Meet the Party: Dresden Files Accelerated

A rookie Warden, a wizard assigned to protect the city against supernatural threats, receives his first assignment. The last known priestess of an ancient order devoted to fighting the unholy comes to terms with both her powers and with living with one foot in the old country and another in America. A changeling journalist seeks out stories to trade for protection, hoping to buy enough to keep her Fae mother at bay. A grad student, who is a member of a secret society at least as old as the United States, disguises his supernatural research as part of the studies for his degree. Meet the Party brings you ready-to-play characters, complete with backgrounds and relationships, for use both in your own games and as inspiration for creating characters of your own! This week, we have a group of supernatural investigators in the (possibly ironically named) City of Brotherly Love: Philadelphia!

Last week I went over an overview of Dresden Files Accelerated by our good friends over at Evil Hat. For this week, I broke deeper into the book and breathed life into a few characters for interested players to try out, and along the way tried to stress test the character creation. It held up pretty well in my opinion.


Fitzgerald “Fitz” Crowninshield III

High Concept: Rookie Warden

Trouble: First Rodeo

Other Aspects: Magic Snob

Approaches

Force: +1

Flair: +0

Focus: +3

Guile: 1

Intellect: +2

Haste: +2

Refresh: 1

Mantle: Magical Practitioner

Conditions:

Stress: [1][1][1][1][1][1]

In Peril: [4]

Indebted: ▢▢▢▢▢▢

Exhausted (sticky): ▢

Mark this condition to boost your magical power, as described by the Magical Talent stunt. When you are Exhausted, the GM has one boost to use against you in any scene in which your fatigue may be used against you. The GM may claim this boost at any time during a relevant scene. The GM may allow this recovery to occur between any two scenes involving a sufficient time jump if the character shows an active effort to rest

Burned Out (lasting): ▢

Mark this condition to further boost your magical power, as described by the Magical Talent stunt. If Burned Out, you cannot use magic, period, until fully recovered. Begin recovery by eating, meditating, or otherwise deliberately resting as per the Exhausted condition. Recover fully at the end of the following session.

The Third Eye (sticky): ▢ Mark this condition when utilizing your magical Sight to view the mystical, true world overlaid on the material world. While the condition is marked, your memory is eidetic and the following are true:

  • You view everything as a metaphorical expression of its true nature. A mugger on the prowl may appear as a starving jungle beast, or a firefighter may attain a seraphic semblance.  
  • The Sight ignores supernatural disguises or glamours and grants no guidance in interpretation of what is seen.  
  • You may attempt interpretation by making an overcome roll with Focus against Fair (+2) opposition or your target’s most appropriate approach, whichever is higher. If you use an approach other than Focus, increase opposition by 2. Failure requires marking a condition. Success gives you an idea, success with style offers extra intuitive knowledge.

Stunts

Evocation: As a wizard, you can cast magical spells comprising the five elements: fire, air, earth, water, and spirit. In game terms, you may perform any of the four basic actions with spectacular magical effects. If desired, push yourself to increase the spell’s effect as follows: 

  • Mark a stress box for +1 or two boxes for +2 on any one magical action. You may mark only two boxes at a time.
  • Mark Exhausted to add +4 to any single magical action or to attack multiple targets magically without dividing your roll
  • Mark Burned Out to gain +2 to all magical actions for the rest of the scene or, if Exhausted is already marked, to attack multiple targets with magic without having to divide your roll. These benefits are cumulative: if you mark two stress boxes and both conditions, you could do a single magical action at +8, and then have +2 to all magical actions for the rest of the scene.

 

Thaumaturgy: You excel at ritual magic  Add +2 to the preparation roll for any ritual.

Soulgaze: When looking someone directly in the eye for more than a few seconds, you peer into their soul and they likewise see into yours. The exchange manifests itself as a cryptic vision. Make a Focus roll, opposed by their Focus roll; the winner learns one concrete, useful piece of information about the other individual, or two things if the winner succeeds with style. On a tie, each person learns something. These things can be advantages with a free invoke at the GM’s discretion.

White Council Membership: As a member wizard in good standing, once per session, you may contact the White Council to request assistance. The GM determines what aid, if any, is given and the cost thereof. If the favor is great, the GM may impose the Indebted condition with multiple boxes marked; you must recover from the condition before again using the White Council Membership stunt.

