Rocks fall, everyone dies

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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  Raya on Fri Sep 09, 2016 3:30 pm

So I realised that on Tuesday it was the first anniversary of the WoD campaign (the full campaign, excluding the pilot). Happy anniversary players. Still shocked you're a) alive and b) enjoying it, but I'm glad you're all onboard. I love this game Smile



EDIT: Just noticed I saved it with the edited stuff over Fed's hat. Oh well Razz

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FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

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the one time I trust you with my back and you plant a dagger in it.
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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  Doctor Shulk on Wed Oct 26, 2016 6:33 am

I was going to do my first actual IRL tabletop game in the UK, but, well, so much for that. Razz

There was already an established group so I was just going to be a guest and be a foul mouthed grumpy grandma who's a witch (when mages are hunted down in this universe) who insists she isn't and how /dare/ anyone suggest her walking stick's a wand, she needs it to walk, damn kids...and she was joining the campaign to cover her gambling debts (allowing her to bugger off at the end).

Oh well, one day the grumpy grandma will ride...
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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  Relmitos on Thu Oct 27, 2016 3:00 am

Sounds like the beginnings of a good character to me Razz
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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  Raya on Sun Nov 13, 2016 1:07 pm

TWBB WoD RP OVA: Alligators and Goats and Tentacles, Oh My

In the next session of the RP, I was planning on having Spoon, Snake and Levi guest star. It was suggested that I should run an intro game for them before that to get them up to speed, which I thought was a nice idea; it also served as a tutorial to the WoD system and, in Snake’s case, an intro to roleplaying itself. Which was probably for the best, as the big session would totally be unsuitable for a completely new player. This was a gentler way of popping his RP cherry Razz

Well, it would have been, except Snake forgot until late that the game was on, plus his phone was broken so nobody could contact him. Since Relmitos was online, the other players motioned to hijack him and get him to play Snake. He was happy to do so, so we got to run the session after all.

Our players had all arrived in Texas for a convention. Which prompted the first argument as Levi wanted to pack a shit-ton of heat and an armoured offroad go-kart thingy. Eventually we reached a compromise of a single glock and what was dubbed the Yankmobile:

Spoiler:

Snarky Q Comment: Man, that totally sounds like a Raya name to me.

Snake (the PC) had heard on the grapevine that a rich kid from his school (Joel or Josh or something) was hosting a party, and decided that they should all go gatecrash it. Turns out Jules or John was one of those rich kids who desperately wanted to be popular, so uses his wealth to get people to like him. Everyone rocked up to his very expensive house to find the party in full swing; the music was loud, drinks and drugs were flowing freely, people were passed out drunk and the entire place was a mess. Good times were certainly ahead.

The party mainly served as an introduction to performing actions and rolls, getting the party to do things like have a game of beer pong etc. Spoon elected to find whoever was playing the video games and rolled to play Smash…and got a critical success. He absolutely mopped the floor with all the drunken teens. Levi opted to go on the karaoke, and failed so badly he took a point of bashing damage from a beer can thrown at him.

Snake/Relm meanwhile had bumped into the very friendly (and high) James/Julian, who gave him a sheet of drugs, six doses in all. Joel said he’d got it from another schoolfriend, Travis, and that this good shit was on the house. I mentioned each tab was printed with a picture of a 7 pointed star, which Relm immediately got worried about, but what a shame Snake didn’t know anything about that Razz

Relm: I’m totally not taking these strange drugs.
Me: That’s nice, except that you’re playing Snake.
Relm: I’m totally taking these strange drugs.

John was right, these drugs really were the good shit. Snake started to feel pleasantly light headed and empty inside, and he could see the auras sparkling around the other partygoers. This lasted for a few minutes, until suddenly something inside him gave a violent lurch. You know that sensation when you’ve eaten something dodgy, and realise you’re about to get very violent food poisoning? Exactly that. Suddenly the atmosphere started to feel oppressive, the music grating and the air tasting bad. To Snake’s horror, he became aware of shadows bleeding out from the walls, demons latching on to the oblivious guests, merging into their auras and burrowing through their flesh. On some instinctive level he knew that if these things became aware that he could see them, he was fucked. Trying not to draw any attention, he stumbled away to find the others.

Levi and Spoon were playing Smash, and this time round Spoon was failing all his rolls and losing horribly. As Levi was standing on the table, whirling his shirt over his head and going “WHOO WHOO WHOO” like the modest winner he is, Snake stumbled back in. He looked like shit; pale, sweating and panicked, and they realised he was probably in the throes of a bad strip. Deciding he probably should get to a hospital, they bundled him in to the Yankmobile and drove off.

It was not a pleasant journey for Snake, who was still tripping badly; he was seeing people who were blurry, people who glowed, doorways filled with thorns and briars. Partway there he yelled at them to pull over and he leapt out, vomiting out thick black bile…and with it a horrendous mass of hair and flesh. This thing had stunted, hoofed legs and a multitude of goats eyes, and then let out a strangled bleat and perished.

Snake immediately felt a lot better and back in control of himself, whilst the others stood there wondering what the fuck they had just witnessed. Levi took a picture and snapchatted it to Q, because why not. Since vomiting up what was immediately nicknamed a Satan Baby was not a usual occurrence, they continued to the hospital (they took the Satan Baby with them, putting it inside a McDonalds bag). The doctors were less than impressed, assuming that Snake was just tripping on some hallucinogens, and, after keeping them waiting in A&E for a few hours, discharged him and told him to sleep it off (and gave him a $2000 treatment bill for his trouble).

Sitting in a McDonald’s drivethru at about 8am, the players debated on what to do, deciding they should head back and question James/Julian about the drugs, because they shit certainly wasn’t right. As they made their way there, they noticed that the streets were awfully crowded for this time of day. There was a massive crowd outside the party house and, as they pulled up and got out, to their horror found that the house had become a crime scene. Yellow police tape had cordoned it off, and forensics tents were erected all over the lawn. Overhearing the neighbours, they heard tales of screaming coming from the house, and the local news crews were discussing drink/drug related teen violence. It looked like the PCs had narrowly avoided becoming victims of a massacre.

They all rolled to see what they could spot from the sidelines. Spoon rolled zero, realised he was in the back of shot of a news report, and starting going HI MOM I’M ON TV. Levi and Snake rolled much better, spotting that the inside of the upstairs window looked like it was covered by a massive blood splatter…if blood splatters were black, that is. They also witnessed a forensics person leave a tent, and caught a brief glimpse of what was inside…something twisted and not quite human.

Something was most definitely up with these drugs, and the party decided to follow on their main lead: Travis, the guy who had supplied the drugs. Some excellent Computer rolls saw them track down his residence, and they headed over there. It was a typical suburban American house, and it looked like nobody was home. They slipped round the back and prepared to pick the lock.

Levi: We’ll just rock down to the store and pick ourselves up a lock picking set.
Me: You can’t just go to a hardware store and buy a set of lock picks. What, they’re there between the paint and the hardwood brushes?
Levi: You can get them from Sears.
Me: What the actual fuck.
Levi: LAND OF THE FREE

In the end they elected to lift up the garage door and break in that way instead. They didn’t do a very good job, only lifting it about a foot. Levi and Snake slipped in, but since it was a tight squeeze for Spoon, he got greased up with a box of chicken nuggets. Q was treated with another snapchat of a half-naked, greased up Spoon sliding under a garage door. It’s all fun down in Texas!

The downstairs of the house was fairly nondescript, and it very much seemed like Travis lived alone. Levi did find a leaflet about the cult and pocketed it. As he and Snake went to explore upstairs, Spoon stayed downstairs to keep watch.

There were three rooms upstairs, and of course they went into the worse one first. I asked for a Wits/Composure roll, which immediately worried everyone, even more so when they all failed. They pushed open the door…and were greeted with horror beyond.

The room had been converted into a meth lab, tubes and beakers and bubbling concoctions everywhere. What looked like chunks of flesh were simmering away, filling the air with an acrid stench. But the true horror lay at the back of the room; strapped to a table lay a hideous creature. It might have been human, once, but was now an abomination of goat, man and flesh. Its limbs were twisted and bent, fingers fused into hooves, cancerous masses engulfing its broken body, and to everyone’s revulsion, they realised that flesh was being harvested from this still living thing, being distilled into the drugs that Snake had taken. Snake immediately failed his Composure/Resolve and threw up. Levi, having passed, decided to put the poor wretch out of its misery. As he approached, it seemed to be aware of his presence, turning and staring at him with a bloodshot hircine eye, and bleated out a guttural sound.

“Th…than..k…y….you…”

Spoon heard the single gunshot and yelled upstairs, asking what they were doing…and at that moment, saw a motorbike pull into the drive. The passenger-presumably Travis- got off, spoke to the driver and checked a package tied to the back. Realising they were about to have company, Spoon ran upstairs and the three decided to ambush him. Hiding in the master bedroom, they waited until Travis entered…and then shot him in the shoulder. It was very much a surprise attack, and the injured Travis was soon tied to a chair for interrogating. Levi decided to bandage up the wound, and we discovered he had zero in Medicine. And promptly dramatically failed his roll, making the whole wound even worse.

What followed was Spoon and Levi doing a good cop/bad cop routine to get information out of their captive, which didn’t quite work as the good cop was the one that had shot him and then gouged his wound with his thumb. Eventually they got sufficient answers; Travis was just a low level felon, making the drugs, passing them on to his distributor, then pocketing the payment. He gave them the name of Brandon, another guy from Snake’s highschool, saying that he’d just given him a large shipment to take to a nearby country club. A gathering of rich folk was taking place, and the intent was to drug them all with demon crack. The party hightailed it to the club, leaving Travis tied to the chair (but calling the police to come collect him).

Shitty MS Paint map of the club and the grounds! Originally I wanted a Google Earth pic, but it fell through, so you’re stuck with this instead:

Spoiler:

The country club was very much a retreat for the rich, surrounded by high hedges and walls, the vehicles in the car park looking extremely expensive. It most definitely wasn’t for riff raff like the party. Since Levi was very pleased at his dots in Resources, he decided to put on a suit and bluff his way past the security guard. We discovered, much like Medicine, he had zero dots in Subterfuge, so quickly got told to jog on. Spoon meanwhile mugged two employees for their uniforms (though he was nice enough to give them another set in exchange), so he and Snake disguised themselves as staff and gained entry.

Levi, on the other hand, decided to break through one of the hedges, and promptly got stuck. As he was flailing about, someone approached him from behind.

Guy: Are you alright?
Levi: I’m okay.
Guy: Are you stuck?
Levi:…..no.

Levi suddenly felt a hand slip into his back pocket as the guy started to steal his wallet. Outraged, he did what I absolutely didn’t expect and declared he was reaching for his gun and shooting the guy.

Me: You realise you can’t see him to aim, right?
Levi: I don’t care, I’m shooting him.

How shooting blind works in WoD is that the GM makes a dice of fate roll to see if it hits. If Levi had rolled a 1 he’d have shot himself in the leg, which would have been hilarious, but sadly from my perspective he passed. He still didn’t hit the guy, who got spooked and ran off. By this point Snake and Spoon had caught up and finally dragged him back through the hedge.

Before heading to the clubhouse the party decided to check out the shack in the bottom corner. I asked them to make a Wits/Composure roll as they went past the lake, but Levi and Snake got zero, and Spoon only got 1 success, so only heard some noises. Somewhat spooked, they continued on. (GM note: There actually was something in the lake, and this would have enabled them to spot it. We’ll come back to that later).

In the shack- which turned out to be the groundman’s hut- the party found the keys to a golf cart and, for good measure, took a can of weedkiller with them too. Levi was thrilled at the golf cart; admittedly, the only reason this act was taking place in a country club was that he’d mentioned he badly wanted to drive a golf cart. Don’t say I never listen to my players.

Driving back to the club (Levi passed his rolls and didn’t drive into the lake), the gang split up. In their uniforms Spoon/Snake went exploring and Levi schmoozed in the ball room. He was not a convincing rich kid, and only managed to attract the attention of an annoying socialite, who wouldn’t leave him alone and kept prattling about her ponies and trips on her yacht to Moldova (I meant to say Monaco, but nobody called me out on the fact that Moldova is actually landlocked Razz).

During this Spoon and Snake encountered a journalist trying to break in for some exclusive pictures, and quizzed him on what he knew about this apparent demon cult. He knew little other than it seemed to be the latest craze, like some kind of scientology knockoff. Letting him go, they investigated the kitchens. Spoon was promptly yelled at for not doing anything, given a tray of hors d’oeuvres and shoved out the door into the ballroom. Levi spotted him and seized his chance to finally get rid of the socialite; he flipped the tray over himself, yelled “OH NO I SPILT SOMETHING BETTER GO WASH UP” and sprinted to the bathroom.

In the kitchen, Relm spotted one of the wait staff slipping something into the champagne flutes being served, and realised that this was the plan to drug the attendees. He went into the ballroom, grabbed Spoon, and all both headed into the bathroom to inform Levi.

They promptly had a lengthy argument about what to do (lampshaded by Levi), and spent so long debating that the toast next door was completed, and the screaming started. Realising it had all kicked off, they peered out of the bathroom and into the depths of hell.

The rich clientele were devolving into chaos spawn, their bodies twisting and dissolving into grotesque masses of flesh. Limbs wretched and mutated, skin splitting apart in multitudes of eyes, bodies oozing and flowing together in one congealed mass. And, on the far side of the ballroom, they saw someone revelling in this carnage- Brandon!

Spoon and Snake sprinted around the outside perimeter of the ballroom towards him, whilst Levi hung back, smashed the fire alarm, and started shooting. The goat-mass lashed out at Spoon and Snake, but still in the throes of transformation, didn’t achieve much. The black tide turned towards Levi who, with a cry of “GOOD LUCK GUYS YOU CAN DO IT”, ran back into the bathroom for safety, the spawn in hot pursuit.

Spoon and Snake tackled the guy, completely overpowering him thanks to Spoon’s amazing grappling ability. Snake grabbed a tablecloth, and with a whopping critical success, Spoon hogtied him. Seeing that the situation was under control, their attention turned back to the bathroom, and the large mass forcing its way through the door.

Levi had sprinted into the bathroom and closed the door, giving him a turn to act before the spawn reached him. There was a small window on the upper wall, and he attempted to make his escape. He needed 2 successes to climb up and squeeze through the narrow gap…and he rolled a 1. In an intense sensation of déjà vu, he became wedged half in and half out the window as the spawn broke down the door and swept into the bathroom. Needing one more success to get to safety, he rolled again…and completely failed. The spawn lashed out with a tentacle and grabbed his leg, intending to drag him back inside. This was an opposed strength test: if Levi won, he’d pull free and scramble to safety. If the spawn won, he’d be pulled back into the bathroom.

Levi rolled zero, and was promptly dragged screaming back inside.

He smashed into the floor, seeing a black melting maw of teeth looming over him. He rolled to the side, teeth snapping at open air, and barricaded himself into a cubicle.

Levi: See, this works in my favour, since cubicle doors open outwards, so it needs to fight to get it open.
Me: Cubicle doors open inwards.
Levi:…FUCK THEY DO

The door smashed open, but Levi was ready with his gun, getting a critical hit, causing the spawn to scream and lurch backwards. Outside, the others charged forward to save their friend from imminent tentacle rape. The spawn had completely blocked the door, and, lacking weaponry, decided to improvise. Snake grabbed the cutlery and began stabbing, whilst Spoon began chucking extremely expensive china plates at it.

Spoiler:
(skip to 1:36, won't let me embed and start there)

The surprise attack rattled the spawn, and Levi sprung out of the cubicle, firing and getting another critical hit! The spawn spasmed and collapsed in on itself, flooding the ballroom with thick black sludge. Spoon and Snake were greeted with the epic sight of Levi standing there, smoking gun outstretched, before bringing it back to his lips and blowing away the smoke. What a badass.

As this was all occurring I was rolling to see if Brandon had gotten free from the hogtie. Thanks to Spoon’s amazing amount of successes, he didn’t have a chance. At this point the actual Snake turned up, having remembered the game was actually on, and Relm kindly let him take over.

Interrogating Brandon on what the fuck actually happened, they discovered that he was yet another pawn in a larger plan, that the End Times were at hand, and that he wanted to be on the winning side when it all went down. Realising that the police and fire department would be here soon, and that they’d have a lot of explaining to do if they got caught, the party bailed and got to safety. Well done everyone, even though a lot of people died, you still pulled through and (kinda) smashed the drug ring!

----------

During the post-game, I commented that once again the party had managed to avoid the big thing I had planned by being too damn good at things. Since Snake had joined late and not really had much chance to do things, everyone asked if I could run a ‘what-if’, pretending the big thing had actually happened. What the hell, let’s do it!

For whatever reason, after the goat spawn had been slain, Brandon had managed to ingest a massive amount of the drugs, laughing maniacally as he collapsed, screaming for Mother to give him the strength to destroy his enemies. His body began to swell and contort, limbs thickening and pulling under him, tentacles tearing free from his back, lashing at the air as eyes and maws split open across his skin, transforming into a giant Lovecraftian abomination:

Spoiler:

This was totally not okay by anyone’s standards, so the party made the wise group decision to get the fuck out of there. Sprinting outside, they leapt into one of the golf carts as the abomination crashed through the wall, shards of glass raining down as it roared in pain and vengeance. Roll initiative!

The creature rolled highest and spent its first turn bellowing to trigger a fear test, which everyone managed to pass, so they could act normally. This was to floor it and drive away as fast as they could. The creature charged after them, lashing out at the cart and nearly destroying it in a single hit. Guns did very little to such a solid wall of flesh, so they came up with a plan: drive to the lake and electrocute the bastard!

Now, I’d designed the abomination so that they couldn’t kill it in a straight fight, it was way too powerful. They would have to think their way out of this. There were two solutions: it was vulnerable to fire (although a giant burning abomination would be even more dangerous for a while), and also luring it to the lake. Luckily they figured out the lake, but for an entire different reason.

They barrelled towards the lake, the creature in hot pursuit, and Levi declared he would jump out from the moving vehicle, taking a shot as he did. Except he rolled crap again, hit the ground hard and busted his shoulder. Spoon on the other hand got 4 successes and practically backflipped, landing squarely on his feet ready to battle (and right in front of Levi, showing how it was done). Snake was the last to jump, jamming a knife into the cart battery and leaping free…only to get zero. He made to jump, got his foot caught, and was dragged into the lake with the cart. He broke the surface, spluttering…just in time to see the abomination stampeding towards him.

Turns out monsters that big and bulky can’t stop or turn very well, and the momentum sent it charging straight into the lake. Snake was trampled, though not badly, and began paddling his way to shore. Levi ran forward and shot the battery to electrocute the lake, despite Snake still being in there and screaming SHOOT THE MONSTER. Because it was only a small battery, it did the lowest level of electric shock to everything there (4 bashing), so not enough to paralyse Snake and make him drown. Spoon approached the water’s edge, holding out his hand to help him out…and as initiative rolled round, he suddenly noticed something in the lake.

Spoiler:

The party were right in their earlier suspicions, there was indeed something in the lake, but not a monster like they initially thought…it was alligators. And they were pissed. The thrashing monster in their domain got their attention and they went into a feeding frenzy, attacking it. One, however, went for Snake, and clamped its jaws around his leg.

I rolled pretty low on the damage, but combined with the other damage he’d sustained, Snake was now badly injured. As Levi ran forward to help, Spoon attempted to pull Snake out the water, but the alligator rolled higher and dragged him further into the water. It bit again, doing enough damage to roll Snake over into agg. At this point I realised I’d fucked up, and forgotten to make Snake roll to see if he remained conscious last turn when all his health boxes had filled up. We excused it as the adrenaline keeping him going. Snake rolled this time to stay conscious and passed, but started to become very distressed about his predicament; this alligator was massively overpowering him, and he looked in great danger of dying unless the others could do something.

Once again Levi stepped up to the plate and shot the alligator in the eye. It let go and retreated, allowing Spoon to finally pull his friend to safety. But now they had another problem: Snake was bleeding out, and they had 6 turns to save him before he bled to death.

To everyone’s horror, they once again discovered that nobody had any dots in Medicine.

By burning a mass of willpower, they managed to get their dice pools up to a single dice, as opposed to a dice of fate, and after a few stressful turns, managed to stabilise him before he bled out. Hooray, Snake was saved!

Relieved, they turned to see the abomination overwhelmed by the berserk alligators, being dragged beneath the surface of the lake, which boiled and then gradually fell still again.

----------

So, GM review? It was quite nice running a simple, straight forward session like this. The main group would have blown through it in no time, so an intro session was a nice change of pace. I also think it served as a good way to get everyone up to speed with what was happening, and our three players are certainly going to be interesting additions to the main story…


Last edited by Raya on Sat Nov 19, 2016 1:06 pm; edited 1 time in total

_________________
HG/SS Friends Code: 2364 8721 9695   B/W Friends Code: 2193 7770 9554   X/Y Friends Code:1805-2682-3033
"Foxes never lose their tricks, do they?" - Quaetman
"We'll be going about our business one day and then someone will be like "hm, where's Barda" and Raya will all suspiciously be like "WELL DON'T LOOK AT ME"..." - Rocket Admin Camilla
King Avalanche:
Spoiler:

FUCK YOU RAYA.

