The plan worked. As as far as it went. The Spire returned. It’s exact location and metaphysical status was questionable, as at each of it’s gates across the world you could stand and look at it, but the mountain only existed when you looked at it straight on through the gate. If you looked at it from the other side, it wasn’t.
The Spire did form a bridge across the abyss, as strong or stronger than the existing watchtowers. The disappeared did complete their journey and storm the Supernal Realm of Divine Fire. The people of Old Sturbridge Village did make into the Spire, following the Mages of Springfield. Empowered by a sympathetic connection to the nearby Spire, they cast down Iktomi and led his people into the Spire as well. The gate into the spire was located under a lake south of what used to be a little town called Rugby. The idea of going underwater to find a safe city to live recalled old legends of the lost city of Atlantis.
The Exarchs hadn’t really believed it would happen and were unprepared. The fighting was vicious as untrained mages magically keyed to fight them burst onto their territory in numbers. As a small mercy, the Quashmillin sent them home afterwards, but it was a home filled with billions who returned to the world lacking the infrastructure to support them. It was also a world filled with formerly disappeared people who returned awakened but insane.
The Burner Cult managed to co-opt and corrupt many of the returnees. At the same time, the God-Machine (or at least the relevant aspects of it) that underpinned the Material World was thrown even more out of kilter as the worlds above and below both strongly stepped into a corner of it’s existence.
For a while, the Spire remained a refuge. The doors were guarded and remained a way for the remaining civilians to escape. Not everyone ran. The changing breed Blake Phalen, for example, found his particular brand of howling claw-centric diplomacy had a place in improving the world for others, though his eventual fate is not recorded. Plenty of normal humans and returned disappeared who never awakened or whose magic connected faded joined together and tried to make the world a safer place. Sometimes it even worked.
The refugees trickled in the gates for a few years, but the dangers of the world caused the ‘committee’ comprising the spire to close the doors, lest the Spire itself be overrun. And so, for most practical purposes, the Spire faded from the world again. It had tilted the balance of power against the Abyssal corruption of the world, as the plans of the Supernal Realms were set against such a happenstance, and it strengthened the connection of Mages to the Supernal. But as a place, a location, it disappeared once again.
On the inside, the refugees lived in the darkness. The life-giving river flowed through the cave, turning rock to soil as it went. They found thick forests along the river bank, oil producing plants, and the like. Animals, strange and familiar traveled the banks, some that came through the banks and some others that had been there. They found plants they could harvest for oil and made light. Plants that grew fruit for good.
The cold and dark weren’t especially pleasant, and eventually the refugees discovered a great open chamber, with a giant central pillar supporting six layers of circles, miles wide. There were even a few buildings on them. It was warmer here and there was lighting. It wasn’t too far from the river in the tunnels to farm, and it was a more pleasant place to live, so gradually they migrated into the chamber.
It was hard to keep records during this time, so a lot of this early history became lost to time. As as time passed, the Spire itself became quieter. Part of the Material World, yet apart from it, there was less and less for the consciousness of the Spire to experience, and it slipped into a deep sleep. But as the God-Machine stretched its influence into even this pocket of the Material World, and as the plans of the Quashmillim and the hungers of the Abyss followed suit, they dreamed. And they stirred.
In the light of the fire on that place
I’ve seen that burning face
In the fire of that lightning place
I’ve seen my face, but I’m still alive
Still Alive, Dreadful Shadows, 1994
Elijah played some tricks on the mages of Springfield, Blake got laid, and Wesley wandered the night. The party reconvened the next day. Victor ended up convicing the Arrow he was all right, so he was part of the group.
After tense discussion over the nature of Eli’s relationship with Coyote, requiring education about the nature of spirits, the party recruited the members of the Quashmillim’s plan (that Coyote had been privy to) to hijack the Spire from Iktomi when it was returned.
Some had been drawn across their path before. Blake Sands, the changeling and Talutah the Promethean in particular. There was also Bess Collins the vampire. To complete the group, Elijah, Wesley, and Carol would join them in taking the seats in the Upper Chamber of the Spire which would finish it’s return and allow it to bridge the Abyss, allow the disappeared people to storm the realm of Divine Fire in accordance with the original spell, return the Quashmillim to power replacing the Exarchs, and help stave off the spread of the Abyss.
The group had Victor teleport them back to Altoona where they used the infrastructure to travel to the Underworld. After a few misunderstanding with the locals about permissible behavior, they hid and waited for the Moros mage.
When the mage traded the counterfeit souls for the Spire, the party ran for the Spire, blasting the mage on the way. Blake the changing breed went back to the exit Landon Holiday had mentioned when the rest found their way to the Upper Chamber and took their seats just as the Kerebos realized she had been tricked and began to raise.
They merged with the Spire, and the campaign ended.
