After the over-preparing I did for Issue 1 of Masks, I decided to go the opposite direction for Issue 2. I had a vague Idea where I was taking the story line so I only had 4 Small Bullet Points for Issue 2, they were:
- Shinobi Shaw meets with Cythor and Star Chyld
- Fabian gets in trouble at school Hurts Marc Hopper -Drug (RUSH) is involved.
- Star Chyld still having visions of Mobious
- Beast – Obsidian Scene.
I started the session once again talking about the cover of the Issue. I knew Fabian was going to be an antagonist and Dr. Eternity was going to be involved as well. I decided to go out on a limb. A dramatic cover was going to have a member of the cast on the ground in another team members arms while Fabian stands over and Dr. Eternity over them all. I figured the Nova was the best bet his powers rely on him taking conditions and he still had a few leftover from the last session. So Star Chyld was on the Ground being held by Obsidian. It was a great image the players loved it, now I had to figure out how to get there.
I started with the last bullet point first. Obsidian is a transformed someone who doesn’t fit in and can never look like everyone else. Beast was supposed to be Obsidian’s mentor but I hadn’t had a scene with them yet. So we started there. Beast was asking about the team leadership and how Obsidian was fitting in. Obsidian being a teen was playing aloof, noncommunicative and uninterested in what Beast had to say. Obsidian basically ended with “I’m here because I won’t be accepted anywhere else. I either make it work or I have nothing.” Not what Beast wanted to hear. I didn’t have Beast push the issue instead I just let the scene end.
The next major scene took place at Star Chyld’s locker. I let the players frame the scene. Star Chyld was trying to show off the new handheld (Guessing Nintendo Switch) he picked up with his dad’s credit card, trying to prove that he’s cool. This is where I had an idea. The players early on talked about wanting to embrace the cliqued teen angst and drama of the High School setting, so I decided to go After School special and see what happens. In the locker, another player notices a strange envelope, inside was 5 tabs of RUSH, the postage stamp type drug we established in Issue 1. In Issue 1 Star Chyld took the drug so I wasn’t sure what they would do in response. They all got conspiratorial, Star claimed it wasn’t his no idea how it got there and they were going to hide it and get rid of it. The Delinquent, Cythor said he’d take care of it, and as he grabbed the envelope, Fabian Showed up grabbed the new Handheld Star Chyld had and acted impressed. I was trying to convey that Fabian was a jerk yes but still just a high schooler trying to impress and maybe in a strange way make friends. The group wasn’t having it, however, and unpleasantly told Fabian to take a hike. Before he left he whispered to Cythor “Hey if you want to cut class and take a couple of those let me know” indicating he saw Cythor pocket the RUSH.
Mobius remarked he had to get an exam, and Obsidian off to his lab. I asked Star Chyld where he was going to be he said he had the same exam Mobius did. Great, bullet point 3 opportunity ahead.
Cythor, on the other hand, really wanted to get rid of the drugs. After Fabian’s whispered comment Cythor was convinced Fabian was trying to frame them. Cythor had an Idea, he planted some of the drugs’ in Fabien’s locker (thinking that if Fabian convinced the staff to do a locker search the plan would backfire) and he was going to get rid of the other RUSH in the boy’s bathroom. Cythor failed an ‘assess the situation’ roll and decided to hide the drugs above the drop ceiling tiles in the bathroom. He failed a roll, so I was going to have him be interrupted. My first thought was by Fabien. He’s the villain, after all, whose trying to be chummy with the party. However, they shut him down pretty harshly in the last scene. So instead I pulled an audible and had Marc Hopper show up.
Marc’s arrival startled Cythor who fell off the illusions he was using to get to ceiling this caused him to tumble to the ground and the envelope to fall to the floor with the tabs, of course, spilling out. Cythor was busted. Marc, however, was curious as heck. Marc asked all kinds of questions. In character creation, Marc was decided to be a young 13-year illusionist mutant who was enamored with Cythor. Marc guessed it was RUSH and had heard Star Chyld took it at the dance party. Cythor, however, was able to convince Marc that the tabs weren’t really RUSH but fakes they made as a joke. Cythor quickly left the bathroom post haste with the drugs.
Of course, as Cythor leaves the bathroom the scene stayed inside, as we saw one lone tab sitting on the floor underneath a stall, Marc sees it and picks it up.
Now back to the exam. Stay Chyld being a prodigy finishes quite quickly while Mobius is struggling. He didn’t study at all. Star Chyld while bored looks over to his teammate, and sees Dr. Eternity sitting at his desk instead. Dr. Eternity turns and looks at Star Chyld. Star Chyld Freaks out and looks back and sees Mobius. Star Chyld quickly convinces the professor to let him use the restroom, once in the hall he starts frantically texting Obsidian.
Meanwhile Obsidian is in Lab with his partner and girl he’s sweet on Slip-Stream. Slip-Stream is not interested in the lab any more than Obsidian, she’s instead thanking Obsidian for saving her from the collapsing wall at the club. They go on talking about the Sentinel fight. When Slip-Stream mentions what Mobius did the conversation changes. They start talking about Mobius. Obsidian, who knows Mobius has the hots for Slip-Stream as well, drops the notion that he thinks Mobius might be gay. (a ‘friend’ of mine actually did this exact thing to me in High School) Slip-Stream can’t believe it, and as their discussion leaves whisper level they get reprimanded from the teacher. This is when Obsidian notices all the text from Star Chyld, so he gets himself excused from class.
Star Chyld is going on about this evil version on Mobius he keeps seeing and they look into Mobius’ classroom. Obsidian sees nothing, Star Chyld sees Dr. Eternity standing outside the window of the classroom staring at Star Chyld. Obsidian thinks Star is having after effects of the RUSH he took. Class is soon over and they all go to lunch. Star wants to talk so he convinces them all to meet on the roof.
Star lays out his case for the evil Mobius, it’s pretty flimsy only he has seen it. No one believes him. Things aren’t going well for him… Time for me to interfere.
Let me stop here for a sec. These last 3 scenes, the bathroom, the exam, the lab, my players came up with. I let them set the scene, “So Cythor is skipping classing, what is he doing where do we see him next?” “So Mobius and Star are taking an exam when we look into the room what do we see?” The lab I had a better Idea, I wanted Slip-Stream to be showing interest in Obsidian, so I set that scene but Obsidian quickly took the driver’s seat. Giving them agency to describe the setup and steer the scene allowed then to feel more connected to the various troubles they were quickly causing. The players complicated their characters own lives with how they responded to things and it was great.
So back to the rooftop. There is a large crash as they look over and see Marc Hopper thrown out the window of the cafeteria. Fabian running out the door after him.
Ok, I have to cut this article here. I hate posting half a story.. but all of this is just that.. half the story. It is way too long a post for someone to read the whole thing in one sitting so I am going to break it up. The rest of it will come out real soon (Friday hopefully.. Monday at the latest… most of it is already written) I hope you stick around for part 2 because it all pays off quite well.. This was one of my favorite roleplaying sessions to date.