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The Coven of Scathach [Psychic Vampires] (Actual Play)

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  • The Coven of Scathach [Psychic Vampires] (Actual Play)

    So, with the release of the Psychic Vampire minor template, my group and I decided to run a side-story in our current game. The story will take place in the same town as our current story, Endsgrove. It's a middling town about a half an hour to an hour outside Boston, which started off as a quaint little town in colonial times and then slowly expanded outwards into the woods. In the past decade, the Mayor has decided to sink the town's funds into creating a new downtown area (away from the old-timey quaintness of the old town) with a college and a night life. This was a bid intended to revitalise the town's tourism industry, which had been steadily declining. Endsgrove has Supernatural Secrets and all that good stuff; we're dealing with that in the "main plot."

    This side-story, however, concerns a group of college students in the local community college, Greenfields University. This group of people has just gone through a truly shitty week, and they are now ready to delve into the occult and get the power and respect they deserve.

    Theme: What are you willing to do for power? How far are you willing to go to get what you deserve?
    Mood: In music video form, How To Be A Heartbreaker and Beautiful Now.

    Most of the characters here were friends in high school and chose to continue together in the local community college over going to Boston or elsewhere. They had regular meetings in the library and eventually their interest in the occult gave them a common subject to talk about and speculate.

    House Rules:

    The main thing to know is that I have refluffed Psychic Vampires to be Incubi and Succubi. The rest are minor touches here and there.

    I added the following benefit to the core merit, Psychic Vampirism:

    "If the incubus is engaging in a consensual sexual act with his victim, he gains two benefits:
    1) He adds a +1 if the victim has the Addicted Conditions towards him (or similar), a +3 if the victim has the Swooning Condition towards him (or similar), or a +5 if the victim is "pure" and freed of any Conditions.
    2) He may replace the Intelligence + Occult + Psychic Vampirism - victim's Resolve pool for either Stamina + Athletics + Psychic Vampirism - victim's Stamina or Presence + Stamina + Psychic Vampirism - victim's Composure. Both dice pools benefit from the Striking Looks merit."

    I ruled that Striking Looks can go up to 4 dots. There is no 3-dot version, the merit goes 1, 2, 4. Striking Looks at 4 dots increases the bonus to a +3.

    Therefore, I tweaked Unearthly Beauty thus:

    "By spending one Ephemera, he may emulate the Striking Looks Merit at four dots until the next sunrise or sunset. If he already has Striking Looks at one dot, he gains the remaining three dots, and applies the 9-again quality to all rolls on which Striking Looks applies. If he has Striking Looks at two dots he gains the last two dots and applies 8-again instead. If he has Striking Looks at 4 dots, he gains 8-again and the Rote quality."

    I have added the following benefit to the Shapechange merit:

    "As an option for the 2-dot version, the incubus may purchase large bat wings, which grant him the ability to fly at his Speed for the rest of the scene. Another option for the 2-dot version is the ability to grow dangerous claws for the rest of the scene. These claws cause 1 Lethal. An option for the 3-dot version is the ability to alter her physical appearance, down to her gender, age, race and body shape. Imitating a specific person requires a disguise check as normal."

    We've also changed the name of "Beats" to "Experiences" and "Experiences" to "Improvements."

    Characters can pick up other supernatural merits and power them with Ephemera instead of Willpower.

    We're playing with Stacking Specialties (Mirrors). Area of Expertise gives you a +1 to a specialty, so the most you can get out of them is a +4 (3 stacking specialties and then Area of Expertise).

    We're not doing the "What has your character forgotten?" question when deciding Breaking Points. Since the characters will be (minor) supernaturals after the Prologue, they will gain a degree of Integrity protection versus the supernatural, to the point where it's either not a Breaking Point, or it's a Breaking Point for everyone regardless of their personalities.

    We're also playing with the Anticipation and Setup rules from Mirrors.

    Starting Conditions:

    Everyone gets 15 Improvements.

    Everyone gets Hobbyist Clique (Occult) for free.

    Characters gain an Appearance Specialty and a Quirk for free (see Mirrors).

    Once characters are done, each player goes in turn and established a connection between their character and another. Once everyone has gone once, the circle goes again, so that by the end, everyone has a connection to another person. After that, each player gets two "twists", which they can apply to any connection or character, if they think it will make for a better story. Each player goes in turn as well, with two rounds of twisting.

