The series premiere episode, this featured the spell gone awry which reincarnated Barb in the android body. The adventure started with the PCs in after-school detention for various offenses, except for Barb who was in limbo at the start. Barb awakened to find herself stuffed in a gym locker, and was then shocked as she slowly realized that she was in a robotic body.
Marcus had attempted a ritual to reincarnate Barb's soul into the body of a girl (Jill Weathers) who recently suffered brain death. (She was found in a car accident in a coma.) The ritual doesn't seem to work, but he hears a disturbance and finds Barb reincarnated in the android. Marcus soon meets up with them, but when he goes back to check on the body it isn't there. It's as if it got up and walked away (despite being confirmed brain-dead).
While they investigate, they are being chastened by Joe Brentmeyer, their science teacher and also detention officer. Having skipped out of detention, he threatens them into going to a local science fair and demands a report. While there, however, they find that various students are starting to act strange. They discover that Mr. Brentmeyer is actually using a machine to evolve humanity to a "next stage". Jill Weathers was his first experiment with this, but at the science fair he uses his perfected machine disguised as a motion ride to create powerful "minions of science" who obey him. However, Barb and the others managed to defeat him.
NOTE: This was the series premiere, which established the retro fifties-esque style with its villain in pursuit of "Science!". I ran this twice: first as a playtest with friends, and then as a convention game at Conquest 2003. The character interactions were all cool, and established well the high-school issues they faced. Aside from the PCs, the funnest bit for me was the character of Mr. Brentmeyer, who at first came across as the stereotype of the student-hating teacher (a la The Breakfast Club) who referred to students as "pathetic monkeys" and spouted a lot about how they were unappreciative of "Science!". Of course, it turned out that he really did think of students as monkeys compared to his "super-evolved" self.
This was the next convention game I ran -- set several weeks later, or in television terms five or six episodes into the season. It began with Barb and the gang returning from vampire-slaying when they ran into an old man who ran into the road. They were then nearly hit by Danny Li's car -- he was driving Rhiannon LeVay (a grey hat technopagan) to the hospital after an accident in the woods. The gang took the old man to the hospital, where they again met Rhiannon and Danny. While there, they were all put under quarantine by the doctors there, as the doctors were afraid of the possibility of bioterrorism. In the hospital, Johnny snuck off to investigate a sample of some slime he found on the old man's arm, which turned out to be a living parasite.
They snuck out of the hospital and investigated where the old man had come from, finding a crater where something like a meteor had landed. From there, they had to escape from the police. They investigated the blob further, and found that cold was a way to stop it. The gang then split up as some of them tracked down where the blob was, while Ashley and Barb and others went to steal a truck of liquid nitrogen from a chip factory. They were hindered by added security after the terrorism alert, but managed to intercept the truck anyhow. The others had found the blob in a downtown movie theater. Driving blatantly out to the front, Barb and the others managed to freeze the blob out in front of the theater just in time before the police arrived.
NOTE: This was a very straight adaptation of "The Blob", but I thought it worked very well in update. Placed in the present, it was again about distrust of the new generation and paranoia of bioterrorism. There was also the subtle sexual themes which were played out amongst the characters. In particular, this came out in the dysfunctional relationship between the violent Danny and the manipulative Rhiannon. I liked when the doctor took Rhiannon aside in the hospital and spoke indirectly about whether it was Danny who had broken her arm -- which showed both how the adults didn't trust the kids in general, and commented on Rhiannon's relationship.
This was the third convention game in the series, set a few weeks after the last episode. They had been fighting evil together for several months, and relationships have started to deepen. The premise for this one was that suddenly there were two Barbs. Now her friends and, er, both hers have to figure out what happened and what to do about it. It wanted to keep it still funny and light in the spirit of early Buffy -- but with a little more inter-character drama.
The central device was that the Slayer, Barb, was split into two bodies -- these were the fifties Barb who only knew her early life, and the modern Barb who only remembered since her reincarnation. There was also a twist on the romantic angle. The fifties Barb was a straight, proper girl with romantic tension with bad boy Steve Brant from her past life. Modern Barb was in love with Tori Dromanse, the tough goth girl of the group. Both the love triangle and the bi-vs-straight angle were an interesting twist. The villain was a mad scientist from the fifties, Dr. Botnik, who had created a duplicate Barb body which half of her soul went into. He was an an over-the-top crackpot beatnik who builds robots. At the same time, mystic fifties bad boy Steve Brant from Barb's earlier life shows up in town -- having been frozen in ice for decades.
NOTE: The split-bodies theme is an oldie but a goodie, used to good effect in original Star Trek (good Kirk vs evil Kirk) and to great effect in fifth season Buffy (adult Xander vs teenage Xander from 5.03 "The Replacement"). Here the split was between fifties Barb and modern Barb, with a lot of reflection on how times have changed. The cool thing was that there were two different players both playing Barb, each with a different focus.
<<BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER ©2002 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved. The Buffy the Vampire Slayer trademark is used without express permission from Fox.>>John H. Kim <jhkim-at-darkshire-dot-net> Last modified: Sat Aug 26 22:28:47 2006