasised the family's role in their background but also in how they ended up in Longacre; but if you think it doesn't make sense then definitely propose alternatives.

In terms of how the AP works, it's actually quite small-scale at first; unlike Way of the Wicked, you don't join any sinister organisations until relatively late on. You start off in Longacre, a backwater town where most people only end up if they've screwed up badly somewhere else. I was therefore thinking that exile from our family would cause us to wash up here, with nobody to rely on but each other. Elodie probably doesn't give a damn about that, but Benedicte will feel the loss quite keenly and will try to get back into the family's good graces by almost any means possible.

Anyway, let me know what you think :)

Oh, my intent was not to diminish the role of our family, especially if they are important to you.

What I meant was that they could well be content to let Elodie rot in prison for all they care, assuming prison to "take care" of her for them.
(After all, she HAS been a "good girl" up until now, not acting out under Benedicte's guidance).

Thats why I opted for a different benefactor, outside the family, to make the deal about her release into a "controlled/controlling environment". I must misremember the start of the adventure - I don't remember it being free-roam, but getting tasked to retrieve taxes in a black-ops raid from some guy who didn't pay them by some governmental authority figure.
If you are gonna change things around, thats perfectly fine, but I went with the assumption that we start with some "Handler"(Razelago or so, and his local lady assistant?) giving us tasks to fulfill.
I figured that Handler could be our mystery benefactor, and we are bound by being in debt to them for arranging my release.
Of course, Family may carefully watch how that goes, keeping their options open about redemption or full disownment/exile. Them not being the ones calling the shots does not mean they are not in the loop - they can still be relevant and present for the AP.

What did not work for me was that first they would go to extremes of trying to get kill me, then bail me out and kill me more, then suddenly reverse direction and instead exile me into some backwater town, where for some unnknown reason they took interest in things that we are supposed to take care of. (I mean, even if they settled on exile, how much would I trust them? Why would I stay and do what they say on the off-chance they try to kill me again? Instead of just waiting until you sleep and running away? (Of course I wouldn't, just saying in character it does not make a lot of sense for her to bend the knee and be obedient. If it's some unknown benefactor possibly associated with the government that had no trouble getting me released from prison and imprinted with a high level magical ritual, then she'd be cautious about breaking the terms of her parole - as that unknown entity has reach and resources that she does now know anything about, so getting on THEIR bad side could swiftly go south.

I hope I could clarify what my trouble with the situation is.
As said, I respect that you want to get into the familys good graces again and they may well be in the background, and even stakeholders for what we are doing, I just don't think they should be the ones calling the shots.
An unknown entity with unknown power structure/reach/abilities behind it would make sure Elodie stays on target - while not forcing Benedicte to ultimately decide between Elodie and rest of the family due to irreconcilable differences between her and those who tried to murder her repeatedly.
Unless, of course, that is exactly what you are aiming for.

OK, understood. I like your take on things, let's go with an entity calling themselves Razelago arranging your release from jail and inviting us both to Longacre.

Also, just to be clear on that, I am just pouring out my thoughts, there. I am thankful you are running this, and you are under no obligation to go with my take.
As mentioned, I see a massive conflict of interest if Benedicte wants to get in the familys good graces again, and Elodie plots revenge for 2 assassination attempts - but that conflict could be just as fun to have, if you prefer the drama. (After all, you can be pissed if you get a kick in the balls and everybody ends up dead, but you can reconcile with her, then, she's still family :) )

Just wanted to make sure you know that I may verbosely argue my point, but I have no strong feelings on this aspect. So whatever works for what you had in mind, I'll not go out of my way to give you trouble for it :)

No, I can get ahead of myself sometimes so having you write out lots of your own ideas is really helpful. I won't always go with them but I'll always read them :)

OK, I've thought this through a little bit more, let me know what you think.

Family doesn't try to kill her, but they don't intervene to stop her going to jail (maybe hoping she dies there but not actually doing anything to make that happen). When some entity calling itself Razelago makes contact and arranges her release, there's a family meeting to decide what to do. One group saying that she's powerful and could be an asset but another group saying she could be an embarrassment and should be removed if she can't be imprisoned out of the way. Benedicte is at the meeting and intervenes to say he'll go with her and keep her out of trouble.

Elodie doesn't know any of this, unless Benedicte tells her which he hasn't yet. So she isn't aware family would have killed her if decision had gone the other way.

One more thing: Benedicte hasn't let her feed from him yet since their reunion, he's still pretty annoyed that she couldn't keep her act together while he was away. So she hasn't had any blood since the kid she drained, plus whatever she could grab when she was in jail.