Your women and children died
Fire destroyed your village
Don’t think about pain
They are with you now, here
And they will stay with you forever
Among holy trees
Your guileful foe will never rest
These lands belong to you
Let your foe be damned forever
The party decided to go to Springfield to get the caravan to saftey and consult with the mages. They told Landon they’d be back, but privately decided to return only if further information suggested it was a good idea.
Traveling through Victor’s portal, Wesley ran over a vampire feeding on the edge of a road. Another one got away.
Springfield was a developed mage city, currently serving as a diplomatic hub.
On entry, both Wesley and Victor were asked if they were of the reform or orthodox branch of their order. They didn’t know what that meant, but when Wesley guessed ‘reform’ it went over well.
As the caravan was settling into a parking lot to await the awakening of most of the travellers, Calvin Potts, the escort mage told about the various factions here. The Admantine Arrow and Summer Court had rebel representation here because the main factions were outlawed for the creation of an army of new changelings. Those factions were now aligned with Lancea Sanctum against the Burner threat. Vampire covenant representatives were here as well under truce.
Blake expressed a desire to kill vampires. None of the party members would vouch for his behavior after that and he was not invited to the inner city with the rest of the party. He sent a message to the winter court, who he thought would vouch for him.
Elijah caught up with his old Mysterium mentor, finding a spot in the mysterium for Reggie and learning the current politics. A Moros archmage had descended into the underworld to return the Spire to the Material World. this would vastly increase the power of the mages, and hopefully allow the disappeared billions to reclaim the Supernal Realm of divine fire, allowing a means to wash the Abyssal corrpution from Earth. In order to do this, they needed to trick the Kerberos that ruled that dead dominion. To trick the Kerberos they had gotten help from Ikthomas, the merged failed-mage and trickster spirit that was Elijah’s old enemy.
Victor and Wesley’s claim to be part of the reform branch of the Arrow was called into question by the identity of their mentors. Both were taken into custody for questioning. Wesley’s mentor was killed by the Lancea Sanctum, a mark in his favor. Victor’s mentor is currently marching to battle alongside them, so he’s still in discussion with the Order.
Blake was vouched for by the Winter Court and cut a deal with them to relay information about Ikthomas’s domain when the party continues it’s travel in that direction.
Elijah, looking for a way to even the odds with a Spirit Claimed that was stronger than himself, called out to Coyote, an old opponent of Iktomi. and willingly offered himself as a host as Thomas did to Iktomi.
However, whereas the Spider (and later the Snake) needed a partner out of necessity, the Coyote treats it as a great joke to run a real mage against the failed-mage. And these spirits used to be real powers too. Elijah has ideas about sabotaging the plans of the Springfield mages as well.
Life might get interesting.
Tonight a feast will be given
By the right kind of people
Just now some youngsters are starving
On the wrong side of the tracks
Two brothers leave each other
Without saying a word
True enemies false friends will meet
Screaming for happiness
Ordinary People, Massacra, 1994
In events which took longer to accomplish than they do to explain:
Daniel Teau created an artifcal bond of friendship between his ally Victor and Wesley, and between Victor and Elijah.
Victor explained to his new old friends that he was Teau’s bodyguard. He was waiting for a party of Geists to return so they could activate the machines at the amusement park that Teau had under guard, sent the Geists through, and let them retrieve an object of power that would tip the balance of power against the abyss,
Elijah got lucky with a spell and temporarily cursed Teau with disease.
Wesley and Elijah convinced Victor to send the caravan to the relative safety of Springfield, the Mage city, before proceeding.
When they returned, the other person of similar aura to Teau had mentally convinced everyone that Reggie should help him restore the amusement park rides.
After subduing him, and meeting Blake for the first time, the party learned his name was Landon Holiday, and that he was trying to prevent Teau from enacting a plan which Holiday believed would destroy billions of souls.
Victor contacted his mentor in the Admantine Arrow order, and confirmed Holiday’s story was accurate (at least from the perspective of that Order).
The party planned to send the caravan to Springfield and possible do something about Teau.
No one there – lost alone – madness – rules – love is gone
The sun will never shiine
No escape – never try – no way out – you will die
You die so alone
Demon’s Day, Grave Digger, 1995
Wesley experiments with the memory stone, eventually finding it was attuned to Reggie as a sort of last words by Dr. Meynard. It gives him a memory of Dr. Meynard telling him power is nothing without wisdom and discretion, apologizing that he won’t be there anymore, told him to get to a safe place with Kevin Lanier in Rochester. Meynard also gave details about the Environmental Artifacts he had investigated to report to Lanier and a message to investigate the DelGrosso Amusement park based on a lead he gained from an unknown being following a similar path.
