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 1 
 on: February 20, 2018, 06:55:55 PM 
Started by tshiggins - Last post by Gold & Appel Inc
Let's hold off on this, for now.

Not that I know if it makes a difference on this suggestion, but I re-acquired gainful employment and peace of mind today and would like to come back ASAP.

 2 
 on: February 14, 2018, 10:08:54 PM 
Started by tshiggins - Last post by tshiggins
We held the latest session of Facets a couple of Fridays ago. Things went a bit more peacefully, this time, but not everything went well.

Characters Present:

Dr. Henrietta "Indiana" Johnson -- A personable, age 29-and-holding Anthropologist who specializes in the pre-Columbian indigenous people of the American Desert Southwest. A Native of Apache Junction, AZ, "Indiana" is good with people and has been fascinated by American Indian religion and folklore since she was a child. Henrietta speaks Apache fluently, and not-so-secretly wishes archaeology could be more like Raiders of the Lost Ark and less like digging in a trench with a trowel and a toothbrush -- Played by Debbie S.

Dr. Arthur "A.J." Jamison -- a retired NASA scientist with a home in one of Moab's nicer canyon sub-developments, who volunteers for 4CSAR because he needs to do something to get out of the house. Considers himself responsible for Sunmi Jones, who is enough of a science-geek that the two of them can actually hold a conversation. -- Played by Anten S.

Aurelia R. Lockrin -- A young woman with a shady past who teaches History at Grand County High School (Home of the Red Devils!), and volunteers for 4CSAR because she's a bit of an adrenalin junkie, and likes the companionship. -- played by Bennie Rae P.

 Dr. Belody "Doc" Bascher -- a local veterinarian for both large and small animals, who frequently fixates on her job and uses 4CSAR as her primary social outlet. -- played by Samantha H. (Unable to attend.)

Sunmi Jones -- A Korean-American prodigy and student of chemistry at Utah Valley University, who spent most of her childhood with her deceased mother's family in Korea, but has come to Utah to attend college and work with her father's petroleum exploration firm. Somewhat moe, awkward-but-cute, glasses-wearing nerd girl, who only volunteers with 4CSAR because volunteer work is required for her degree. Recently suffered mental damage after an attack by a spirit of pain and violation, and agreed to become a chwal for the loa Erzuli Dahomey, as a way to replace the negative affects with those more positive. -- Played by Rebecca W. (Unable to attend.)

 Beatrice "B" Lawrence -- U.S. Army veteran who works for a local air charter service as a helicopter mechanic. She recently lost the lower part of her left leg in a fight with a sorcerer from an opposing lodge, and now wears a high-tech prosthetic. A cynic about men, she is accompanied by "Grunt," the biggest, best-trained pit-bull anybody has ever seen (purchased as an ally, and a totally badass dog, even before it was possessed by what appears to be a benign “foo” spirit) -- played by Bernetta W.

Claudia Abigail Tavulari, member of the NASA Quantum Physics Research Team, and an old friend of Arthur Jamison’s. The team has been helping Arthur research the portal physics, on the sly. – Played by Tisa T.

Stephen Mack, another member of the NASA Quantum Physics Research Team, a former U.S. Marine Corps test pilot, and outdoors enthusiast. – Played by Jeff T.

NPCs Present

Randy "Random" Shoop -- a twenty-something, semi-pro mountain-bike competitor who has trouble staying focused, but is basically a good and reliable member of the team, with an unexpectedly strong moral character -- Played by Gold & Appel, Inc. (Currently in NPC mode.)

Jimmy Ehrland – A fugitive from the 1918 Colonia de Nova España, on the other side of the portal, he had fled from his vampire mistress, Doña Eva, only to find himself in a strange, alien world to which he must struggle to adapt. – Shifted back to NPC status.

Grunt: Beatrice's ally, a large pit-bull possessed by a protective "foo" spirit.

##

The news of the presence of nine cavalry scouts, plus the two cat-warriors, on the party’s back-trail, caused considerable consternation, and several methods ranging from non- to extremely violent got tossed around. Given that they didn’t actually want to kill their way across the 1919 version of the United States (recent events notwithstanding…), as that would make the dirigible theft a lot more difficult, the party had to figure out what to do.

