Tuesday, June 19, 2018

You Might be Doing it Wrong- Getting Weapon Bond to Work in GCS

So, you're using GCS to design a new character in with Signature Gear, or a tricked-out gun that you dropped some Character Points on to be able to purchase. Obviously you're going to slap on a Weapon Bond because that extra +1 to skill for the low cost of a Perk is bananas strong.

You go to the Power Ups library and pull the Weapon Bond advantage onto your sheet. But the Weapon Bond advantage doesn't have any features included that will make it add +1 to your appropriate skill, even after typing in what weapon it's for.

On this sheet I've added Weapon Bond, as well as two BSA Welrods. One is named Nancy, because that's going to be the gun that Reita finds especially well suited to her. With no further changes, GCS doesn't account for Weapon Bond, and both are at skill ten.

In the past, I would have dug around the Weapon Bond Advantage trying to add a feature that would bump Pistol Skill only while using Nancy, but this leads to problems:
  1. The Feature "Gives a Skill Level Bonus" affects Character Skill- not effective skill using a weapon, meaning it will bump defaults, affect non-weapon bond weapons, and force you to remember to take -1 if you're using a weapon you're not bonded to.
  2. Separating out a specific skill via skill specializations gets messy quickly.

The Right Way:

When you open up the dialog box to edit a weapon and click on the line that allows you to edit a weapon's attack, you want to edit the line that dictates which skill is used.

Change the +0 to +1, and click apply.

And looking back at the sheet, we can see that one Welrod is showing an increased skill level, while Guns Skill is still 10, and the other Welrod isn't bumped.

Added Bonus:

This is also the correct way of modeling Reflex Sights, Bonuses from Fine/Very Fine/Balanced equipment, and can also smooth over RoF calculations when using shotguns. If it affects the weapon and not the base skill, you likely want to add the bonus to the weapon, not via a feature which increases skill.

Equipment Bond:

This method breaks down when using equipment bond, things that affect Fast-Draw, etc. I'm still noodling on the best method of handling some of them.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Relational Maps

Zmadpoet posted a tweet talking about the relational maps/flows used by old school game devs when making adventure games.

I have gotten into the habit of using relational maps for my most recent GURPS campaign, Pine Box Consulting, and figured I could talk about why I started using them. I don't use them to map physical locations or a series of events, but the layout of influence and connections between all the actors at play in my games.

I use https://www.draw.io/ to produce my maps.

This is just the diagram for the First Mission my players went on

I like relational maps because they visually show the connections and influences between disparate factions and individuals better than a spreadsheet or word document, although a wiki might do a decent job at matching a relational map if well done.

Now, relational maps don't contain deep information on the entities contained within- I keep most of that in my head. It is possible to include more in-depth info, but the effort vs. reward isn't the best on doing so.

It can be very hard to document how every group relates to one another without significant amounts of repetition. Especially when it comes to doing writeups of groups/factions, there's a lot of times where you'll see "Group X hates Group Y" and then in the entry for Group Y you'll see "Group Y hates Group X". You can't not list it- otherwise looking at just Group Y might lead you to miss the rancor, but it's still redundant to a degree.

I don't muck around with different arrows all that much, or put much effort into showing which are friendly or adversarial connections- I can remember the nature of the relationships off the top of my head, and these diagrams aren't player facing. Player facing diagrams should have more careful attention paid to whether arrows are bidirectional or not. 

Now note, these diagrams are less "flowchart" and more "If I need to know the police are connected to". Looking 1 or 2 hops out very quickly gives a sense of who is directly and slightly less directly influenced by one another.

I don't use the diagrams to tie into mechanics, although I suppose there could be a way of rigging number of hops to a skill penalty (For instance, trying to pump Flavio for for information about Hubert, who's roughly 5 hops away, not counting the mystery informant, might not go very well because he's too distant from the info being sought.)

It's generally pretty easy to update, even mid-session. Other maps that I've done for more recent missions involve big X's placed over individuals deceased during the course of the mission.\

Now, that's not to say that they can't be used for physical Dungeons, and if I ever run the Castlevania DF game I had in mind, the castle might just look a little like the diagram below.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

My First Impressions of the MapForge Beta

A while back, some GURPS bloggers were pushing the MapForge Kickstarter, and since I've recently gotten the itch to make a Megadungeon (better use that inspiration while it's still hot), I figured I should get a beta copy and try it out.

I mean, I paid for it. Shouldn't investigate other options before checking out the product I backed, right?

Despite a post opining the lack of people requesting beta keys and putting out a call for testers, I had a rocky go of getting access.

5 updates. FIVE UPDATES.

This wasn't limited to just me, either.
Baffled he says, as if all of us are moronic twats
I can actually address why people are having so much difficulty:
1: To avoid getting 20,000+ emails all at once asking for keys, the creator broke them into five waves without giving people an easy way to check for which wave they are a part of
2: Most people don't feverishly check Kickstarter every day for updates- I only seriously check Kickstarter once every couple of months, and all five updates had blown well past in the time frame between paying actual attention to kickstarter
3: Way too much fucking reading to do before getting to the relevant info (marked in red below)
4: I never received an actual email from Kickstarter going "MapForge wants you to try out the thingy"

Plus when your Beta access process is to download the beta program from your website, email you a computer-specific code, and then wait for a response, most people would consider that convoluted. Obviously you're not running some kind of centralized licensing server that the program phones home to to check that everything is hunky dory, because this is twig and spit level setup going on.

How does it actually run?

So, I get the program, I get the key, I have to manually type the key (despite being told in the email that typing it is inaccurate and I should copy and paste) because copying and pasting didn't work 3 times and forced me to restart the program to actually enter the key (who the fuck is going to brute force a license key when some script kiddie is just going to develop a crack anyways, are you fucking kidding me?).

So I fire it up ...and find it has no tiles. Because despite all Kickstarter Backers getting some free assets to play around with, they're not bundled in the fucking install. Adding them is admittedly easy, but why the fuck should I have to dig through Kickstarter posts to find free stretch goals? 

So I sort that out- and BAM, memory errors.
Boy, I wonder how much of this is legacy code from like 2005?

Evidently there's a specific exe required to run it on Windows 10 x64 machines (only one of the most FUCKING COMMON OPERATING SETUPS CURRENTLY IN THE WILD).


So, I grab the right exe and fire it up. It works. Works in that navigating the various tiles and items is deathly slow. There are frequent hangs of 10-45 seconds, windows throws up "not responding" fairly often, sometimes alternating with hangs, and has a habit of starting up as a half-loaded zombie if you focus on another window (like, this pithy blog post you're currently reading) while it's in the process of opening.

It's stuck like this
It not quite as bad at eating up RAM as Chrome, but it's pretty RAM hungry.

Performance seems to be directly linked to the size of resources available to actually map with. Official recommendation is to disable content you don't plan on using, which really sucks given than changing said content requires a restart. Sucks to be you if you want to browse through a gigantic library of assets to mix-and-match what's best for whatever fucked up game you want to run.

So, to summarize:

  1. The Creator seems to be baffled and slightly annoyed that their convoluted processes and lack of clear communication to backers is causing confusion, and that they're being expected to do rote customer service tasks.
  2. MapForge runs like utter shit on my machine.
My Specs, for those wondering:

I'm running a GTX-1080 for my video card, and I really should double my RAM, I'm aware.

