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Gold & Appel Inc
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« Reply #465 on: July 24, 2017, 02:01:56 PM »

Just for the record, Randy is usually pretty mellow, but if anyone hurts one of the team, especially Aurellia, he will come down on them like the fist of an angry god.
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« Reply #466 on: August 15, 2017, 10:26:23 PM »

We held the last session of Facets, a few weeks back. Since then, I’ve started a new job and spent the better part of a week in St. Louis for training. The first week at he office, here in Denver, has also proven hectic. So, while need oft brooks no delay, late is better than never.

Fortunately, this particular session resembled a Mad Max: Fury Road, in that it largely consisted of a single chase seen that went on for a while. It took a bit of work to play out, but the description of events should be pretty short.

We begin in media res, as the rape spirit pops open the hatch on top of the buggy driven by Randy, as Henrietta pulls out her pistol and reaches for bags of salt.

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.

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.

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. (Not available, this session.)

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. (Away, dancing with a drum & bugle corps until August.)

 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 mode, but usually the character available for guest players.

Trooper Frank Moses -- A former Marine who recently quit his job as a trooper with the Utah Highway Patrol (UHP), based out of the Section 13 office in Moab, under Lt. Lee Exeter. Moses works with 4CSAR as needed, and has an interest in Doc Bascher. Frank finds himself attracted to what he perceives as the much simpler life on the 1918 side of the portal.

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.)

##

The pearlescent white tentacles that extended from the hands of the green-haired figure lashed out at Doña Eva, as Sebastián shouted, “What betrayal is this?!” and grabbed Henrietta by the shoulder in vice-like vampire grip. A tentacle wrapped around Doña Eva’s left wrist, and her eyes immediately began to glaze with lust.

However, before things could get out of control, rammed an open five-pound bag of salt up the school-girl skirt of the rape-spirt, and it recoiled in pain and rage. Randy slammed on the brakes and the embodied spirit tumbled onto the hood and then bounced to the sand, but then nimbly leapt into the air as Randy tried to run it down.

Henrietta shouted to Sebastián that the group had driven off the spirit, last time, in such a way that they’d thought it would stay away. She pulled the hatch closed again, and asked Doña Eva to hold it shut, and apologized for not warning them of the possibility of an attack during what they thought would’ve been a peaceful jaunt through the portal. Doña Eva seemed mollified (at least, temporarily) by the explanation, and she took a firm hold of the hatch as Randy floored the accelerator.

Meanwhile, the other members of the team (except for Claudia, who had apparently fallen asleep in the seat behind A.J., who was driving the buggy in front) had spotted the rape spirit, also. A.J. and Aurelia knew Randy would make like a Meatloaf song and wanted to give him plenty of room to move, so they slammed their accelerators to the floor, as well.

All four wheels of Randy’s buggy sprayed rooster-tails of sand as his tattooed white knuckles (“W I L D R I D E”) gripped the wheel, and he blasted up the narrow stone passage. Behind him, Sebastián shouted a warning, and in the rearview mirror he saw the rape spirit begin to give chase, twitching tentacles streaming out behind her as she screamed in frustrated rage.

Up in the front buggy, Steven popped the hatch and grabbed the shotgun A.J. kept behind the front passenger seat and checked the color of the shells loaded (red shells, steel shot; blue shells, silver shot; green shells, wooden dowels, etc.). Seeing it loaded with yellow, he popped the hatch, stood up, kicked Claudia awake (“Hey!”) and tried draw a bead on the rape spirit.

In the second buggy, Aurelia shifted right as far as she dared, and did her best to keep up with A.J., as Jimmy pulled out his Colt Python .357, loaded with steel-jacketed rounds, and watched out the back window.

At first, the rape spirit was able to gain on Randy, but as he kept the pedal to the medal, the extreme athlete began to pull away. Soon, the buggy’s compression diesel engine howled in anguish as it neared the red-line, and he began to rapidly approach Aurelia. He clipped the back of her buggy as he tried pass, but both drivers managed to retain control despite the sandy ground and the narrowness of the passage, and Randy shot ahead of Aurelia.

That left the archer and the 17-year-old as rear guard. Jimmy took aim at the rape spirit, but decided not to try his luck shooting through the one-way bullet-proof glass, since Aurelia (although not driving with Randy’s manic disregard for his own life) remained well ahead of the screaming entity.

Meanwhile, out at the base camp in 2015 March, Grunt’s ears suddenly pricked up and his nose pointed at the portal entrance. He gave a light “woof,” and stood up, which got Beatrice’s undivided attention.

Able to move better with her spring-metal prosthetic (https://www.ossur.com/prosthetic-solutions/products/sport-solutions/cheetah ), Beatrice called Grunt to heel, and the two of them trotted toward up the cavern that led to the passageway between worlds. Once there, the heard the roar of rapidly-approaching diesel engines revving way too fast for the narrow passage.

Realizing that something had gone badly wrong, and surmising it likely had something to do with the rape spirit, Beatrice unslung her scoped .30-06, put her back to the cave near the left side of the entrance, and then peered into the tunnel. Just as she did, Grunt’s head whipped around, back toward the way they’d come, a deep growl rumbling from his throat and the hackles on the back of his neck standing up.

Beatrice quickly looked toward the entrance, and saw the vampire, Arturo, standing at the exit, staring at the foo dog. She called Grunt to heel, and the animal calmed down slightly, but kept himself between her and Arturo as Doña Eva’s minion approached.

In accented English, Arturo said something seemed to be wrong, and asked what it might be. Beatrice quickly described the rape spirit, and said they’d thought they’d chased it away. She tossed Arturo a five-pound bag of salt, and the surprised vampire asked if she really meant for him to fight a hostile spirit with table condiments?

Right about then, A.J. started to slow down as rapidly as possible without cracking up, and his buggy popped into the cavern. Steven shouted the news about the rape spirit, as Claudia jumped out of the buggy with a bag of salt. Steven ducked down as A.J. immediately began to drive up the steep, narrow slope that led to the slot canyon, so as to clear out of Randy’s way.

Just as A.J.’s buggy started its climb, Randy roared into the cavern, and they saw him shout at A.J. to hurry. Arturo jumped on top of the vehicle and spread-eagled himself to cover the hatch with his body.

Out in the passage, the third buggy pulled to a stop, and Jimmy jumped out with another bag of salt. Aurelia shouted at him to get ready to pour a thick line of it across the threshold to the cave. Behind them, the rape spirit screamed in triumph when it saw the buggy had stopped, and Claudia started to pour a partial barrier, easier to seal up completely as soon as Aurelia had gotten through.

Cursing loudly, Aurelia scooted her buggy into the cave, just as the spirit came screaming up. Jimmy saw it coming and froze in terror for a second, while Claudia completed the salt line. Jimmy recovered himself, and dove across the line and into the cave.

The rape spirit charged after Jimmy, but slammed to a stop as it tried to cross the salt line, and then Beatrice blew its physical manifestation to vapor with a steel-jacketed bullet fired from her .30-06.

The group scampered up the slope after Aurelia’s buggy, and Claudia poured another salt barrier across it, just to be sure. The trio, plus Grunt, then trotted down the slot canyon to join the rest of the group at the base camp.

There, they found that Henrietta had managed to calm the vampire’s down with a full explanation about the rape spirit. The archaeologist told them that, after whatever now possessed Sunmi had attacked the spirit, they’d assumed the evil entity was either destroyed or banished. However, that had apparently not been the case, and Sunmi hadn’t made the trip, this time.

