Thursday, August 3, 2017

C-Team Ceteri Prequel 4: The Last Trial

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.


Events:

We fast forward to the good bits because ain't nobody got time for more pointless downtime. 

It appears the final trial is just pomp and circumstance- an initiation, a brand that sears both soul and body, and swearing an oath to the Conclave to keep the supernatural world hidden.

Evidently all of us are approached with general offers for work given our performance. Landon is disappointed that his final ceremony was an intimate affair, lacking adoring fans, and is even more disappointed when Ms. Baryl is the one to give him his tattoo and brand.

Agravaine's instructed by Olivia that he's free to do what he wants- so long as he routinely checks in. Lucien doesn't particularly care about us, and goes off to finish High School.

Landon sees about getting back in touch with his household- only to learn that his parents and brother are dead, in a mysterious fire no less. It seems a cousin has assumed his title and holdings. 

It's November 1st and we're dumped out onto the streets of Boston. Landon promptly rents a 5-Star hotel room for himself, Cormac crashes at his pad, while Yanay, Mike, and Agravaine slum it up a bit. 

Yanay sees about continuing her college semester so she doesn't lose progress. Landon sees about re-establishing his identity again, as well as setting up a business. Mike meanwhile sees about trying to find out more about his family.

There's a murder at the hotel, totally fishy, a maid (Suzette Jameson) supposedly slitting the throat of a  pharmaceuticals businessman (Mark Conaway) she was having an affair with. She professes innocence.

Landon offers her his assistance as an expert Lawyer. She offers some money, and then Landon puts the screws to her for more. 

Landon gets the crew together. Agravaine, being more or less without anything pressing that he really wants to do, agrees to help out. 

Suzette's prints are on the murder weapon. She claims that they had sex, they slept, then she went to work and returned to find him dead. She believes it was his crazy ex wife. 

Agravaine sits in on the first interview with Suzette and casts a spell- I Know What you Know- on her. The spell determines that she does not know the identity of the killer. Yanay isn't able to really get a Psychology! result on Suzette- she's suffering from PTSD and is a wreck.

Mark was freelancing until he recently got hired by Geo Pharmaceuticals.

We try to look into the ex-wife. Landon tries to pull any public records on them, and Yanay tries to scry for more information. Yanay gets a picture of Boston Harbor, and then a picture of a corpse getting pushed around by waves on a beach.

Cormac, Mike, and Yanay head to the harbor to find the body.

Detective Bradley Bradshaw seems very unimpressed with our presence. 

Suzette mentions something about a face in the mirror, which causes Agravaine to suspect that some kind of ghost or other restless undead is involved. He improvises a spell (Path of Mind -6) to give her a constrained form of Eidetic Memory.

She starts dishing out more info. SHe works a split shift- 4 on, 4 off, 4 on again. When she came in again, there was red on the floor, which she mistook for paint. She grabbed the murder weapon before spotting his body. She rushed to his body and cradled him, finding his throat slit.

Then she spotted a face in the mirror, a young woman with pointed ears and glowing eyes. She remembers hearing a strange sound- not quite a moan. Then she was spotted by another maid holding the knife.

Yanay leads the team right to the body, it's floating in a small inlet near Revere Beach. The left thigh is speared on driftwood. Cormac reckons it happened after she died. Her wallet indicates that she is the ex-wife. Her throat has been similarly slit as well. Cormac doesn't see any signs that her body was moved or transported. She's dressed like she was on a date.

Mike tries to perform last rites and gets the strange feeling that there's no soul left to help move on- a bad sign. The back of the ex-wife's neck is covered in chalk dust. 

Yanay does some astral projection to get a sense of the area, and finds that the area is very spiritually active- Boston has a long an active history after all. However, she's able to determine that all of the ex-wife's vital energy was sucked out.

She also has a symbol on her body, similar to the brand we have. Everyone starts making hidden lore checks.

Yanay calls the police to let them know about the body.

Back at the hotel, Agravaine's able to identify the symbol as a Veve, which allows Cormac to use his knowledge of The Between to identify the connected Loa. Cormac sees it as some kind of strange summoning of Baron Samedi. This particular Veve encapsulates a soul then removes it from the body.

Agravaine advocates for trying to lure the Veve out by using Mike's soul as bait. Cormac is able to confirm that the Bane Sidhe (Banshee) that we're dealing with is either a super nasty undead creature or a herald of death that's tied to a specific location.

An entire day has passed, and it has the police totally convinced that Suzette is the murderer- apparently the murder weapon matches too closely. Apparently they also have finger print info.

Cormac has a local contact that we can ask for some info from. All of us take the Autumn Road to Hadestown where she's located.

"No sexy posing in Hadestown." -Cormac
Hadestown is filled with all sorts of strange and fantastic beings. Cormac leads us to a bar, where he proceeds to buy Gisela a beer and tell her about our strange problem.

She and Cormac trade pleasantries, and then they get down to the fact that we're chasing a Banshee and the fact that there's a Veve involved. Gisela mentions that she only knows of two voodoo practitioners-  one who wouldn't be involved with a Veve, and one who TOTALLY WOULD.

The ONE WHO TOTALLY WOULD is named Holt Boukman, and Gisela says that the Loa actually listen to him, making him dangerous. He's the ultimate descendant of Dutty Boukman, which apparently is a big deal.

Gisela states that the "Bane Sidhe of Boston" is actually a Ghost, not actually one of the Fae. She shows up around death, seemingly at random, last really active around 1872 when there was a big fire or something.

We end there after deciding to investigate Boukman.


Commentary (Christopher):

C-Team has been a further testbed for my wilder ideas on initial partycohesion and to say they haven't worked well is an understatement. Luckily,I have a few fallback plans to make things work - I hope.
As for the game itself I threw Landon's player (Alex) for a *loop* when Iannounced that his parents were dead along with his brother and that adistant cousin had inherited his family title (Earl if Wiltshire). Both theplayer and the character were a bit dazed by the information (which means ithad the intended effect). I underutilized Mike (Andre's character) and wishthat I'd had more time to devout to Agravaine (Travis's character). We'llsee. So far the plot thread they are following is a bit of a "twofer" (ormaybe a threefer). One thing we discovered is that the PCs lack of Occultism(partly due to my fault, really) and investigative skills are not going tolend well to being a group of "paranormal troubleshooters." They'll need tofix that.
There was a brief moment of who's getting paid by who that I squashedquickly - I hope that doesn't come up again.
Next session, we'll see if what I've introduced does as well as I hope itwill.

Soundtrack:
"Hotel California" by the Eagles https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJbSR9xRRbE"Behind Blue Eyes" by the Who https://youtu.be/BfuWXRZe9yA"Runaround Sue" by Dion and the Belmontshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4NUZJMCJ20"Criminally Insane" by Slayer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99RHl5eQLH8"Lawyers, Guns, and Money" by Warren Zevonhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lP5Xv7QqXiM

Ceteri Prequel 3: Are we there yet?

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.

Events:


Landon's hauled off by a Custos Knight for a debriefing of some kind, something to do with the guy who ran off in the Labyrinth who Landon replaced within our group.

