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Demon: Night Train Detective Agency (Actual Play)

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  • Demon: Night Train Detective Agency (Actual Play)





    Demon: Night Train Detective Agency is a Demon: The Descent game set in Seattle. We are not using the time splinters stuff from the official version, as while we picked Seattle before we realized it was the official city, our plans did not jive with the time travel aspects of that setting.

    Night Train Detective Agency has some deliberate Noir and Neo-Noir tropes and elements. It is not restricted to them, but certain imagery and events will hew a little closer to that, and the ring has a hard boiled detective, femme fatale, etc.

    Night Train Detective Agency will, like other games, be told in character journals. The nature of the Unchained means it will have less actual journals and more stories or internal monologues (fitting a Neo-Noir theme). This is my first Demon: The Descent game, my fourth Chronicles of Darkness game. Like Balance of Shadows and Malibu Dream House, Night Train Detective Agency is heavily sandboxy, as our Demons live out their new lives in the hostile realm of the God-Machine, and it will explore their hopes and their woes as much as a solid “Storyline.” Some sessions may even be entirely IC banter. I expect 1-3 journals regularly, hopefully at least two per session.

    This campaign uses the GMC system, including the Beat system. We are trying it out, seeing how it works.

    Our Cast, the Night Train Detective Agency.

    Quietus, “Jack Stone” “Mr. Ends”
    Incarnation: Destroyer
    Agenda: Saboteur, Tempter
    Human 1 Human 2 Human 3 Demon 1

    Quietus was a Destroyer sent to arrange the death of a young man to further the purposes of the God-Machine. He had to kill a specific young man, and it turned out that young man was a good boy, but with a bad friend who was a bully and scum. Jack killed him instead, and fell. Now Jack decides who he kills.

    Jack strongly identifies with the African-American ethnicity of his primary cover, with some modeling off of John Shaft. He knows people, and he has major issues with authority. His Demonic form is like a glass robot, looking fragile yet very tough. Jack’s player may have to miss from time to time, being a new Dad.

    Kilroy, “William McKenzie” “Billy Mac” “Vivian Marley”
    Incarnation: Guardian
    Agenda: Inquisitor, Saboteur
    Human 1 Human 2 Demon 1 Demon 2 Alternate Cover

    Kilroy was a Guardian sent in the cover of a senior federal agent in Texas to see to it domestic terrorist Vivian Marley survived to get to trial and be acquitted, then leave through the side door. He did so, but found a gunman waiting in the lot. Not wanting to let his charge be slain, he intervened to protect her, foiling the last step of the God-Machine’s plan. As Kilroy put it, he then stepped sideways and ceased to be a pawn. He worked with Vivian awhile, but in the end subsumed her and added her to his covers.

    Kilroy is retired now, a hacker and terrorist but also a detective who works to keep tabs on the God-Machine and strike when and where it is weak. He is too old for this shit. His Demonic Form is armored and reinforced, with jets and the ability to download people’s memories, making him an ultimate hacker of a sort.

    Clytemnestra, “Elizabeth Covington” “Liz” Naomi Cruz, Ms. Weaver
    Incarnation: Messenger
    Agenda: Tempter
    Human 1 Human 2 Human 3 Demon 1 Demon 2 Alternate Cover 1 Alternate Cover 2

    Clytemnestra was Messenger sent to ensure the marriage between a powerful pair of politicians was broken up and they were distracted from calling for an investigation into a particular bit of the God-Machine’s activity. She was to seduce each separately and cause a scandal. Unfortunately, they were both very dull, and Liz wound up invited to a party by someone much more interesting which involved Brazilian dancers and cocaine. By the time the haze cleared her window had passed. She no longer cared, and fell.

    Clytemnestra has been in a haze of drugs and beautiful women and handsome men for some time. However, her conspicuous consumption lead to her seducing and consuming the first angel sent for her, and going loud to escape the second party. Now she seeks to prove herself to not only her new ring, but to herself. Liz is a quintessential femme fatale. Her Demonic form is inhumanly beautiful but spider like, very mobile and with extra arms and the ability to drain the Essence of others for her own Aether stores. She has (mostly untapped) sensory abilities in the form as well.