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

AND

FUUUUUUCKKKKK YOOOOOUUUUU

the one time I trust you with my back and you plant a dagger in it.
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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  Relmitos on Sun Nov 13, 2016 2:18 pm

Raya wrote:Relm: I’m totally not taking these strange drugs.
Me: That’s nice, except that you’re playing Snake.
Relm: I’m totally taking these strange drugs.

Yeeeeeeeeeah it took me a little bit to get into the mindset of "Act more like Snake, not me" Razz    I don't think I did a very good job of it either.
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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  SnakeInABox on Thu Nov 17, 2016 9:14 pm

Reading that post is insane. I felt as though I learned a lot in the time I was there, and yet I missed like 95% of it, wow. I definitely felt like I was a bit of a hindrance in my involvement, but I think when we do it as a large group I'll be better at it.
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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  Raya on Sat Dec 17, 2016 2:22 pm

OVA #1: Escape From Requiem’s Eternal Paradise: THIS IS YOOOOOOUUU

Fed: Is this real, unique porn? Legit question.

Since it’s been a while since the last time we played, I wanted a nice easy session to get everyone back into the groove before we tackled the big upcoming session. This was essentially a standalone that could take place anywhere during the main plot, so as a GM I could relax a little as well. Since people are also busy in the run up to Christmas, it didn’t matter too much if someone couldn’t make it for this one (which was good, as Q was absent, and I certainly don’t want him to miss the big one). These standalones were quickly nicknamed OVAs, which I think sums them up nicely.

Inspiration for this session came from my background research (I’m learning an awful lot about America and its weird shit thanks to this campaign). As it transpires, rest stops in the US are ridiculously dangerous places, and there’s a disturbingly high number of unsolved murders and mysterious vanishings that happen there. It’s seriously chilling stuff, reading about the sheer amount of people who were found brutally murdered (with no motive or killer ever found), or simply vanished into thin air without a trace. I got proper spooked reading all these unsolved cases. So of course I was going to inflict that on my players Razz

Today we joined the party as they travelled down the highway towards their next destination. Q wasn’t present, as he’d heard about a democrat convention in a nearby town and desperately wanted to attend (the fact that, if the party fucked up on their quest and caused the end of the world, all politics would become pointless didn’t seem to occur to him). He’d agreed to meet the party at their destination later. Req also couldn’t make it, so we had him passed out drunk on the back seat, having hit the bottle to cope with his recent burnt leg/spider infestation. It seemed in character for both of them.

It was twilight, and the road was nearly empty. The countryside around them was desert and scrub, the sinking sun illuminating the rough terrain in fiery reds and warm gold. The sky was darkening into deep navy, the horizon a mix of pinks and yellows. The first few stars were making an appearance against the firmament. It truly was a beautiful evening.

Loop 1:A sign appeared on the roadside ahead, advertising the last rest stop and gas for quite a while. Deciding to fill up and get supplies while they could, the party pulled in to the station. This was the description:

“You pull into the rest stop. It looks like any old rest stop you’d see on one of these roads; old fashioned, slightly worn out and well visited. Various cars are parked up in the bays, some empty, some with people asleep inside. The only people outside are a young couple are getting into their car, ready to leave. The building itself is squat and very 70s; there’s a small convenience store overlooking the forecourt with the gas pumps, illuminated by sickly fluorescent lights. To the rear is the shower and toilet block that’s probably seen better days.”

Map time!

Spoiler:

The party split up. I took Ganon to the picnic area for exercise, Relm filled up the car (noticing how cheap the fuel was), TD took a power nap, and Sah and Fed went inside the store. As they approached, Fed noticed a large owl sitting on the roof, watching them, and immediately became suspicious.

Me: I love that I’ve made you guys so paranoid you’re freaking out over birds.

As they went into the convenience store, I read the following description:

“The door opens with a loud jangle of a bell. The store’s a stereotypical small convenience store filled with whatever goods hauliers or vacationing families may need; candy, magazines, groceries, snacks, car stuff, general souvenir crap. Tinny music is playing over the loud speaker, the quality suggesting that both the tape and the system haven’t been updated since the 70s. It sounds like a mangled version of ‘Driving Home For Christmas’. It’s a single room, and on the far wall are two doors, one labelled ‘Staff Only’, the other ‘Store Room’. There’s a clerk at the desk; he looks about in his 60s with white hair, wearing a scruffy uniform that doesn’t fit right. He’s just sitting at the till, head down, in a world of his own. He doesn’t even acknowledge your presence as you enter. You can tell he’s definitely given up on his job.”

What followed was an interesting discussion on the snack foods of our respective countries. After debating way too long over what nibbles to buy, Sah walked out with a 1kg jar of marshmallow fluff and Fed with a top shelf porn magazine. The clerk seemed completely uninterested/oblivious to them, so they left the money on the desk and rejoined the others. Satisfied they had their supplies, they restarted their journey.

Loop #2:After about 20 minutes of drive time, I asked for a Wits+Composure roll. TD and I both got zero, ostensibly because we were arguing over the music currently playing. For those that succeeded, it dawned on them that they really should have reached their destination by now. Had they missed their turn off on this featureless highway? They tried to check the GPS, but there was no signal. A sign appeared on the side of the road- advertising the last rest stop and gas for quite a while. It struck them as odd that the sign looked exactly the same as the one they’d passed before they stopped, so they decided to pull in and get their bearings.

As they pulled into the stop, I read them this description:

“You pull into the rest stop. It looks like any old rest stop you’d see on one of these roads; old fashioned, slightly worn out and well visited. Various cars are parked up in the bays, some empty, some with people asleep inside. The only people outside are a young couple are getting into their car, ready to leave. The building itself is squat and very 70s; there’s a small convenience store overlooking the forecourt with the gas pumps, illuminated by sickly fluorescent lights. To the rear is the shower and toilet block that’s probably seen better days.”

You might have noticed that this was exactly the same description I read before. So did the players. Being mighty suspicious, they parked up and investigated. The owl was still there. Everything seemed exactly the same as the station they had just left, so they decided to explore and see what was up.

Sah examined out the shrine against the wall of the store. It was a memorial, presumably to victims of a road traffic accident. There was a photo of the family involved, pictures of the Virgin Mary, some plastic flowers and a collection of burnt out candles. TD checked out the shower blocks. They were pretty nondescript, with some shower cubicles, toilet cubicles, sinks and mirrors. He took a closer look at the graffiti on the stalls, but it was nothing more exciting than some numbers promising a good time and tales of previous exploits.

Relm meanwhile entered the convenience store, and was treated to the same description as before. The clerk was still practically catatonic and unresponsive, so he investigated the store room (something I didn’t expect anyone to do until a future loop) and found nothing of real interest, just racks of items to restock the shelves with. The clerk didn’t react to him going into the staff only areas. As he tried the door to the staff room he found it stiff, as though it hadn’t been opened in a long time. He gave it a push, and soon discovered why.

The room beyond was a typical staff room: practically a box with a table, two folding chairs and a kettle. But hanging from a noose in the middle of the room was a body. The corpse had been dead a very long time, the flesh mummified and the skin as dry as paper. The bottom half of the body had become detached, now lying in a revolting pile of blackened rot on the floor beneath. Relm promptly legged it outside and summoned the others.

TD and Fed decided to investigate. TD was feeling pretty pleased that he was able to use his specialisation in ‘crime scene investigation’, and burnt some willpower, getting a whopping dicepool of 10…and promptly got zero successes. Being in the presence of such a disturbing dead body was obviously 2spooky. He took another roll (an extra 10 mins ingame time) and got a minor amount of successes. Looking at the furniture of the room and the situation, he determined that the person had committed suicide, and there was no evidence of foul play. Fed took a look at the body with his Medicine skill and, despite the poor condition of the corpse, determined that it was a Latino male, mid 20s in age. He was wearing the same work uniform as the clerk outside.

As Fed was doing this, TD took a search through the lower half of the body, by which I mean he took a chair and poked at it from a safe distance. I was tempted to make him roll to see if he got the chair leg wedged in there, but I’m not that mean. He eventually uncovered a wallet, and gingerly picked it up between his finger and thumb. As he was holding the encrusted wallet with a look of disgust and squick, Sah poked his head round the door and gleefully asked, 10 minutes too late, if he wanted some rubber gloves to do it with.

A rummage through the wallet turned up some currency and a driver’s license. Looked like this poor bastard was named José Garcia. They queried the DOB and the license issue date; José was born in 1949 and the license was dated 1971. The gears started to turn as they realised José was (technically) 67 years old, but he was only in his mid 20s when he died…how had his corpse been left here undisturbed for 40 years?

Fed had a brainwave and pulled out his porn magazine, much to the wtf of the others. There was no date on the cover, but he suddenly noticed that the people in the magazine were awfully hairy, and the men were sporting some impressively thick moustaches. What he had initially thought was quite artsy porn was instead actual vintage porn. Sah went to the magazine rack, noticing headlines referring to the Vietnam War, and that a lot of the foodstuffs on the shelves had expiry dates in the 80s and 90s.

As they were puzzling out this mystery, Relm had gone outside to investigate the cars. Nobody in the party had any clue about cars, so all he could recognise was that it looked like they dated from different eras. He approached one containing what they’d initially assumed to be a sleeping couple inside, only to find two mummified corpses in the seats. The passenger window was slightly open, with a tube running from it to the exhaust pipe. These people had also killed themselves, and a rather long time ago it seemed.

The party reconvened in the forecourt to share their findings. It seemed like they were stuck in some kind of time loop that was locked in the 1970s. Judging by José and the people in the cars, others had also got themselves stuck and, being unable to free themselves, took the only form of escape possible: suicide. This did not bode well for the party.

Everyone took another Wits/Composure, with the lower scorers noticing a truck hurtle past, and the higher scorers noticing lights on the horizon, across the desert. The truck was a red herring, mainly because I’m sadistic enough to want the party to attempt to stop a large truck hurtling along at 80mph. They did nothing with it. Deciding to strike out for the lights in the hope of finding a town, the party elected to attempt to cross the scrub in the car rather than walk; it was rough terrain, but not impassable. TD hopped in the driver’s seat, and off they went. Before they did, Sah had a brainwave and left an identifying mark in the toilets.

They needed to accumulate a set amount of successes to cross the desert expanse, and TD’s first roll was pretty good; the ride was bumpy, but they made progress. His next roll he got zero successes, and the car lurched to a halt as the wheel got stuck in a pothole. As everyone got out to push, I rolled a dice, and the RNG chose the unfortunate Sah. I asked for a Dex roll from him, which he failed. The ground suddenly gave way beneath his feet and he was unable to react in time. Another Dex roll earned him mediocre success, causing him to land roughly and take 3 points of bashing damage (if he’d failed, he’d have likely snapped his ankle or something equally nasty).

Sah had found himself at the bottom of a sink hole. The bottom was littered with various animal bones, from where critters had fallen in like himself and died. Finding nothing of interest, he was eventually hauled out by the party (who had been sensible enough to pack rope), and the journey continued.

Well, in theory. TD repeatedly failed every single Drive roll (we’re totally not getting the deposit back on the rental car), until I took over, and then promptly failed my Drive roll as well. After spending a good 40 minutes ingame driving into cacti, getting stuck in potholes and generally going nowhere, tempers started to fray. TD and I threw a hissy fit at each other, Fed and Relm decided the drama was stupid and started walking instead, Sah attempted to cool things down, and Req was still blackout drunk. Eventually I had enough of TD’s attitude, got back in the car, and actually rolled enough successes to get the thing going. Bring left behind triggered TD pretty hard on a personal level. Although furious and hurt, he took the moment of examine the stars for information, determining that the summer constellations were correct for this time of year. He also heard a mysterious noise behind him- something like a thump- but didn’t roll well enough to work out what it was. Spooked, he hurried to catch back up with the others, who by now had reached the lights on the horizon.

“You pull into the rest stop!”

Loop 3:Yes, the trip across the desert had somehow looped them all the way back around, and they were stuck in the same rest stop as before. They were treated to the same description as they cursed and tried to figure out what to do. Sah checked his mark in the showers and found it was still there; it genuinely was the same stop they’d come back to. Fed meanwhile wanted to find out what was up with the owl (nothing, it was literally a regular bird), and lured it down with a pack of sausages. Being an owl, it didn’t do much except eat them. Fed asked Sah what he knew about owls in Native American mythology, and with a good occult roll Sah knew that they were often the heralds of death and bad fortune. Oh lovely. They debated shooting the owl, which would have been hilarious, but in the end let it go.

TD and Relm investigated the fuel tank, with TD collecting some fuel cans and filling them; all else fails, burn everything. Fed checked out the bins round the back, hearing a knocking noise coming from within. He opened it and promptly got attacked by a racoon, which ran off after scratching him. Rummaging through the bins turned up nothing of interest except a crumpled photograph. It was of a Latino couple, smiling at the camera, obviously having a good time somewhere. It didn’t match the photo on the shrine, so who could it be?

Ding-ding, lightbulb moment- the couple who left the stop every time the party arrived!

Finally they had a lead, but first things first. TD retrieved a small toolkit from the store, allowing him to try and mitigate some of the minuses to the handling value of the car they’d inflicted from offroading. Sah and Fed went back to the shop clerk (Steve, according to the name tag), intending to get more information out of him. Specifically, since it was the 70s, attempt to provoke a reaction by pretending to be Russian (after all, Europeans get bonuses for annoying Americans Wink). This had…mixed results, as Sah can speak fluent Russian, but Fed’s Russian is the equivalent of him going DURKA DURKA. They were so terrible it did actually get a reaction out of him.

“They never found her, you know.”

Holy moley, they found the plot! They couldn’t get much more coherent information out of Steve, but Sah requested to use his social analytic skills on him. He rolled very well and, sharing his information with Fed, the two realised what the deal with Steve was.

Steve, like themselves, was trapped in the timeloop. But looking at his age, and remembering José in the staff room, they reached the terrible truth: Steve had been stuck here for 40 years. His co-worker had killed himself, and he’d seen various people also become trapped and commit suicide in despair. Steve had gone irrevocable insane from the ordeal, becoming the utterly broken, near catatonic mess in front of them. If they didn’t figure out how to escape, this would be their fate too.

I was sent outside to relay this information, finding Relm and TD still fiddling with the fuel storage and highly flammable substances. Still mad at each other, TD and I made some snarky remarks.

Me: Yeah, sure, piss off the werewolf, see how well that’s going to work out for you.
TD: Well at least I’m not some fucking abomination who’s going to go insane and fucking kill us all!

Ouch.

Ingame, I’m highly bothered by the fact that I’m a monster who will likely do just that, plus there’s the whole I nearly murdered Fed deal, so this really badly hurt me. It was actually enough to provoke a slap and a tearful “fuck you”, to which TD he realised he’d really inflicted a devastating blow. I stormed back off to Fed and Sah (maintaining my stiff upper lip), and the party reconvened. Realising the couple were the key, everyone reset the timeloop. Before they jumped in the car, Sah did another experiment; he knocked over one of the shelves of tacky souvenirs in the store, leaving it a mess.

They wondered if Q was having a better time at the democrat convention than they were in this crapsack timeloop.

Spoiler:

“You pull into the rest stop!”

Loop 4: Parking up, the party noticed something they hadn’t before; the couple were having a heated argument as they stood by the car. The guy got in and drove off, and the girl angrily stalked away to the showers. This had been happening each time, but due to the party doing other things, they’d missed it. They met the girl coming out of the shower block (she was obviously upset and had washed her face), who excused herself and walked around the back of the store, heading into the desert. As she passed the bins, she threw something inside (the photo they’d found earlier). Realising that her going into the desert was a bad thing, Sah ran forward and seized her arm to stop her. He quickly discovered that, when grabbing a lone women behind a gas station, his intentions may be misconstrued. He learnt this lesson by having her spin round and pepper spray him in the face.

Weirdly, pepper spray isn’t statted up in nWoD, but bear mace is (I wasn’t going to use that though, as it has a genuine risk of killing characters). It’s in CoD though, so I just translated the rules over. Poor Sah went down like a sack of potatoes as all his senses exploded with pain and burning, and the girl took the opportunity to run. As Fed dragged Sah into the showers to wash off the spray, the others debated what to do. They wanted to go after her to ensure she didn’t come to harm, but as I pointed out, from a female perspective, when you’re a woman walking alone in a secluded area, having a gang of young men following you is the opposite of reassuring. So instead they decided to reset the time loop and send the least threatening member of the party (me) to talk to her and find out why she was upset.

Me: Sure, send the Brit in to talk to a complete stranger about their feelings. That will work well.

Just before the reset, Sah checked on the shelf he’d wrecked in the previous loop. It was still a mess. It seemed that actions the party carried out carried over each reset.

“You pull into the rest stop!”

Loop 5: This time the party hung back and sent me into the shower block after the woman. I didn’t roll very well, so merely got chatting to her and accompanied her into the desert. Relm, being sneaky, shadowed the pair of us, and the rest hung back after Relm.

After a while I made a Dex roll, and (mercifully) passed. The ground gave away and the girl disappeared with a scream, but I managed to throw myself to the side. Relm and the others came sprinting up to find a very shaken me, flat on my ass, pointing at the sinkhole that we’d stumbled upon.

Everyone looked inside, and confirmed their worse suspicions: the girl was dead, having landed badly and snapped her neck. Nobody actually bothered to see if I was okay, having literally just escaped serious injury/witnessing someone fall to their death. Since I was apparently forgotten, I revealed what I learnt from our conversation; the girl’s name was Maria, she’d just had a stupid fight with her boyfriend, and was walking home to the next town. Except, she’d suffered this terrible accident and died. The party figured out they had to stop her death somehow to break the loop. But how?

What followed was the most glorious moment of the campaign yet.

They debated retrieving Maria’s corpse and taking it with them through the time loop, using it to convince her not to go out into the desert. Because being shown your own dead and mangled corpse by a bunch of strangers was certainly a persuasive technique. Which lead to the greatest line ever uttered in this game:

TD: We strap her corpse to the roof of our car and chase after her, going "THIS IS YOU! THIS IS YOOOOOOOOU!!!"
Fed: Can you think of a worse idea?

The game promptly broke down into hysterical laughter for a good 10 minutes. I’m sorry Sah, you’ve been dethroned from ‘funniest line in the RP’ Razz

Thankfully they didn’t go through with this ridiculous plan. Instead they retrieved some traffic cones and set up a perimeter around the sinkhole (as, thanks to Sah’s experiments, they figured out things they did stayed), and reset the time loop.

“You pull into the rest stop!”

Loop 6: Same again happened, with me talking with Maria and the others hanging back. We passed the barricaded-off sinkhole without incident, and it looked like we’d resolved the problem…until everyone’s vision blurred for a brief second and Maria disappeared. Things had just reset again. So preventing Maria’s death wasn’t the only thing needed to break the loop. What next?

They tackled the other half of the problem: Maria’s boyfriend.

“You pull into the rest stop!”

Loop 7: As the boyfriend leaving the rest stop was the first event that occurred, they had to act quickly. Since TD was driving, he swung the car into his path, blocking the exit, and slammed the brakes. I was kicked out to run to the showers and stall Maria for time. TD got out and opened the bonnet, pretending the car had broken down. Now unable to leave, Maria’s boyfriend got out and angrily asked what the hell was going on. TD explained the car was broken and they’d only just managed to limp to the stop. Grumbling, the boyfriend- who introduced himself as Manuel- offered to take a look. This was, unbeknownst to them, a pretty clever idea on the party’s part, as Manuel was actually a mechanic. Getting him to fiddle with the car was the best way of getting him to open up.

Manuel was soon confronted with the complete mess the party had made of the engine, thanks to repeatedly failing rolls to drive it through the desert, which included bits of cacti stuck in the belts (TD blamed the Europeans). As Manuel was tinkering, TD struck up conversation, and through a combination of good rolls and excellent roleplaying, found out his side of the story.

Manuel had just had an argument with his girlfriend, which had caused his angry initial reaction to them (which he apologised for). It seemed like they’d had an argument over money; Manuel was a simple mechanic, and couldn’t afford to give her the life she truly deserved. TD pointed out that money didn’t matter, and that she loved him for who he was, not for the money he could give her. Carrying on this conversation, TD managed to win Manuel over, and persuade him not to storm off, and that Maria wanted him, not his wallet. He needed to go find her and tell her how he truly felt. Meanwhile I’d managed to stall Maria enough to talk to her, and we emerged from the shower block as Manuel came running up. He apologised profusely to Maria, saying how she meant the world to him, that he never meant to hurt her and that all he wanted was to give her the life she deserved. As TD had correctly explained, Maria replied that it was him she loved, and she didn’t care that they weren’t rich, as long as they were happy together. The lovers were reunited and, thanking the party profusely, got into their car together and drove away into the sunset. Hooray, they’d set right what once went wrong, and broken the time loop!

Well, not quite.

Now they’d resolved the time loop, they actually had to leave to get out of it and reset reality. Nobody seemed to realise this, apparently thinking everything would snap back, which resulted in some unnecessary dicking about. Fed went to tell Steve the clerk they’d saved Maria, but he was still unresponsive. Fed was reluctant to leave Steve behind, trying to figure out how to take him with them, but in the end sadly decided to let him stay where he felt safe.

Outside, TD and I stood watching Manuel’s car disappear down the road, and we awkwardly apologised to each other for being such bitches. Things were said that shouldn’t have been said, lines got crossed, but we forgave each other in a rather touching conversation. It was rather sweet, and a lovely bit of roleplaying I really enjoyed. Although TD and Q might have panicked at one line innocently said by me:

Me: Well, if I do go crazy, I promise to eat you last, okay?