Warden: You have the mandate and authority to track down and mete out lethal justice to those who violate the Laws of Magic. Gain +2 to attacks against anyone designated a sorcerer by said violation(s).

Backstory and Character Study:

Magic has been in Fitz’s family’s blood for seemingly time immemorial, carefully hidden amidst their branch of old blood New England family. They trace their heritage through Salem and beyond, and have been a fixture of society for as long as can be remembered. However, over the last hundred years, the lines of magic have slowly begun to peter out, and the family’s opinions on Magic have been increasingly constrictive. Fitz’s grandfather, (Fitzgerald the first) had been the last of the family with enough potential to be recognized by the White Council, a society where they held surprisingly little sway.

His grandfather was killed in a Red Court attack early on in the war, and Fitz was compelled (partly by his own anger, and partly by family expectations) to enter training to become a Warden. The war dragged along longer than any side seemed to expect, and Fitz was only deemed ready in the final days before it came to a sudden, crashing halt as a massive spell wiped out the entirety of the Red Court.

As the White Council has been slowly putting the pieces back together, they found themselves spread impossibly thin. Fitz has found himself stationed in Philadelphia by the Council, a site of recent Fomor incursion, and largely been asked to handle matters by himself for the foreseeable future. Fitz has quite a bit of talent for a young Magical Practitioner, but this is the first time that he’s really on his own, and as he tries to administer the Laws of the White Council he is learning that others don’t see the world as black and white as he is used to.


Fatami Madani

High Concept: Zoroastrian Fire Priestess

Trouble: Fiery Temper

Other Aspects: One Foot in the Old World, One in the New

Approaches

Force: +3

Flair: +1

Focus: +2

Guile: 0

Intellect: +1

Haste: +2

Refresh: 1

Mantle: Focused Practitioner

Conditions:

Stress: [1][1][1][1][1][1]

In Peril: [4]

Doomed: [6]

Exhausted (sticky):

Mark this condition to boost your magical power, as described by the Magical Talent stunt. When you are Exhausted, the GM has one boost to use against you in any scene in which your fatigue may be used against you. The GM may claim this boost at any time during a relevant scene. The GM may allow this recovery to occur between any two scenes involving a sufficient time jump if the character shows an active effort to rest

Burned Out (lasting):

Mark this condition to further boost your magical power, as described by the Magical Talent stunt. If Burned Out, you cannot use magic, period, until fully recovered. Begin recovery by eating, meditating, or otherwise deliberately resting as per the Exhausted condition. Recover fully at the end of the following session.

Stunts

Magical Talent: Can Attack with Force Fire Evocation as a Default action. Mark Exhausted to ignore any form of Supernatural scale Resistance talent during that scene. Mark Burned out to ignore any form of Resistance talent, her magic is considered Holy for purposes such as Sanctoburned.

Channeling Specialist: Can also Defend with Focus using Fire evocation

In case of Emergency, Break Self: You may mark the Doomed condition to overcome the restrictions of being Burned Out for one scene.

Backstory and Character Study:

Fatima is the child of immigrants, a 1st generation American. Her grandparents had been the keepers of an ancient faith in their home of modern day Iran, some of the last priests of Zoroaster. Fearing for their lives in the aftermath of the Iranian revolution, they and their children fled to the United States, eventually settling in NYC.

Fatima’s mother desperately sought to bury her parent’s legacy, refusing to take up the practice herself. However, as Fatima began to grow up, there always seemed to be incidents with fire: burners left on, cooking fires going out of control, campfires that seemed to spark up far too easily. Eventually her mother confessed the truth: her family was a line of focused practitioners devoted to expunging the world of the evil creatures which hunted humanity. For whatever reason, their flames had a tendency to pierce the resistance that powerful magical creatures often show. Her mother insisted that it was her sacred duty to develop her abilities.

For Fatima, an American, it was a curse and a duty that she never asked for. She left her family, leaving behind everything else she new. Still, magic followed her, and as a burgeoning magical power she’s found herself hunted and/or scouted by countless players in the Supernatural community. While he’s hesitant to join anything formal, whenever something evil peeks out, she feels compelled to help. She has a bit of an issue controlling her temper (which doesn’t help controlling her powers), but is an impressive big gun in a fight, even if it’s only one type of magic.