We have two more days of downtime to relax and recoup. Cormac gets promptly bored, challenging Mike to a game of wooden sword vs. painball gun. Cormac 'wins', and Mike is prepared to be humble and accept defeat until Yanay instigates further conflict.

Agravaine is subjected to intense training by Olivia after seeing his poor display in the shifting room from before.

We're told that Trina will live- although she'll be recovering for months.

The number of remaining pupils has decreased dramatically- lots of groups are down from 13 members down to 4-5. One group is literally just one guy whose entire group flaked out at the pond test- and he's managed all the trials up to this point by himself. Yanay attempts to introduce herself, and he brushes her off within seconds. Agravine does some asking around and is told by Olivia that Tarrant Einari makes him look like a pansy.

We head back into the Labyrinth again.

We find ourselves in a field filled with white roses, with a fountain in the middle. A statue of a lady holding lilies stands amid the fountain. There's not a lot of water at the bottom of the fountain. The roses are sharp with brambles and thorns.

There's a bronze plate with an inscription in latin on the side of the fountain. Mike, who can read Latin, takes five minutes to puzzle it out. It reads:

“A white rose can be red if you bleed upon its petal,
"As a lily can be white if you’re willing to test your mettle.”

Cormac decides to drink from the fountain, and finds that his hands don't get wet and he can't feel the water. Scraping his nail across the bottom of it produces reddish brown flakes. Cormac then cuts his hand, losing 5 HP as the wound bleeds profusely. It appears that a quarter of the lilies and roses have swapped colors. Cormac's hand clots normally, making Agravaine a little less concerned about things.

Yanay, Mike, and Agravaine all follow suit, taking 5 damage. Everyone except Agravaine succeeds at avoiding a major wound. Agravaine is pale, woozy, and blacks out for about half and hour. Yanay does some first aid, healing all but 1 of the damage caused.

The fountain is suddenly flowing with blood, the roses are red, the lilies are white, and a door has opened for us to go through. We go through it, Agravaine using Mike's shoulder for support.

We find ourselves in a hallway, which opens up into a room filled with clocks of all shapes and sizes. Digital, cuckoo, sundials, all kinds of clocks. All are set to different times- including the sundials.

Cormac's watch doesn't move in the 90 seconds he counts off watching it. Yanay determines that we're in some kind of convergence of time, where everytime intersects. Mike attempts to adjust a clock, and ages almost 15 years in a second. He adjusts the clock back in the opposite direction, suddenly growing almost 10 years younger than he was when he began. 

He reverts back after a few seconds. Cormac makes a Survival (Between) check to see what knowledge he might have. 

Every clock suddenly accelerates, spinning through time until all match up at the same time, 1:13pm.

All of us seem to have difficulty focusing, and the passage of time seems strange. Mike finds himself back in time with his parents as a little kid. Lucien, Agravaine, and Cormac all have no problem, while Yanay suddenly finds herself talking with her psychology professor in an interesting debate.

Agravaine attempts to use Autohypnosis to steel himself against the effects, while Cormac cuts himself to cut through the mental fog. Lucien is in a trance, seeming like he's discussing his special capabilities with his father- wanting to be normal and not dragged out of school to go to exorcisms and shit.

Only Cormac and Agravaine aren't in a daze. Mike is very focused on wanting to go back into the memory, screaming that he should've been there for them. Suddenly, the clocks all stop, and return back to normal.

Agravaine has some trouble tending to the gash in Cormac's leg, just in time to be spit out of the Labyrinth. Those of us who are injured are lead to the infirmary. Ms. Baril congratulates us for only having one trial left, and doesn't even bite Agravaine's head off when he implies she's no longer off her Prozac.

Landon's in the quarters, asleep. We're given a week to recoup.

Commentary (Christopher):

I feel like this one went better than the couple before. Mostly because of the players interactions with one another vs. anything I'm doing. I still really am trying to find my feet with this campaign and the gaps of play are not helping that at all. I'm going to have to find a way to address that at some point.

C-Team has also been a bit of a testing bed for some of my DF trap ideas (yes, I know. Different genres, but in this instance it works).


Soundtrack:

"Here It Goes Again" by OK Go https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTAAsCNK7RA
"Time Is On My Side" by The Rolling Stones https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIE2GAqnFGw
"(Don't Fear) the Reaper" by Blue Öyster Cult https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ClQcUyhoxTg
"Sharp Dressed Man" by ZZ Top https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wRHBLwpASw
"Smoke on the Water" by Deep Purple https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUwEIt9ez7M

Ceteri Prequel 2: Enter the Labyrinth they said, it'll be FUN they said

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.

Events:


We handwave the rest of the fight against the plant. One of the injured is an observer, which is unusual. We were under the impression that they had a handle on this small slice of the labyrinth. Yanay crits on esoteric medicine, with Mike providing First Aid, and Agravaine helping via Teamwork!

We stabilize the group, temporarily. Agravaine tries to trigger his bracelet to get more observers to show up, but it doesn't work. Mike casts a spell that confers regeneration to the observer, but they're in a nasty coma.

The way we'd entered from is now closed off. Two new directions are open though. We take stock, and head off 'left' (cause, labyrinth). The tunnel starts to narrow the further along we get. Either we're growing, or it's shrinking.

There's a tiny door ahead. Yanay tries to go through.

Yanay's bracelet suddenly glows blue. Then she gets stuck. Mike shoves her through, and then the door turns normal size.

The next room is strangely shaped. There's a stone sliding door, similar to a portcullis. We all hear the sound of buzzing. It's a bunch of bees.

Yanay casts a spell, which fizzles the second it hits the bees.

There's a big carving of a Queen Bee in the center of the room. When stepped on, it seems to trigger the door. A few bees get agitated by this, buzzing around Mike. He tries to order them, and is attacked. Mike is getting stung and chased by the bees.

Yanay steps onto the center dais and bees start landing on her. They aren't stinging her, but they are making it hard to breathe. It's at this point Annia points out Yanay has Animal Empathy, and is evidently a badass at it. The bees clear her nose.

The door slowly starts to lift up. After about three minutes it opens into a field. Yanay is fatigued by heat exhaustion just sitting in a blanket of bees.

Our bracelets turn green upon entering the field.

Yanay refuses holy water Mike seems to conjure on the spot. The field is featureless and extends forever, perfect for retreating forever. Of course the door behind us is gone.

We wander a bit. Mike is able to Navigation (Land) to keep us on a straight course. Landon's gut instinct spell seems to indicate danger down below. Cormac uses Survival (Between), and Yanay uses Hidden Lore (Dimensional). Cormac definitely senses something dangerous.

There's some signs of ecology- insects, rabbits, other strange shit- but it looks like a twisted version of the great plains.

A door opens ahead of us, appearing magically.

There's three observers, including Olivia,  carefully avoiding the grass. We're allowed in through the door, into the labyrinth. The Labyrinth is getting even more angry and hostile.

We're escorted to the infirmary and the injured Observer is placed on life support.

Cormac tries to ask Olivia what happened. She smirks and claims technical difficulties, and then indicates that no, trials (and beatings) will proceed until morale improves.

