Skip to main content

Achy Breaky Stability Check #nightsblackagents

 In last night's session of Night's Black Agents a vampire nearly houseruled the system spontaneously by so clearly failing a stability test it took the Director- me- aback.

Okay so vampires don't make stability tests, nor did I roll one.   But it sure as hell felt like he failed one.

Here's a bit of backstory to set the context.


In 1917 Captain Nathaniel Soames was crippled during a shell attack in Belgium during the Great War.  His pelvis and legs were shattered and he was paralysed from the waist down, surviving only because he was dragged back from No Man's Land by a cockney infantryman Private Harry Sparrow.

Sparrow was an up and coming gangster in the immediate post war years and he was startled to be approached one evening by his former Captain, Soames, healthy as can be and offering Sparrow anything he wanted to set the balance straight.   Sparrow asked for prosperity for his band of miscreants and Soames promised him a century of unhindered dominance over the East End.   The Chapel Boys, as the gang became known, started to piece things together over the next hundred years and stories spread in whispers about the nature of the aid they occasionally received.   The imminent arrival of the end of that promised century is weighing heavily on the minds of their bosses.

Anyway... in addition to keeping his word of honour to the Chapel Boys, Soames has been hiding a secret of his own.  In the mid 20s, adjusting badly to his new undead state, he became obsessed with the young daughter of a family who were his neighbours in life.   Little Dorothy Coleridge (she hated the name Dolly even then) caught Soames' attention as a spark of lively energy that he'd lost contact with.   He turned her, making her like himself, condemning her to an immortal life in the body of a twelve year old.   Her mind broke and she became cruel and savage.   Soames confined her within a private asylum guarded by his loyal servants and Renfields who occasionally roamed the streets of London to find playmates for Dolly, playmates who would soon become prey.

Soames tried to put his mistake from his mind, but in the way of some vampires he found it easy to grow obsessed and less easy to move on from his mistakes.   Dolly preyed on his mind.  He rarely visited if ever but he never got over her and what he and done to her (and his hopes for what she could have been).

So...  when our bold heroes, Rowan and Hans located the asylum while following up reports of missing girls taken from the poorer parts of London, when they confronted Dolly - which led to Hans being ripped apart by teeth and claws and left half dead - and Rowan staked her, reducing her to foul dust and decay... you can imagine Soames would not react well.

He ditched the job he was undertaking (of which more later) and returned to London, tearing witnesses and leads apart to try to find out who was responsible for the death of his inappropriate immortal paramour.

It came to a head with his hands round Hans' throat in a side courtyard in the Tower of London with Soames hissing in his face.   "Tell me who killed Dolly and I'll give you a swift death."

That was Rowan's cue to appear on the scene.

"I killed her," she told Soames, grinning, "Staked her through her itty-bitty heart."

The combination of the phrase and the way Rowan's player said it hit me/Soames like a hurled brick.  I actually froze on Soame's behalf.

"You know," I said, "I think he just failed a Stability Check."

And that probably saved their lives in the conflict that followed, throwing Soames off balance and giving our heroes a moment or two to act while he just howled at them in fury.

They made it out alive, and Soames melted away into a crowd of angry ravens after a short and intense encounter but the high point was certainly that moment when the Vampire took the Stability rules unto himself and was found wanting.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Ssssh, it’s Confidential

Regular readers of this irregular outlet for my musings will know that I’m a big fan of the Gumshoe system by Pelgrane Press.    I’ve got a year-old Night’s Black Agents campaign that shows no signs of slowing down just yet, and a Trail of Cthulhu campaign that is letting me indulge my fantasy of being remotely as good at drawing together Lovecraftian strands into a single narrative as Alan Moore has been in “Providence.”   I’m not, but it’s fun trying, and the Gumshoe system has supported it brilliantly.
I recently picked up the PDF copy of the latest iteration of the system, Gumshoe One2One, in the soon-to-be-physically released CthulhuConfidential.  Gumshoe One2One aims to bring the Gumshoe experience to the specific situation of one GM and one player.  In doing so it’s had to address the usefulness of the pool point system for General Skills and also the often fudged issue of character demise or debilitation in a single player setting.   My Trail campaign has always been just me …

Index Card RPG - Runehammer Games

I don't often review games - I'm usually too busy playing and find it hard to come up with things to say that aren't just lists of rules that I like or dislike, but I'm going to make an exception now and make a suggestion:

You should buy Index Card RPG.
Not so much a suggestion as an unsubtle instruction I guess.   But let me explain why.
Some time ago, no idea how, my YouTube meanderings brought me across a channel about Dungeons and Dragons - The title was as unsubtle as my suggestion - "Drunkens and Dragons - How to play D&D like a big old bad ass."    My interest piqued by the approach I watched, despite not believing anyone could tell me anything new about D&D.
Ah the folly of approaching senility.
The channel was run by one Hankerin Ferinale the nom-de-jeux of one Brandish Gilhelm whose real name is as player-character worthy as his assumed name.   Hankerin (for so I always think of him) presented a series of episodes about room design, rpg theo…

Five Lights - An Adventure for Barbarians of Lemuria

I've recently become enchanted by the simplicity and clarity of Barbarians of Lemuria - a role playing game in the Sword & Sorcery genre.

To that end I present "Five Lights" an adventure in which our heroes are called upon to rescue a fair maiden, probably against her will, from a new religious movement.   All things are, as you would expect, not what they seem.



The pdf can be downloaded HERE, and feel free of course to tweak things as you wish to suit your play style and group.

The Star Flung Hammer

A new Sword & Sorcery adventure for Index Card RPG involving a daring expedition into hostile territory and the confrontation of an unexpected cosmic horror.

Something strange fell from the sky into the land of the Jötnar - and those brave souls who went in search of it never came back.  Now doom is prophesied and new heroes must arise to follow the path to danger and glory - but worse things than Jötnar dwell in the mountains, and the secret of the Star-Flung Hammer is nothing that those heroes could have imagined.

Download here

Bride of the Rat King–an adventure for Barbarians of Lemuria

My new adventure for Barbarians of Lemuria – Mythic Edition is now available free.  Your bold heroes are engaged to investigate the disappearance of a young noblewoman in the shadowy underworld of the city of the Lich King.   Dangers, death, intrigue and some foul magic will surely await – as you would expect.The folder includes the pdf of the adventure itself plus some .png files ready made and scaled for use as Roll20 battlemaps (the file name gives the size of Roll20 screen to create for an exact fit)I’ve included some conversion notes for Index Card Role Playing Game the philosophy and mechanics of which have been inspiring me for a while now.I hope you enjoy the adventure – please let me know what you think and how things go if you bring it to your table.
DOWNLOAD LINK