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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Babes in London: Act One, Scene Three (Part 1—The Families)

This scene has a lot of options, so I’ve split it across two posts. This section deals with character interactions with the families, and the park environs. Tomorrow’s section will deal with actions specific to dealing with agents of LN7 and the Gehenna Consortium.

SCENE THREE: NOT SO HAPPY FAMILIES

There is a shimmer in the air, and you are back. The old elm forest is gone, and the park has returned. The butcher’s shop is back, and so is the green grocer’s. Back also are the two little girls. They are no longer looking at you, however, but towards a cluster of adults striding across the playground towards them. Neither of them seems alarmed. A tangle of voices fills the air.
“Anika! Where have you been? You were supposed to come straight home!”
“Leyila! You were supposed to meet us at the library after school!”
“Mother! We were just…”
“I needed to talk to Leyila, mum. It was important.”

This is the sort of conversation that dominates the interactions between the parents and the children for the next few minutes as the mothers shepherd their children back to the cars. The fathers are, however, keeping a wary eye on the PCs, and have interposed themselves between the girls and the PCs. Give the PCs an opportunity to do interact.

Notes for New Characters Sidebar:
If, at this point, any of the PCs are unaware of their true identities, have the players keep the descriptions you have given them so they can personalise their dragons. At the end of the battle, alter the end of Scene III to read:
Just before she goes to meet her mother, the taller, dark-haired girl, raises blue eyes in your direction: “Go back to your dreaming,” she says. “Your reality is there.”
The smaller child, with hair like gold flame glances at her in surprise: “How can they not know?” she asks, her small voice filled with scorn. “Isn’t it obvious?”
As their mothers hurry them towards two different cars, you realise you have drawn the attention of the girls’ fathers, and the two heavily-built men are striding directly towards you. The frowns on their faces aren’t friendly.
Run the encounter: ‘Speaking with the Children’.

ALL Characters:
  • Speaking with the Children: occurs if the PCs try to speak with the girls. The fathers intercept them, while the mothers continue to move the girls towards their cars. In order to negotiate with the parents, the PCs need to make an Interaction TH of 4 (due the paedophile incident of the previous year) to allay their natural suspicions and antagonism towards strangers. This interaction is modified by the way the encounter is roleplayed. At first the fathers are interested only in making the PCs ‘go away’, but then Leyila’s father wants to know what the PCs were doing ‘anywhere near the girls in the first place’. Answers mentioning the Seer of Cathach are met with half-joking responses like: “Well, you’re a little out of your way then, aren’t you?” and “What do you want to see her for?” The fathers have no idea who the Seer might be, and certainly do not know the true identities of their daughters. The mothers drive off once the girls are in the cars, going in opposite directions. The nearest the PCs should come to the girls at this point is to arrange an interview for the following day—but not on the grounds that they want to speak to the Seer of Cathach! Plausible reasons for interviewing the girls include a police investigation, private investigator seeking leads, journalist writing an article on the local school or library, teacher thinking of coming to teach at the local school etc. Any reason given must be backed up with some form of proof—for example, a professional ID card such as a Press pass, police badge, Teacher’s Union card or anything similar. Either of the fathers might mention the ‘incident’ the year before if the right conversational circumstances occur. Once interactions with the fathers are over, the men either walk over to the cars (if they are still there), or walk the three or four blocks to their homes.
  • Using Ka on the Children: PCs are considered to have had a relatively close connection with Anika and Leyila in their past lives—as the flashbacks reveal. This connection grants uses of the Ka skill on either of the girls a -3 TH modifier. (The connection wasn’t close enough for the full -5 TH modifier.) A successful Ka check (TH 2 due to the modifier) on Anika reveals the horse-riding part of her nature, and her role as a defender, but not her identity as an Erebean Unicorn Maid. A similar check against Leyila reveals the dancing and Kehebite mysticism but not necessarily her identity as a Kehebite temple dancer.
  • Knowledge: Law: TH 3 means the PC recognizes the children from, and has a basic knowledge of, the break-up of the paedophile ring of the year before. They may even know of the strange circumstances in which the children were rescued (TH 4). Note: PCs with a cop background gain an additional -2 modifier to the TH#; those with private investigator or lawyer backgrounds only gain an additional -1 modifier to the TH#.
  • Knowledge: London: TH 4 means the PC recognizes the children from the news of the year before. Those who followed the news closely may even have a basic knowledge of, the break-up of the paedophile ring (TH 5) and the strange circumstances in which the children were rescued (TH 6). Note: PCs with a journalist background gain an additional -2 modifier to the TH#.
  • Knowledge: Street: TH 4 means the PC recognizes the children from, and has a basic knowledge of, the break-up of the paedophile ring of the year before. They may even know of the strange circumstances in which the children were rescued (TH 5).
  • Taking Note of the Area: means the PC notices they’ve attracted interest in the ‘shopping precinct’ and may take note of some ‘shady characters’ (Air—Senses: TH 4 to note one of the following: the LN7 operative reading a paper in the small coffee shop that doubles as a bakery opposite the park (Coffee Shop Guy); the LN7 operative walking her dog—including that she seems scared of the dog, a big German Shepherd (Dog Girl); or the two men sitting in the car in the street that borders the other side of the park looking in their London street directory—they’ve been sitting there since the PCs arrived in the park). The car pulls away as soon as the girls’ cars do, and follows one of them. Note: Any PC that looks intentionally for ‘anything that seems suspicious’ or people that seem suspicious, can make this roll with an a -1 modifier to the TH#.
  • Following the Children or their Fathers Home: gives the PCs a chance to further note the involvement of LN7 and Gehenna operatives. If they are actively looking for anyone else who might be interested in the children, or their families, they might notice one of the above LN7 operatives (Coffee Shop Guy and Dog Girl) also traveling in the same direction they are (TH 3). In addition to this, the car in which the two men were studying their London street directory, follows the family cars when they pull away (TH 3). As they get closer to the house, the Gehenna Consortium car continues driving and the LN7 operative stops at a non-descript blue sedan and gets in. Before it can be approached, the car drives away. Coffee Shop Guy follows the Collins family, while Dog Girl follows the Andrews family. If they haven’t left already, the Gehenna Consortium operatives follow whichever of the families the PCs are tailing. On arrival at the Collins home, the PCs have a small chance of spotting the Servants of Set preparing for their attack (TH 6). If, for whatever reason, the PCs settle down to watch either of the families overnight, they later see the arrival of two police cars. If they remain, they are approached by four, highly suspicious police officers who ask them to move on. Non-compliance means that they are arrested and held overnight in the cells. Compliance means that they are openly followed and ‘observed’ overnight. The up side of this latter development is that they are cleared of any suspicion in the initial disappearance of the children and learn of it sooner.

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