It is the beginning of April, in the year 2017.
A small group of Nephilim awakens in Berlin, and find themselves drawn towards a shared fate.
This is their story.
Sha Naqba Imuru
He is also a firearms enthusiast in possession of several pistols, rifles and even a machine gun (tough within safety regulations of the German law.)
A few minutes after he incarnates, the printer in his apartment starts, without his input, to produce a print-out.
It is a cryptic message from someone named Harvey, addressed not at Markus Vogt, but rather at him directly, which is highly unusual.
The message contains a time and a contact person, and some information about a white tower.
The Elf Finistur is abruptly pulled into a human woman named Mara Hartberger, an anti-whaling activist, and immediately learns the dangers of public traffic in the 21st century, as she is almost run over by a car while passing the street.
A short message to her mobile phone tells her to meet a man named Stephan Ross on Saturday evening.
She should ask for a cure for her falcon, and has no idea what this is supposed to mean.
Yearning to be with other Nephilim again, she decides to go there.
The Djinn Kek is incarnated into the pupil Matthias “Mayhem” Markward, a rebellious teenager.
His new life starts in a strange mockery of the end of his last, where he was burnt at the stake, choking, while surrounded by peasants screaming for his death.
He is surrounded by his hooting band-mates, and a burning sensation is in his throat…
but it is only the Vodka bottle that is being drained into him.
After a long night full of drink an music, he is on his way home, and he also receives a message on his cellphone, enticing him to meet Stephan Ross, whom he should ask for a cure for his lion.
The Sylph Sil’Faron finds himself looking out of a second-story window, and a voice keeps droning on about beverages, service rosters, planned events and other assorted gastronomic topics.
He has become Bernd Schiffer, the owner of a techno club in central Berlin, and he is not even remotely pleased with this turn of events.
The voice turns out to belong to Sandra, his assistant. He dismisses her, as he desired to be left alone.
Once she is gone, he immediately scours Mr. Schiffer´s small personal library for books of a mystical or occult nature, but finds nothing of interest, when a message arrives on his phone.
It is a strange text, apparently written in Italian, but with the help of an online translator and a bit of common sense he figures out that the message summons him to an address not too far from him, also in Berlin.
The message also bore secret signs of the Hermit Arcanum, with which Sil’Faron associates himself. He quickly discerns that these secret signs are a forgery, not the real deal.
He decides to investigate this.
As she peruses her surroundings, a small, cheaply furnished appartement, she receives a message as well.
It contains an image that she has seen before, about two centuries ago, but it appears to be incomplete, and the author of the message implies that they know this.
Her curiousity is piqued, and she decides to follow the instructions to meet Stephan Ross…
After a bit of confusion, the flashing of Markus Vogts police badge, an exasperated receptionist and a few mentions of non-domesticated animals, the five of them meet each other, and Dr. Stephan Ross, a veterinaran, in a private waiting room in his clinic.
He reveals himself to be Yxdri, an Elf Nephilim of the Arcanum of Temperance.
Introductions are cut short however, as he notices a message on his phone.
He shares this information with the group, it says that the stasis objects – which he was supposed to help retrieve – have been stolen by a group of Templars.
Tanja, the sender of the message, tracked them to an empty warehouse in the outskirts of Berlin.
Ambushing the Templars
The group decides to venture there, as their Stases are very important to them.
Upon their arrival, it starts to rain, and they observe the scene for a while.
A lone figure clad in black seems to be loading some crates from a small warehouse into a cargo van.
They employ a pincer movement, Kek and Finistur climbing onto the roof of the warehouse, while the other three take the long way around and approach from the main gate of the courtyard, which can´t be seen from the van.
Sha Naqba Imuru prepares a powerful Ka-Shout, in an attempt to stun the, as of yet unknown number, of Templars.
The stealthy approach is thwarted, as there appears to be a guard dog inside the building, which heard Kek´s movement on the roof and starts barking.
Orville, the man loading carrying the crates, quickly hides within the the van and shouts the name Jirard.