Actual Beta-User Feedback:

  1. Frequent Hangs/Stops
  2. Serious lag navigating addon assets
  3. No Hex Grid option (I run GURPS, GURPS uses hexes, I need hexes)
  4. No scrollwheel functionality for scrolling asset lists
  5. It currently feels like a map-stamper and not much else. 
  6. UI would be nice if it weren't unresponsive and sluggish
  7. Ease of adding addons is good
  8. Need a way to disable addon content from within the program
  9. No options menu for a v1.0? Seriously?
  10. No option to choose where exported maps save? Really?
  11. Love the interplay between the UI and the bog-standard windows error and alert messages
  12. Lots of pitfalls to avoid and/or hoops to jump through to get barely usable performance out of it
  13. Thunking down 5 Tavern items and attempting to export has lead to an indefinite hang

Friday, November 3, 2017

Ceteri B-Team Guest Appearance: Agrivaine Threatens to Trap PC Party in the Realm of Death for Disrespecting Him

The Cast:

(The cast blurbs for the B-Team were shamelessly stolen from Douglas Cole's blog, where he normally does session summaries.)

Kamali Blackshear (18): Kamali is a young boy in his early teens. He is healthy and is of mixed ethnicity of Caucasian South African and native South African. He is a determined youth who believes in a justice of his own, likening himself to the knight of the round whom he has read deeply into. Just as they stood against the darkness of their age so too does Kamali seek to do the same. For his sister, for his friends, and for the world.

Tag: “A knight without a sword carrying a faith nobody believes.”

Lorenzo DeModouco (18): A handsome and charismatic musician. The loss of his parents didn’t dampen his spirits and he soldiered on after their death. He’s the cheery one always trying to make others happy and sometimes spontaneously breaks into song. Perceptive of others and their feelings, Lorenzo is the one who knows what people are thinking by the looks on their face. He’s also a boy scout and is quite comfortable in the wild.

TAG: “He’s a Jukebox Hero. He’s got stars in his eyes. A Jukebox Hero – he’ll make sure you survive.”

Amos M. Humiston (19) – This boy is far from where he started out at the orphanage. His comfortable existence already gone and instead has gotten used to his new life. Not like his brothers, his talents lay more in mental pursuits and has already started towards getting a double Masters degree at a local college aiming for his goal of becoming a research librarian. Following in his family’s footsteps almost unknowingly, he exhibits certain talents towards more occult pursuits such as druidism and alchemy, mixing up herbal supplements and elixers for the team. And while he’s still somewhat still slipping along behind the group, he has become a lot more outgoing with the rest of the Orphans and have started making friends with folks outside his adopted brothers. Always showing concern for them and trying to make sure they know everything that they need to when it comes to the dangers they face.

Tag: “True alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words.”

Gabriel MacAlister (18) – Built like the natural athlete he is, he has grown taller, stronger, and more solidly good-looking. A quiet and hard-working lad, always ready to lend a hand with any work, which he will do without complaint or obligating the other person to respond. He is an expert martial arts teacher, and has been following in the footsteps of a carpenter for some time now. Emphatically not a pushover or weak personality, but also not one to purposefully show off. Has been in many horrible places and seen many horrible things; he’s a bit of a compulsive planner as a result, as well as always feeling that most folks don’t really know how lucky they are. He lost a leg fighting zombies; he got an artificial replacement and kept on fighting the good fight.

Tag: “To serve others is the highest calling; to protect the meek the noblest endeavor, and our works are judged by the effort that went into them”

Timothy I Mitchell (19): Timothy possess an honest if forgettable face. He tends towards comfortable, though inexpensive clothing and durable running shoes, rounding off his typical attire is a deep pocketed jacket and a backpack slung over one shoulder. Timothy appears to be a poster-boy for bad kids, often finding himself in trouble with any and all forms of authority. A victim of neglect, driven to never become a victim again he often acts seemingly on impulse, taking any dare or challenge in his stride. Timothy doesn’t have friends, not in any real sense. Too few of the people who enter his orbit can deal with him in anything more than bite sized pieces, a fact which only further frustrates the young teenager.

Tag: “Darkness is within all of us, it’s how you use that darkness that matters”

Agrivaine Tashalan (19): An extremely attractive sorcerer, Agrivaine is an extremely gifted magical prodigy, as well as a planning mastermind. Driven to try and do the right thing, Agrivaine seems to have the weight of the entire situation in Boston weighing on his shoulders.


Amos and Agrivaine leave Brimstone Law, driving over to a ramshackle firehouse. The group has been dealing with some Vampires or something, and they're immediately curious who Amos has brought along.

Agrivaine introduces himself, and alerts the crew about what he's been instructed to do by Aldrick. 

They dicker for a while about the vampire they were interrogating, and the vampire's boss, before Aldrick drives up on his motorcycle, carrying a bundle. It has Maryam's body inside- or whatever is left of it.

Aldrick has to head off a fight as Agrivaine loses his patience with the teens giving him lip and almost zaps Kamali with Agony. 

Aldrick explains the nature of the spell. Someone (Aldrick and Gabe) anchors the spell, someone casts (Agrivaine), and the rest have to go into the land of death to convince death himself to let Maryam return back to the living. 

The Norse demigod admonishes the others for squabbling rather than conducting themselves like capable adults. 

Agrivaine and Walter, his usually invisible butler, begin work preparing the ritual site. Agrivaine calls in Trish to help with the dancing portion of the ritual, knowing that he's in for a risky dance.

Everyone except Trish, Aldrick, and Gabriel are thrust into an astral realm of some sort, floating above all of us. Aldrick is beating a drum in time with their hearts, which is sustaining their bodies throughout the ritual.

He gives them advice about following doors.

Agrivaine is being held up by Trish in the real world.

Within the firehouse, the door to the kitchen instead leads to a park. Kamali stops to comment on the insanity of going to convince death to give back Maryam. Lorenzo talks about offering death another individual who's been cheating death for a long time. 

It appears like they're in, Christian Herter Park, the way it appeared three days ago. There's a barbecue going on. Karl and Karl's father are both there, and so's Maryam. It's evidently quite peaceful and ennjoyable. Amos barely resists being pulled in by the illusion of how things didn't turn out, and Kamali has some trouble shaking it off.

They go through the next door.

They find themselves in a lavish room, filled with almost every worldly possession somebody could want. There's a tall man, maybe six feet tall, blonde hair, with a cruel cast to his face.

It's Ector- Agrivaine's brother. Kamali takes a look at his soul and looks upon one of the most vile, evil creatures he's ever seen, a half demon who has fully given himself over to sin and debauchery. 

Ector can't directly interfere, but he's hoping to throw Agrivaine off his game so that Aggie fails. Kamali and the others aren't afraid of him despite the fact that Ector is a fan of explosions- Oklahoma City sized explosions.

We decide to press on, figuring that Ector can't do anything to interfere, so might as well press on through the next door.

A garden stretches out ahead of us. An old man is tending to the garden, weeding and planting things.

He introduces himself as Anubis, and goes on about gardening. Agrivaine tries to equate it to keeping a drug dealing organization going. Anubis gets the gist, but isn't wowed.

He warns us that things are going to be getting harder moving forward, before telling Kamali that they have a long history going back.

Anubis tells us bringing back Maryam will likely require sacrifice, and gives Amos a plant, an Omani Frankincense tree. Hobbs, Amos' cat, decides to take the opportunity to make an appearance.

