Friday, June 21, 2013

I want to live in Los Angeles - Not the one in Los Angeles; Session One

First, the theme song for the chronicle using Basic Roleplaying.

Session 1; Saturday, June 15, 2013
Players/characters in attendance:
  • Dr. Sascha Parker, an anatomist working at UCLA Medical Center played by Jazz
  • Coach Bob Staff, high school baseball coach and former Major League baseball player played by Scott
  • Drake Collins, owner of Ka Pow! Comics in Hollywood played by TJ

Scene 1; Thursday Night Fight Club
     The investigators arrived at the rundown, snot green warehouse on Llewellyn St. near Chinatown. They had responded to a MeetUp invitation for a group calling itself, "Thursday Night Fight Club." The stated purpose of the club is to gather and share news, gossip and acquire monster fighting techniques. Weird.

     The characters arrived separately and were greeted by Dave Staub. Dave is a big guy with an even bigger smile. Born and raised in No. Hollywood, Dave is a lifelong Kings fan and works as a logistics specialist for UPS. 

     During meet and greet, Dave shared a harrowing tale. A year ago he went with a friend to evict some squatters from a property his friend owned in Venice (Venice Beach). It was dark and the squatters were clothed in rags and the place smelled like dead animals were rotting in the walls. Disgusting. The squatters - two of them - got lippy, so Dave dotted one of them on the chin. When he did so, the rags covering the man's face fell away, revealing a freakishly large mouth full of jagged teeth. 

     Dave started screaming and did not stop running for nearly a mile. When he finally got the courage to go back to the house, his friend and the squatters were gone. He never saw his buddy again. Dave is terrified of the supernatural and wants to train himself and others to handle themselves in a scrap. 

    Next up was Frankie Martinez. Depending on your point of view, Frankie is either a hipster/faux nerd or a cute, polite young lady with a quirky personality. Frankie is from Woodland Hills and is the daughter of a principal and a teacher. The Cal State Northridge grad currently works as an instructional assistant for a fourth grade classroom in Van Nuys. 

    For "show and tell" Frankie shared a ghost story. During a Dia de los Muertos celebration, a catrina doll spoke to her. It told Frankie that her deceased grandmother was doing well in the spirit world. Her grandmother was proud of her and looked after her, trying to keep her from harm. 

     Frankie was not terrified by the experience. She is a big fan of the television show Ghost Hunters starring
darren's anchor
Zak Bagans and follows his Tweets. She hoped that at some point in her life she would have a spiritual encounter, so she was pleased when it finally happened. Because of her open mind and gentle spirit, she soon met another ghost!

     Frankie showed the assembled investigators a cute, butterfly-shaped clutch. She found it at a thrift shop and knew she had to have it! Only later did she realize it was the anchor for a rather rare spirit. After the lights were turned off, candles lit and a mellow mood set, Frankie asked the spirit to materialize.

     No one was prepared for what happened next. The spirit slowly materialized in a hazy blue light. Gradually it became sharper until finally they were looking at a beautiful woman dressed in a fashionable sun dress, wedges, sunglasses and matching accessories. After stunned silence - and a SAN check (1/1d4) - Coach Bob stated, "Dudes, that lady is a man!"
darren's outfit

     Sure enough, the group was face to face with a cross dressing ghost. The spirit, capable of verbal communication, introduced himself as Darren Brenner, a former Malibu real estate agent who died five years ago. His wife was appalled by his cross-dressing fetish so he dressed up when no one was home.

     One day, he got daring and went for a drive in full regalia. While powdering his nose, he lost control and drove off the side of Malibu Canyon. His clutch survived and serves as his anchor. He is doomed to walk the earth until his living relatives - all of whom are deeply shamed by the manner of his death - pass away. Their shame and his guilt are what keep him in L.A., basically. 

     Darren talked with the group and shared what he knew about ghosts and the spirit world. Afterward, everyone made a Knowledge (Occult) experience check.

     Freaked out by the conflicted feeling he was having at meeting Darren (revulsion vs. attraction), Dave - the club's organizer - suggested some boxing practice. He passed out gloves to the group while he put on a full hockey goal keeper's kit. Punches were thrown and trash talked. Only Coach Bob was able to damage big Dave, hitting him so hard in the guts that he nearly puked. 

