Actual Play – SFPD Character Creation (12/6 and 1/3, yeah holidays are hell on gaming)

GM: Sean Nittner
Players: Eric Fattig, Chris Vincenti, Omar Camacho, Travis Lindquist, Steven Dunn and Alec Ransdell
System: Dresden Files

This has HANDS DOWN been the best Dresden/Fate character creation I’ve ever been part of. Two reasons

1) When the players guest starred in each other’s stories they didn’t just say “this is how I was awesome in your story” which is what I have seen in the past. They said this is how we became tight together. We had people dating each other’s girlfriends, we had stand-by-me adventures of kids on the wild, we had cops standing up for each other and throwing people down a flight of stairs. The characters didn’t meet each other, they became, in little ways, little unbalanced and fun ways, part of each other’s lives. THAT is what made this great.

2) To a much, much smaller extent I used a method for city creation. For every cop that told me their high concept, I asked “why does San Francisco need you, what is happening that makes what you just told me necessary to our story.” From that we built themes, threats, faces and locations. People that were part of the city, but were also a dark reflection of the protagonists. Character creation IS city creation.
So, I gush, but who are these fine boys (and girls) in blue? Well, first off, it is more complicated than that. The devil is in the details.

VC – the Red Court Vet. Five years ago he was ready to retire, on his last case, a last hurrah. During a raid he got bit, but never turned. Instead he found the Vet Corps, or rather they found him. A fraternity of law enforcement officers that got turned but bound together and fought it off. The local chapter of St. Giles in San Francisco, an handful of old vets that wear a single face, or rather a single name. Like the Dread Pirate Roberts, like El Vago, like the Shadow, like the Slayers (you know before Buffy activated them all) the organization may have many members but only who serves, who acts for them, who is the manifestation of all of them: VC. The man, the people, they are the same. So what do all the others do? They train new recruits, they help them in times of desperation, they give them guidance, but more than anything, they watch and they wait for them to fall. They wait for VC to stumble, to take a life and to change. And when they do, the rest of the VC is ready with holy water and shotguns. So, now VC, our VC wears the mantle.

Note: Alec missed the last session so I acted as proxy to figure out what stories he was in, but didn’t actually play them out, so I’m introducing him first because he is as of yet to be integrated. But… even that said, he pulled rank on another character and put away one of his perps into witness protection to keep them safe from the Red Court, and watched another cop throw a Marine corporal down a flight of stairs and covered it up. Even with the snippets we’ve built around him, VC has his hands dirty.
Threat: The Rent is Too Damn high. People can’t afford to live here. They don’t have enough money, status, time, or control. This is one of the city’s principal threats. VC’s family is getting evicted. Red Court vampires are picking bums off the street. Crimes of desperation and stupidity are happening all over the place and yet people still flock to the city. They come for the culture, the art, the ocean, the freedom to be whoever they want to be, a place to call their own, only they can’t afford what it costs. And as for VC, he’s got all this power surging through his veins, and he is nowhere near ready to pay the price.

Kyle Stone – Sergeant nuts over there. Kyle is my loose cannon, my cop with anger issues. The one who will stir the pot. He’s Arthur’s Kay, he’s Clark’s Lois, and he’s got a squirrel in his brain. Yep, the Vikings to the mind of a bear to give them ferociousness in combat, Stone is a Sciuridaethrope. He jumps on perps, he flies out of trees to tackle them, he gets up in people’s faces and throws them down stairs… and that was all before he learned the spell to give him squirrel mind! Stone grew up poor and decided to make something of himself as a cop, but his aspirations are higher still. The thing about Stone is he drive people crazy, makes them do stupid things too… including giving lots of money. Not to him per se, but to the precinct, which is great because…

Location: Precinct 42 – Aspect: Broke as a joke. The 42 doesn’t have bad coffee, they get it from Starbucks down the street… because the coffee machine broke last week and it is still broken now. They don’t have funding for sting operations, they don’t have funding for a CD of Sting’s greatest hits. This is an extension, a particularly extreme extension, of the San Francisco’s threat The Rent is Too Damn High.

Connections – You some cops who have the big breaks because they are tenacious, smart, dedicate? Stone got his big break on accident. He stumbled right into an FBI investigation and caught the crook that not only the FBI but INTERPOL and Secret Service were after… he caught Remington Monroe (see below) because he saw him drop a briefcase and tried to give it back, stumbling right into his counterfeit printing press. He stomped all over county, state, federal and international lines dragging a while color crook like Monroe right down the 42 and booking him alongside the prostitutes and gang bangers. Hell came from above, but at the 42 he was a fucking hero. Aspect: Juris-my-dick-tion

When Akbari (see below) joined the force in CSI nobody really hated him but he got picked on a lot. He was ex-marine, he was the new guy, he got the job on a favor, and he was really sensitive about being Arabic. Which of course, is why people teased him about it. So the new kid was used to getting harassed and used to freaking out about it… but this guy Colonel Michaels came out of Akbari’s past, he came to the precinct to start crap with him AND he was going to blow the Montoya Cartel case by getting Akbari kicked off it. Michaels had an axe to grind, but instead of sharpening it, Stone broke his blade. He shoved Michaels and pushed him down two flights of stairs, paralyzing him. Akbari knew he finally had someone on the force who was a brother, and Stone, well nobody was coming into HIS home and messing with HIS people. Aspect: I knocked Michaels off my branch.