(It's currently the 15th of October, next trial is on the 17th of October.)

Yanay finds a bee in her hair made of solid gold while bathing after the trial. It looks really realistic, like it was transmuted. She decides to use it as jewelry.

We have two days of rest. Landon continues to impress and win over everyone during downtimes with his charm and sophistication.

Olivia visits Agravaine on the 16th, accompanied by someone who might (maybe?) be mid 40's, with long hair and a Flamberge on his back.

He introduces himself as Erasmus McAlister. Erasmus and Cormac look suspiciously similar. Yanay asks Cormac if there's a relation, while Agravaine cracks a joke about Cormac aging more gracefully.

Erasmus indicates that he gave up familial relations when he took his oath as a Custos Knight, but notes that Cormac looks a lot like his mother.

Olivia indicates that Erasmus is in charge of the Custos Knights, that the Observer we saved was his partner, and that she's speaking for Erasmus cause he's a man of view words.

They leave, and we all receive a card with the Custos Sigil on it. The Director might consider us for Custos Training if we survive the trials.

(Date: October 17th)

We are ready to go through our third Trial. Cormac isn't going this time- something about library duties and compulsory safety training.

Ms. Baril continues to guide us to the Labyrinth.

We go down a hall, and find ourselves in a small room. The walls are covered in symbols and writing from what appears to be every culture and every language.

We're all allowed checks against Symbol Drawing to make sense of it all. Yanay crits. Yanay can detect that there's a pattern, but not all of it. Certain symbols need to be pressed in a set order, which means finding out the order, as well as finding the right symbols themselves.

Most of us are relying on Thaumatology to piece things apart, while Mike seems to be leveraging his theological knowledge to help.

We start to make some headway on the patterns and symbols, but progress is slow.

Landon decodes: So in the Heavens
Agravaine decodes: As on Earth
Mike: Raziel (Basically Uriel from Dresden, angelic spy, yadda yadda) is involved
Yanay: There's some Incan related stuff, but nothing that's really contextually related to what we're dealing with

Yanay crits vs. IQ. The pattern revolves around three concepts- Secret, Heaven, Earth.

Landon sees the name Pursan in Hellion. Pursan is closely related to secrets as well.

(Aside: Alex draws an off-hand reference to Fable from Christopher, which is produced by Lionshead studio, and Raziel is depicted as having a Lion head......)

We're getting drained as we spend time in the room, we begin to notice. All of us are down 6FP.

We keep plinking away at the symbols. Touching all of the Zodiac causes the symbols to go nuts and the door to open. It leads to a hallway, then another room which is full of stone hands that are jutting out of the wall, making multitudes of gestures.

Landon and Agravaine quickly determine that the hands are making magical gestures.

Yanay crit-fails, and is grasped by a stone hand. Mike shoots it with his pistol, to no effect.

Numerous other hands merge together to form faces in the walls. "That wasn't very nice."

The various faces start talking. They let go of Yanay once it's established that grabbing her wasn't cool and that Mike didn't do any harm with his pistol.

The hands instruct us to do symbols as they do.

All of us decide to go along. The symbols and hand movements start getting more complex. Lucian and Agravaine are both doing excellent (Agravaine crits.)

Landon and Yanay find that their hands are frozen in position.

During the next wave, Mike and Trina (Tina?) wash out.

Agravaine dislocates his index finger during a surprisingly hard series of gestures (crit-fail). But the room resets and everyone's hands return to normal. It seems it was Lucian's test, and he passed. Agravaine pops his finger back in with a successful Teamwork! check.

Another hallway. Another room. More self-closing doors.

This room looks sterile, clean, and its floor is segmented into 3-foot blocks. Once inside, the door closes and the floor starts sliding around, like the rocket hideout from the first generation of pokemon games.

The entire floor flows one way, before switching it up. The walls start to produce spikes when we get close. Landon seems to have no trouble hobbling along (Crit).

Tina and Agravaine are the first two to touch the walls. Landon and Agravaine both then fall as the room speeds up. Both manage to catch themselves before hitting walls.

Agravaine's produced a spear, attempting to use it to brace himself from smacking into the wall. Tina falls and smacks into a wall. Landon is the only one that keeps his feet. Agravaine smacks into a wall, taking damage.

Yanay casts a spell to mitigate getting slammed on spikes, which causes the spikes to grow in length. Trina is the only one who isn't able to get back up during a pause, getting stuck and taking an additional 3 points of damage.

Agravaine tries to determine the pattern to the movement of the floor- and crit fails. Agravaine just barely avoids disaster during the next loop of the pattern. Tina meanwhile is getting savaged by the spikes.

Eventually, Agravaine notices that some bars and ropes are overhead. Everyone jumps up and grabs them, eventually losing FP (meaning all of us are down 7) desperately hanging on. The floor slows and then stops.

Tina is in horrible shape. Yanay and Mike stabilize her with Magic, but she's too injured to continue the trials- and will likely be in recovery for months.

We're treated with magic and then given two days to rest. Trina's stuff is gone when we return. Landom schmoozes, Agravaine's dragged off by Olivia for more training, Mike likewise, and Yanay engages in some dancing. Agravaine's noticeably tired and cranky after the second day of training with Olivia.

Onto the fourth Trial. Baril is humming Another One Bites the Dust. She's more than happy to inform everyone that entire groups of initiates do fail sometimes.

Eventually, we wander into a gigantic ballroom, complete with Dancers. Someone identifies it as 17th century France. All of us are approached by dance partners. Seeing that Mike has been paired up with a dude and has to dance the female part, Agravaine applies some Sex Appeal and his otherworldly appearance to ensure he gets a good looking female partner.

Agravaine's partner is wearing Greek robes and laurels.

The dance begins. Agravaine seems to be a natural, getting a crit vs. DX to dance, then getting a second crit on dancing during the slow number. Agravaine's partner introduces herself as Namid. She's impressed that he can dance well for someone so young- and he's surprised himself. He eventually scores her number.

Yanay and Mike both fall out of step with the dance. Landon does his best to continue, but his partner flubs, dropping him out. Agravaine and Namid continue to gracefully move across the ballroom floor.

The labyrinth isn't done with us however, sending us to another Trial. The next room is a massive apothecary storeroom. Nine bowls rest in the center, marked with a single letter of the Jewish Alphabet. Alchemical ingredients are everywhere. Yanay figures it out more or less immediately- the bowls correspond to something to do with the 9 branches of the Jewish Tree of Life Sefirot, which match up with the 9 path skills.

We confer to see who should try and cover what path for the sorting that's likely about to begin.

Lucian - Path of Undead
Landon - Path of Chance, Path of Spirit
Yanay - Path of Magic, Path of Matter
Mike - Path of Energy, Path of Body
Agravaine- Path of Crossroads, Path of Mind

We're given an opportunity to guess appropriate ingredients for the paths in question, or the option of making a check.

Mike rolls to deal with the bowl covering Body. He eventually finds a dagger, placing it in the bowl. The bowl glows and the dagger floats to his belt and inserts itself there.

Alex, Landon's player, guesses that a deck or cards or a four leaf clover might be appropriate for Chance. He finds a dried out four leaf clover and places it in the bowl, which lights up.