Reggie tells his revelations to Kelly, who tells him that if he wants he can stay with the Free Riders until Mason shows up and will probably take him somewhere safe, or he can stay with the caravan which is leaving as soon as they get their stuff together. Reggie says he wants to go with her, citing the paradox energy in the area. She lays down some general rules: Respect people and property. Stay close to the caravan. Check with Elijah or Wesley before you use your magic to make sure it’s ok. She pushes Reggie to agree, telling him it’s important if he’s going to stay with them, and he does.
After talking with the council about their options, the caravan decides to use the trucks, figuring that with the spirit’s guidance, Elijah can aid the creation of biofuel.
Reggie goes to help build a still, Elijah enchants breeding pairs of livestock to take, Wesley smokes the rest.
Kelly mentions to the adults that she wants to talk to Elijah about assigning apprentices and Wesley about tips on dealing with children, but they’re busy now and she will follow up with them later.
The caravan sets off late at night, passing Mason’s truck going the other direction with a monstrous beast apparently dead and strapped to the top of the trailer.
Elijah being the most traveled gives input on the route which happens to lead past the amusement park. On the way, they get a message from Norrin over the radio about finding a room dedicated to deciphering musical prophecy and that they’ve need talk about the central Fang cities forming a crusade that’s heading east.
They stop for a rest at the park, or at least most do. Some deputies stand guard, Elijah goes to investigate, finding a half-dozen repairmen and an unknown supernatural at different places. Reggie inspects the trucks. Wesley has a dream.
Elijah talks to the repairmen, who say they’re trying to win a contest they hear the bigshot of their town is going to hold by repairing the rides. They talk about a town with electricity, weapons, amenities, and general prosperity ruled by a Mister Teau. Elijah notes they also sound like idiots.
Elijah wants to investigate and convinces Wesley to come with him. The town at first appears to be a typical run-down ordinary settlement, but they look closer and see the signs of mentioned prosperity are hidden. The townsfolk tells them that Teau doesn’t receive visitors. Elijah leads them directly to Teau’s mansion after piercing a particularly powerful obscuring spell and noting an unknown supernatural like the one in the amusement park. They lie their way through the gates, but when the lie is detected and they are about to be thrown out, Elijah magically renders the guards asleep. They detect Teau coming downstairs with more guards. Elijah tries to talk to him, but Teau sends them both into a pocket dimension of sensory deprivation. Through it all Wesley followed along despite misgivings.
Meanwhile, Reggie observed the repairmen working on rides, and decided to magically repair some old cars in the parking lot. When one of the deputies questioned whether he had permission per the rules he’d heard from Kelly, Reggie assured him he did.
Pictures of the crippled – wounded on the frontline
Someone else’s problem – you’re sitting on a landmine.
When will we see reason? Sometimes I think we’ll never
Learn that children have the right to laugh – and dying is forever
Still Spinning Shrapnel, Syclad, 1995
Elijah and Reggie put different spins on repair/expansion of the two trucks. Reggie takes Gerald out for a spin in one as a test drive after he tries to think of the most impressive thing he could show Reggie that he doesn’t think will piss people off. It still pisses Wesley off, but he has a hard time articulating exactly why and Kelly makes a note to herself to provide more help to him with Reggie going forward.
Father Contreras led a town meeting that night to recognize the loss of Teri and the townsfolk who had stayed at the farm, as well as to introduce new members. He tapped Eli to speak as one of Teri’s friends and to give them hope of their eventual destination. Elijah gave a fairly off-putting stab at the former, but nailed the latter.
During the ceremony, the mages felt waves of paradox inducing abyssal energy from the direction the raiders had left. Elijah told the children to go take cover while he talked with the council.
He told the council the whole story about where they’re going and his place in it, and he and Wesley advised they get the hell out of here in the face of the magic disturbance.
Reggie talked to Jamal at the radio and learned that Mason and co were fighting some giant demonic things to the west.
Phillip Solomon the engineer consulted with Wesley and Elijah and they all determined that if Reggie was the only way to keep the trucks fueled and running, then they should stick to the wagons and not depend on the new kid. Elijah summoned a spirit that said it could teach them how to distill biofuel, but Elijah didn’t immediately see that as a viable solution.
And you tell yourself “You’re so brave”
Yeah, fight for yours until your dead
Well there’s plenty of that already filling holes
Before you use your fists, why don’t you use your head?
Sometimes we’re overcome by this child inside
We grow, and never grow inside
Child Inside, Anacrusis, 1990
Leon announces his intention to stay at the farm and resolve his family issue to avoid trouble spilling over onto the caravan. He is firm in his leaving. Most of the Strauss family, the Uchennas, and a portion of the McDaniels opted to stay with Leon. Elijah resigned his council position.
The village doesn’t immediately process the trauma of the split.
8/7/2037Muriel Lightfoot was elected Sheriff, Phillip Solomon as crafter, and Alexander Watt as medic.