With that, Arturo reported to Doña Eva that he’d secured transportation to Santa Fe, but that they’d have to reach it before dawn and had several miles to travel. Doña Eva had Arturo and Sebastián take her two large trunks out of the truck bed of Randy’s buggy, and the trio of undead got ready to move out.

A.J. delayed them long enough to give the vampire mistress a burner cell-phone, and Henrietta quickly instructed Doña Eva how to answer when it rang. She also reminded the vampire that, even though she wouldn’t show up on regular film, digital media captured her image just fine and that most cities had security cameras in many places. Doña Eva accepted the phone and the reminder graciously, and the vampires disappeared into the night, headed south.

Meanwhile, Aurelia finally let go of her fright and frustration from the chase by slugging Randy in the shoulder for bumping the left rear bumper of her buggy, which was the larger of the three and built by Beatrice.

For her part, Beatrice saw the damage to both vehicles and quickly surmised what had happened. She then slugged Randy in the chest (“Ow! Hey!”) and told him he had to help her make repairs.

With that, the group settled around the camp fire and poured themselves some hot coffee or tea, and swapped news with Beatrice. The mechanic said she had a hearing, in April, to request an early end to her probation, and reported that her attorney had expressed guarded optimism about the possibilities. She’d been a good girl and attended grief counseling and all the mandatory anger-management classes.

At that point, Beatrice pulled out a article she’d clipped from the High Lonesome News, a weekly newspaper with a solid reputation for coverage of issues that affected rural areas of the western United States. One of JoCat’s relatives – a cousin from her mother’s side of the family – had decided to challenge her will.

JoCat had never borne any children, and had apparently left Café Nepethe and Nova Nepenthe to her long-time manager, Krystal Swan. However, her cousin Harold J. Taverner had decided to challenge the will, in an effort to get control of the businesses so he could close them down as affronts to decency and morality.

The news triggered an argument within the group. Incensed that someone might challenge the last will and testament of a friend who had died badly, in part because she’d helped them, Aurelia wanted to go after Taverner.

However, A.J. argued that the matter seemed a routine, if annoying, legal matter, and they had far more important things to worry about than getting involved in something that had already made the newspapers. Better to just let the law sort things out, A.J. said.

The argument went back and forth for a bit, and in the end the group couldn’t reach a consensus. Aurelia decided to ask her ally, Wren, to check into Taverner’s background to see if he might have any ties to companies associated with the Order of the Scarlet Sage. She reasoned that the order might have decided to harass them and damage potential assets, using Taverner as a front.

With that, the session ended.

##

Funny Quotes

(The GM accidentally skips past Henrietta in the turn rotation, as the rape spirit attacks.)
Debbie (OOC): I’m okay with you skippin’ me, if it’s gonna hurt!

(An upset Sebastián grabs Henrietta’s shoulder.)
Bennie (OOC) : Better than a seat-belt! Vampire grip!

Bennie (OOC): Speaking as the player, I’d love it if we didn’t save the vampire….

Claudia (wakes to find the rape spirit in hot pursuit): Ohmigod! Shoot it! Shoot it!

A.J.: I feel the need! The need…
Steven: …for speed!

Randy: This is probably the most times we’ve ever used the word “rape” in a single day, ever.
Beatrice: Without a whistle or a cop!

Beatrice: Okay, house rules! Don’t kill people. Obey your mother and father.
Aurelia: They’re vampires. They have to kill people.
Beatrice: We need a list of people they’re allowed to kill.
Aurelia: Child molesters… rapists…
Beatrice: ...homeless people…
Randy: What’s wrong with homeless people? Some of my best friends are homeless people!
(Beatrice and Aurelia continue the list.)
Randy: And we’re the good guys….

##

Everybody gets two points for this session. See you all, Sunday!
« Last Edit: August 17, 2017, 08:16:11 PM by tshiggins » Logged

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« Reply #467 on: August 19, 2017, 06:52:28 PM »

Arthur Jamison's Log
Date 2457101

Well, the trip through the gate was interesting.  We really need to take care of that rape spirit that Sunmi brought into this world.  I know that the Columbine Lodge wants to take young Ms. Brown through our portal.  Maybe they can help us go into the Astral Plane and take care of this minor little problem.  We will definitely need to insist we use the armored dune buggies to take her into the portal for her protection.  I need to take the time to put locks on the "sunroof" to keep it sealed.  It shouldn't take that long.  I'll just put a slide bolt in.

I know that everyone is worried about releasing vampires on the world.  I certainly hope that they behave and be discrete with their activities.  Well, like I said before, I am willing to do the Doc. Brown thing...

Right now, our biggest problem is getting prepared for whatever is on the other side of the Parisian portal.  There is a lot to do before we adventure to the other side of that portal.  We really need to master another college of magic.  We really need to learn how to defend ourselves with renaissance style weaponry and fight hand to hand.  We also need to learn how to ride a horse.  My butt is still sore from our ride to the Anasazi Ruins.  There is a lot to do.  I hope the group is smart enough to understand there is a lot of preparation we need at this time.  The good news is that Henrietta, Sunmi and Cat should be close to understanding the colleges of magic they are studying.
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« Reply #468 on: August 22, 2017, 09:34:57 AM »

I know that everyone is worried about releasing vampires on the world.  I certainly hope that they behave and be discrete with their activities.
 

RANDY (IF HE WAS PRESENT): We are talking about people, who barring an accident, live forever. There's a fairly good possibility that they're still alive now. Well, not exactly alive, and not exactly now, but... you know what I mean!

Well, like I said before, I am willing to do the Doc. Brown thing...

[points at A-Money] Captain and First Mate, reporting for duty.

Right now, our biggest problem is getting prepared for whatever is on the other side of the Parisian portal.  There is a lot to do before we adventure to the other side of that portal.  We really need to master another college of magic.  We really need to learn how to defend ourselves with renaissance style weaponry and fight hand to hand.

You rang?
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« Reply #469 on: August 25, 2017, 06:11:12 PM »


(SNIP)

You rang?

Ayup, Randy is the point man on that one. The importance of it became more apparent, in the most recent session. I'll try to get that written up, this weekend (no promises, though -- I don't feel well).
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« Reply #470 on: September 05, 2017, 11:23:18 PM »

Well, the school year had officially begun, as of the last session of Facets, and that’s usually a hectic time for just about everybody. As such, we had a much smaller turnout, than usual, so those who did attend spent most of the session taking advantage of their new-found associations with other lodgers, to learn more about the circumstances in which they find themselves.

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. (Unable to attend, this time.)

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. (Unable to attend, this time.)

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. (Not available, this session, but makes an NPC cameo appearance.)

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.

 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. (Had to leave early.)

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. (Unable to attend, this time.)

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. (Unable to attend, this time.)



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 mode, but usually the character available for guest players.

Trooper Frank Moses -- A former Marine who recently quit his job as a trooper with the Utah Highway Patrol (UHP), based out of the Section 13 office in Moab, under Lt. Lee Exeter. Moses works with 4CSAR as needed, and has an interest in Doc Bascher. Frank finds himself attracted to what he perceives as the much simpler life on the 1918 side of the portal.

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.)

##

After the vampires had bid everyone, “hasta la vista” and disappeared, the group speedily struck camp and headed back to Moab. They reached the town before dawn, pulled up at Doc Bascher’s place and pounded on her door.

The unnerved veterinarian showed up at the door in her nighties and toting a shotgun, and responded with the requisite amount of bitching when the group informed her she needed to dig some bullets out of a badly-injured prisoner. However, she quickly had them pull around back and quickly carry the unconscious Don Maximo into her large animal operating theater.