The group had left the vicinity of what would be Poncha Springs, in their own world shortly after the ambush, and now found themselves in the headwaters of the Arkansas River, not far from what would be (in their world) the confluence of Texas Creek. The group decided to try to lose the trackers by walking in the river, for awhile, and then take cover in a spot that looked like it might allow the pursuers to pass them by.

The party did that, for several hours, and then Henrietta spotted a good possibility for concealment as they approached the Texas Creek confluence. The group left the river in single-file, and several members of the group did a really good job of concealing traces of their passage. Meanwhile, Henrietta directed others in building a camouflage blind in a heavily overgrown gully nearly a hundred yards from the river, that nonetheless offered good visibility up and down the valley.

In a bit more than an hour, the cavalry scouts proved they could earn their pay, when they trotted past, down by the riverbank. However, they failed to earn promotions because they apparently didn’t spot the place where the party had left the river and kept going past (really good rolls by the players…).

The group stayed hunkered for more than 30 minutes, in case the cat-warriors followed along. Sure enough, the in-betweeners appeared just about on schedule, and Aurelia and Steve spotted them coming. The pair had separated so one traveled on each bank of the river, and A.J. and Henrietta thought that might give them the chance to talk to the cat-warriors, in hopes of reaching a peaceful accommodation.

That proved futile, however, because as soon as the pair revealed themselves, the cat warrior on their side of the river made like a velociraptor and disappeared into the undergrowth, while the one on the other side kept to cover as he moved on past them.

Steve was able to keep an eye on the one across the river, for awhile, but eventually the party lost track of both. The group wondered if maybe the cat-warriors meant to stalk and slay the cavalry scouts?

The fact that at least one, and possibly two, groups of enemies now traveled ahead of them along the river trail, necessitated another strategy discussion. Aurelia initially favored following the cavalry so as to keep an eye on them, while watching carefully for the cat-warriors.

However, Steve pointed out that while such an approach loaned itself well to an eventual ambush of the cavalry, it didn’t exactly help them evade and escape. If that’s what they wanted, he said, the group should immediately take a route that led them away from the cavalry, before the scouts realized their error and doubled back (Jeff made a good roll against “Soldier,” which he used at minuses because Steve lacked “Tactics.”)

The group decided they did want to try to evade the scouts, so A.J. opened up his map to check the route. The group had entered the rugged vicinity of Royal Gorge, which offered some opportunities for concealed movement, but did make for rough travel.

Eventually, he picked a route that took them south up Texas Creek, and then east through the valley between what would be Hardscrabble Mountain and Wixson Mountain, in their world. That would allow them to approach Pueblo from the west, along what would be Highway 96, instead of northwest, from the direction of Cañon City (the location they suspected for the cavalry’s base).

(I took better notes about the route, this time.)

The rough route slowed them down, but they pushed south as quickly as they could, and saw no sign of followers for the rest of the day. Henrietta found another good campsite on the banks of the creek (still full with runoff), somewhere between what would be Hillside and Westcliffe. The creek bank had a band several yards wide of high rushes and thick shrubs growing amongst cottonwoods and willows, and the group set up camp nearby, as it provided some concealment and good grazing for their horses.

The group divvied up the watch schedule (and Claudia was again relieved of that duty) and tucked away one of A.J.’s good meals. The cool, clear evening passed quietly enough until the start of third watch, with Steven, Beatrice and Grunt on sentry-go.

Early in the watch, in the wee hours of the morning, Beatrice and Grunt approached the northern edge of the camp, while Steven stood at the southern end. The camp fire was still going, but had burned down enough to not mess with Steven’s night-vision goggles as he peered into the darkness.

Up at the north end, Beatrice and Grunt stopped at the edge of the camp, not far from two large trees. Suddenly, Grunt barked a warning and a startled Beatrice looked up to see both cat-warriors charging silently at them.

Beatrice shouted for them to stop and discharged her rifle into the air, but the two in-betweeners rushed them. One swiped at Grunt, who nimbly dodged, but the other laid Beatrice’s right arm open from armpit to wrist with a swipe of its claws.

Beatrice screamed in pain as Steve whirled around, only to catch a glimpse of the two spirit predators as they disappeared into the underbrush along the river-bank. Beatrice managed to retain her grip on her rifle, and tried unsuccessfully to trigger a healing spell, while calling Grunt to heel before the foo-dog could chase them into ground of their choosing.

