(This has gotten rather bizarrely long, writing a summary based on an audio recording is a bad and rather lengthy idea.)
– The Vampire (Morgana) – A century old. Kind of dating Levi, prettiest of the school, wrestling with some good moral dilemma’s.
– The Ghoul (Yorick) – Constructed. Hungry for Chaos and Fear, very manipulative, not a nice guy.
– The Werewolf (Levi) – Used to be a wolf. Fiercely posessive of Morgana, kind of naive about the rest of the world.
I was sad because my first session ever didn’t pass the Bechdel test, so we had another round to make a few more female NPCs. We added:
– Clarice, the bookish girl Brad cheated on Bethany with at the party. She’s also the year’s representative
– Lynn, the goth girl who “doesn’t give a fuck about anything”
– Lucy, the really nice surfer girl who goes to the solarium a lot “and is basically orange”
Then we talked about what happened in the weeks since last session’s events. Levi and Morgana ruled their relationship was still a bit up in the air since there’d been a college break.
Yorick gets avoided by his fellow students because they feel he was connected to the drugs at the party (troubled condition). Levi’s possessive condition has made him somewhat the bad boy of choice for the ladies.
Before class, Levi the Werewolf notices that bulldozers are driving up to the park and some guy is putting up a sign announcing the building of a new science lab. He finds out the park (and his Dryad tree!) will get demolished for it. He panics and goes to speak to Director Peterson – a very patient man who listens to his arguments but kindly refutes them.
Biology class Mr. Everston starts off his biology class by announcing that today they will analyse each other’s blood samples for practice. He hands out small blood sample takers. Morgana the Vampire is afraid all the blood will make her lose control (“I will eat everyone!”) – she gets permission to go to the bathroom and never comes back. The other two are insecure – they have no idea what their blood will look like.
Yorick the Ghoul is paired with ‘Class Paladin’ Ted again. Ted is motivated to do well in this class and pushes Yorick to do so as well. Yorick tries to fake a fear of needles, but he fails his hot roll and gets a 7. I rule that what it’ll take to convince Ted is “if Yorick will just actually be sincere for once, just a little bit”. Yorick explains that he has a blood disease that runs in his family and that he would prefer people not to know about. Ted sympathises completely, and mentions that it’s very rude of Mr. Everston not to take privacy concerns into consideration. When Yorick says he doesn’t really want to explain all this to the teacher, Ted offers to just use two of his own blood samples. You’re too good for this world, Ted.
Levi is paired with Bethany who is more interested into getting into Levi’s pants than his bloodstream (partly to get back at Morgana) – but she does insist on doing the test. After a failed manipulation roll, Levi consents to doing the test, but switches the labels on the vials. Everyone gets through class unscathed, except that the teacher finds an excuse to talk to Bethany after class about her unusually high red blood cell count.
(The blood sample issue was a nice warm up to heighten the tension again for this session, and to start a bit of a threat of discovery that could hopefully escalate)
In Algebra class Mr. Robinson walks the students through another long equation. Yorick hid a vibrator in his teacher’s bag last session, but his plans have changed and while Mr. Robinson is telling Levi that if he feels that strongly about the park, perhaps he should start a petition for it, Yorick quickly makes sure the vibrator is gone. After that, he quickly makes sure Mr. Robinson’s house keys are gone as well.
During the break Clarice the Bookish Girl helps Levi out with a petition that he can have people sign. Lynn and Morgana smoke weed and gossip about a new substitute teacher (apparently the normal one fell down some stairs).
The psychology class teacher apparently the one who fell down the stairs, because this class is given by a substitute teacher who turns out to be ‘the Vampire Slaying Bitch’ from Morgana’s background! She’s wearing an eyepatch and is introduced as Miss Jäger.
(Hell yes! Corniness up to eleven!)
She discards the curriculum they were working on and devotes the entire session to the study of psychopaths: “People who are born without a guilt complex, who pretend to be normal humans and who prey on the good people of the world”. She’s intently fully focused on Morgana for most of the class (Morgana has brushed her hair in front of her face and is staring intently at her desk). For a discussion topic, she asks whether or not psychopaths can be redeemed or if they should be left in a dark hole for all eternity.