    Speed Demon, “Gabriella Norton” “Gabe”
    Incarnation: Psychopomp
    Agenda: Inquisitor
    Human 1 Human2 Human 3 Demon 1 Demon 2

    Speed Demon was a Psychopomp sent to ensure a proper quantity of despair was gathered for one of the God Machine’s Occult Matrixes. Unfortunately, she had too good a heart for it. Also, she found her way to booze, and booze proved very distracting. The God-Machine was savvy to her attempts to bullshit it, and she fell.

    Gabe is still a detective, though. A hard-boiled PI, Gabe curses like a longshoreman on amphetamines and drinks like the well will never run dry. She is still all about speed, though. Her Demonic form is usually a silver motorcycle, but it’s amorphous nature allows it to change, and it is not unknown for her to hit the streets as a sporty silver car, especially when a silver driverless motorcycle might get noticed. She spends as much time with the Addicted Condition as her Agenda one.

    Added a bit later:

    Fulgur “Jared Evans”
    Incarnation: Destroyer
    Agenda: Saboteur
    Human Demon Demon Partial Demon Loud

    Fulgur was a Destroyer sent under the cover of a boy detective with his buddy Gene. The death of Gene’s parents led him to turn his back on the God-Machine out of regret and guilt, but it was the death of Gene that truly made him angry.

    Fulgur has recently hooked up with the Night Train Detective Agency, and his potent rage, and potent mastery of electricity, compliments well the skills he retained from his years as a boy detective. More grown up now, Fulgur divides his time between the Agency and college


    Markizel “Terry McTavert”
    Incarnation: Psychopomp
    Agenda: Integrator
    Human Demon

    Markizel fell fairly recently, after questioning a number of the features of the world. He seemed to fixate on some more than others, such as chicken wings. He says he wants to improve the God-Machine, not destroy it, but other members of the Agency wonder if his trying to do one would lead to the other.

    As Terry McTavert, he has joined up with the Night Train Agency as a mechanic, which has, so far, made him useful enough not to be eaten. He approaches the world with a childlike naiveté, with occasional asides that can get him banned from anywhere with children. He is a McGuyver trope.

    First session was Saturday, and on “Off weeks” I will be putting up backgrounds or local introductory material. So something like that coming up Saturday, then in a week from then journals for session 1. Comments and Questions welcome.
    Last edited by Baroness Nerak; 03-19-2016, 04:59 AM.

  • Baroness Nerak
    replied
    Thanks I will look into it.

    Leave a comment:


  • Taidragon
    replied
    I've been using Imgur for my image hosting - it can be a bit finicky, but it allows for multiple galleries, private or otherwise, and you can set a description as well as a title for the images (though again, the title aspect is finicky). A friend of mine recommended Flickr and Tinypic as well.

    Leave a comment:


  • Baroness Nerak
    replied
    I am very fortunate to have my players. Honestly I would have moved somewhere a bit more queer friendly by now if I did not have such wonderful players and close friends. They are great, and we see all sots of wonderful talents.

    May be a good thing to ask. One of my players of course got a degree in graphic design. The other two are mostly self-taught, though one of those two is also a great artist so picked it up quicker than we mere mortals.

    And finally crap! Thanks for telling me. Can you suggest a better hosting service?

    Leave a comment:


  • Taidragon
    replied
    Originally posted by Baroness Nerak View Post
    My longstanding system is 2 points for a picture, and up to 5 points for a up to a 3 page background (2/2/1). I usually give out up to 3 for out of game work; Every game in recent history has had custom sheets, with character portraits and names and such hardwired in. We have ~3 players in the extended group who are pretty good at this (one is a graphic designer) and it really helps to have high quality very official looking personalized sheets. Each demon sheet has a backdrop of Seattle at night behind the stats, for example. Other sheets vary...Malibu Dream House has seasonal or time-of-day scenes to match the PCs court, while Golden Eagle has boarders and fonts that vary with the critter type and Balance of Shadows is a back background with foggy ghostly white which is gorgeous. We also have group portrait sheets made which go in the middle of the table (Golden Eagle and Malibu Dream House have good ones, but the one from Balance of Shadows and Night Train are gorgeous, and the one for the new Shadows of the Ravenscrofts game is very, very nice) that also involve a lot of digital manipulation.