The party trickles into the Free Rider base which has burned. They pull some survivors out of the wreckage, meet the child mage Reginald, and attack three Lancea Sanctum ghouls who had been helping with the rescue. The leader, Matthew Odiorn, tells that he’s working with the feral vampires the Third Born aka Belial’s Brood to stop a demon who is a danger to everyone. At Muriel’s urging, the party lets the ghouls go.
Reggie gets involved with local children, impressing them with magic to the concern of Wesley and later Elijah. They discuss it later along with Kelley and think he can fit into the village as long as his magic doesn’t endanger others. Kelly talks to Wesley about fulfilling his expressed desires to assist her in the role of Teacher by making sure that doesn’t happen.
Elijah summons spirits great and small to investigate what happened to the Free Rider station. One of them takes up residence in his oven. He questions ghosts as well and eventually determines that living, dead, and ghosts were all taken away by the raiders, suggesting a potency magic at work in addition to sheer firepower.
Reggie repairs trucks, Wesley repairs radios, and the survivor Jamal calls for help. They contact a Free Rider named Jennifer Mason who earned a reputation for doing the impossible. She radios that she’s on her way and that they should be here this evening.
The general consensus among the PCs and the council is that they feel sorry for the victims, but it’s not their problem. They’ve scavenged the trucks and the responsibility for the people under their protection mean they have to move on, which they plan to do the next day.
Session 11, Dec 9, 2013.
An’ though on the outside they may look the same
Inwardly, they’re many worlds apart
Uncertainty a species now divided
The fear of the unknown
Walking alone in the dark
Suddenly they’re cast away in silence
Like a mirror image for the good of us all
Through all of those years nothing had changed [Backing vocals]
But in this new world there are changes and more
Mirror Image, Consortium Project, 1999
- Scene 1: The part explores most of the complex, finding information about the experiments that led to Norin’s family issues, and weapons, and supplies.
- Scene 2: The party is swarmed by supernatual scorpions, cleverly fight their way out of the basement, and have the last leg covered by the real Stephanie Strauss. The Stephanie from the village was a fetch (aee Autumn Nightmares pg 98-101 for how a child-fetch might develop into the stephanie character)
- Scene 3: Leon and Stephanie talk while Wesley watches Norin hack the messageboards the remaining factions with satellite uplinks use to communicate in order to cover their trail. Elijah is his normal anti-fae self.
- Scene 4: The party returns to the caravan with food and supplies. Elijah got there first to sway the council to the anti-stephanie(s) side, suggesting poisoning her with silver under the guise of a test. Ultimately, the council wasn’t ready to throw their long-term member under the bus, and Leon managed to convince the fetch-Stephanie that real-Stephanie went through a horrible ordeal and needs to be welcomed home with sympathy, and convincing real-Stephanie that the fetch.
- Scene 5 (offline): Leon is tipped off by the council about the potential for conflict over the Stephanies, both from Elijah and from a population that might consider it one step too far. He makes plans to announce the Stephanie issue and retire from the journey to the farm, where he can at least help them remotely while working out his family issues..
Session 10, Dec 2, 2013.
We are the children
Ya, the children
What of the children?
We are the children of the new machine.
What of the children?
We are the children of the new machine.
The new machine.
New Machine , Overkill, 1991
- Scene 1: Despite the politicking of Elijah and Leon, Myrtle Horst is elected Reaper due to her excellent tracking, shooting, and leadership skills.
- Scene 2: Norin and Leon are patrolling the boundaries and sense something magical. Norin can’t penetrate the obscuring spell, but Leon sees a green cloak amidst a cloudy nimbus following the party. He calls out to it and it runs away.
- Scene 3: In whay could easily be broken down into many scenes, the part investigates the Farm that Norin’s ancestry derives from, takes out a sentient AI that bit off more than it could chew trying to capture them, and spared the lives of disembodied brains who promised they were family members who never met Norin and thus couldn’t have treated him like crap. Loose ends remain.
Session 9, Nov 25, 2013.
I won’t be a part of the role
I’d rather stay uncontrolled
I just believe in odd accidents
I have remorse that I can’t repent
It’s just another race to be run
And your day is what you make it
And just maybe I want it undone
But I just have to face it
No Destiny , Edge of Sanity, 1997
- Scene 1: The party wants to return to the lighthouse, but the villagers instist on sending people to accompany them. Myrtle Horst, Muriel lightfoot, Richard and Sergio Graham go with the party
- Scene 2: The party discovers a bubble in reality with (by popular request) a shirtless latino boy who will pop on same day as the last bubble
- Scene 3: The party returns to the lighthouse, where the villagers manage to take the manifesting spirits in stride. Leon takes them to the catwalk on the tower and starts firing, winging a werewolf on the far side who is in the process of building a bonfire, which they proceed to light, and then charge across on the smoke, scaring the normals. Elijah strives towards a world record in “rather put-out” and retreats to the basement, followed shortly by Wesley and Norin. Elijah summons a little dwarfish earth-spirit to take a message to the fire spirit.
