Friday, 2 September 2016

Flotsam & Jetsam


I opened my house to some players on the Saturday before the Bank Holiday for a game of Blood & Water using the first ever printed copy! Such excitement! I pitched a game set around being students in their first year, but once we sat around the table, this loose concept evolved into students at Berkeley in California during the 1960s, continuing the theme of supernatural equality that has crept into many of my games of late. The players and their characters were:


Image result for berkeley california 1960sElaine as Alyssa, a Witch: she gained her powers when she read a forbidden book she found in the library and gained a unique understanding of all things, plus the ability to practice ritual magick.
Daniel as David, a transformed dog: an escaped lab animal who had become human during an experiment that went wrong and felt caught between the human & canine worlds.
Jane as Yukiko, a Japanese umbrella: after 100 years, the umbrella spontaneously generated a soul, which manifested as a young Japanese woman, who sadly was immaterial and could only interact with the world via the umbrella she could not be separated from.
Lloyd as James, a Deep One: sent to dry land to study the human race in depth, he yearned to return to his family and the sea he felt outcast from.

There was also me playing Spencer, their beach house: as Yukiko had the power to speak to all things, it only made sense to give their home a voice of it's own, which turned out to be that of an ageing stoner who treated the furnace in the basement as his personal bong.

We opened on the last day of the winter break before college recommenced in early January, in an unspecified year taking place in an alternative 1960s (you'll see why later...) when the housemates discovered a beach full of dead fish, attracting protesters and the somewhat over-bearing local news journalist/anchorman Brad Rock. He wormed his way into the house by making friends with David the Dog but was immediately taken with Alyssa the Witch, pressuring her into an interview that did not end well, leaving Brad with an axe to grind against the housemates. Also around this time, James the Deep One was pulled into the sea by Dagon, who instructed his servant that the Prophet was coming; meanwhile, Yukiko the Umbrella saved some driftwood from the furnace, determined to restore it into whatever it once was... and also finding out from Spencer that the last owner of the house had "exploded."

The evening news did not put the housemates in a good light, implying that they might be some type of free-loving Communist coven; also, some further probing of Spencer revealed that exploding residents was "a thing", but only ever on the full moon after the winter solstice (the next night) and even then, only to humans, so David, Yukiko and James relaxed, at least until Alyssa marshaled them with a plan of action best labelled "Operation Don't Explode." James also tried to use his contacts with the Cult of Dagon to try to get Brad bumped off, but Lloyd was unable to convince them to expose themselves for him without getting something big from him in return.

They arrived at college the next day intent on hitting the library, but their path was strewn with thorns, or at least one thorn: Brad Rock was on campus, attempting a serial exposé of the un-American practices taking place among the students. Fortunately David was able to renew his friendship with Brad, providing a distraction the rest of them used to hit the books, looking into "Causes of Spontaneous Human Explosion"; when David & James had to go to a philosophy lecture, Alyssa & Yukiko carried on looking for information in the books, finding out that James' "Prophet" would need "Eyes to see far, a Heart to hold the truth and a Tongue to share it with all."

Image result for beach houseThe lecture turned out to be a bad experience for James, who got into an argument with Charlie, another student who kept on making counter-points to everything the professor said: when James tried to cow him into silence, it was he who got a brow-beating from the professor for trying to stifle the free exchange of ideas! This spilled over into the cafeteria at lunchtime: when the housemates got back together to compare notes, they were interrupted by an intense debate between Brad and Charlie about the state of the American People and Yukiko & Alyssa suggested that either of the debaters could be the Prophet! Campus security cracked down on the debate, fearing unrest taking hold on the campus, and somehow David managed to invite Brad and Charlie back to the beach house that night to record their debate for TV!

Then we had a montage: Yukiko recycling flotsam & jetsam in her room, David setting out bowls for everyone to drink from, Alyssa starting her 'don't explode' ritual as she felt the house throb and pulse around her, while outside, as night fell, some locals prepared for a party on the beach by building a huge bonfire out of everything they found (a traumatic time for Yukiko!) Finally, the big moment arrived, with Charlie arriving with his girlfriend Sharon, while Brad came with his PA and cameraman and they settled down on bean bags in the front room. As the mystic energies of the Full Moon arose and Alyssa tried to harness them to work her will upon the world, instead of exploding, Brad turned out to be intelligent, compassionate and persuasive: James decided he couldn't stand the thought of Brad being the Prophet, so he tipped the scales in Charlie's favour during the debate. Charlie responded by saying that he admired Brad for his vision, his compassion and his commitment to telling the truth and, as that was just what he needed, he gave Sharon the order to slit Brad's throat so that he could begin harvesting his organs for the ritual that would make him Prophet!

At this moment, the cosmic energies peaked and Alyssa attempted to seize control of them: engaging in a struggle for mystic dominance against Charlie, (also knows as Charles, of course, or Mr. Manson) she was victorious and asserted her will through three increasingly hard wishes. First, she restored Brad to life (Charlie dissipated into atoms at this point); second, she made Yukiko a real human being; third, she gave James all of Dagon's power! With much of what they wanted achieved, they wiped their brows, before there was a knock at the door... the revellers from the beach were there, this time wearing their ceremonial robes and, with the bonfire ablaze behind them, declared "We want the witch."

THE END...?

Thanks to all who played and ate my veggie chilli; apologies to Lloyd for continually bumping into him, I'll have to find a better position for him the next times he comes.