Sunday, October 28, 2018

Return to Ceteri 2: Lines of Influence

Our Cabal:

Aggravaine Tashalan: Inhumanely attractive and a genius spellcaster, Aggravaine is trying to make a name for himself in the supernatural world of Ceteri.

Leo: A werewolf private investigator. Leo has a fondness for Twinkies and is a disappointment to his family.

Ranulf: Paperpusher, ley line expert, and victim of Brimstone Law. Ranulf really wants his old life back, but likely won't get it.

Jackson Taft: A crack sharpshooter hiding a more malicious second half who you won't like when he's angry.


Last we left off, Ranulf just caused a large explosion. Thankfully, no deaths, but it's still quite the scene. It's chalked up to a gas line leak in the press and 'official' documentation.

Aggravaine is wrapping up tending to some of the wounded, and has successfully implanted a SPY Protocol spirit into the foci of a Silver Lions mage leaving the building.

Ranulf schmoozes to get the names of the lawyers for the building and for the Silver Lions organization at large.

We decide to not stick around. We decide to visit Helen Taft, an aggrieved former employee of the Conclave who raised a stink in the department of Celeric Regulation.

Helen's fighting an aggressive magical cancer, which she's been using magic to stave off for as long as possible. She's busy smoking a cigarette when we arrive, swaps it for a joint later in the conversation, and obviously hasn't lost any of her wit. Aggravaine and Leo help her roll a joint, earning some brownie points.

When we bring up the Lions Helen's willing to talk shop about how much they suck. We bring up the discrepancies with their ley line. Helen brings up Silver Lions recruiting genius magical prodigies that are up and coming, then making them leave broken or disappearing them once they are done with them.

She suspects that they're developing something likely illegal. Helen also makes it clear that taking them on without help is unlikely to go well. Helen suggests that we recruit her nephew, Jackson, to our cabal- he failed the trials, has an anger management issue, and needs a job.

She tells us he's living in her house in Dorchester, before getting wheeled inside for her medicine.

The house in Dorchester is a ranch style apartment. Aggravaine walks in without being invited, summons a housekeeper to clean the place for twelve hours, and begins asking Jackson if he's really satisfied with his unemployed existence.

Jackson takes some motivating, but eventually seems down to join our efforts.

We check out the garage and find her stacks of files on the Silver Lions. The files are about five years out of date, but are chock full of interesting info. Aggravaine locates a facility that they have that's in a state forest North of Boston.

We find a photograph of Bloise Cagliostero, Morrow, and Anton J. Dyer together in army fatigues some time during the Vietnam Era. Bloise is a serious heavyweight battle mage, and has been skulking around trying to improve his standing and that of his own house. Dyer is also a badass combat sorcerer. He lacks Aggravaine's raw magical oomph, but has studied and honed his skills for a long time. Dyer founded Silver Lions.

Ranulf confirms that their North Facility is sitting on a Dragon Well. That particular ley line was approved by Morrow himself, and was grandfathered in once the leyline was 'discovered' to be stronger than initially surveyed.

It was originally surveyed by Morrow. It really looks like Morrow was planted as a mole within the department that regulates ley lines to get Silver Lions a cushy deal on numerous ley lines.

Aggravaine loops in his boss Olivia, sharing we her details of what's been dug up. The explosion in Boston went unreported to the Custos and the National News Media. Olivia wants Aggravaine and the others to continue investigating- without stepping on Cagliostero's toes so that she doesn't have to confront Taylor Bloise about anything.

The SPY Protocol comes back and reports in, typing out what it managed to eavesdrop. They're talking about a valuable subject that they're working with, who's from Cagliostero. They're planning on getting rid of him when they're done. The spirit reports that they have photos of us outside of the office we blew, and they proceed to accuse Aggravaine of sticking his pen in company ink.

They're also aware that Aggravaine is in contact with Olivia. They don't believe that we know about their other facility, but they are locking it down and sweeping for bugs. The SPY Spirit fled once it heard it might be detected.

We take pains to ensure that Olivia gets the new intel we received.

We oscillate a bit on what to do, eventually settling on checking back on the place that exploded after Ranulf brings it up.