Another attempt at a healing spell apparently worked, but Beatrice still couldn’t move her arm. She realized, to her dismay, that the claws and likely ripped through the tendons and crippled her arm. Steven tried desperately to spot the cat-warriors as the rest of the party started to wake up and move.

A.J. was one of the first to wake, as he’d decided to brave the mosquitos and sleep in the open, on just a ground-pad, near to the river so he could rise early and try a little fishing. Just as he sat up, the cat-warriors leapt silently from the undergrowth.

The scientist desperately dodged one claw swipe, but the second laid open his chest down to the ribs and A.J. nearly passed out from the pain. However, he managed to keep it together and rolled toward Sunmi’s tent, located nearby, as Steven tried to draw a bead on the cat-warriors, who disappeared back into the brush.

Claudia emerged from her tent, right about then, and looked around to see what was happening. She quickly spotted Beatrice standing at the north end of the camp, rubbing her right arm with her left – but not apparently noticing the blood spattering to the ground from her mangled arm.

(On an earlier spell, Beatrice had drawn the wrong type of energy during the ritual, and the spell had a nasty quirk. The next use of the spell would fail, but it would seem to work to her. It had been a long time since she’d had to heal herself, but the quirk remained in effect.)

Aghast at the sight, and thinking Beatrice must be in shock, Claudia rushed to help just as Steven made a difficult shot through the underbrush, and dropped one of the cat-warriors.

Aurelia, who had awoken and quickly nocked an arrow, heard a splashing sound as the remaining cat-warrior picked up his unconscious buddy and stepped deeper into the river to move away. She took a wild shot through the wall of the tent, and actually almost hit.

Claudia reached Beatrice, found a place to apply direct pressure, and clamped her hands on part of the wound. Beatrice screamed in agony as the illusion cleared, and the helicopter mechanic realized she remained badly injured.

Beatrice heard Steven shout he’d gotten one, and sent Grunt after the other – followed closely by Randy, who had also made it out of his tent by this time.

Doc Bascher emerged and rushed over to help Claudia pull Beatrice closer to the fire so she could see the injury; Henrietta and Jimmy popped out, pistols ready, and looked around wildly as they oriented themselves; Sunmi complained that A.J. was bleeding all over her tent as she started First Aid; Aurelia cursed as she realized she missed and started to zip her way out; and Steven put a round through the torso of the second cat-warrior, killing it instantly just before Randy and Grunt reached it.

The relief proved short-lived, however, as the group realized the dead cat-warrior’s spirit likely had emerged in Yetzirah, and it could take a form they wouldn’t know.

Also, Doc Bascher reported that, while a good healing spell had managed to stop Beatrice from bleeding to death, it hadn’t repaired the tendon damage. That would require the veterinarian to perform some extensive surgery, although a healing spell after that would likely return Beatrice most of the use of her right arm.

On a good note, although A.J. had suffered a severe wound to the chest, it hadn’t been crippling and Sunmi and cleaned and debrided it properly. A healing spell had taken care of his injury.

The next day, the group caught their first clear sight of a dirigible. Somewhat to Aurelia’s disappointment, it seemed that technology lagged in this world, as well. A.J. said it appeared to resemble the early LZ 2 or LZ 3 models, and not the Shenandoah-class ZR airships they’d hoped to find.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LZ_2

With that, the session ended.

##

Funny Quotes

(The group discusses airships.)
A.J.: It’s American, which means it’s helium, which means we don’t have to worry about it catching fire.
Steve: We do have to worry about holes….

(The group tried to figure out what to do about the nine cavalry scouts.)
Steve: I have traps and explosives…
Aurelia:.. and I know how to use them!
Steve: We could plant claymores!
GM: You don’t have claymores. Those would be improvised explosive devices. You would make the transition from “villains” to “terrorists.”

Steven: We just infested this world with evil cat-demons! Good luck, America!

(The party discusses whether or not to kill yet more cavalry troopers.)
Henrietta: That makes us look like villains! Stop it!

(Despite pleas to avoid killing the cat-warriors, lest it free them from their hosts, Steven nails one.)
Steve: Makin’ holes and releasin’ souls!

##
Everybody got three character points, for this one, for thinking through things carefully and making a good plan that mostly worked.