Alice Silver

High Concept: Hot Summer Scoop

Trouble: Mom wants her Daughter In Faerie

Other Aspects: Anything for the Story

Approaches

Force: +1

Flair: +3

Focus: +0

Guile: +2

Intellect: +1

Haste: +2

Refresh: 1

Mantle: Changeling/ Journalist

Conditions:

Stress: [1][1][1][1][1][1]

In Peril: [4]

Doomed: [6]

Press Credentials (special): [x] This condition is always marked, unless you are Off the Air. You have official credentials from your news organization that identify you as a legitimate member of your profession. As a result, you almost never have to explain why you’re at a particular place, and will almost always be given the opportunity to explain your presence and convince people to let you remain if you’re caught somewhere you aren’t normally authorized to be. Your use of these credentials is subject to review by the news organization; abusing them could take you Off the Air.

Off the Air (sticky): [ ] Mark this when you have damaged your relationship with the news organization you work for. They pull your credentials—while you are Off the Air, you may not take advantage of any stunts or conditions associated with this mantle. Recover when you’ve made sufficient restitution to your organization (the GM will tell you what’s required), or when you’ve managed to convince a different organization to hire you.

Called (sticky): [ ][ ][ ][ ][ ] Mark one of this condition’s five boxes to use one of your Fae stunts for a whole scene. If you ever fill the track, you have three options:

  • Make the Choice to become fully Fae. You may use your Fae stunts the rest of the session without penalty. At the next minor milestone, declare a Court affiliation (or choose to be Wyldfae) and transition to the True Fae mantle.
  • Deliberately shun your Fae stunts until you recover one or more boxes. Recover a box at the end of every session in which you avoid using Fae stunts. At the GM’s discretion, long time jumps mid-session or between session might allow you to recover another box.
  • Choose to become fully mortal. Immediately clear the track. You may no longer use your Fae stunts, and at the next minor milestone, you revert fully to your mortal mantle.

Stunts

Glamour: You may cast minor veils and seemings. With a moment of concentration, you may draw a veil over something roughly person-sized, hiding it from sight and other means of detection. Or you may cause a person or object to appear differently than it normally does. An observer may attempt to discern the illusion, but to do so, they must have some legitimate suspicion that they might be seeing a glamour. Use Intellect to resist any disbelief attempt.

Smile for the Camera: The camera loves you. Take +2 whenever you use Flair to create an advantage based on charm and personality.

Backstory and Character Study:

For most kids, hearing that Mom was called away to a magical place was a lie told them to hide a terrible truth. For Alice, it was a truth told to hide an even more damaging one: that her mother was a Summer Courtier. Originally from San Francisco, Alice thought that she had life figured out: pretty, popular and able to charm seemingly anyone.

However, her eighteenth birthday brought a few changes that Sex Ed never could quite prepare you for: mostly the ability to make people see things that weren’t there, and a supposed “long dead” mother coming back for you. The truth was that Alice is a Changeling, a being of mixed Human and Fae heritage, straddling the line of both realms and called to both equally. Now it was apparent which realm her mother wanted her in.

Suddenly thrust into the danger, Alice ran from her old life as far as she safely could: Philadelphia, a city that was neutral for Fae. Belonging to neither Court, they easily tolerate the presence of Changelings with less direct incursion from either side, as an overt move by one provokes a like one in kind from the other. That said, Alice is pretty sure that Mom is sending her some special surprises every once in a while. It’s a good thing that she’s getting pretty good with those glamours, and is getting a knack for asking all the right questions, a feature she is honing at the school newspaper.


Gunther Graves

High Concept: Occult Grad Student

Trouble: No powers and not nearly enough training

Other Aspects: Venatori Umbrorum Initiate

Approaches

Force: +0

Flair: +1

Focus: +2

Guile: +2

Intellect: +3

Haste: +1

Refresh: 2

Mantle: Clued In Mortal

Conditions:

Stress: [1][1][1][1][1][1]

In Peril: [4]

Doomed: [6]

Knowledge (sticky): ▢▢▢▢▢ This condition has five boxes to represent the breadth of occult information to which you have access. Mark a box of Knowledge when you leverage the information you have gathered on the workings of the supernatural world, as indicated in the stunts. Recover through research in your free time, restoring one box between sessions.