There, Doc Bascher performed her medical not-so-magic, and removed the steel-jacketed round. She then used a healing spell to help him continue the road to recovery, and told the group to get him out of her office, as the sun had nearly risen.

Beatrice volunteered to host Don Maximo in her garage workshop, so everybody drove over to her place. There, she set up an army cot with an IV drip and some security straps, and dosed Don Maximo as instructed by Doc Bascher to keep him unconscious. After that, everybody scattered to their homes, made it to their beds and fell on their faces.

The next morning, Beatrice checked on her “guest” and found him still passed out. She gathered up all the clothing the group had cut off of him and burned it in her incinerator. She then made a quick trip to a second-hand store, and bought him some new garments with a lot less lace (and no hidden spell charms).

The teams spent the next day resting, getting Sunmi caught up on current events, and discussing what to do with Don Maximo. A.J. pointed out that nobody wanted another Ultor conflict so soon after the resolution of the first one (or, for that matter, ever again…), which meant they had to cut a deal with Don Maximo’s lodge (or whatever it was called), on the other side.

Given that the portal had now closed, and Sunmi had about a week and a half of studying before she could even try to reopen it (a dangerous proposition, in any case, for lots of different reasons…), that meant they had to bring Don Maximo around, and negotiate with him, directly. As such, they decided some glad-handling was in order and had Beatrice stop the sedatives.

The next day, Don Maximo woke to find himself strapped to a military cot and wearing a set of SpongeBob SquarePants pajamas, in a corner of Beatrice’s garage draped off with tarps. He felt surprisingly good (and pleasantly alive…), and within a few minutes, Beatrice appeared and asked for his parole.

Seeing no choice, Don Maximo granted it, and soon the rest of the group arrived. They finished healing him up, unstrapped him from the cot and let him change into more comfortable jeans and a pullover. After they fed him and assured him of their honorable intentions, negotiations began in earnest.

After rather a lot of back-and-forth and side-discussions, the group hammered out an agreement:
Don Maximo and his people were to accept the loss of their minions, Doña Eva and her scions, as a fait accompli.
*”Doña Henrietta” and her people, and any of their guests, were to enjoy free passage, without hassle, through the portal, at any time of their choosing.
*Don Maximo’s people were to enjoy the same privilege, and both lodges agreed to provide minimal hospitality to one another, including news and travel warnings about events on each side of the portal. (Don Maximo informed them this was standard practice, anyway, and the fact that Doña Henrietta and her people hadn’t checked in with him got the whole relationship off to a bad start.)
*The assets created by the Friends of Olivia Lodge (FOOL) on the 1919 side were to remain untouched, and the group could purchase property in the vicinity of Santa Fe, so long as Don Maximo was informed of its location, once they’d done so. FOOL would allow the same privilege on the 2015 side, for the same courtesy.
*Given that the current guardians of the portal now answered to minions of FOOL, Don Maximo’s people would name their own guardian of the portal, with the privileges necessary to exercise his, her or its responsibilities.
*FOOL was to clean up its own mess – to wit, the rape spirit on the threshold – as soon as possible, with the assistance of Don Maximo and Don Reyes.

With the agreement in place, things relaxed quite a bit, and A.J. offered to let Don Maximo stay at his place, where the master mage would find the accommodations much more comfortable. Don Maximo agreed readily enough, and after that, the group began to treat him as a guest from out of town. At Don Maximo’s request, they took him to on a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon (which remained almost entirely inaccessible, in his world), and made a trip to Las Vegas (which the Spanish sorcerer likened to Sodom & Gomorrah, even though he acknowledged the sheer utility of such a place).

(Basically, Henrietta, the group’s “face-man,” turned on the charm, and despite the minuses due to the circumstances, she got some decent rolls. Also Don Maximo’s reaction dice came up very high. He basically decided to accept the situation philosophically, and get out of it what he could. After all, he had enough problems to deal with in his own world, without a bunch of mages with a talent for violence gunning for him with 21st Century weapons.)

Once things had settled down, a bit, A.J. got to talking with Don Maximo and, during the course of the conversation about the Grand Canyon jaunt, joked that he’d like to take a helicopter through the portal. The former NASA scientist was quite surprised when the Spanish sorcerer reacted with deep shock, and said such jokes were, by definition, in poor taste. A.J. was even more surprised when Don Maximo grew quite upset at the mention of the ultra-light aircraft he and Steven had already taken over and flown around.

Pressing for an explanation, A.J. soon learned that the presence of anachronistic technologies, or the open use of magic, posed an existential threat to any world in which mages – either accidentally or on purpose – caused a significant change in the natural flow of events. The greatest hazard lay with actions that directly affected the lives of individuals who played important roles in the events of the world, Don Maximo explained, especially if performed publicly, in full view of many people.

Such “out-time” interference seemed to trigger some sort of cosmic reaction, which manifested as the appearance of what the Spanish sorcerer called the “qlippoth,” the “mad devourers.”

The qlippoth usually appeared as parasites in the minds of those near the violation event. These parasites devoured the people from within, and spread to new hosts. Once an entire region had been affected, Don Maximo said, all life mutated in twisted mockeries of itself, and eventually tentacled horrors appeared that spread magical chaos throughout the area.

If not stopped, he said, the very fabric of reality began to unravel, and eventually the entire universe frayed apart. Moreover, if the initial infestation took place near a portal, Don Maximo explained, it could spread to the second universe before the first disintegrated enough to destroy the gateways.

By bringing over anachronistic devices, and using them so openly, the group had placed Don Maximo’s entire reality at risk.

(continued...)
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« Reply #471 on: September 05, 2017, 11:23:35 PM »

(...continued)

Appalled by the revelation, A.J. called a meeting with the rest of the group and they discussed the possibilities. They noted that everyone who had seen the ultra-light was either from the 2015 side of the portal, or had perceptions already magically altered and, therefore, didn’t count.

(Don Maximo explained that mages and magical creatures were already aware of the rather more fluid nature of the universe than mundanes, so anachronisms didn’t trigger the same consequences. He also noted that in certain very rare instances, a legitimate discovery proved so profound that it accidentally triggered something that looked like a qlippoth infestation. Don Maximo said this was supposed to have happened in at least one reality in which Sir Isaac Newton discovered the calculus, and local mages had sterilized his brain as a precaution. However, he couldn’t really claim that the story was anything other than a cautionary apocryphal tale.)

The group discussed matters, and Henrietta said she’d hit the McShane library to research the matter further. A.J. pointed out that the new information would force them to alter their modus operandi, by quite a bit.

A.J. pointed out that, while the presence of the ultra-light was probably the most obvious issue, the greatest threat had probably come from Doc Bascher’s sale of modern sterile gauze, bandages and aspirin, on her first trip to Valle Grande. After all, the Doc couldn’t bring herself to break sterility by removing the plastic packaging and, not only did the 1919 world probably not yet have bakelite (much less transparent plastic), the packaging was printed with all sorts of instructions, patent notifications, FDA approvals, and information about manufacturing origins.

Although still visibly upset, Don Maximo managed to calm himself, and acknowledged that while such activities posed needless risk, the universes weren’t exactly fragile. As such, given that the group had exercised at least some discretion, and had mostly shot bandits and soldiers in an area about to become a war-zone, anyway, they probably hadn’t triggered an infestation of qlippoth.

Still, Don Maximo demanded they take far greater precautions on any future trips, and said he’d have Don Reyes and some of his other colleagues check the areas in which the group had been most active, on previous visits.

