Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Race is Run

Yesterday was the final session of my Dresden Files game, Let It Ride. Let's watch, shall we?

The day of the race, everyone prepares. Lou, his job nearly done, relaxes at the casino. Georgina Valentine approaches him and asks for, effectively, early access to the race, to check out the horses. Lou, knowing something's amiss, denies her, but eventually tells her when the horses will be presented and when the security folks (Rusty and Clive) will be around.

At the race, Opal puts a contract together, stating that the signatories will not interfere with the other contestant and that everyone's to keep it sociable. Lou tells the security boys not to admit the Valentines, and folks start arriving. Alice is in the stables with Bo, who's nervously awaiting his jockey (and his transformation).

Billy Ray arrives just after sundown, and cheerfully signs the contract (it protects him as much as anyone). The Fae Ladies arrive from the NeverNever at the same moment, and glower a little at each other before signing, but they do. Albert, Leroy, Jeannine, and Anthony Lucredi arrive, one by one, and signed (Jeannie obviously out of her element).

Arthur Bingham arrives...with the Valentines. Opal tells him that they aren't allowed in, and he effectively threatens to pull his horse from the race. She calls Lou, who eventually says that if they sign the contract, things should be OK. They do, and things proceed.

In the stables, Leroy arrives, and Alice recites the incantation and turns Bo into a horse. She heads up to the VIP booth, with the other folks, and the horses take their marks.

The starter pistol sounds, and bang! The Fae Horses take a quick lead! As the horses run up to the first turn, Clive, who's there watching for shenanigans, feels Phobos urging him to stay visible (trying to spook the horses). He doesn't fight it, and the horses shy away a little. Warden's Wings (the White Council horse) and April Showers (Arthur Bingham's) falter and back off, losing enough ground that they're effectively out.

But then Phobos gets more aggressive. He wants Fireball, the Black Court's horse to win, because that will put the fear into Lexington. Clive decides this is quite enough, and fights the spirit's attempt at possession. The spirit beats up Clive pretty good, mentally, giving him the Tempted, Confused and finally Ridden consequences, but Clive literally punches himself in the head and stuns the spirit long enough for the horses to ride on.

Now on the second half, Alice sees Bo start to falter...and change back into human form. Knowing that he'll be crushed if that happens, she runs up to the announcer's booth and yells into the mic, "The bridle, the saddle, the bit in your teeth!" and changes him back. But he's stumbled, and lost too much ground. (Fun fact: If she'd spent a Fate chip for another +2, she'd have kept him in the race. She chose to let him lose, to keep him safe.)

Now rounding the third turn, the horses run toward where Lou and Rusty are standing. But then, Shuck, the giant fae-wolf, leaps the fence and charges at the horses. Rusty changes to wolf form and runs at it, but doesn't quite make it before it reaches the horses.

It bites and guts Veni Vidi Vici (the White Court horse), and the others scatter around it. Rusty slams into it, and bites at it, but it bites at him right back. Lou shoots it, and Clive runs down from the other end of the field and grabs the wolf in a big bear hug, and the heaves it over the fence.

Lou, having had enough weirdness, activates the circle he set up earlier. Magic stops flowing into the place. The Winter Court horse has lost enough ground that it's effectively out - now it's down to Derek's Fall (Jeannine), Sleipnir (Albert), Inferno (Summer Court) and Fireball (Black Court).

Derek's Fall and Inferno fall back, suddenly, as their jockeys clutch their heads. The fairy ladies turn to Opal and glare at her. Clarence, furious, asks her what's going on (but Opal doesn't know what Lou did). Clarence says that without magic from the NeverNever, the fairy horses don't have the power to race. Opal, thinking quickly, opens a gateway into the NeverNever herself, and lets magic rush in.

Lou, seeing, this, figures she's got it under control and breaks the circle.

The last four horses race for the finish line. I made some rolls, but let the players spend Fate chips and tap aspects to affect those rolls. Opal pushes to Sleipnir, Clive for Fireball, but Rusty pushes for Derek's Fall and the other folks push Fireball back. Derek's Fall races across the finish line.

The fairy ladies are pretty pissed off. Opal tells them they're welcome to file a complaint, but they're not amused. Albert gets his father and the other mortals out, figuring things are about to get nasty. But the fairy ladies just leave, perhaps each secretly glad that the other didn't win. Billy Ray, too, doesn't look too hurt. And the Valentines bet on Derek's Fall (so did Rusty), which is a nice payout.

Jeannine realizes that she's won. Shuck, over the fence, collapses into fur and dust. Every tree around the track bursts into bloom. The 99 Year Race is over.

The characters go out to the Horse & Barrel for whiskey and dinner, and Jeannine asks what she should do. The characters mention that she could probably improve her own station a bit, at the very least. She says that, otherwise, she just wants things to change.

And on that note, we leave the characters, toasting Jeannine with bourbon (apple juice, in Alice's case).

And that's a wrap! We may revisit these folks again, as the players were interested to meet Alice's kid and follow that plotline.