 3 
 on: February 14, 2018, 09:57:26 PM 
Started by tshiggins - Last post by tshiggins
Pending GM approval, I kind of want to run with the idea of Randy's eyes getting more fucked-up every couple of times he goes through the portal as an ongoing process that he can't stop. Night-Adapted Vision doesn't cost or give anything, and Tom kind of ignores darkness penalties anyway, so it'd just be kind of an RP thing.

"If I look hard enough into the setting sun,
My love will laugh with me before the morning comes.
I see the girls walk by, dressed in their summer clothes.
I have to turn my head until my darkness goes.
I see a red door and I want it to turn black.
No colors anymore, I want it to turn black.
I want to see your face painted black!
Black as night! Black as coal!
I want to see the sun blotted out from the sky!"

Let's hold off on this, for now.

 4 
 on: February 06, 2018, 09:17:26 PM 
Started by tshiggins - Last post by Gold & Appel Inc
Pending GM approval, I kind of want to run with the idea of Randy's eyes getting more fucked-up every couple of times he goes through the portal as an ongoing process that he can't stop. Night-Adapted Vision doesn't cost or give anything, and Tom kind of ignores darkness penalties anyway, so it'd just be kind of an RP thing.

"If I look hard enough into the setting sun,
My love will laugh with me before the morning comes.
I see the girls walk by, dressed in their summer clothes.
I have to turn my head until my darkness goes.
I see a red door and I want it to turn black.
No colors anymore, I want it to turn black.
I want to see your face painted black!
Black as night! Black as coal!
I want to see the sun blotted out from the sky!"

 5 
 on: February 04, 2018, 03:24:28 PM 
Started by tshiggins - Last post by Gold & Appel Inc

Fortunately, this session was pretty straightforward. Unfortunately, the group continued its degeneration into rank villainy. Smiley


I am still kind of shocked that I'm the only one who made a good guy this time. I never play the good guy. I usually play the worst guy. And I ran Black Hats and Shadowrun FFS. And Throwdown at the Howdown; that was some crazy shit. And in Lex's hard sci fi cyberpunk game, I whipped my dick out and asked a combat bioroid if he liked what he saw before I fast-drew and shot him in the face while guarding the back exit. My taste runs towards evil. Guess I like variety, though. And can follow instructions, guys. Wink

 6 
 on: February 03, 2018, 07:32:59 PM 
Started by tshiggins - Last post by tshiggins
(...continued)

Funny Quotes

(The group leaves the vicinity of the Tomichi Creek trading post, as the rest of the group bring Samantha, Doc Bascher’s player, up to speed.)
Claudia: I want a hot tub!

(The cavalry sergeant automatically turns his attention to Steve as the oldest man present.)
Steve(OOC): Hola!
Beatrice (OOC): I will shoot you. I swear to God.

(Beatrice strides down the slope to try to take charge of the situation with the cavalry troop.)
Doc Bascher (OOC): You’re being an unruly woman!
Aurelia (OOC): That’s accurate.

(Aurelia made a good roll to hide in a tree, and then manages to hit with a longish shot from her bow, despite minuses.)
Aurelia: YES! I’m a ninja!

Doc Bascher: I shot four people and a horse!

Henrietta(helps loot the bodies and round up skittish horses): Not my favorite part of the job, but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do!

Aurelia: What? Bea’s the loudest one in the forest? This is my “surprise face.”

GM: The women in this group are constitutionally incapable of even pretending to be weak, frightened females grateful to see a troop of big, strong soldiers.

##
Everybody got three character points, for this one.

 7 
 on: January 31, 2018, 11:20:00 PM 
Started by tshiggins - Last post by tshiggins
Since we last played, I’ve moved to a new condo in Denver’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Between getting prepared for the move, actually moving, and then starting to shift my stuff to where it can fit in a place that’s still being remodeled, I’ve been pretty distracted.

Fortunately, this session was pretty straightforward. Unfortunately, the group continued its degeneration into rank villainy. Smiley

Characters Present:

Dr. Henrietta "Indiana" Johnson -- A personable, age 29-and-holding Anthropologist who specializes in the pre-Columbian indigenous people of the American Desert Southwest. A Native of Apache Junction, AZ, "Indiana" is good with people and has been fascinated by American Indian religion and folklore since she was a child. Henrietta speaks Apache fluently, and not-so-secretly wishes archaeology could be more like Raiders of the Lost Ark and less like digging in a trench with a trowel and a toothbrush -- Played by Debbie S.