    The Characters:

    Quinn Rae Teagan

    Concept: Tricksy, Crossbow-Wielding Seductress. Age: 20. Virtue: Artsy (Enlightening/Emotional). Vice: Drama Queen.
    Aspirations: 1. Find a Romantic Partner. 2. Find out what happened to her Uncle. 3. Get Keiran to be less spiteful.

    Intelligence: 2. Wits: 1. Resolve: 4.
    Strength: 2. Dexterity: 2. Stamina: 3.
    Presence: 2. Manipulation: 3. Composure: 3.

    Mental Skills: Medicine 3, Occult 4 (Tentacles[Q]).
    Physical Skills: Athletics 4 (Archery, Intercourse).
    Social Skills: Animal Ken 1, Expression (Dance) 3, Persuasion 5 (Well-Chested[App]), Socialise 4.

    Mundane Merits: Striking Looks 2, Resources 3, Barfly, Hobbyist Clique (Occult), Movement Style - Parkour 2.

    Supernatural Merits: Psychic Vampirism 3, Psychic Transference, Euphoric Touch 2, Psychic Seduction, Unearthly Beauty 1, Ephemera Battery 1.

    Ephemera: 5/5.

    Size: 5.
    Health: 8.
    Willpower: 7.
    Defence: 1.
    Speed: 9.
    Initiative: +3.

    Integrity: 7.
    Breaking Points: 1. Quinn burnt down the house of a neighbour when she was younger, causing one of her neighbours to get serious, disfiguring burn wounds Arson/Burn Wounds.
    2. Quinn believes that, if the circumstances were right, she would be kidnap someone and keep them trapped somewhere. Kidnapping.
    3. Quinn believes the worst thing someone can do is digest the flesh of another being. Cannibalism.
    4. After the incident when she was younger, Quinn is easily traumatised when covered in blood. Being Covered in Blood/Gore.

    Alex Leasatt

    Concept: Robotics Student Incubus. Age: 20. Virtue: Charity. Vice: Pride.
    Aspirations: 1: Find alternative to human soul. 2: Build sentient robot. 3: Get A's.

    Intelligence: 3. Wits: 2. Resolve: 3.
    Strength: 2. Dexterity: 2. Stamina: 2.
    Presence: 3. Manipulation: 2. Composure: 2.

    Mental Skills: Academics 4, Crafts (Robotics) 2, Computers (Robotics) 2, Occult (Incubus[x3]) 1, Science (Robotics) 2.
    Physical Skills: Athletics 1, Drive 1, Stealth 2.
    Social Skills: Animal Ken (Dog Lover[Q]) 0, Empathy 2, Persuasion 2, Socialise (Four Eyes[App]) 3.

    Mundane Merits: Small-Framed, Area of Expertise (Incubus), Good Time Management, Resources 1, Hobbyist Clique (Occult).

    Supernatural Merits: Psychic Vampirism 5, Breath Stealer 3, Euphoric Touch 1, Unearthly Beauty 2, Ephemeral Battery 3, Supernatural Resistance 1.

    Ephemera: 6/6.

    Size: 4.
    Health: 6.
    Willpower: 5.
    Defence: 2.
    Speed: 9.
    Initiative: +4.

    Integrity: 7.
    Breaking Points: Worst thing he's done: cheat on a very major test. Breaking Point: cheating on major tests. Worst thing he can do: humiliating someone after they've put their heart and soul into something. Breaking point: Mass humiliation regarding something he's made. Worst thing he can imagine someone doing: Murder. Breaking Point: Murder. Most traumatic: Quinn's bloody visit. Breaking point: Allies falling unconscious in battle. ESPECIALLY Quinn.

    Notes: Considered Blind (as per the Condition) without his glasses.

    A Note on Alex: I talked to the player and I am letting him pick up the Familiar merit from Second Sight once he gets enough XP, ignoring the prerequisites, and using the embodied version to make himself a robodog familiar.

    Luci "Lou" Mestian

    Concept: Angry Gun Nut Riflewoman. Age: 21. Virtue: Honour. Vice: Wrath.
    Aspirations: 1: Be less angry. 2: Be nicer to/Do nice things for Athena. 3: Finish College/Join the military.