Eventually everyone returned to the car and went on their way.

“You pull into the rest stop!”

…except this time, the rest stop looked clean and modern. The gas prices were outrageous, and Fed went into the store…to be greeted by a cheerful, healthy looking Steve.

“Good evening stranger, what can I do for you?”

Happy and relieved, Fed grinned back at him.

“Oh…nothing.”

The party drove to the next town, now free of the timeloop, to meet Q at their designated spot. Q tore the door open, jumped inside, and urged them to leave ASAP. Everyone was puzzled, but he seemed reluctant to explain. As they drove away, there came a news bulletin on the radio. Apparently a local democrat convention has gotten seriously out of hand, and police were looking for a suspect who’d pushed Bernie Sanders down a staircase…

Q leaned forward and changed the channel.

---------------

So, GM opinion? I really loved this little session. It was simple, sandboxy, and didn’t have a shred of combat. It was a lot of fun watching the party uncover the workings of the timeloop, and chipping away the mystery bit by bit. They got to be the heroes and set right what once went wrong. The full story, btw:

Spoiler:
Manuel was feeling very inadequate he couldn’t provide Maria with the life he wanted her to have on his meagre mechanic salary, so was looking at joining the army. He was too self-conscious to explain this to her. Maria was furious that- from her perspective- Manuel was throwing away a job and a woman he loved to go gallivanting in the army. Being stubborn, neither explained the truth, which caused their fight at the rest stop. Manuel drove off in a huff, and Maria decided to walk home across the desert. Except she fell into a sinkhole and died. This whole tragic event should never have happened, so the rest stop and the immediate area became trapped in a time loop, repeating over and over until the event was prevented. Various people had become stuck, but nobody had managed to reunite the couple…until the party showed up.

About the title: it got joked that stopping in the time loop might be the best for the world, as the Seals would remain there, out of reach of the cult. Since the party also discovered that the food mysteriously got restocked/respawned when the loop reset, they theorised that this would be Requiem’s ultimate haven: no people, no work, and an endless supply of alcohol. Luckily they remembered to take him along at the end and not leave him behind.

So yes, I thought it was a good session, and I hope the others did too. Next up is the big session, oh boy…

THIS IS YOOOOUUUU!!

_________________
HG/SS Friends Code: 2364 8721 9695   B/W Friends Code: 2193 7770 9554   X/Y Friends Code:1805-2682-3033
"Foxes never lose their tricks, do they?" - Quaetman
"We'll be going about our business one day and then someone will be like "hm, where's Barda" and Raya will all suspiciously be like "WELL DON'T LOOK AT ME"..." - Rocket Admin Camilla
King Avalanche:
Spoiler:

FUCK YOU RAYA.

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

AND

FUUUUUUCKKKKK YOOOOOUUUUU

the one time I trust you with my back and you plant a dagger in it.
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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  Sahrimnir on Sat Dec 17, 2016 2:54 pm

Actually, I think I was the one driving into loop 7, stopping right in front of Manuel's car and pretending that the car had stopped working. But when I tried to talk to Manuel, I rolled terribly and then TD took over from there.
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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  TD260 on Sat Dec 17, 2016 3:37 pm

Sahrimnir wrote:Actually, I think I was the one driving into loop 7, stopping right in front of Manuel's car and pretending that the car had stopped working. But when I tried to talk to Manuel, I rolled terribly and then TD took over from there.

This is in fact what happened.

Also as a slight note of clarification, Fed was talking about bringing her corpse with us through the loop to try and convince Maria to not go into the desert. That's what prompted by smartass synopsis of "So what you're saying is we strap her corpse to the roof of our car and chase after her, going "THIS IS YOU! THIS IS YOOOOOOOOU!!!"

Hence why he was in favor of it.

The one other thing I'd like to point out is that I did in fact have a response to your "I'll eat you last" comment. I did my best to assure you that you would not, in fact, go crazy; I remember that because it fulfilled the "Prevent your Allies from Giving into Despair" aspect of Hope.

Oh, and I'd like to remind everyone that we ended this session riding off into the sunset after saving the day, like real heroes.
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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  Requiem on Mon Dec 19, 2016 8:42 pm

And then there's me just getting shitfaced in the back seat the entire time, not giving a damn about any of it, my accent slowly getting more and more unintelligible until only Raya's remotely capable of understanding me
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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  Relmitos on Mon Dec 19, 2016 10:43 pm

Let's see, where to begin. There's only a couple things to talk about, then fun.

Raya wrote:TD checked out the shower blocks. They were pretty nondescript, with some shower cubicles, toilet cubicles, sinks and mirrors. He took a closer look at the graffiti on the stalls, but it was nothing more exciting than some numbers promising a good time and tales of previous exploits.

Relm meanwhile entered the convenience store, and was treated to the same description as before.

I was with TD at the point when he went into the restrooms and then went into the store. TD had refused to enter the Women's Room and I had determined that "It's blocked off and 'Out of Order', there's not actually going to be women in there, maybe what's causing the loop IS.", so I just ran into the Women's room. I found nothing, of course, but I did go in! Then I found myself rummaging around the storage room and all.

Raya wrote:
TD and Relm investigated the fuel tank, with TD collecting some fuel cans and filling them; all else fails, burn everything. Fed checked out the bins round the back, hearing a knocking noise coming from within. He opened it and promptly got attacked by a racoon, which ran off after scratching him. Rummaging through the bins turned up nothing of interest except a crumpled photograph. It was of a Latino couple, smiling at the camera, obviously having a good time somewhere. It didn’t match the photo on the shrine, so who could it be?

I did go with TD to the fuel tank after we split up, but I seem to recall the whole party going to check out the storage bin area in the back. I was the only one who rolled high enough to get the picture out of the storage bins.


Not corrections, just comments

Raya wrote:Being an owl, it didn’t do much except eat them. Fed asked Sah what he knew about owls in Native American mythology, and with a good occult roll Sah knew that they were often the heralds of death and bad fortune. Oh lovely. They debated shooting the owl, which would have been hilarious, but in the end let it go.

It was a joke, I wasn't serious when I suggested that Razz    

Raya wrote: Since I was apparently forgotten, I revealed what I learnt from our conversation; the girl’s name was Maria, she’d just had a stupid fight with her boyfriend, and was walking home to the next town. Except, she’d suffered this terrible accident and died. The party figured out they had to stop her death somehow to break the loop. But how?
[/i]

TBF, it's kind of the natural response to go pay attention to the person most likely injured. You just landed on your backside, Maria kinda went down the hole. So yes, we went look for the one in more danger, heh

Raya wrote:Loop 7:

My role in this loop was just to go past the restrooms towards the storage bins so that if Raya couldn't keep Maria there I could stall her a bit longer, posing as a lost tourist asking for directions. It never came to that though, which is fine. I didn't get hit with pepper spray, at least.

Overall that was a fun campaign, I liked the problem solving in that one. I enjoy a good puzzle game, though "Bring her corpse and tie it to the roof yelling 'THIS IS YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOU'" has never been a solution in any puzzle game I've played before Razz
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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  Raya on Sat Dec 24, 2016 1:10 pm

Thanks for clearing up some points, during the writeup I got hideously confused about what happened on each loop, there were bound to be mistakes somewhere.

Glad you guys enjoyed it so much, it certainly was fun watching you crack the mystery. As a GM I learnt quite a lot too, so there's things I'll carry over into the main game.

_________________
HG/SS Friends Code: 2364 8721 9695   B/W Friends Code: 2193 7770 9554   X/Y Friends Code:1805-2682-3033
"Foxes never lose their tricks, do they?" - Quaetman
"We'll be going about our business one day and then someone will be like "hm, where's Barda" and Raya will all suspiciously be like "WELL DON'T LOOK AT ME"..." - Rocket Admin Camilla
King Avalanche:
Spoiler:

FUCK YOU RAYA.

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

AND

FUUUUUUCKKKKK YOOOOOUUUUU

the one time I trust you with my back and you plant a dagger in it.
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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  Raya on Fri Dec 30, 2016 2:09 pm

If anyone's interested, this was the video that inspired the session:


_________________
HG/SS Friends Code: 2364 8721 9695   B/W Friends Code: 2193 7770 9554   X/Y Friends Code:1805-2682-3033
"Foxes never lose their tricks, do they?" - Quaetman
"We'll be going about our business one day and then someone will be like "hm, where's Barda" and Raya will all suspiciously be like "WELL DON'T LOOK AT ME"..." - Rocket Admin Camilla
King Avalanche:
Spoiler:

FUCK YOU RAYA.

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

AND

FUUUUUUCKKKKK YOOOOOUUUUU

the one time I trust you with my back and you plant a dagger in it.
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Raya
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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  Raya on Thu Feb 16, 2017 2:14 pm

TWBB WoD RP: Crawling In My Skin(walker): Wake Me Up Wendigo-Go Edition

“I don’t know about diddling.” -Quaetam

After being stuck in limbo since late summer, the big session was finally here! I say big, because for this one we had a ton of NPCs to deal with, plus three forum guest stars: Spoon, Levi and Snake, our heroes from the guest session. Because I apparently hate myself, this session would have me overseeing (technically) 10 PCs and 6+ major NPCs. Oh boy. I was actually super worried about how the session would turn out, as the worst case scenarios would be either the party solving the mystery super quick, or everybody getting slaughtered. Everyone’s survival- particularly the NPCs- was reliant on the actions the PCs took in the game itself, because the threat would react accordingly. How did this play out? Well…

This session went through quite a bit of evolution before reaching its present form. The original idea seed was ‘players encounter wendigos in a spooky forest’. The wendigos were essentially werewolves who’d gone too far down the lycanthropy rabbithole and lost their humanity, becoming degenerate monsters. I was never happy with this idea though, since it would end up as the players yet again having fistfights with another monster, and placed too much emphasis on the werewolf plot tumour. When raising my concerns with Stu, he gave me a blinder of an idea instead, and the plot for this session just fell into place.

We were on a deadline for this session, what with it being the Super Bowl and all, so we decided that instead of rushing, if we came close to the deadline we’d just call it a night and continue on a different day. We ended up doing just that, so this writeup is for the first session.

I’m not going to reveal any spoilers just yet in the writeup, see if you readers can figure it out.

Our main party were once again on the track of the Seals, and this time the co-ordinates had lead them to a national park. On hearing that their friends would (by some amazing coincidence) be in the same area as them, the second group of Spoon, Levi and Snake decided to come along and have a massive meetup. The party couldn’t exactly say “no we can’t meet up, we’re trying to avert a daemonic apocalypse”, so the three newcomers were soon part of the main group. I’d asked the parties how much they wanted to reveal to each other about what had been happening to them. Although they shared most things, the main party elected to not tell the others about the Seals, or that three of the party were werewolves. This came back to bite them quite badly later on, much to my pleasure.

Now came a problem: the coordinates were deep in the national park, but they were forbidden to drive their car right though a protected, environmentally sensitive site (so no Yankmobile, much to Levi’s dismay). Luckily however there was a tour group heading in that direction, taking a group of people via mini bus to a campsite. The party signed up, then decided on what equipment to bring along, as they couldn’t take their usual full car load.

Aside from the usual camping gear, they also took things they’d learnt from experience would be useful, such as a map, rope, a Bible (Sah’s choice as our go-to exorcist), and lots and lots of burn cream (for Req). Guns were forbidden, as this was a nature reserve and hunting was banned. Not wanting to leave the Spooky Satan Shotgun behind, Req stuffed it into a guitar case to smuggle it in (everyone laughing at how completely obvious this was). He later successfully fended off the tour guide’s attempts to get him to play, so got the gun through undetected.

This being a proper wilderness retreat, the guide insisted that everybody handed over their mobile phones (although, not to worry, there was a land line at the campsite in case of emergencies). He put all the phones in a safe deposit box under his seat. The party were not happy about this, lampshading that this probably meant something awful was going to happen to them. Of course not, silly players, don’t be so paranoid.

Q: Why would he assume I have a cellphone?
Me: You’re a young male in 21st century America, of COURSE you have a cellphone!

Snake pointed out he still had the drug dealer’s phone from the previous session, and decided to keep that hidden. A few minutes later, it dawned on him he should have probably handed that one over and kept his actual phone instead. Hindsight is a bitch.

All loaded up, the tour group headed into the park. It was a rather lovely drive through stunningly beautiful wilderness. Jay, the incredibly camp tour guide, stood at the front of the bus, explaining about the park and its many features as they drove past. Hot springs, deep forests, soaring mountains…and far, far away from civilisation.

Then disaster struck. About a mile from the campsite, as they had entered the deep dark woods, the driver suddenly swerved. The bus skidded, lost control and flipped, rolling over and over. The passengers were pelted with shattered glass and debris as they were flung about inside the bus, everyone being knocked unconscious.

An indeterminate amount of time later, the party and the NPCs started to come around. The bus was now upside down in a ditch, the sides mangled and the windows smashed. I’d asked the party to take stamina rolls, which determined how much damage they’d taken in the crash, and how quickly they’d start to come round; it was an even mix, ranging from no damage, minor bashing, to 1 point of lethal from the shattered glass.

Everyone pulled themselves out the wreckage and took stock. Nobody was severely injured, but one of the NPCs, Evelyn, the shrew wife, started loudly complaining that she’d twisted her ankle. As the resident medic, Fed started checking over everyone, when he realised something: the driver wasn’t there. Had he been thrown clear, or wandered off injured? Spoon and Snake elected to search the woods, and Q checked the road.

The skid marks from the crash were clear on the road, and it was apparent why the driver had swerved: a tree had fallen onto the road. It had landed just behind a bend, so the driver hadn’t seen it until the last second. Q examined the tree for evidence of foul play; the tree was old, but relatively healthy, so it seemed odd it had just fallen over like that. Checking the stump, it didn’t look like it had been cut by mechanical means. Either it had fallen naturally, or something very strong (or numerous) had pushed it over.

In the woods, after about 10 minutes of searching, Spoon and Snake had found the bus driver. The driver- or rather what was left of the poor bastard- had been impaled on a snapped-off tree branch. He’d been stabbed through the back and out the chest, his body dangling a good five feet off the ground. There was also one other nasty feature: the driver had been skinned in a rather brutal and gory manner.

Oh shit.

They rolled to see if they could work out what had happened, and both failed. The most Spoon worked out was how unusually the body was placed; it had obviously taken quite a bit of force to ram that tree branch through his chest, and the body was rather high from the ground. Spoon was a big guy, but even he would struggle to lift someone that high and still have the strength to impale them. So just how the hell had his body got up there?

They reported back to the bus, and this time Fed and Sah (the actual specialists) went to investigate. Fed rolled his Medicine but didn’t do amazingly; he did, however, note that from the frozen took of terror and contortion in the driver’s flayed flesh, his skin had been removed whilst he was still alive. Sah rolled Occult to see if he could remember anything supernatural that could relate to this; it dawned on him that there were figures in Native American mythology called skinwalkers, evil people who stole the skins of others to take their identity.

Ohhhh shit.

The pair retreated quickly back to the bus and related their findings. In the meantime, it had also been discovered that the safebox containing their phones had gone missing (which the party saw coming a mile off). The consensus was to hike the mile to the campsite they were heading too; they were too far away to make it back to their starting point, and it was highly unlikely that anyone would be driving along the road. Jay the tour guide also pointed out that the campsite had actual phonelines they could use. So off everyone went to the campsite, Evelyn being carried by her husband and complaining all the way, and Relm hitting on Claire, the hiker girl NPC. He also didn’t roll well, so no cute athletic girlfriend for him just yet.

Aerial plan of the campsite:

Spoiler:


MS Paint skills strike again.

On arrival, Declan took his irritating wife to the cabin on the right. Snake and Levi pissed around putting out/lighting the fire, and everyone else went with Jay to the upper cabin to call for help. He opened the door and screamed in surprise, which was echoed from within the cabin. Nearly everyone charged in at the sound of the screams, to be confronted by a teenage couple frantically scrambling for their clothes, having just been disturbed in inflagrante delicto. Looks like they’d snuck away for some rebellious drinking/snu-snu in the not-so-secluded camp site.

Fed: Well they may be old enough for sex, but they’re too young to be drinking.
Me: Because of course, nobody ever drinks when they’re underaged.

NPC list time!
Spoiler:

This list caused massive confusion, as for several players the descriptions weren’t visible, which I didn’t realise until quite a while later when it was discovered people had no idea what I was talking about. That, combined with several not having access to Word, resulted in me just making it a jpeg.

As the teenagers were making a scene, Snake got talking to Bertie, the jovial Canadian tourist. Snake tried to manipulate him into sharing what he knew, and ended up manipulated himself. He was given the idea that- since the skinwalker is a shapeshifter- it should be weak to silver like traditionally all shapeshifters are. So all they needed to do was prick themselves with the silver letter opener, and whoever had an unnatural reaction would be revealed as the skinwalker. Snake thought this was a fantastic idea and- since the main group had withheld the information that three of the members were werewolves- he was clueless that this was one of the worse possible things to suggest. So he loudly announced the plan to everyone assembled.

Needless to say, as the GM I was absolutely delighted.

Realising that Snake was about to unintentionally get half the party lynched, Q frantically attempted damage control, arguing that it was a ridiculous idea they didn’t have time for. This was an opposed roll, with both Snake and Q fighting for control of the crowd, and in the end Q won. Crisis averted…for now.

As the two were arguing, Spoon noticed that Fed was looking rather uncomfortable, and took him to one side to ask why. Fed confessed that the Europeans were werewolves, but how he worded it made it sound that lycanthropy is a common thing in Europe, we just don’t talk about it. Spoon rolled to see if he knew Fed was taking the piss, and failed. So as far as Spoon is concerned, Europe’s attitude to lycanthropy is like menstruation: half the population has it, but nobody talks about it in polite society.

When the silver issue was bought up, Req took the opportunity to barricade himself in the bathroom cabin, since after surviving getting spiders in his brain he didn’t fancy getting his skin taken straight after, or deal with the inevitable fallout of stabbing the furry murder-machines with silver.

With the silver issue deflected for now, everyone spread out. Fed checked round the back of the cabin and found a rather expensive car hidden from view. It was way nicer than a teenager should be able to afford, so Fed correctly deduced that Blake had borrowed Daddy’s car to impress his girlfriend. He noticed that the hood of the car (much hilarity resulted for the Americans, on learning that the British English term for the hood is the ‘bonnet’) seemed to be ajar, as though someone hadn’t closed it properly. He gingerly lifted it and discovered that the engine- to use the proper mechanic term- was fucked. Someone had deliberately trashed the engine to prevent it being driven.

At this point Blake had got dressed and pushed his way out the cabin, discovering Fed with the car. Realising the engine had been trashed, Blake lost his shit, screaming at Fed and accusing him of wrecking his dad’s car, that his dad was going to kill him, that it was all Fed’s fault etc etc, and then roughly shoved the large Austrian who was at least two foot bigger than he was. Fed had absolutely no patience for this nonsense, and promptly punched him in the face, knocking him flat.

TD meanwhile was trying to relight the campfire after it had been doused by Snake. Clearing out all the damp wood, he spotted Claire, the hiker, going into the east cabin were the married couple were. She knocked and, having no answer, pushed open the door.

And started screaming.

Everyone sprinted over to find that the married couple had been butchered. Which was slightly disappointing for me, as I wanted the wife to cause no end of trouble, but oh well. Fed and TD examined the crime scene, and Fed noted that this time they hadn’t been skinned carefully like the bus driver had; the skin had been roughly torn off them. Had whatever did this been in a hurry?

The revelation that the killer had struck again- and was likely in their midst- sent the NPCs into a panic. Ben, the angry republican, demanded that they needed to determine who the killer was before they struck again.

Yes ladies and gents, this session is live action mafia! I thought this would be a major revelation and the players would react in shock and surprise. Turns out they’ d figured this out hours ago so just went “yeah, course, mmm.” Okay then ;_;

Since the couple had been slaughtered between arrival and now, Q assembled everyone’s alibis. Everyone was (apparently) in the crowd as Snake/Q argued, with the exception of Req and Ben. Q then asked me where I was during the crowd scene. This actually threw me a loop as- not wanting my DMPC to steal the spotlight- I usually just lurk in the background. So I literally hadn’t been doing anything the entire time. Which was grounds enough for suspicion that I couldn’t come up with an alibi.

Seeing as the situation was getting ugly, Req retrieved his guitar case and pulled out the SSS.

Jay: I thought you said you had a guitar?!
Req: No, I said I was learning the guitar. Big difference.

Ben was not happy that a kid was toting around this obviously powerful shotgun, and demanded he hand it over. Req resoundly refused. Ben moved forward to grab it off him, and nearly everyone declared an action in response, from grappling him (Spoon), reasoning with him (Q) and, uh, shooting him (Req). I was kinda hoping for the shooting actually, since either a) Ben would be hit, b) an innocent bystander would be hit, c) the SSS’s powers would activate and Req would go loopy or d) a combination of the above. I had everyone roll initiative, and Ben got the highest.

He grabbed the gun and Req used it as a club to batter him round the head. As he staggered backwards, everyone else dogpiled him and battered him unconscious. Q, the voice of reason, was last in the initiative order, so his pleas of resolving the situation peacefully fell on deaf ears.

Can we please take a moment to absorb the fact the players literally beat an old man unconscious.