    Truthfully? I have not had a PC without a picture in one of my games since maybe 06? And I remember because it was uncommon and weird then. Pics have been standard since around the turn of the century. Hell, most/all major NPCs have had pictures for about a decade.
    I have to admit, that is a pretty strong motivation to provide for the game artistically. I can remember the feeling when someone had drawn a character of either a computer or tabletop game I was in - a personalized character sheet would very much be great for an ongoing game, even if it was stylized from the base sheet. It's weirdly satisfying to know that such creativity wasn't just limited to the Changeling game. Congrats on having such talented people playing with you Baroness.

    In spite of it not being my strong suit, I am curious about doing something like that for my characters, something that is very...them, game-experiences or none. I wonder where I could start on learning that kind of process, not just for the backgrounds themselves but for the sheet to be interactive...probably should start with one of the Off-Topic threads.

    On the subject of artwork, it seems that Photobucket has decided against sharing the images posted and linked in most of the threads, or at least it seems to be excluding them from me.

    Leave a comment:


  • Baroness Nerak
    replied
    Originally posted by Taidragon View Post
    Interesting method there. Funny enough, names are the hardest part for me when it comes to powers. Making them is less of a difficulty, which is probably why I enjoy the gadget system as much as I do, though making completely new ones is hardly an easy task. My ST has circumvented the issue somewhat by looking to other gamelines and borrowing powers that work for the character in question, if with a bit of tweaking.
    Which is probably a good plan. It's certainly rough.

    I have to admit, that came as a pretty big surprise to me. I'd presumed that everyone (barring Kilroy for the aforementioned reason) had started at Primum 1, and had gone up to the eventual Primum 6 via interlocks and buying Primum. That everyone had the prerequisite experience dots to buy Primum that high at the start is...well, as I said, surprising, even if everyone simply halved their starting merit dots and started with 5 extra.

    Is getting extra experiences for doing that sort of stuff beforehand typical for your games, Baroness? I can't say it's a bad motivation to get those kinds of things going (though in my experience, pictures tend to be expected rather than rewarded for these games).
    My longstanding system is 2 points for a picture, and up to 5 points for a up to a 3 page background (2/2/1). I usually give out up to 3 for out of game work; Every game in recent history has had custom sheets, with character portraits and names and such hardwired in. We have ~3 players in the extended group who are pretty good at this (one is a graphic designer) and it really helps to have high quality very official looking personalized sheets. Each demon sheet has a backdrop of Seattle at night behind the stats, for example. Other sheets vary...Malibu Dream House has seasonal or time-of-day scenes to match the PCs court, while Golden Eagle has boarders and fonts that vary with the critter type and Balance of Shadows is a back background with foggy ghostly white which is gorgeous. We also have group portrait sheets made which go in the middle of the table (Golden Eagle and Malibu Dream House have good ones, but the one from Balance of Shadows and Night Train are gorgeous, and the one for the new Shadows of the Ravenscrofts game is very, very nice) that also involve a lot of digital manipulation.

    Truthfully? I have not had a PC without a picture in one of my games since maybe 06? And I remember because it was uncommon and weird then. Pics have been standard since around the turn of the century. Hell, most/all major NPCs have had pictures for about a decade.



    Leave a comment:


  • Taidragon
    replied
    Originally posted by Baroness Nerak View Post
    Both. I had a number of premade ones, including the Works and the Diablo Dam, and Peterson Chemical. The Water Wheel and Build-a-Bear were added later.
    I only realized after I'd read your reply that, after having run the game for a good number of weeks, you'd have naturally gotten inspiration for new Infrastructure. It'd make sense for it to be added later, too, given the God-Machine is always making new Infrastructure. Still, good to know.