    Intelligence: 1. Wits: 2. Resolve: 3.
    Strength: 2. Dexterity: 3. Stamina: 3.
    Presence: 1. Manipulation: 3. Composure: 3.

    Mental Skills: Academics 1, Crafts (Gun Work, Tactile[Q]) 2, Occult 1.
    Physical Skills: Athletics 2, Brawl 2, Firearms (Rifles) 4, Stealth 2, Weaponry 1.
    Social Skills: Expression 1, Intimidation (Threats, Menacing But Small[App]) 3, Persuasion 3.

    Mundane Merits: Kung Fu 3, Resources 3, Toxin Resistance 2, Contacts (ROTC) 1, True (Girl)Friend (Athena Gianopoulos), Hobbyist Clique (Occult).

    Supernatural Merits: Psychic Vampirism 3, Euphoric Touch 2, Breath Stealer 2, Biokinesis 2, Unearthly Beauty 2, Ephemera Battery 2.

    Ephemera: 5/5.

    Size: 5.
    Health: 8.
    Willpower: 6.
    Defence: 2.
    Speed: 10.
    Initiative: +5.

    Integrity: 7.
    Breaking Points: Luci once accidentally shot a gentleman who worked at gun range. Neither was aware of the other's presence, but Luci to this day is secretly terrified of shooting a civilian. Trigger: Dealing a point of lethal/aggravated with a gun to a defenseless/undeserving opponent, even by accident.
    Luci is terrified of injuring an innocent. Killing one is the worst thing she can imagine herself doing. She fears if she goes that far, she won't beable to come back. Trigger: Killing an unarmed/defenseless opponent, even by accident. (-5, no Will)
    Luci is a firm believer in not tying people up due to it being a major fear of hers. Trigger: Being bound, gagged, or otherwise made helpless and/or immobile. (-1)
    When Luci was younger, she was shot on a hunting trip her father and two uncle took her on. She was in the hospital for months due to the injury, although it spurred her further into the way of the gun. Trigger: Taking a point of lethal/aggravated by a gun.

    Jack Bower

    Concept: College Incubus-Jock. Age: 19. Virtue: Team Player. Vice: Wrath.
    Aspirations: .

    Intelligence: 2. Wits: 2. Resolve: 2.
    Strength: 3. Dexterity: 2. Stamina: 3.
    Presence: 2. Manipulation: 3. Composure: 2.

    Mental Skills: Academics 1, Medicine 2 (Physical Therapy), Occult 1.
    Physical Skills: Athletics 5, Brawl 2, Stealth (Spy Movies[Q]) 1, Weaponry (Swords) 3.
    Social Skills: Empathy 1, Intimidation (Mean Scowl[App]) 2, Persuasion 1, Socialise (Frat Parties) 2, Subterfuge 1.

    Mundane Merits: Fleet of Foot 2, Hobbyist Clique (Occult), Resources 1.

    Supernatural Merits: Psychic Vampirism 2, Euphoric Touch 2, Psychic Seduction, Nocturnal Supremacy (Str/Sta) 2, Nocturnal Supremacy (Senses) 3, Ephemeral Battery 2.

    Ephemera: 4/4.

    Size: 5.
    Health: 8.
    Willpower: 4.
    Defence: 2.
    Speed: 12.
    Initiative: +4.

    Integrity: 7.
    Breaking Points: -Worst thing done: bullying a kid in high school with his friends until the point of suicide. Jack hasn't changed his ways entirely, but he has refrained from much of it. Breaking point: Doing excessive, repeated bullying to other students (minor stuff from time to time is okay).
    -Worst thing imagine self doing: Beating someone to the point of hospitilization that ends in death. Breaking point: Inflicting enough lethal damage to bleed out.
    -Worst thing imagine others doing: Suicide or murder-suicide. Breaking point: Attempting suicide or seeing others attempt it.
    -Most traumatic thing: Seeing Alex get utterly destroyed; flashbacks to HS. Breaking point: Witnessing 5+ people ganging up to inflict malicious harm on someone else..

    Keiran Callaghan

    Concept: Spiteful Against The World. Age: 19. Virtue: Loyal. Vice: Spiteful.
    Aspirations: 1: Get back at Adrian for his cheating. 2: Get back at his professor for failing him. 3: Discover something that makes him feel superior to others.