He also noted that the risk of qlippoth infestation meant most lodges did their best to maintain near-absolute secrecy, and seldom exercised power in any directly traceable way. Instead, they always embedded themselves deeply in a society, created relationships with individuals in the local economic and political power structures, and exercised power by pulling strings as invisibly as possible.

The discussion then turned in a more philosophical direction, as A.J. began to ponder the nature of the qlippoth. Were they some sort of universal backlash triggered by outrages to the space-time continuum, or were they produced by grotesquely violated human perceptions, in a universe where faceted human minds could control supernatural forces by an exercise of will? If the latter, did universes become so resilient as humans gained greater understanding of the sciences – so much so that human minds could no longer control decanic forces directly?

Alternatively, A.J. hypothesized, did the rapid advance of technological innovation seem so miraculous to a populace -- the vast majority of whom could never begin to understand the science that drove it – that any unusual event was simply dismissed as yet another example of the science that had already utterly alienated many of them? Did numb, mindless acceptance immunize a world from infestation by the qlippoth, at the same time it rendered magic impossible? Was that why no world more advanced than theirs had ever been discovered?

Regardless, Don Maximo noted that a special college of sterilization spells, known mostly by only the most powerful sorcerers, could be used to eliminate a qlippoth infestation, although they generally produced a lot of collateral damage. The elder mages who cast those spells didn’t concern themselves with that too much, as those spells were never, ever supposed to be needed and, if they ever were, the sorcerers who knew them made it a top priority to spread the collateral damage widely enough to include the mages responsible.

The conversation gave everybody a lot to think about, but they also had other items on their plates. To that end, the group set up a meeting in Chicago with a representative of the Goldenrod Circle, Oliver McShane’s original lodge and the one most closely associated with the Academy Club’s Columbine Lodge.

After a few days, they received an appointment to meet with George LaMarque, who arranged to host the meeting in a rental conference space in downtown Chicago. The group flew in, the night before, greeted LaMarque bright and early, and the FOOL contingent jumped right to business.

They said they had a problem with the infestation of the portal by a violent spirt, and wanted help to get rid of it. To that end, they asked if LaMarque’s order, the Goldenrod Circle had access to a stasis box that would allow at least one of them to carry a projected melee weapon into Yetzirah, the Astral Plane?

Somewhat taken aback by the query, LaMarque reluctantly acknowledged that the Goldenrod Circle might have such a thing available, but if so it would be an incredibly rare and precious item the group would never needlessly risk, since the knowledge of their manufacture lay in the 18th Century world on the other side of the portal in the Paris catacombs.

Henrietta and A.J. said they had no desire to place the item at any risk, and would allow someone to accompany them to the site of the portal so as to keep an eye on the thing while they borrowed it for their single mission.

The ability to learn the location of the North American portal, and possibly scout out the world on the other side, noticeably piqued LaMarque’s interest, and negotiations began in earnest. In the end, A.J. and Henrietta tentatively agreed (based on approval from the rest of the members of FOOL), to permit LaMarque to accompany them, and allow the Goldenrod Circle to use the portal to facet apprentices once per year.

In exchange, they’d receive one use of the Stasis Box, and LaMarque would buff them with protection spells for the astral combat against the rape spirit, and arrange for in-depth briefings about the 18th Century world on the other side of the Paris portal.

(The group had asked what it would take for LaMarque to actually accompany them into Yetzirah to face the rape spirit, but they’d balked when he said his price required they commit to beginning the mission through the Paris portal no later than June, 2015.)

While A.J. and Henrietta visited Chicago, Sunmi completed work on the Gate college spells, and decided to do additional research into Shangri La. She soon found several references that identified the exact location of the portal, as well as advice about the best approach (from the south, between two readily identifiable peaks).

The passages also provided some information about previous attempts to enter the portal, which confirmed that an approach by a modern aircraft would almost certainly prove lethal. The electrical components in the engines would cause them to explode, which meant the pilot would have to try to crash-land the flaming aircraft (with all of its iron and steel parts) in a remote, rugged valley in a Faerie version of the Himalayas.

Even Sunmi acknowledged that sounded like a Bad Idea™, so they group kicked around some alternates. A.J. thought an unpowered glider might offer some possibilities, but noted the Himalayan crosswinds made that an incredibly dangerous proposition long before the aircraft even got close to the portal. Those winds made an unpowered balloon an even worse option.

However, that turned everyone’s thoughts to Aurelia’s stated goal of stealing a powered, rigid airship and using it for air piracy on the Pearl Bright Ocean. A.J. noted that modern airships usually had computerized “glass cockpits” and lightweight internal combustion engines, which made them only slightly better than an airplane. (The gasbag would still retain at least some buoyance after the engines exploded. Maybe. But that left the problem of actually surviving a landing that most likely would see the remains of the airship splashed against a cliff.)

At that point, A.J. noted that many early dirigibles relied on compression fuel-oil engines not that different (although much less refined) from those that now powered the dune buggies. While it would be prohibitively expensive to try to build such a thing in their own world (and would likely violate aircraft design regulations in just about every nation), the 1919 world already had them.

Maybe they should steal one in Don Maximo’s world, fly it around the world to the British Raj, and enter Shangri La through the Faerie gate in that universe’s Kashmir?

With that, the session ended.

##

Funny Quotes

A.J. (discussing what to do with Don Maximo): We didn’t take his clothes. We burned his clothes.
Beatrice: Put him in a pair of Spongebob Squarepants pajama bottoms.

Henrietta: We were doing just fine with capturing ultors!
A.J. (bangs his head on the table): I don’t ever want to get in an ultor fight, again!

Henrietta: Oh, I hate being Doña Henrietta!

A.J.: If he wants to see “immorality,” we can take him to Vegas!

Don Maximo: Why has God not destroyed this city as he did with Sodom & Gommorrah, and turn all of its denizens into pillars of salt?!
A.J.: I ask myself that, every time I come here.

Sunmi: So, Doc Bascher was the closest we got to destroying a universe?

(George LaMarque discusses the social realities on the other side of the portal to early 18th Century France, and notes that, as a young, reasonably attractive female with straight, white teeth and no scars from smallpox, Sunmi would attract a great deal of attention.)
Henrietta: We’ll have to do the Mulan thing, with her.
Sunmi: Oo! Dress me as a boy!

##

Everybody who attended gets two character points. Thanks, everyone!
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« Reply #472 on: September 06, 2017, 03:28:42 AM »

The qlippoth

Oh, sweet baby Jesus, no. This just got crazy like a Batman villain.
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« Reply #473 on: September 09, 2017, 08:10:46 AM »

Arthur Jamison's Log
Date 2457114

Well, it's April Fools' Day.  However, I am not joking about any of this...

In the last couple of weeks, we learned a lot of things.  One of the big things is about creatures known a Qlippoths.  Basically, they are creatures that can destroy all of reality.  Basically, if you think of the Prime Directive, you'll understand what needs to be done.  Tampering with the natural flow and development of a world on the other side of a portal can allow Qlippoths to enter that world and devour that reality.

From a multiverse point of view, it is actually rather logical, especially if you add in the concept of bubble universes.  If universes can be created and now, as we found out, destroyed, then could the Qlippoths be how our limited perception manifests the energy that pours through when a hole perforates a bubble universe.  That would fit the description of the mages having cauterize the area, stopping the bleeding of destructive energy flooding into the bubble universe.  Since the energy that produces magical constructs is can be manipulated by the human brain, it only makes sense that certain thoughts can rip a hole in the bubble universe.  It also make sense that our universe is the most advanced of the known universes.  In order to generate a hole in our bubble universe, it might take more energy than is available in our universe or there is not a large enough concentrated to attach to a rogue thought, since our universe seems to be the lowest in energy too.