Dr. Arthur "A.J." Jamison -- a retired NASA scientist with a home in one of Moab's nicer canyon sub-developments, who volunteers for 4CSAR because he needs to do something to get out of the house. Considers himself responsible for Sunmi Jones, who is enough of a science-geek that the two of them can actually hold a conversation. -- Played by Anten S.

Aurelia R. Lockrin -- A young woman with a shady past who teaches History at Grand County High School (Home of the Red Devils!), and volunteers for 4CSAR because she's a bit of an adrenalin junkie, and likes the companionship. -- played by Bennie Rae P.

 Dr. Belody "Doc" Bascher -- a local veterinarian for both large and small animals, who frequently fixates on her job and uses 4CSAR as her primary social outlet. -- played by Samantha H.

Sunmi Jones -- A Korean-American prodigy and student of chemistry at Utah Valley University, who spent most of her childhood with her deceased mother's family in Korea, but has come to Utah to attend college and work with her father's petroleum exploration firm. Somewhat moe, awkward-but-cute, glasses-wearing nerd girl, who only volunteers with 4CSAR because volunteer work is required for her degree. Recently suffered mental damage after an attack by a spirit of pain and violation, and agreed to become a chwal for the loa Erzuli Dahomey, as a way to replace the negative affects with those more positive. -- Played by Rebecca W. (Out of town.)

 Beatrice "B" Lawrence -- U.S. Army veteran who works for a local air charter service as a helicopter mechanic. She recently lost the lower part of her left leg in a fight with a sorcerer from an opposing lodge, and now wears a high-tech prosthetic. A cynic about men, she is accompanied by "Grunt," the biggest, best-trained pit-bull anybody has ever seen (purchased as an ally, and a totally badass dog, even before it was possessed by what appears to be a benign “foo” spirit) -- played by Bernetta W.

Claudia Abigail Tavulari, member of the NASA Quantum Physics Research Team, and an old friend of Arthur Jamison’s. The team has been helping Arthur research the portal physics, on the sly. – Played by Tisa T.

Stephen Mack, another member of the NASA Quantum Physics Research Team, a former U.S. Marine Corps test pilot, and outdoors enthusiast. – Played by Jeff T.

NPCs Present

Jimmy Ehrland – A fugitive from the 1918 Colonia de Nova España, on the other side of the portal, he had fled from his vampire mistress, Doña Eva, only to find himself in a strange, alien world to which he must struggle to adapt. – Shifted back to NPC status.

Randy "Random" Shoop -- a twenty-something, semi-pro mountain-bike competitor who has trouble staying focused, but is basically a good and reliable member of the team, with an unexpectedly strong moral character. – Currently in NPC status.

Grunt: Beatrice's ally, a large pit-bull possessed by a protective "foo" spirit. (Finally healed, but remained on the other side of the portal with Beatrice.)

A few days after the group left the vicinity of the Tomichi Creek trading camp, the group found itself at the eastern end of the wide valley dubbed South Park in their world, looking at the long, difficult trek up this world’s version of Monarch Pass. Feeling grateful for the string of pack animals now led by Henrietta and Jimmy, the party started the long, slow slog up into the eastern branch of the Continental Divide.

Fortunately, the weather stayed within expected parameters (although still a bit cooler than on their world, especially at night), and even Claudia didn’t slow them down, very much. (Tisa made some good rolls against default Hiking skill, and the group decided that Claudia was finally starting to toughen up.)

The group crossed the pass by mid-June – more or less on schedule and nearly four weeks after the portal opening. They figured they’d reach the Great Sand Dunes in a few days, and the vicinity of Pueblo no more than a week after that. All told, they’d made excellent time with (relatively) few mishaps.

The group expected this, given the broad range of outdoors experience held by most of the members.

On the other side of the pass, the trail down was broad and mostly well-groomed, and Henrietta and A.J. noted that it mostly followed the path of  US Highway 50, in their world.