- Scene 4: The summoning was made moot by Elijah’s subsequent dive from the lighthouse and Leon-assisted superswim across the river, bounding into the mostly empty werewolf camp and treating with the fire spirit leader. The fire spirit says that the Principle demands Talutah keep moving, refusing to clarify in the most annoying way possessed only by otherworldly beings and most NPCs everywhere. Elijah convinces him it’s possible, the spirit rockets them back to the lighthouse where it calls off the werewolves for a parley. Elijah presents the fire-being’s demands in a more comprehensible manner, and the conversation between the the party, the spirits, and Talutah results in them deciding to leave for parts unknown.
- Scene 5: The spirits agree this counts for the purposes of their agreement and dispense the rewards. The snake tells Elijah that Thomas is alive and merged with Iktomi, and is a dominiant force in the Badlands area as well as the person who killed and ressurected Talutah before the snake spirited them away. It tells Norin his eyes were the results of his grandparents being experimented on in a location not far from his village and gives landmarks. It tells Leon that the bubbles in reality are the people taken during the mass disappearance and that they are physically trapped in astral space thanks to a spell gone wrong and will most likely be popping back in groups at various times. It tells Wesley that it can scare the vampire he hunts into pausing by describing is sword as the truesilver sword of Saint Ferdinand III.
- Scene 6: The party then elects to have Decker reveal magic items in the abandoned town. It leads them to various places of horror and tragedy to retrieve items;keys from a courthouse where imprisoned defendants died when the jailer abandoned them; a cookbook from the campsite of cannibalistic raiders, an engagement ring from one of their victims who never found who he was looking for, and a cross from a church where nothing obviously horrible happened. Leon declined to let anyone analyze his keys and Elijah burned his book after slapping Decker with it.
Session 8, Nov 11, 2013.
Dirty, Dirty Little Secret
Everybody’s got one
So many you can pass them around
Dirty, Dirty Little Secret
I’ll be leaving the status quo behind
Dirty Lil Secret, Queensryche, 1994
- Scene 1: The spiritual side is dangeous, the rents still flick in and out, though the mass of spirits you walked through on your way here seems to have thinned. The party converses with Zuzecha the snake spirit, who invites them to meet it’s friends in the lighthouse and make a deal for helping against. The party has problems rowing a canoe in the river current, and the snake calls for Hudson the river spirt who appears under the canoe and reverses the currnet until they arrive at the lighthouse.
- Scene 2: The lighthouse light is shining on the west bank of the river, scanning like a prison spotlight looking for runners. Decker, a craft spirit in the form of a pair of giant disembodied hands, meets them at the pier, inspecting Diaz’s sword. Zuzecha translates that it’s rare Truesilver and Decker is impressed. The Lighthouse is downright homey. The woman Talutah and Decker have taken pride in making this place livable. A generator spins in the basement, powering batteries which power electrical utilities like a little radio that catches music playing from a tower somewhere. Fresnel makes the bulbs shine with a comforting gentleness. Elijah recognizes Talutah, but she doesn’t remember him, reporting a mind blank. Elijah becomes ruder than usual to her for the remainder of their interactions. The party is offered secrets from Zuzecah and boons from any of the spirits if they help defeat a fire spirit who is agitating werewolves to attack the silver lighthouse fortress. Elijah revives Norrin, a mage fallen into shadow and rescued by the lighthouse inhabitants. The party questions and examines Talutah but isn’t able to concretely identify what she is and what she’s capable of. The party agrees to help but wants to go check on the caravan first. Fresnel sends fireflies to guide lost villagers back from shadow.
- Scene 3: The party finds the caravan gone. The tracks lead southeast. Norrin scrys above faint smoke clouds to the northeast and sees a campfire, a cave, burnt trees, and people packing up. The party tracks the caravan.