Another question is: what happens when a universe is destroyed?  As Einstein said, “Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another.”  Does that mean the Qlippoths are an ever growing force that eventually destroy all of the bubble universes?  If that is so, could that mean that the universe that are move advanced than ours, "walled" themselves off from the rest of the multiverse to protect themselves from this threat?  Or does it mean that their thoughts got so abstract that they all destroyed themselves?

I think this is a big enough threat that it warrants research.  Can I gather enough intellectuals and resources together without garnering suspicion from the world?  It sounds a little "Men in Blackish" but I think for the safety of this universe, it needs to be done.
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« Reply #474 on: September 25, 2017, 09:41:32 PM »

Arthur gets the point. Smiley
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« Reply #475 on: September 26, 2017, 09:32:02 PM »

Astral Shenanigans

We held the most recent session of Facets, a couple of weekends ago, and have the next session scheduled for this weekend. So, with that in mind, I should really get this write-up done.

We pick up a few days after the last session ended, when A.J. and Henrietta return from Chicago, and report the outcome of their negotiations to Aurelia, Sunmi and Beatrice.

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.

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. (Unable to attend, this time.)

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.

 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. (Unable to attend, this time.)

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. (Unable to attend, this time.)



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 mode, but usually the character available for guest players.

Trooper Frank Moses -- A former Marine who recently quit his job as a trooper with the Utah Highway Patrol (UHP), based out of the Section 13 office in Moab, under Lt. Lee Exeter. Moses works with 4CSAR as needed, and has an interest in Doc Bascher. Frank finds himself attracted to what he perceives as the much simpler life on the 1918 side of the portal.

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.)

##

Upon their return from Chicago, A.J. and Henrietta caught Aurelia and Beatrice up on current events, which triggered a second round of discussion. Both Beatrice and Aurelia found news of the qlippoth most disturbing, and Aurelia (in particular) vowed to operate with a much lower profile. For her part, Beatrice wondered if the problem through the Paris portal might have something to do with a qlippoth infestation.

In general, the two ladies agreed with the priorities set – clear out the rape spirit from the portal, first, and then figure out whether to go to Shangri-La, or investigate the problem in the 18th Century reality through the Paris gateway.

Aurelia also strongly advocated the group investigate Harold Taverner, and try to find a way to “discourage” him from messing with JoCat’s inheritor, Krystal Swan. Her ally, Wren, had reported that Tarverner’s company, Gunnison Supply Depot, had done business with Island Petroleum of Houston, Texas, in the past. Moreover, they’d recently secured a huge contract to supply fracking materials to the front for the Society of the Scarlet Sage, for use in some oil fields in Oklahoma.

A.J. argued that, while the timing certainly seemed suspicious enough, nothing in their armistice with the Society of the Scarlet Sage prevented the group from doing normal, mundane business with firms located in Colorado, Utah or New Mexico. As such, while the Scarlet Sage might be bending the spirit of the agreement, they continued to adhere to the letter of the treaty.

As such, the engineer said, perhaps the group should let the law handle the matter (as it seemed Taverner likely had a weak case, anyway), rather than do anything to come to the attention of the law, again – especially when they had more important matters on their agenda. Henrietta and Beatrice agreed with A.J.’s assessment, and eventually the grumbling Aurelia decided to have Wren keep an eye on the case, but do nothing more, for now.

As expected, Aurelia whole-heartedly endorsed the theft of a dirigible from either the Spanish or the Americans in the world through their own gateway, but wondered who might have the skills to pilot such a dangerous flying machine. A.J. noted that Steven had been a test pilot, and that he himself could fly, and Beatrice was a skilled mechanic with (at this point) considerable experience with compression diesel engines, an earlier version of which the airships likely used.

While the trip would undoubtedly prove challenging (Where would they refuel?), A.J. said, the actual piloting itself might be okay – especially since the long trip to Kashmir would give them time to practice.

Beatrice’s presence on the trip had become much less of an issue, also. The helicopter mechanic reported that her attorney had successfully convinced the federal judge to release her early from the remainder of her probation. She had returned the ankle bracelet while A.J. and Henrietta visited Chicago, and that made her a free woman, once again.

All that said, the group decided its first priority must be to practice some of the new spells they’d learned during the winter, so as to get a bit of experience in the plane of Yetzirah, before they tried to jump through at the Dark Canyon portal site and engage an angry rape spirit, native to the realm, in lethal combat.

With that in mind, the group decided their deconsecrated church in Denver probably offered the safest place to transit to the Astral Plane. Henrietta recalled from her reading that places with a strong magical or other presence projected themselves strongly into Yetzirah. Given that the Dark Canyon portal was the only other strongly magical place they knew, they figured that Denver probably offered a much safer opportunity for a dry run.

So, everybody piled into their vehicles and made the day-long trek through the snowy Rocky Mountains to Denver, which remained firmly in the grasp of winter despite the fact that the season had officially turned to spring. The group rested up, for an evening, and then entered their chilly church building, the next day, where they’d already set up sacred spaces for ritual magic.

There, Sunmi noted that, as a beginner, she didn’t feel comfortable trying to cast too many astral gateway spells at once, and the group decided to send only two at a time, while the others remained behind to watch over the comatose bodies of the astral travelers.

The first to make the trip were Henrietta, Aurelia and Beatrice. Henrietta had used a spell in her newly-learned Sphandôr college to peek into the Yetzirah before they made the trip, themselves. Seeing nothing, Sunmi loaded them with the spells needed for the shift to the astral plane, and the three went through.

Once there, they mostly just tried to orient themselves, and look for threats. Aurelia and Beatrice peeked outside, but the cautious Henrietta remained in the astral projection of the church. About 10 minutes later, they woke in their own bodies.

A.J. went next to accompany Sunmi, who decided to make the trip through. The two of them found themselves in the old sanctuary, and Sunmi found herself with a far more attractive avatar than she anticipated. A.J. pointed out that likely was due to the influence of the loa, Erzulie Dahomey, for whom Sunmi had agreed to act as a cheval

For his part, A.J. appeared as a 25-year-old version of himself, a young astronaut candidate in a NASA flight jacket, adorned with patches of missions he never flew.

The two decided to look around the church, and eventually found their way downstairs, which had the colors and scent of a much more naturalistic cave, as compared to the dry, dusty odor of the long-abandoned basement of the structure in Assiah, the material world.

After a few moments, they saw a bright light streaming from the room that corresponded to the old kitchen in the basement of Assiah church and, approached cautiously. The soon began to detect the unmistakable smell of garlic and spaghetti sauce and, peeking through the door, they saw a young woman dressed in checkered dress from the early 1970s, covered by a bright white apron, busy with huge pots on the stove.

A.J. entered and greeted the woman, who turned around suddenly, startled by the appearance of visitors. She quickly recovered and introduced herself as Cecilia Brown, a long-standing member of the parish.

Cecilia seemed benign enough, so Sunmi and A.J. asked about her presence. Cecilia said she’d died in a nursing home in 1979, and found herself as a young woman in this version of Denver. Confused by the absence of her husband, Charles (no relation to either Molly Brown or Molly’s descendant, Millicent), who had pre-deceased her, Cecilia had gone to her home.