Kamali uses a skill to listen in on the cat and Anubis talking, evidently the cat is going on about how cats aren't properly worshiped anymore. Realizing that Kamali is listening in they break off talking. Anubis takes a moment to whisper to Timothy.

We leave the garden and are greeted by the biting cold of winter temperatures, and the crunch of snow under our feet. The others recognize it as a cabin that they've been at before. Next to the cabin is a gigantic creature of some kind.

It's eating a body that the B-Team seems to recognize. It spots us, and hauls a gigantic halbred out of the snow, swinging it at Timothy and Lorenzo. It slams Timothy in the chest, throwing him back and hitting for a lot of damage. Lorenzo starts turning into a werewolf or something. 

Agrivaine zaps it with a spell that kinda just slides off of it. He recognizes it as an Abattoir demon, a mass of corpses stitched together and then implanted with a spirit. This particular specimen is particularly beefy.

Timothy gets up and limps away.

The Demon swings at Timothy, Agrivaine, and Kamali. Kamali's tactical awareness is the only thing that saves Agrivaine from getting gutted.

Lorenzo- suddenly in werewolf form and wreathed in holy flame- comes up behind the demon and grabs it by the arm, wrenching it and forcing it to drop the halbred.

The demon screams in pain as the holy fire begins to burn it.

Kamali leaps up, draws a sword, and slashes at the demon's foot. Wrecked by the attack, the appendage is crippled.

Amos preps a holy water pellet.

Agrivaine recognizes the sigil of the creator of the demon.

Timothy draws a dagger, it sucks out some of his soul, and then he suddenly has a couple of astral blades. He plunges both into its chest and carves it up like a Christmas turkey, scoring a critical hit that dispatches the beast.

Agrivaine binds the demon spirit into his service- and the demon critfails its resistance roll. Agrivaine has made it his bitch, sending it after Ector to make his life difficult.

The giant halberd has shrunk. Kamali picks it up. Meanwhile, Timothy is getting attacked by the dagger he used.

They ask Agrivaine to help, and he taps into a latent power he has, attempting to pull out the dagger with holy light wreathing his hands.

Suddenly, Aggie, a fallen angel, and Timothy are all present in Timothy's mind. The Fallen Angel mentions a contract that Timothy signed.

Agrivaine has gained amazing insight into Timothy's life and character. Agrivaine knows every bad deed that Timmy has ever done- as well as every good deed. He knows that he can absolve Timothy- if Timothy is willing to repent.

Agrivaine casts Death Vision, forcing Timothy to see the lives that he ended early- all the lives that he took that worked against the cosmic good. The last vision is of his own baby brother, who he killed in an attempt to spare him the pain of life. He sees visions of the life his brother would have lived, as well as the further chances Timmy has to turn his life around.

Timothy is having trouble accepting that anybody else has made the choices he's had to made, prompting Agrivaine to reveal the brand on his soul.

Samael, known to the B-Team as Mr. Black, shows up to also try and convince Timothy to turn away from the darkness. Timothy makes his decision, and the Fallen Angel screams in agony as Timmy rejects it.

The fallen angel and Agrivaine are ejected from Timothy's mind. Samael collects the dagger and ensures that its denizen will never escape again.

We decide to move on through the lodge door. Lorenzo heals Timothy.

We find Maryam eating a hotdog in a bowling alley. The others ignore what they think is an apparition of Maryam, and get yelled at by the proprietor that we need bowling shoes to bowl.

Death offers us food and asks us to sit. Kamali lays out his concerns involving bringing Maryam back, going into how he's not convinced about it.

Maryam is asked to give her input on coming back. She puts out a cigarette and then recognizes she's surrounded by her pupils. At first, she doesn't remember clearly, but then Death grants her her memory back.

Agrivaine and Maryam both express appreciation for how many conventional explosives they used to take her out.

Death and Maryam talk a bit- the fact that the B-Team want her input on whether she wants to actually come back or not has Death more interested than he'd normally be. Duty, Honor, Sacrifice, and love of her children are the reasons Maryam has fought repeatedly to come back to the land of the living.

Kamali's convinced that she's passed that legacy onto the boys, and Lorenzo's arguments the boys aren't fully trained seem to convince Maryam that she wants to return. Kamali's not happy about it, convinced that she deserves her rest.

Death and Maryam both state that Maryam's kid, Darius, isn't actually dead, unlike what Kamali believes. Evidently he was nabbed by a witch, but he's not dead.

Maryam asks about Annie and the Demonreach Murphy Island explosion.

Kamali talks about how people need to let go, move on, and move past the things in their pasts that are holding them bound to repeat their mistakes over and over again.

The vampire behind everything the B-team has been going through- the deaths of their parents, 66 victims, 13 survivors, and 7 children- it was a ritualistic killing.

Agrivaine recognizes the date as an important date- the stars were properly aligned for a specific type of sacrifice.

Agrivaine inquires about the soul of his nephew, making some particularly nasty threats about stranding everyone in the realm of death if he doesn't get answers. Death informs him that his Nephews' soul is in fact residing in Heaven.

Death goes on to claim that Timothy is a descendant of Cain, as was Grendel and Grendel's Mother. Aldrick really doesn't like descendants of Cain.

Maryam has a Sidhe who supplies her with death-defying charms that keep her from permanently dying. Something counteracted the magic, which Agrivaine suspects was the same work of the person attacking all of Boston.

Death is amused and conjures drinks for the B-Team to drink to seal the bargain to bring Maryam back to life.

Kamali drinks. Timothy drinks. Amos drinks. And Lorenzo drinks.

Everyone wakes up in the firehouse. Maryam is returned to life, the teens are restrained from hurting Agrivaine for making threats, and Agrivaine limps out into the darkness with Trish to return to the Bedford Building.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Ceteri S1E2: Crisis, Mayhem, and Murky Waters


The following was recorded by Emily, as I wasn't around for this part of play.

24-Sep-2017 14:47

Agrivain Tashaslan (Travis): Absent; Missing.
Landon Winchester (Alex): Absent; Left a note: Gone to check on something, Yanay is in charge until he returns. He wants us to track down leads.
Leo Brienza (Emily): Present; Went back to his appartment and picked up his stuff, slept, and then went back to the company headquarters.
Mike Bastian (Andre): Present; Prayed and slept.
Yanay Servantes (Annia): Present; Skipped sleep, brewed potions.

There's a sense of unease in Boston. We can't contact anyone in the conclave, the phones are down. Agrivain probably went to check on Olivia. Contacting the vampire brood was unproductive, we keep getting the brush off ("They're not here, call back later.").
Leo's been contacted by half a dozen of his contacts. Things are *crazy* right now. Lots of high value targets from the supernatural community in the city have been hit, people are dead, groups are scattered. There were also 6 bank robberies, an art heist, and a jewelery store robbery, in the greater Boston area yesterday, they were staggered start, some overlap. Seems to be set up to keep the police occupied running from one crisis to the next. ~$90 million stolen, managed to avoid geotrackers and dye packs.
Police theory is that some sort of crime family moving in. Local crime is controlled on a family basis, with mostly Irish and Italian families in charge.