Anything that works for you.
Benedicte would be responsible for her "rescue" no matter if he attends some family meeting, or if he is the one making contact with Razelago, or something else entirely.

I said before, if you want to keep family in the loop, feel free to do so. Them having a meeting over her works for that.
Given that she was not given any special training or high-level education, I doubt many family members were on the side of "powerful asset", or they would have attempted to shape her into a tool earlier.

Might also be something political, as who- or whatever Razelago is, he also has to have political backers. Even if he is governmental secret police, those would be associated with certain people or houses, and not all of our family might be happy over handing over not one, but 2 family members to act as agents. (In fact, some might have reason to fear an investigation themselves)
As in, they might feel like agreeing to the terms would be strenghtening a rival house, and the death of Elodie would be preferrable over that outcome.
(While others think getting someone(*cough* Benedicte *cough*) inside the organization would be beneficial, possibly giving them some clout or at least inside information, given his deep-seated loyalty to family.

As said, as you please - it seems you do have a role planned for family to be important, where I saw them mostly in the background for the forseeable future, so I'll go along with whatever you had in mind.

That said, how long ago WAS the reunion? Under what pretext was she moved from the prison, or released? What DOES she know? Is she aware of the Mind Control ritual? Does she know you were present(a given, seeing how she is keyed on you)? Have they been travelling on their own, or under supervision? What do they know about what they are supposed to do after arrival?

She got plenty to drink in jail, I'd wager, but if you are going to starve her, time still is pretty important :)
She certainly had experience with you being away for a week or so, having to make do for 14 days or so, so yeah, makes a bit of a difference if it has been 5 days or 20.
I also said her period symptoms get much worse without external blood, so if she had(or has) her days currently, that'd put her in a foul mood, of course.
Whatever setup you prefer, just do tell so I know what situation to work with :)

Those are good questions, and I think we can answer some of them in gameplay, so I have posted there :)

Okay, so the ritual was done by family, not government/our handler?
Just seeing if I'm tracking this right.
Because that will definitely increase her resentment and will to fight against it once she knows whats up.
(As in, family should be well aware that your presence was sufficient, so forcing that on her is disrespectful. An outside agency may not be aware, and additional safeguards would be understandable at some level).

Oh yes, it was definitely family - I figured that would make it more... personal for her/you ;)

You're welcome :)

Welcome? Not sure what's preferable-

I thought you wanted to get on their good graces again as player, then you set them all up to be murdered in their sleep as GM. *shakes head*

But as said. Worst case, you can make up with Elodie, when she's the only family left :D

Assuming she finds out who's responsible - and Benedicte isn't exactly in a sharing mood right now. Shouldn't have made that comment about his exams, little sister :P

Well, she had to make sure he understands all of this could have been avoided if he had just found a way to stay in the first place.
I mean, he is to blame, really, when she was just trying to cope.


But actually, part of why Benedicte is so angry right now is that it is masking the sense of responsibility that he feels - he's Lawful after all, and the older brother so at some level he does think this is his fault. He is angry with her right now, but it almost certainly won't last.

Oh, I know. I mean Elodie does. Totally his fault. Not hers. Playing him like a fiddle. Or trying to.

She's certainly trying :)

For what it's worth, she is technically correct. She did not plan to kill him, because it was a spur-of-the-moment thing.

Plus she never let herself go like that, so while she may have had an idea of where things would go, she certainly was not sure.

As for how it feels for her: Imagine swimming in the ocean. You can stay near the beach, swim around there, dive a bit, go back to dry land.
You can also swim out farther, enjoy the different waves before they start breaking, floating up and down in a repetitive pattern.
You can also swim out too far, and the currents will prevent you from returning to shore, carrying you farther and farther away from safety.

That's what it is like, she may not know the exact limit of how far out is "too far". She is used to playing close to the beach, where she can still stand, being fed small amounts of blood.

But there is a desire to swim out farther, to enjoy the deep water - to drink more and lose herself in drinking.
With the boy, she just allowed herself to drift out all the way, too far out to return to shore, not knowing what exactly would happen, but accepting the very real(and known) risk that she would drain him to death.

(And definitely wanting to do this again, now. But that was not the question.)

Also, smart move taking all her weapons via herself. However, she is crafty enough to make new ones if needed. :D
(I think I did mention that when musing about her prison time, something about acquiring and hiding small, bladed weaponry...)

Btw, while justified, she will still be pissed at the mind control stuff.
Just putting out there that there's an easy way to make her get over that...if you still got the blade you took from her before you left for the academy.
Not suggesting to give it to her NOW, but, you know, if you are not gonna let her drink AND she's being difficult over the invasion of privacy, you could probably get her to listen and be on her best behaviour for a while that way.
(Emphasis on "for a while". No guarantee she won't attempt to use it on someone after...)