There, she’d found an older structure instead of her 1960s bungalow and, once again, no Charles. Rather distressed, she’d made her way to the church, only to find it vacant, as well. However, as soon as she made her way to the old kitchen, she saw it looking much better than she’d ever remembered it, and decided to stay there, for a while.

The church kitchen had always been a place of comfort, Cecilia explained, where she and the other ladies of the parish had prepared spaghetti dinners and other victuals for church socials. So, she’d just decided to stay, and fix dinners for herself from the always-full pantry. She always made too much, she confessed, because she’d always hoped for visitors, and now she had some.

Cecilia asked if they were members of the parish, too, and Sunmi and A.J. confessed they weren’t. That didn’t seem to upset Cecilia, though, and she asked if they’d like some spaghetti and fresh garlic bread. The two readily agreed, and Cecilia bustled around a bit.

Soon, she set two steaming plates of spaghetti in front of A.J. and Sunmi, on one of the kitchen tables, and they took bites. A.J. remarked that it was the best church social spaghetti dinner he’d ever tasted, with perfect al dente.

(He noted that the huge amounts made in every other church spaghetti social he’d attended had almost always rendered the noodles into tasteless mush, but these were excellent.)

Sunmi said the garlic bread was quite good, also, and the two started to dig in as Cecilia smiled in satisfaction. However, they almost immediately woke up in their own bodies, and couldn’t finish the meal.

The two reported the presence of the ghost to Aurelia, Beatrice and Henrietta, who said Cecilia had seemed decent enough. The group decided to research her life, a bit, and discovered that her death in 1979 followed a long bout of dementia, during which the dwindling inner city parish had sold off the church and merged with one in Park Hill, further east.

The group surmised that, because Cecilia had died during dementia, she never learned that the parish had relocated and deconsecrated the church. Henrietta noted that the literature seemed to indicate that entry into a holy place of a particular religion allowed spirits to pass to their final rewards.

The archaeologist wondered what would happen if they returned, and escorted Cecilia to the location in Yetzirah of the projection of the church to which her old parish had moved?

Following that discovery, the group felt confident enough to try a little astral sparring. Aurelia and Sunmi then went into Sunmi’s sacred space, where the young sorceress started to cast. After two lengthy rituals (which indicated to Sunmi that the spells might have some unfortunate harmonics), she cast them in hasty tattoos drawn on the arms of her and Aurelia. The two ladies also bore other tattoos with healing spells, lest the trip turn out a bit more hazardous than anticipated.

That proved a wise precaution. Sunmi and Aurelia triggered the spells, and found themselves in the projection of the church building, in Yetzirah. Aurelia noted Sunmi's unusually attractive appearance, but was considerably less pleased with the appearance of her own avatar.

The art teacher with the questionable background had anticipated her astral form would appear as a shadowy figure with red hair, but with black clothing and a face lost in darkness. What she got was a red haired figure with a blurry face, alright, but it glowed with neon color that strongly resembled a tie-dyed body-suit beneath a UV light.

Deeply annoyed by the obvious result of Sunmi’s flawed spell, Aurelia declared she had no intention of stepping outside while glowing in such a way, and said she and Sunmi should practice inside the Yetzirah version of the church sanctuary.

So, the two ladies squared off and got ready to engage in a bit of sparring – Aurelia as a street-brawler and Sunmi with her karate skills -- just as the doors behind Sunmi, which led to restrooms in the really-real world, burst open. Seven parasitical spirits that vaguely resembled shadowy black rats charged out of the darkness and attacked – a much more serious consequence of the flawed spell-casting.

Deeply alarmed, and realizing they had no way back into their bodies until the 10 minutes had passed to end the ritual’s duration, Sunmi and Aurelia found themselves swarmed and fighting for their lives (or, at least, their souls).

Restricted to hand-to-hand combat (no Stasis Boxes meant no astrally-projected weapons, and nobody in the group had studied combat magics, yet), the two ladies tried to parry the “rats” that tried to jump on their faces and heads. Aurelia did reasonably well, but Sunmi found herself in dire straits as the parasite spirits began to tear away and consume chunks of her astral form.

At one point, Sunmi had a parasite spirit clinging to the back of her head while she tried to bash one on her arm into the floor of the church. Aurelia found herself losing chunks of legs and ankles, mostly, as well as a few bits from her arms.

Eventually, the two astral visitors prevailed, and Sunmi recalled that, should they return to their bodies with wounded souls, it could result in permanent psychological damage.  Accordingly, the two triggered their healing spells, and saw the wounds partially heal up, but both avatars still looked pretty tattered and chewed up.

Realizing they had only a few minutes left, Aurelia and Sunmi staggered out into the misty, but bright, light of Yetzirah Denver and, thinking quickly, stumbled toward the nearby hospital district at East 19th Avenue and Franklin Street. Behind them, they heard the squawking of bats from the belfry of the church (another consequence of Sunmi’s spell casting).

Half-panicked, the two young women covered the few blocks to the hospitals surprisingly quickly, and went into the Emergency Room entrance of the astral St. Joseph’s hospital.

In place for more than a century, the building closely resembled the original brick structure rather than the modern glass and steel building in place, now. The two mages figured that, as originally a religious institution, it had the greatest chance of offering them help.

As they stumbled through the door, nurses and doctors dressed in a wide range of uniforms from different eras rushed to assist them. The two explained they’d been attacked, and the nurses quickly rolled out IV racks with clear bags of some viscous fluid that strongly resembled ectoplasm.

The doctors poked and prodded them, listened with stethoscopes and said “Hmm,” a lot, in exactly the way living doctors did in the material world. Surprisingly, between the ministrations of the doctors and the IVs full of ectoplasm, they found themselves recovering quickly. Soon, all signs of the attack had disappeared and, a few minutes later, they woke in their own bodies.

A.J. noted they’d certainly seemed to rest peacefully, during the trip, and Sunmi and Aurelia promptly delivered loud and lengthy reports of what they’d actually gone through.

Rather unnerved, Henrietta decided she’d pass on another trip, herself, which left Beatrice and A.J. as the rather-less-than-enthusiastic next voyagers. However, they figured the combination of healing spells and the clever decision to visit the astral hospitals meant they’d likely survive the experience.

(continued...)
« Last Edit: October 01, 2017, 02:38:57 PM by tshiggins » Logged

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« Reply #476 on: September 26, 2017, 09:32:23 PM »

(...continued)

With Henrietta's decision to take a bye, A.J. and Beatrice, who both counted on brawling for hand-to-hand combat, decided to try sparring. Sunmi cast the spells on them, and Henritta took a second peek into Yetzirah (“Looks clear…”). A.J. and Beatrice laid down and triggered their spells, and found themselves in the large, clear sanctuary space with the bright but misty outside light beaming through the stained-glass windows.

The two immediately prepared themselves for a fight, but after a few moments without attacks by parasite spirits, started to relax. A.J. looked at Beatrice and saw her avatar resembled an Amazon warrior, complete with armor and helmet (which he suspected wouldn’t actually protect her, but certainly looked impressive).

She also had both legs, completely intact, and Beatrice expressed surprise at the avatar's appearance as a younger version of A.J.

After looking each other up and down, the two got ready to spar. Beatrice took the first swing and, rather than parry, A.J. dodged – only to find himself moving much faster than expected. Shocked, he had Beatrice take another poke at him, only to dodge her effortlessly, once again.