About halfway down the side of the mountain, as they neared where Hwy 50 would cross Hwy 285 in their world, Steve looked ahead and noted movement well down the trail. He quickly called everyone’s attention to it. The group glassed it with binoculars, realized a 20-strong troop of U.S. cavalry was moving up toward them about half a mile away, but apparently hadn’t spotted them, yet.

A quick assessment of the situation showed them they had nowhere to go. This part of the trail had a steep slope upwards with sparse trees to their right, and a steep slope down, to the left, that became a precipice 15-20 yards away. The trees on the downward slope were thicker, until they reached the cliff.

The group took a quick look around, and found a place where a stream cascaded down the side of the mountain, which had a more gentle (but still steep) slope up that would allow them to move their animals off the trail. The water also allowed for a thicker patch of trees and, hoping for the best but fearing the worst, the group deployed.

Henrietta and Jimmy lead the horses up the steep slope and left Beatrice and Sunmi in charge of them, and then jogged back down to the trail to wait for the soldiers. Henrietta had all the social skills and Jimmy was native to the region (although he noted that Mormon’s werent exactly popular in the this world’s USA of 1919).

Doc Bascher and Steven joined them there – Steven because he got along (albeit perhaps a bit too well) with the U.S. troops, and Doc Bascher who planned to offer medical services to any of them who needed it, as a way to make friends.

Lest things go pear-shaped, A.J. (with his high-tech, fast-loading Twinbow II), Aurelia (the other face-person, with her more traditional bow) and the two cat-warriors (undiplomatic hand-to-hand killers) took up ambush positions in the trees. A.J. and the cat-warriors took positions not far behind the leaders, while Aurelia set up further back to provide cover for any needed retreat.

Within a few minutes after the PCs got set up, and troop of U.S. Cavalry arrived, and a grizzled sergent rode forward, dismounted, and greeted Steve. He asked the “obvious” man in charge his business and where the group hailed from.

Steve replied they came from the west and, suddenly interested, the sergeant asked them from how far west? Steve acknowledged they’d come from the desert -- which put them firmly in Spanish territory.

The cavalry sergeant frowned, looked around at group he could see, and asked Steve how many of these women were his wives. Steven said only one (and indicated Claudia, about 10 feet back), and that prompted the sergeant to ask their business on the trail.

Growing a bit perturbed at the line the questioning had taken, Doc Bascher stepped up and offered her services, while Henrietta fumbled out an explanation that the group had wanted to get out of the war zone. The sergeant asked if she were some sort of veterinarian, and Doc Bascher replied that she was a medical doctor.

The sergeant blinked in amazement, and asked where she’d gotten her education? Non-plussed, Doc Bascher fumbled out that she’d apprenticed with a doctor on the other side of the mountains, but was fully qualified.

At that point, the sergeant took note of Doc Bascher’s pump-action shotgun, and asked if he could take a look at it. Reluctantly, but trying to maintain the peace, Doc Bascher handed it over to him. The sergeant looked at it, a long moment, and asked why a doctor was traveling with such a firearm – to which the veterinarian replied that she wanted to be prepared for trouble with the “Native Americans.”

The answer flabbergasted the sergeant (“The what, now?”), and he asked Doc Bascher how to load the weapon. The Doc obliged, willingly enough, racked the slide -- and caught the bright green shell as it exited the breach.

The sergeant saw the shiny plastic shell and asked for a closer look. Doc Bascher handed it over to him, and the sergeant fingered curiously, took the shotgun, and then racked the slide, himself.

At that point, Beatrice (who had been listening carefully from a short distance up the slope), came striding down and demanded to know what was happening. Surprised, the cavalry sergent asked her identity and the nature of her business.

Somewhat affronted that U.S. soldier would poke his nose into the business of an American citizen, Beatrice replied that she and her group had been doing some trading, and they’d really appreciate it if they could be about their business.

Somewhat annoyed at hearing a different story, the lieutenant came riding up, dismounted, and said he and his men would have to search the cargo in the pack-saddles, to make sure the group weren’t bringing contraband across the disputed border from New Spain. Everybody objected to the request, but decided to comply, and Jimmy and Beatrice brought the horses down.

As some of the soldiers began to paw through the bags and pack-saddles, Beatrice again complained at the delay and the intrusion, while Henrietta and Doc Bascher tried to keep things calm.