Ha! Great minds... that's exactly what I'd been planning to do, hence the emphasis on packing :)

I was actually just going to fast-forward to them arriving in Longacre, but your post about Etienne is too good to pass up :)

I don't know if I'll get any posts up over the weekend but we will definitely start the actual AP next week, I promise! Thanks for letting me do so much scene-setting and flashbacks, it was a lot of fun XD

Glad to hear it :)

On all counts.

Obviously if there's anything you want to add to the "10 days ago" discussion then feel free to put it in a spoiler.

This is an open choice btw, my character has expressed a preference but the choice is yours :)

Oh, I know, just contemplating the options :)

Sorry, like I said on discord the last month has been pretty crazy. I need to finish some things up but will get us moving again on Weds and then do my best to post regularly from there.

Sorry again, I am out all day tomorrow but then things should(!) get better from Wednesday.

If you have time and want to think up some additional backstory/flashbacks on Discord, then feel free :)

Looking forward to it.
That said, I am currently pressed for time, as well :)
Still a stressful time. Your renewed break was not inopportune for me - so no additional content from me add this time, but also no worries about the absence :)

Sorry to hear about the stress, hope things improve soon!

Oh, it's not QUITE stressful enough for me to consider it problematic.
Just stressful enough that I don't mind taking it easy/a short break :)

Here's hoping things will improve for you soon.

Hoping things get better for both of us soon!

btw, off-topic, what do you think of PF2? It came out while I was away from these boards so I haven't paid much attention.

Here's hoping.

Regarding PF2 - I think it is a nice framework. There's some nice aspects to it, like the action system that gives a lot more flexibility than the vanilla PF1 one - or the ancestries that basically give you options based on your race.

But it's too empty, with some classes or skills, there was nothing to choose that brought benefit to the character or felt like it contributed something in terms of flavor, and I just ended up picking something for sake of picking something.

There's also too little synergy between the lists - so sure, you get class stuff and general feats and skill feats and ancestry feats, but they are mostly isolated from each other. That may come with there being too few options, but it feels clunky.

Finally, for spellcasters, fewer spells per day but scaling cantrips - just means if you have some utility or situational stuff, you are just going to see tons of cantrips and few spells. Scaling cantrips or spells is great - but there was no need to reduce spells per day so harshly.

I did try it, I can fully acknowledge some things it does better, and some that could be decent ideas if fleshed out a bit more, but there's also many things I was not too fond of. Overall, I have a preference for PF1 but no actual dislike of the PF2 system.

Thanks, that's a useful (and fair) summary. I didn't see anything that made me think it's way better than PF1, and the length of the rulebook put me off so I'm happy to stick with what I know :)

With that said, are there any alternate gaming systems you like to play?

Hm. I dabbled in a few.

The World of Darkness ones(Vampire, Werewolf) were amusing, but only really work well in-person for me.

I like Shadowrun, the options, the setting, the options you have as player.

But in all of them, on one hand they give a lot of freedom and give the player autonomy, on the other hand, they are incredibly volatile and unforgiving.

Fail to soak some aggravated damage with Fortitude? Get hit by a Sniper during a Run(or worse, cornered by some wired up street samurai with 3+ Initiative passes when your poor Rigger/Technomancer gets only 1 in physical reality).

What I mean is that those systems can be extremely lethal with just some unlucky rolls. I tend to carefully craft my characters, so this lethality does not sit well with me.

I also played a campaign in DSA, but I felt that it rewarded specialisation a lot, and heavily handicapped casters artificially. That's been a long time ago though, so no idea how things are nowadays.

I tried Starfinder, but both of the games dissolved - I think the AP's are...simply not very good in making the players involved instead of making them wonder why they even stick around instead of taking their ship and leaving. Other than that, I did like some of the things, but it's also very similar to Pathfinder, so may barely count.

Finally, I did always want to get into some mech action - there's a few systems that let you do pilots, mechs, etc...but never managed to score a game, let alone a regular group for those.
(As in, wether its Mechwarrior, Battletech, Armored Core, whatever...the specifics are not even too relevant, just having a giant mech and a pilot as separate entities :)
For fun I even built a Synthesist Summoner to that end, but it's simply not the same.

Other than that, nothing comes to mind right now, except for "party"-Rpgs, like "Kobolds ate my baby" or "High School Girl RPG".