In Too Deep (lasting): ▢ Your connections with the paranormal have put your livelihood or a loved one at risk. Mark this condition to immediately recover all boxes of Knowledge. While this condition is marked, you have an additional aspect that represents a creature or faction that, due to your knowledge, is directly threatening something dear to you. Furthermore, you lack the wherewithal to research—which means Knowledge will not recover—until you have recovered from this condition. Begin that recovery by confronting or evading the threat in a manner determined by the GM; be prepared to spend at least a session dealing with the problem.

Stunts

Chasing Rumors: Mark boxes of Knowledge to aid rolls to overcome or create an advantage when your research into supernatural threats is relevant, +2 for each box marked.

Preparations: Once per scene, when confronting a threat that you have had an opportunity to investigate, you can mark Knowledge to reveal that you have a useful item on hand. One box is sufficient for common items (e.g., chalk, iron nails), three boxes for objects obtainable with a mild effort (e.g., holy water, a wooden stake), and all five boxes for especially esoteric items such as inherited silver or a saint’s relics. At the GM’s discretion, you may mark In Too Deep instead, to help another character pay one cost of a ritual spell (page 168).

Paranetter: Once per session, may contact Paranet for assistance for a favor. The GM adjudicates what help they can provide.

Background and Character Study:

Born and raised in a working class neighborhood in Philadelphia, Gunther is the only native to the city. His older brother, Christian, vanished under mysterious circumstances when Gunther was a young teenager, and desperate for answers he began to dig in deeper. He had been young enough to still keep a spark of imagination, and his search for answers sent him into the supernatural community, where he came across the Venatori Umbrorum, a secret society that had seemingly branched out of the Masons at the same time as the Founding Fathers.

Desperate for answers, he kept trying to dig into the Venatori, impressing the older members of the order with his studiousness. He found himself mentored by the older members, and given a scholarship (donated through the far reaching resources of the Venatori) to attend Temple University, as a way to give himself cover and begin his full initiation into the Order. As it turns out, working through a PhD is the perfect cover for long nights in the library and odd hours.

Formerly on the sidelines during the recent White Council/Red Court war, the Venatori have suddenly found themselves thrust into a new incursion from the Fomor, a race of aquatic creatures who are pushing into the void left by the Red Court. The Venatori may have the information to fight back against the ancient creatures, which simultaneously makes them a resource and a juicy target.

Gunther is more comfortable with his nose in a book than on the mean streets  However, a combination of guilt and retribution is enough to get him into the field and get his hands dirty, never mind that he ranks at the lowest of the power curve with all the things that lurk in Philly’s back alleys. However, his vast resources of information, as well as his connections around with world with the Paranet can get vitally important answers on short notice and can be incredibly useful for finding the proverbial (and sometimes literal) silver bullet the group might need.

How they Interact

Fitz

Fitz first came upon Fatima when they were both tracking a ghoul after one threatened some students on campus, and at first, their introduction did not go well. For most of the White Council their attitude toward Focused Practitioners has been, well, negative. They are seen as one trick hucksters at best, and Lawbreakers waiting to happen at worst. Fatima seems worth investigating more though, if anything for the peculiar way her evocations seem to work. Fitz isn’t sure whether or not her fire magic has such a profound effect on things that consider themselves Unholy because she thinks it should, or because there is something else at work. He doesn’t understand why she seems to hide from her magical heritage, and her lack of feeling of duty to her family surprises him.

Fitz has a hard time trusting Alice, mostly because of a long history of warnings he has received about dealing with the Fae. Changelings can be doubly dangerous, as they can have the whims and “whimsy” of their Fae parents, without needing to follow the rules that they are bound by. Still, it’s fun to watch her work: she has a way of breezing past obstacles and gatekeepers that he normally would struggle with, and has a knack for “people-ing” that truly mystifies him. She is good to have around, so long as he doesn’t forget to keep Cold Iron on hand, just in case.

Gunther should be nowhere near the front lines. White Council dogma prefers normal mortals to be kept outside of magical knowledge as much as possible, and previously involving them in a dispute was referred to as the “nuclear option”. Fortunately, Gunther is involved with the Venatori, who were an excellent support organization during the recent war with the Red Court, so it is permissible to fill him in as necessary. Fitz does feel obligated to protect him, but doesn’t understand Gunther’s insistence to be on the front lines with him when he clearly looks uncomfortable doing so.

Fatima

Fitz is insufferable a lot of the time. His breadth of magical knowhow makes him the closest resource for her to develop her talents, but his attitudes on magic users (and her place in it) always drives her up the wall. His devotion to familial duty also gives her pangs of guilt that she’s been doing her best to bury. However, they both agree with their role as protectors of the more vulnerable, and they make for an impressive One-Two magical punch.

