Welcome to the first game of Fire and Brine! In the tradition of actual plays I’ll mostly let the narrative speak for itself. As some background, werewolf was one of the first games I ran, back in the day. Now the new edition is out, well I had to. So the first story is the story of how the pack formed.
We start our story on a January evening, it has a Crescent Moon in the sky, waning.
John O’Mahly is sitting in a room, in some corner of the Trinity College, where he’s been living for about a week after his life was turned upside down. The room is bare with no identifying features, quiet with the hubbub of the college in the background. The Full Moon Iron Master member of the pack that’s been sheltering the John enters the room, with a new figure that John hasn’t met before. The new figure is big, old with a shock of white hair and matching beard. Old Bones wears practical, worn clothing. His most defining feature is the array of paraphernalia and trinkets about his person. He shortly explains that a new pack is forming, handing over a scrap of paper which, in neat handwriting, gives a time (tonight) and a place (somewhere in Rathmines by the looks of it). “Meet them there” he growls as he leads John out of the room, “remember, a pack needs a totem and a locus nearby helps” he adds before striding away into the crowd of student who part alarmingly around him.
John looks at the scrap again.
Lorcan McCabe is at the moment finishing up a tattoo on Gina’s arm when there are the sounds of heavy footfalls on the stairs outside his shop as they come down to the basement. From behind the door and low voice says, “Painted Wolf?” Lorcan puts down his tools and opens the door, presented with a scarred old man in heavy clothes with white hair. “You’ve been on the look out for a pack” his states simply. “Be there then. Remember, totem and locus.” He hands over a note and then he’s gone. The note simply has a time and a place, the place he notices is an abandoned housing project called The Chase. Lorcan quickly moves out promising to finish up later, leaving Sinead to manage the shop.
Sinead notices a scrap of paper left half-mindedly in the shop.
Blue has a had a tough couple of first weeks, first he’s a werewolf. And on top of that he got picked up by a group of hard ass, humourless bastards how are almost religious in their obession with ‘territory’ and the ‘hunt’. Still, he’s survived and learnt quickly, but not fit in. Tonight he’s sitting in an old park keeper’s house that’s used by this pack. The door opens and the Irraka Blood Talon of the pack, a total psychopath, enters the room. The scarred woman looks Blue in the eye and hands him a scrap. “Was told to give this to you. This means you can go. Don’t be on our territory by night fall.” Blue hurriedly gets out of the Last Line’s territory, to somewhere south of the river.
Ethan Kane is watching a house. Specifically the house where it all changed, where the ritual worked! And where that thing came through and awoke a pure slice of anger in him, and the house and the cult within it were destroyed. Now he’s changed, he can look into the other side, of the world, and feel the pulse of the world’s energy. But he’s still homeless, and he’s pretty sure the police are hunting him. If only they’d just fuck off from the house, he could go inside the house. The thing looks like a hell-hole on the other side, but it could answer some questions. Still, he’s found way into his new life, he’s managed to get some hefty spirit backing from some spectral wolf and a bunch of weird owl things. Swore an oath in a strange tongue to a Death Wolf.
“You know they’re probably not going to go away any time soon”, a deep voice speaks, suddenly besides Ethan. The speaker is casually leaning on the wall to the building Ethan is sitting by. The trinkets on the man’s self are definitely occultic.
“There’s a pack forming, here, at this time” he grunts, handing over a scrap of paper.
“What’s a pack. Wait, are there more like me?” Ethan starts. Bone’s sighs and wears, realising that he has a bit more explaining to do this time.
Sometime in the later evening, with the sun set the four arrive at the Chase. The abandoned place has the concrete and rough brick structure, but the windows are boarded up, and the main doors are padlocked shut. The place is ringed by a chain fence, with wild undergrowth between the building and fence, obscuring much of it from the street.
Quick introductions are made, with Ethan surprised at all these new People like him. Trying to get into the building (and out of the cold) Ethan goes to pick the lock, but John has a better idea and attempts to kick down the rusted lock. The echoing of the fence shaking down the street highlights his failure to do so.