As TD took the battered Ben into one of the cabins to recover, the others started debating again. Levi took an Occult roll, and seemed to recall a legend that a skinwalker’s eyes glowed when exposed to bright light. So, borrowing the guide’s torch, he did the test on everyone. Snake however refused to do it, to the point Spoon and Fed had to grapple him to have the light shone on him. Everyone, including the NPCs, passed the test.

Jay the guide made an announcement at this point: the NPCs had decided to not stay in the camp any longer, but instead hike out to another camp about 5 miles away. This was a shameless attempt at splitting the party, as I’d hoped the prospect of being lost in the dark woods with a murderous beast hunting them would put them off, and some would prefer to stay put in the secure camp. Plus, there was the added paranoia of whether the skinwalker was with the hiking party or in the camp. To my surprise, the entire party decided to go and be vulnerable in the spooky woods. With hindsight, I should have built the tension a bit more before dropping this choice, but since we were approaching people’s deadlines, I rushed it more than I should have done.

As people prepared to leave, Q resumed the alibi debate as they tried to pin who was the skinwalker. Several people had drawn more suspicion than others, and Q revealed the dark secret only him and one other person knew: they already had a killer in their midst. Me.

As you may recall from the bunker session, Sah was shot by the SSS and was bleeding out. To save his life, I made a bargain with Mr White. Later on, Q also made a bargain, which was to assist in mine. He knew it was to trade a life for a life, and he had some plans to wriggle out of it, but as we didn’t get the chance to RP this, we agreed that it he hadn’t managed to. So, in between the bunker session and this one, I had, in some unknown way, managed to kill someone in exchange for Sah’s life.

The party were, puzzlingly, rather blasé about this revelation. Sah also didn’t let on how exactly he felt about the fact he was technically the cause of someone else’s death. Needless to say, I myself was feeling particular awkward/ashamed about the whole blood-on-hands thing.

Ben had come round and left the cabin, so everybody grabbed their things and began their frantic hike to the next camp (and, presumably, safety). As they hiked into the woods, from somewhere in the darkness beyond, they heard a familiar noise.

Do-do-do-DO-do-do-do-DO-dododo-do-DO. Do-do-do-DO-do-do-do-DO-dododo-do-DO.

Blake yelled that that was his ringtone, and suddenly broke from the group to run after the sound.

Fed: Why does a teenage boy have an old Nokia ringtone?
Me: It’s charmingly retro now.

Seeing as now one of the party had stupidly ran off into monster-infested woods by himself, TD, Fed, Req and Levi ran after him. This was a chase through dangerous terrain, so I had everyone roll. Nobody rolled well enough to catch up with Blake, but Levi and Req rolled so badly that Levi tripped over a root and Req tripped over him. Eventually Fed caught up with Blake (frantically scrabbling through the undergrowth trying to find his now silent phone), but now they realised that in the confusion everyone had become separated in the dark woods. Panicked, they all called for each other as they tried to rejoin the main group.

As for the group on the path, they suddenly heard Blake calling for his girlfriend, in the opposite direction from which he’d ran. Jenna, already badly traumatised from the evening’s events, took off at a run towards his voice. Cursing, Relm ran after her, and, after some moments of being startled, Spoon ran after him.

Neither rolled very well in their pursuit, all three losing sight of each other. Eventually Spoon caught up with Relm, finding him staring aghast at a body: in their minute of being separated, Jenna had been killed. Something had torn her throat out.

The pair very quickly beat it back to the main path and the others.

As this was a (relatively) safe spot, and it was getting close to the deadline, I called a halt there, making this session another 2 parter.

----------------

So, GM review? I was pretty disappointed in my own actions, tbh. I knew this session- with a large number of PCs, NPCs to control and events going off- would be difficult to run, and it was. Looking back I can see I missed a lot of good opportunities, and should have done more with the NPCs. However, the players did really seem to enjoy it, and the dialogue-heavy session was a lot different from the action ones we’ve had before. If the players enjoyed it, that’s the main thing.

In the after-session discussion, we OOC debated who the skinwalker may be, and so far there are four main suspects:

Claire- Outright voted as the NPC most likely to be the skinwalker, on account of being outdoorsy, and also being a nice person. Which says a lot about the group tbh.

Raya- Unable to give an alibi when Q demanded. In a metagaming way, people doubted I’d be the skinwalker because it’d be too obvious with me as the DMPC…unless it’s a double bluff and I’m the skinwalker because it’s obvious.

Levi- For generally causing trouble, and also because he apparently managed to cover himself: if Levi was the skinwalker, maybe he knew that the ‘glowing eyes’ test was bullshit, and said it solely so he would pass and not be suspected.

Snake- Nearly getting three of the party lynched, and outright refusing the glowing eyes test for no good reason. Also, like Levi, being a ‘new’ player he’s also more ‘expendable’, and so metagamingly is more likely to be the culprit.

So, who is the skinwalker? Will the party survive the next session, or be picked off one by one? Am I ever going to get past the Power Of Friendship crap the party keep pulling on my plans? We shall see on Sunday…

“There’re Jews in Quebec!”

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"Foxes never lose their tricks, do they?" - Quaetman
"We'll be going about our business one day and then someone will be like "hm, where's Barda" and Raya will all suspiciously be like "WELL DON'T LOOK AT ME"..." - Rocket Admin Camilla
King Avalanche:
Spoiler:

FUCK YOU RAYA.

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

AND

FUUUUUUCKKKKK YOOOOOUUUUU

the one time I trust you with my back and you plant a dagger in it.
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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  Sahrimnir on Fri Feb 17, 2017 1:36 pm

Raya wrote:As the two were arguing, Spoon noticed that Fed was looking rather uncomfortable, and took him to one side to ask why. Fed confessed that the Europeans were werewolves, but how he worded it made it sound that lycanthropy is a common thing in Europe, we just don’t talk about it.
If I remember correctly, what actually happened was that I told Spoon that we were werewolves because I realized that not telling the truth at this point would just make us look more suspicious. Then Fed did the whole "all Europeans are werewolves"-thing.

Sah also didn’t let on how exactly he felt about the fact he was technically the cause of someone else’s death.
I didn't? I thought I did say something. I might misremember though. This still works in-character, since I'd probably be too stunned by the revelation to actually say something. I'll probably want to talk about it more once I've gathered my thoughts.

Seeing as now one of the party had stupidly ran off into monster-infested woods by himself, TD, Fed, Req and Levi ran after him.
I also ran after him. We actually wrote in the chat who ran after who in order to keep track of where everyone was. I went back and found it.
TD wrote:Blake - Fed, Levi, TD, Sah, Req, Republican
Guide - Q, Snake, Canadian
Girl - Relmitos, Spoon
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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  Raya on Tue Mar 07, 2017 1:31 pm

TWBB WoD RP: Crawling In My Skin(walker) Part 2: Wendigoboogaloo

"I think most of us are skinfuckers." --Quaetam

We rejoined our party in the deep dark woods, having become separated as the two teenagers had run off in different directions. As everyone regrouped, Blake asked where the absent Jenna was.

Spoon: She’s dead.

Wonderful bit of tact from Spoon there. They explained that they’d found her with her throat torn out, and had nope’d it back to the path. Blake understandably did not take this well and had a meltdown, accusing Relm and taking a swing at him. Fed caught his fist and Q tried to calm the situation down. Blake absolutely did not want to leave her body behind in the woods, but Q persuaded him that they needed to keep moving and get to the safety of the camp. Tears streaming down his face, Blake quietly agreed and the party moved on. Rolling high on an Empathy check, Snake realised how badly affected Blake was, and offered him a puff on his joint to calm his nerves. Blake took the joint and didn’t give it back. Snake was not happy.

As they walked, they heard the sound of wolves howling in the forest. Making a successful Occult roll, the party remembered that, according to folklore, skinwalkers can control animals. Not wanting to get torn apart by mind controlled hungry wolves, they hurried on.

Soon they entered the campsite, which had a very similar layout to the one they’d left earlier.

Fed: Is this just so you didn’t have to draw another map?
Me: Maybe.
TD: WE’RE STUCK IN ANOTHER TIME LOOP

This camp however looked abandoned, or at least neglected. The party spread out to explore. The campfire had barely any ashes, indicating a fire hadn’t been lit for a long time. Snake took a nearby iron poker as he and TD messed around with the fire. The others checked the cabins, finding them dilapidated but still in good condition, aside from one with a broken window (which lead to a 10 minute long tangent about wood pigeons). Spoon went with Jay, the tour guide, to check the phone, only to find it dead. Spoon got very suspicious about this, calling Jay out for bullshit that he’d taken them from the (reasonably) safe camp near a road to this abandoned one even further from civilisation. Jay responded that it was pretty rich coming from the guy who’d last been seen chasing after a girl who was found murdered immediately afterwards. Levi joined in and the three argued about the guide’s seeming incompetence. Meanwhile Snake started pushing his drugs on Fed, and this time actually succeeded. Good thing Fed was large enough that a few puffs didn’t affect him much. Snake’s constant drug use, however…

The argument attracted the attention of the others, who then became aware of a scratching noise originating from the toilet block. Spoon investigated, found it was coming from the latrines, and backed out of there. Bertie the tourist helpfully suggested they should burn the block, but got shot down by everyone, since they all remembered Smokey the Bear’s lessons. Plus, potential flaming shit demon. Nobody wanted to deal with that.

Since tempers were fraying and everyone was both mentally and physically exhausted, it was decided that people needed to get some sleep so they could handle the situation with clear and rested heads. Q proposed that they split between two cabins, since everyone in just one would be way too vulnerable (particularly if the skinwalker could set fires). The skinwalker was certainly most pleased at the idea of splitting the party.

East Cabin : Snake, Req, Tristan, Relmitos, Fed, Bertie, Spoon
West Cabin: Q, Levi, Sah, Blake, Claire, Jay, Raya, Ben

(incidentally, Q had been careful to divide the most suspicious individuals between the two cabins. If anybody noticed this sneaky move, nobody commented).

A watch was set up, with two people for each cabin. Snake, Q, Relm and Levi took first watch. They stood outside their cabins, with Q checking inside his to make sure people were asleep. The howling of the wolves had resumed (actually the skinwalker), which was causing Snake a lot of agitation. He has a phobia of dogs, and the only thing worse than a friendly domesticated dog was a huge ferocious wild precursor that would happily gobble him up. Needless to say his shift did not go pleasantly, and he spent it annoying the others due to his unease.

As the first shift was going on, the skinwalker decided to light a small fire under Bertie’s bed. Unfortunately for it, Bertie awoke and saw its identity. In a moment of panic it snapped Bertie’s neck to stop him raising the alarm and got back into bed.

The second shift was Sah/Claire and Req/Spoon. Being the lovely chap he is, Sah decided to help Relm out by being his wingman. Bear in mind that previous session Relm had got 1 success for hitting on Claire. Sah rolled to make a good impression, and got four successes. He went from being the wingman to Mister Steal Yo Girl.

Spoiler:

Relm, by the way, was not impressed by this.

Sah stated he wanted to mention he already had a girlfriend (Rosaline from the Fairview session), which was news to me. But I was happy with them texting each other in the downtime, so didn’t mind. Levi asked if they’d been sending nudes, and I retorted that she came from a conservative Christian town in Texas, she certainly wasn’t going to be doing things like that. Cue gales of laughter from the people who actually live in conservative Christian states.

Spoon meanwhile was keeping watch inside the cabin(?!), and asked if he had spotted anything. He noticed something was off with Bertie and investigated, discovering that he was dead. He roused everyone except Snake and Relm (the previous guards), and went to alert the other cabin. Fed and TD investigated Bertie’s body. Initially Fed rolled low on his Medicine check, learning nothing more than He’s Dead Jim. Another roll for further investigation time had him discover that his neck had been snapped by a strong grip around the throat. Cue a hushed discussion about whether or not Spoon could have been the cause of this.

Knowing the skinwalker had struck again, they gathered everyone together. Q then dropped a bombshell: there was a reason he’d pushed for people sleeping in two cabins. The skinwalker had initially liked this idea, seeing the party divided. Q revealed his actual purpose: it had slashed the suspect list in half, and now the skinwalker could only be hiding amongst a small group: Req, Spoon, Fed, TD and Snake.

Suspicion immediately fell on Spoon, who had not only been alone in Jenna’s vicinity when she died, but now had been with Bertie when he was found dead. It was enough to make Ben pull out his gun and point it at him, declaring him to be the skinwalker. Despite the evidence, Q did not believe Spoon to be guilty (helped by an exceptional success on his Sense Motive roll, causing him to think Spoon was genuine), and argued for his innocence. He was called out for basing his decision on a gut feeling, but argued back that Spoon was way too obvious a target to frame. TD and Snake argued occam’s razor right back; he was guilty because he was the obvious choice.

With his argument Q managed to persuade Ben, but not Blake, who was now utterly convinced that Spoon was his girlfriend’s murderer. Seeing that the ‘killer’ was about to walk free, he grabbed the gun off Ben and shot Spoon.

Luckily Blake was a lousy shot, and only did 2 points of lethal, striking Spoon in the shoulder. Levi kept up the time honoured party tradition (punching teenagers in the face) as Relm grabbed the gun. Snake decided to help and threw the iron poker like a javelin. And promptly missed, hitting Levi in the thigh.

Spoiler:

Levi: The leg? Why the fucking leg?!
Me: Would you rather it hit you in the head instead?

Fed and TD went to help Spoon. He was sore and bleeding, but luckily not badly injured. Seeing the violence erupt, Claire turned and ran into the woods. Sah, Req, Spoon and Fed ran after her. I queried Spoon, since he had literally just been shot, and Spoon argued that since he had the Iron Stamina merit he could keep on trucking. I agreed, so he went.

At this point I asked the people in the forest to join me in a separate chat, much to everyone’s horror and trepidation.

-----

FOREST GROUP: A good chase roll saw Fed catch up with Claire, grabbing her arm and asking her what she was doing. Claire was in tears, saying she didn’t want the group to tear itself apart through violence, and she’d rather face the dark woods than be killed by her own friends. As the others comforted and reassured her, they became aware of a quiet moaning noise. Deciding to investigate, they traced it to a cave in a rock formation. Steeling themselves, they poked their heads inside.

The cave was a charnel house, filled with the stench of rotten flesh and filth. Broken bones littered the floor, some draped in rags, others hanging like decorations in this awful macabre larder. The moaning appeared to be coming from a bloodied huddle towards the back. With the others covering him, Fed gingerly went forward and gave it a poke. Getting no response other than a groan of pain, he rolled it over.

The bloodied mess was TD.

Fed’s reaction:
Spoiler:

TD was an absolute mess. He’d been beaten within an inch of his life, was seriously dehydrated, and was suffering heavy blood loss due to a gaping wound on his neck. He’d obviously been lying in this wretched cave for quite some time. But if he was here, this would mean that the TD who had been with them this whole time…

OH SHIT

Carrying the injured TD on Fed’s back, they sprinted back to the others.

-----

As the forest group had made their terrible discovery, things were kicking off at the campsite.

Tensions were running high, violence on the verge of breaking out. Quaetam, gun in hand, lived up to his mafia reputation and laid out his accusation in an epic speech:

Spoiler:
“That’s it.  This is over.  

This monster is taking the form of our friends and tearing us apart - but I’ve had enough; it’s time to stop.  I split us up last night because I wanted to narrow down the list and let the skinwalker make a mistake -- and they made a mistake.  Nothing entered or left that cabin in the time that Bertie died.  We know the monster is among us, and we know it was somebody in that cabin.  

Bertie is dead.  Spoon is wounded, and I would stake my life on his.  He was alone, three people were on watch.  If he was the one to kill Bertie, he would have given himself away.  He is not the skinwalker, and he is being set up.

I trust Fed because he has been nothing but helpful.  He has treated the wounded, he calmed Blake, he has kept us off each other’s throats - he didn’t egg us on and support us.  He is not the skinwalker, he is one of us.

I trust Relmitos because he tried to keep us together when we split the cabins; he didn’t want to pull us apart and isolate us. He is not the skinwalker.

I trust Tristan because I’ve seen his fear, I’ve seen his frustration.  He is not the skinwalker.

The only one left is Snake, and I can only see this one way. [point gun at Snake]

You have sown chaos from the beginning and worked against every ounce of progress we’ve made as a group.  You have turned us against each other.  You have relished in the danger of our situation, thrown off every attempt to plan and coordinate, and contributed nothing to escape it.  [turn to group, gun still on snake]

Snake has the acumen to frame Spoon.  He killed Bertie because Bertie was close to him, and would throw off our lead. When I brought up Spoon’s innocence, he fought back and went out of his way to sow doubt and raise suspicion.  He wanted us to kill Spoon; he fought for it, just as he has fought to tear us apart from the beginning.  Whenever anyone has had reason to suspect somebody else, he has been there to egg it on, and never claimed full responsibility for his accusations.

We tested everyone’s eyes because we believed it would be the peaceful solution.  Levi believed it would work.  I believed it would work.  Everything we knew about the occult told us it would work.  Only one person fought back, and they fought against it because they were afraid of it.  Sometimes the lore is wrong, but I can’t ignore the facts of what we've seen.

Ryan Mullarkey was my friend.  I don’t know what you did to him, but this is over.”


And with that, he shot Snake.

Snake’s look of indignation turned to one of shock. He opened his mouth, but for once no words came out. A red stain began to blossom across the right side of his chest. His legs gave way and he crumpled into a heap on the floor.

He didn’t transform. He didn’t regenerate. He didn’t do anything, beyond twitch and spasm as the blood began to flood his lungs, bubbling from his mouth in a crimson froth.

And then Quaetam realised he had made a terrible, terrible mistake.

This was hands-down a morality test. Q correctly pointed out that it wasn’t murder, as he had deliberately declared he was shooting Snake in the right side of the chest instead of the heart/head, intending to disable as opposed to kill him (causing much hilarity for the biologists when Q was surprised that Snake’s lung had been punctured from him shooting him in the chest). I agreed, but he had still shot with the intention of causing grievous bodily harm, plus there was the psychological trauma of shooting his good friend. I classed it as a Morality 4 sin, and Q failed his roll, dropping down to Morality 6. Although he felt horrendous, he also justified it to himself that Snake had forced him into this position. A part of Q’s heart had hardened this night.

TD began to slow clap and, as the rest of the party were staring in horror (Snake helpfully making gurgling noises over the mic for effect), Spoon came charging into the clearing with a mighty roar. TD turned right in time for a large angry wrestler to barrel straight into him.

Roll initiative!

Half the party ended up tied at the bottom on initiative 6. Spoon got TD in headlock, because every single time I underestimate how amazing he is at grappling. Everyone was still standing with a wtf expression on their faces, as Spoon loudly yelled that TD was the skinwalker. Levi didn’t need much convincing, leaping forward and falcon punching TD in the face, doing a whopping 4 points of damage and knocking several teeth out.

(incidentally, I started having traumatic flashbacks to a game I ran years ago. In WoD, if you do bashing damage equal/greater than the target’s size, they have to roll to see if they stay conscious. In the game, I put the players up against a gauru, to teach them they can’t solve all their problems with violence. They punched it in the face and forced me to roll to see if it stayed conscious. TD was a single point away of having the same fate).

TD laughed, turned his face towards Levi, and spat blood at him.

”Acta esta fabula!”

(GM note: Just before this, TD asked what languages he knew. I said English, Navajo and some dark tongue. So he started speaking in Latin, which wasn’t what I had in mind, but oh well.)

TD’s skin started to peel away from his flesh, his body swelling in size, limbs elongating and fingers lengthening into soiled claws, as the skinwalker revealed its true form.

Spoiler:

Seeing the skinwalker’s true form for the first time caused a mini Lunacy test, as this thing was so abhorrent to reality the human brain struggled to process what it was seeing. It only caused this the first time it was witnessed, so the skinwalker had to time the reveal just right. The amount of successes gained by each viewer determined how badly affected they were by this nightmarish predator.

Everyone was scared to various degrees, getting minuses to their actions (with Spoon also letting go of skin!TD and landing prone). Snake got 1 success, and was so terrified he voluntarily passed out.

Instead of attacking, skin!TD elected to make an Intimidate check, letting loose an unnatural scream. This was an opposed check, and skin!TD managed to roll 5 successes. Oh crap.

Fittingly, Q scored the highest; although he was shaken, he now knew who the true monster was, and was determined to do penance for his mistake. Levi, on the other hand, got zero and promptly pissed himself. He wasn’t feeling quite as cocky for punching skin!TD in the face right now.

Realising the creature was using fear to its advantage, Q used his Inspiring Presence to rally everyone, restoring their willpower. At this point Fed, Sah, real!TD and Claire arrived, just about passing their Lunacy check. Fed went first and declared he was going to kick the monster. In a callback to the pilot session, I pointed out that he was carrying real!TD on his back, and setting him down safely would take a turn. Fed declared he was dropping him and charged forward, inflicting a few points of bashing.

Sah asked if he could see a weapon he could grab  enroute, and on a successful roll spotted the iron poker Snake had dropped. He seized it and stabbed the skinwalker in the leg; to his immense surprise, the poker sliced through the flesh like a blazing hot knife, the wound black and smoking, causing the skinwalker to scream in pain. It dawned on him what had happened: iron was to skinwalkers what silver was to werewolves!