- Scene 4: The party reconnects with the caravan, only to find it barely held together. Spirits have driven some individuals into the wilderness, possessed others and drove them off, and even though those have been dragged back by deputies or led back by firefly spirits, plenty are still around raising havoc. The caravan is traveling around the perimeter of the tears in the gauntlet. Father Conterraes is performing exorcisms with varying degrees of success. Muriel meets Leon at the perimeter. . There are three main camps of opinion: Stephanie, the Strauss family the Keifer family and about half the Horsts led by Carol and Kelly, are arguing that yes the three compadres are magical, but they’ve been trying the save the town and are even now out fighting the source of the spirits so we should wait for them. A faction led by Father Contrerras backed by the other half of the Horsts and the Graham/McDaniels family are saying that they’ve lied to us, can’t be trusted, and we should move on. Myrtle Horst and Muriel Lightfoot are leading a sizable contingent of miscellaneous folks saying they should go back and rescue the sheriff’s party from the lighthouse burn down the shaman’s settlement, since his advice led us into danger and he’s probably responsible, and then make the party explain themselves. A smattering of other opinions exist, like breaking up the caravan entirely as we can’t possibly feed the group or settling in the forest back where it was sane and learning how to co-exist with the spirits. The party, through speeches, negotiations, and a few magic tricks that lead to Elijah and Leon soaking some paradox dice convince the party that the mages are on their side and the villagers can’t afford to do without them. The party chases off the spirits.
- Scene 5: The party leads the caravan to the Rip Van Winkle bridge that spans the Hudson where a pair of sentries warn them about agitated werewolves across the river. The party states its intent to leave the party near the bridge and return to the lighthouse.
Session 7, Nov 4, 2013.
As night surrounds you and spirits calls your name
Cold winds are blowing over the plain
A wind of death, of ice and pain
The wind you feel is my soul
Lord Of Evil Spirits, Lord Belial, 1999
- Scene 1: Herschel Strauss approaches Elijah in secret about dreams Stephanie is having. Elijah plots with him to sedate Stephanie and then examine her.
- Scene 2: Raymond Barber and Sarah Graham approach Leon about raiding herds/food stocks of local villagers. He tells them to forget it and go hunting.
- Scene 3: Father Contrerras questions Father Diaz about his religion and tries to question him about Elijah’s possible use of magic. Diaz doesn’t lie but answers evasivly, which Contrerras spots .
- Scene 4: Elijah examines Stephanie, detects faerie magic, wakes her up. Nightmares started just prior to leaving the original village. Elijah prescribes a sedative.
- Scene 5: Sarah Graham returns with a villager named Nat Huxley who warns against hunting and against travelling forward without sacrificing to local spirits. Leon sends her to gather back the hunters.
- Scene 6: Elijah verifies that the sedative gave Stephanie a dreamless sleep and halves the dose for the next night. He sends Cosmo out to negotiate with the changing breeds in the forest.
- Scene 7: In a council meeting, it’s agreed that trying to deal with the local spirits is neccesary and only possibly evil. Leon, Wesley, and Elijah go to talk to the village Shaman.
- Scene 8: Wesley recieves a mental message from prominent East Coast mage Cobb Jackson inquiring about Sister Carmelita. On learing she is dead, Cobb invites Wesley to a council of Mages back near their starting location. He tentatively declines.
- Scene 9: The party vistis Remy Wurling the shirtless shaman. He and Elijah get along famously and a guns/medicine for sacrifical sheep/food trade is arranged, and he learns the coyotes protect the people in this area who sacrifice, monsters Elijah suspects are vampires are often warded off as well as werewolves from beyond the Hudson River. The shaman warns the Silver Tower in the river is the source of spiritual activity and danger.
- Scene 10: Elijah makes an effort to patch things up with Carol. Thanks to her husband, progress is made. Leon gets a repeat of the conversation with Cobb that Wesley had earlier.
- Scene 11: Cobb contacts Leon with a warning the ritual was pre-empted by an attack. He tells Leon the partial name of the killer, “Valan” and breaks the connection. Shortly afterwards, he contacts him again with news of his escape and the full name “Valanos” and asks to joing the part. Leon doesn’t believes him and misdirects him to the United Cities.
- Scene 12: Elijah notices an unusual concentration of spirits in the area and questions them. Michael Keifer and Claudine Lightfoot step though a hole in the Gauntlet into Shadow. Elijah calls the caravan to a halt, ropes the party together, watches for another hole, and guides the two victums back out.
- Scene 13: Telling the caravan it’s a problem with sinkholes, the still-roped-together party ventures onward to the Silver Tower, seeking the source of the spirits. They arrive at the banks of the Hudson shortly before dusk and begin scavenging for a boat. A giant water snake watches them from the river. Elijah recognizes it as a spirit and entices it to trust him. It named the woman in the tower Zuzeca Winyan (or whatever the appropriate Lakota phrase is for Snake Woman). Elijah said if she wasn’t who she said she was, he’d call the real Snake Woman down on her. The snake spirit said he’d love to see Elijah try.
I stand on the top
Of the high mountain
Three roads of doom
Lies before me
Hot beams of the sun
Hit my breast
Wind rocks my hair
And calls to the west
Three Roads Of Doom, Catharsis, 1998
- Scene 1: The party leaves the train graveyard to bring the caravan to the tracks and complete an arrangement with John and Phil. The brothers urge the party to hurry since the radio in town was not destroyed and reinforcements are probably coming.