    Intelligence: 2. Wits: 2. Resolve: 2.
    Strength: 3. Dexterity: 2. Stamina: 3.
    Presence: 3. Manipulation: 2. Composure: 2.

    Mental Skills: Academics 1, Occult (Summoning[Q]) 3.
    Physical Skills: Athletics (Intercourse) 4, Brawl 2, Larceny 3, Stealth 2.
    Social Skills: Intimidation (Acting Tough) 2, Persuasion (Bad Boy Looks[App]) 1, Socialise 1, Streetwise 1, Subterfuge (Lying) 2.

    Mundane Merits: Striking Looks 4, Hobbyist Clique (Occult).

    Supernatural Merits: Psychic Vampirism 5, Euphoric Touch 3, Shapechange (Bat Wings) 2, Nocturnal Supremacy (Prs/Mnp) 2, Nocturnal Supremacy (Str/Sta) 3, Ephemeral Battery 2, Supernatural Resistance 2.

    Ephemera: 4/4.

    Size: 5.
    Health: 8.
    Willpower: 4.
    Defence: 2.
    Speed: 10.
    Initiative: +4.

    Integrity: 7.
    Breaking Points: - Worst Thing Keiran's Ever Done: Got into a serious fight and lost control, giving a guy a serious beating. Breaking point: Beating someone with his hands, so bad that he inflicts Lethal damage to them.
    - Worst Thing Keiran Can Imagine Himself Doing: Torturing someone to make them pay for what they did to him. Breaking point: Torture.
    - Worst Thing Keiran Can Imagine Someone Else Doing: Rape. Breaking point: Raping or being raped.
    - Most Traumatic Thing That Has Happened To Keiran: That time he got stabbed and he thought he was going to bleed out before he could make it to the hospital. Breaking Point: Taking wound penalties from Lethal or Aggravated damage.

    A Note About Keiran: I'm playing Keiran as though I was a fellow PC. With my 15+ years of roleplaying experience, I'm well aware of the infamous DMPC pitfalls. I use Keiran as an enabler and a support-type character, while the others take the spotlight. My group is cool with it.

    The Relationships:

    During a later segment of Quinn's basic education, her family moved unexpectedly, putting her in the same neighbourhood as Alex. The two were the only children in the neighbour, and grew to become friends because of it. Much later on, when Quinn had decided she wanted to pursue less academic subjects like Medicine, and more artsy things, such as Dance and Cookery, Quinn's main choice of college was almost entirely influenced by Alex's choice
    Although it was a bit of a rough start, Alex and Luci's project partnership in engineering class has made them get along decently well. Luci's knowledge of guns and Alex's knowledge of anything else they'd need on the project had them soaring fine on robotic based weaponry.
    Luci ==> Keiran. I figure the two might have met at the gym once or twice and occasionally struck up a conversation. Maybe Luci spotted Keiran on the weight bench or vice versa. I could see Luci coming to tolerate Keiran with a respect for his strength.
    Jack ==> Quinn: They met at a frat party and got drunk together, hilarity ensued, been friends ever since.
    Keiran ==> Jack: They're both on the same team and they had a rivalry at first that their coach later turned into a genuine friendship. It literally took the coach over a year, but it paid off, Greenfields is on a winning streak.

    Quinn and Keiran met in very strange circumstances. Keiran found Quinn at a level of drunkness beyond words, and helped to escort the woman to her home. Quinn saw the act of kindness in a normally spiteful person as some kind of sign that she brought out good things in people, and struck a friendship with him.
    Jack and Alex met each other in a study group, and although the rest of it fell apart quickly, they stuck it out together.Alex acts as a sort to tutor in academic areas as well as normal academic problems. In exchange Jack gives him pointers in the realm of sports. From workout ideas to explaining how certain sports are ACTUALLY played.
    Luci and Quinn know each other from a less-then-positive experience. Earlier in her college career, Luci had a breakdown and nearly threw herself off a bridge. However, fate intervened and Quinn happened along that bridge, and managed to talk Luci down. After crying in Quinn's arms for a couple of minutes. Luci came to somewhat trust the woman who had comforted her, asking her not to tell anyone about the incident. Eventually, the two went in on an apartment together.
    Keiran and Alex met when Alex caught Keiran making fake IDs, and got curious about the process. Keiran taught Alex a lot about fakery and forgery that complemented his crafts knowledge, and Alex gave Keiran tips on how to improve, especially with his use of machinery.