Yanay visits the police and works them over for information, playing them with her excellent psychological skills. The criminal and supernatural underworld is terrified. A lot of homeless people disappearing. The crime families are bunkering, and do not yet blame each other. They're expected to go on the war path once they know what the hell is going on. Gang bangers hit up Christian Herter Park yesterday too, about 25 hit it up guns blazing with no obvious motivation. By the time the cops showed up, the gang members were dead, 23 dead humans, and 8 "probably humans" with canines and funky bone structures", lots of corpses on fire. There's only one intact vampire body, the rest burned. The gang members were shot, stabbed, broken necks, none of the gang members were burned. This happened between two to three hours before the party (between 7-8 PM).
The word Leo gets is that this gang was going to be making a big drug deal downtown, 2-3kg, but never made it. They were buying, probably from a mid to top distributor probably with one of the crime families.

Mike calls his girlfriend Suzette, she can't talk much right now as the proverbial shit has hit the wall and is everywhere. Mike offers to help, but Suzette thinks this might be a bad idea. They haven't been able to reach the Conclave either. Mike asks to see her but Suzette says to call her back later tonight. Her family are in the middle of shutting down their HQ and retreating to their chapter house. As far as she knows, the other warlock families are doing the same.

Alan Lanbetter (the Duke's mortal persona) calls us at Landon's office. Yanay takes the phone. He reports 197 dead, and 50 casualties that may not live. It looks like at least 400 attackers - perhaps 60, 70 casualties on their side. They targeted soft targets and then bailed out through the portals.
He reports that their contact at the Kveldsongr clan of werewolves have gone silent. They were celebrating Walpurgisnacht.

List of known targets of this offensive:
The fey (badly hit at the midsommer festival)
The Conclave (very literally missing)
Some vampires (8) and some drug dealing gang members (23) - murderated and fireballed or something.
Kveldsongr werewolves - incommunicando.

This all happened with the new moon, midsommer, and walpurgisnacht appening today.

~12 PM
Right across the street is a Mexican Grill, down the street is the Chicken And Rice guys (middle eastern street cart).
We go out for Chipotle for lunch, swap background information, and try to figure out what the hell.  We throw ideas around, note that the string of mundane crimes rolls through the timeline into the park assault, which basically rolls into the attack on the party (but that last one had a small one or two hour gap).
The werewolves own an entire island (Langlee Island) - there is no bridge access, only by boat, no charter.

We stopped the game to discuss how you catch lycanthropy, is it sexually transmitted, and what happens if you're carying a werewolf baby at the full moon.

We head out to Langlee Island. We rent a paddle boat, notice nobody has boating, or swimming, and struggle our way across the lake on default rolls. We arive at the dock on the west side, the island is quiet, too quiet. There's a norse-style longhouse, 100 feet in length or so.

While walking down the path to the longhouse, Leo suddenly freezes. Yanay and Mike ask him what's wrong, and Leo doesn't answer. Leo doesn't even move. Yanay and Mike look up and see a bird frozen in the air as well. Yanay tentatively pokes her hand into the air past Leo, and nothing happens. Mike and Yanay grab Leo and struggle to pull him back to saftey, he suffers a wrenching whiplash and recovers with a small injury. Now that we know its there, the line of effect is faintly visible. Yanay examines it, and deduces its a huge very-slow-time effect, cast from outside the area of effect. It is too big to challenge, there are no ley lines near by to power either.
Mike tries to pray for assistance and recieves no answer... uncomfortably.
We worry the Conclave suffered a similar fate. Leo asks Yanay to determine when the giant time stop ward was cast. It was cast about a day ago, on the 30th of April, some time after sundown - they were targeted first, probably (don't know about the Conclave). The spell is so big it would have taken a group of at least 20 powerful sorcerers performing ritual magic to cast.
Mike decides we should look around the edge of the time stop effect for more evidence of the attackers - tracks, etc. We find a very large man (7') frozen near the edge of the effect, walking away from the Lodge and towards us. He looks surprised. We decide to rescue him. Yanay casts a protective spell on Mike to reduce the effects of the spell on him, then Mike prays for divine power to assist him as he reaches in and yanks the big guy out of the field.
Our new "friend" comes out slightly injured, not nearly as bad as Leo though. He immediately lashes out at Mike and grabs him out of the throat - but Mike is still filled with the righeousness of Jesus and the power of the Christ Chex he ate for breakfast, and he resists the worst of being throttled by the throat by this huge dude, then wriggles out of the grapple. The new guy is angry but we talk him down quickly, explaining the situation is a giant disaster and we are investigating it, not causing it. He calls for a temporary truce using the formal term of the Conclave, then casts a diagnostic spell on the time stop ward. Yanay says to him that it's a giant time stop spell that owuld take at least 20 sorcerers, he says more like 30.
We introduce ourselves to him, he is Aldrick Thorsson, the brother of the clan leader and the clans executioner. He is not a werewolf, instead he is a Vanir, a bear skinturner, rumoured to be the son of Thor, and 1200 years old. He says everyone was at the celebration, as far as he knew.
Yanay discretely hides her silver jewelery.
Looking around we can see a few other people 20 yards in, but we can't possibly reach them. Aldrick tells us we're going to help him fix that, we agree thuroughly. He wants an etheric battery, because obviously we just don't have the power to do this. He can make one, which is going to be necessary as his clans resources seem to have been one of the targets of the bank roberies.
Aldrick is too dignified to take our paddle boat and uses one of theirs to cross (we tie our boat to his). When we get to the parking lock, Aldrick's car has its tires slashed. The other vehicles are also trashed. Aldrick takes this with more aplomb than we expected; but he promptly breaks into the other cars and collects enough compatible tyres for his car, hands them to us with a tyre iron, and then goes and stands at the edge of the parking lot while we sort his car out. It takes about an hour to do the tyre dance; Yanay leaves the men to do it.


We drive to Aldrick's place, and it's been firebombed. Aldrick smashes through the ruined floorboards of one of the rooms, and pulls out an ancient steamer trunk. He tosses that into the jeep and throws the keys to us, and tells us to drive to our headquarters, wherever that is.
It takes about half an hour.
Our secretary has a few messages for us - she oggles Aldrick's ass while we read them.
A cop contact called for Yanay, he got a weird call from the coroner and thinks Yanay might want to check the body out since she's "into this kind of stuff".
Landon says he's still tied up and won't be back tonight.
Yanay tries to get Aldrick to tell us what the heck he's up to and he's unhelpful. He gives us a list of stuff he needs, and gives us a bag of "money" from his chest. He says that it probably won't cover it so we'll need to loan him the rest. He says they should take our card.

First we check out the weird corpse at the morgue, with Yanay's cop buddy Charles "Charlie" McCurdy. They're so overflowed with bodies right now that they haven't had a chance to put everyone in the deep freezers.

Talking to Charlie, we confirm the 23 gangers (Back Bay Butchers) were killed with violence, with a lot of precise bullet holes, and two had the back of their heads smashed in. The vampires were killed with two precise thrusts of blades into the kidneys and eviscerated. Witnesses are very confused, and can't remember what anything looked like.

One is charred heavily, probably at 1200C (vampire fangs), and the stench is pretty bad. Yanay and Leo exchange looks. Charlie rolls out another corpse, the top of its head has been sheared off. Everyone is grossed out, but Leo is positively squicky.

Mike eyeballs the burnt corpses. There's a slight smell of myrhh, and he figures that someone called down the holy fire of heaven on the Vampires. Mike pulls us aside and shares this, and wonders if they attacked the Crusader and it was self defense, or if a Crusader(s)/Angel is on team Explosion.
We notice also that many of the Butchers have tan lines for rings and watches and such, but they are all missing all personal effects, documents, wallets, jewelery, etc.

