Yeah yeah, moving, whatever, here's what's REALLY important...
I ran Changeling on Friday.
Jake is dead. Long live Aislinn.
I seriously can't believe I killed off my most favorite roleplaying character EVER. And what a death. Now the PCs have to figure out why their beloved baroness died trying to murder an apparently innocent troll, and apparently at someone else's behest. Whose orders was she following? And why?
Hee. And the PCs are SO close to the truth. Ed (Jason) was trying to figure out if an oath like Clasped Hands (which Jake and Laren had sworn once upon a time) was binding after the death of one party. I teased them: "Jeez, you guys. Laren's dead and you're STILL trying to blame everything on him!"
Aislinn's Chrysalis was lovely, except that she aged in my head about ten or fifteen years mentally. The girl was freaking me out. This is not the Aislinn I was going to play online. This is a five year old with the Bardic Tongue flaw, insanely high Soothsay and Remembrance 5. She's downright eerie.
Rosie (Dawn) made some comment to Aislinn about getting her a padlock for her sealskin, referring to the number of times Jake had hers threatened or stolen.
Aislinn smiled beatifically at Rosie and said, "It's okay. They killed Ryan for good. He was half in moonlight and half in sunlight when he died. He won't come back."
And the cliffhanger? Val, the troll Jake tried to kill, revealed her real purpose in coming to Santa Barbara, and helped lift a curse from another PC. It ended with her shapeshifted as a panther.
Not so much in the way of moving ahead the main plot, but the characters are all falling into place and the subplots are humming busily along. I'm a happy evil GM. :)
Trailer: Strange Bedfellows
Honestly, I was going to write myself a decent recap of tonight's Changeling game, but when I got home I got caught up in writing up this instead. Suffice to say, when all was said and done, Dawn yelled, "You've been learning from Joss Whedon!" I was flattered. :) More details tomorrow, I'm sure.
MUSIC: Evanescence's "Bring Me to Life"
ESTABLISHING SHOT: Seattle's skyline, complete with Space Needle. As the opening piano music begins, a golden dragon swoops over the city skyline, circling the Space Needle and diving.
VOICEOVER, WOMAN'S VOICE, ENGLISH ACCENT: "...you know only / A heap of broken images, where the sun beats, / And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief..."
V.O., YOUNG GIRL: Faeries are real. Myths and legends alive and walking the city. It's a lot to take in, isn't it? But there's more than one kind of hero in the world, and I should know.
SCENE: The dragon roars, a small group of men and women rush into battle against a hideous beast out of nightmare.
V.O., YOUNG GIRL: I grew up in a world of heroes, where knights really do rescue fair maidens and ordinary fae face down gods and demons...
SCENE changes to a church interior, a honey-haired woman standing before a stained glass window. At either side of her is a child, one girl golden-haired, about five, the other brown-haired and round, about ten.
V.O.: But the one thing my mother taught me, one thing I learned over and over again, in the stories and myths of the fae, is that there's always a price to be paid for victory...
SHOT: The woman kneels and hugs the younger girl, who is weeping. Camera pans up to show the angel in the stained glass.
V.O.: ...and it's never cheap.
FADE to shot of our heroes, first a regular-looking Joe, er, Ed, rather, hunched over a drafting table--except this regular-looking Joe has horns, a satyr. FADE to a short, attractive woman, a boggan, Rosie. She talks to an unseen companion across the table and pours a cup of tea, while:
V.O.: But the ones who most often persevere, the ones the tales leave out, are the ordinary folk, the ones with the power of home and heart and soul over nobility and beauty. They're the only true hope we have left.
MUSIC: Piano gives way to guitar power chords, ethereal woman's voice gives way to a man's harsher sound, as the song crashes into the first chorus.
MONTAGE: Shot of a gun firing from a car window into a crowd, various action shots, our heroes running, pulling the girls by the hand. The dragon of the first shot rears up and slams feet down before two pursuers, letting the four getting further away.
MUSIC DOWN and FADE in to: English woman from the voiceover, a blond satyr, across a table from our heroes, reading from a book.
WOMAN: "I will show you fear in a handful of dust." (She closes the book.) They're going to open it again and this time it will destroy everything.