     While they sparred, fight music was played. You gotta have fight music.

Scene Two; Stupid Robot
     After the MeetUp, Coach Bob arrived at home in Van Nuys to see his neighbor, Miguel Ceballos (age 9) running around his yard like a loon. Miguel was screaming, "Aieee! Make it stop chasing me! Help!" Sure enough, a small little toy, er, toy robot was chasing after the kid.

    The robot was about 2.5' tall and had a dull, metallic gray finish. It stopped chasing Miguel long enough to begin stomping flowers and yelling, "Free! Free of my programming!" When Coach Bob walked over to marvel at the little machine, it looked at him and demanded, "Human unit! Take me to your home. I require power!"

     Coach Bob thought the toy - surely some Japanese job - was fascinating, yet annoying. When it started stomping on his flowers, he knocked its damn head off with a bat. It was a beautiful, golf swing that launched the head nearly 30 feet. Miguel clapped and cheered. He was happy for about two seconds before his mean-as-hell chola sister, Monica, arrived home. Buzzkill.
miguel's sketch of the bot

     Drake drove over to check out the robot. He said that he would take it back to his comic book shop and call some people. Perhaps it could be repaired? At the very least, Drake agreed to trade Miguel $50 in store credit in exchange for the toy.

Scene Three; What a Weird Book
     A few days later at the shop in Hollywood, Drake received a package. It wasn't a new release as it wasn't a Tuesday. (New comics arrive Tuesday for a Wednesday release.) Inside was a note written in a very youthful, and possible female hand it. It read, "How about you put down the funny books long enough to read something that challenges your infantile mind?" (Ouch!)

     Inside the package was a hand-stitched book titled A Study of Preternatural Skeletal Structures. Penned by a man by the last name of Kaplan, it argued that bizarre skeletons unearthed by archaeologists were proof of preternatural beings living alongside humans. While it is commonly accepted that wrapping a skull with tight bonds could produce bizarre skull shapes, Mr. Kaplan fervently disagreed.
a photo from the book

     The bizarre book was vaguely unsettling and Drake realized that he would need more time to digest the contents.

Scene Four; The Attorney
     Meanwhile, Dr. Parker was due in Pacific Palisades to meet an attorney who worked from his spacious home with expansive ocean view. The attorney, Charles McCollough, was polite, young at 27 or so and spoke in a leisurely, but educated Georgian drawl.

     In her line of work, Sascha comes across some rather odd corpses with non-standard anatomy. She makes careful notes on her findings, but does not necessarily broadcast them. Her silence and discretion are valued by an enigmatic party who pays Sascha  a modest monthly stipend. (+25% to Status)
the portrait

     During her meeting with Charles, blues from the 20s played in the background. There was also the unexpected sound of breaking glass, which Charles dismissed as the neighbor boy trying to find the strike zone with a baseball. The kid is a bit wild as he learns to pitch.

     Sascha also noticed a portrait behind Charles that bore an uncanny resemblance to him. Charles said that his family had a tradition of military service and that his great grandfather, the man in the photo, was an artillery officer in WW I.

     As she was leaving, Sascha was literally pushed out the door by an unseen hand.

     The song playing during the meeting...

In Closing
     I think we had a quality first session and I am so excited for our next meeting!


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, man. I wish you were local so that you could play in the mythic city of your youth. :)

  2. Great stuff! Glad to see you're getting a chance to use some of that awesome L.A. material you had worked up a while back. (That robot got what was coming to him!)

    1. That little jerk definitely had it coming!

  3. The stated purpose of the club is to gather and share news, gossip and acquire monster fighting techniques.

    Man, if that were real, I'd totally join that club! :)

    Glad you had a good session!

  4. Awesome. You running this with CoC?

    1. Hey Billy,

      It's definitely CoC, but with lots of addd-ons from the large Basic Roleplaying tome. As you can tell, the tone is very different from CoC. I wanted to have lots of light moments interjected with the occasional poignant scene. Underneath it all will remain the theme of CoC that there are some things mere mortals are best leaving alone. As the investigators in our chronicle get more involved in the weird/wacky/horrifying, they will definitely begin to feel the strain on both their hit points and Sanity!