Whilst Ethan and John start to argue, Blue turns a corner, and swiftly melds into wolf form, Urhan, and jumps the fence, scrambling at the top. He then goes around the building, careful not to leave tracks.
In the same time, the remaining three climb the fence, Lorcan does it easily. Ethan tries to climb, but only tears the top of the rusting fence down, leaving it an easy climb for John. Ethan then scrambles over, cursing the fence and John’s mocking.
Eager to show some competency, he goes to the lock on the front door of the Chase and starts picking away. Lorcan, whilst Ethan picks away, looks around for Blue. Where is he?
Blue has found an open ground floor window out back, with the boards scatter on the ground outside. He neatly bounds through it, into a bare room. There’s a sickly smell in the air, and his heightened wolf senses also pick up this musty, furry, mangy smell, coming from around the corner out in the corridor, which Blue follows.
Ethan, meanwhile has picked through and opens the door with a smile, with the other two following. “So you don’t shapeshift?” John asks incredulously to Ethan. The conversation continues, with Lorcan proving his point by shifting into the near man form, Dalu, and John shifting in Urshul, the near-wolf form and then into Dalu. They start to follow Blue, still arguing, as Blue moves around the corner, following the smell down into the basement.
It’s dark here, even for the heightened senses of the werewolves and Urhan form. The smell is definitely coming from down here. The pulse of the world, that Blue has felt since changing, is stronger now, but sickly. It’s like the walls of the worlds are almost paper thin here. Blue silently pads in, and waits in a dark corner.
Coming across the basement the remaining three stops as Lorcan gets his torch out and shines it down the basement. Something skitters, and a shadow flits between the light.
The conversation stops.
Lorcan slowly draws his sword he kept in a hockey bag over his shoulder.
Together they walk down, and Blue watches.
The skittering continues, with Lorcan flitting from corner to corner with his light, trying to catch the thing that’s making the sound.
Ethan gets an idea, and passes his senses over to the Other Side, something he’s had good practise with, watching the House. As he does so his eyes whiten over. The shape here is not a shadow, but something real flitting from corner to corner. He grabs John and guides him blindly to the corner where he tries to corral the thing into.
At the same time John leaps, switching to Urshul mid leap to where the creature is hiding, and Lorcan runs to catch where the thing is hoping to cut off an escape with shouts.
John lands on nothing.
Cornered, the thing bursts through the paper-thin wall of reality at Lorcan, all teeth, fur and broken tooth.
Blue, seeing this bursts into action, relying on the heighten reflexes of his form and crashes into the thing before it hits Lorcan. From his failed pounce John barrels into the monster using the weight of his tiger-sized near-wolf form and tears at it with the form’s terrible maw.
The thing dies, messily.
Holy hell, new werewolves are scary.
Looking down at the thing they see it’s a man, but changed. It has patches of mangy fur about him, long yellow teeth on a snout that looks like a man’s face, just pulled outwards. They quickly surmise it’s the source of the taint of the basement, and Lorcan uses a facet of his Gift of Nature. Spilling the corpse’s blood onto the ground, he wills the essence to cause vegetative growth, and dank fungi start to grow out of the corners of the concrete, with small feels of vines reaching down from the remains of an elevator shaft to on the other side of the basement. He explains to an impressed John and Ethan that the growth should get rid of the body, and hopefully help clear some of the tainted essence.
Meanwhile, Blue has wandered off again and pads up to the entrance of the block. However, at the top of the stairs stands a man in tattered clothing, shakingly holding a gun at the wolf. “Fuck!” eyes wide at a fecking wolf in the building, he fires and misses. But Blue is already up the stairs, again relying on his quick reflexes and slams into the guy.
The three in the basement start at the sound of the gun, with John bounding ahead up the stairs.
He comes across a man fighting back Blue on the stairs, with Ethan and Lorcan close behind. Jack fires again, hitting Blue and doing serious injury with the gun.
John runs in and starts to grapple the guy. The two struggle on the stairs, and in the struggle the gun goes off and John reels away, shot in the stomach.
Ethan and Lorcan reach the entrance hall and Ethan starts to shout at the guy to calm the hell down, “drop it and we’ll stop.”