(GM note: This was because the skinwalker wasn’t technically a true shapeshifter, it was a fae creature, who are weak to wrought iron. Incidentally, this also explained why the skinwalker was such a fucking sociopath, since the fae are famously completely immoral and alien in thought)

What followed was the major flaw in WoD’s combat system, in that multiple opponents utterly destroy any character without breaking a sweat (technically, a gang of pre-schoolers can beat up a gauru). The party walled on the skinwalker, and before its turn rolled round it had sustained heavy damage. On its turn it regenned some of its damage (like a werewolf, it could heal as a free action) and took a swipe at Sah, causing two lethal and knocking him flat (also causing the already injured Sah to lie in the dirt and think that this was the worse holiday ever. He could have gone to Denmark, but noooo…). Seeing as that it was outmatched, and that it had already had its fun, the skinwalker took off into the woods, laughing like a hyena all the way. The laughter echoed in their ears long after the monster had escaped.

Taking stock, the party debated whether or not to pursue the beast. On one hand, the skinwalker was still free to murder and kill, but on the other, several members of the party were seriously injured. In the end, they decided to head for safety. As they cobbled together a stretcher, Snake came to, and with surprising determination, argued that they needed to burn down the skinwalker’s lair. As their flight took them close to the cave, they agreed to make a detour.

Fed: How exactly are we going to start a fire there?
[everyone slowly turns to look at Req, currently drinking from a bottle of expensive whisky]
Req: What?

Poor Req lost all his prize alcohol yet again as it was seized to make Molotov cocktails. As Fed surveyed the charnel house, he spotted something hidden in the debris: the safe deposit box containing their phones! Retrieving them, the party set fire to the cave, utterly destroying the vile place.

Req needed a moment.

Spoiler:

They continued their hurried march through the forest, TD still being carried on Fed’s back, Snake being carried on a hurriedly crafted stretcher, Levi limping along and bitching at him as the Texan continued to cough up blood. Sah felt something pushed into his hand; looking down, he saw it was a piece of paper with a telephone number written on it. It was Claire’s, and she gave him a wink and a ‘call me’ hand signal. Relm was not impressed.

Spoiler:

Levi also tried to get in with flirting with Claire, until it was pointed out the large wet patch on his crotch seriously undermined his attempts to look cool and suave. He passed trying to Steal Yo Girl.

As the night gave way into day, they finally stumbled out of the forest…and into the midst of a bunch of people carrying swords.

And we left it there.

-----

So, GM review. The last two sessions were very experimental, seeing what worked and what didn’t. The good was that it was very different to previous sessions, being very dialogue heavy, so it was interesting seeing the players bounce off each other. It was also nice having our guest stars participate. The bad was that it was too overwhelming with the amount of players, meaning the quieter ones were drowned out, and the NPCs didn’t do much. Also skin!TD didn’t get to pull as much shenanigans as we both wanted, as the party are too genre savvy (quote: “stuck in a big ball of safety”), which prevented people being picked off and resulted in skin!TD being forced to lay low. Still, it was a good learning experience at least, and provided some groundwork for the campaign in the meta sense.

Also Q has joined myself and Req on Morality 6, and I’m STILL the only one with a derangement. I’m really screwing up this whole ‘send the party mad’ thing…

Here’s the fluff about the skinwalker, btw:

Spoiler:
The skinwalker is an ancient evil that has stalked the dark woods for millennia, preying on travellers and lost souls. Although it will quite happily east human flesh, it derives more satisfaction from psychologically torturing its prey. Its favourite tactic is to steal the identity of another person and integrate itself into a group, slowly sending everyone mad with paranoia and mistrust until they turn on each other. Only then, when just one other person is left, does the skinwalker reveal itself and take its prize. The monster takes such sadistic pleasure from these mind games that, to it, the chase is far more satisfying than the feast at the end.

Being a wicked creature of the fae, the skinwalker has various abilities to use as it hunts:

Mimicry: The skinwalker can mimic the sound of anything it’s heard before, such as a human voice, an animal cry, or a noise. It’s limited by its natural volume though (so it can mimic the roar of a jet engine, but not how loud it is).

Ventriloquism: The skinwalker can throw its voice within a certain range. This can be combined with mimicry to create, say, the sound of a mobile phone ringing in the dark woods, or a voice crying for help…

Identity theft: What the skinwalker is famous for. It has two kinds, lesser and greater. In lesser, it can take the form of any person it has seen. This form isn’t perfect (eg wrong coloured eyes), and is merely a visual copy. In greater, the skinwalker needs to eat a chunk of flesh from its victim. The copied form is indistinguishable from the original, and the skinwalker also gleams some of the original’s memories. These memories are superficial, and it doesn’t know many details (eg, it would know TD met the rest of the group because of a web series, but not what the series was about. It knew he had a girlfriend, but not what her birthday was).

One thing I’m surprised never occurred to anyone was the hypothesis that- once they knew something could steal someone’s form- was whether or not it could also take memories. I was looking forward to seeing TD being evasive as the party questioned each other on what they knew!

Also, with the skinwalker being weak to iron, Snake queried what would have happened if he’d passed skin!TD the iron poker. It wouldn’t have inflicted any damage (the weakness meant damage caused by iron became agg damage), but it would have felt extremely uncomfortable. If skin!TD had been holding the poker, the party would have been given an Empathy roll to see if they noticed how uncomfortable their friend seemed to be. Incidentally, when I first mentioned the iron poker (and Snake started using it to stir the fire), TD started swearing over our private chat. Shame he never got the chance to dispose of it before Sah beat him with it Razz)

Also, I want to give total props to Q, for his insane planning and actually doing a damn good job of trying to figure out who the skinwalker was. Post-game he explained a lot of his work, and I was impressed. Didn’t just want to copypasta them here, but feel free to share them if you want Q Smile

(funnily enough, this is exactly why I didn’t make Q the skinwalker; aside from being a major suspect by virtue of his mafia skills, I genuinely thought it would result in almost a TPK. I’m sure he would have had fun doing it though Razz)

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Spoiler:

FUCK YOU RAYA.

FUCK YOU

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AND

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the one time I trust you with my back and you plant a dagger in it.
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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  Quaetam on Tue Mar 07, 2017 2:40 pm

Good session, and great writeup Raya!

I want to add that after avoiding derangement and maintaining composure and using Inspiring Presence, I then went and bandaged Snake.  Fed IIRC joined me when he got back from the cave, adding actual medical expertise.  Redeeming? Nah.  But it might have saved his life.  

Regarding the planning stuff, Raya already mentioned the big one with the cabins - here are the others:

(1) Alibis was my immediate idea in pt 1, collecting peoples' information and determining their locations / past actions.  Levi actually foiled this, saving TD's life: he vouched for TD when TD had never gone with him.  If he hadn't, TD would have been unable to lay low through the session and dodge suspicion.

(2) I worked with Levi to make a plan in session pt 1 to cut the werewolves with fake knives (so they wouldn't have to cut themselves later); this worked like a charm after I convinced the NPCs to back the fuck off. I wanted to see if any of the party members were still insistent on preforming the test after I explained it, but nobody was stupid enough to fall for it.

(3) How I ruled out various team members:
 > Fedaykin: Fedaykin had been one of the more rational all game.  Like myself, he tried to avoid playing mafia.  That ruled him out from the beginning.  
 > Relmitos: Brought up sleeping in one cabin for safety where a skinwalker would have wanted chances to pick us off, and then was willing to relent when I brought up the possibility that we could be cornered or burned alive.  
 > Leviwulf: Levi was ruled out because I also remembered the bit about skinwalker eyes, and knew he was being genuine in bringing it up. He also had way too many alibis.
 > Requiem: Req was ruled out immediately upon barricading himself in the shitter, as that's such a Req thing to do, and I figured the monster would want to be active in manipulating us.  

The rest of everyone was either killed, ruled out by my sense motive roles, or suspicious.

(4) Had Claire & Co not run off into the woods, my plan was to reaction test snake, confronting him without the shooting - then abuse my sense motive roll and check everything everyone said to narrow down the remaining East Cabin members in a debate, mafia-game-style. Unfortunately things had stalled and people were complaining about needing the session to end, so I decided to go with the dramatic speech and shooting.


Last edited by Quaetam on Wed Aug 16, 2017 4:06 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  Raya on Wed Jun 14, 2017 12:10 pm

TWBB WoD RP: In One Of Those Square Things Edition: LIGHTNING BOLT

And so we rejoined our party in a direct sequel to the skinwalker sessions, stumbling out of the woods and into a bunch of people with swords. The original plan for this session was that the party would find a camp for wayward teens, with the seemingly nice camp leader being part of the cult. I couldn’t really get the plot to go anywhere with this though, and there was no actual reason for the party to stay in the camp anyway. So I scrapped that idea, the camp leader was recycled into Jay the tour guide from the previous session, and the plot reworked into something else. After dealing with horrible supernatural shenanigans in the woods, this session was for the players to relax a little and have fun…granted horrible supernatural shenanigans would still happen, but at least they got to muck about beforehand.

As everyone had suspected, they had stumbled onto a larp. On seeing that several of the party were injured, the larpers took them to the main camp, and the injured members (Snake, TD, Spoon and Levi) went to the medical tent.

The injured were cleaned and patched up, bullshitting that it was a series of hunting accidents. Snake acted cocky with the doctor, earning him a twist of the tweezers in his gunshot hole. Meanwhile the others checked out the camp. Several temporary buildings had been set up, with fake walls around tents to make it look like a proper village. The players were originally supposed to meet a friendly NPC here, but Levi had asked if his friend Josh was there, since he was a big larper and his dad ran most of the larps in the area. I liked that idea, so the NPC morphed into Josh instead.

(the players asked what US state they were in at this point. I could see it in my head, but couldn’t think of its name, so I described it as “one of those square bits on the left side.” Hilarity ensued).

Josh escorted everyone into the ‘inn’, where they had the chance to eat and drink; a welcome refreshment after the events of the last two sessions. Josh took the opportunity to explain about the larp (Fed asked if it was called DBtD. It wasn’t, but it was better than my previous idea, so it was now). This larp was supposed to be the big finale of this campaign; they’d been a lot of drama behind the scenes, so the GM wanted to give it a send off and draw a line under it. The PCs were also invited to join in the larp (costumes and weapons provided), and got to choose what class they wanted to play:

Spoiler:
Fighter- Causes extra damage. [Req]

Archer- Can attack from long range with beanbag arrows. [Q]

Cleric- Tap someone with your staff and shout “heal” to heal. [Spoon]

Wizard- Throw beanbags to represent spells, cause damage if hits. [Levi]

Rogue- If you sneak up on someone and poke them in the back with a weapon, instakill. [Snake, Relm]

Barbarian – Can fight even after dropping to zero health, but can only take two more hits. [Fed]

Paladin- Takes less damage, also knows the Heal spell.[ Sah]

Bard-If you play your instrument and sing a song, you can either cast Heal or buff your allies. [TD]

Wizard spells:

Fireball- Small amount of damage
Lightning Bolt- Large amount of damage, heavier beanbag
Freeze- Target is frozen for 10 seconds

Cleric spells:

Heal- Heals someone back to full
Slow- Target is slowed down for 10 seconds
Barrier- Cleric and nearby person is immune to damage for 10 seconds

Yes, this session the players were roleplaying themselves roleplaying as characters. INCEPTION

Also in the tavern they met a guy playing a Halfling named Porkins (based on one of the guys in my D&D group). He further exposed on the drama that had been going on behind the scenes; the GM in charge of the larp- Mike Towers- had been trying to make himself the king of the larp scene and unite all the local larps under his banner. He was a control freak, with rumours of unsavoury behaviour going on, making him the most hated person in the community. He had decided to hold this larp as a final farewell to bury the hatchet and draw what had been a beloved campaign to a close. He’d invited all the big names- most of which were his enemies- and given them free tickets as an apology. There was some more drama the players could have learnt about, but they didn’t push Porkins any further.

(confession to make: Mike was based on the biggest asshole in the UK anime scene. His entire behaviour, and the drama, is completely true to life).

The players enquired to the plot, but it was a pretty generic fantasy thing: demon king is going to rise, people have to stop his cultists etc etc. Just like the main game really Razz

Now suited up in full larp gear, the party went off to explore. They knew that one of the Seals they sought was in the area, so they split up to use the cantrip to try and locate it. The new members were immensely impressed that the others could essentially cast magic (even if it was minor), and the others taught them the spell. Poor Levi had a dicepool of -1 for casting, so sadly he’s not getting an invite to Hogwarts anytime soon.

Group 1 consisted of Q, Relm and Levi, who decided to check out a weapons store. If was full of nicely made larp weaponry and armour. Q made enquires and discovered a side quest involving a mystical chalice on an island in the lake,  which would give the bearer immense power. Relm meanwhile was poking around the stall, and accidently knocked off a buckler. Bending down to pick it up, he noticed some boxes under the stall…boxes filled with sharp, pointy objects. Realising that the seller was in a black market of selling (illegal) live weaponry, he made an enquiry, only to be abruptly told that he hadn’t seen anything, alright? Relm told the others what he’d discovered, only to mix up his words and say he’d knocked over a brassiere, oo la la.

Group 2 was TD, Snake and Sah. They went to the town square, which was a cleared area with a small stage. TD spotted a con creeper taking underskirt photos and sprung into action (much to the confusion of everyone else, who hadn’t seen what was happening). As Snake snuck around the building to block his escape, TD confronted the creeper entirely in bard character. Complete with OTT bard speech.

Levi: I am genuinely embarrassed to be in the same game as you right now.

This kerfuffle caught the attention of someone: a pretty woman in a flowing blue dress, accompanied by a man dressed (very badly) as a female elf. This woman was clearly an influential person in the larp, and saw off the creeper. She introduced herself as the Lady Amalthea (get the reference, win a cookie), and thanked the players for their help in keeping the larp a safe space. As they chatted to her for more information, Snake decided to talk to the trap elf (Lux) and claim he was an elf too. The elf immediately latched on to him, asking him about his character, then pulled out a handwritten document of his character’s backstory (15 pages, double sided) and started reading it out loud.

TD: Wait a minute, is this the elf player from your D&D game?
Me: Maybe.

Snake’s eyes had glazed over by the second page, but the others rescued him before he slipped into a cliché-induced coma, and they carried on their investigation.

The third group of Fed, Req, Spoon and Raya were in the bar. Nothing too much happened here as they didn’t roll well in their socialising, but they did get to try some nice beer.

Suddenly the sound of horns blared out across the camp, bellowing out a warning- the Dark Ones were attacking! The party raced to join the other larpers in the town square, as from the woods came the Dark One army. These were the larp staff, dressed in long black robes with stag skulls mounted on top of their heads, giving the impression they were huge, lanky monsters. The party launched themselves into combat; Snake and Relm sneaked about for backstabs, Levi cut a murderous swathe with his lightning bolts, Q stood on the stage directing the flow of battle, and TD…TD helped the best way a bard could.

Spoiler:

GM note: Since this was an American larp, to win a fight you just needed to tap a person in certain areas with your weapon to count as wounding them. Mechanically, this translated as needing to score 2 successes on an attack roll to ‘slay’ them.

Levi also looted a costume from one of the Dark Ones, with the intention of infiltrating their ranks. There wasn’t really much he could have done with this though, for saying the enemies were just staffers playing a role, so there wasn’t anything *to* infiltrate. He could have perhaps tried to bluff some players by pretending to be a staffer, or walked into restricted areas such as the ops tent, but there wasn’t really much I could have done save derailing the game with a massive diversion into a Dark One camp (the staffers knew nothing about the true nature of the larp, so it would have been of limited use anyway).

The Dark Ones were soon routed, the crowd cheering as they fled. A figure then took to the stage; a man dressed in long dark robes. He took out a microphone and introduced himself as Mike, the GM of the larp. He was awkward at public speaking, and spoke about how he was running this larp as a big finale, to finally bury the hatchet with the people he had bad blood with, before wishing for everyone to have a good time.

Now left to their own devices, the party made some preparations to go on the quest. Snake and Sah both spoke to Mike and buttered him up quite nicely (Sah even convincing him he’d travelled all the way from Sweden just to attend). Relm also sneaked inside the ops tent, taking a quick look at Mike’s laptop. He found some very bitchy emails, but didn’t want to risk getting caught by staying further.

Having instructions as to where to go to find the island, the party had to make a Survival roll to successfully navigate through the forest. TD was immediately nominated and rolled well enough for the party to get to the lake, although they did hear what sounded like sounds of fighting in the woods.

GM Note: If the party had rolled badly they would have been ambushed by bandits. I was pretty glad they avoided this actually, since we were pressed for time. There was also a plot point here if they’d taken Josh and some other NPCs with them: one of the bandits had beef with Josh, and was going to arrange an ‘accident’ by leaving the beanbag off the end of his arrow, intending to injure him. The players would have had to mediate the resulting nasty scene.

Getting to the lake, they saw the small island which would contain the quest item. Pulled up on shore were two boats, which could each hold up to 5 people. Boat 1 was Q, TD and Relm, Boat 2 was Spoon, Sah, Req and Snake. Levi decided to stay behind on the shore.

Everyone rolled well to row, but, halfway across, a dark shape appeared in the water, striking and capsizing boat 2. Everyone rolled to swim/not drown. Spoon and Req were fine, but Sah and Snake both struggled with just one success. Spoon grabbed Sah (who was being weighed down by his armour) and started pulling him to shore. As Snake ducked under, he caught a glimpse of a flash of teeth. Panicking, he headed to boat 1, and Relm held out the oar for him to grab. Whatever it was in the water wrapped a slimy black tentacle around Snake’s leg and began to pull him under. This was an opposed strength test to see who would succeed in pulling Snake their way.

Relm got zero successes.

Snake was yanked under the water, the creature biting him in the thigh. Still suffering from his gunshot wound the previous session, this completely filled his health boxes with lethal (thankfully not rolling over into agg), and Snake had to roll to stay conscious. Luckily he passed, as otherwise the players would have had to deal with both a monster and a drowning Snake.

Since Snake was still clinging to the oar, the others managed to haul him back onto the boat with a mighty crit and frantically paddled to the island. Relm got so many successes in rowing he practically embedded the boat into the shingle. Whatever the creature was, it didn’t pursue them onto land.

GM Note: The lake monster was under orders to assassinate people on the lake, but make it look like an accident. It would capsize boats and pull any strugglers underwater, drowning them. Mechanically, it would target whoever rolled the lowest, and, in the event of a draw, whoever was the most believable victim. Since Sah and Snake both rolled low they were its targets, but as Sah was being pulled to safety, Snake was the most likely person to ‘get into trouble’ and drown. If Spoon had pulled Snake to safety, it would have gone for Sah instead.

As Q retrieved the chalice (discovering that it was just a prop, and therefore not the Seal), TD patched up Snake. His bite mark was strange, a circular shape, but nobody rolled high enough to recognise it. Sah rolled Occult to see if he could think of anything that could have caused it, but with a low score only came up with a mini kraken. Now the problem was getting back to shore, knowing there was a lake monster between them and land.

As the party came up with a plan, Levi left to investigate the noises in the forest, discovering the aftermath of the bandit ambush: two players were being held prisoner by two bandits, the forest floor littered with bodies.

Me: What do you want to do?
Levi: I cast lightning bolt.

A beanbag sliced the air like a bullet, taking out an extremely confused bandit. The other turned and charged, only for Levi to get a crit and smash a beanbag straight into her face. The prisoners were grateful for their rescue, and Levi tried to convince them to come help him at the lake. Unfortunately, with his terrible social dice pool, he got zero and failed. They didn’t believe his tale and refused to go with him.

Levi: I cast lightning bolt.

Levi pretty much slaughtered everyone with his insane beanbag throwing skills, looted the bodies and went back to the lake. By this point the party had come up with a plan: paddle to the capsized boat 2, have some people get in there, then paddle like mad to the shore. They would need a set amount of successes to get to shore and outrun the monster. Levi decided to ‘help’ by going fishing with a chicken leg. If he rolled decently it would have slowed down the monster by taking off some of its successes in the chase. If he rolled extremely well, he would have the monster’s undivided attention…which probably would have resulted in him being yanked into the lake for yet another tentacle rape. Perhaps luckily, he utterly failed, but the others rolled well enough to get to shore without being capsized again.

Heading back into camp, the sodden Spoon went to the bar to dry off as the others handed in the quest. As he approached, something caught his eye: sitting at an outside table was a figure who looked very out of place. He was wearing an immaculate white suit and hat, completely untouched by the mud and grime of the larp. The original players immediately recognised who he was, and with horror realised something.

They hadn’t told the new players about Mr White.

Mr White invited Spoon to sit down, offering him a cigarette that he declined. Mr White introduced himself to Spoon, giving him a business card and explaining his services. After this conversation, White bade his farewell, stood up and walked out of sight behind the inn.

Spoon: I get up and follow him.
Party: [laugh]
Me: You totally know what’s going to happen, right?

Completely unsurprisingly,  Mr White had vanished.

GM note: Spoon was actually supposed to meet Mr White before the party set off on the quest, but I completely forgot due to not reading my notes correctly. So I had to shoehorn him in here.

Snake meanwhile had limped back to the medical tent for treatment, being greeted by the same baffled doctor as before. The doctor managed to pass his science roll and thought the wound looked like a lamprey bite, but surely lampreys didn’t get that big, right? Snake stayed behind with some medical marijuana (on a Crafts roll he jury rigged a bong) as the others were summoned to the grand finale- someone had burst into camp, crying that Lady Amalthea had been kidnapped, and they needed help!