Eventually, the annoyed sergeant asked if he could see Beatrice’s rifle and, again without thinking too much about it, Beatrice released the magazine and pulled the bolt back to empty the chamber.

Then she handed over the light-weight .30-06 – topped with modern optics in the form of a variable 20x scope.

Amazed, the sergeant asked where she’d gotten such a weapon? Realizing that things had started to come off the rails, Beatrice said she’d inherited it from her father, who had been a skilled gunsmith. The sergeant asked how long ago she’d gotten it, and Beatrice replied that he’d carried it a long while, and she inherited it after his death, some years back.

The sergeant turned and called out for the lieutenant, who dismounted. The sergeant asked if the officer had ever seen such a thing as the finely-tooled modern rifle with the unusual optical scope – or even such a thing as the spring-loaded magazine that held a number of rounds?

The lieutenant took a quick glance at the bolt-action carbine in his saddle-holster (basically, an early version of something that resembled the Lebel Model 1886), and replied that, no, he’d never seen anything like Beatrice's rifle, before.

At that point, the increasingly suspicious lieutenant said he’d like to have the group accompany the cavalry troop back to their base, but before he could issue any such orders, A.J.’s crossbow bolt split his skull. A second later, Aurelia’s arrow thudded into the chest of the sergeant, who looked down in stunned amazement before he dropped straight down to sit on the hard ground with his legs splayed out.

The scene erupted into chaos as Doc Bascher shouted, “Injuns!” and ran for the undergrowth on the down-slope side of the trail, as Jimmy dove prone behind a tree (which just happened to have a cat-warrior in it and A.J. nearby). Henrietta ran up the slope toward the horses, along with Claudia, and a trooper knocked Beatrice to the ground to protect her, pulled out his side-arm and glanced around wildly to spot the attackers.

Pissed at being knocked down, Beatrice yelled at the trooper to get off her, and violently pushed him away as Grunt advanced, growling, with his teeth bared. Suddenly realizing that something wasn’t right, the trooper tried to butt-stroke Beatrice with his pistol to subdue her.

The former U.S. Army helicopter mechanic dodged the strike, and responded by fast-drawing her 10 mm semiautomatic and squeezing off three rounds, two of which hit the soldier.

All hell broke loose as frightened horses started to mill around nervously at the noise and U.S. Cavalry soldiers tried to figure out what was going on. One of them saw Beatrice shoot his buddy, and he fired a round into her, which was stopped by the ballistic vest she had on beneath her coat. That guy took an arrow from Aurelia (who was making good rolls, despite the distance).

Basically, the combat was a mess. Keeping his head about him, Jimmy returned fire with his Colt .45 and not his Colt Python .357, while Doc Bascher managed to climb and scramble around enough to partially flank the troopers and get clear shots with her 9 mm automatic.

The combination of a nice scope and a fast-loading crossbow meant A.J.’s lethality was only exceeded by Steven, once the former Marine brought his 21st Century sniper rifle into the play. Aurelia also accounted for four of cavalry troops.

Henrietta’s shots mostly just scared the horses, and a bunch went completely berserk as missed shots started to hit them.

However, what really turned the tide were the cat-warrior in-betweeners. One of them jumped out of his tree, landed with elegant grace about five yards in front of a cavalry trooper, who promptly shot him down.

That sent the second in-betweener berserk, and he charged forward and laid open the throat of a trooper with a single swipe of hands that had suddenly sprouted claws. He ripped into the rib-cage of a second, charged a third and took him down with the help of Grunt, and generally started to draw the pistol fire from every cavalry soldier near him.

That meant the PCs in the party had several rounds in which the cavalry soldiers had bigger concerns and that, combined with the confusion, the body armor, the cover of trees and panicked horses (Beatrice got stepped on a couple of times when an errant bolo thrown by the pacifistic Claudia smacked into one…), and the superior firepower of TL8 weapons (as compared to late TL 5) made all the difference.

However, at one point, an errant shot by Jimmy hit the remaining cat-warrior, which was already wounded. This caused the berzerk killer to howl with rage and charge at the 18-year-old redhead. However, the party managed to gun it down before it reached him. The creature fell unconscious; badly wounded, but not dead.