The crossroads bowl is next. I guess that keys would be appropriate, and the bowl lights up.

Mike opts to roll to find an ingredient appropriate for Path of Energy. He scalds his hand when he places a bad item into the bowl. The second time around he scrounges for Coal, and his bowl lights up.

Yanay is next with Path of Magic. She places some gorse in the bowl, and it lights up. Next up is Path of Matter, and she dumps some lead into the bowl.

For Path of Mind, Agravaine's foresight allows him to produce some cocaine, which causes the bowl to light up.

For Path of Spirit, Landon opts to steal some of Mike's blood, flicking it into the bowl. The bowl lights up. Landon quips something about Virgin Blood, and Mike slugs him.

Lucian throws gravedirt into the bowl for Path of Undead.

We're onto the next challenge, and the next room.

The entire room is entirely circular, disorienting due to the lack of a ceiling overhead, and 9 symbols of magic around the room. The day/night cycle is fast, comprising about 40 minutes to do a full day/night cycle.

We touch the symbols in the same order as the bowls. Eventually Yanay gets zapped. We all take injury as we get zapped.

We start casting spells as we touch each symbol, which causes them to glow and us to not get zapped. It's in the same order as before. We breeze through to the next room, and the Labyrinth spits us out.

Agravaine uses super-dark chocolate to keep Olivia from strangling him for having Cocaine.

Commentary:

So, the symbols, floor, and hands puzzles were basically just a series of skill checks. OVER and OVER and OVER. The drinking challenge was the same too. My patience definitely started to run out during the floor challenge- rolling against DX 10 over and over again isn't particularly fun, especially after you've exhausted options for improving the situation.

Commentary (Christopher):

I'm kind of disappointed that over both sessions I haven't been able to make these various tests more interesting than I have. The players are doing some fantastic work...but I feel like I'm failing here somehow. I'll need to ponder exactly what I'm doing and how I can do it differently to make things work.

Soundtrack:

"Man in the Box" by Alice in Chains https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAqZb52sgpU
"Black Hole Sun" by Soundgarden https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mbBbFH9fAg
"Bitter Sweet Symphony" by The Verve https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lyu1KKwC74
"Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btPJPFnesV4
"The Drowning Man" by The Cure https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJmE0C4Tq1U
"Little Talks" by Of Monsters and Men https://youtu.be/ghb6eDopW8I

Friday, June 23, 2017

Ceteri Prequel 1: Trials, START!

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.

Events:



FNORD
All of us are hauled to Boston for the trials. Everyone in the supernatural community won't elaborate about what they are beyond canned one liners and empty platitudes.

There's almost 200 people in the room we're in, all milling around waiting. Ages range from 13 to 40. Everyone is wearing the same drab brown (with white trim- not pictured) robes. Numerous nationalities and ethnicities.

The entire chamber has a translation spell of some kind on it- everyone can understand everyone else regardless of language used.

There's a few observers and instructors present- with a small sprinkling of Custos Knights.

After an hour, a guy in a green robe stands up and makes a speech to the assembled crowd. Everyone will be split into groups, given an instructor, and if you've see an observer shit's gone sideways and you're probably fucked.

The number of tests per individual might vary- some will be one and done, some might have to do several.

We'll be tossed into the labyrinth as a group- average number of times through is 7. One or two people per trip will be subjected to an especially harrowing experience, and that person HAS to pass. It's highly suggested to be helpful towards other people in your group- they really don't like selfish asshats.

The Labryinth is a prison maze where attempting to leave the center gets progressively and progressively harder. Only 5 people have ever breached the outermost edges in its history- a history spanning back centuries. There's an intelligence to it. People report seeing dead relatives and friends inside.
I ain't afraid of no ghosts

We're "RANDOMLY" sorted into a group of 13 people- us 4 (Landon isn't present yet) and 9 NPCs.

  • Marian S. Davis
  • Kirsten J. Gleeson
  • Tina J. Ellis (Age 17)
  • Trina N. Parker
  • James S. Graff
  • Donald N. Cage
  • George A. Angulo
  • Lucien K. Goldman (Goth Kid) (Age 15)
  • Vince K. Kennison
Ms. Baril
Our instructor is Ms. Baril. She tells us to get ready for our first trip into the labyrinth. It's not an actual trial- just a jaunt to get used to it.

 Cormac seems pretty confident he can apply his knowledge of other planes to the labyrinth.

Ms. Baril opens up a portal/arch to the Labyrinth and we enter. The walls are smooth and grey. They don't look worked as if they had tools.

It takes a while for us to realize that Donald N. Cage is inexplicably gone. He had been particularly headstrong before stepping inside. Agravaine isn't particularly upset about him disappearing. Ms. Baril is upset about it happening again, and we attempt to follow his footprints to wherever he went off.

We're suddenly in a garden, with the hallway we came through behind us. It appears Ms. Baril's necklace is having an effect on the labyrinth.

Landon
There's an extremely posh looking asshole beneath a tree, covered in dirt. The second he stands up the dirt sloughs off his clothes. He picks at his fingers for a moment, trying to get the grime out. He's got some fancy jewelry and a nice walking stick.

Ms. Baril seems happy to forget about Donald- enter with 13 and leave with 13 and all that- accepting the posh fellow into the group. The Posh guy introduces himself as Landon.

The garden seems to stretch on forever, although the sky still appears normal. There's a single doorway inbetween two trees that leads back to labyrinth.

She leads us through that doorway. Landon asks the date- we tell him October of 1999.

Ms. Baril gets a bit annoyed with the continued introductions and spurs us forward to a pool that we have to look into. There's a tree with red bark nearby- Yanay knows that it's not natural in origin. It's either magical/supernatural in some regard or hasn't been present on Earth for an extremely long time. 

Ms. Baril sits down in a well-worn spot and lights a cigarette. She advises us to reflect on if we want to continue the trials- some choose to gaze into the pool, although that can have effects.

Mike touches the tree. It feels like flesh, and is warm.
Garden. How very tranquil and lovely.

Agravaine doesn't look- he doesn't need further reinforcement about undergoing the trials. Yanay, Landon, and Cormac all decide to look into the pool. Mike and Agravaine opt not to. 

Out of the NPCs who look into the pool:
  • Three immediately tap out and request to leave (Kirsten, Trina, Vince)
  • George starts screaming and starts to tear at his eyes- he plucks out one before Mike restrains him. Agravaine manages to stop George from completely ruining his eyes via a successful Teamwork! check.
George


A few observers appear- two to take away George, one to escort the other three away.

Yanay seems unfazed by what she saw. Cormac and Landon, however, lose 10 and 11 Stability points. (Stability is equal to IQ, and hitting 1/3 of your total = bad things.) Cormac and Landon are both reeling, sitting down and staring off into space.

Baril pulls out a watch. She seems unimpressed. Everyone except Agravaine feels a lassitude fall on them- a comforting feeling, like being wrapped up in a warm blanket by a trusted friend or family member.

Baril gives Agravaine and earful about knowing that yes, he has no choice about continuing the Trials. She asks him to sit down and be a good boy. She warns Agravaine not to fall asleep when he decides that's the best course of action.