We decide to head out to pick up Aldricks stuff - we take Leos Ford Focus and visit Rhys Conatser who is Yanay's regular supplier. Rhys masquerades as a Head shop. He comments that we're the first customers he's seen all day, and he's quite aware of the situation - he seems a bit surprised we actually are out and about. We hand him Aldricks list and Rhys points out that it's some pricy stuff ($33 000 after subtracting the 12 gold coins Aldrick gave us); the last time Yanay put her shopping trip on the company card Landon called him up and yelled at him for three hours.

Yanay offers to help him with his "herb garden" with her magical gift with plants, and Rhys is very much appreciative of this offer and trades for a discount. He has a fair crop of "Medicinal Herbs" along with purple lotus and various other medicinal and magical plants. We get sent away with a very expensive bill and a 30 lb chunk of quartz, along with other items (purified copper, other odds and ends). Rhys says to stay out of the coming storm; he's shutting down this afternoon and not going to open again until all blows over.

We drive back to the headquarters, and get back by about 5PM.

The shapeshifters now owe us quite a bit; an alliance seems likely. Now all the questions about werewolf STDs makes sense.

Aldrick's taken over one of the board rooms as his ritual work space; he's got at least three days of work ahead of him. We suggest he stay here for safety in the mean time, and give him Landons room ("It's the best room, apropriate for your status. Not to get Landon at all. Of course.") Leo is going to stay here tonight also.

About 6:00 we head out to have a look at what happened to the Conclave, and swing by a McDonalds for takeout. Leo orders four double quarterpounders with cheese and bacon, and a large fries, also with bacon, and a bottle of water. Yanay has a salad and a side of fries, and an orange juice. Mike orders the kids meal and donates to Ronald McDonald House.

We go to the Conclave house and everything seems like business as usual, but the guard (Hong Li, who's familiar to us) seems squirmy. Yanay tries to charm some information out of him. He says they haven't heard from the Custos headquarters at all. It's like it's totally missing. We've got an illusion up to hide it, but the only people that can be found were the off-shift guards and whoever were just accidentally outside.

There's a security measure on the HQ that can shunt it into a side dimenison, but that requires access to keys. I ask if there's a crusader organization in town, I want to double-check if they've also been hit. Li curses, and askes if Gladius Dei are in town. They used to be part of the Conclave but left in an argument over "suffering a witch to live". But they operate in small terrorist cells of 14-16 people, not nearly enough to do any of the big things we've seen - the huge time stop spell, those gates at the fey realm festival.

We're suspicious now that someone is playing a huge game of Lets You And Him Fight. Who likes to operate by offering great power to people, and having it all turn destructive? Demons. Yanay had a vision yesterday about an army of angels fighting an army of demons. That's our operating theory right now.

We head back to the Bedford building to camp for the night.


Agrivain Tashaslan (Travis): Absent; Missing.
Landon Winchester (Alex): Present; returned from checking up on the conclave with A Mission.
Leo Brienza (Emily): Present.
Mike Bastian (Andre): Present.
Yanay Servantes (Annia): Present.

Notable NPC: Jarl Aldrick Thorsson, Vanir, bear skinturner, executionioner for the werwolf clan.

Due to Aldrick's importance and high status, we gave him the best room in the Bedford building to rest and recuperate in. That happened to be Landons.

Landon went to get some paperwork and some licensing information from one of the Conclave's departments, and walked into a shitstorm. The lines of communication that were established through Underhill, the various lines of technologically assisted magic
communication - they're just not working.
People can call out but nobody can call in and it's led to a lot of chaos. He found out while he was at the Conclave that there were something like 14 to 18 major incidents on May 1st. They ranged from specific people getting killed, like Leary and Bérenger (who used to be a part of the Conclave until she retired) and the disappearance of the Murphy family - to just a bunch of random cabals and kogans being
knocked out. Most of the hits were through mundane methods but we've also heard about unseelie fairy assassins coming in and just wiping the floor with people.

Agravaine went with Landon and when he found out that the Conclave headquarters had been hit as well, he went there to check up on Olivia. We haven't heard from him since, but with communications down it's to be expected.

The Conclave has recruited Landon to get out there and spread the fact that communications are not working, and to find out exactly what's going on with the unselie. The Conclave has had some problems with the unseelie too and that is exceptionally weird, as the Duke has a KOS policy towards unseelie. They basically want Landon to continue doing what hes doing for the Duke, because they feel that the unseelie hit on the May-Eve celebration is connected, but they'd also like him to send off at least some of his people to establish lines of communication with the rest of the world. Physical messages (letters, couriers) are not being interfered with, but magical and technologically assisted communications are being scrambled.

We're reminded that the way that when Conclave buildings are under a severe attack, they literally pour themselves into a side dimension until everything is safe. They should be able to observe the situation in our dimension from their position. It appears that the Conclave HQ's defenses may have been triggered - but they haven't come back, which suggests they're stuck.

The guy that's currently in charge of the Conclave (Williamson) is like the mystical equivalent of the USDA; the rest of the government is missing. A very large chunk of their military / policing / secret police force of the Custos is gone; they had around 120-150 heavily  trained and equipped sorcerers, but now they've been reduced to 20. Everyone else was in the HQ when it slid sideways. This is why they are pulling in all the "human resources" they can get their hands on; they just don't have the warm bodies to investigate.

It's about 8:00 p.m. on May 2nd. Agravaine went with Landon and when he found out that the Conclave headquarters had been hit as well, he went there to check up on Olivia. We haven't heard from him since, no phone calls are getting through; with communications down it's to be expected. We're pretty sure he can take care of himself and aren't worrying about him yet.

When Landon gets back to the Bedford building, he goes directly to fall into his bed before we can warn him about the houseguest. A very tired Landon, upon finding a large hairy (naked) man sleeping under his 3000-thread-count Egyptian cotton bed sheets, pitches a temper tantrum - and very nearly gets a thrown axe in his face for waking up Aldrick Thorsson. Leo physically removes Landon from the room before Aldrick can toss another axe, while hurriedly trying to shush him. Landon rants loudly about how he's going to have to burn those sheets now because we've left some hobo sleep in them. In between Landons furious outbursts we manage to explain that Mr. Thorsson is _not_ a deity, but instead a 1200-odd year old half deity and deserved the finest quarters in the building. Landons indignation is briefly dampened as he processes this information.

We can hear Aldrick stirring and quickly the whole team escorts Landon from the hallway to the boardroom (as the best room to have screaming arguments in, although it's half magical laboratory now).

Landon decides that he will consider this all an honest error and try not to think about it.

We then fill Landon in on the full events of the afternoon, including rescuing Aldrick from the time stop ward. He also gets told how much of his money we spent buying that huge quartz chunk - unfortunately Landons rage is stoked again ("I would forgive you guys if that money was spent on new bed sheets!") Landon gives a briefing to the rest of us on where he's been and what he's learned. In turn, we fill Landon in, and then we brainstorm theories as to who could be behind this mess. Landon corrects us on the idea of Hell being directly involved, being too dangerous for Hell to contemplate. The comparison is that the Mortal World is a tiny nation stuck as a neutral zone between two nuclear powers - if one of them directly trespasses WWIII breaks out and the Mortal World loses no matter what. However, it's *entirely* possible that Hell arranged things more indirectly - selling information on good ley lines to tap to one person, selling artifacts to someone else, sending warlocks to e.g. help the Unseelie court open those gates...
Our problem right now is that we have too many Mabeys and not enough concrete information.