Steven shot down the last cavalry trooper at a range of nearly 70 yards, as he tried to escape down the trail. The party had taken no more than bumps and bruises – except the cat-warrior in-betweeners, one of which whose body was dead and the other dying.

At Doc Bascher’s insistence, the group didn’t execute any of the cavalry troops who remained alive, but at A.J.’s insistence she cut out all of the bullets the group has put into them. Meanwhile, he and Aurelia recovered their top-flight aluminum-shafted bolts and arrows.

Doc Bascher patched up the cavalry troops as much as she could without using magic, but then left them tied to trees in the wilderness. She didn’t bother to patch up the remaining cat-warrior in-betweener, figuring it had probably abandoned the badly damaged body and she cared little about what happened to a meth dealer and member of a white supremacist biker gang.

That left the group with a quandary. As things stood, any cavalry trooper who lived would finger them for the ambush, and they'd become hunted people with huge prices on their heads. With that in mind, the group decided to make it look like an indian attack.

Doc Bascher, who had experience with this sort of thing since they'd done it to the Angels of Purity, roofied all of the troops who remained alive. As she did so, Henrietta took charge of arranging the misdirecton. She had the group scalp several of the dead troopers, and then the group shot the dead bodies, several times, with the troopers' own rifles, to camouflage the wounds the modern weapons had made.

After that nasty bit of business, Henrietta and Jimmy sorted through the available horses and grabbed the best ones. Doc Bascher pointed out that, until she had time to alter the U.S. Army brands on the horses, they needed to keep the animals out of sight of most people.

The rest of the party focused on stripping the dead U.S. cavalry officers, and took the weapons and other items they found useful. Also, by careful sorting, they managed to put together four full uniforms that showed minimal damage (or blood-stains). A.J. also found some clippings in the lieutenant’s personal effects, from a newspaper called the Denver Daily Herald, that had news about the war.

The pillaging and abuse of the dead took a couple of hours, and the group managed to get moving, again, by mid-afternoon. They made good time and had left the scene of the fight miles behind, by sunset.

The next day started out well enough, but by mid-day A.J., who had been acting as tail-end Charlie, began to suspect someone might be following the group. He found this rather disconcerting, as he knew the U.S. Army had a cavalry base somewhere in the vicinity, but the group didn’t know where.

A.J. jogged forward to share his suspicions, and the group agreed to push ahead faster and try to stay clear of the road – easier, now that they’d made it as far as the foothills, where the terrain was a bit less vertical. Aurelia, who had the best Stealth skill in the group, and Henrietta, who had good wilderness skills, agreed to drop back and try to spot any followers, and rejoin the group, later.

With that, the party picked up the pace, and soon Aurelia found a spot with good visibility of the trail, and went to ground. She and Henrietta waited patiently and, within an hour or so, saw a troop of nine cavalry scouts trotting along the party’s back-trail.

The archaeologist froze as the former high school art teacher swore softly, but let them ride out of sight. The two then decided to give the troopers a few more minutes to get well clear.

However, as they got ready to slip down the back of her hilltop, Aurelia heard a sound in the distance. Freezing again, the two women watched quietly as two of the soldiers they’d left unconscious came jogging along the trail, moving with a swift and graceful economy of motion, despite the blood on their uniforms.

Apparently, the in-betweeners had picked up a couple of new host bodies.

With that, the session ended.

(continued...)

 8 
 on: January 31, 2018, 11:19:31 PM 
Started by tshiggins - Last post by tshiggins
Randy takes the point. Smiley

 9 
 on: January 28, 2018, 11:47:34 PM 
Started by tshiggins - Last post by Gold & Appel Inc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InRDF_0lfHk

 10 
 on: January 28, 2018, 03:15:06 PM 
Started by tshiggins - Last post by Gold & Appel Inc
Randy's Journal: Addendum:

J-Dog:

The thing I really like about the eye thing is that I can see the stars so much better. I've always liked looking at the stars. My eyes keep getting darker, in the colored part (iris? like the flower? I don't fucking know), and the more they do, the more I can ignore the light pollution when I'm in the city. They used to be much lighter, but I see them turning black. I just sit or lay out on the roof, and blaze, and imagine going out there. Who needs other worlds when we have other planets in this one? There's so much out there. I will go. I will learn the magic to go. I am an Eagle Scout. Nothing can stop me.

Stay Awesome, -R

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