Morgana the Vampire: “I certainly think there’s people who should be left in a deep, dark hole.” She argues that it’s not so easy to see who is evil as Miss Jäger’s braincharts would have her think, and that she shouldn’t be so quick to judge.
Yorick the Ghoul asks her own opinion (which, unsurprisingly, is that these people don’t deserve mercy). He argues that redemption is possible. She mentions she once knew someone who thought the same, but that she thinks that person was proven wrong. Nonetheless, she’s affected by the speech.
Levi the Werewolf asks if good people can do evil things as well, and seems to find it all a very educational primer on human behavior.
Morgana asks if she is also into witchburning and lobotomies.
(I really liked this conversation.
– It was a bit heavy-handed, but it’s cool when characters can showcase their thoughts and motivations.
– And I always loved the Buffy trope where the subjects in class mirror the emotional states/story lines of the main characters.
– Plus, yay redemption theme! Such a nice classic)
Class is over and they are free to leave. Levi convinces Morgana and Yorick to sign his petition. Yorick’s eyes light up, he is clearly starting a new scheme to feed his hunger for chaos.
Morgana sees Mr. Everston, the biology teacher, come up to Miss Jäger and thank her for her creative suggestions for class activities. Morgana’s getting pretty paranoid at this point about how they are all on to her. Levi would prefer to just talk about their relationship. Morgana says that she’s been “taking a break from life” (which explains why she is so hungry). She’s very upset to find out that Levi is lab partnering with Bethany now, while Levi is upset that Morgana has been avoiding him for the past weeks. Bethany comes over to break up this nice intermezzo by reminding Levi that they have a date tonight (looking only at Morgana when she talks). Morgana tells her to fuck off, but Bethany doesn’t take the hint.
Morgana: So Bethany, how’s Brad these days?
Bethany: I don’t know, maybe you should ask him.
Morgana: But weren’t you guys all like the perfect dream couple. It was so romantic.
Bethany: Things change, people move on.
Morgana: Why don’t you move on? Like, the fuck out of here.
Bethany: Oh, I have moved on.
Morgana: So, you don’t want to fuck off?
Bethany: I don’t see why I should. it’s a nice day and I’m having a nice time with a handsome stud who doesn’t seem to be attached at the moment.
Morgana (ragingly hungry, with blood starting to boil): If I was you I would really start to leave now.
Bethany: Well, this is a free country and I’ll do whatever the fuck I want.
Morgana: How about you do whatever the fuck I want.
Bethany: Yeah, that’s not going to happen. Everyone may think you’re the prettiest girl in town but we know you’re not.
Morgana: (imitation voice) Oh, I’m not, am I? *I hit her in the face!!*
The volatile roll is an 8. With a vampire slaying bitch on the premises watching Morgana’s every move, there’s really only one option: Morgana becomes her Darkest Self! Bethany flies backwards and hits her head on the Dryad tree. Levi notices Morgana’s scent totally drops. She argues with Levi. People crowd around to see what’s up with Bethany. Morgana sees Levi pick up Bethany carefully before she rounds the corner.
Yorick breaks into Mr. Robinsons house and goes into his bedroom to study the Anatomy pictures there. They have lines drawn over them. He gazes into the abyss on them, he finds himself tracing the cutting lines on the pictures on his own body with his fingers notices that that’s where the stiffness in his joints is. He also feels a strange connection or tenderness to Mr. Robinson. He leaves a note on the desk saying “I know”. On his way out he notes a door to the basement with a padlock on it, but he files that for later.
Dark Morgana comes by dweeb Sebastian’s dorm room for a snack.
Sebastian: Can I help you?
Morgana: I would like snack actually
Sebastian: Eh.. I have some knäckebrod?
He lets her in and she proceeds to completely humiliate him.
Morgana: So what’s the deal with these model airplanes?
Sebastian: I collect them. This one is really rare, I – Well, I got it from Yorick.
