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Actual Play: Buffy - The Watch House

Craig Oxbrow

Ah, y'know. This guy.
Validated User
Next day, our heroes take a headcount of all the societies with this kind of problem.
The head of the Karate club has been having muscle cramps since Monday.
Same with two of the fencing team.
One of the best in the Chess Club now can't remember how a knight moves.
A guitarist who was thinking of forming a band complains "I've lost my muse... y'know?"
The Archery Society don't seem to have lost anyone directly, but one of the freshers who showed a lot of promise hasn't come back... "Who? I don't know, didn't get a name."

Milli: No sign of any problems with the acrobatics team.
Jake: You do acrobatics?
William: Her mother was a monkey.
Jake: That was mean.
Andy: Yeah man, that was low.
William: You should see her father...

They don't get chance to ask outside the societies hall, but there's also a mechanic in town who can't remember how to change a car's oil, and a gourmet chef who now burns cheese on toast.

Obviously, the thing to do is to go and see Mr. Escher. So, naturally, Milli decides the best tactic is to try and draw the suspects out with - a pub quiz!

Milli: A quiz. With prizes.
William : We don't have prizes.
Milli: Right. Uh... Jake, can you organise something?
Jake: Um... Like what?
Milli: Beer. Beer is a good prize.

Later, there is discussion of the plan between Milli and William.

William: What exactly are you planning?
Milli: Well, I figure either Jake stole his ability, or he's a good target.

Also, it's a history quiz, and the history society hasn't been hit by whatever it is yet. So this might draw whoever it is out. In the meantime, they go to Escher's office just in case their Watcher invigilator, a man with decades of learning and years of experience in this subject, might happen to have some insight on a supernatural occurrence...

They find Andy there. He and Escher appear to have been discussing something... which they stop discussing as they arrive.

Escher: So, let me see if I understand this. You think that someone is using magic to steal people's skills and knowledge?
Jake: Is that impossible?
Escher: Oh, it's quite possible... with magic, obviously. Let's consult our books."

Escher: Yes, here it is. Theft of the Blessing. Listed in the Libra Memoria. Now, I think we... yes.

So he unlocks the even more secure bookshelf of his hidden private library. Flick flick...

Escher: For the Theft of the Blessing, 'the caster must lay a hand upon the blessed one within twelve hours of the invocation and the sacrifice of the beast. Should you be among the blest and stolen, these words only must you say as you lay hand upon the thief: This offering was not rightly taken, and I will it back.'

Milli: We're going to draw them out. With the pub quiz. And our special guest historian.

She looks to Escher and grins enthusiastically. He raises an eyebrow, blinks, and carries on.

Escher: Well... it's probably someone consumed by envy. They want what they cannot have. And once you've taken something once, it must be tempting to take more... Anyway, we can find recent spell activity with a map and a plumbline.

So out comes the map and the plumbline and... dowsing takes a while... Because there are rather a lot of leads. By the time Milli's done noting locations with her pen, the map looks like it has measles.

Escher: Hmm. Well. Narrowing it down, I can spot at least three significant spellcasters.
Milli: And how many minor ones?
Escher: Well, a city with such a large population of intellectuals is bound to attract an unusual number of mystics...

Milli also, as an aside, asks Escher if he can spot mystical activity on people. He asks why.

Milli: Jake totally killed with a guitar solo the other night.
Escher: Really. Well, of course, I saw Hendrix at the Isle of Wight.
Milli: Who? I grew up listening to classical music, remember?

Meanwhile, the rugby team still suck a bunch of ass.
And our heroes head off to check out possible leads.

William: Animal sacrifice. You check out pet shops, I'll go to the science lab.
Milli: It's like eight o' clock.
William: And?
Milli: The pet shops will be shut.
William: Oh. Uh, look for ones with broken windows?