- Scene 2: The party returns to the caravan, sending Cosmo to scout the situation back in the town. Elijah uses scrying to ascertain there are soldiers in the embassy and temporarily disables the radio. Wesley invites Ernie to his wagon and succeeds in confusing him about what’s going on. Carol Horst interrupts and takes him on a walk and discuss his rescue and potential recruitment.
- Scene 3: Leon goes to investigate engine noises to the Northeast and sees General Stouts detachment traveling in a search pattern towards Amherst and returns with that information.
- Scene 4: Elijah intercepts Carol, gives Ernie an explanation he can accept (at least for now) and sedates him.
- Scene 5: Leon and Terri attack the search party to the northeast. Terri kills most of them by making the gas tank explode, she finishes off General Stout with an arrow to the eye, and lets the rest bleed to death. Leon loots the bodies, coming up with guns, a medical kit, a radio, and a uniform.
- Scene 6: Elijah has noticed his wagon has been searched. His journals haven’t been found. He questions the medical assistants and they say they haven’t seen anyone in the wagon, but Carol offered them some of her private stock earlier and talked about medical care, distracting them. Elijah scares the absolute hell out of Carol, showing her his nimbus and magically triggering a prey response. She remains terrified of him.
- Scene 7: Elijah moves the caravan west toward Were territory, giving up on the train plan as intelligence from Cosmo suggests more soldiers than he wants to fight. Terri goes to create a diversion, but overconfident from her last encounter, exposes herself to a sniper and takes a round directly in the head. The remaining magic workers sabotage the bridge and escape.
- Scene 8: Cosmo pulls Elijah aside to show him a gesture of friendship. Knowing that Elijah would probably want to bury his friend, Cosmo animated Terri’s corpse during the excitement when no one was watching, had it crawl out of the action and then catch up with the caravan. Elijah was somewhat non-plussed. Elijah gathered Wesley and Leon and built a cairn over the body.
I’m your conductor, welcome to the station
Always got an empty seat, no need for reservation
There’s no need to hesitate, come and step inside
Take a chance, climb aboard, come enjoy the ride
Conductor, Metal Church, 1993
- Scene 1: Elijah shouts from the rooftop of the embassy that the killing was done in the honor of general Stout and goes to rejoin Wesley with Leon and Teri
- Scene 2: The three party members are intercepted by Mayor Leo Fattore. The party convinces them they are church Seekers and intimidate him into leaving them alone.
- Scene 3: The party investigates the house of the witch, and finds Cosmo the talking cat. Their new friend Ernie requires some magical convincing that this is ok.
- Scene 4: The party goes to investigate the train graveyard, using “Miranda sent us” (the witch’s real name) as a password to bypass the ghost. They figure out the key to a hedge gate and every goes inside but Ernie, Cosmo, and Wesley, who closes it behind them.
- Scene 5: The party goes to the watchtower/cabin of John Luther Jones and Phil Jones, who say they are changling brothers and are willing to help for the retrieval of a scientific instrument from Springfield. The party refuses, and they come up with an alternate payment of retrieving a computer of some sort from detroit and delivering it to a local agent. The party begins to regroup for the purposes of negotiations.
Yes, no, yes, no
Not, another word
You’ll know what to do
In your face they see it
In their face you…
Make up their minds
Aggression turns the screws
Take your piece and hold it
Make your piece and…
Stand up, you know what it means
Wake up, time to live your dreams
Be All, End all Anthrax, 1988
- Scene 1: Leon, Teri and crew finish scavenging Wesley’s settlement. Leon manages to convince the attendant NPCs to put their suspicions about the secret conversation with Blake and Wesley aside for the time being. He also finds a grimoire with a single Fate rote and correspondence in Sister Carmelita’s quarters that corroborates the story Blake is now telling Wesley. Blake tells Wesley that the peace agreement he and Carmelita helped broker between the United Cities and the Eastern Massachusetts Fangs broke down when Lancea Sanctum vampires started stirring shit up. With the agreement falling apart, all sides were moving to solidify their hold on Central MA. Blake said part of his deal with Carmilita was to fill Wesley in if things fell apart. With no further questions, Blake departed. Wesley accepted Teri’s invitation to return to the caravan.
- Scene 2: Elijah spots a shapeshifitng cat watching him from the treeline. With a magically empowers friendly attitude, he invites the cat over. The cat suggests that he isn’t fooling anyone with the medicine man gimmick, and that the people are just choosing to believe what’s convenient rather than scary. Elijah makes it clear that he does what he has to in order to protect his people. When the cat warns Elijah should make sure it’s mutual, Elijah boasts he’s taken precautions if the people should ever turn on him. The cat gives a sad smile and darts off.