Sahad Akbari – CSI Hidden Hematomancer. Travis love Dexter, I mean loves the show. So he gets this idea, what if blood DID talk to you. What all the stuff Dexter did was doable by someone who understood blood so well he could learn thing from it no human possibly could. Sahad is Jordanian, but born and raised in San Diego. He joined the marine as a CI and thought he had a home there. The bonds of a Marine were his family… and then he found out his house was happy home he hoped for. Colonel Michaels killed one his own men and somehow, somehow that couldn’t not be explained, Sahad knew it. The blood told him, he accused Michaels but the whole thing got thrown out… no evidence… and he got discharged. Sahad spiraled into a funk. His new power didn’t make sense and it didn’t help that he could smell blood everywhere he turned. And then he found his direction… The Comics Code authority. With some help from his old LT and a her uncle in the SFPD (VC), Sahad got a new start, which is good for San Francisco because it is full of…

Threat: Bodies left Behind. Crime has been rampant and cases the cops can’t put their finger on keep coming up. Homicide case are racking up and once people get wind that crime is up, public image is going to pot. Red court is involved but something else is happening too. The Jade Court has decided to expand out of Hong Kong and into San Francisco. It’s going to be ugly.

Connections – Ashley was a great girl. She was a Harvard grad, laughed at Sahad’s jokes and loved eating out with him at the Pakwan, a great Halal restaurant. Only it wasn’t just a great restaurant, it was a great place to stake out Remington Monroe’s operation in the City. And Ashely wasn’t just a girl, she was a fed on his case… and she was seeing Monroe as part of her cover. So who’s girlfriend was she really. Aspect: Don’t touch my girl!

Years ago, a boy, a military brat, Sahad was with his father as a new military base in the Dominican Republic . There he met a local boy, a boy on some kind of vision quest. A boy he called T’challa (from the comic book character Black Panther). Together with him and a girl, a diplomat’s daughter, they went into the jungle in search of a demon. A feathered monster in many brilliant collars, with a ferocious beak and a wail terror. They hunted… the tucan! But to these kids, it was a great adventure… it happened log ago though, who knows where those people are now… (Rose was the girl, Raul the native, see below for both of them).

The rest of character creation followed just as well including

Remington Monroe
, the white collar crook busted by Stone, and then released into custody by Rose Itsuiki because she needed him. Or at least she thought she did, affairs were muddled with behind the scene by the one and only Mab. He impressed her, the only person to steal a painting of the Winter Lady. Turns out she and Monroe made a deal, neither one of them likes being in irons. She got him out of jail… he’s now her winter knight. Now he’s on “Her Majesty’s Leash”.

Rose Itsuaki
is “Daddy’s little disappointment”. Her father was a powerful diplomat that handed her an extremely prestigious career working for the Japanese Olympic Committee. And she turned him down to become a cop. A linguist who speaks nearly a dozen languages she hate being thought of as an outsider, so she’s always trying to be “one of the boys”. Rose has Monroe on a leash that she wishes was a choke chain. She’s always pushing Hasad into the spot light so people think he is the weirdo, and relations with her father are extremely strained. One of her aspects “I’m not going to be some Japanese Dude’s wife!” She’s also the only vanilla mortal in the group. Like Sahad, she joined Raoul in an childhood adventure in the Domican Republic, though none of them remember the details well enough to recognize each other.

Raoul Rodriguez – Papa Legba’s Saturday Night Special Houngun. Raoul is a pitcher for the SF Giants and a voodoo priest that likes to “play cop”. Something of a Sir Robin, he’s got dreams of doing great things but has to always watch out that he doesn’t betray his career. Trouble: Ice my arm down coach. When Rose was undercover in vice trying to track a criminal through the escort services he hired, Raoul ended up hitting on her at a party, “Do I know you from somewhere?” Later, when Stone was on the job he stumbled into some things WAY over his head. Murder perpetrated by a cabal of warlocks, foolishly he took up their occult texts, learned to invite a totem creature into his mind. Or course, the warlocks who had been preparing this ritual for months were none too thrilled that Stone ruined it and were about to unleash hellfire onto him (literally). If it weren’t for the help of pinch hitter Rodriquez and a fastball to the dome, Stone would have never made it out of their alive. That’s when Raoul decided to start dedicating himself to helping people by helping out the good old SFPD.

What rocked

See above

What could have improved

We needed our 6th player there. As is there is still some wrap up to do.