Morgana: Owww… is he like your best friend in the whole world?
Sebastian: I thought he was but now I’m not so sure.
Morgana: I think he got what he wanted from you, whatever that could be, and left.
Sebastian: But he gave me this shirt…
Morgana: I was wondering why you have one piece of clothing that’s not fucking pathetic.
Sebastian: Why are you so mean to me?
Morgana: I don’t know, everyone wants to be mean to you, they’re just too polite to.
Sebastian (dejected) That’s probably true…
She feeds on him and his blood is so filled with self-loathing that she can hardly control herself. She decides to turn him! She’s sick of being alone and enjoys the challenge of corrupting this sad loser into a decent vampire.
(WTF! I’d loosely planned for her sire to show up/call in and command her to turn the purest soul she knows, or something. But now she’s doing it herself! Awesome)
Brad knocks on the door to ask why the dishes aren’t done. Morgana does a superfast vampire move and opens the door dressed only in Sebastian’s ‘cool shirt’. Brad manages to snap a picture and mass-posts it on the snapchat (or whatever the kids are are into these days) saying “OMG you guys, Sebastian totally lost his cherry!”
Levi gets the snapchat and rushes over there.
Yorick finds out more about the construction company that’s demolishing the park in the computer room at the university. The company is legit and boasts about their new contract on their website. He also finds that the previous big job for the company was uncovering a graveyard for an insane asylum in town. When he surfs to that website he feels a huge bolt of electricity that goes through his entire body: this is how he died! He gets a bit of a clear picture of what he used to look like, and how his body was dug up by a shadowy figure.
In the meantime Morgana wants to bury Sebastian to turn him, but she has to wait until it gets dark. She’s stuck in his room for a long time, goes through his books and finds Sebastian’s fantasy section – there’s an actual wicca book in there! Morgana gets her new move that way: The witch move of the Binding Ritual. I rule that because she’s not a witch, she can’t do it innately – she has to to an actual ritual and get a few components (sage, candles, a blue ribbon, etc.) for it.
Levi comes and kicks down the door when Morgana doesn’t answer. He’s pretty livid but she is very unapologetic about her and her nature.
Levi: What will you do to him?
Morgana: I’m making another vampire, I’m all alone!
Levi: No you’re NOT!
Morgana: But you have Bethany now – I saw you cuddle up to her as I was running away
Levi: I wasn’t cuddling up to her!
Morgana: What else could you be doing?
Levi: Drawing attention from YOU!
Levi tells her to “control her fucking urges”, Morgana explains it only happened because of Levi’s date with Bethany. Levi succeeds in putting Morgana in her place and getting her out of her Darkest Self. In her normal self, she feels pretty bad about bringing Sebastian to the brink of death. Levi offers to bring him to the Dryad tree, hoping it can heal Sebastian.
While Yorick is doing research, Mr. Robinson comes by to close up the classrooms. Mr. Robinson wants to see if Yorick is okay and comes a little closer. Yorick draws back. Yorick asks his help with English class, does Mr. Robinson know the story of Dr. Frankenstein? Mr. Robinson is forced to recap the Frankenstein story, but he stresses that the creature was loved by it’s creator and felt a lot of conflicting urges that he needed to get over. When Yorick asks how the story ends, Mr. Robinson is forced to say the creature kills the doctor and then kills himself, but he hurries to add that it’s just a story! He asks Yorick to get some sleep and reconsider his ‘essay’. Yorick leaves and says “I’ll see you around, Doctor”.
(Another nice subtext scene to fit in with the ‘school material mirroring life’ theme. Also, apparently Frankenstein ends totally differently, but this was way cooler foreshadowing)
Levi and Morgana arrive at the tree with Sebastian in a duffel bag. The Dryad (naked green lady) appears, but only to Levi. Morgana gets pretty annoyed with him talking into empty air. Levi explains that he’s working on the demolition issue and the dryad mentions she’s called all her children in to help (and because Levi chose his ‘pack’ move). He asks her help with Sebastian. The Dryad isn’t too happy to see her child chummy with a vampire, but Levi vouches to ‘keep her on the side of nature’. Moss grows all around the tree (except around Morgana) and covers Sebastian completely. It glows and disappears, and Sebastian is breathing again. Yorick walks in on them and notices Sebastian in the duffel bag. They ask him for a doctor, and Yorick says he knows just the guy.