The grand finale turned out to take place just at the other side of the camp, where a large stage set up to look like a stepped pyramid had been erected, surrounded by the Dark One guards. Mike- now in full character, was standing over an altar, on which lay the captive Lux. Lady Amalthea was to the side, her wrists bound. Mike launched into a tirade at the audience, calling them out for all being against him and never appreciating his brilliance, and that he’d finally get his revenge against them. Raising a ceremonial dagger high, he plunged it into Lux’s chest, the elf screaming as blood spurted outwards. The blood began to boil, turning into pitch black smoke that curled around Mike’s arm and shoulders, before reaching up to cover half his face. A golden eye formed, positioning itself over his own left eye. The audience coo’d over what amazing special effects these were.

The players rolled and realised these weren’t special effects, this was real.

Q yelled out to the crowd that Lux really had been murdered and rolled well, convincing half of them. The others were hesitant; I mean, it couldn’t be a real murder, it had to have been an act, right? Sah meanwhile started to climb the stage, intending to rescue Lady Amalthea, and Levi…

Levi: I cast lightning bolt!

With zero successes, his beanbag sailed pitifully through the air before falling pathetically short of the stage (if he had critted he would have knocked Mike clean off the top of the stage, which would have been hilarious).

In response to the sacrifice, a guttural braying began echoing from the dark woods around the camp, and fifteen shambling beasts emerged from the gloom: heavy set masses of flesh writhing with tentacles. Spoon, Snake and Levi recognised these as smaller versions of the abomination they’d faced at the golf club, and rightfully had a ‘oh shit’ reaction. The guards around the stage were confused at this unscripted event in the larp plot, when the beasts charged into them and slaughtered them, tentacles ripping off limbs and smashing skulls before they had the chance to react.

The watching crowd descended into pandemonium, the panicked mob fleeing in all directions, the unfortunate ones that went too close to the woods being torn apart by the beasts. Q seized control with his public speaking speciality, ordering part of the mob to fall back to the inn for safety, the others to go with him and to the weapon stall.

GM note: For the finale I’d envisioned the party rallying the larp players to fight back against the demons; I wasn’t disappointed.

Meanwhile Sah had clambered up on stage and seized the ceremonial knife. Realising that the golden eye was the source of the supernatural, he declared that he was going to attack it.

Whilst it was still on Mike’s face.

The knife plunged down and buried itself up the hilt in Mike’s eyesocket, killing him instantly. Sah’s reaction at this sudden and unexpected act of cold blooded slaughter?

Sah: ….oops.

So Sah went up on stage with the intention of being a hero and saving the girl, only to straight up murder a dude. Bonus points for being dressed as a paladin as he did it.

Lady Amalthea started screaming hysterically, scrambling off the edge of the stage and being caught by a heroic Spoon. Sah took a Morality test and failed, dropping to Morality 6, but successfully avoided getting a derangement. The shadow seemed particularly pleased at this turn of events, slithering up his arm and wrapping itself around his shoulders. The Eye positioned itself over his own, as it had done with Mike, but although he could feel his perception change, he was still ‘unconnected’ to the artefact.

Meanwhile Levi and Req had been opening fire with their guns at the beasts, with middling success. With the beasts starting to round on them Spoon and Req fell back with the others, and Levi ran under the stage, with the intention of knocking it over. Which would have likely crushed him if he’d succeeded, but he only managed to collapse part of it. Everyone else had reached the medical tent and the weapons stall, seizing the real weapons that had been cached under the stall (Relm being very pleased that his ambidextrous merit was finally useful as he started dual wielding swords).

Still on the stage, Sah made a successful Occult roll and managed to connect with the Eye. He became aware of the demon’s minds, just beyond his own- seething, alien intelligences incomprehensible to mankind- and understood that they were waiting for him. So he ordered them to stop.

The demons halted at his command, tentacles waving in the air. Demon King Sahrimnir realised he now had control over the demon horde. He asked if he could work out anything about the demons (such as where they’d come from), since he could feel these demonic minds on the edge of his. I gave him two options: he could try and fully reach out to these minds with an Int+Occult roll, or hold back with a penalty. He chose to hold back (:<), but didn’t get much successes to work anything out.

As the larpers prepared to counter-attack, a round missile whistled through the air and landed in front of the stage. It looked like a grenade. Only Levi hit the dirt in the 5 second countdown, and then it detonated.

It was a flash grenade, the sudden bright light and noise deafening and blinding everyone (Levi to a lesser extent, being the only one sensible enough to take precautions). As they rolled to shake off the effects, they became aware of gunshots, and as their vision returned, saw a baffling sight: special forces, covered head to toe in full military gear, were slaughtering the stationary beasts. On their upper arms; they all bore an insignia:

Spoiler:

The same insignia they’d discovered in the bunker!

GM note: Task Force Valkyrie were intending to pop up right at the end to clean up the mess and arrest everyone, but due to time constraints/people being seriously hurt, they turned up early instead.

Realising that standing on top of a stage with a knife, a sacrificial victim and a shadow mantle that screamed I AM THE DEMON KING would looked really fucking suspicious, Sah attempted to jump down off the stage. Still disorientated by the flash grenade, he failed, landing hard and snapping his ankle. The shock dislodged the shadow, which retreated back into the Eye. Sah had the presence of mind to grab the Eye and secreted it away on his person before a member of Valkyrie dragged him roughly to his feet.

Valkyrie had rounded up all the larpers and had forced them to their knees, hands behind their heads. Keeping their extremely powerful looking guns trained on everyone they began to search the area. One of them waved a scanner over Ganon, and when it beeped yelled about ‘Code 15’. Ganon was roughly seized and shoved into crate, squealing in terror. I leapt forward in an attempt to save my beloved pet, only to get violently backhanded for my trouble. Having now lost the Seal they were supposed to keep alive at all costs, and being held prisoner by an organisation clearly above the law, the party were in dire straits indeed.

“You really have got yourselves into a pickle, haven’t you?”

Spoon looked around, and to his surprise, found Mr White standing next to him. Weirdly, none of the guards seemed to notice he was there. White began to espouse on what a predicament they were in; what Valkyrie would do once they discovered that the foreign nationals had lycanthropy, or that the party had been collecting the Seals, how long a werewolf could survive whilst being vivisected, how easy it was to make someone just disappear in the woods…it was clear that the party were in serious trouble. So Mr White offered Spoon a deal: he would get him and his friends to safety. Spoon agreed, and suddenly the party found themselves back where they’d parked their car/Yankmobile at the start of the skinwalker session. Realising that the special forces would immediately start looking for them, they jumped in their vehicles and raced away.

GM note: Spoon requested that Ganon be teleported with them, but it didn’t happen. Why? There’s a reason the party will have to uncover, potentially for their own safety. Also Spoon could have refused White’s offer, which would have made the next session…interesting, as it would essentially be Escape From Guantanamo Bay. That would have surely ended well.

We left the party at a clinic, seeking treatment for their wounds and planning their next move. There was a new major player in the apocalypse game, and one of the Seals had been taken, but by an ally or a foe? Are our players heroes, or just pawns in a larger game? Whatever it is, the noose is beginning to tighten…

-----------

One of the main reasons for Valkyrie showing up is for the upcoming party split. We originally invited Spoon/Levi/Snake in as guest players, but we’ve all really enjoyed having them involved (and hopefully they’ve had fun too), but it’s just unfeasible to run a game for so many players. It’s been proposed we split the party into two groups, with another person GMing what’s essentially a B-track to the main campaign. This makes things more manageable, opens up new plot directions and, according to the players, lets me actually have a chance to play (which is nice of them). It’ll be interesting to see where this will go now…

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"Foxes never lose their tricks, do they?" - Quaetman
"We'll be going about our business one day and then someone will be like "hm, where's Barda" and Raya will all suspiciously be like "WELL DON'T LOOK AT ME"..." - Rocket Admin Camilla
King Avalanche:
Spoiler:

FUCK YOU RAYA.

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

AND

FUUUUUUCKKKKK YOOOOOUUUUU

the one time I trust you with my back and you plant a dagger in it.
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Raya
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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  Sahrimnir on Wed Jun 14, 2017 12:41 pm

Raya wrote:Now left to their own devices, the party made some preparations to go on the quest. Snake and Sah both spoke to Mike and buttered him up quite nicely (Sah even convincing him he’d travelled all the way from Sweden just to attend).
Don't forget that right before I talked to him I had used the cantrip and found out that it pointed to him. I then tried to follow him, but completely failed to be sneaky. That's when I had to talk to him and managed to convince him I had come to America for the LARP.

The knife plunged down and buried itself up the hilt in Mike’s eyesocket, killing him instantly. Sah’s reaction at this sudden and unexpected act of cold blooded slaughter?

Sah: ….oops.
I think the full quote was "....oops. Sorry about that."
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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  Relmitos on Thu Jun 15, 2017 3:13 pm

This write-up lacks how Fed was an awesome badass that drank Germans down under the table for mocking him playing LARP games instead of doing the important things in life, like, you know..........drinking. That and that sweet drunken brawler thing he had going on.


Other then that........yes! +1 to Weaponry to make use of Dual Wielding!
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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  Quaetam on Wed Jul 26, 2017 3:35 pm

The Bridge (AKA Cool Spoons Don't Look At Explosions)

Yep, it’s me.  With our influx of players, we’ve split the campaign into two parties of 5 - each pursuing separate but connected adventures that tie into the same overarching plot.  I have been given the honor of DMing the new plot thread that is spinning up, and after a month or so of hard work and planning, we ran our first full session this Saturday.  Before posting that writeup, however, I’m going to share the prelude to our story...

--------------------------

For the past several days, the party had been resting at a motel off the beaten track. The facilities were cheap but adequate: the mattresses were stained but comfortable, wifi flickered intermittently, and the bathrooms looked like they could use a good scrub - but after the trauma of the past few days, this felt like a five-star resort: Everyone could agree that a bed at their back beat the hell out of a crowded wooden cabin with a skinwalker breathing down their necks.

On the fourth night at the motel, as the others drifted off to sleep, Spoon stepped outside for his turn keeping watch.  Looking around, he saw some others from the party leaning against the balcony, having a hushed conversation in the dim evening lights.  Bored, Spoon decided to head downstairs for a drink of soda, walking across the parking lot to one of the vending machines - when he ran into Q, already shaking the machine to dislodge a bottle of water.  

(GM Note Spoon insisted he wanted to have an IC conversation with me before the teams split off on their respective missions, so I decided to work that in here while we were still at the motel together.)

What followed was a brief character conversation between the two - Spoon expressed his frustration at being left in the dark about the Seals and werewolves, and Q sincerely apologized, explaining that the group was dealing with such high stakes that they couldn’t afford to trust anyone without reason. Spoon wasn’t completely satisfied by this, but before they could continue, Spoon’s cellphone rang.  The two exchanged a look, and Q wished Spoon good luck, retreating up the steps as Spoon picked up the call.

“Ah, Mr. Abrams.  I believe we have an account to settle, and I have come to collect your debt.”

The time had come for Spoon to fulfill White’s request.  Ten miles to the west stood a railroad bridge - old and poorly constructed.  Trains passed over these rails twice a day carrying welfare and supplies to the Town of Greenfield, a small village that used to be a prosperous mill and mining community. With the collapse of those industries, families chose to seek their fortunes elsewhere, and those who remained found little of value - circling the drain of economic squalor.  The county was festering and struggling, and the bridge was its lifeline.  

He wanted Spoon to destroy it.

At this point I fully expected Spoon to refuse or to field a bunch of questions - but he accepted without much hesitation, and hung up the call.  White sent Spoon a text with the location of the bridge, and a nearby address where he could find everything he needed.

Abrams went back upstairs to wake Q, asking for keys to one of the cars. (GM Note: I had only intended to use my DMPC once, but Spoon had a good point here.) Requiem had taken over on guard duty, so Req gave him a weird look before Spoon explained that White had just given him an assignment, and he needed the car. Req fetched Q, and Spoon explained his assignment to them.  Q sternly insisted Spoon be careful and learn everything he can from Mr. White before trusting him in the future, but handed over the keys nonetheless.

Spoon hopped in Q’s car and followed his GPS toward the coordinates White had provided, winding through moonlit cornfields, past rest stops, and up a rocky mountain pass.  Eventually the hill plateaued, and his GPS redirected him down an old, overgrown dirt road in a patch of woods.  After a quarter mile, Google Maps told him he had reached his destination.

He got out of the car and examined his surroundings.  The woods were dark, quiet, and a little overgrown.  About fifty feet ahead, a gravel driveway stretched off into the forest, blocked off by a chainlink fence. The site seemed abandoned: “NO TRESPASSING” signs were posted, the fence looked rusted, and an old mailbox was tipped over, dented in by a baseball bat or some other blunt object.  After smartly grabbing gloves from the car to hide his DNA, Spoon decided to try climbing over the fence - but as he approached, he saw that the chain locking the gate together had been snapped, and he was able to gently push it open.  

Ahead was a long, quarter-mile driveway - one of those industrial-length dirt roads that nobody enjoys, whether by vehicle or on foot.  Most of the gravel was overgrown with weeds, but the path didn’t seem entirely unused.  After a brief walk, Spoon reached the end, where a large, wooden archway loomed over the end of the road, proclaiming the words “OAK RIDGE MINE”.

The mine was essentially laid out like a large quarry, with piles of rock and ore lying about, alongside several overturned wheelbarrows and scattered equipment. At the far end, a mine tunnel opened into the mountain: a carved-out cave held up by wooden struts, with a minecart track running out and meandering through the yard.  The rails wound toward a storage barn, dark and resolute off to Spoon's right.  Toward his left stood what appeared to be a personnel building for the miners. Its windows were boarded up, its door hung light on the hinges, and cobwebs were visible throughout.

Spoon chose to enter the lodge building first.  As he approached, I had him roll Wits + Composure... but he got no successes, and carried on.  The door creaked open, and he stepped into a brief hallway that opened into a large mess hall: a short bar stood against the far wall with display glass and serving dishes, and several long tables were scattered throughout - many overturned or broken.  Glasses and silverware were scattered, and one of the tables held a mess of papers.  Spoon made a Wits + Investigation roll to search for anything useful.

With two successes, he found a pair of useful and legible notes:  One was for a shipping manifest, dated 1960: Among the items in its records, Spoon spotted cable extender, mining helmets, pickaxes, rope, and dynamite - perfect materials for destroying a bridge.  The second paper seemed more personal - a coffee-stained memo that seemed to be some kind of complaint from the Colorado Mining Association (COMA) instructing workers to adopt new safety procedures following some incident that had taken place.

After reading these letters, Spoon decided to snoop around the lodge a little more.  There were a few doors leaving the main corridor - two were boarded up, two accessible.  As he opened the first, he was greeted by an absolutely wretched smell - it was a ruined bathroom, filled with flies, decayed vomit, and all sorts of disgusting filth.  I made him roll Strength + Composure to not vomit; he succeeded, kept it together, and closed that straightaway.  As he approached the second door, I had him roll Wits + Composure again - and this time he succeeded.  Spoon heard footsteps approaching the door from the other side, with just enough time to react.  He turned back into the mess hall and quickly crouched behind the bar for a makeshift hiding spot.  

The door opened, and three people walked out.  From Spoon’s hiding spot he didn’t have line of sight, but he could tell they were saying something.  With a Stealth + Dexterity roll, Spoon scampered over to an overturned table close to the hallway, leaning close against it and straining his ears to eavesdrop on their conversation.  The three were young - teenagers by the sound of their voices - and they were clearly up to no good.

"Cmon Jack, fun's over, time to pay your dues," one aggressed.
"You've heard what they say about this place man.  There’s something down in those mines. I don't wanna go…," Jack replied.
"Jack, every one of us has gone through this,” said the third, “I've done it, Trevor's done it, and now it's your turn."

Spoon decided to wait and let them leave. After another few moments, Jack had agreed to go along with... whatever it was, and Spoon heard footsteps, followed by creaking hinges as the teens went outside.  

He was left pretty spooked.  The place was torn up, like it had been evacuated in a hurry.  The mining company had been complaining about some "incident".  At least one of the kids thought something was down there, and he was starting to wonder if White had some ulterior purpose.

Before leaving, Spoon decided to investigate the room they’d been messing around in. Turned out it was a manager's office. An ancient-looking computer sat on a rickety wooden desk, books withered yellow and cobwebbed on a shelf, and a crusty sofa leaned against the far wall.  Noting the lack of power and the smashed screen, Spoon decided to open up the box and take out the harddrive to study later: He rolled Intelligence + Computer to attempt to disassemble the thing, and got a hearty 3 successes.  With minimal effort, he pried the back panel off and disconnected the main hard drive - placing it alongside the valuable papers in his backpack and resolving to check it out later.  
(GM Note: I actually hadn’t planned for him to enter the office, so this section was pure fiat.)

Spoon left into the main yard, and decided to visit the storage barn next, figuring that the dynamite and materials on the shipping manifest might have been left in storage (not to mention, rightfully wanting to avoid the spooky mine).  The three teens were messing around in the center of the quarry and didn’t seem to notice him yet - Spoon opted to sneak by them, rolling Dex + Stealth and succeeding to scurry across the yard undetected, weaving between rock piles and overturned carts.  As he reached the barn, the teens seemed to finish their discussion.  Three flashlights flicked on and began working their way toward the mine.

Using the light on his cellphone, Spoon began to search the barn.  The interior was large and lined with an array of shelves, stacked with wooden boxes.  This could take a while.  Spoon rolled Intelligence + Investigation to search for the dynamite, and got one success - enough to locate a box filled with explosives.  He opted to grab enough to fill his backpack - 4 small bundles (GM Note: If he’d taken a wheelbarrow from the yard, or made multiple trips, I’d have let him get away with eight).  

He glanced out towards the mine - there were some lights and reflections dancing around, flickering out from the tunnel, and a chorus of laughter echoing from within.  Spoon wasn’t sure if they were drinking or performing a blood sacrifice, but they were clearly distracted, so he decided to keep looking for other useful equipment.  Another Intelligence + Investigation gave him two more successes - enough to find a large and heavy toolbox tucked in the back.  Inside was a lighter, some fuse extender, and a thin rope that might be useful as fastener.

Spoon wanted to keep searching, but on his next check, the mine had gone completely silent: no laughter, no light.  One of the kids was standing right outside the entrance and staring off into space, keeping guard.  It was time to leave.  

He rolled Dex + Stealth again and got a few successes, easily making it out the yard and back to the car.  But something felt wrong about the situation.  He paused, key in the ignition, and considered: Should he leave Jack to whatever poor fate the other kids had in store, or should he focus on the task at hand and fulfill his contract?

Igniting the engine, he wheeled the car around, smashed through the chain link fence, and drove up towards the mine. As he passed under the archway, the kid standing guard noticed his car, and started shouting.  Spoon hit the car horn - giving it two good loud honks - and the kid’s companions came bolting out of the mine.  Dropping beer bottles on the way out, they scattered in different directions, clearly afraid they'd been caught doing something wrong.  

As Spoon turned to go, he caught a glimpse of something unusual behind him: A light had begun to glow from the mine.  He stopped the car, watching behind him as the glow grew more intense.  The ground started to shake and he heard a rushing noise, not unlike the sound of a waterfall.  As the shaking reached a fever pitch, he felt a sudden gust of wind, and the wooden struts holding up the mine entrance collapsed, raining down a deluge of boulders that quickly blocked the tunnel altogether.  Having seen enough, Spoon put pedal to the floor and spared no time peeling out of there.

Satisfied that he’d probably saved those kids, Spoon proceeded to the bridge, following the coordinates from White’s text.  Descending the hill, he drove until his path flattened onto a small valley road flanked by tall pines and bifurcated by a rail crossing. Glancing at his GPS, Spoon saw that the bridge was off to his right, so he peeled off the main path and followed the tracks.  

After a few bumpy minutes of off-road driving, Spoon reached the bridge: A hundred-foot expanse stretching over a ravine about fifty feet deep.  It was an old arch construction assembled out of wood and steel that looked older than the mine, probably made in the early 1900s.  Struts rose from below, reinforcing layers of wood and metal beams that held up the flat of the top.  From the look of the riverbed, excessive drought had dried the reservoir upstream - the bottom was largely dry save small traces of shallow water and mud.  

Spoon made an Intelligence + Science roll to figure out how to destroy it.  Succeeding, he noticed that the arches were heavily stabilized by cross-beams near their apex: By hanging down from above, Spoon could plant dynamite at these locations and likely destabilize the whole bridge with three bundles.  Spoon also noticed that four of the struts showed clear sign of weathering - from the waters of the once-plentiful river, and perhaps the ravages of time.  These would likely collapse if he blew the other four, sending the bridge tumbling down.

Weighing the timeliness and conservation of the first plan, against the comparative safety of the second, Spoon chose to go after the base.  He rolled Strength+Athletics to climb down the ravine without much issue. At the bottom, he rolled Intelligence + Crafts to understand how to set up the dynamite - he had no Crafts but avoided a DOF by burning willpower - and got one success.  Spoon was able to successfully attach the fuse extender to each bundle, and tie the dynamites to the base of each support column.  As he made his way back, Spoon noticed he wouldn’t have enough fuse length to reach the top of the cliff, so he took a risk: He uncoiled the fuse as far as he could, climbed up as far as he could, and then lit the fuse with his lighter.