    Originally posted by Baroness Nerak View Post
    Interlocks were the hardest part for me. I am not good at that sort of thing. I sort of went with themes, honestly. Speed's were all names of Films Noir, I scanned names and chose ones that I got an idea for a power from. Quietus was Blacksploitation movies. Kilroy's were from All Your Base, Fulgur were Hardy Boys titles. Then I filled them out best I could. I showed the players (outside the one whose power it was) the list and got their feedback too. And I absolutely had that problem, especially with Marziel.
    Interesting method there. Funny enough, names are the hardest part for me when it comes to powers. Making them is less of a difficulty, which is probably why I enjoy the gadget system as much as I do, though making completely new ones is hardly an easy task. My ST has circumvented the issue somewhat by looking to other gamelines and borrowing powers that work for the character in question, if with a bit of tweaking.

    Originally posted by Baroness Nerak View Post
    Kirlory's were bought with Merit points, and everyone started around 3 Primum, having spent points on it. They started with more from written backgrounds, pictures, and stuff like Quietus's player making the character sheets.
    I have to admit, that came as a pretty big surprise to me. I'd presumed that everyone (barring Kilroy for the aforementioned reason) had started at Primum 1, and had gone up to the eventual Primum 6 via interlocks and buying Primum. That everyone had the prerequisite experience dots to buy Primum that high at the start is...well, as I said, surprising, even if everyone simply halved their starting merit dots and started with 5 extra.

    Is getting extra experiences for doing that sort of stuff beforehand typical for your games, Baroness? I can't say it's a bad motivation to get those kinds of things going (though in my experience, pictures tend to be expected rather than rewarded for these games).

    Leave a comment:


  • Baroness Nerak
    replied
    Originally posted by Taidragon View Post
    Thank you very much, Baroness; just let me know if any of the questions are too prying. As I said, I hate asking awkward questions, and I can hardky ask you to reveal all your Storytelling secrets.
    Appreciate it. I don't mind helping some though.

    Did you have a list of premade infrastructure the players could come across if they were lucky/unlucky enough? Or was that more infrastructure that developed over time to fit certain narrative needs/whims?
    Both. I had a number of premade ones, including the Works and the Diablo Dam, and Peterson Chemical. The Water Wheel and Build-a-Bear were added later.

    What sorts of inspirations did you have for the interlocks the players had? Did you ever run into the problem my ST has had, where ideas for interlock abiities were already covered by existing embeds/exploits?
    Interlocks were the hardest part for me. I am not good at that sort of thing. I sort of went with themes, honestly. Speed's were all names of Films Noir, I scanned names and chose ones that I got an idea for a power from. Quietus was Blacksploitation movies. Kilroy's were from All Your Base, Fulgur were Hardy Boys titles. Then I filled them out best I could. I showed the players (outside the one whose power it was) the list and got their feedback too. And I absolutely had that problem, especially with Marziel.

    Last question (went past 'a few' already, sorry!); when Killroy entered the game, he had two Covers, one of Billy Mack and one of Vivian. Was the Vivian cover paid for with merit points, or done as a normal Soul Pact roll (a die roll with Killroy's Primum rating as the minimum value)? I'm presuming that Killroy was made with the optional rule of half the starting merit points in favor of a second dot of Primum.
    Kirlory's were bought with Merit points, and everyone started around 3 Primum, having spent points on it. They started with more from written backgrounds, pictures, and stuff like Quietus's player making the character sheets.


    Hope that helps, let me know if others come up.
    Last edited by Baroness Nerak; 09-05-2017, 03:32 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Taidragon
    replied
    Thank you very much, Baroness; just let me know if any of the questions are too prying. As I said, I hate asking awkward questions, and I can hardky ask you to reveal all your Storytelling secrets.

    Did you have a list of premade infrastructure the players could come across if they were lucky/unlucky enough? Or was that more infrastructure that developed over time to fit certain narrative needs/whims?