Time's up and Baril tells us we have up to two days to tell an observer if we're going to continue the Trials in two days. Exiting the labyrinth is much more difficult heading out- it gets darker, the routes are more confusing and twisting, and it's like the architecture is just working against progress.

The waiting area with cots seems half filled- out of maybe 200 people who went in, 100 have stayed.

Landon asks for a drink and is told that alcohol is a bad idea when entering the labyrinth.

Agravaine has a quick meeting with Olivia, his mentor/sponsor. She asks him if he killed anybody, and seems surprised that he helped save George's eye. Cormac takes the opportunity to try and scare people off from continuing the trials, hoping to weed out people with weak resolve. Mavrick rolls a success by 6- James and Marian are gone next morning. Trina and Lucian are the only two left.

We're all sequestered into a shared space. Rooms are private, the common room is shared, and 9 out of the 13 rooms are currently occupied by our group.

Landon doesn't like the accommodations- they're not posh enough for him. Yanay seems to have caught the attention of Trina who is totally obvious about it, while Lucian states that he's asexual.

Agravaine conjures up a chess board and teaches Yanay how to play. She manages to do decent against him when actually playing. Agravaine destroys Landon when they play. 

Landon does his best to get to know everyone. Agravaine polls everyone to ask what they're good at. Yanay says that she has peculiar skills, and that she's very spiritual. Mike claims that he defends the faith of god against evil- as a warrior priest and monk. Cormac knows how to get into places, is familiar with places like the Labyrinth, and can shoot things. Landon is a lawyer, very posh, and evidently he was an Olympic-level fencer.

Trina is good with metal- enchanting, molding, etc. Lucian is all about shadows and Astral Projection. 

A few of us notice that Landon's cane is either exceptional (Yanay and Agravaine) or magical (Cormac). 

Olivia visits Agravaine at least once a day, usually taking 15-20 minutes to talk with him.

Agravaine gets all the trust
We're all given bracelets in preparation for our first actual Trial. They help observers locate us and serve as "get us the fuck out of here" beacons as well. Agravaine's is cursed with extra bad mojo should he remove his in an attempt to not be tracked. The Bracelets will glow when we arrive where we need to be for the Trial.  

We're going to randomly get one of 13 trials. They're kept jealously secret so people are unprepared.

Agravaine asks for a bag of marbles to supplement his other gear. Olivia gets him a bag of ball bearings.

We enter the Labyrinth and come across a dead end where there was previously a way forward. The choice is to go left or right. Landon casts a spell (basically spell intuition), and his gut indicates that we need to go left.

Yanay, Mike, and Tina suddenly fall through the floor. There's an open shaft that they've fallen through. Midway through they slow down due to some sort of field. Lucian jumps in saying "Eh, it won't matter if I die anyways."

Cormac and Agravaine decide to jump down as well.

The shaft ends in a large room. We land on an outcropping. Down below appears to be a large swimming pool. The place is dark (-2 penalty). The pool has some floodlights and a high dive. The shaft bricks itself up above us.

Cormac spots an exit sign and heads off for it. As soon as he touches the door, lights come on, and suddenly it appears like the entire place is full. People are swimming, doing dives, and enjoying themselves.

Cormac tries the door again. There's a scream from the pool, followed by shouts that someone hit their head.

Seriously, don't go in.


Mike rushes to the pool. He's grabbed suddenly and hauled into the pool. He appears like he's just having trouble swimming. He quickly draws on his divine power to increase his strength, a process that will take 5 seconds.

Mike fights to swim up to the surface, his high HT allowing him a decent time underwater, even without prepping first. He breaks free for a moment and breaks the surface, struggling, before getting dragged back down again.

CAN MIKE READ?


Yanay, attempting to save Mike
Yanay attempts to walk on the water over to Mike. Mike crit-fails his next check to try and escape and is hopelessly entangled by water is holding him in the water. 

Agravaine realizes that the entire situation is based on a memory from someone present- it's at that point that Landon notices that Tina is super still and not moving. He slaps her. She can only mumble that it was her fault. He succeeds by 10 on Fast-Talk to convince her that it wasn't her fault.

Tina jumps into the pool to grab Mike. He immediately finds it easier to to swim, breaking to the surface and flopping onto ground. Tina treads water and the second she leaves the pool the entire place goes dark again.

We leave through the door. Tina is the last through. We suddenly find ourselves in a Library.
We're shushed by a very severe looking lady with her hair in a bun. She asks us if we have a library card. Cormac sees if he can steal a library card while she's occupied.

Landon and the Librarian go back and forth about the intricacies of library law.

Yanay starts look at random books, finding one in Sanskrit. It's obviously filled with magical theory.

The librarian notices Cormac's attempt at going behind the desk. His arm goes numb. 

Some of us start filling out the forms to get cards.

Agravaine realizes that the group is in the Akashic Library- a place that stores the full contents of human knowledge. 

Landon and Agravaine work out the details of membership. The lifetime tier is expensive- $80k worth of very expensive. The middle tier is only $1000 up front, $5000 total. The free tier is 2 books a month, 24 total a year. 

Landon and Agravaine both spring for the Lifetime membership.
Everyone else fills out the paperwork too. Agravaine burns Foresight to have the cash on hand.

Cormac tries to work out a deal- retrieving books for a card. This involves more forms. He manages to become a library repo man. 

We learn that we're at a satellite branch- one that doesn't have personnel records. 

Yanay reads up on books about the Labyrinth. Lucian looks up astral projection and extrasensory capabilities. Landon brushes up on biblical studies. 

Agravaine asks Cormac to check to see if some specific people have used the library. Cormac agrees but wants to wait until everyone is out of the Labyrinth to discuss it.

We all leave. We find ourselves somewhere else. We find ourselves in an empty bar.
I don't care what Christopher named the bartender,
his name is Macnnally.
There's peanut shells on the floor and the entire place smells of booze, blood, and nuts. Our bracelets start glowing green right as Landon goes to leave.

The bartender points at Agravaine and tells him to sit down. He puts down 13 bottles of liquor on the counter and tells Agravaine to drink all 13 of them. 

Agravaine starts with the one labeled #1. Cormac joins him. It's decent alcohol- and just appears to be regular alcohol. Landon has convinced both Lucian and Tina to drink. Lucian claims that he's going to be dead by 21 and it doesn't matter if he trashes his liver so he joins inn. 

The four of us clear a bottle with Cormac getting drunk and Agravaine getting tipsy. 

Now tipsy, Agravaine attempts to guilt trip and cajole everyone into shouldering part of the load. Mike gives in to the rhetoric and starts drinking too.

Trying to get through the second bottle, Agravaine becomes drunk and begins trying to convince the Bartender to help clear out the bottle as well. The Bartender calls Agravaine a pretty boy and begins helping.

By the fourth bottle, Cormac has blacked out. Agravaine seems to be doing okay. Tina and Lucian are drinking like fishes. 

Landon eventually gives in and starts helping through the fourth bottle. Agravaine somehow sobers up, while Landon gets tipsy. Mike's tolerance seems to be quite high. Yanay tends to Cormac.