Spoon bolted up the rest of the cliff, rolling 2 successes with Strength + Athletics again. He reached the car, started the engine, and bailed just in time: The ground shook behind him as the dynamite exploded, reverberating through the air and flattening nearby trees with the shock of the explosion.  Noting that he was a cool guy, and cool guys don't look at explosions, Abrams sped off into the night.

Back up the hill, not far from the Oak Ridge Mine, Spoon finally pulled over to check the bridge. He could easily spot the plume of smoke rising from the wreckage: The bridge had collapsed completely, and set fire to the surrounding woods - the flames painting an offending, stark glow against the dark of the night.  As Spoon pondered his handiwork, the magnitude of what he'd done caught up to him: He rolled MORALITY 5(Arson / Mass property damage).  However, with one success, he felt regret for his actions and didn't lose morality - he had just doomed a number of families to unemployment and ruined the economics of an entire county.  He had done a great wrong, and he needed answers.

Spoon was snapped out of his reverie when he heard sirens coming from the direction of the bridge, so he chose to leave before anyone found him.  Along the way home, Spoon decided to grab a burger at the local In'N'Out, where he parked in the drive-thru and called Mr. White.

“Mr. Abrams,” said White, “You may consider our bargain settled and our debts repaid.  What can I do for you?”

His actions fresh on his mind, Spoon asked a question that had been eating at him: White hadn’t saved Ganon, and he thought that was part of the deal.  Spoon demanded an alternate exchange: Any lead on where the party could go to find their pig.  White agreed and complied, directing him towards Clarksdale, Colorado - there, tomorrow at 11 AM, they could meet a man named Roland Towsen in a simple tavern called "The Stranger".  This man might have information on their missing mascot.
(GM Note: This was actually incredibly convenient as I had planned for White to give him a lead at the end either way!)  

Satisfied, Spoon thanked White, and asked another question that had been eating at him: Why did this bridge matter; why did this town have to suffer?

White explained that this event would spur the region into action: While there would be some suffering, some loss, losing this bridge would completely revitalize the town.  With their lifeline cut, money would pour in, regional politicians would gain the sympathy necessary to promote welfare initiatives, and the families that had struggled on with baseline subsistence farming would encourage their kids to take up more honorable jobs in engineering, infrastructure, construction… other industries that promised a hope and a future.

Spoon was impressed by this, and told Mr. White he’d love to grab a beer sometime. With his smile evident in his words, White simply wished him well, and ended their exchange.  

Abrams drove back to the motel.  Raya and Sahrimnir were on guard, chatting about Eurovision, so Spoon slipped back into his room unnoticed.  As he settled down, he noticed Relm and Fedaykin were awake, watching a breaking news report on TV.  The Greenfield Bridge had been destroyed in an act of domestic terrorism, and the police had arrested three locals with charges of arson:  Jack McDermish, Trevor Hermitage, and Steve Albright, schoolkids from Greenfield's rival Renton, and members of Renton's varsity football team.  Detectives had already picked up their fingerprints at the closed Oak Ridge Mine, where it is suspected they had stolen the explosives used to damage the bridge.  The three were pleading innocence, but one, Jack, seemed to insist he had been pressured into some initiation ritual, throwing doubt on Trevor and Steve's testimony.

Spoon flicked off the TV and went to bed.  He’d done his part and they had a lead - tomorrow would show what they could make of it.

------------------

So yeah, this was essentially a test of my own GM abilities, and an important prelude to the Team Ganon sessions - introducing the first lead that has helped the group begin their investigation.  I didn't intend to post it originally but after running Session 1 this past weekend common consensus was people would like to see it.  Hope you all enjoy!

Regarding Oak Ridge Mine:
Spoiler:
The mine was haunted by the vengeful spirit of a miner who had died in an accident caused by corporate neglect.  Since then, it had gained a rumor of being haunted, with strange occurrences reported for the next few decades: Lights turning out, doors opening and closing, rocks falling at the wrong time...  After a major accident that left several dead, the company had closed the mine, and it had become the interest of local school kids bent on pranking their friends.  Maybe Spoon can figure out more about the incident if he ever finds a good computer store with the right equipment to check out that hard drive.

Basically, if Spoon had gone into the mine itself, I'd have had him contend with spooky haunted stuff - the spirit would mess with him as he meandered through a maze of tunnels, involving resolve+composure checks, int+occult, survival, and some strength+athletics to navigate cave-ins.  He'd be able to find dynamite in a wheelbarrow deep in the tunnel, at which point the spirit would visibly take possession of the kids, forcing him to escape by stealth, by combat, or by simply bolting out of there.  This was his most dangerous option, and thankfully he avoided it.

Despite Spoon's inclination, the kids were actually not up to anything sinister - it was just a classic initiation prank for the football team: go into the mines, fetch mine hats for his buddies, and then get super drunk.  The more spoon followed them and overheard, he'd realize that was all that is going on.  The kids would not be inclined to fight him: the place is too spooky, so unless he cornered them / they were possessed, they'd just run off.

In the barn, depending on how long Spoon searched and how many successes he had, he could find different equipment.  If he took too long, the kids might show up post-possession and force the same sort of survival / escape situation.  Dynamite would always be the first thing because it was necessary to destroy the bridge; the cable extender, rope, and a climbing harness were all also findable (the latter would require rigging by Intelligence + Survival to use it).  He did also pick up a pickaxe that seemed in good condition - I figured that was fair play Smile

Regarding the Bridge:
Spoiler:
Pretty simple, I had designed a few different ways for spoon to destroy the bridge with the dynamite, discoverable by INT + SCI checks:
  > With zero successes, he’d be told that eight dynamite at the bottom of the struts could do the trick.
  > With one success, he’d learn about the method that involved climbing down and fastening them to the archways (the one he didn’t use that would have been aided by a climbing harness
  > With two successes, he’d realize four struts were already weakened, and destroying the other four would be enough to topple the bridge (this was the method he chose).


All methods involved STR + ATH checks to maneuver, followed by INTEL + CRAFTS to set up the dynamite.  They involved varying levels of risk due to timing, climbing hazards, etc.


Last edited by Quaetam on Wed Aug 16, 2017 4:10 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  Relmitos on Sat Jul 29, 2017 11:56 am

Quaetam wrote:[color=white]  As he settled down, he noticed Relm and Fedaykin were awake, watching a breaking news report on TV.

Spoon flicked off the TV and went to bed.

Fuggin Spoon. Fed and I were chilling out, watching a little TV, then Spoon just comes in and turns it off on us. What a jackass.
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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  Raya on Sat Jul 29, 2017 1:35 pm

We've chatted about this over skype, so it's great to finally read the writeup! Was a nicely planned and simple session, and really impressive for your first time GMing. Plus nice to learn some of the extra details as well.

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Spoiler:

FUCK YOU RAYA.

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

FUCK YOU

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AND

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the one time I trust you with my back and you plant a dagger in it.
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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  Quaetam on Tue Aug 15, 2017 12:34 pm

Below I'm about to post the first full session of our World of Darkness split plotline, featuring Raya, Fedaykin, Relmitos, Spoon, and Leviwulf. The other five players (myself included) will be participating in sessions run by Raya.

As a first session for the new team - and my first true attempt at DM’ing - this was ambitious and experimental. I wanted to create a truly open environment where the team felt they’d be able to move freely and explore at will.  The players would be investigating a bustling Colorado town, picking up clues across a busy day that could assist in a lethal endgame.  Importantly, while I mapped out four major plot-lines the group could follow, this session could easily be adjusted if they chose to go off the beaten path: Narrative hooks would point the party in the right direction, but they as players would have full control in what they wanted to do.  

I really got into the story of this session and the result is the first full-length piece of writing I've produced for the forum in years. I understand people don't typically like my lengthy writing style, so I hope this is actually enjoyable for everyone!


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Re: Rocks fall, everyone dies

Post  Quaetam on Tue Aug 15, 2017 12:35 pm

Clarksdale Part 1: A PHD in Thugonomics

Four days had passed at the wooded motel. As the wounded recovered, the rested were hard at work, planning their next move. Morale was low: They were five nobodies preparing to take on a heavily armed paramilitary force, and they had no idea where to start… so when Spoon explained Mr. White had given him a lead, there were no second thoughts. Everyone packed their bags, loaded up the Yankmobile, and gave a brief but earnest goodbye to the others before setting off, blasting their star-spangled horn on the way out.

They spent a long morning on the Colorado highway.  Forest gave way to desert, and desert yielded to farmlands before they finally arrived at their destination.

Clarksdale was a bustling town set against a beautiful backdrop: Silhouetted against the peaks of the Rockies, framed to the northwest by a pine forest and the southeast by the rolling waves of grain, this was a picture-perfect tourist trap. Upscale suburban neighborhoods and townhouses surrounded a lively business district at city center, where crowds milled about, moving between shops and standing in groups by the roadsides.  

The roads entering town were surprisingly packed, and ahead, a scraggly-haired man in an Uncle Sam top-hat and a lanyard seemed to be directing traffic. Upon seeing the Yankmobile, he frantically waved them over to the curb, and Levi politely obliged, bringing their car to a halt by the roadside.  This eccentric stranger extended his hand with a smile, complementing their patriotism and handing out a bumper sticker, which Spoon - sitting up front - accepted and read:

“HENDERSON for CONGRESS”.  

That’s right - stop the presses.  Quaetam chose to run a political session.  

Raya asked what was going on in town, surprising the man, who earnestly insisted they stay for the evening’s big rally.  Fed and Levi expressed polite interest, so the volunteer eagerly directed them toward free parking at Clarksdale High, over on Lark Street.  The school wasn’t hard to find, situated only a few blocks away from city center in an amiable neighborhood.  Following directions from a few volunteers, the group grabbed the first parking spot they found, eager to stretch their legs and get on with things.

As everyone piled out, Raya went over to one of the volunteers - a tall girl with blond hair, a Henderson hat, and a nice smile.  After exchanging some pleasantries, the volunteer asked if Raya was staying for the rally.  This was going to be a major announcement, she explained, and Henderson supporters had been flocking in all morning from around the region.  Raya politely explained that they were actually just here to meet a friend, and she needed directions - while disappointed, the volunteer still helpfully pointed her toward The Stranger.

Meanwhile, Fed, Spoon, and Relmitos made the sensible choice of attempting to locate The Stranger on their phones.  Laughably, Fed and Spoon had no successes on Intelligence + Computers to use Google Maps - but Relmitos managed to find the place pretty quickly: It was only a few blocks away - just a ten minute walk through the park and toward Main Street.  There was some discussion on whether to head right to the pub, but Levi pointed out it was already 10:30, so the group agreed to meet with Roland before looking around town.

-------------------------------------

Convening with Raya, they left the school and set off toward The Stranger, passing by open yards with picket fences and rows of brick townhouses.  After a short walk, the buildings on their left opened into a park about two blocks in length - a quaint wooded area containing a marshy pond, some picnic tables, and an old wooden gazebo, where a crowd of people had gathered.  There were about thirty in total, and from the noise they were making, they sounded pretty riled up.  On closer inspection, the group appeared to be chanting in unison, holding up signs with phrases such as “Free the Farmers”, “God is on Our Side”, and assorted bible verses.  This had all the signs of a protest in the making.  

Figuring they had time for a brief diversion, Levi and Raya decided to socialize.  Levi spotted some excitable millennials, and approached them with a smile, politely asking what they were so excited about.  In response, they shouted something vulgar about Henderson’s liberal cronies, and he backed off.  Raya decided to make her way to the back of the crowd, which seemed to be composed of a decidedly different sort: Burly men in suspenders and tank-tops, old retired folks, and a trio of leather-clad bald guys.  As she approached, she caught the eye of what looked to be the bulkiest guy in the crowd: A muscular, bearded man wearing a flannel t-shirt and blue jeans.  He greeted her with folded arms and a frown: “You need something?”

(GM Note: The party didn’t get to know this guy’s name, but he was a farmer named Ron.  He had very high stats in Strength , Dex, Brawl, and other physical fundamentals - with abnormally low Intelligence.)

Raya, invoking her classic British politeness, asked what was going on.  Swelling with a hearty vigor, Ron replied that they were standing up for their community, their heritage, and their way of life. She questioned what they felt so threatened by, and he angrily replied that Steven Henderson wanted to take away their guns and tax away the fruits of their labor.  To this, Raya snarked “Taxes never helped anybody - who needs roads and schools?”

Deciding to be a mean GM, I rolled Wits + Empathy for Ron to see if he caught Raya’s sarcasm.  He succeeded.

The farmer clenched his fists and retorted, with a building indignation in his voice: “What are you, some kinda’ liberal? You wanna tell me and my boys that we gotta give up our ends’ meet for some soft-asses who won’t do no work for themselves?”

Several heads turned in the crowd, and four of Ron’s redneck buddies came up to his side, crossing their arms and glaring at Raya.  She immediately knew this was a bad situation. The party considered several courses of action, searching for a way out, and then this happened:

Fed: “People like your mother?”

The crowd went quiet.  Everyone turned toward Fed, and indignant shouts rang out from Ron’s posse. Trying desperately to stop a fight from breaking out, Raya rolled Presence + Persuasion to calm them down, insisting that Fed was a dumb foreigner and whatever he meant had been lost in translation.  She did not succeed.  

Ron puffed himself up and took a step forward -  “I heard him just fine. You come to my town, spit on my way of life, and insult my momma?  Get your ass outta here - I see you round these parts again, they’ll be hell to pay.”

This was an intimidation roll, assisted by his buddies, and Ron got 4 successes.  Raya, trying to keep her cool, managed only one.  While Fed and Levi looked at each other, sizing up the rednecks and wondering if they could take them in a brawl, Raya grabbed them both by the arm and practically dragged them out of the park.  Behind them, the crowd burst into cheers and applause; Ron’s goons laughing, hollering, and shouting insults as the party fled the scene.  

-------------------------------------

After everyone gave Fed some well-deserved grief for nearly inciting a riot ten minutes into the session, they elected to move on.  Before long, they reached The Stranger - an unassuming pub only a block off Main Street, its entrance adorned with a wooden sign spelling out the restaurant’s name in a comforting cursive font.  Wary of a possible trap, Relmitos and Fedaykin sat down at a bench just outside, while the others went in to look for Roland.

The interior seemed well kept. Nice paintings hung on the walls, booths and secluded tables were tucked into the corners, and the floor had been swept clean in anticipation of a busy day.  Whimsical country music established a welcoming atmosphere for the few guests that milled about, sitting in corners or at the bar.  The host’s podium stood abandoned, hung with a laminated paper that proclaimed “Seat yourself!” in the same cursive font as the sign outside.  Keeping his eye on the clock, Levi grabbed Spoon, and the two headed to the back for a quick billiards match.

Raya had something else in mind - still shaken from her encounter at the park, she stopped at the bar, where the barkeep was wiping down the wooden surface with a cloth rag.  Pulling up a stool, she ordered lemonade with a shot of vodka.  The bartender playfully asked what brought her to day drink, and she told him they’d run into some nasty rednecks in the park.  

He smiled, nodded, and matched her with a drink of his own.  The farmers and the rich kids all stood behind Henderson’s opponent, Aaron Daniels.  They’d been causing a fuss every day since Bartlett proclaimed his support for Henderson.  Raya asked who Bartlett was, and the barkeep did a doubletake before Raya teasingly pointed out her accent.  He smiled, and explained that Senator Bartlett, a big-name progressive from Washington State, had become a key sponsor of Henderson’s campaign and would be giving a speech at the rally.

Outside, Relm and Fed were maintaining watch at a nice bench - Relm keeping tabs on the door, Fed scanning the street.  After a few minutes of awkward silence, Fed noticed something odd: Barely a block over, two figures in hoodies were huddled in an alley, spray-painting something on a cement wall.  After a few moments, they fled, dropping two loose cans behind them as they bolted from the area.  Genre-savvy enough to realize that he’d probably found the plot, Fed walked over to the alley to examine their handiwork:

Spoiler:

Fed didn’t know what this was, but it looked pretty sinister.  Completely lacking in academics and occult knowledge, Fedaykin snapped a picture on his phone and sent it over to the group in the hopes that someone else would be able identify it.

Inside, the billiards match was heating up: Levi pulled ahead with several consecutive pockets, his angles precise and merciless.  Yet Spoon, undeterred, caught fire as the game progressed.  As Levi’s aim wavered, Spoon’s grew stronger.  Levi reached the 8-ball first, and choked on three consecutive attempts, giving Spoon an opportunity to get back in the game - which Abrams seized, coming in clutch to sink the 8 on his first shot.  

(GM Note:When they wanted to play pool, I decided billiards would be pretty simple: Strength + Athletics rolls let you try to sink balls; first to 8 successes wins.  Levi and Spoon are now 1-1 in personal competitions.)

As the match concluded Levi checked the time on his phone and noticed Fedaykin’s message.  Levi made an Intelligence + Occult roll, recognizing the graffiti as the Three Horns of Odin: a sigil drawn to represent three sips the Norse god Odin drank from Mimir’s Well to attain cosmic wisdom.  Noticing the message at the bar, and making an occult roll of her own, Raya successfully recalled exactly what it had cost Odin to drink from that well: According to Norse mythology, Odin had gouged out his eye as the price for wisdom.

Interrupting their contemplation, the clock struck 11:00, and the door opened.  Two scrawny young adults wearing Henderson shirts and campaign lanyards entered, flanked by a well-built African American man in a black button-down.  Exchanging a brief word, the volunteers went to grab a booth, while the black guy took a seat at the bar, sitting down and ordering a whiskey on the rocks.

“Roland, how are you,” said the bartender with a grin.  He extended a hand, which the black man shook in a friendly grasp, “I hope preparations for tonight have gone well?”

That answered that.  As the bartender and Roland exchanged pleasantries, and Raya opted to patiently observe, Spoon awkwardly stepped forward.  This was their guy, but how would they start the conversation?  How could they get his attention without looking conspicuous?

Spoon: “Hey, how’s it going?”

Roland and the barkeep paused, looked at each other, and gave Spoon a bemused look.  After an awkward silence, Spoon explained that they were looking for a friend, and they had heard Roland might be able to help.  Roland asked who, and Levi cut in, explaining their friend was actually a pig.  This raised Roland’s eyebrow, and the barkeep chuckled, taking a sip from his drink - Clarksdale was a farming town and there wasn’t exactly a bacon shortage in the area. Realizing that the indirect approach was getting them nowhere, Levi decided to play it straight, and pulled up a picture of Ganon on his phone.

After a brief but focused glance, Roland returned the phone and examined the group, looking each of them over before responding.  His appearance remained friendly and upbeat, but there was an intensity in his eyes that hadn’t been there before.  Roland politely explained that he didn’t know this pig, but he had a proposition for them: He was operating as security team for Senator Bartlett, and he knew the Henderson campaign was short on volunteers.  If they signed up and helped with some of the legwork to prepare for tonight’s event, they’d have plenty of chances to ask around about this missing pig.

Levi OOC: “Oh god, it’s that first mission of every RPG where they make you work small mundane jobs all over the city, isn’t it?”

The party quickly agreed, and Roland handed them some volunteer lanyards, telling them to get changed and rendezvous with Ramona at Clarksdale High - she’d have jobs for them, and she might be able to show them around.  He also handed over his business card, insisting that they call him if they need anything.  Spoon snatched the card before Levi could grab it, and thanked Roland for his time.

-------------------------------------

As the party left the pub and set off back toward the school, Levi hung back, explaining that he’d like to shop around main street while they go work with Ramona.  Immediately suspicious, Raya asked Levi what he was up to, setting up a contested roll.  Levi rolled Manipulation + Subterfuge to maintain that he was just going to browse some shops, and Raya contested with Wits + Investigation to sense his motive.  They tied, creating a standoff, and the rest of the group weighed in (Spoon and Relm each speaking up in protest, agreeing with Raya that it would be really weird for him to go off on his own).  

Levi doubled down on his story, further explaining that he was looking for some nice clothes and wanted to stretch his legs.  They rolled again, and this time, Raya managed 2 successes to Levi’s 1, breaking the tie: She wasn’t buying it, and he was clearly withholding something.  Nonetheless, Raya agreed to let Levi do his thing - but she gave him a warning: If he got in any trouble, she’d go full War of 1812 on the Yankmobile and paint it with the Union Jack.  As Raya backed off, the others relented and followed suit.

As the main party continued toward the school, Levi split off in search of more Odin sigils.  He deliberately stayed off Main Street, sticking to the back roads, the empty lots, and the less populated areas just off the beaten path.  There weren’t any immediate signs, but after about fifteen minutes he ran into a 7-eleven near some run-down apartments.  Thirsty, Levi decided to step inside for a drink.  

The interior was exactly what you’d expect from a 7-eleven: low quality groceries, some alcohol, and some shady characters standing around looking at nothing in particular.  Levi went to grab a slushie, and got in line behind a bald man in a stained tank top.  As Levi stood patiently, waiting and slurping on his slushie, the man turned to scratch his arm - with a successful Wits + Composure roll, Levi noticed the Three Horns of Odin tattooed just above his elbow. Thinking critically and quickly, Levi stepped forward and tapped the guy on the shoulder - slicking his hair back in a Quentin Coldwater impression and asking about the guy’s sweet tattoo.

