Yesterday marked the first session of play for our My Life With Master game. Off the bat the personalities of the players all seem to mesh well together, and I’m quite pleased with the MLwM system so far.
We begin the session with Boris stalking about his manor, just north of the village center Ingolstadt. Boris is a tall, bald man with large coke-bottle glasses. His face is not quite solemn, but devoid of emotion as he goes about his business. He calls his servants to attention and informs them that he is planning a dinner party for his former colleagues and plans to impress them with his hospitality and treat them to a demonstration of his radical ideas.
“Sergei!” he calls.”Yes, Master?” comes the reply.
Boris holds up a snifter of alcohol, dangling above Sergei’s head. Sergei shakes his head, not wishing to imbibe the liquid, asking the Master to give him another option. Boris is unphased by his minions protests and tells Sergei that for his meal he is in need of a Boar, whole and stuffed, roasted on a spit, and a cask of the finest lager the the bartender has on stock. Sergei takes the liquid, but does not drink it. He submits to his Master’s bidding and heads toward the town.
“Akita,” Boris beckons, “you know the town whore, Helga? She is known amongst the people for her vitality and enthusiasm.” Akita pauses, thinking of the people she had come into contact with and says “Oh… the woman with the large hips?”. “Yes, Helga. The whore. Bring her to me”. Akita unquestioningly nods and smiles, happy to please her Master
To Puce, Boris gave the task of collecting firewood, enough to fill Puce’s favorite wheelbarrow (a gift given her on her “second birthday”, the day she was reborn at Boris’ hand. It’s a rusty old thing, and potentially dangerous, but it is a token from the Master which Puce treasures.). Puce rather ambivalently agrees.
Sergei walks into the local bar. The regulars are a gnarly bunch, sour and torn from hard labor. They hardly glance up from their drinks as Sergei makes his way to the counter where Olaf is tending bar. Sergei steps up to him, realizing at that moment that Boris had not sent him with any money.
“O-O-O-Olaf, m-my g-g-good man, I-I-I require, re-require, s-some…” Olaf is noticeably annoyed at this unwelcome distraction and makes Sergei known that his presence is not desired in his establishment. “I’ll give you until the count of three to tell me what the hell you want”. Sergei stutters and stumbles over his words, attempting to get his point across, but Olaf will have none of it. He points to the door, “OUT!”. Sergei leaves the bar and eyes the alcohol his master had given him.
Akita nears the brothel on the other side of town. A pretty girl, probably about 17-years-old stands at the door. After an awkward exchange of hand gestures and incredibly broken German, the girl offers for Akita to find Helga upstairs. Akita walks up the rickety stairs to find Helga in a back room, being paid by a town official. The man nervously tips his hat and exits the room. Now alone with Helga, Akita attempts to convey her desire to bring Helga to Dr. Von Schnee’s manor. As Akita’s charades prove nearly useless, she grabs a bill from Helga’s hand and jots down the name “BORIS” with a nearby quill. Helga’s face twists with disgust, “Oh, him? That strange old doctor who lives up in the mansion? That creepy man?”. She is greeted with smiles “Yes! Up!”. “What does he need me for?”, she asks. “Four? Four, five, six! Come! Up!”. “Six men? Well…God… I’ll… I’ll come with you, but briefly.” and with that, Akita takes her hand and gently tugs, with a smile and a wink.
Puce makes her way to the local woodcutter. It is day out and she cannot directly interact with the villagers. Seeing as how she’s not very keen on talking to them anyway, she sets about taking the wood while Johanne, the woodcutter, is engaged in other business. This leads to the first roll of the evening! Puce is attempting Villainy, and rolls the Master’s Fear (3) plus her Self-Loathing (2). This gives her five dice verses three for Boris’ Reason. The dice roll in Puce’s favor (6 to 3), and she successfully loads her wheelbarrow with firewood.
Sergei downs the alcohol Dr. Von Schnee had provided him with and feels the familiar burning within his veins. He saunters back into the bar, a new vigor in his step. “Olaf, my good man, I believe you did not understand me a moment ago. I need a cask of the finest lager you have, immediately. My master requires it.” The bartender, now suddenly noticing just how large and intimidating Sergei is, attempts to collect money, “Well, if you have cash… I would be happy to sell you my lager”. “Master is not going to take NO for an answer!” Sergei emphasizes his point by hammering his large fist onto the counter, and due to Sergei’s stats being far above any hope of Olaf succeeding, Sergei is granted a free Villainy “roll”. His Self-Loathing increases by 1. “I… Well, I’m sure Von Schnee is good for the money. Please, here, there’s a cask of Golden Oak. Do you have a mule and cart to carry it?” Sergei pauses… “In a manner of speaking.”. With that, Sergei hoists the large cask over his shoulder and sets out to find his boar.