The local emergency response has left except for a single cop car. The cop seems out of it, like he's not really paying attention. The mists are significantly stronger than they should be. Ranulf looks at the leyline and whatever the Lions were doing + the Twist Ranulf pulled means that the leyline is more or less permanently busted.

Ranulf believes that they were attempting to create an artificial dragon well to harvest quintessence from.

We try to ascend to the 13th floor, where we meet a guard. Ranulf and Jackson attempt to fast-talk and intimidate the guard. The guard eventually demurs, and Aggravaine spends a moment to commiserate with him about how bad "Mr. Twiddles (Jackson)" is.

Ranulf finds the epicenter of the explosion. Strange stone shards have been strewn about by the explosions. They had the equivalent of a magical nuclear reactor going on, and the residual energy is quite powerful.

Jackson uses Archaeology! and thinks that the pieces are from some kind of ancient statue- which he tries to piece back together.

A guard starts heading upstairs, so Leo falls in behind him to stalk him as he goes upstairs. Jackson and Ranulf toss the research floor- grabbing random harddrives, research notes, and so on.

Leo does his best to signal that there's more people present. He then goes on to loot some important files himself.

Aggravaine finishes distracting the guard with some life advice, bugging out once he feels the rest of the team would be finished.

Some Silver Lions folk are approaching the building. We do our best to avoid being seen by them.

Aggravaine locates the security room, and asks Leo to lockpick the door so that security footage can be erased. Leo scrubs the team's presence from the security footage completely.

We leave and return back to Helen's house.

Jackson starts piecing together the Egyptian tablet he rescued from the explosion. He makes out a single word/string- HEKA- which is the deification of magic in personified form.

The tablet is going to take days to piece back together. Aggravaine speaks the LOGOS Shift to return the tablet back to its original state. It's returned to normal, including the ley line focusing crystal in the middle of it. The tablets are exceedingly valuable and bounce the power of ley lines up a level.

There's a quartz cylinder carved into the tablet.

Jackson's able to read the tablet. He translates the instructions on it to English. The tablet acts as a focusing device, increasing the power of ley lines the longer they're in place. Ranulf can tell that they've been altering the method, because even the tablet and the instructions couldn't produce the results we saw at the office Ranulf exploded.

We eventually realize that when Aggravaine used the Logos he stole the cylindrical quartz that was originally attached to the tablet from wherever it happened to be- likely the state woods facility run by The Lions.

We make plans to hide the focusing tablet and to make sure that Helen isn't retaliated against if they piece together that it was used at her house. Aggravaine drops the ley line tablet off with his girlfriend Trish, while the others go to ensure that Helen is safe.

It appears initially that Helen is just fine. She's interested to hear that we've stolen from the Silver Lions.

Some guys in suits show up at Helen's house where Jackson elected to stay. Jackson locks up, and prepares for a fight.

They breach the back door. Jackson rushes towards them, shouting that he's going to blow their brains out if they don't leave. They screw their resistance roll and retreat. Jackson chases them off the property.

Ranulf casts Off the Grid on Helen, making it unlikely that anybody will be able to track her down or target her.

We end there.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Return to Ceteri 1: An Explosive Twist

Our Cabal:

Aggravaine Tashalan: Inhumanely attractive and a genius spellcaster, Aggravaine is trying to make a name for himself in the supernatural world of Ceteri.

Leo: A werewolf private investigator. Leo has a fondness for Twinkies and is a disappointment to his family.

Ranulf: Paperpusher, ley line expert, and victim of Brimstone Law. Ranulf really wants his old life back, but likely won't get it.


It's a month after we toppled the new Tower of Babel and defeated a master vampire that had crippled the Boston supernatural community.

Brimstone law was quickly dissolved. Mike and Suzette left together to chase down leads on his parents. Yannay is busy trying to figure out how to get Aldrick out of the Labyrinth. Raleigh is "not intervening" as much as possible. Landon is still comatose, and Cormac is working overtime for The Library.

That leaves Leo and Aggrivaine as the only members of the Brimstone Law cabal who are still in touch and not otherwise engaged in projects.

