Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Order of the Infinite Way, pt. 4: Session 2 Plan and Recap

One of the things I did in this campaign arc that worked out, as I've mentioned, is the development of factions with identifiable personalities (NPCs) and motivations. Another successful element was my approach to running the sessions. Given the complexity of the situation, and the sandboxy character of the adventure, it was difficult to plan out encounters in detail. I knew who was where, and what they were likely doing, but had no idea how the PCs would conduct the investigation. So, I came up with the idea of describing a plan for the session, including one or two things that would happen (based on the PCs' actions in the prior session, and on what motivations are currently in play for the various factions. In the end, things don't always go the way you expect them to, but having a session plan really helped me to figure out what to do when the PCs acted, as well as creating a more interesting backstory based on what's happening out-of-frame (the NPCs' reactions).

Here's an example of how that worked out, for the second session:

Session 2 Plan

Further Investigation of Davilia Mythrux
The only obvious lead goes back to House Mythrux. The acolytes could arrange for a meeting. They will be made to jump through some hoops, but will eventually be successful in their efforts to do so.

Alize Mythrux doesn’t really know what’s going on, beyond the fact that someone on the planet fucked up and put her and The Infinite Order at risk. If the acolytes ask about the “older gentleman” to whom Davilia may have been mistress, then she will figure out who it might be. She will see this as her opportunity to replace him as leader of The Order. A Scrutiny check (Ordinary +0) will suggest she knows something. However, she will attempt to Deceive the acolytes about just about everything that she knows. Given that Alize is a sorceress, she will be particularly motivated to hide any connection to the daemonhost incident. Truly, she was not involved, but it hits far too close to home for her comfort.

Arrival of Dorothea Senjak
She arrives on planet and contacts the Acolytes from the Spaceport. She will join them soon.

Arrival of Ministorum Witchhunters
They arrived just hours behind the acolytes, and believe that this incident may furnish them with some idea as the origins of the resurgence of witchcraft among the Imperial worlds. They will meet up with the acolytes at some point, and Senjak should be involved. The face-off should be tense, but provide the potential for further alliance later on. Kapperman will be impressed with the results achieved by Senjak's acolytes, and personally impressed with her as a person.

Rumors of Arrival of Krueger and Her Party
Senjak's intelligence network suggests that she is on Valis or will be arriving there soon. Senjak assumes it has something to do with the daemonhost incident, but has not yet heard that Krueger is transferring her loyalties to the Ordo Malleus. This will be a big, big reveal, and should help the acolytes understand that she is interested in daemonology.

Disappearance of Ferrus D'Angelus
Ferrus has disappeared from Senjak's custody, almost as if by magic. Has he been "rescued" by his old inquisitrix, Steffi Krueger?

Now, here's what actually happened. You'll notice that not all of the incidents occurred, leaving plotlines that can be dealt with in a later session, but the ones that did were based on the plan. 

Now, clearly the PCs could have fucked everything up to some extent by not cooperating with my assumptions, but (and this is an important part of the Session Plan), many of these things are narrative set pieces, designed to provoke actions among the factions and by the PCs themselves. They can be sprung without the PCs necessarily having to do something "right." This gave me soem narrative control over the adventure without it necessarily having to become a railroad. I think it worked out pretty well, as you shall see in the following recap (and the Session Plan/Recap pairs that will follow in later posts.

Session 2 Recap

All told, this session was lost to tangential discussions, joking, and general good fellowship (which Kevin refers to as "The Funny," I believe). However a few things of note did happen.

The acolytes, having sent mutant Ferrus off to be "dealt with," began to explore the available leads and other happenings.

They found out the following:

There is something about the Mythrux family that seems a bit "off." They are a Rogue Trader family with a reputation for involvement in criminal enterprises of various sorts, though nothing has ever been proven, of course. But they are rogue traders, and you know how those guys are. However, the fact that Davilia Mythrux (in whose apartment the daemonhost was made) was clearly involved with the incident in question serves to underline the probability that they are somehow involved, if only because they provide fertile ground for the germination of bad seeds.  Krysdam Haslinger, the Arbites Chief, seems to think they are up to no good, but he also suggested that, given how many members of other noble families also were killed or went missing during that time, there might be a pretty broad-based conspiracy in play.

A group of Ministorum witchhunters has been dispatched to Valis. They are led by Arcadius Kapperman, a humorless man, who is well known for his straight-forward and brutal approach to dealing with witchcraft and its practitioners: Very sympatico with Dorothea Senjak's views, if not necessarily with her preferred methods. He was accompanied by a retinue that included a member of the Adepta Sororitas (Mikki Navappo), which suggests that the Ministorum is taking this incident very, very seriously indeed. The players' initial meeting with Kapperman suggested that he might be a good ally in this investigation, and that his goals might not contradict those of Inquistrix Senjak's group. He also seems enchanted by the lovely Inquisitrix, and is trés gallant in his attempts to get to know her better.

Senjak's network also has produced intelligence that suggests the imminent arrival of Inquistrix Steffi Krueger (the acolytes' old boss) on Valis. Why she's coming to the Ursula system is unclear, but Senjak suggests that she's probably seeking information about the same incident that triggered her investigation. In any case, a dangerous heretic and assassin is (or soon will be) on Valis, and certainly is up to no good.

In a stunning turn, Ferrus D'Angelus has disappeared from Inquisitorial custody. It remains to be seen how he accomplished it, but Senjak is furious. The acolytes suspect that reacquiring the little mutant will be near the top of her to-do list. It's also clear that she suspects the involvement of Steffi Krueger in the escape, knowing as she does that Krueger and Ferrus had a bond. She would tell them that the bond was, on his part, an unrequited hope that she would grow to love him as a man, and, on her part, most likely, a complex manipulation to bend him to her will, and to make him a weapon to better serve her real (and no doubt heretical) goals.

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