Bottle five, Mike is feeling tipsy. Lucian eventually hurls. Agravaine is back to being drunk. 

The group slogs through the rest of the bottles. Agravaine and Mike are totally shitfaced. Tina just seems immune to alcohol. Lucian is on the floor in pain, and Landon seems to have a very high tolerance.

Cormac wakes back up and tries to help out again. 

Once done, the bartender points behind Agravaine. Standing there seems to be Agravaine's brother.

Agravaine instantly casts a spell at his brother. It slams into the simulacra, killing it immediately. Yanay and Landon seem to pick up on it being a really nasty spell.
Seriously nasty.


The observers come in and escort us back through the labyrinth. Our first trial is complete. 

They sober us up with magic. Yanay is very unimpressed with being surrounded by drunkards. Our nurse correctly guesses that we landed in the bar. 


We have some time to relax. Mike spends it training. He finds a sparring partner who kicks his ass, but she does nicely by actually teaching him what he's doing wrong. Andre Crits, picking up some Blade! skill for the trouble. This draws attention- Mike is getting eyed for becoming a Custos Knight (think the Grey Wardens from Dresden) after the trials. People who aren't affiliated with houses tend to get headhunted by getting handed cards.

We expect Mike to get plenty.

Agravaine is hauled off by Olivia for training and doesn't get to relax quite like he wanted. 

Landon of course is schmoozing as much as possible. He leaves a very good impression on everyone.

Yanay meditates and sees to her spiritual needs.

Lucian has been largely keeping to himself, meanwhile Tina is struggling with the pool incident. Seeing that she's having a rough time, both Yanay and Agravaine take some time to talk with her to try and keep her in the game.

We're lead back into the Labyrinth again for our Second trial. There's three possible directions to go. Landon casts his version of Intuition again, and it seems each branch is more or less equivalent.
Too much fertilizer

There's the same gray stone walls, followed by the sounds of someone calling for help. There's a group of fellow trial initiates up ahead, getting attacked by a giant plant.
 It's clear the group is getting wrecked when Agravaine uses Mastermind! to assess the situation. 

Mike starts to put on armor, Yanay casts a spell that sears it with moonlight, Landon casts a spell that gets resisted, and Agravaine takes a moment to assess things. The plant is affected by Path of Spirit and Path of Body, but the Labyrinth has strange rules regarding banishing creatures inside- deadly important when summoning demons.


We decide to stop there.


Commentary:

Very strong first session. C-Team is back, and things ran smooth, pretty much like we hadn't left off. Honestly, scheduling difficulties were the biggest hurdle of the day.

We culled through our Trial group way faster than Christopher was expecting, due to a strange number of crits regarding resistances to the pool, as well as crits during Cormac's little game to scare off the weak willed. It really upped the stakes for the Bar Trial.

The pool scene was a little chaotic, although that can easily be chalked up to fast-paced voice communication with shaky connection quality. The bar trial thankfully stopped dragging on once Christopher started batch rolling for the later bottles to clear them faster.

I think unfamiliarity with the casting system has made some of the others leery to use it to its full extent, although some of that is certainly discovering that spells aren't useful in the current situations we're facing- a lightning bolt can't harm a memory shade, for example. (Much like Banish is completely worthless in the Labyrinth.)

This campaign's had more cast interplay than AEGIS did. I chalk it up to a few factors:
  • Andre, Annia, and Alex have known one another for a long time and have good rapport
  • Andre and Annia are slightly less results-oriented than PK and Kevin were. Combine Me, Mavrick, PK, and Kevin, and you have a group that will relentlessly chase down things to do without quibbling over roleplaying out smaller interactions, often slipping into third person.
  • Agravaine offers me more opportunities for interplay than Veracity, who is all work and no play.
And no, we're not sure if it was actually Tina or Trina who made it to the end of the Labyrinth. Maybe they were the same person. Maybe not.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Aeon S305: Darker Times

Yankee Stadium is surrounded by a giant dome that's preventing entry to the rift in reality. We fuck around on the outside of it for a while, trying to determine what's causing it.

Andre's character knows that it's being created by a Crystal Skull. He previously interacted with it while he was tooling around on a STARS2 team with Mikhail.

We decide to see what AEGIS has for info on the skulls. Veracity crits on a  Tradecraft!+Encyclopedist!+Mastermind!+Detective! check, succeeding by 21 before even figuring the crit. It's not a huge mental leap to realize Legend has one in his office.

Veracity is offered as tribute to grab the skull. It tolerates him, but seems perturbed that its been disturbed. Attempting to use Telepathic Learning on the skull causes Veracity to have a strange out of body experience where he seems to slip into the future for a few seconds. Veracity recognizes it as the knowledge Skull. It can explain how to do things.

Arclight's bitch wife appears on screen, addressing various agencies. Blah blah Martial Law, blah blah MAPS and Federal Authorities and AEGIS will be reporting to her. Veracity is not particularly concerned as he'd both dead and Zeroed.

The Skull takes a moment to learn from Veracity, an experience that's really unpleasant. The skull proclaims that since Veracity has the skull, he's now responsible for saving the world.

As if.
It tells us to get to Yankee Stadium.

We opt to use the portal gun. Mikhail opens a door from Fort Tilden to Yankee Stadium.

The Skull instructs Veracity to touch the wall, and a giant section of the barrier disappears.

People stream out from inside, no longer trapped with the remnants. AEGIS folk are getting civilians out. Veracity feels an explosion happening just before it does- a huge mental blast that causes everything to go grey.

We opt to drive to Yankee Stadium- reserving the Portal Gun for escaping the rift in reality when we secure the load bearing shmuck keeping the reality gash open. Mikhail finds us a big box truck that still runs.

We drive it into the stadium, over a massive pile of remnant corpses. Mikhail manages to get the truck right into Yankee Stadium.

The Cavalary is sucked into some kind of vortex type dealie. Only a woman in strange white clothing, with chalky white clothing and hair reminds.

Digs is tied up next to the rift.

Veracity succeeds by 14 on Tactics.

We opt to run over the chick in white on the assumption that she wouldn't be standing next to our extraction target if she were friendly. She gets thrown up and away from the truck, not clearing the hood in time.

Marsh, Mikhail and Ayumi all fire at the woman, who starts bleeding purple blood. She looks very much dead.

We contemplate wrapping Gunther in explosives to give him some extra oomph as he punches people and draws aggro.

The skull is concerned that Atlanteans have entered the situation.

Marsh stunts to use his illusion to make Gunther appear like the Lady in White, and to make Anya look invisible. Anya patches Terry up.

Gunther valiantly holds off the swarm of Remnants, triggering the explosives we strapped to him and blowing up a ton of Remnants.

We get out of the rift with Terry, and it snaps shut, trapping Gunther inside.

Marsh uses the portal gun and Science! to try and locate Gunther. We spend a great deal of Karma to counteract DOOM. Marsh fires the altered gun and disappears. The gun clatters to the ground and smokes, rendered useless.

Marsh finds himself in the jungle next to Gunther under an orange sky. Then a reptilian roars behind him and the screen fades to black.