Yorick: What the fuck is wrong with him!
Levi: He had a near-death experience, I’m sure you know just how that feels.
They take a very overpriced taxi and end up in front of Mr. Robinson’s door. Morgana and Yorick are very surprised to find themselves in front of the door of their Algebra teacher! Yorick fails his manipulation roll and I jump to the worst possible conclusion. Mr. Robinson assumes that Yorick killed Sebastian. He closes the door again and starts to make a call. Levi hears him talk to Miss Jäger. The people panic and get into each other’s shared backstories. Yorick once saved Morgana’s life from the Vampire Slayers by lighting their cabin in the woods on fire. All slayers died except Miss Jäger who was saved by her girlfriends’ sacrifice.
A car approaches (“a big fucking jeep”). Morgana and Levi hide, leaving Yorick with Sebastian’s body. Miss Jäger comes out and looks Sebastian over. Yorick tries to pin it on Mr. Robinson, claiming he found Sebastian in a closet in his house. Miss Jäger rings the doorbell and while her back is turned Yorick knocks her out. Mr. Robinson opens the door and freaks the fuck out, yelling “This was never what I meant for you!”. He calls an ambulance and asks Yorick to get the unconscious slayer inside. Morgana tries to follow but Mr. Robinson shuts the door on her.
Yorick: “So, to reiterate, what the fuck is going on?”
Mr. Robinson: “This is not what they paid me for. I guess I created more than I could handle.”
Mr. Robinson takes Yorick into the basement as the ambulance pulls up. The basement is cold and clammy, has a medical lab in it and a crazy wall dedicated to Yorick. There’s some reports here, and profiles for two people. Mr. Robinson admits he made Yorick for money.
Mr Robinson: It was just a job, I mean, the funding..
Yorick: Why do I exist! I don’t care about the money.
Mr Robinson: I just wanted to make something beautiful. And I succeeded. You’re the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen, Yorick.
Yorick: I don’t need to know… why did they make me!
Mr Robinson: Because they thought you could be a force of… well, I don’t know, I don’t want to think about it. I poured everything into you… my heart, my soul, my body!
Mr. Robinson pulls up one of his pant sleeves and show that his left leg is gone and replaced by a prosthetic. He moves towards towards his creation but Yorick is mad and confused.
Mr Robinson: Otherwise you wouldn’t have life at all. I gave you life, don’t you think you owe me something?
Yorick tries to manipulate Mr. Robinson into telling him more about his funders but fails and flies into his Darkest Self. Mr. Robinson explains his funders are an organisation called The Foundation (I didn’t have a cool name ready, so my players made one). Mr. Robinson tries to embrace Yorick but Yorick picks him up and puts him on the slab and threatens to deassemble him.
Levi and Morgana break down the door and run in, passing the slayer lying on the couch, and going down into the basement, and see Yorick lean over Mr. Robinson with a scalpel. Levi tackles Yorick. The tackle leaves the scalpel lodged into Yorick’s chest. Thick black blood goops out of his wound. He attacks Levi who runs away and takes Morgana up with him. The ambulance is outside picking up Sebastian, take one look at them, and start calling the police. Levi and Morgana run for it.
Mr. Robinson is up again and is pointing a gun at Yorick.
Mr Robinson: Maybe the worst thing I did wasn’t creating you, maybe it was loving you.
Yorick: Maybe you’re just an idiot.
Yorick charges him with the scalpel. Mr. Robinson doesn’t pull the trigger and gets stabbed in the heart. He whispers “You could be more than this, Yorick, more than your hunger.” Yorick takes all the files, picks up Mr. Robinson and heads for the front door.