During this, Aldrick follows us into the boardroom (still naked, but carrying pants that he thankfully starts putting on or Yanay's brain might have melted down), and we hurriedly make introductions. Leo unfortunately and quite accidentally completely flubs mentioning Landons titles. Landon firmly corrects Leo and pointedly asks Aldrick if *he* has any titles - only to discover he's been hurling abuse at an Earl (Jarl). Landon advises Aldrick that Crimson Law is happy to help in any way; it's good to be in business with someone as important as Aldrick. Aldrick may or may not owe Crimson Law money, or favours.

We go back to the current problem, and Aldrick suggests the communications problem is due to a Babylon Stone, an actual stone from the Biblical Tower of Babel. We all recognize that - due to Gods intervention to shatter the language of mankind, the stones of Babel carry a lingering power that cause problems with communicating with others. The more stones you have, the harder it is for people in that area to communicate. About 400 years ago an alchemist named Nicholas Flamel figured out how to direct the power of those stones so it only affects a specific group or people or person - he weaponized them. A single Stone doesn't have a lot of power, but about 100 in one place would be enough to blanket all of Boston. If we can find three or four points on the edges of the effect, we can figure out where the center of the effect is, and therefore where the Stones must be. A shortcut might be to look for major Ley Lines that intersect near the center of Boston (ley lines probably being used to power the magic that controls the Babylon Stones).

Unfortunately, the Conclave controls the knowledge of major ley line locations strictly. Fortunately, Yanay is packed with secret information about ley lines, and has a fantastic memory. It takes a grueling seven hours, but by 3AM she produces a detailed map of the Boston ley lines that the Department of Telluric Regulation would be proud of. While Yanay slaves away, Landon finds a five star hotel to sleep in, Leo runs out for a "quick snack" before crashing, and Mike just goes to bed. Yanay passes out on her map. At 8AM Yanay awakens to find Aldrick (clothed) working on his project, although he stops long enough to shove a cup of coffee under her sleepy nose. Yanay pulls the papers off her face and drinks her coffee. Leo runs to the McDonalds to grab four sausage and egg McMuffins, a small coffee, and two hashbrowns (he just can't resist when they offer the second one). Landon collects a $500 dollar breakfast from his 5-star hotel and brings it back to Brimstone Law in a lovely carved wood "doggy bag" - what's the point of having a $500 breakfast if other people can't see you eat it? Leo, meanwhile, has two grease-stained brown paper bags. Mike has bread and water.

Turning back to Aldricks project, he's building a battery to collect enough power to fuel the huge ritual that would be needed to free the island. Batteries unfortunately need to be charged - it can either be trickle charged (a very slow process) or it can be tapped into a significant magical source, such as a major Ley Line. Conveniently, Yanay has finished a *fantastic* map, although she has ley lines on it that Aldrick is pretty sure are Top Secret. Aldrick picks out a great intersection... which happens to be near the center of the city. Good for looking for Babylon Stones, good for charging batteries. How convenient!

We split up into two cars, Landon in his chaufeured limousine, Leo driving his Ford Focus. Yanay navigates Boston traffic beautifully, and (with a break for Leo to grab some quick drive-thru food) we arrive at a park outside Boston, near the Blue Hills reservation. The ley energy is so strong we can all feel it. Normally the park is busy during the day, but with all the excitement, Bostonians seem to have decided to stay indoors.

Aldrick sniffs around, and declares that there's some sort of blockage on the line. It's not as powerful as it should be. It could be deliberately damned up, or it could be a natural blockage. Yanay uses magic to try to divine the source of the magic; as she mumbles in a foreign language, the entire area lights up with blue witch light. Cracks form along the ground and something starts coming out...

Everything after this point was recorded by me. (Agrivaine)

They leave the ley line in the forest. Evidently the Ley Line has been cracked by a sorcerer, who used it for a quick super-charge, damaging it in the process.

An entire department in the Conclave is dedicated to fixing such things, and thwacking people who damage Ley Lines.

Aldrick is working on some kind of magical battery on the conference room table in Landon's penthouse suite. He intends to fix it so that it can be used to overload the spell that's keeping his entire family in stasis. 

Meanwhile, Olivia and Agrivaine are in a Dunkin. Olivia's being kept alive with casts of Halt Death, and kept ambulatory with Painkiller. Something is tracking the pair, something... extradimmensional. Aggie's cellphone is toast. He's keeping onlookers from leering by putting a glamour on Olivia so her wounds are immediately apparent. 

They limp back to base, scaring the day receptionist. Everyone swarms around Olivia and Agrivaine, seeing to her wounds. She's holding on by a thread.

Yanay gets into Landon's files on his staff, contacting a doctor/EMT type fellow on the payroll. The dude forces Agrivaine to donate some blood to Olivia against Aggie's protests. At some point Aggie and Olivia both get healing spells from Yanay. 

Yanay recognizes it as a dimensional shambler, a nameless one that was stuck inbetween realities.  

Leo and Mike both pass out while giving blood. Aggie manages to stay conscious. 

Aggie calls Trish to come over to see to Olivia's longer-term care.

Mike feels an angelic presence, and he, Yanay and Aggie see Samael over her bed.

Samael says that Olivia's still dying, while appreciating Aggie's efforts to keep her alive, stating that Aggie tries to do the right thing.

Samael wants a favor from Aggie in the future in return for healing Olivia. Aggie agrees, with the stipulation that anything Samael requests can't be something Olivia would want to kill Agrivaine for doing.

Samael and Aggie strike the deal, and Samael uses Mike as a conduit to heal Olivia. 

Trish shows up, carrying coffee. Aggie's is obviously not Dunkin like everyone else's. 

Leo sees about making an appropriate stretcher for Olivia. Aggie convinces Trish to watch Olivia's recovery. He sees about securing some Fred Astaire DVDs for her as a way of saying thanks.

Aggie takes the opportunity to catch some sleep. Leo helps Aldrick, Yanay sees if he silver tears may be of use for powering up the battery, and Mike tries to contact his girlfriend for help powering up the battery.

The team gets together to plan, feeding info ti Aggie. Yanay's map of the ley lines is especially good, up to the quality of conclave's agency for such things.

Aggie gets a good overview- there's at six supernatural attacks, four mundanes, and numerous locations that have just been blown up. Lots of unseelie activity, temportal stasis fields, disrupted communications, and homeless people disappearing. 

  • Dutchy of Broken Promises
  • Werewolves attacked, put under a quasi-stasis field
  • Demonreach Murphy Island appears to be just gone
  • Conclave HQ and the Custos HQ have been shunted elsewhere, as part of their normal security systems. Conclave can't bring them back properly.
We decide to start seeing about gathering allies and 'rallying the banners', to organize resistance to whatever forces are at play. We head for Suzette's family's enclave.

Mike spends some time trying to get past the gate, managing to trip their alarm systems into activity. He eventually gets a guy named Candid to break the security lockdown under the guise of getting a pizza delivered. We ask him about Suzette.

We're told to wait in the lobby. Suzette eventually comes out, catches up with Mike, and then leads us to her Uncle, Magnus.