The General calls us. He says that AEGIS is done, consumed by a Cancer within. He declares AEGIS exempt from being under the thumb of any world government, and throws in his lot with Sentry as part of the High Command.

So ends Aeon C-Team, for now.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Penumbra Alliance 3: Enter Nox Eternia (Setup and Recap)

The Players:

Mr X: A commando working for a shadowy government agency that doesn't officially exist. Mr. X is possessed by a benevolent (to them) spirit or presence of some kind- a voice that frequently pushes them to commit various acts of violence.

Hannah: An experiment who escaped the clutches of Specte Corp. Hannah has fine turned senses of vision and smell, and is a frightening front line combatant.

Arzela Ascoli: A philanthopist sage, Arzela funded the tricked-out RV the group drives around in, and is a big bibliophile and researcher. Arzela works for the Librarians of Alexandria, attempting to preserve knowledge of the occult.

Aquos: A non-binary witch, Aquos asks that you use the singular they pronous to refer to them. Aquos is extremely competent at magic, preferring the Path of Energy primarily. They help the Hidden Path guide newly awakened students of magic reach their full potential.


Nox Eternia:

Mission Statement: The Nox Eternia is a cult dedicated to Abaseth the Bone Stitcher. Abaseth is a demon lord currently seeking passage to Earth. Nox Eternia performs perverse magical rituals and rituals in the hope of raising their master, They recruit heavily in rural areas, hoping to subvert entire communities to support their efforts. 

The cult has a national presence across the US, having about 5,000 total members existing in roughly 100 or so sects. They 


Stratton, Vermont

A small town at the foot of Stratton Mountain, population 216. Only really notable due to the nearby ski resort, which provides all reason for the town existing, as well as the presence of Nox Eternia in the area.

The local Nox Eternia cult consists of roughly eighty individuals total- multiple families and their children, most of the local police, as well as almost all of the staff of the Stratton Mountain Ski Resort.

Notable Individuals:

Sheriff Clyde Lautner(50): The county Sheriff, Lautner was kidnapped by Nox Eternia, and magically brainwashed to work in their organization. Lautner's new personality is bitter, gruff, and callous.

Father Greg Davis(60): The pastor of the local baptist parish. Greg was indoctrinated into the Nox Eternia as a teenager by his ex-girlfriend in the early 70s. Greg became ordained as a Baptist priest to subvert local churches for the organization, and established the cult's presence in Stratton. He's still working on corrupting his congregation. 

Clarice Mills (19): The local Nox Eternia leader. Clarice was kidnapped from her family at the age of 17, and possessed by Bolazar, one of Abaseth's lieutenants. Clarice's family was murdered to prevent them from bringing media attention onto the disappearance of their daughter after the sheriff's office refused to cooperate.

Bolazar: A powerful, but non-corporeal demon. Limited by having to occupy Clarice's body, Bolazar is searching for a way of securing himself a more powerful vessel. Bolazar is a powerful spellcaster and cunning opponent. Bolazar uses his position to force the Nox Eternia to participate in profane ceremonies to increase his power.

Cermur: A lesser demon summoned to possessed Fred Stone to keep him in line. Cermur resents Bolazar and being forced to play nanny to a young adult. Cermur is looking for an opportunity to backstab Bolazar.

The Stone Family:

Brandon Stone (48): The current owner of the ski resort, and a willing member of Nox Eternia. Brandon currently also serves as the family patriarch. Brandon is Bolazar's current favored lieutenant. 

Martha Stone (43): Brandon's wife. Martha is a fanatic of the Nox Eternia, being one of the most vocal and outspoken voices for taking the town by force. Martha is a hedge witch. Her magical training under Bolazar has made her more dangerous- and more emotionally volatile.

Sarah Stone (85): Brandon's mother. Sarah is believed to be infirm and incapable, but in all actuality was magically lobotomized when she learned what the Nox Eternia is truly up to. Sarah desperately struggles with her aphasia and incapability to write- hoping to alert anyone to the evil her family has been placed under.

Leonard Stone (26): Brandon's youngest son. Fred has been resistant to the Nox Eternia's teachings since youth. Deciding that enough was enough, Brandon asked to have him 'fixed' at the age of 14. Fred has since been inhabited by Cermur. 

Daisy Stone (24): Brandon's oldest daughter. Daisy was ordered to carry out to murder of Clarice's parents two years ago to affirm her loyalty to the cult. Daisy has decided that she likes killing, and has asked Bolazar for more opportunities to have some fun.

Fred Stone (20): Brandon's oldest son. Leonard has been selected by Bolazar to be prepared as his next vessel should Clarice's body fail. Leonard is scared shitless by this fact and is trying to seek help against the Nox Eternia. His first attempt to escape lead to the death of his best friend from higschool, Marco.


Stratton Ski Resort:

Percival 'Percy' Smith (28): The current head of maintenance of the ski resort. Percy is a new hire, having replaced someone who died in an 'accident'. As such, Percy is currently unaware of the cult's activity, although he thinks Daisy is really into him. Percy is a contact for Veilwatch, as his brother works for the organization in Vermont.

Kyle DiGlado (36): A VIP staying at the resort. Kyle has booked the presidential suite for the span of six months. His presence perturbs the Stone family, since all attempts to engage him socially have failed entirely, and he's grown hostile when asked to attend church.

Francis Poole (40): A wealthy investor who has been asked by Brandon to tour the ski resort. In reality, Brandon plans to have the Nox Eternia capture her and forcibly indoctrinate her to gain access to her wealth.

Claw-That-Kills (173): A were-eagle who has lived on Stratton Mountain since the 1840's. Claw-That-Kills has slowly grown more rational over his time alive- becoming Semi-Rational near the turn of the 90s, and becoming fully rational in 1966 after taking a hit of LSD offered to him by some traveling hippies from California. Claw can sense the demonic presence on the mountain, and knows where the remains of the Mills family were buried.

Events of Play:

The group enjoyed a week of R&R, coming back to be briefed. Told that a lead had surfaced from the computer files taken from their first case in New Bedford, the team was then sent into rural Vermont to see if someone calling themselves Bolazar was the actual demon or not.

They arrived at the skii resort, where the IP address seemed to originate from. Having been booked a room, they checked in and then got to exploring the resort. Aquos, bored and unhappy with the lack of snow at a skii resort, summoned up a patch of the stuff. Arzela quickly became embroiled in a snowball fight with a group of preteens- losing horribly.

Martha Stone took notice of the snow, taking the opportunity to talk to Aquos about magic. She invited them to dine with her at the resort's swankiest restaurant so that she could learn more about magic.

Meanwhile, Mr. X and Hannah tried to do some carousing- poorly. They were able to learn about some of the strange events going on involving the resort, such as the death of the former caretaker, and the disappearance of the Mills family, but not much else.

Martha has Aquos call Arzela so that she can learn more about The Hidden Path and magic. Arzela, always eager to teach, is more than happy to oblige. All seems well until Martha leaves the room and returns with two police officers.

The two are lead into the basement of the hotel, and thrown into a room that's been turned into a complete no-mana zone.

