As I’ve mentioned before, our game is filled with all sorts of weird cross-pollinations. Jason has played World of Darkness games for over a decade now, so many of our NPCs are drawn from previous player characters of his (or, in the case of Helgi, van Brugge, and Stormwalker, the player characters of his friends). Over the last year or more, Jason has also regaled us with tales of favorite other NPC characters from games he has been in, and the memories he associates with them.
Of these, one of the most dramatic and most beloved, is The Way Dude.
This story comes from Jason’s very first WoD game ever, believe it or not, an early-edition old world Vampire game. Jason was no stranger to table-top gaming but, being new to WoD, created a character he could easily identify with–a Toreador historian–and set out. (This character, incidentally, was the root inspiration for our character of Dr. Everton.)
Now, it is important to note that this game was a bit more slanted to the “horror” side of WoD than our game has turned out to be, with heavy dashes of PVP. It started out with five players, but by the time this event happened they were down to three. Despite the horror and the drama, Jason was running pretty high with a Humanity rating of 8, but the other two players in the game–a Gangrel and a Lasombra–spent most of the time pushing a 3. This fact will become important later.
So, at some point after Jason was settled into the game, but well before he learned all the details of how the WoD works, he met a guy. A hippy-esque man who never gave his name, human, prone to a vacant surfer-drawl, who spent a lot of time conversing with Jason in winding conversation about the merits of something he ambiguously referred to as “The Way” while nodding sagely. Over-educated intellectual that
Jason is Jason’s character was, he chatted with him a bit for the hell of it, but had no idea what to make of this guy.
Jason was at the point of bidding farewell to the man when the other two players showed up. Now, apparently, since they were running around with a Humanity of 3, a large part of their character motivations was to fuck shit up, and Jason in particular for being the goodie-two-shoes moral high ground ruining immortality for them. So they showed and immediately started bragging about shit they’d been up to–which apparently involved killing a bunch of people that were important to Jason or something–and how he was next.
The hippie guy, meanwhile, stood there listening quietly through all of this. As the other two players finished describing their heinous acts, he frowned, folded his arms, and in the same dreamy drawl announced, “That is not The Way.”
And then the other two players disappeared.
Jason was stunned. He was still fairly new to WoD at this point, mind, so had no context to understand what the hell just happened. Thus, he turned to the guy and asked what the hell just happened. The man calmly said he sent them to Russia. Nonplussed, Jason asked why.
“Because,” the hippie guy said with a smile, “It is 10 am in Russia.”
And that’s how Jason learned about the existence of Mages.
Now, the story doesn’t end here. The other two players survived (though very badly burned) and were really set on getting back at Jason. They finally caught up with him some time later, in a large mansion on the edge of Seacliff, overlooking the Golden Gate (cause this was another San Francisco game). They hunted him down, eventually cornering him, weaponless and low on blood, on a balcony of the house overlooking the cliffs. They, of course, were a Gangrel and a Lasombra, and Jason was a Toreador (or, as the Gangrel player once famously stated, “a bitch clan”), so for all intents and purposes it looked like Jason was fucked.
Which meant, of course, they stopped what they were doing and took the time to monologue.
They started bragging about all the terrible shit they’d done and the terrible shit they were going to do, blah blah blah, while Jason just waited calmly. Finally, one asked if Jason was going to do anything about all this. Jason replied, yes, actually: before they got there, he happened to take the time to release a Summons.
“What the fuck!?” they laughed. “How the hell is anyone you summon going to be able to help you now?”
And that’s when a familiar-looking hippie man appeared in the middle of the group with a soft pop, staring around in confusion.
The two stared a moment, then one screamed, “OH SHIT!!! IT’S THE WAY DUDE!!1!1!!”
Jason and the mage then watched calmly as the Lasombra
bubblehearthed shadow-teleported out, while the Gangrel–aka, Mr. Not-A-Bitch-Clan–dove off the fucking cliff, straight into the churning currents of the Golden Gate channel.
And thus was the surfer-hippie Virtual Adept mage forevermore known as “The Way Dude,” a man with a legend so hilariously great it expanded out of the game universe he was born in and leaked into our own.
That game is this game, and this game is that game. Once you understand that, you begin to understand The Way.
The story of the story is the story.