A.J. returned the favor, only to see Beatrice dodge him, too, with nearly equal facility. The former astronaut theorized that, since they had no physical bodies, the speed of their astral forms must rely somehow on the speed of thought. The lack of physical constraints meant they “ran” or “dodged” or otherwise moved much faster than they could, in their physical bodies.

Beatrice decided to put the theory to the test, gave a shout, and charged at the wall. She jumped up on it the way Keanu Reeves had done in the sparring program in The Matrix, only to fall flat on her back.

Apparently, skill mattered, too.

A.J. decided to try something much less ambitious, and took a running jump at the eight-foot high platform that normally held the pulpit (no podium, on this one), He effortlessly soared through the air, stuck the landing, and said, “Cool!” Beatrice jumped up beside him, landing not quite so elegantly, and A.J. leapt for the choir-loft, two stories up and to the right.

He managed to grab the handrail of the choir loft, 16 feet up and 15 feet over from the platform. Beatrice jumped up beside him and managed to grab on, as well, and the two scrambled over into the loft, proper.

From there, they jumped back down to the floor of the sanctuary, landing with no difficulty, decided to take the show on the road. They went outside, dashed around a bit, and then A.J. decided to go vertical. With some difficulty, but less than expected, he scrambled up the brick wall of the church and soon found himself on the roof, and Beatrice followed right behind.

From the lofty vantage, the two looked around Yetzirah’s Denver. They noted that Capitol Hill, to their south, has far fewer high-rise apartment complexes, and many more of what looked like the old mansions from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The downtown business district appeared modern enough, up to about the fifth or sixth floor, but then the buildings seemed to rise into the astral mists, leaving only the brightly-lit windows to hang, seemingly unsupported, in the fog.

To the southwest, they looked toward Civic Center Park, the locus of decanic energies in Assiah Denver, and saw there a vast, green expanse with glowing structures rising around it.

To the north, they looked toward Five Points, and saw clean brick buildings in an old-fashioned style. Intrigued about what they’d find in the astral version of center of voodoo energies, they decided to jog that way.

The two of them quickly parkoured down the side of the church, and dashed quickly to the north. Soon, they arrived in a Five Points that looked as it must have in the 1920s and 1930s, when it was the “Harlem of the West.” Sturdy brick buildings had clean windows and hand-lettered signs, while old cars from different eras remained parked outside.

They saw many fewer people walking the streets than expected, though, but the old Rossonian Hotel gleamed brightly, and light streamed from the windows.

Nearing the end of their time, the two decided to walk into the Rossonian. There, they saw a large assembly of black folks, dressed in fine suits with tie-pins and gleaming watches, or lovely old dresses adorned with furs and jewelry. The cool sounds of a saxophone wailed from the doors to the bar in back, and an older gentleman in a dark suit and a bright tie, with tightly curled snow-white hair and gleaming teeth, welcomed them from behind the desk.

Just as they started to respond, they woke in their bodies, in the chilly old sanctuary of their church in Capitol Hill North.

A.J. and Beatrice reported on the their rather wonderful visit, much to the annoyance of Aurelia and Sunmi. However, A.J. and Beatrice pointed out the first visitors’ rapid journey to the hospitals was likely due to the same phenomena the two of tem experienced, albeit in far less stressful circumstances.

With that, the session ended.

##

Funny Quotes

A.J. (after describing to Aurelia what they’d learned in Chicago): We should trigger a qlippoth in the other world (through the Dark Canyon portal), and see what happens!
(Beatrice flips him the finger.)
(Sunmi laughs in sheer disbelief at the suggestion.)
A.J.: You guys are no fun!

(Beatrice reports that the remainder of her parole has been vacated, and takes the usual round of ribbing about what got her arrested, in the first place, and cost her the lower half of her left leg.)
Beatrice: It was one, one incident of violence!
Henrietta: I thought she was going to say, “one ball.”
Beatrice: Oh, I’m pretty sure it was both balls – and the prostate, and the lower intestine….

A.J.: We always have the nuclear option! It’s awesome!
Beatrice: You’re hilarious.
Aurelia: We’re not blowing up Paris in another dimension!
Beatrice: I wonder if maybe somebody has already blown up the Paris world? Maybe there’s already a zombie apocalypse, over there.

Aurelia (not happy about Taverner’s interference in JoCat’s last will and testament): Do we want to do something about it, or just let it play out?
A.J.: I say, let it play out.
Aurelia: That’s because you have half a soul!

Aurelia(learns of the tentative notion to steal a dirigible in the 1919 world): This isn’t the worst idea we’ve ever had!

(Aurelia's astral avatar turns out a little different than expected.)
Beatrice: Your new name? Day-Glo Barbie!
Aurelia: I will mess up a spell just to f**k you up, I swear to God.

DM: You’re being eaten!
Sunmi: Alive! I’m being eaten, alive!
Aurelia: It’s only your soul. It’s okay. A.J. has only half of one, and he’s okay.
Sunmi: I can’t go out, like this!

##

Everyone who participated gets three character points, plus Anten gets that one from A.J.’s journal entry.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2017, 01:46:07 PM by tshiggins » Logged

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« Reply #477 on: October 19, 2017, 10:54:05 PM »

We held a session of Facets a few weeks back. The group accomplished a few things, but much of the session was spent dealing with the results of critical spell failures – mostly by Sunmi.
However, unlike in past episodes, she managed to stick with middle-of-the road failure results that, while annoying, weren’t lethal, although A.J. did wind up with a mental quirk as the result of one. Mostly, though, while strange and embarrassing, the group managed to survive them.
Also, A.J. more than made up for Sunmi’s problems with a critical out of nowhere on a wild shot, at the end of the night.

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. (Out sick, this session.)

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. (Unable to attend, this time.)

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.

 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. (Unable to attend, this time.)

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. (Unable to attend, this time.)

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. – Played by guest, Elisa O.


NPCs Present

Trooper Frank Moses -- A former Marine who recently quit his job as a trooper with the Utah Highway Patrol (UHP), based out of the Section 13 office in Moab, under Lt. Lee Exeter. Moses works with 4CSAR as needed, and has an interest in Doc Bascher. Frank finds himself attracted to what he perceives as the much simpler life on the 1918 side of the portal.

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.)

##

Given the difficulties encountered with travel to Yetzirah, thus far, the group decided they needed a bit more practice and, besides, they wanted to explore Denver’s projection on the astral plane a bit more, anyway.

With that in mind, they decided to escort the ghost of Cecilia Brown over to the site of the United Methodist Church in Park Hill, a neighborhood in east Denver, on the other side of City Park from the location of their deconsecrated church. While not a great distance, they didn’t feel they could make it all the way over in a single 10-minute trip to Yetzirah, even though they could travel quite fast, there.

A.J. estimated the travelers would need two spells each, to make it all the way from the team's de-consecrated church to the Park Hill location. However, the NASA engineer wanted to test his hypothesis, and he had Sunmi cast four gateway spells.

Initial exploration proved that theory mostly correct. Henrietta and Beatrice went through first, cautiously moved through North Capitol Hill and made it more than half way. The spell ended while in the vicinity of City Park, itself, with the church only a few blocks further on, on the other side of Colorado Boulevard, which borders the park to the east.

They also made a few interesting discoveries during the initial exploration. As Beatrice and Henrietta, came up on City Park, they noted that, as with Civic Center Park, it looked larger and much more wild than it did in Assiah, the material world. They also heard the sounds of howling and other animal noises.

This led to a discussion about the possible influences that might get projected into Yetzirah from an area that held the Denver Zoological Gardens and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the latter of which had just uncovered a bonanza of ice-age fossils, a large number of which now lay in its labs and workshops.