Heh, I haven't even thought about 'kobolds ate my baby' for 20+ years, it was a fun beer & pretzels game! Good times :)

I am moving more and more towards the 'fiction-first' type of games like Apocalypse World and its spin-offs (I had a fun Monster of the Week RL group for a while). I find the complexity of a lot of games really doesn't have a payoff, PF1 is about as far as I'm willing to go in terms of theorycrafting a character to optimise it. Shadowrun - at least back when I played it - had so many options and so many splatbooks that it took forever to build a PC, who then lasted maybe a game session or two before something geeked them...

Yeah, Kobolds ate my baby was very amusing beer and pretzels stuff.

One session one of our guys rolled some abysmal character with the flaw "tastes like chicken" and the rest of our party so went out of our way to save him(deciding he was blessed by the gods, and to be our snack on the way back both) while he tried to get himself killed off so he could get a new one.
It was memorable. I even needed my hands to do something to save him at some point, forcing me to...put the baby I was carrying into my oversized mouth. *gulp*. Yeah, memorable :)

With Shadowrun, it's why I preferred hacker/rigger types, but helped my other party members optimize for their roles. One of the most fun(in retrospect) events in a role playing session I was part of originated there, too.
I was the driver, hacker, and was running 3 drones. One flying sniper drone on overwatch, one machine gun dog to go with the party, and one machine gun dog in our van, protecting me while I was decking.
The one in the van had to be autonomous for that purpose, and received the standing order to perforate anybody with a full salvo that was not part of our team or designated safe by someone from our team.
One mission, we had to hit a lab, gather some files and extract a genius scientist from there - it was a 3 session mission, and we barely scraped by - but we got the files, and my team had the scientist in tow, while I was trying to prevent the request for outside support from going through to prevent a chase(we knew the megacorp had air support on standby, so we did not want that...).
Long story short, I was still decking when they arrived at the Van, while under fire from guards, and they opened the door, pushed the scientist inside, closed it and rushed to the drivers cabin(since I was unable to drive).
I looked at the GM, the GM looked at me. I pointed at some dice, the GM gently nodded, and my Lynx shredded the scientist with a fully automatic heavy machine gun salvo :)
Good times.

Regarding fiction first: You have to have the right group for that - the right players. Those available to me are...not very compatible for that.
It's not that I'm not interested, but learning a system is an investment if you have nobody to play it with...

That's hilarious - what's the saying? Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time...

And yeah, fiction-first requires complete buy-in from the players because it's not about optimising your build which means you have to trust that the GM isn't going to screw you over Tomb of Horrors-style. The mechanics mean that they're easy to learn, but more difficult to GM. Luckily the first one I played in had a GM who knew exactly what she was doing, I think I would have been put off completely if it was run badly.

Well, not so much stupidity as them just forgetting in the heat of the moment. The hilarious thing is I could totally see that happen for real in such a situation, trying to get him out of the line of fire, then away before the guards call in heavy support or swarm the van...its a small thing you could totally forget about, that the normally always inert little lynx in the shielded back area is not just a replacement for the one joining you on the run.
But yeah, messy :D

@Fiction First: Aye, totally understand what you mean. I had one World of Darkness GM both in a Vampire and Werewolf game that I would have trusted for that, but we are no longer in contact.
Why'd you ask? You were considering running a second game in a fiction first scenario?
(After all the time we spent on prep, I am not quite ready to migrate Elodie into a different system :) )

Oh, we're definitely not changing this one up! I was more thinking that if we can keep a decent pace on it then I might consider putting something together in January next year - I got very into watching some of the actual play streams during Lockdown, and there's a game called Blades in the Dark that everyone seemed to have a lot of fun playing. Would be fun to give it a go.

Anyway, I'm going to concentrate on this game for the moment!

Well, do keep me updated, but I concur, lets focus on this :)

Got a slightly busy time this and next week so may be sporadic posting on my part, sorry.

No worries, post as you can and I will do the same :)

Aye, was a bit of a harsh week for me, sorry - but I should be back now.

Yeah, things were a bit tricky for me as well but I have posted to keep us going :)

Hope you are doing ok - I decided to roll all the saves to save time but if you feel strongly that you want to roll your own saves then let me know :)

No, no, saving time is perfectly fine :)

Apologies, been feeling a bit ill the last week and was not really on the boards.
Will try and post tomorrow.

Sorry to hear that, hope you are feeling better! Last week was a bit manic for me but I'm around now.

Feeling better, yes, lots of stuff that nobody felt compelled to do while I was gone, but still generally fine.

Hope you are doing ok and were able to recover a bit over the weekend.

I'm not sure how regularly you check your Discord account but I sent you a message a while back and just wanted to make sure you'd seen it?

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