“What the fuck are doing here?!” The guy shouts. “If you wanna get me angry fine, but you won’t like that”, he almost snarls. To the others there’s a familiar smell to him, like the scent they find on other werewolves.
Ethan slowly apologises, he empathises with the guy and asks Jack to calm down, drop the weapon and they can talk.
There’s a pause, and then Jack drops the weapon with a clatter. He raises his arms, revealing track marks up his arms.
John cracks a joke, leaning on the stairs, “well this is a great first impression…”
Jack’s mouth twitches at the side.
Lorcan moves, and apologises, explaining that they were only defending their friend, gesturing to Blue (which confuses Jack somewhat). As a mercy offering, he hands Jack back his gun, saying that they don’t intend to fight.
“Alright, so you aren’t here to fuck around. So why are you here?” He says, narrowing his eyes. Ethan explains the short story, telling him about the thing down in the basement, and just then everyone was high on adrenaline. Jack just caught them by surprise.
“Fine, well you can”, he laughs bitterly, “come up to my office” and leads them upstairs.
In the basement, the corpse wriggles and collapses into a mass of about twenty rats, who scurry away.
After the short monster combat in the basement this scene was fun. The players new this is the wolf-blooded’s introduction, and is also a really nice use of the social system for nWoD’s 2nd Edition.
Upstairs on the second floor of The Chasethe group are sat around a sleeping bag in a corner of one of the rooms, with a couple of syringes and makeshift tourniquet nearby. Jack sits, with his gun close at hand. The group start to explain, as well as probe Jacks for answers. They quickly realise that he doesn’t know what he his, and he certainly doesn’t know what a werewolf is.
“Prove it” he says.
Which Lorcan readily does, shfting into Dalu form.
“Fuck my life.” Jack groans. That response confuses the others, they’d heard that shapeshifting makes mortal go ‘crazy’. Jack just seems to accept this with weariness, the man looks done with the world.
The group start to poke harder, and eventually the conversation turns to what they can do for Jack, and what Jack can do for them. At this Jack laughs, “oh I get it, you need me, little fish are we? Well no, I’m not here to give handouts and help.”
Lorcan bristles, “Hey fuck you, I’ve got a job and place to live. You’re hardly better than m-”
He’s interrupted. At that comment Jack jumps up, his muscles are tense and this low frequency growl comes from his throat, the kind of sound that would warn prehistoric man that he had made a very very bad mistake. Jack quickly gains about fifty pounds of muscle mass, gaining hair and claws and looms over the group. He tenses and swipes away at the group, “fucking run!” he almost howls.
The group start, John unleashing his predators aspect almost instinctively at this threat and cowes the wolf-blooded in the throes of Rage. The man-thing howls in submission, and collapses in the corner from the group and take out his rage on the building around him. He smashes, he claws and he screams and howls. The sounds echo around the concrete room.
The thing in the corner isn’t powerful, it’s a man reduced to a snarling beast. It’s pathetic to watch.
After a while, Jack collapses into a head, unconscious and clothes torn. Blue remarks in First Tongue that there is a makeshift sofa upstairs he found that would be comfortable him, so they put in up there.
There’s a pause in the evening.
“Pizza?” Lorcan asks.
When Jack wakes up he first sees his clothes torn, he groans. Then he sees the group in front of him, and then he swears. “So you guys aren’t a trip then?” He asks, hungrily eyeing the leftover pizza.
“Nope”, Lorcan remarks, handing over a pizza, which Jack proceeds to literally wolf-down.
“So now what?” he asks between mouthfuls.
“Now we can help you”, replies John. “And in return?…” Jack, narrows his eyes,
“Well, most of us need a place to crash, and…..” Ethan gesture to the room.
“Alright, fine. You have a deal,” and Jack accepts.
Outside, Sinead looks at the building, and looks at the note. What the fuck were those noises from inside?
So, that was the first session, all in all about three hours of gameplay. It was awesome to see the group (a new group) quickly get into the hang of it. My aim for the next session to to get the guys using their auspice powers a bit more, we all kinda forgot them I think. Then again I find that the first session usually works better for a new group if we don’t try to do everything in the mechanics. Can’t wait for the next game!