Magnus is swayed to help, and then Magnus' head of house, Taylor, steps in. Taylor questions Leo about whether Leo's father is involved in whatever is going on.

We ask Taylor to share info, and he paints a bad picture of shit almost heading to Civil War. He makes it clear that he's unhappy that Magnus' involvement could be construed as his house getting involved in the political arena. He hands Agrivaine two marbles- one for communication, one that Agrivaine doesn't recognize.

We piled into Magnus' tricked out van. It's surprisingly spacious inside, has a house-sized AC unit shoved into a window, is tricked out with shag carpet, and is crammed with tech goodies. 

Leo is granted an unscheduled consultation with the Dimensional Shambler, which appears on the hood of the car, shanking him in the vitals for 33 damage. Leo loses control of the car, and the Shambler disappears after the car flips.

We stop to turn around and help Leo.

The Shambbler reappears on top of Leo's Ford Focus. Mike charges it, and then suddenly the Shambler is squashed through some kind of hole.

Yanay and Mike see to Leo's wounds. Magnus suggests that we leave- quickly, sprinkling powder on Leo's car. 

Magnus identifies the Shambler as Luxari the Impala Impaler, a killer for hire among shamblers. He explains that reality doesn't like them, because of their unnatural nature, and does its best to squash them out. Magnus likens them to the spaces between letters in words. 

Yanay gets a hold of Landon's EMT buddy and tries to persuade him to help another stab victim. He does his best on Leo, easily convinced that some kind of serial killer is on the loose.

Leo was attacked in an attempt to get the van we were all in to crash- Magnus' driving skills saved the day.

Aldric and Magnus begrudgingly get to work on the battery. Aldric orders a ludicrous amount of food from a local Chinese restaurant. Mike and Suzette slip off for some private time.

Aldric invites everyone to eat, encouraging us to keep strength up.

Agrivaine and Trish have a conversation about how Olivia is doing, and how a ward against Nameless ones might be appropriate.

We decide to go on a field trip to the Library to hunt down info on the nameless ones.

Agrivaine forces the recovering Leo to fill out a library card app. Leo DOES however stumble on some lifetime membership coupons which he and Yanay get.

Agrivaine gets to work researching the nameless ones. He finds a tome by Abdul Alhazred, among others. Yanay helps, learning that Luxari accepts payment in souls. There is an appropriate warding spell- but it's written in Sanskrit.

Mike confirms that Samael is an archangel, one with a ambiguous reputation. Evidently he's good buddies with another angel named Zophiel.

Agrivaine spends his last hour hunting for spells- coming across a particularly interesting tome with a few spells that could be extremely problematic. 

Aldric checks out a ton of books about alchemy, crafting, and elemental stuff. He hands Mike a book on info about Angels. Agrivaine talks with the librarian for a little while.

Landon is still in some kind of magical coma after overdosing on ley line energy.

An hour passes- Aggie tries to catch some sleep, while Yanay tracks down someone who can speak Sanskrit. One of her herbalist friends is a possible lead, after she strikes out at local universities.

Mike is getting a contact high from Magnus. Magnus is evidently an aficionado of magically enhanced pot.

The group wakes Aggie up and sets out to go fetch the guy who knows Sanskrit. We stop outside of the shop, honk the horn, and Yanay goes to meet her contact.

Rhys- Yanay's contact- gestures over to a guy whose head is in a large book. The guy's name is Amos, and he evidently knows about ALL of the languages.

We explain to him where we got the tome with the Sanskrit spell, and offer to get him an application for the library.

Four dimmensional shamblers decide to pay us a visit in the shop. Mike gets slashed in the foot, Leo takes a shot to the leg, Rhys loses a leg, and Yanay barely avoids getting hurt.

Amos retreats a little and pulls out a slingshot. Agrivaine burns a use of foresight to produce a charm of Death Aura, sucking the energy out of nearby shamblers.

Mike avoids getting hit by another Shambler. Leo proceeds to shoot one in the face. Mike stabs one. Rhys is attacked again, this time in the vitals, and he dies.

One of the Shamblers teleports behind Leo, but trips up somehow and gets stunned.

Amos shoots one in the chest with a ball bearing. Yannay then casts Moonfire, burning one to a crisp.

Agrivaine attempts to cast Agony on Luxari the Imapala Impaler, but the spell is resisted. Leo fires three shots at a Shambler, hitting with all three shots, killing it. 

Mike burns some FP limping over to Luxari, stabbing it in the torso but failing to penetrate its DR.

Luxari does a -4 deceptive dual-weapon attack on Mike, but the holy warrior manages to parry both hits with his shield.

Amos quick-draws another stone from his ammo pouch and shoots it at the remaining flunky shambler.

Luxari falls unconscious. 

We dither about whether to attempt to trap the creature, or burn it with fire. We opt for the trap, since we believe that burning is less likely to stick.

Luxari starts speaking in a language that hurts all of us. We learn that contracts can be annulled if the target dies- such as their heart stopping beating.

Yanay tries to appease Rhys' spirit, having Aggie call back his spirit. He's initially pissed, but is mollified by Yanay asking to take a final will/testament. 

Amos uses his knowledge of poisons to help us kill Leo- followed by everyone throwing in to help resuscitate Leo. We manage to bring him back to life at -35hp.

We talk with Amos for a bit, learning that vampires have been chasing after him and his team, and were part of attack the others looked into at the park.

Amos refuses to answer who trained him and his friends. He mentions a conclave safehouse, being run by Williams Sims, a name we recognize. Sims is the head of supernatural flora and fauna for the Conclave, basically our magical equivalent of the USDA.

It's not a department that makes Aggie very confident that competent leadership is in place. Amos explains that they located the location via psychic means. 

We decide to deal with Luxari by making him agree to a contract- he won't ever target an employee or client of Brimstone law, and we'll let him free. Before we loose him, we decide to try and use divination to figure out who sent him.

Yanay casts Scry. She sees a woman with blonde hair who is casting a spell repeatedly. The woman's eyes are missing something- it's like she has a seething madness inside of her. She's got a gold ring with a black opal for a stone. There's a carved D in the opal. She's dressed really well. The skyline has Boston to the Southeast. 

Once Yanay has returned to the group, she relays what she's seen. 

We free Luxari after confirming the details of our arrangement, and then we head for Brimstone law. Yanay and Amos raid Rhys' shop for herbs. Agrivaine spots something he wants and nabs it before leaving. 

We spend some time cleaning the scene and harvesting the bodies of the shamblers for materials.

We head back to Brimstone law, Amos in tow. We're dead set on making sure he gets a library card.

Leo is seen to by Landon's doctor, who gives him a heavy dose of morphine and a saline IV drip. 

We determine that Amos is an untrained sorcerer. If he properly trains himself, he could endure the trials and join the Conclave.

Amos' cat Hobbs is at Brimstone law- something that freaks Agrivaine out a little bit. 

We get into the Library (finally), and see about getting Amos a card. He uses Professional Skill (Librarian) as an influence skill on Clio.

Aldric is also there, and evidently Amos and him had a run together in the past where Aldric helped the B-Team out of a jam. Aldric is informed that Maryam is 'gone', and it gets a really large reaction from the norse Demigod.

Aldric comments 'Bloody Mary is dead.' Which Agrivaine takes note of to follow up on.

Evidently, the Duke we were with when the fairy death squads was related to Maryam.

Aldric grabs Agrivaine by the collar, demanding that he do a ritual for him- likely the very powerful spell one that he had found previously. 