    What sorts of inspirations did you have for the interlocks the players had? Did you ever run into the problem my ST has had, where ideas for interlock abiities were already covered by existing embeds/exploits?

    Last question (went past 'a few' already, sorry!); when Killroy entered the game, he had two Covers, one of Billy Mack and one of Vivian. Was the Vivian cover paid for with merit points, or done as a normal Soul Pact roll (a die roll with Killroy's Primum rating as the minimum value)? I'm presuming that Killroy was made with the optional rule of half the starting merit points in favor of a second dot of Primum.

    Leave a comment:


  • Baroness Nerak
    replied
    I suppose it is fair. Sure, I will answer questions and such about it.

    Leave a comment:


  • Taidragon
    replied
    I hate being the one to ask awkward questions but, since a month has passed, is it too early to ask a few questions about the game and what kind of ideas/decisions went into the design of it?

    Leave a comment:


  • Baroness Nerak
    replied
    Taidragon: Thank you so much. Yeah Speed's were amazing...only downside is other players felt less of a need due to her catching all the angles. We are all still playing in the group, just not that night or those circumstances. Thanks for well wishes, glad you enjoyed.

    Vent0: Yeah, no one is happy with it. I have asked people to write Epilogues if they can, but we will see. I will absolutely post them if so. I don't...really have specific arcs planned for my pure sandbox games (Balance of Shadows, Malibu Dream House, Night Train Detective Agency) It's all very player driven with hooks introduced. Likely continued as they are now, maybe some progression against the Tower.

    Right now we are all a little sad and frustrated that things turned out as they did. Let me take some time and if folks have questions ask me in a few weeks I will be happy to answer. Thanks for reading.

    Leave a comment:


  • Vent0
    replied
    Noooooooooo! The plot threads... The characters...

    Condolences to the team for the turn of events. It was a great run, and we'll be sad to see them go. Hope everything turns out as well as it can.

    Baroness Nerak - Since the Chronicle is closed, were there any plans for the various plots you had ideas for, but didn't have time to implement? Where would things have (likely) gone?

    Would the players be willing to write up epilogues for their characters?
    Last edited by Vent0; 07-29-2017, 08:39 AM.

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  • Taidragon
    replied
    My sincerest condolences go out to the entire group for this to happen. I loved reading the adventures of the Night Train Detective Agency, and it has inspired a number of ideas that I'm working into the Demon game I'm currently in. The characters were lovely, both by the players and the GM, and the journals were a joy to read no matter which player wrote them (though credit where it's due, Speed Demon's went an extra mile and a half in theirs).

    I'm really going to miss getting new updates on this series...but, I suppose that an end was innevitable. I just wish it was later on, and under better circumstances.

    Many thanks to you for running the game Baroness Nerak, and to the players for bringing so much to the table (if you'll pardon the pun). You all made me smile on days that were good and bad, and helped get me invested in a game that I didn't have much of a measure for. Best of luck to everyone for their future games.

    Leave a comment:


  • Baroness Nerak
    replied
    I bring bad news.

    OOC circumstances outside my control have conspired to make it impossible to continue to run Night Train Detective Agency. It is a situation none of us are remotely happy about; I think I can speak for the entire group when I say that the circumstances that compelled this were unfortunate and we all wish the game could continue.

    Unfortunately, I can’t really discuss them, for privacy reasons. I am sorry to see the game end. We all are. We had a good team, and a good game.

    These circumstances were specific to Night Train Detective Agency and should have no impact on any other game. Changeling: Malibu Dream House, Geist: Balance of Shadows, and Chronicles of Darkness: The Golden Eagle are all continuing and all fairly strong at this writing. I encourage readers to explore these games and encounter our players in several different roles in games that take place in the same play universe.

    There is no direct successor game. I will likely be running Castle Falkenstein with some players on the night, but journals, if any, won’t be going up in this forum.

    I’d like to thank everyone who has been part of Night Train Detective Agency. It’s been a good game, we had a good run. I hope to see you around.

    Leave a comment:

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