It takes Hannah and Mr. X a while to realize that something is wrong. It's about this time that Arzela remembers that he has his phone on him (Absent-Minded strikes again), and he tells Hannah and Mr. X to try and help them reach the basement.

Mr. X and Hannah are intercepted by Martha, three cops, and two cultists. A fight breaks out. Hannah rushes into the fray (Move 14 with enhanced move), quickly coming under fire and regretting her decision, while Mr. X calmly starts mowing people down.

Arzela decides to hide, while Aquos slings a few lightning bolts into the fray.

They capture Martha, opting to kill her on the spot now that she's confirmed as a Nox Eternia member. The team then quickly goes to escape from the resort.

Claw-That-Kills spots the commotion, opting to follow the group. They stop and talk with him, and his information helps confirm their suspicions that Clarice is the current host for Bolazar.

Arzela and Aqous hide the RV in the woods while Mr. X and Hannah take some time to scout out the resort to see if they can locate Clarice. After about eight hours, they determine she's being kept in a large bedroom on the third floor of the resort.

They decide on a plan- Hannah, Mr. X, and Arzela will ascend to the roof with a grappling hook and rope, make an opening to drop down through, and subdue Clarice.

Aquos will create a distraction- by causing everyone within 100 yards (except the party) to believe that they're being attacked by swarms of bees.

The plan goes off without a hitch, aided by Clarice/Bolazar getting completely caught unaware by a flashbang grenade and then getting clocked by Hannah with a tire iron for instant unconsciousness.

They take Clarice/Bolazar back to the RV, ready to decide how to proceed...

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Aeon C-Team S304: Void Rifts

We'll update the logo... eventually
The Team:



Marsh Langston (Maverick): A blond, smiling hacker that will rip the most secure files out of your mainframe while convincing you that he's just downloading more RAM. Marsh is a technical wunderkind and social engineer with a shadowy background in intelligence. PROHIBITION MOBSTER

Mikhail Kovalenko (Alex): Measuring 6'4" and weighing about 230lbs, Ukrainian-born Mikhail Kovalenko was a former special agent in Eastern Europe and is extremely competent at drinking vodka, making friends with random people, piloting, field action, reminding others that he's from Ukraine (not Russia), field operations, and handling firearms. TOTALLY NIKO BELLIC

Agent Veracity (Me): The Subway's resident spook and dumpster diver, Agent Veracity is a highly skilled investigator, tradecraft expert and conspiracy nut. HE'S IN YOUR TRASH!

Louis (Andre): A metamorph who can control his appearance and do all kind of mimicry stuff.

Ayumi (Annia): Basically Katarra. Japanese. 

Events:


In the following two months, Blue Skies goes down HARD. Some of the Blue Skies upper ups actually get charged with Treason. We end up aiding mop up efforts against Blue Skies.

Mikhail's missing eye is replaced with a cybernetic implant- one that only has black and white vision however.

Blue Skies is broken up and bought out by other groups. Anything metahuman related is confiscated by the government before they're sold. 

We're thrown into debriefing hell, followed up by paperwork hell, then followed by mole whacking hell, then followed by congressional hearing hell. This last numerous months.

B-Team's last confrontation with the guy in the black suit gets in our hands- it looks like he imploded inside a house. Confirmation that he's dead doesn't follow.

We find ourselves at the end of work hell investigating the overthrow of the Argentinian Government, an event that happened six months ago.

The entire populace has been put to work building infrastructure. The coup was bloodless, basically a huge uprising of citizens who decided all at once to reform the government right then and there.

It doesn't appear to be mind control- the populace seems perfectly happy with the change in government. The new head of the government is some guy named Constantino Alvarez. 

We're in the area because the new government has shown that they have access to tech that they shouldn't have their hands on. The medical advancements they're showing off are way ahead of schedule- basically they're heading for generalized TL9 medical tech, possibly even as far as a generalized vaccine against all disease.

We've assumed World Health Organization credentials.

We know that Alvarez was rescued by the Cavalry on the same mission Arc Light died on. 

We arrange a meeting with Alvarez. He'd asked the WHO to visit, but we smooth it over by claiming we weren't sent due to that request and that wires got crossed.

There's a lot of amazing stuff going on in their research labs- cybernetics, vaccines, new treatments, prosthetics. We debate trying to get Mikhail's cybernetic eye replaced with something better, but decide against it.

Marsh uses Science! to determine how Argentina's tech is advancing so quickly. He spends Karma to get a crit. His first guess would be that Alvarez is a ridiculously talented savant, but the advances are just too fast. There's something going on, something that Marsh can't quite put his finger on the source of. They're showcasing medical and transportation tech, but the advancements aren't limited to just those fields.

Some Blue Skies lab techs have been hired to help with the research endeavors. Veracity's gut doesn't rule out Argentina attempting to create metahumans as a possibility.

Alvarez has a huge cabinet full of crystal skulls. A few look real to Veracity and Marsh, but neither of us have ever handled one. Alvarez claims he inherited them from his predecessor. Both Marsh and Veracity attempt Detect Lies (via wildcards). Alvarez is definitely on the fringe of lying by omission.

We're recalled to the States by Legend shortly after our meeting with Alzarez concludes. 

We're shown the press release for the Homeland Security/Department of Justice endeavor to register and control metahuman activity. 

The Human Purity Association has been gaining media traction within US, spewing vitriol and bile all over the place about metahumans. 

We're called in to talk with Legend. He looks like he's having a bad day. We all sit down on his oversized couch- even Mikhail looks small compared to it.

Legend asks us about Argentina, and Marsh explains the situation with accelerated tech improvements and the fact that Alvarez seems to be going off something else's script.

He asks if we noticed anything out of place. Marsh answers that he saw no dissent- definitely abnormal. 

Legend doesn't look happy, and inquires about crystal skulls. Legend says "looks like he found the mind skull" and then tells us not to pay attention to that. Considering that two of us have Eidetic Memory (Photographic), that's not fucking happening.

Legend says we're getting a fourth person assigned to us since three of us just isn't enough muscle. Then he requests to talk to Veracity alone.

Outside, some analysts talk to Marsh and Mikhail. They're intimidated by Mikhail. The brothers go on to talk to the last time Mikhail kneecapped a guy. The analysts flee and then the brother talk about who inherited what from which parent. 

Mikhail is concerned that Yelena is out hurting people while she's being influenced by the tattoo. (Sr. has ended up in the labyrinth, the most prisony prison available for the baddest of the bad.

Legend calls everyone back in and hands out folders on Arc Light's Widow. He explains the whole battlesuit leasing program, including 1,300 troops in Arc Light like armor. His widow's rampage against Metahumans is a little strange cause he was a meta at one point in time.

Legend will get back to us on the new team member. He's assuming a wait and see approach to the registration brouhaha. Legend sees the situation as a slippery slope where law-abiding metahumans are put under additional suspicion just for having powers.

Blackwell is terrible, a fact admitted by Legend. Despite being a career politician, Blackwell's been a bit of a dark horse candidate, despite talking about being president for almost half a decade. 

"You know things have really gone downhill when you turn to Niklos for moral advice."