Opening colour scene: a hulking man comes out of a City Hall meeting. He has vowed to keep street kids away from a new subway line on Queen Street, he is priming himself for violence, and his transformation into something more than human is done in a risky way (the NPC is compelling some aspects to get some Fate points)
Up, above the streets of Kensington Market, a rhizome of shacks, racks, hammocks, and lofts is spreading. It is the nebulous headquarters of the Fleet of Feet, a loose aggregation of minor talents and sneak thieves who are the couriers, messengers, and go-betweens of Toronto's occult underground.
One of the PCs -- Locke, a streetkid/Borrower -- gets a call from a wannabe who wants to join the organization. He can pass the membership test: bring a piece of filched magical gear from some dangerous locale. She is unimpressed until one of her personality traits compels her to at least check out what the kid has to offer.
Across town two pals from a Toronto RPG group are trying to organize a weekend game. Simultaneously, both are hit by some kind of electrical hex from their phones. This is payback for Ben's Spirit Battle (again a compelled Aspect) and Sam's "Looking for a client who won't kill me" (the being punishing Ben is also punishing Sam for helping Ben). Sam's Lore saves him, but Ben is knocked out cold.
[this was a bit of a pro-forma exercise in showing how accepting Fate points for compels can come with consequences as well as a way of softening all the GM fiat-ing I was doing]
Back in Kensington, Locke rounds a corner into an alleyway and sees the kid who contacted him in the hands of a hulking thug who is beating the kid to death with fists the size of hams. A quick intimidation and Locke agrees to step away from the alley way with a promise -- an oath, no less -- that the tough guy will let the kid live after tough guy has completed a search. Locke, backed by some members of the Fleet of Feet (she has them as an Aspect, but I forgot to levy the Fate Point for Locke's player declaring a bit about the fiction) goes back into the alley. All the kid has is a lighter, some loose change, and a poster advertising a reunion of the punk band Stark Naked and the Fleshtones. The three drag the kid to St. Michael's Hospital after Locke writes a note telling the kid not to bother trying to get into the Fleet.
Sam -- a ritualist specializing in overcoming the hexes that spell slingers put on technology -- traps the fetch that has been sent to sabotage his phone and bikes over to Ben's house. The two of them try to figure out what is going on and to deal with the hexing that is coming their way. They question the fetch who is bound by oaths not to reveal certain information. But they get a rough description of the figure responsible for their troubles and who has been butting in on their phone lines leaving cryptic warnings about "not respecting his domain." Sam puts a ward on Ben's phone against any who would try to hex it -- and the mysterious "Psychopomp" who has been hexing them gets burned.
[Sam's ritual, aided by Ben, does exceptionally well on the roll to control the magic, so I added a 7-shift sting to the first person who dared try to hex the phone. The Psychopomp's hex was reversed and intensified so he had to take an Extreme consequence]
Over in Kensington, Locke is contacted by a mysterious spectre who asks her to aid him in finding out which supernaturally gifted person took out his messenger, the streetkid beaten in the alleyway. The spectre holds out the promise of a future supernatural favour if Locke can identify the person who did the beating. Locke keeps mum about the fact that her meddling with the poster triggered the magic that the spectre had embedded into it and initiated a massive explosion at the hospital as a consequence. She takes the spectre's offer.
[Locke's player refused when I compelled her "Leaves no job left undone" Aspect but jumped at the in-fiction offer made by the spectre she later learns is the Psychopomp]
Locke enlists her pals Sam and Ben in the investigation of the kid's beating. Locke uses her power to shrink small and at the crime scene she discovers one of the kid's teeth and part of a police-issued and Sam checks out a scannable parking ticket. These help Ben's Investigation roll. (The players' Assess rolls set up some free Tags for Ben and he made out well). Ben is certain that both were deposited in the alley mud at the same time and establish a direct link between the kid and whoever beat him -- either a cop, or a guy with a lot of parking tickets.
That evening the trio check out the gig. But they have to bypass a construction site for a new subway line on Queen street. Which happens to be guarded by the dude who unleashed the beatdown on the streetkid. They are briefly caught up in the anti-subway protest and catch a glimpse of an old bank building on whose side their is a freeze of a 19th century figure who looks a lot like the spectre that visited Locke and who fits the description pieced together by Sam and Ben. Locke shrinks and hides in Sam's hexing hoodie and they get close to the cop and get his name and number.
They rock out.
After the gig they think of summoning the shade of the streetkid but the presence of the cops dissuades them. They make for the Fleet's headquarters but the police are looking for anyone with information about the streetkid's death and the explosion at St. Michaels. The trio then head to the University of Toronto and take shelter in one of the campus's student activity centres. They assist Ben in a spell which allows them a brief visit by the shade who informs them of his killer's true name -- the officer at the demo having put on a false one -- and they then contact the Psychopomp.
He accepts their gift of the name, admits his own foolishness in persisting in his persecution of Ben and Sam.
I soft pedaled the compels. Locke refused one of mine but I did not levy the Fate point. Getting through the mechanics of spellcasting and learning how to shape the fiction with Aspect created through Assess or Maneuver, never mind learning about the consequences of initiating or suffering an Attack, was more than enough.
Sticking with the Aspects and tying every piece of improvised NPC action to Aspects brought about consistency to the unfolding fiction. I am not sure if it supplied drama. The players are all friends and bring a lot of smart ass humour to the game. But their wisecracks to my would-be demigod spectre were in Harry Dresden's spirit. Everyone had fun.
But I think the players got a sense of how fragile their PCs are. They can do incredible stuff like trap gremlins in paper or part the wall between living and dead. But 2 of the 3 both lost conflicts (they didn't know about the Conceding option) and suffered Mild consequences. One -- the spellcaster -- too 2 Mild consequences and a Moderate due to drawing too much power for his spells. And some of those consequences linger a long time.
I think any drama will come from the unfolding medium and long-term impact of taking Consequences and dealing with the small-c consequences brought about by accepting my compels.
I did not use the option of compelling characters to accept automatic failures. That kind of hardball will come in later sessions.