Levi’s Manipulation + Subterfuge roll was successful, and the guy saw his interest as genuine (mistaking his Quentin Coldwater for more of a Hitler Youth).  He explained that the tattoo represented his brotherhood, the Sons of Odin.  It was a permanent commitment and a reminder of the sacrifices that must be made to create a pure and just world.  With a persuasion roll, Levi showed some pretty strong interest (“I’m all about purifying the world, dude.”).  After briefly sizing him up, the man grinned and extended a hand:

“Name’s Ellroy.  You sound like the kind of guy we need.  Follow my buddy Justin here; he’ll bring you to the Heights to join the others.”

(GM Note: I expected Levi to go off looking for the Odin cult later on, but as usual, players can be surprising.  l created the 7-eleven scenario as a means of making sure his side investigation went somewhere.  Ellroy was originally slated to be an encounter at Blue Emma’s Coffee, a location they visited later.)

-------------------------------

Meanwhile, Raya led the group up Lark Street toward the school, making a conscious decision to avoid the park lest they run into Ron’s Raging Rednecks again.  As they walked, the ever-vigilant Relmitos and Fedaykin studied the neighborhood with Wits + Investigation: Other than a single mailbox with a Daniels sticker, everyone was a proud Henderson supporter.  As they approached the school, Relmitos noted another Odin sigil had been sprayed on the side of a large church building.  Someone had tried to wipe it away with only limited success.  

They were forced to shelve their speculation as they reached Clarksdale High.  The parking lot had quickly filled in the past hour, and more people were steadily heading into town.  The school itself was a large single-building facility with three floors, most of which seemed closed off for the event tonight.  Spotting a few campaign signs and posters, the party entered through a pair of double-doors near the lot.

Inside, a small herd of volunteers was running back and forth, following shouted instructions from a short black woman with a clipboard and a fiery look.  She seemed important: Rather than a standard lanyard, she had a fancy metallic name tag above her left breast that said “Ramona - Community Organizer”. As she heard the door swing shut, she turned toward the party with a smile: “Oh thank heaven, you must be the new guys - Roland told me you’d be on the way.  Y’all ready?”

Ramona explained that there were three things that needed doing: She needed some reinforcements on crafts, she needed one guy above the stage handling tech setup, and she needed two people inside the gymnasium hauling tables around.  Raya giddily volunteered for crafts without hesitation, so Relmitos quickly offered to handle tech, leaving Spoon and Fed (the party tanks) to haul tables.  Ramona led Relm over to an unmarked door near the stage access, and handed him a set of keys - this was a maintenance corridor that led to the tech rigging, where he was to examine all the lighting fixtures, check for safety hazards, and see if any cables were missing or frayed.  

The door opened to a narrow stairwell that led above the stage, where a lattice of catwalks provided access to the light fixtures.  It was dark and quiet.  Spooked, Relmitos rolled Wits + Investigation to make sure he was alone.  He didn’t catch anything out of the ordinary, although there were some shaded areas in the back, but he was able to spot two cables that were hanging loose over the catwalk sides.  With little trouble, he dragged them over to the lighting box.  A quick Intelligence + Science check allowed him to match plugs to switches, so he easily finished the job, flicking the switches a few times to verify everything was working properly.  

Satisfied, and genre savvy, he decided to take another look around.  Adorning the backstage wall were several safety features: A sprinkler valve, a fire alarm, and a circuit breaker.  In the corner, however, he noticed what seemed to be carton full of empty pillboxes, hastily left on one of the catwalks.  Thanks to his pharmaceutical background (Intelligence + Medicine), Relmitos immediately recognized the drug as codeine sulfate - a powerful and addictive narcotic.  Puzzled, he pocketed one for further study.

Heading back downstairs, Relmitos met up with Ramona and informed her that everything was in order - curiously declining to mention the codeine bottles he’d found.  She extended her hand for the keys, which Relm dutifully handed over.  Satisfied, Ramona asked him to head on over to the Crafts table and help his buddy.  

(GM Note: Had Relm been thrifty and stolen the stage key, it would have come in handy during the climax.  This was why I kept mentioning the keyring during his quick job: It was a possible option, although not necessary by any means.)

-------------------------------

Levi followed Justin - a scrawny, brown-haired teenager - along Main Street.  The town center had a nice array of businesses; a modern combination of trinket shops, restaurants, and bookstores.  Entering the afternoon, the sidewalks had become noticeably packed with tourists moving from place to place.  As they walked, Justin repeatedly expressed childlike excitement about the big event tonight, and Levi nodded along politely, his mind elsewhere.

Eventually Justin came to a stop, and Levi asked what he was doing. Before Levi could take the test, Justin explained, he needed a favor.  He’d lost his copy of Stranger Sightings, an important and foundational text for their brotherhood . Ellroy would kill him if he found out, so Justin needed Levi to pick up another copy from Darkwood Books, located just off Main Street.  Levi agreed without hesitation, and Justin clapped him on the back, earnestly thanking him for his help and instructing him to bring the book to the Lark Street Church by 3:00.

Levi was left standing in the crowd.  Feeling responsible, he took this brief respite as an opportunity to text the party with some important info, filling them in on his situation (“Joining skinhead Odin cult.  Fetching them a book.  Everything OK.”), before wandering down Main Street in search of the bookstore.  He passed by a series of clothing stores and a coffee shop before a successful Intelligence + Streetwise roll allowed him to find the place rather quickly.  

Darkwood Books was tucked away down a narrow path, just off the main boulevard and out of sight to anyone who wasn’t actively searching for it.  As Levi entered, wind chimes dangling from the door tingled to signal his arrival.  The bookstore immediately gave off a homegrown, musty vibe: The air was stuffy and smelled of paper.  Cramped rows of books extended away from the storefront, while dozens of old manuscripts were stacked in the window and scattered on the floor around the front desk.  An old man with a glazed look manned the register, while two others dozed off on crusty chairs in a nearby corner.  This was the kind of place that held mysteries; the sort of bookstore you could get lost in for days.

Levi approached the shopkeeper and asked about the book, Stranger Sightings.  Sizing Levi up and down, the gentleman’s eyes became sharp, and he pressured his customer.  Three times this past week, “those assholes” had come in here asking for that book, and he didn’t want anything to do with their twisted games.  Levi insisted he was trying to stop the Sons of Odin from the inside, and he needed that book to do it.  His Manipulation + Persuasion failed, and the shopkeep flatly refused: He did not trust Levi.

-------------------------------

As Relmitos crawled through the rafters, Raya walked over to the crafts table, where two campaign workers were busy cutting, gluing, pasting, and painting banners to be hung around the school.  One of the volunteers caught her approach, and there was immediate mutual recognition between the two of them: It was the girl Raya had met at the parking lot earlier.  She was surprised to see Raya again: Last time they met Raya had insisted they weren’t here for the rally, but now they were volunteers? With a smile, Raya explained that their friend had roped them into it.

She took a seat by a pile of printed lanyards with loose string, succeeding on a Dexterity + Crafts roll to quickly begin threading them together.  Appreciating Raya’s efficiency, the girl smiled and introduced herself as Lynz - spelled with a “y” and a “z”.  Raya laughed and gave her a quick high-five before asking about her connection to the Henderson campaign.  Lynz explained that she worked a regular shift at Blue Emma’s just downtown, and she met a lot of homeless people who came in and out during the day hours.  They had inspired her to get involved and start building a better future for people who weren’t as lucky as her.

Raya continued to impress, rolling Intelligence + Crafts to begin effectively assembling a large banner they could hang over the entrance.  Recalling her chat with the barkeep back at The Stranger, Raya asked about Senator Bartlett.  Lynz explained that Henderson was supporting Bartlett’s New Horizons program, a welfare and job creation package that could do a lot of good around here. The other volunteer - Michael - quipped that some assholes had blown up the railroad bridge in Greenfield County; now those towns desperately needed the kind of support Bartlett and Henderson could give them.  

Unaware of Spoon’s assignment, Raya expressed genuine concern and dismay at the situation: Were politics really this violent in the US?  Lynz mentioned that a reporter, Patrick Roberts, had vanished after publishing an expose on Daniels’ connection to some white supremacist group.  Michael quipped that this probably meant his accusations were legitimate.

Around this time, Relmitos showed up to help out.  Lynz cheerily invited him to pull up a chair.  Joining Raya, Relmitos also attempted Intelligence + Crafts - and achieved zero successes, losing control of the scissors and shredding the banner they’d all been working on. Raya rolled her eyes; Lynz gave Relm a condescending smile, and asked if Ramona could send someone useful - this poor boy really shouldn’t be handling sharp objects.

-------------------------------

Fedaykin and Spoon entered the gymnasium to a busy scene: volunteers were setting up rows of chairs, retracting wooden bleachers, sweeping the floors, and preparing signs to direct foot traffic.  A stack of heavy tables leaned against a stage set into the wall to their right, and one scrawny teen was painstakingly attempting to drag one further up the room.  Fed and Spoon walked over to help (rolling Strength + Athletics to lift and move the table), and the kid, relieved to have backup, breathed a sigh of relief.  

He introduced himself as Sam, and walked alongside the pair, directing them on where to go.  They struck up a conversation as they went about their business.  Sam was energetic and excited about tonight’s rally: He idolized Henderson and wouldn’t stop talking about him.  When Fed asked some questions about Henderson’s opponent, Sam’s mood dropped precipitously. The teen glowered, dismissing Aaron Daniels as a right-wing nutjob backed by some pretty fucked up people.  Curious, Fed pressed for details with a Presence + Persuasion roll, and Sam simply said: “The Sons of Odin”.

As Spoon and Fed made another successful roll to lift the next table, Sam fell into silence, visibly upset, so I had Spoon and Fed roll Intelligence + Empathy to recognize his distress.  Spoon failed, but Fed succeeded: He realized that Sam’s bitterness was probably personal.  Fed expressed some sympathy, and Sam loosened up, explaining that the Sons of Odin were a group of religious fanatics who had gotten involved with some really strange shit.  Sam’s best buddy, Justin, had joined the Sons of Odin several months ago.  They’d grown distant, and he was worried about what might happen.  

There were two tables left.  Eager to move along, Fed and Spoon decided to lift these individually.  Hilariously, both of their Strength + Athletics tests yielded 0 successes: The tables fell and made a racket.  The other volunteers came over and asked if everything was alright, relieving them of their assignment.  (Noticing this from the catwalks upstairs, Relmitos laughed and flipped them off.  Spoon rolled Wits + Composure but didn’t catch it.)

As they rested for a moment before leaving, Fedaykin reached out to Sam one more time. Insisting he wanted to do something about the Sons of Odin, Fed urged Sam to tell him what he knows with a Presence + Persuasion roll.  The kid reluctantly explained that the Sons of Odin like to hang out by the Lark Street Church, just down the road.  Fedaykin could tell Sam was holding back, but decided to respect his privacy and move on.

-------------------------------

In Darkwood Books, Levi was still arguing with the shopkeep.  After some time and a frustrating lack of progress, he tried something new: Looking the owner straight in the eye, he reiterated that he only wanted to understand what the Sons of Odin were up to.  To prove this, he would read Stranger Sightings right here in the store, with the older man watching over his shoulder.  This was a good argument, so I gave him a +1 to the ensuing Manipulation + Persuasion roll, and Levi succeeded.  Still suspicious, the older gentleman relented, and instructed him to grab the book from Row H7 in the back.

Levi thanked the man and set off toward the rear of the shop, weaving through dimly-lit shelves of old tomes that towered toward the dusty ceiling.  Down a short flight of stairs, Levi found the appropriate row, and made a quick Wits + Investigation roll to locate Stranger Sightings.  Succeeding, he found several copies tucked high on one of the shelves, and pulled one down to read.  With three successes, he also glimpsed a notepad that lay discarded on a table at the end of the row, beneath an old antique lamp.  Something had been scrawled on the top page. Flicking on the light, he leaned in to examine it.

“10 g/L sulfur dioxide,
5 crucifix of equal distribution,
One nonbeliever”

More than mildly concerned, Levi grabbed the page and stuffed it in his pocket before returning to the front.  Under the shopkeeper’s watchful and suspicious eye, Levi opened the book and scanned its pages with Wits + Investigation.  Stranger Sightings seemed to be a collection of notes on the supernatural - from procedures to contain a zombie plague, to evidence of a shapeshifter, to various prayers and protective rites.  With two successes, one page caught Levi’s eye: Several paragraphs of Latin text surrounded what appeared to be a large pentagram with a handprint at the center.  This was clearly important.

Impatient, the bookkeep asked Levi what was taking so long.  Concerned, Levi got out his phone - The owner barked not to take pictures, but Levi quickly and successfully persuaded him that he was just sending a text, giving him the opportunity to fill everyone in.

-------------------------------

Back at the school, the party wrapped up their responsibilities and began to convene in the entry hall. As she saw everyone standing around, Ramona walked over, clipboard in hand. She thanked them all for helping out, and asked what they had planned for the afternoon. Relmitos replied that he was hungry, and Fedaykin said he wanted to explore. Ramona listed a few great places on Main Street that would offer discounts to campaign workers, before holding out a stack of papers and some rolls of tape: If they had time while they were finding a place to eat, she would love if they could hang up some Henderson posters around town.  

The group happily accepted. Grateful, Ramona handed Relmitos a copy of her business card, and insisted he call if they need anything.  Before leaving, Spoon asked Ramona: would there be any chance they could meet the candidate?  With a smile, she replied that Henderson was busy, but he’d be throwing a party for volunteers after the rally.  

Everyone waved a quick farewell and stepped out into the parking lot, where they huddled up to discuss what they’d learned, and reviewed Levi’s text messages.  It was around 1:30, so they still had a full afternoon ahead, but they had plenty of leads and something didn’t sit right about this town.  Who were the Sons of Odin?  Why had a reporter gone missing?  What did Mr. White really send them here for?  Somewhere in between, they needed to connect the dots.  

After some discussion, the party decided to split again.  Spoon and Fedaykin went off to investigate the Lark Street Church following the info they’d gained from Sam, while Raya and Relm proceeded over to Main Street to join Levi at Darkwood Books - once more carefully avoiding the park at Raya’s insistence.

Relmitos and Raya rolled Intelligence + Streetwise to find the bookstore, just as Levi had earlier.  Unfortunately, neither succeeded.  They ended up wandering Main Street for a while, rolling Dexterity + Crafts to hang campaign posters as they milled through the crowd, passing gift shops and restaurants. Raya made an intelligence roll to recognize one of the storefronts - Blue Emma’s Coffeehouse, the cafe Lynz mentioned earlier.  Maybe they could grab a bite once they got Levi out of his mess.

-------------------------------

Spoon and Fedaykin retraced their steps away from Clarksdale High to reach the churchyard.   The Lark Street Church occupied a large lot, with a dedicated parking space, a few small storage sheds off to the side, and a neighborhood graveyard.  The church itself was a large black-brick building with a towering steeple and tall, arched windows.  A series of curved steps arrayed outwards from an elaborate metal door at the base of the facade.  

Lounging against the cold iron of the gate stood five grim-looking characters in dark clothes.  Two looked straight out of a biker gang: Bald, with leather sleeveless jackets and baseball bats.  The others came from various walks of life - a farmer, a young teenager in a Daniels shirt, and a short-haired girl with a nose ring.  With a Wits + Composure roll, Spoon caught a glimpse of the Three Horns of Odin tattooed on one of the biker’s arms, so he pulled Fed to the side, where they took a moment to consider their options.  

Fed: “Let’s drop the campaign posters on the ground in front of the church and piss on them.”

When everyone gave Fed an appropriate level of consternation, he asked if he could heil Hitler and imitate the Nazi salute.  This too drew considerable disapproval from the others, earning from Fed the hilarious retort: “It’s not like I have a PHD in Thugonomics.”

Ultimately, Spoon decided to simply post a campaign flyer on the church door. They entered the churchyard and walked confidently up the steps, posters in hand. The two brutes-with-bats noticed them, moved in front of the door, and blocked their path.

Spoon kept to the plan and insisted they were just here to drop off flyers. His Manipulation + Subterfuge was successful, but all this managed was to piss everyone off.  Fed pointed out that the church was public property, and they could go where they please - but the guards shook their heads and insisted that they this building was reserved for a private event.  Seeing no real chance at progress, Spoon and Fed decided to retreat and pursue other leads.

(GM Note: They could have had a great time exploring here by either sneaking around, ditching the campaign stuff and socializing well, or successfully feigning interest in the Sons of Odin.  Failing that, it was a good mid-session opportunity for combat. Sadly, arguing they were Henderson volunteers only antagonized the thugs.)

-------------------------------

Wondering what exactly was taking everyone so long, Levi continued to examine the book, rolling Intelligence + Academics to try translating the esoteric inscription.  Succeeding, he realized the page appeared to be some sort of prayer.  He took out his phone to contact the others, but the shopkeep barked at him: “No more texting!”  Frustrated, Levi again attempted to argue that he needed the book, but the owner flatly refused.

As if on cue, the chimes jingled as Relmitos and Raya entered the bookstore.  The older gentleman looked up and greeted them with a slight smile, asking how he could help them.  Relmitos held up the posters and explained that they were volunteers; he wanted to hang one in the storefront.  The bookstore owner was thrilled, and encouraged Relm to go ahead.  As Relmitos stepped up to the window, Raya asked if they had any books on werewolves with a Manipulation + Subterfuge check.  She passed, and the man happily directed her to rows H-4 through H-7 in the back shelves.

Raya thanked him, tactically ignoring Levi, and proceeded through the maze of bookshelves toward the back area.  She quickly located the appropriate section and made a Wits + Investigation roll to find the book.  With a whopping 5 successes, Raya was not only able to find Stranger Sightings, but a series of books on werewolves as well.  She picked up three: Lycanthropy: Signs and Symptoms, The Silver Bullet: How to Kill a Werewolf, and Werewolves of the Pacific Northwest.  Before returning to the front, she smartly picked out a few generic conspiracy books, so Stranger Sightings wouldn’t stand out.

As Raya browsed the shelves, Relmitos rolled Dexterity + Crafts to put up a poster in the window. He failed: As he was balancing on a chair to tape the poster up, he slipped and fell, sending two stacks of books crashing to the ground and distracting everyone in the room. (Out of character, the party had no end of laughs at Relmitos failing a simple tape job.) The shopkeep hurried over, remarkably distressed, shouting earnestly for Relmitos to be careful.  

Levi took this as an opportunity, and decided to tear the page out of the book with a Dexterity + Strength test, achieving 1 success.  Thankfully he wasn’t too successful: If he had 3 or more, he would have torn the old binding on the book to shreds and caused quite a problem.  Relieved, he quickly crumpled the page and pocketed it without anyone noticing.

As the shopkeep finished tidying up the books - Relmitos apologizing all the while - Raya came up from the back and greeted him with a smile.  He rung up her books, chatting animatedly about the dangers of werewolves.  Raya in return made small talk about how cool it was that the shop specialized in the occult.  With a glazed look on his face, the shopkeep started rambling about a connection to the mystic flows of the universe.  The party was immediately skeptical that this guy was high as a kite, so after a polite farewell, they left the shop.  

(GM Note: I designed Darkwood Books as an interesting occult-steeped bookstore the group could run into exploring the town - an explanation on its original purpose can be found at the end of the post.  This fetch-quest was improvised mid session and I’m actually pretty happy with how it turned out.)

-------------------------------

Everyone met up in Blue Emma’s Coffeehouse to grab some lunch.  They were hungry, they needed to take stock of what they had learned, and Levi still had some time before he needed to meet with Justin.  Lunch was on Levi’s dime since they just bailed him out, and he had the Resources merit anyways.  Spoon attempted to order a steak, so I hilariously had to explain that coffee shops don’t really offer steaks, and he grumpily settled for a sandwich.  

The group convened around a table to examine the page Levi had torn out of the first Stranger Sightings copy.  Fed was multilingual and had a background in Latin, so he took the lead on translating, with Raya on the assist.  This, coupled with Levi’s prior efforts, gave them a massive boost to their Intelligence + Academics roll, and they achieved 4 successes, enough to translate the rest of the prayer.  Slowly and meticulously, they pieced it together over sips of warm coffee and bites of sandwiches.  When it was complete, Fed quietly read through the full prayer for the group:

Spoiler:
"Blessed be the children, for they shall receive the judgement of heaven."

"Blessed be the father, for he shall save us from our destitution."

"Blessed be the chosen, for they are destined to inherit the Earth"

"Blessed be our kin, forever humbled with the mantle of God."

"Blessed be the sinner, and may his sins be forgotten, or may he be purged in the light of the Lord."

The group wasn’t sure what to make of this, until Levi took out the note he had found in the back of Darkwood Books.  Piecing together the ingredients list on the paper, the judgemental language of the prayer, and their earlier occult knowledge about Odin’s quest for wisdom, the group reached a unanimous conclusion that the Sons of Odin were preparing a ritual of some kind.  Concerned, Levi remembered what Justin and Ellroy had said about tonight being a momentous occasion for the brotherhood: They were going to try something at the rally.

Levi decided to ring up Roland, using the number on Spoon’s business card.  After the phone rang a few times, Roland picked up: “Hello?”

In the background, Levi could hear a cacophony of footsteps, sirens, and shouts. Levi identified himself and explained that they’d been doing some work for Ramona, and they wanted to talk about some strange things happening around town. This caught Roland’s interest. He instructed everyone to stop by the local CVS and meet with the chief of police, who should have a dossier prepared on a recent break-in. They were to bring his report up to Clarksdale Heights, where Roland was dealing with an imminent security incident.  Roland hung up, promising to talk to them in person when they arrive.


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