Levi and Morgana climb some roofs to escape the police, and have to wait it out. Yorick throws Mr Robinson’s corpse at the cops in the street. The cops are taken aback, but one of them manages to stun Yorick, which reminds him of the way he died. It feels nasty and he runs.
Morgana talks to Levi about how she doesn’t want to be a vampire any more, drinking from people and having control issues. She’s afraid Miss Jäger will kill her for what she is. She gazes into the abyss and realises that instead of casting it on someone else, she could also cast her newly found Ritual of Binding on herself. Levi tries to seduce her but she says it’s not the time for this. The police start investigating the roofs and they are forced to flee jumping from rooftop to rooftop.
Yorick goes into an internet café and starts googling the foundation (in his darkest self? hmms, perhaps I should have made that a bit harder!). He has a fit and is flooded by his own hungers, he feels them as other entities pulling on him, vying for control. He starts reading their files: it turns out half of him is an anarchist who died in the local insane asylum, and the other is a serial killer buried in a prison graveyard.
Morgana is stuck trying to shop for materials for her ritual in the middle of the night. She hopes Lynn the Goth Girl might have those kind of Wicca things. Morgana shows her the list of Wicca stuff and she’s willing to provide them… for the price of hot make outs! Levi objects, but Morgana says “Do you really prefer that I die than that I make out with a girl!”. Levi grumbles and waits outside. Lynn enjoys this very much and has sex with Morgana. When Morgana comes out Lynn’s smell is all over her. Lynn notices that they also need earth from an unhallowed graveyard (wahoo! Pushing PCs together).
Everyone reconvenes on the graveyard. Yorick is trying to get into the asylum, but as they approach him they all year the wind pick up and whisper “Yooooooooorick”. The mist sets up and starts clinging to him. Levi and Yorick size each other up as the wind still rises. “You have my body, I’ll take it back.” Yorick’s right leg stops responding. He stabs it and more black goop comes out.
Morgana offers to feed on Yorick so she can find out what’s wrong with him. From the blood she learns what the link between Yorick and the ghost is, and that she can probably use the ritual of binding on the ghost. The wind picks up like crazy, and they are in the eye of the storm performing the ritual. Yorick can move but he also feels his hunger for chaos subsiding, it feels like he’s not being controlled by it anymore.
Because Morgana did a selfless act and Yorick gained control of one of his two hungers they both gain a grown up move!
(I loved the grown up moves, but I wanted to keep them to dish out as rewards for redeeming or growing up behavior)
Levi is the first to notice Miss Jäger comes up behind them, carrying a katana. He jumps up between the slayer and Morgana. She questions Morgana and Morgana explains she’s confused and made a mess but she’s trying to be good. She asks how to not be evil. Miss Jäger says they’ve known a few Vampires who have tried to stay good, and that her girlfriend believed they could do it. She explains that they have people who look out for them, and those people are called Watchers (hur, hur). She suggests that Yorick becomes Morgana’s watcher (and offers him an XP to accept). Yorick grudgingly does so.
They ask her about the Foundation and she admits she knows the organisation and that they are pretty powerful. If they want to make a dent into it, they’d better learn to work together and trust each other. She offers a bit of resources but it’s clear most of it will be up to their ‘great powers’. She gives Yorick a USB-drive with more info on it.
Levi asks her about his dryad trouble and she suggests that shouldn’t be a big problem if his friends help out a bit. There’s a cut scene where Morgana visits the director of the university and hypnotises him to give up his renovation plans. Levi gets a grown up move for learning to work with others. The Dryad thanks Levi but warns that his brothers are still on their way and aren’t as sophisticated as him.
Next time in our epic finale of Monsterhearts we take on the Foundation!
The first session played a lot like Fiasco (I’d say a one shot of Monsterhearts could easily be run GM-less) but this second session had a lot more to do for a GM. The session felt like it fell together very easily. I’d set up some problems but hadn’t thought of possible solutions, but the story wove it’s way there quite effortlessly (Morgana’s ritual of binding sure came in handy!). It’s a lot of fun to make NPC’s and storylines and have no clue how stuff will end up. I like this GM’ing thing!