    The Twists:

    On a sleepy winters night, when Quinn was still incredibly focused on her studies and was roughly 17, Quinn approached Alex's house, her arms drenched in blood, with even more blood speckled on her clothes. After a solid hour of crying and generally being inconsolable, Quinn spent the night sleeping at Alex's house, cleaned herself up, and then left at the morning. Afterwards, Quinn seemed much more squeamish around violence, and left the house considerably less. Quinn has never told Alex what happened, and there's always an air of tension when they're alone.
    Not going into details to leave it vague, but Jack believes it's his fault that Keiran was expelled, and lost everything he was attending for. Keiran of course has no idea. Ever since Keiran lost his scholarship he noticed that Jack has, whenever he's around. But had no idea why.
    Before Luci and Keiran were gym buddies, Luci nearly took his life. A year ago in January, the two were at a bar. Keiran attempted to flirt with Luci who is angry at everything and was not having it. After a heated exchange, the two managed to start a bar fight. During it, Keiran was downed, and Luci pulled her .357 from her coat and aimed it at his head. She found herself unable to pull the trigger, but before she could re-holster her revolver, she was bumped, and the gun went off, taking part of Keiran's ear. Luci hopes to one day apologize somehow, but cannot think of a tactful way to bring it up.
    Keiran was making fake IDs for more than one reason that day with Alex. Sure, there were the ones to buy alcohol or hand out for a few quick bucks, but he had all the more reason to be hasty. A cop pulled him aside the night before and saw through them, confiscating all the fakes he had, giving Keiran a severe reprimand. Alex saw the cop yelling at Keiran for all the trouble he would have to go through at the station, and thought to himself that maybe he could score some decent fakes for himself.
    The reason Keiran can't remember how he lost a bit of his ear is because someone had put Ketamine in his drink that night. If it hadn't been for his fight with Luci, he would've been taken by a Slasher. Of course, neither Luci nor Keiran know this. But the Slasher does. [Nod to the main plot.]

    Quinn and Jack were previously in a semi-romantic relationship, until Jack made the mistake of making fun of her Uncle as a joke. Quinn didn't particularly 'get' the joke, and loudly and bitterly broke up with Jack. Now, every time Quinn and Jack speak, Quinn always has a hint of venom and bitterness in her voice.
    My twist is that as much as Keiran blames others, it ACTUALLY is his fault alone.
    Alex has had a bit of a rough life, being a nerd through most of it. At one point in the 11th grade, Alex was being ganged up on by the whole high school lacrosse team. However, one noble gentleman came to his aid... only to get the crap kicked out of him as well. Alex doesn't remember who the other man was, but Jack does, as it was him. Jack now feels somewhat protective of Alex.
    While Luci was preparing to jump off the bridge, Quinn arrived in the mindset to get rid of herself as well, not knowing her own meaning and purpose in this world. But as she saw Luci standing there, bracing herself for the Valor to take that leap, Quinn walked up to her and started talking. She knew she was going to go next, but wanted to know why Luci was ready to jump. And as they stood there, shivering a bit in the cold of night, she couldn't help but feel for her, and did what she did to console the poor girl, taking it upon herself to take care of her that night. And thus, she feels justified that her life did have purpose behind it after all.
    So my Twist is that the regular library meetings have done wonders to ease some of the awkwardness between Jack and Quinn. So long as they're both with the rest of the group and not alone together, one can't even tell there's any history between them.


    During their Occult rituals (which they've only begun attempting recently), each of the characters has adopted the symbology of one of the traditional elements.

    Fire: Passion, destruction. Luci.
    Air: Intellect, communication. Alex.
    Earth: Stability, inner strength. Jack.
    Water: Emotion, fluidity. Quinn.
    Aether: Mysticism, spirituality. Keiran.

    The coven paints pentacles/pentagrams in animal blood and then sets up a symbol of each element in each tip, before taking their place in that part of the circle.

