Lucas Neilson (PK Levine): A former Catholic Priest, Lucas is the head of the Basement, AEGIS' occult investigations division. Lucas is good with children.
Mikhail Kovalenko (Alex): A former operative from the Russian sphere of geopolitics, Mikhail found himself in hot water and was assisted by Veracity and Marsh. Mikhail is a combat monster, preferring absolutely crazy insane akimbo pistols.
Agent Veracity, otherwise known as James (Me, Travis): AEGIS' resident spook and conspiracy theorist.
Marsh Langston (Mavrick): A playboy internet mogul in a similar vein to Mark Zuckerberg. Hella good with computers and convincing people to give up their passwords in inventive ways.
Niklos Xanthopoulos (Kevin): A intellectual prodigy in the areas of medical science, history, and architecture, Niklos is an ivory-tower genius.
Lucas is sitting in a park, feeding some squirrels when he's approached by a creepy little girl. Black hair, black eyes, crooked posture. They exchange small talk. Lucas dismisses her and stops paying attention to her. She prances off signing a nursery rhyme about 'fog and doors', and disappears when Lucas stops paying attention.
It's January 6, 2016, about 9AM. Snow is on the ground.
Montgomery Mitton has requested a meeting with Lucas. Mitton is a records monkey, he passes weird stuff on to Lucas. A lot of the low level happenings going on gets glossed over (cow mutilations, etc), and Mitton passes along the truly crazy stuff.
Mitton looks like a rat, even though he's a decent fellow. His tastes run a little snobby (cheese and wine). He's carrying files. Lucas sits next to Minton. Mitton has a weird case from the Secret Service. Lucas opens up the file that is TOTALLY NOT A BOMB.
There's a picture in the file of the 'Bastille Key'. Mount Vernon was broken into. The key disappeared. Everything was still locked from the inside. Secret Service is shitting bricks. The brass suspects a metahuman or spookiness.
Lucas asks about leads. A metahuman sniffer capable of detecting metahuman activity came up with nothing. The key left an echo that the sniffer was able to pick up on, just barely.
The case was downgraded since it's not involving a metahuman, but the Secret Service is still shitting bricks, so the Subway now gets to deal with that.
Lucas knows that the Bastille is supposedly extremely haunted, particularly in the dungeon areas. Guards have gone missing, never to be seen again, and a tour guide in the nineties.
Mitton indicates that Lucas is being saddled with four 'Trainess' who are causing problems within their respective departments (WOO PLAYER CHARACTERS!). Mitton is convinced that Lucas is being given a white elephant gift.
Lucas notices some 'BLACK SWAN' graffiti near a Alice in Wonderland fountain/statue.
Alex landed in the Subway after being a little too trigger happy and being a little too independent, rubbing the brass in very much the wrong way.
Veracity is searching through some trash when everyone else arrives.
Lucas arrives, gets everyone's attention, and lies through his teeth about how it's nice to have us around.
Our lanyards are coolio black plastic cards that turn colors once we touch them.
The Subway is deep below City Hall, behind a hidden elevator. The Subway is working on the more private side of AEGIS, out of the public view. There's supernatural events going on not connected to Metahuman activities.
The Subway is a little dumpy when we first arrive.
|Artist's rendition of the Subway|
Lucas briefs us on the situation. We determine that the dossier and report is largely useless, pretty much presenting the Secret Service as having no explanation for the theft. Lucas has us climb aboard an ancient 1800's train. The furnace fires up without any provocation when we step onboard.
After a little bit of dithering over whether the train works, whether there's a bunch of tricks involved in getting the furnace working, and so on. Lucas successfully gets the train to lurch out of the station.
A few of us lose our lunch- Marsh projectile vomits and then gets splashed by Veracity who is vomiting as well.
We find ourselves sitting in a random field on some abandoned tracks about a mile and a half from Mt. Vernon.
Lucas explains that the ghost train can teleport to any contiguous tracks connected to its current location. Our trip was the first successful trip with five passengers known.
There's a great deal of speculation and doubts over the supernatural nature of the train, how creepy it is, and if leaving it for some random joe to try and use it is appropriate or not.
We gear up and hike over to Mt. Vernon. The Secret Service folks are talked down by Lucas who abuses them with administrative knowledge and jargon.
Lucas talks with the head honcho on the site and wins him over.
We start by looking over security footage.
The room where the key was kept had a camera, but the key was contained within a blindspot.
Marsh hits the camera footage. Niklos, Lucas and Mikhail assist. Mavrick opts to try and churn through the footage instantly if possible, rolling at 14 or less to instantly uncover whatever might be on the footage.