- Scene 3: Wesley returns with the villagers. The council convenes and votes him in as a resident. Elijah spearheads a discussion of how this should be handled in the future. There is general agreement that further additions should have supplies or needed skills to be allowed entry, but the Horsts violently disagree with his aside that they should be willing to raid for supplies.
- Scene 4: Elijah, Teri, Leon, and Wesley leave to scout Amherst. They spot a hunting party camping, and stop to inquire about the settlement. They pose as inquisitors from the United Cities, thanks to Wesley’s mode of dress, and learn that there has been an execution of a witch, but they believe the previous inquisitors have departed which means there’s only one man as an official representative of the United Cities in Amherst. The hunters ask if this new mission is about the trainyard ghost, and the party replies ambiguously.
- Scene 5*: The part arrives in Amherst just before dawn, finding a bonfire illuminating 5 crucifixion victims. The women at the focal point of the execution site has a gunshot wound to the head and ‘witch’ branded on her stomach. The others have been beaten before being crucified. One is still alive, and Elijah rescues him. Another has produced an echo ghost that Teri finds is on a loop trying to warn ‘Jessica’ to run.
- Scene 6: The party determines where the Unitied Cities representative is living based on the electricity to the building. Wesley stayes with the wounded rescuee while Elijah leads the others in an assault on the building, magically scaring the guard, failing to lure the representative out, busting the lock, and then wounding the representative to unconsciousness as he tries to flee. Elijah drags him upstairs, lets Leon carve the Lancea Sanctum symbol on him as an attempted false lead, then heals him just long enough to give the badass now-you-die speech before dropping him off the building.
Say your prayers little one
Don’t forget my son
To include everyone
I tuck you in
Keep you free from sin
’Til the sandman he comes
-Enter Sandman , Mettalica, 1991
- Scene 1: Tall Tom offers to bet a years service the party will fail and need rescuing. The party decines and continues preparations to leave.
- Scene 2: The party travels by night and arrives in Bondsville, an abandoned town and more recently an abandoned settlement. Elijah contracts for protection with a growth spirit, and has a beaver-related subscene where be becomes savior of the beavers. Teri becomes frustrated waiting to kill the beavers and goes off killing rabbits instead. Leon plots with Stephanie to gain more control over the council.
- Scene 3: The caravan stops near a cemetary outsider Belchertown to investigate gunfire. Leon and Teri take out a Ghoul and human companion dresses as police who were chasing a priest and a soldier. Other individuals ran away and continued fighting elsewhere.
- Scene 4: The priest led the party to his homestead which had been massacred by vampires where the victims were already buried. A top hat with a magic band exposed Leon and Teri as Mages to the watching changeling, Blake Sands. He said he was here primarily for the priest, Wesley Diaz, who had been the apprentice of Carmelita, one of the parties to a web of agreements which had prevented an attack here but was now crumbling. Further discussion was largely averted through shenanigans involving Blake trying to get his hat back, but he did make a serious if sarcastic offer to open a gate through the hedge for the refugees.
He also gave some basic information about the changeling Courts being divided, with the Summer Court in particular up to no good, which is why he said that he had tried to make it hard for Tall Tom to communicate/travel with the main court. Blake mentioned that he had been looking for Diaz partially because the Winter Court Blake belonged to was trying to sway members of the Admantine Arrow order of mages away from the Summer Court.
There’s a calm before the storm
Don’t say that you ain’t been warned
A calm before the storm
And it’s coming for you
-Calm Before the Storm, Venom 1987
An abbreviated session.
- Scene 1: General Stout of the United cities promises to send an auditor and representative in a week to accept your accession to his demands.
- Scene 2: The Council rallies the populace to leave for Elijah’s home territory. This
- Scene 3: Preparations begin, including harvesting herbs, building wagons, and hunting/magically drying deer.
- Scene 4: Tall Tom Thomas arrives. The mages knew he wasn’t human, and press him today. He reveals that he is a Summer Court changeling, sells you a map to a safe route along the railroad for a song (well, two songs). He warns you about a pale-skinned fancy-dressed changeling who has become a nuisance over the last several months.
When you’re one of the few,
To land on your feet.
What do you do to make ends meet?
-One of the Few, Pink Floyd 1983
- Scene 1: Teri Quinn fights a wolf, protects her apprentice, and discovers an anomaly.
- Scene 2: Leon Strauss stops a fight between his nephews and a rival family before it turns ugly
- Scene 3: Elijah Youngblood uses magic and legwork to prevent sickness from spreading via poultry.
- Scene 4: The three magi investigate the anomaly, Leon’s fate magic suggesting it’s mostly likely relevance is in six months.
- Scene 5: The council punishes Mark and Holly Long for the chicken incident and discuss current affairs.
- Scene 6: A group of soldiers from Springfield/Holyoke/Chicopee arrives and demands a tithe. The council plays for time/reduced tribute.