    This was the pre-game setup. I'll be running a Prologue soon, where the characters invoke a demon and make a bargain with it for their powers (and then they end up as their current character sheets, though their Integrity might be damaged by the end).
    Last edited by ShadowKnight1224; 01-11-2016, 07:11 PM.

    My homebrew hub.

  • #2
    Prologue is done! The "homework" I gave my players was "how did your character have a rough week?"

    Quinn went through a Murphy's Law week. She caught a cold, which made her a bit dizzy while she was at the mall and took a fall down some stairs. She was only bruised, but it compounded on her general feeling of illness. She was a bit of a mess when she came on campus, and her rival (to which I am giving the Omen Sensitivity merit) made fun of her and called her a "Succubus" (Omen Sensitivity merit shining through).

    Luci went through a hell of a week, in terms of RotC practices, and she made a few mistakes. Under so much pressure, and tapping into pre-existent suicidal tendencies, she took her rifle and called her girlfriend to say goodbye. Once again, Athena talked her down.

    Jack got into a fight with the rest of the lacrosse team after they put a freshman in the hospital, and was starting to have problems in class.

    Keiran failed a class. His professor wouldn't grant him any special exemptions, retries or do-overs, even when Keiran explained that a failed class would mean his scholarship would get revoked, and that, as a child of the foster care system, would be effectively homeless. A couple of days later, Keiran found his boyfriend cheating on him. That was the trigger to give into his occult proclivities and convince the others into summoning a demon.

    Alex actually had a normal week, and was peer-pressured into joining in.

    The group met in the library at night (the head librarian is one of the main characters in the "main story" we're doing, and he's also played by one of the players who isn't joining us in the side-story, so it gives us options for guest appearances). Each brought some part of the ritual, and it was done smoothly. After Keiran chanted in some terrible Latin (it was a deliberately poor google translation), I chose to use Resolve + Occult as the dice pool (with them "concentrating their will" into the darkness in the middle of the pentagram). Alex was the only one who failed one of the Extended Action rolls, and took the Spooked Condition.

    Then, the demon was summoned. Ze was a hermaphroditic lust-type devil that was both alluring and dangerous (horns, cloven feet, bat wings, sharp claws, indigo skin with black markings, deep voice with unnatural echo). Everyone rolled Integrity, Quinn, Jack and Keiran failed their rolls. Since I'm teaching my players 2.0 (and this is my first time running it as well), I downgraded Keiran's roll to a dramatic failure for a +1 XP (I want to imprint on them how useful and interesting it is to "farm" dramatic failures for XP, since it makes the chronicle a lot richer and simultaneously gives them a good stream of XP). I chose to give Keiran the Madness condition. Without anybody's input, Keiran made a deal with the demon, who told them they had a lunar month to give zir five "pure" souls (that hadn't been contaminated, like the five college students' had been). Delivering the five souls would mean murdering five people in a ritualistic way. There was also an ominous line from the demon saying that if they died, they'd become demons like zir.

    After the summoning ended, Quinn broke down and punched Keiran ineffectually a few times (including a dramatic failure where she injured herself punching a wall). Jack freaked out, Luci was unfazed, Alex was desperately trying to convince them not to kill anyone and just give him time to research a soul substitute. Keiran defended himself claiming he was merely giving them what they had always wanted, and that the world wouldn't miss a few rotten apples.

    After they cleaned up the animal blood off the floor and took all the ritual paraphernalia with them, Alex stayed behind to do research and shed his Spooked condition for XP. He discovered that he had two options: he could either craft a real soul substitute, which would actually give the demon the power ze craved for, or he could craft a fake soul that would have no power but would surely earn him the demon's wrath. He chose the former, to play it safe. Giving power to a demon was disturbing, but less terrible than murder. Alex only attained a few successes on his research on how to craft a soul substitute before passing out.

    Quinn and Jack chose to have nightmares, retaining the Shaken condition but forgoing the nightly restoring of Willpower (which worked out in their favour, since they didn't spend any).

    That wraps up the prologue, we'll be starting the first proper chapter soon.

    My homebrew hub.


    • #3
      Assuming this is dead, then?

      Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
      Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."


      • #4
        Aw, and it was just getting interesting

        A god is just a monster you kneel to. - ArcaneArts, Quoting "Fall of Gods"