He succeeds. One of the outskirt cameras catches what appears to be a blonde woman (slender, curvy but non voluptuous, athletic) making strange hand gestures. Her body language is really tense and concentrating heavily on something.
Lucas crit successes on Occult! to try and determine what she's doing. She's casting a spell, a genuine spell, one contained in a book back in the subway. Lucas knows it invokes a hand of glory.
A Hand of Glory, when lit, unlocks all barriers within a building, puts guards to sleep, and hides the identity of the user. We've got conclusive proof that she's using one.
There's drops of wax on the floor. The trail leads up to a wall. There's a chance that a Hand of Glory will allow someone to walk through walls. Consensus is that this is a greater Hand of Glory, which has some serious mojo. There's a serious amount of hoops to jump through to get a great a Greater Hand of Glory. The flames can only be doused with Mother's Milk.
Mikhail is able to confirm the wax is rendered human tallow. It's at least a century or century and a half old. Remarkably well preserved. We could run DNA.
"It's not like we can ask where to buy Mother's Milk." - Lucas
"Marsh can build an App for that." -James
"It's like Uber, for breast milk." -Marsh Langston
James, Mikhail and Lucas head outside the see if we can find the wax trail on the other side of the wall.
Marsh gets a total of four guards to admit they fell asleep. They felt extremely tired suddenly, and didn't intentionally fall asleep. Marsh suspect sleep gas, narcotics, etc.
Talking eventually moves to the hot leggy blonde who came around and turned quite a few heads. A guard named Simmons called in sick to go on a date with her.
Veracity and Lucas begin tracking the wax (Lucas Crits a complimentary skill roll, and I make my tracking check by 15). The wax continues out past a gate to set of tire tracks. Mikhail uses Wheelman! to determine the make of car from the tracks. They're driving a skyblue 1960 Jaguar. Mikhail guesses the car is being kept in pristine condition.
It was idling out front for a while.
Veracity knows (Via Encyclopedist) that there's maybe 50 of them on the East Coast. The tracks hit the highway and is lost.
Marsh strikes out on getting footage of the blonde going on a date with Simmons, her face never faces the camera. We have information on Simmons provided by the Secret Service bigwig.
Mikhail searches DMV records and finds maybe 6 cars in the area that match the one we're looking for. One is registered to the French Consulate.
Veracity does his best Sherlock impression on Simmon's gear. There's a box of condoms, a hastily changed uniform, aftershave. None of his stuff is bugged. Simmons legitimately believes he has a hot date, meaning that he's not likely a willing or knowing participant in the heist.
When we realize we don't have a car because we're using the Train to travel. The Secret Service offers a car to use. Mikhail drives like a complete maniac.
Veracity and Lucas talk about the body of knowledge that they've assembled along the way, trying to piece together what's missing from their overall picture of the situation. Right now, it looks like a thief, possibly using the guard as an in.
Marsh is busy searching traffic cameras along the war, trying to track the Jaguar. Marsh determines that they have no plates. He never gets a good shot of their faces, either. It's unusual.
We arrive at Simmon's house. Mikhail doesn't detect anything usual. Veracity uses a lockpick gun to pop the door open. It smells BAD inside. Veracity insists that Mikhail and the others follow appropriate evidence collection procedures, wearing booties and latex gloves.
Veracity does his best Sherlock Impression. Dead guy was disorganized, but not a slob. He was trying to bulk up (protein powder, gym card). The place hasn't been tossed. His badge and credentials are missing, along with the Mt. Vernon key card.
Niklos notes no outside signs of trauma/abuse, but rapid onset necrosis (6+ months old) has set in. Niklos definitely suspects a spell based off his knowledge of the Occult.
Marsh sets down at Simmon's computer and gets to work examining his digital footprint.
We make the call to NOT contact local authorities, having an AEGIS cleaning team deal with it later.
Lucas is walking through and using Criminology (metahuman) to glean more from the situation. He figures the culprit desperately wanted Simmon's credentials to get on the grounds of Mt. Vernon, from which she then used the Hand of Glory.
Our thief didn't need to kill the guard.
Veracity knows of some nearby train tracks which will make transporting the body back to the Subway for autopsy for later easier. He spends the hour wait for Lucas to fetch the train combing Simmon's house for any clues or leftover evidence such as hair fibers or skin cells. He comes up empty.
