Last week I finally introduced the Supernatural RPG that I have been preparing for. Mostly, it was a teaser to introduce the monster of the week and the characters, and to try to get an initial read on the flavor the campaign is to take. Overall, it was a qualified success.

1) Teaser: The game opened with Jerry Neimann — the fat, geeky ghost hunter that was played with gut-busting elan by my player Joe…you know this guy, gamers (or in this case, he’s a amalgamation of a couple of guys). Tall, fat, myopic, redhaired with the nerd beard (neird, Joe called it.) He’s an IT guy and ghost hunter, a comic book fanatic, a toy collector, who still lives with his parents because he’s stunningly cheap. He’s arrogant, not that well educated but thinks he is, and is a leader in his own mind. the kind of guy that with a straight face can tell you his 300 lb bulk studied ninjutsu and he can cloud men’s minds.

He and his friends Scott, the comic store owner and “amateur physicist” (he got kicked out of Cornell), and his friend Greg, the gay black LARPer who goes by his favorite character’s name since high-school, go into New York City to ghost hunt in the old IRT tunnels near City Hall. (Google them — they’re absolutely beautiful!) There they stumble onto a murder –a man being eaten by a massive, hairy, and pissed off man-thing. Scott is killed when he is swatted off the platforn and hits the third rail. Maloc (Greg) is tossed the breadth of the station. Jerry pees himself a bit, shows some courage, and then nearly gets capped by Transit cops who are wondering why the lights are on in a closed station under City Hall. Jerry and Maloc survive what is coming to be known as “The Werewolf of Manhattan…”

Next, we intro Leo Parkes, former FBI agent, with a dream sequence of him playing catch with his son at their place along the Cheasapeake. The kid goes missing looking for the ball. He goes to find him and sees the reflection of the serial killer Graves that he had captured with all-black, shark-like eyes. He runs for the house where suddenly there are cops cars and cops trying to stop him from going in. His partner Bob Morton is telling him not to go up, he doesn’t want to see this…and then there’s his son, hanging on the wall from pierced hands and feet with strange marking carved into him and painted around him on the wall…then his son looks up at him and tells him to wake up…

…to his assistant Wanda, who doesn’t know why she puts up with his drunk Irish ass. He’s been off the grid for two days on a bender, trying to keep the ghosts quiet. Bob Morton has been trying to call him for two days: they’ve got a wierd one in NYC and he wants to put him on the payroll as a contract investigator. If he’s sober. He flies to New York.

Next, we’re at the Vatican where we intro Father MacEveney and Dr. DellaMarina, and the Instituto del’Esterno Affari, a branch of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith. Led by a crusty old archbishop nicknamed “the Mastiff” (most of this cribbed from Arturo Perez-Reverte’s excellent The Seville Communion), they do mostly exorcisms, etc. around the world. But this time they have something more dangerous…three months of attacks in New York have led dellaMarina to conclude there’s a werewofl, or possibly more than one, on the loose in Manhattan. This is their next assignment: find and eliminate them.

Mac was a navy chaplain, but even there he never carried a gun. The people he helps, he hasn’t had to kill before. This is going to be a tough one. These people didn’t ask to be monsters; they might not even know what they’re doing. But unless he can find a way to contain them, they’ll have to be put down. He flies to NYC. (Canovas was not introduced; the player was out of town.)

In New York, Parkes gets briefed on the situation and why he was pulled in. There’s a terror alert for the 9/11 memorials and the FBI has most of the office working Joint Terrorism Task Force. It’s dark, rainy (there’s another hurricane off the coast being held at bay by a tropical storm…) and very moody as a setting. I think it hit it out of the park with the descriptions during play. He isn’t wanted there by the SAC, who nows of his drinking problems.

The evidence suggests a number of attacks. The first month there were a few attacks in Central Park over a two day period with one survivor that is considered unreliable as a witness as he was high at the time. The next month, the attacks trebled in number, in the Park — but at the same time there were a number in Tribeca (Where the first survivor lives) in the subway stations! There were two survivors of one attack. Last month, the number quadrupled — with attacks at NYU, Tribeca and the IRT (the teaser), and Flushing. Multiple suspect descriptions, including one woman (one of the survivors was a woman who lives in Flushing.) Parkes thinks it’s a conspiracy, and they start the investigation the next morning before he can have a chance to get drunk.

Father Mac and Dr. dellaMarina arrive, brief the archbishop and get put up at the old rectory where he was apprenticing when 9/11 happened (St. Peter’s on Church.) Lots of character stuff with the old priest he served under and going to view the construction and spotlights at the 9/11 site.

That’s where we left off after a three hour session…

The high points: the atmosphere was just about right — there’s some humor (mostly Neimann), but it’s dark, foreboding, but the real “horror” came from the Ground Zero descriptions and flashbacks of Parkes to his kid’s murder and Mac’s aiding people when the towers collapsed in front of him.

Neimann…this character was excellent and the player hit it out of the park.

They’re hunting werewolves, but in some ways, people are more scary.

The low points: pacing was, as always for a first night, spotty. The teaser clipped along but a lot of time was sucked up by great character stuff by Neimann; the rest was a bit slower, and most exposition and character bits.

More as it plays…

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