We're at the Conclave HQ. Aggravaine is dropping off paperwork for Olivia- nicely forged in her handwriting to reduce her workload.

She hands over forms finalizing the end of Brimstone law as an entity within the Conclave.

Olivia asks Aggie and Leo how they're doing, where they're living, what they plan to do, etc. She's unimpressed that Aggie is mooching off local startups by posing as an employee to sleep and eat on their dime.

Unimpressed when Aggie suggests taking control of the mundane remnants of Brimstone Law, she suggests taking on some of her non-paperwork.

Silver Lion is a PMC on the Mundane side, chock full of dangerous sorcerers on the Supernatural side. Olivia offers per diem, expenses, and $2,000 each for us to check them out. She says that they are using a leyline for security, and suggests that we get in touch with someone who just got put on administrative leave.

Olivia clocks Silver Lion as about 100 people. They operate out of Boston, renting space in a financial district skyscraper.

We decide to hunt down the expert Olivia suggested. He turns out to be Ranulf, paper pusher and ley line expert.

Ranulf greets us at his cubicle. He's pretty pissed, because evidently he's getting fucked because of the Brimstone ley line shenanigans we pulled to save the world. We help Ranulf with his paperwork mountain over the course of 4-5 hours.

Ranulf finally looks over the files we have on Silver Lion- they've got permission to tap directly into a powerful ley line to power their security measures. It looks like Ranulf signed off on the original paperwork. The Lion's request is unusual, since they've tapping into a magnitude 5 out of 6 ley line.

Aggravaine uses speed-reading to go through records to find out more about the authorization- and the supervisor, Richard Morrow, who originally signed the order is now working for the Lions. At the time, he wasn't, meaning there wasn't any obvious conflict of interest. He retired from the Conclave about a year ago.

The Lions would have been activated during the Babel crisis, but we don't know just how active they may have been during the crisis. Aggie and Leo suspect that they might not have been as helpful as they could have been.

Aggravaine uses his "I Know a Guy" advantage to seek out somebody who didn't particularly like Richard Morrow. Helen Taft was fired from the Conclave about a year ago, and the reason listed in her profile is clear HR-Speak for bullshit. We don't have any info on her current status.

Ranulf seems determined for us to make his life better, and is going to doggedly follow us until we do.

The Silver Lions are on the 13th floor of their office building. Surprise surprise.

We opt to case the office from the outside. Leo succeeds by 9, Aggie by 10. Ranulf tries to find a coffee shop to assess the leyline from.

The mundane security is terrible- overweight, inattentive, and too interested in Boston sports to pay much attention.

Ranulf approaches them and asks to get into the basement. Meanwhile, Leo tries to slip past them into the basement.

Leo's caught by someone from security. Ranulf is promptly shown inside to "check on the boiler". Leo and Ranulf try to play it off as if Leo is with Ranulf.

Aggravaine takes the opportunity to cast Intercom and Remote Teamwork on Leo, allowing him to communicate with and make Complimentary Skill rolls for Leo.

Once in the basement, Ranulf uses his ley sight to look at the leyline. It's being actively tapped. The wards for it are on the 13th floor. Ranulf attempts to sabotage the leyline while making it appear like an accident.

Agrivaine, sensing that this is likely to end poorly, pulls the fire alarm.

Once Ranulf finishes sabotaging the ley line, an explosion rocks the 13th floor of the skyscraper. (OOC: Aggravaine used Foresight to pull the fire alarm after Ranulf's tinkering blew things up. Aggie got to keep the use of Foresight because he crit on the mastermind check to see Ranulf's actions ahead of time.)

The ley line tap breaks in the basement. Twisting the line while it was being actively drawn on helped contribute to the explosion, but Aggravaine can't tell if what Lions was doing with the leyline played a part or not.

The evacuation reveals a number of Silver Lions folk- most of whom are carrying "canes" or "walking sticks". Some wounded are starting to trickle down into the lobby.

Aggie casts Echoes of the Dead and is surprised to learn nobody actually died in the explosion. He assists with stabilizing a bystander who was caught in the explosion who is bleeding heavily.

Agravaine takes the opportunity to implant an eavesdropping spirit into the foci of a Lions executive leaving the scene.