Niklos determines that the manner of death was roughly equivalent to a rattlesnake biting the heart and causing rapid necrosis to spread from there. There's a small plant or something lodged in the back of his throat, with a strand of hair attached to it somehow. It's a leaf from a yew tree.
Marsh is going through Simmon's phone during the autopsy. Simmons was at a bar and at work over the previous day, and most of his internet searches were distinctly love-advice related. Last call was out was to a bar and grill family restaurant- The Cheap Seats.
Veracity uses Digital Oracle to crunch some data while Lucas is hitting the books. I get a grainy, terrible photo of our suspected thief, connected to a series of related deaths from 'necrosis bacteria'. I hand it off to Marsh to ENHANCE!
We debate for a while about the supernatural, how strange this all is, and our likely screaming trip into the abyss and horrible deaths.
The Jaguar registered to the French Consulate in NYC has diplomatic plates. Marsh does some google-fu and turns up nothing.
Mikhail doesn't know of anything particularly weird surrounding the French Consulate and the intelligence community.
Veracity is convinced that the french are aliens possessed by demons, otherwise known as Scientologists.
The train trip to Salem is painful for Marsh and Niklos, who both continue to vomit and retch the entire way. Mikhail crit fails Body Sense and is actually knocked out cold by the trip. Veracity manages to not hurl this time around. Lucas is pleased to tell us all that we're adapting well to the Subway.
We find a tavern/bakery called The Broomstick where they're making a delicious smelling bread. Overall the place is very enticing. We dig in and chow down, ensuring that nobody takes long-term fatigue penalties.
Veracity signs an autograph for someone who mistakes him for Bruce Campbell.
Lucas knows how to contact the Coven (Nominally "The Black Cup or Grail" in Latin) in the area, having done them a favor in the past. Their headquarters is in a barn about 12 miles out of town.
We contemplate drugging Mikhail to ensure that he doesn't shoot the witches without provocation.
Upon arriving at the farmhouse, the front door opens as we approach. Mikhail draws his gun, gets thrown on his ass by something, and Lucas is barely able to slip his foot in the door to prevent it from getting slammed shut.
We struggle to talk Mikhail down.
Lucas is approached very favorably, immediately glomped on by one of the witches. The Witches aren't very happy about Mikhail.
The Witches are very unhappy when hearing about Marcelle Lemaître, and they declare her a stain on the honor of the Coven.
Veracity asks them how to defeat a Greater Hand of Glower. The Witches don't have any good suggestions.
Veracity asks them if they've done any work for the French, or in France, and it turns out The Black Cup has deep French roots.
Marsh spells out the situation with this Bastille key. The Witches state that the first key is worthless without the other two.
Our next few questions are met with a level of understanding that's well over our head.
Veracity attempts to butter up a witch to explain the keys on a level we can all understand. She calls Lucas 'Muffin'.
The Bastille is supposedly laying on a nexus of Ley Lines. Having control of all three keys would allow someone to tap into them to do all sorts of crazy stuff with magic.
One is in a museum in London, and the other is usually in the Louvre.
Lucas decides to see if he can get AEGIS to contact the English and French governments to check on the status of the others. He makes a complimentary skill roll on Mastermind, and then crits on the actual AR roll.
The French key is missing. The London Key is still present, in the Madame Tussauds..
Veracity crits an Encyclopedist! roll to see what he might have read about the London Key previously. The Tussauds got the key after WW2 after recovering it from a bombed-out collectors house. Security around it is decent, and offers to buy it have been refused.
As we leave, a witch hugs 'Muffin', puts a flower in his lapel, and tells him to be careful and not be turned inside out.
We contemplate using the train to try and reach London. Veracity loudly requests anti-nausea medication. Niklos hands out the meds and we attempt to make the trip.
There's some nausea for Marsh and Veracity, but thankfully no tossing of cookies.
We end up very close to Tussauds. We jog over. It's 2-3am. We've entered the UK without clearance, with weapons.
Lucas uses Foresight to state that he remembers to bring 2-liters of Mother's Milk. There's a super soaker and a few water balloons in the train that we fill up.
"Mikhail, if you think the witch is nearby, or something strange happens, shoot breast milk at it." - Lucas Neilson, January 7th, 2012
Veracity cases the joint. He spots sealed, reinforced windows, doors, and locks. Two security guards, rent-a-cops. He also suspects a CCTV and Intruder detection system.
I cut the power to the place, making a Tradecraft! roll by 5 to do so.
Marsh and Mikhail approach the guards. Marsh spins a yarn about being tourists in need of directions. Mikhail crits vs Guns! and drops a guard with an electrolaser shot to the head.