Alice reminds Fatima of the popular girls in school who always picked on her, and they might never have run into each other if not for the luck of the draw in being in the same study group. It was Fitz who noticed there was something different about her roommate, and since then Fatima has been dragging Alice along to get involved. At first, Alice resisted, but now she seems to enjoy spending time together. She’s probably Fatima’s only familiar face in the city.

Gunther doesn’t do all that much for her, but he is friendly and earnest enough. He sometimes manages to dig up a helpful volume for her to study, but they don’t see each other unless they are investigating something in the area.

Alice

Alice can feel Fitz’s disapproving look on her almost constantly. That’s fair, as she thinks she might act the same if positions were reversed. He does have his uses though: he seems to be a lightning rod for weird stuff around the city, and she would rather have the bolts landing on him than her. She almost always gets a good story and precious information to peddle from being around him, which is keeping her one step ahead of her mother.

Fatima is someone with whom Alice can share the pain of having a surprise from their mother drop in their laps, but Alice is jealous about how Fatima seems to have gotten hers free and clear. There’s nothing other than her own sense of duty calling from her heritage, while Alice’s own is always a waiting threat. There’s also one other thing . . . Fatima is flipping gorgeous. It’s a strange feeling that Alice is trying to come to terms with, and she doesn’t know how to feel about it, but whenever Fatima asks for her help, she’s going to come running.

Gunther reminds her of all the nerds in High School. One would never guess that he might be caught up with a secret society! Who knows what kind of secrets might be waiting to be exposed? He has stonewalled her attempts to learn more about it, but he is a great resource to fill in the gaps when she is trying to document the events that Fitz and the others deal with. A little extra helps make that information much for valuable to trade for something that can help her.

Gunther

Gunther is supremely jealous of Fitz. How cool would it have been to come from money, and to have that kind of magical power at his fingertips!? If Gun had those, who knows the kind of good he could do. The alliance between their two organizations makes working together easier; in fact, that’s how they were introduced. However, Fitz is always trying to keep him on the sidelines, and Gun has to be in the middle of things, no matter how much he might wish otherwise.

Fatima is a little hostile, but Gun has plenty of practice in seeing through people who have put up walls. He has a long history of building them himself, especially after his brother went missing. It is a condition that can only be broken down with time. She is also a rather interesting puzzle: how can her magic work like that? It seems to defy standard explanation, and there’s not a ton of lore about Zoroastrian magical adepts. His superiors in the Venatori Umborium certainly seem interested in her, and he’s keeping an eye out himself.

Gunther is actually a bit sorry for Alice. Fatima’s walls have nothing on Alice’s, and he can recognize the signs of paranoia: they match his own. He still gets a bad feeling sometimes, like when the popular girl would ask for help with her homework: she wants something. Exactly what, he’s not sure. She definitely seems interested in the Venatori, and he had to stonewall that fast. She has an incredible knack for digging up stories, and his superiors are especially glad to have more information.

The Future

These four might have come together in bits and pieces, but they form a loose group to investigate and protect their corner of Philadelphia. But what does the future hold in store? Well, as far as external threats, the Fomor are a pressing issue as they keep attempting to impose their presence, and they definitely the frontrunner for overarching antagonists. But a city that big is sure to have other groups competing for power. Even they might not pose as much threat to these four as each other. Can Fatima and Fitz reconcile their different approaches to, and views on magic . . . especially if Fatima gets on the bad side of the White Council? Who knows when Alice’s mother might come back, and what she might do (or who she might go after) to get her daughter to join her. And the Venatori have a dark secret that few know about . . . how much will Gunther be a part of it?

Are you looking something a little more concrete? Well, for our Patrons there is a more detailed list of Factions and Places of Note for the city of Brotherly Love for exploration (and possibly cribbing for your own games).

Canis Latinicus! Amer, Celer, Fuego!!! Aki may or may not be publishing this as his own supernatural guide to Philadelphia. Let’s lean towards “not”! Either way, let me know your thoughts, or stories the Dresden Files in any form on Twitter @WHalfling or in the comments below!

For more of a Dresden Files fix, check out the game fiction from our most recent contributor, Jimmy D’Amico!

 

2 thoughts on “Meet the Party: Dresden Files Accelerated”

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