So Milli ignores his idea but he goes to the lab anyway, and finds that a delivery of mice was signed for by Illegible Squiggle That Looks Like A Couple Of Ms, and never handed in.

On being informed of this as she tries to organise the pub quiz in under thirty minutes, Milli's lip trembles...

Milli: Somebody killed mousies?

The rugby club lurk sulkily in one booth, jabbing thumbs at the dartboard.

Player 1: Get up an' play.
Player 2: You get up an' play!
Player 3: Let's get some drinks in, we'll feel better.
Player 4: Yeah, right, the last batch were like, poisoned or something. Why we can't walk straight...
Player 1: Look, just because you're bloody useless...

Milli, still both suspecting Jake and wanting to use him as bait in case she's wrong, asks his to hand out questionnaires.

Jake: I'm not dishin' out papers.
Milli: Well, then, you can be the compere.

And as Milli goes to hand out questionnaires, William spots Looky Girl pointing her out to a girl, who marches over as she gives one to a random guy...

Shouty Girl: You makin' a pass at him?
Milli: Uh... No?
Shouty Girl's Guy: No, I never even looked at her!
Shouty Girl: You did too!
Shouty Girl's Guy: Look, just cool off!
Shouty Girl: Why should I?
And Shouty Girl's Guy, getting riled, splashes his drink in her face.
And she punches him right on the jaw.

"FIGHT!" someone shouts. William can spot it's Looky Girl.
The glaring rugby clubbers look up, then at each other... and then Player 2 pounces at Player 1 with a snarl...

William points out Looky Girl, and so Milli speeds off to give chase. Andy, covering the exits, and Jake, still handing out flyers, both miss her disappearing act as well, but as it happens Jack spots and follows her.

William looks around as well... And then a hand lashes out from the phone booth behind him with a perfectly-executed karate chop to the neck.

And when he wakes up, he's tied to a chair. And gagged. And in the middle of a circle of candles.

And the formerly bespectacled fresher, now standing taller and looking with clearer eyes, smiles a winning smile.

The Fresher: You're awake. Oh, good. I'd hate for you to miss this...

CUT!
 

Craig Oxbrow

Ah, y'know. This guy.
Validated User
The Fresher: I suppose this is where I explain my evil plan.

William, being gagged, manages a shrug.

The Fresher: It's simple enough, really. You go through life with a little interest in magic, come to the university Crowley studied at... but I figured I wanted a bit more. And apart from that, I saw all these people, more successful, more skilled, better looking... having a lot more luck with women... I was jealous. And when I found the Blessing spell in the library at Trinity, well, I had to give it a shot. But, I admit, I got greedy. I've learned my lesson...

He grins evilly as he leans in.

The Fresher: You won't tell... will you?

As the rest of our heroes find William gone and rush outside, they're confronted by Looky Girl!

Looky Girl: You're the Watchers, right?
Milli: I, uh, ah... that is... uh...
Looky Girl: Your friend's been taken.

She closes her eyes, holds up a key, lets it spin, looks at it.

Looky Girl: Come on.

Looky Girl: I know you guys are Watchers, so I was just keeping an eye on you. Then this. I don't feel entirely happy having another mystic on campus, let alone someone who'll start draining powers...
Milli: So, are you a witch?
Looky Girl: Not as such. Just a dabbler really. I can cast from books pretty well.
Milli: What's your name?
Looky Girl: Hm? Oh, sorry. Emma.

And meanwhile, someone stalks after the four.

And meanwhile meanwhile, the Fresher reaches towards William...

The Fresher: Let's see what you know...

And William pitches backwards in his chair, landing with a painful thud.

And then the cavalry arrive! Hurrah!

As the group approaches the location, their shadow turns out to be Jack, who has decided to follow Emma because she's purty. With the coordination of a rugby player who's lost all his coordination, he smashes into the door of the Fresher's hideout and nearly topples down the stairs.

The Fresher snarls, slams his hand down on a candle and a jet of flame bursts from his other hand!

