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...

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