Marsh pulls an electrolaser as well and takes a shot at the second guard, succeeding by 2. The guard fails to dodge, caught off guard by the banter from Marsh. Both guards are down with shots to the head by our electrolasers.
(Our electrolasers are versatile stun/memory erasure devices)
We drag the guards inside and close the doors after Mikhail clears the first part of the building.
We're all suddenly attacked by... something. All of us fail except Lucas, and three of us spend Karma to buy success for the Defense roll.
The wax statues begin to come alive.
Lucas is familiar with this kind of trap- the statues are responding to movement.
He tells us to stop moving. Mikhail doesn't listen and takes a shot at a statue with the Electrolaser. Ghandi's face is melted off in a horrific manner. It continues to attempt to attack Mikhail, who is drawing the attention of the other statues.
|He'll Nuke First|
Mikhail stops moving and the statues stop moving.
Niklos asks how we're going to leave, and an annoying female voice yells at us from the second story that "You can't!" Her accent is a mix of Parisian/London.
The Witch upstairs starts to complain about witch wards. Lucas tells Mikhail to go upstairs and kill her, and the Ukrainian hitman books it for the stairs.
Mikhail crit-fails and is almost grappled by a couple of statues. Mikhail manages to pull away and begins running upstairs.
Marsh hears the Witches' footsteps somewhere near the back. Marsh elects to do nothing. Mikhail sees a bunch of zombie mannequins lurching towards him. On Lucas' orders he tries to hose down the display case with Mother's Milk
"Let me find the accuracy of a Super Soaker." -PK Levine (spoiler, as a Jet they don't take range penalties or have ACC)
Mikhail crits a Guns! roll (in the midst of me yelling at him to by a crit with Karma, no less) to nail the invisible Witch with an Electrolaser shot.
There's a screech, a thump, and a handle-candle rolls towards Mikhail.
PK and I end up going to great lengths to figure out who actually has initiative (PK, sadly)
Lucas and I both book it upstairs and start unloading on the Witch. Lucas hits her in the chest, I attempt to hit her in both hands with a Quick-shot Targeted Attack Hand, and hit one hand for very little effect.
We avoid getting mobbed by the statues.
Marsh also rushes upstairs, firing and hitting the Witch twice in the leg with his FN Five-seven.
The Witch does something, and Veracity is the only one to fail his will check, and the subsequent HT roll. My hand takes 4 damage and is immediately crippled. I manage not to fall writhing to the ground in pain.
Mikhail shoots the hand of glory, and there's an inhuman and spectral scream as the hand is extinguished.
He uses his off-hand to try and shoot her in the leg. Mikhail's wildcat MONSTER pistol hits her in the leg two times for 24 and 23 damage- both with an armor divisor of (2). The Witch's leg is REKT, hit in the femoral artery.
My hand and arm are starting to turn all dark and necrotic. Lucas orders the guys to strip, bound, and gag the witch.
Lucas takes the flower the Witch handed him and uses it to allow me another check to fight off the necrosis. I don't roll well enough to succeed and spend a point of Karma to ensure that I don't spend the rest of the campaign with 'Missing Hand' or 'Missing Limb'.
Mikhail smashes the display case, grabs the key, and we get the hell out of dodge.
"Plan B is twice as much Morphazine (sleep drugs) as Plan A"We take the witch three blocks and don't encounter anyone along the way. We load up on the ghost train. Mikhail and Niklos are taking numerous precautions to ensure that she stays down during the trip- sedative drip, morphazine, restraining straps, etc.
Niklos rolls a crit success treating the necrosis on my hand, completely dealing with the damage inflicted.
The last trip on the train is hard on Veracity and Marsh. The train itself seems to be out of mojo, it shuts down and promptly refuses to reactive.
Lucas secures the London Key as well as the Hand of Glory in the vault. Most of us immediately crash for the evening.
- We had an abnormally high number of crit successes (Christopher stopped counting at 15)
- We -rocked- information gathering, with all sorts of complimentary skill checks
- We abused the hell out of the Ghost Train, making travel travel arrangements fairly easy along with Encyclopedist! contributing pretty heavily
- Lucas and Veracity are very similar in skillset and stats. Lucas is more hardcover oriented while Veracity is in the digital age, but there's definitely huge overlap going on.
- The team gelled together pretty well with very little issue or effort.
Veracity has Unfazeable (Familiar Horrors). Things he's now familiar with thanks to this session:
- Mikhail's Bad Driving
- The Ghost Train
- Animate Wax Statues