As William whimpers and struggles with his bonds, the Fresher picks up a rapier with an expert's flourish, Jack staggers forwards and the rest of the group rush through the smoking doorway. Milli leaps over the banister and grabs another sword from the lair's selection.

The Fresher: Oh, I am so taking that!

The group fan out, covering William's escape and Jack's uselessness, Milli discovering that the Fresher is now a significantly better swordfighter than she is as Emma tries to position herself behind him to cast a counterspell...

Andy throws a brick at the Fresher. He slices it in two without looking at it, before pressing his attack.

Jack tries for a bearhug from behind. The Fresher's muscles snap and ripple and he flings him off, now looking a bit Mr. Universal.

William gets free and moves to swing his chair at him, just as Milli forces him into a step back and Emma puts a hand on him.

Emma: These offerings were not rightly taken, and I will them back!

A WHOOSH and a flash of light, and the Fresher, now skinny again, falls to his knees and topples face down, eyes rolled back in his head and drooling. Then William hits him with the chair.

William, guiltily: He moved!
Emma: Because you hit him...

Jack duly regains his abilities, and is rather baffled as to his presence.

Emma: I suppose you'll have to report this to your teacher, won't you? You're very good with records, I hear.
Milli: Well, we don't have to mention you, if you'll agree to help us if... something like this comes up.
Emma: Sure.

And we close on the fallen mystic in a hospital coma ward.

Orderly 1: So, what happened to him?
Orderly 2: No idea. He came in like that. No prior history or signs of trauma.
Orderly 1: You think he'll ever wake up?
Orderly 2: Who knows?

And close on his eyes... as they roll back down and look around...
 
Last edited:

Craig Oxbrow

Ah, y'know. This guy.
Validated User
Next time on The Watch House:
Lightning over Cambridge.
A deserted manor house outside of town.
Milli flailing at something in the darkness with a burning torch.
Ziggy stepping into a darkened room, sniffing the air, and looking nervous.
William desperately flicking through a book.
Jake holding a door shut as something slams into it from the other side.
Andy tensing up and clenching his fists as he looks around and the darkness seems to move about him.
Escher V/O: The next episode of The Watch House is Get Out. Sunday at Six.

Actual Play bit

Because Buffy gives out much the same experience points as full Unisystem games, but has a significantly shorter list of significantly broader skills, each XP is more powerful. One of the players pointed this out, so I'll be chopping the XP system around a bit.

With two new players (both moderately familiar with the system and the setting) the group has become more varied - and gained its first mysterious secret. The arrivals did mean that we started a bit late and I had a bit of a tricky time working everyone in. Hopefully things will be a bit clearer next week.
 

morgue

vs. snake
Validated User
Craig Oxbrow said:
Then a young woman shakes her head and puts up a hand to wave him off as he points over to the bar, and his shoulders slump... but there's a hint of a glare in his frown.
I got confused by this paragraph.

Cool account! Luv the French Society bit...

~`morgue
 

Craig Oxbrow

Ah, y'know. This guy.
Validated User
The Fresher (for it was he!) asked the girl for a drink. She waved him off. He duly looked disappointed... but a bit glary.

The French soc, and the pub quiz, are all Cat. Yay Cat!
 

David Goodner

Observer
Validated User
Craig Oxbrow said:
Because Buffy gives out much the same experience points as full Unisystem games, but has a significantly shorter list of significantly broader skills, each XP is more powerful. One of the players pointed this out, so I'll be chopping the XP system around a bit.
No, Wait, stop!

Advancement is way, way more expensive in Buffy.

Everything is 2x desired (IIRC) stat. So, to increase your Get Medieval from 3 to 4 costs 8, whereas, to increase your Hand Weapon (Swords) from 3 to 4 only costs 4.

Attributes really feel the burn. In Full Uni, it's usually just 5 points to bump up a stat.

David G.
 
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