Gealach decides to sneak to the other side of the van, and slashes a front tire open with her knife. Meanwhile strange animal noises emanate from the building.
Gealach is shot into the stomach by Orville, who had trained his pistol onto the van´s back doors: Thankfully, the magical cload she summoned earlier takes a lot of force out of the bullet impact and she charges the man, hurt, but vigorous.
At the same time, a monstrously mutated dog with twin heads emerges from the double doors of the warehouse and attacks Kek.
Finistur attempts to steal the van, but cannot find the keys.
In the distance, the sound of a motorcycle is heard.
On the other side of the house, Sha Naqba Imuru´s spell fails, and he instead crushes the shed´s back window.
While he does that, he sees a man emerging from the window next to him. He aborts his attempt to enter the building, and draws his pistol.
Sil´Faron sees this and changes course, running full speed towards the man, to prevent him from fleeing.
Kek, inhumanly strong, quickly dispatches the cerberus-like dog creature with two strikes to it´s heads.
Beside him, the van rocks back and forth, as a sword/knife fight has broken out between Gealach and the Templar Orville.
A third and final Templar, Coralie, charges Kek with a combat knife, but he simply swats her against the wall, knocking her unconscious.
On the backside of the building, Sha Naqba Imuru and Sil’Faron stop the fleeing Jirard, with a shot to the chest and a spirited double legged kick, and he collapses, knocked out and barely breathing.
The fight draws to a close, as Finistur grabs Orville through the window between cockpit and cargo area, which gives Gealach the split second she needs to run him through with the sword.
As they loot the unconscious and dead bodies, a leather-clad woman rides into the courtyard on a motorcycle.
She shows no aggression and identifies herself as Tanja, the one who alerted Yxdri to the situation.
She executes Jirard, the Templar officer that is still alive, while the others load the body of the second and the unconscious third into the van.
The crates contain the stases of Kek – a golden necklace with inlaid rubies – , Sha Naqba Imuru – an engraved spearhead – and Finistur -the iron bastard sword they used to slay Orville.
Sha Naqba Imuru immediately uses his stasis to ensure that his next spell succeeds, and that is Pyromancy. The entire warehouse goes up in flames, and most evidence of the events that transpired here with it.
The group departs, with the sabotaged van, and attempts to interrogate the Templar woman, but only finds spite and hate. They execute her as well, and dump the van into a lake.
She is also a Nephilim, an Undine, of the Tower Aracanum, named Joris.
He tells them to contact the brothers, at a place called The Dojo.
They also learn that his house is a sanctum of Temperance, and that they are free to return here at any time they desire, as long as they leave aggression and inter-arcana politics at the doorstep.
Firstly, I would do character creation with each player personally, and alone, and then include the “Awakening” portion of the game within that. Right up to the point were the player shows up at the veterinarians house.
Doing this with the whole group was far too time consuming, and it also stole opportunity for character exploration.
The other two things are variations on the same theme: I had two Deus Ex Machina prepared.
The motorcycle noise was of course Tanja, who might have provided a heroic rescue if the fight went badly for the group. I think this is okay for the first play session, but I should have pulled her out when I saw the group was winning. This way I had this NPC in the way and I felt that I had to have her do something. That something was to be pushy and commanding, which is fine for the character, she is an energetic Water Nephilim, but might feel a bit too railroady.
The other Deus Ex Machina was the opposite. I had an elaborate escape plan for Jirard. He was supposed to leave the building and, if chased, use a gravity-cancelling spell to get out of dodge.
I thought this would feel cinematic and set him up as a (minor) villain that would pester the group.
He died because I underestimated the players. The good thing is that this gave me opportunity to improvise.
There is no replacement for Jirard, and that is okay, events are shaping up to be quite different from what I had planned, which is exciting. 🙂
Also, wow, I severely overestimated the Cerberus. I feared it might either kill or incapacitate a player outright, instead, it fell in two combat turns.