Yanay finds the Edda, which she uses to read up a little bit on about Aldric.

Aggie asks Mike to invoke Samael. Mike tries to do it, and something goes horribly wrong, and Beelzebub appears. Beelzebub immediately slithers up to Yanay and wraps a hand around her waist, asking why Mike called him.

Beelzebub tries to tempt Mike into giving Beelzebub his soul. Beelzebub is quite tempted by gaining the soul of a Virtue, and is ready to give Mike anything he desires.

Agrivaine tells Beelzebub why he got summoned, and indicates that he's looking for info.

Mike actually gets Samael to show up, and Agrivaine lays out his predicament-

Aldric, a Norse Demigod, wants Agrivaine to bring Maryam back from the dead, and Agraivaine wants Samael and Beelzebub to give assistance.

Samael causes a book to fall off a shelf for Agrivaine to collect, while Agrivaine makes it clear that he's not going to intentionally cause any problems with Samael's charges.

Amos is offered a job as the new research librarian for the Library. Then he and Agrivaine leave to meet the rest of Amos' brothers and bring back Bloody Mary from the dead...

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Ceteri S1E1: Aggie doesn't cause a mass causality event, I swear

(apologies on the sparse summary, my internet was crapped out for the first 30 minutes of the session.)

We're enjoying a nice party with a fairy duke when it's crashed by a bunch of combatants. There's a massive brawl:

  • Yanay gets a bunch of goblins to start attacking one another
  • Agravaine zaps an orge with a necrobolt, hits a redcap with agony, and terrifies another
  • Mike kicks ass with his sword
  • Leo shoots a bunch
  • Landon sips wine and allows his servants to deal with the peasants attacking the castle
The team starts to see to the wounded and interrogating what captives we have once the dust settles. Leo, some random useful person who was at the Duke's party, leads the interrogation, finding out that Baron Saoirse Uí Luain was behind the attack.

This attack far surpasses anything else done before as far as fairy hostility goes. We're talking 300 raiders, hundreds of casualties, and a huge diplomatic incident. Their goal was to cause as much chaos as possible, preferably killing as many nobles in the Duke's court as possible. The fact that they were wielding iron weapons is an even bigger deal- fairies killed by iron don't get to enjoy the afterlife.

One fairy captive who spills the beans eventually gets killed by a spell when Christopher decides we've learned enough.

We piece together that linking two places in physical space together that have no existing connections is serious magical mojo, meaning that this attack was logistically costly.

Yanay has some kind of vision from her deity. She sees a bestial army fighting another army. Pretty short and sweet for a vision. She suddenly has silver tears.

Landon convinces the Duke to employ us to investigate the matter further.

The duke is informed by one of his men that Demonreach Murphy Island has been blown up. The Duke has a brother who married into that family, and boots us out so he can figure out what happened there.

Our objective is to discern why the Duke was attacked, and what else is going on.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Ceteri Post-Tral Prequel 1: Voodoo Murder Mystery

The Cast:

Cormac McAllister (Mavrick): The team's scout and master of crossroads. Cormac is also handy with a gun and might not be fully human.

Yanay Servantes (Annia): An Incan witch and powerful spellcaster. Yanay is really good at psychology.

Landon Winchestor (Alex): Rich. Posh. Utterly aggrandizing and pretentious. Still, an effective face.

Mike Bastian (Andre): A holy warrior who fights for the glory of heaven. Easy to guilt trip.

Agravaine Tashalan (Me): The grease that makes the entire team work smoothly. Agravaine is inhumanly and inconveniently attractive, extremely smart, and a real mastermind when it comes to planning.


Mike gets let in to see Suzzette as a 'priest' who can give 'confessional'. She spews out a bunch of irrelevant stuff, except for the fact that her affair with the dead dude likely killed his marriage.

All indications are that she's not the killer. 

Yanay tells Suzzette to remain strong and cautions her to not tell anything to the police.

We try to search for Holt. Making a series of really bad skill checks, we wind up outside a Boston bar. Ms. Baril is leaving right as we enter.

She strangely offers to buy us all drinks. The bar is a large wrap-around type dealie. There's a few vampires, a troll, some fairies, and a couple other Conclave members present. No normal people seem to be present. 

We all order food. Landon purchases a bottle of wine that's something like $20,000- for the glass. He confirms that it's heavenly.

Baril asks us what we're up to. We tell her, and she suggests getting in touch with a Custos Knight. She offers some information in return for a glass of what Landon just drank. Landon gets her a glass, drops a grand as a tip for the waiter, and Baril hands over a disc and info on her contact.

Baril's instructions lead us to an arcade, where we're instructed to enter the konami code on a machine and then enter a special coin which opens a portal to her contact. 

Yanay uses the coin and code on Street Fighter, and we find ourselves in an airfield where Guile is fighting some green-skinned creature. A guy off to the side is giving medical advice to someone, then accepting pay.

We approach the guy. He introduces himself as Garten Whitby. Yanay introduces us and explains our issue with the Loa. Garten warns us that whoever is doing the murders used a full-on invocation to do his mojo. He goes on to explain that the practitioner is capturing souls and killing the body. It hijacks the normal processes that happen when somebody dies.

Landon starts negotiating to buy a book off Garten that explains more, followed by negotiating for a translation text cause the book is in High Sidhe, then followed by a beneficial ring. Garten gives us some tokens so that we can visit his shop again in the future.

We're booted out. 

We review the film from the hotel and realize that an entity used Misting (abusing the shroud that covers everything and hides the supernatural from norms) to perpetrate the murders without being seen.

We decide to hit some local technomancers to get them to ENHANCE! the footage. We're asked to display our brands. We're told to wait for Magnus, and as we're sitting down in the waiting area there's an explosion from the back.

The receptionist hits on Mike, and rolls crazy high on her reaction roll to Mike. He gets her number.

Magnus storms out, feeling chuffed that we're interrupting his work. He asks us what we want. Upon hearing that we're stopping a member of the supernatural committee from soul trapping morals, he agrees to help.

He takes the footage, does something with it, and plops it into a VCR. We watch.

We're then asked to get Gravedirt from across town. Upon entering the graveyard we're accosted by a guardian spirit dog. We manage to make nice with the dog after Mike displays some of his Divine Power. We grab some gravedirt and beat it back to Magnus.

Magnus uses the dirt to finish some kind of treatment for the tape. He says the treatment should have the cleaned up any illusions on the tape. He goes on the elaborate that he sometimes needs odd jobs done. 

Evidently ALL copies of the tape have been disillusioned.

Mike has a date with the receptionist, for dinner. He's dragged back to her place after a short time, quickly learning the real meaning of some biblical euphemisms.

The next day we put the screws to the Lead Detective, forcing him to review the tapes. It shows what we see- someone who is obviously not Suzette walking out with bloodied hands from the hotel room.

Landon casts a dispell on the particularly obstinate Lead Detective, prompting him to become way less obstinate and accepting of the evidence. 

Agravaine prepares an extensive dossier on the case, which he sends to Olivia. She's not exactly happy that it's been dumped on her plate, but considering someone's gallivanting around stealing souls, she understands it had to be reported.

Landon receives an anonymous mail, filled with photos of Mike's dead family, photos of Landon's family burnt to death, and a note saying "They're connected." The handwriting is elegant.

Yanay calls her family to verify that they're okay.