Akita walks hand in hand with Helga, smiling at her cheerfully. She passes by the Lutheran church where Father Klaus Hoyda is speaking with an elder outside. He comes up to Akita and asks “Akita, what are you doing with this woman?”. She smiles and says “Come! Up!”. The father doesn’t understand. “What- are you working with her? For her?”. “Yes! Four, five, six!”… the father now confused, looks at Akita with a concerned eye. In an attempted Overture roll to win favor with Father Hoyda, I roll the Master’s Fear minus Akita’s Self Loathing, which gives me two dice. Ian rolls the Master’s Fear minus Reason and has one die. We both end up with a score of two. A tie determines that the attempt is interrupted! (One point of love is still awarded in the connection between Akita and Klaus)
As Klaus begins to speak, a scream is heard from the bell-tower above. A little girl jumps and plummets down, landing with a sickening thud at the feet of Father Hoyda. He grabs the mangled child into his arms and weeps. Helga stands in shock, frozen. Akita looks on awkwardly, wondering if this is some strange ritual she is unaware of.
On her way home, Puce passes a carriage. Within the carriage an attractive woman sits, staring out at the countryside (players know that this is the woman with whom Puce’s male half had an affair with). Puce is strangely drawn to this woman. She keeps her head down and focused forward and asks telepathically “Where are you going?”. “Why, I’m going home!”, the woman replies and sits up, as though waking herself from a dream. She looks around, spooked. Here Puce attempts an Overture to with the woman, but a tie is rolled. The Overture is interrupted, but a point of love still gained. Behind her, Puce can hear the voice of a very upset Johanne, demanding she return his wood. She telepathically shouts “I miss you!”, nearly against her will, before running away from Johanne and into the woods, a bundle of wood under her arm.
Because Sergei’s Self-Loathing exceeded his love + reason, we cut to The Horror Revealed. This basically demands that Sergei’s player (D) loses a scene and instead narrates a scene of horror amongst NPCs which show the psychic vibrations from such evil bleeding into the world. Dave takes the stage. We see Henrick, the father of the little girl that jumped off of the bell-tower, in the bar, working the bottle with no regard. Olaf, concerned for the poor man, attempts to cut him off and reaches to take the bottle. In a drunken fit, Henrick engaged Olaf in a scuffle. Alcohol driving him, Henrick pushes Olaf harder and the searing surprise of pain shoots across Olaf’s face. Looking down, he has been impaled by the leg of a chair.
Akita stands silent amongst the murmuring townsfolk, now gathering around Father Hoyda and the little girl. The townsfolk seem to be whispering about her, the strange foreigner who has appeared at such an awful time as this freak accident. She understands that there is sadness and has seen people give others a kerchief in their distress. Using this reasoning, Akita removes her hip scarf and puts it into Helga’s hand and then up to her face. Another Overture roll proves successful for Akita and she gains a point of love in a new Connection with Helga. She is able to scurry off with Helga before the crowd got out of hand.</P
Puce calls out “It’s me! Help!” telepathically to her pseudo-former lover and is felled to the ground by Johanne. As he reaches back to swing at her with an axe, we move into a physical confrontation. Puce loses the roll by 1 and Johanne’s ax sinks into Puce’s shoulder. She is barely able to push him off and flees further into the woods.
Sergei decides that it is much easier to hunt a boar than to worry about interacting with the butcher and as such heads into a nearby thicket to hunt. He is able to track down a sow and her piglets. In moments, (and with an easy win in a physical confrontation) the sow’s neck has been snapped to the point that it has almost come completely detached from the its body. Pleased with his hunt, Sergei trudges off, cask over one shoulder, boar over the other. (Here we decided that due to the nature of this encounter, Sergei’s SL did not have to increase another point).
Akita and Helga have arrived at the door of the manor and make their way in. Akita is startled to see Boris standing near the door, arms clasped behind his back. He coldly smiles at Akita’s job well done. He notes that it was done in more time than preferred. Akita tells her Master of the little girl and the bell-tower and the murmuring crowd. “Is this a ritual?” She asks? “No, we’re not savages like your people”, he replies, “Now, you’ve done a good job, hand her over to me.” Boris speaks to Akita, wishing her to turn over Helga. “Is she going to clean for you?”, asks Akita, speaking of the other servants’ work around the manor. “Akita, don’t be silly, you know what happens in the study, now give her to me.” Boris stretches out his hand. “But.. but I LIKE her!”, Akita resists! Here Akita rolls her Love minus Weariness, and is granted 1d8 for sincerity. She wins (7 to 5), in building up a resistance against the Master. Boris looks at her sternly and roughly grabs Helga. “We will have a discussion about this later. I do not like this new attitude of yours.”