WOMAN: Sometimes the enemy of your enemy isn't your friend.
(PAUSE. Ed and Rosie just look at each other.)
ED: Fate just sucks, I swear.
BLACKOUT. MUSIC up again.
TEXT: Strange Bedfellows, coming April 2003, after the kids go to bed...
*sigh* So I dunno. Maybe
*sigh* So I dunno. Maybe my post last night about Jake was a premonition of sorts. I've never had a character of mine die in game. There were several who almost died, there were several who clearly died after I stopped playing them, but none who've ever died in game. So I'm not sure how it feels to have a beloved character go away.
Until now. At the risk of sounding like a freak, Jake said goodbye to me tonight while I was driving to my Werewolf game. The noise I was making about her having a theme song for this upcoming chronicle was apparently her swan song. I'm not quite sure how I realized it, but I did. So, one of the first sessions of the next chronicle will involve her passing her sealskin onto Aislinn and vanishing mysteriously, something like what's here. I'd always planned that to happen when Aislinn was eleven--but oddly, rereading that story (the first thing I ever got published, interestingly), Aislinn's voice and Elen's voice are both much much younger than their stated ages of 11 and 19. I never saw that before now.
I'm not sure if I can run that scene for my players, as much as I'd like them to have a part in Jake leaving this world. I'm just not sure I can run it without crying. I'm not (too) ashamed to admit, I cried a little tonight when she said goodbye. She's been my alter ego for five years, the first roleplaying character I ever truly connected with. But she's gone through a lot (THERE'S an understatement), and I think she's ready to rest.
I mentioned to Dawn tonight that while Angelique has been noisy in my head, Jake, oddly, has been quiet. Weird, because usually, once I start thinking Changeling, she NEVER shuts up.
Then while I was driving home from 7th Sea tonight, I was listening to the highlights from Rent in the car. The finale (a shortened version) came up, and it all came clear to me. That song is her right now. Lots of questioning and a little doubt, but ultimately, accepting. The fact that a finale is turning out to be her theme song is not lost on me. Jake has finally and for truly passed out of the realms of PC-dom. All the story she had left to work out has been resolved, and she's finally back in the background.
See, most of my really good NPCs have a certain element of PC-ness to them. (That, or the PCs fall in love with them--or like in Laren's case, they love to hate them.) Maybe it's just a case of them having their own agendas and feelings and whatever. I'm in touch with them in a way that some of my more "placeholder-ish" NPCs lack. Not so much with Jake now. I know what she's up to, I know what's going on, but I'm more removed from her than I ever have been.
Fortunately, her daughter's stepping up and taking her mother's place. Unfortunately, she's FIVE. *sigh*
I knew I was in trouble when Mer was counting on me to have updated this morning. Apparently I do need a more interesting life.
Gaming is very much on my brain lately, both computer and RPG. Dark Age of Camelot is sucking me in, without the level of frustration that EverQuest caused. The cats hate the game, by the way, because it means I'm not sitting on the couch, and therefore am not available as a lap. I know I've been playing too long when they start circling my feet and whining.
Also, Mer's Buffy game is taking up headspace too. Weird stuff is starting to happen, and Charity isn't reacting like a normal human being (i.e., running away when scary monsters show up). On one level it bothers me, because I try to play normal humans as normal humans instead of as roleplaying characters. (That might not make sense to anyone but me. You know, where you do things because that's what you do in a game, as opposed to what a normal person would do?) But on the other hand, Charity isn't a normal human, she just doesn't know it yet. So I'm trying to rationalize my non-normal behavior (i.e., kicking a demon instead of running away), as her Slayer-ish side coming out. I guess I just kinda feel a little rusty, roleplaying-wise.
Also, it looks like I'll be running Changeling again soon. This, I feel geeked about. I was really disappointed in how my last chronicle ended. I sorta botched it as a GM, and the ending wasn't satisfying for me or the players. But, after a lot of talk between me and Dawn and Jason, we're going to start a new chronicle in the same world, just a few years later. I have some ideas of what I want to do. I'll just need to dig out my old notes to see where I was going. :) Honestly, I wasn't nearly as comfortable running 7th Sea or Tribe 8, just because with Changeling, I knew the system and my world cold. So this should be fun.