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Monster of the Week» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Lonely Oaks Explosion Session 1 rss

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James Miscavish
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St. Joseph
Missouri
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I run an after-school club for high school students. Mostly we boardgame, but we've recently begun delving into RPGs. Since it's an anime-based club (we've watched everything from Dragonball Z to Sword Art Online), our first two campaigns used the OVA: The Anime Role-Playing Game system.

Since Secret Chantha was so generous this year, I've been excited all winter break to run a Monster of the Week (MOTW) campaign (or arc...) with some new students.

After spending about an hour working out my threats and mystery details, I gathered 5 students and sat down to run our first session. I generously used a combination of examples from the book with other ideas that I thought would be cool.

The core book gives great help with how your first session should run, so I kept my ipad out with those pages open for reference.

We started building our team concept, but that fizzled quickly, so I explained the playbooks (PB) and what the hunters should do.

None of the students argued or complained, so they each chose their own PB, and we got cracking. Here's who we came up with:

The Expert - Ulrich - He's well-prepared and has a dark past. His giant mansion has an armory, which no one is allowed in, an infirmary, and a workshop. His special area of expertise happens to be werewolf lore, which is fantastic since his main observational subject is one of our own hunters.

The Monstrous - The werewolf malachi - Kicked out of his werewolf clan when his master tried to screw him out of the spoils of a mission, namely an awesome sword...

The Wronged - The Italiano Deceiver (a pseudonym, of course) - He lost his best friend when werewolves attacked his house and left him for dead. He carries a loud chainsaw...

The Spooky - Dakota - A boy, wearing neat clothes (like a tuxedo), who was orphaned at a young age and walks the streets. Luckily, our chosen saved him from a werewolf attack. Also, they are cousins.

The Chosen - Raven - His nightmares and visions revealed a fate that was full of ancient prophecies and visions that he'd never lead a normal life nor that he could save everyone. He was also about to kill Malachi before Ulrich stepped in to save him. Also, Malachi was nearly the chosen until he failed that trial with the awesome sword, which Raven now has in his possession.

While this isn't exactly a review of the system, you can see how easily and quickly some high school kids created a deep and tightly-woven history for each character. They all made sure that they were connected in creative ways that I would have NEVER thought of. I gave them a mere sprinkling of ideas, and they ran with it.



On to the mystery:

While Ulrich was doing some research, he heard about an explosion at the Senodyn Technologies Lab in Lonely Oaks. The explosion was so bad, the town had to evacuate several local homes for some unknown reason. He knew there was more to this story, so the hunters had some investigating to do.

Unfortunately, they didn't want to investigate. They jumped right into Italiano's pickup truck (their only transportation) and drove right on down to Lonely Oaks. The crazy part was watching the hunters decide on where to sit in the pickup truck. Since Dakota is a kid, he got shotgun with a booster seat, while everybody else rode in the back.

I sketched them a quick map of the small town. Senodyn and the cemetery were the only locations I had worked out in advance, but I showed them the local diner, city hall, and even the hotel where the evacuees where staying. I drew in barricades, police on foot, and some abandoned homes.

Ulrich wanted to go right into Senodyn, so Dakota went up and distracted the cops with a quick manipulation. To get in the doors, though, Ulrich needed a plan. So he decided to use magic to make himself invisible. He hit the roll and strolled in through a side window (since watching a front door open and close itself would have seemed strange).

Meanwhile, our other three hunters headed to city hall to ask the mayor some questions. Unfortunately the receptionist, Phyllis, wouldn't let them upstairs since the mayor was so busy. Raven tried a basic manipulation and nailed the roll (at this point I was nervous, since our first three rolls were resounding successes. I just went with it). Phyllis and he realized they grew up in the same town, albeit different decades. Since he was so nice, she let them up to see the mayor.

At his point, Dakota finishes distracting the cops and goes to investigate with his friends at city hall.

Still invisible, Ulrich looks around the Senodyn main entranceway (complete with map showing conference rooms, two hallways, 5 police inside, and 2 scientists) and decides to investigate. He asks what is being concealed, and while there was no direct cover up, considering the police are everywhere, the older, male scientist is sketchily looking at his watch and checking his peripheral every few seconds. He's definitely concealing something.

Back at city hall, the conversation with the Mayor Blumenfell does NOT go well. Italiano ticks him off with his brash manner and nearly gets the group kicked out until Dakota telepathically seeds some information into the Mayor's head. While the mayor gives the group temporary visitor's ID badges (which he apparently has the power to do), he mentions the ruckus at the cemetery and the mysterious dog bites the evacuees have been experiencing.

Thus ended our first session. Plenty of text for now. I'll provide some commentary below.
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James Miscavish
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Some commentary and reflection on our session:

1. I made a couple minor mistakes as the keeper. When my expert wanted to go invisible, I just said, "sure..." I should have said, "Where did you learn that spell?" I also don't think I ran the Chosen's playbook quite right. I'll get that fixed by next session. I also should have asked him how he was investigating at Senodyn...not just looking around.

2. But I did some really cool stuff, too. I think I used the keeper moves about as well as I could have. I had the mayor announce future badness off screen. Also, when the question about concealment came up, there was nothing concealed, so I have to jerry rig that answer a bit. But it worked.

3. The only locations I had set up in advance were the cemetery and the lab. So, the investigation at city hall was completely improvised. So were those two bystanders. I gave them names and made them seem real. They also both stood in the hunters' way until they roleplayed around it.

4. We did all of the above in about an hour, including a basic rules explanation. I'm fairly certain we'll finish the mystery next week.

After we finish this mystery, I think I'll write up a thorough review of the system, but, honestly, this was a LOT of fun.

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