Puce has gained some distance on Johanne. She drops her wood and climbs into a nearby tree. When Johanne approaches, she drops from the tree, ambushing him. (She wins her roll). His back breaks from the impact. Puce grabs one of the nearby logs and bludgeons his head, sending blood and skull fragments spattering across her front. She retrieves her wheelbarrow and carts the wood- and Johanne- to the manor.
On his way back from his tasks, Sergei passes a stream. A little boy sits there, playing with a sailboat on a string. Still intoxicated from the Master’s drink, Sergei is mistaken and believes the boy to be Gregor, the son he murdered in a drunken rage. “The boat! How does the boat float? Gregor, how does it float?” Sergei approaches the boy. An Overture roll commences, which Sergei succeeds, and he gains a point of love in his connection with the little boy. The boy smiles up at Sergei “My name is Adolph, but you can call me Gregor if you’d like. That’s a fun game!”. The two spend time with the boat.
Boris emerges from his study, smiling and whistling. His face is noticeably more lively, as is his step. “Akita, have I ever told you… for a savage, and despite the tone of your skin, you’re actually quite lovely?” Boris brushed Akita’s cheek with his hand. Helga emerges from the study, ashen-faced and exhausted. Akita looks up at Boris, scowling, “I do not like what you did to her…”. Boris chuckles at her and tells her that this is the way it is. Besides, Helga was a dried up old whore, useless chattel at her age. He shakes his head and goes about, chirping orders to the others. Helga wobbles and Akita rushes to catch her. She cradles the woman in her arms for a moment, then runs into Boris’ study to fetch some of his favorite brandy with which to revive Helga. Another Overture roll ties! As Akita brushes Helga’s hair from her face and leans closer to peer into her eyes, Sergei busts in, walking between the women, blood from the boar spattering down on top of Akita’s face and blouse.
“Master!”, calls Sergei, excitedly, “Master, I found my son! How did you do this? How did you bring him back? Oh, Gregor! He lives!”. Boris comes in and looks Sergei up and down, “You’re an imbecile, and you’re drunk!” He laughs at Sergei, “You brutally murdered your son, you bashed his head in with your bare hands! He will never come back, he’s dead, you idiot!”. Sergei, speechless, hangs his shoulders a bit. “Now, put those in the kitchen.” Boris nods at the boar and the cask. “Yes, Master…”
Soon after this Puce returns to the manor. She comes across Helga, nearly lifeless, and Akita sitting on the floor with her, attempting to pour brandy into her mouth. “Why is the whore on the floor?” asks Puce, as she scratches at her crotch. She finds this woman vaguely familiar. Unable to understand Akita’s blatherings on, Puce loses interest quickly and, arm dangling from her shoulder, calls for her Master. “Fix me!”, she barks at Boris. “Is that Johanne?”, he asks, pointing to the body in the wheelbarrow. “FIX. ME”. Boris explains that he can stitch Puce’s arm back, but that she does not regenerate as she once did. In order to heal, she would have to ingest the flesh of Johanne. She looks up at Boris in disbelief. “I am NOT doing that”. A roll is made to resist the Master, in which Puce horrible fails. Boris gives Puce a foreboding look, “I’ll fix you while you eat. And don’t eat it in the foyer, go out back where nobody can see you.”. Puce grimaces and picks up a piece of Johanne. With a look of disdain she begins to gnaw on it in front of her Master. He kicks Puce swiftly in the ribs and points to the door to the back yard.
The dinner party has begun, and about 7-8 of Dr. Von Schnee’s former colleagues are in attendance. He stands to tell them of his work, of how far he has come, and calls Akita to bring Helga into the room. He tells of Helga’s reputation, how she is known as a woman of vigor, whom many of the men in that very room have enjoyed the likes of. He shares of how, even while in her forties, Helga kept a youthful energy about her and enjoyed every drop of life. The men, mildly flustered, wait to hear Boris’ point. “Look at Helga now! A husk of what she used to be. And me! Alive and well! This can be yours, you as well can take this and have it!” Boris attempts to sway the men, to chastise them for forcing him out from the Academy, and to allow him to practice once more. The men one by one stand to leave.
Frustrated and dejected, Boris looks around at the untouched food and at the servants standing and awaiting his orders. “Sergei…”. “Yes, Master?”. “I have no use for Helga anymore. Take her out behind the house and shoot her in the head.” Simultaneously, Sergei and Akita react with surprise. “What? But… No, I can’t…” Sergei protests. Akita rushes toward Sergei in an attempt to keep him back. Sergei rolls to resist the master, and Akita assists (she uses her Love minus her Self Loathing, which produces one helping die). The two fail in resisting. Boris grows cold and enunciates himself more clearly, “Sergei. Take her out behind the house. Shoot her in the head. Dump the body in the river. Now.” With his eyes seeming to tear, Sergei says “yes, Master”, and follows through with his bidding.