Moreover, lots of wild animals had inevitably died, through the years, at the zoo; a jaguar had gotten loose and mauled someone to death; and the park served as a locus for music festivals and other activities that sometimes resulted in the violent deaths of some participants.

That was on top of the normal sorts of accidents and deaths of derelicts that happened within the boundaries of any large park.

As the two ladies looked at the thick forests that lay on the other side of Josephine Street, they decided to cut north and go through the City Park Golf Course, a reasonably nice 18-hole municipal amenity that lay across 23rd Avenue from City Park proper.

However, that proved somewhat more hazardous then expected. As they crossed a green fairway, a golf ball came out of nowhere and landed next to them. Startled, the turned to look in the direction from which it came, and saw an angry duffer in bright, 1950s-era golfer attire charging toward them waving a wooden golf club.

Rather than get mixed up with an upset spirit (golf being one of the few “hobbies” that seems to induce, and not reduce, stress…) the two ladies quickly scampered out to the Yetzirah version of 23rd Avenue, narrowly avoiding an attack. As soon as they’d left the boundaries of the golf course, the spirited duffer went back to his game and they woke up in their physical bodies, a moment later.

Beatrice had brought along the camper, and A.J. and Sunmi drove the group over to the vicinity of City Park, once Beatrice and Henrietta awoke. A.J. and Sunmi then lay down in the back, triggered the Astral Travel spells, and picked up where Henrietta and Beatrice left off.

They ran over to the location of the church, quickly, and encountered nothing along the way. They approached the astral projection of the church, and noted they could hear nothing, nor could they see through any of the windows to the inside.

Curious, A.J. tried to open one of the doors to peek inside the silent building. However, the door didn’t budge, and A.J. theorized that was because he didn’t belong to the parish nor, in fact, was he even a Methodist.

For her part, Sunmi wondered what would happen if they prepped the Astral travel spells, walked into the church in Assiah, and then jumped to Yetzirah. The group eventually decided that, since holy places seemed to act as gateways to a soul’s final destination, and Sunmi didn’t belong to the Methodist denomination, the outcome probably wouldn’t be a good one.

On the trip over, Sunmi and A.J. did note that the forested park in the vicinity of the Museum of Nature and Science had the look of a cold, wild evergreen forest that reminded them of something out of the most recent ice age. At that point, they also remembered the museum’s huge collection of artifacts from the “Snowmastodon” dig.

http://www.dmns.org/science/the-snowmastodon-project/discovery-timeline/

Since they had some time, the two decided look around a bit more, but not to try to reach the site of the astral projection of the museum by tramping through the "ice-age forest" (although Sunmi burned with curiosity).

Soon they found themselves waking in their bodies, where Sunmi declared she wanted to explore the astral version of the museum. A.J. confessed to considerable curiosity, himself, about what the Denver Museum of Nature and Science would project into Yetzirah.

The two decided on an initial reconnaissance. However, rather than brave the cold, misty forest, they decided to park the camper in the lot right outside the building, itself, and see if they could go in, directly. Beatrice and Henrietta bowed out of that particular adventure and agreed to stay behind and guard the comatose bodies for the duration of the 10-minute trip.

The group traveled back to their deconsecrated church, Sunmi prepped her spells again and Beatrice drove them back to the museum and stopped at the curb. A.J. and Sunmi left their bodies, and then Beatrice found a place in the lot to park.

Once Sunmi and A.J. triggered the spells, they found themselves outside the projection of the Museum of Nature and Science, and found it changed. In Assiah, the Material Realm, the original brick structure had received considerable modification through the decades. Most of it lay hidden behind exterior wings and other add-ons that, essentially, sheathed the original 19th Century building inside a modern glass and steel structure.

However, in Yetzirah, the old core remained exposed, but seemed much larger. A.J. and Sunmi went inside and found few other spirits around, although they did hear the sound of tribal drums echoing from somewhere above them. The structure, inside, seemed much more “cave-like,” which matched the feel of the basement of their de-consecrated church.

Given that the only had 10 minutes, the pair decided on a quick once-over, with a more detailed exploration to come, later. They initially made their way up toward the sound of the drums, only to see the staircase open into a wide savannah, complete with animals native to the Serengeti, off in the distance.

Sunmi wanted to see how close they could get to the animals, but A.J. said it looked like a long hike, and reminded her they had only 10 minutes to look around. Sunmi reluctantly conceded the argument, and the two headed back downstairs.
 

They then made their way back down, and explored the four wide hallways that branched from the main hall, between the stairs and the entryway. As they entered each hallway, they soon found themselves looking out into four huge areas – a sea-shore, a wide prairie with a herd of buffalo off in the distance, an ice-age tundra with mountains rising in the distance, and a dense Cretaceous-type jungle.

A.J. quickly surmised that the diorama areas in the real-world museum seemed to have resulted in projections into Yetzirah of actual habitats. Given the nature of some of the collection, they decided not to go any further, since they had no offensive or defensive spells at their disposal, nor did they have any weapons, which meant any spirits they encountered might enjoy significant advantages.

With that, the pair made their way back outside, and soon woke in their own bodies, once again.

The group drove back over to the church, Sunmi got more practice casting flawed Astral Travel spells as she struggled to cast another four. During her efforts, the group witnessed the consequences of a bunch of flawed castings:
-During the first casting, the group heard Sunmi yell for help, ran to the door of her sacred space, looked inside, but couldn't see her. Alarmed, they entered, at which point they suddenly could -- but everyone perceived the environment differently. A.J. thought that Sunmi might have accidentally created a bubble in space-time that somehow responded differently to the thought-patterns of those inside it. The effect dissipated after a few hours.
-During the second casting, Sunmi yelled for help, again, and the group rushed in to see a confused and disoriented Cecilia standing next to her. Moreover, the ghost could perceive them, as well. The group quickly reassured Cecilia that everything was okay, and helped her get oriented. The ghost found herself flabbergasted, and a bit upset, at the changes to Denver, in general (which she could see out the windows) and the church, in particular.

Aghast at the development, Beatrice and Henrietta quickly ran outside and took a look around. Seeing no one walking on the street, nearby, they went in and asked Cecilia to quickly walk with them out to the camper. She agreed, readily enough, and soon found herself in a remarkably modern (although well-used) recreational vehicle.

A.J. took the wheel and started to drive, as Sunmi tried to engage Cecilia (who had died more than 30 years prior) in pleasant conversation. That proved somewhat difficult, as Cecilia kept looking out the windows at all the strangely-shaped cars and new buildings. Within a few minutes, A.J. pulled to the curb in front of the Park Hill United Methodist Church.

They told Cecilia that this church had merged with her congregation, and that she might find her way to her final destination, there. Sunmi cast one of her (mostly) successful Astral Travel spells, and joined Cecilia, who had returned to Yetzirah shortly after she exited the camper.

The ghost was staring at the church, and said she heard beautiful music coming from inside. Cecilia began to walk toward the structure, trailed by a rather disconcerted Sunmi, who couldn’t hear anything of the sort.

As the ghost reached the threshold, Sunmi saw her bathed in a white light, the origins of which she couldn’t see. Cecilia said the door had opened (to Sunmi, it looked as tightly shut as before), and then joyfully cried, “Charles!”

With that, the brightly-lit ghost ran toward the door, crossed the threshold, and disappeared from view, leaving a delighted Sunmi standing on the walk, alone -- with slightly less than nine minutes left on her spell, and in close proximity to City Park.

Still curious, Sunmi trotted over to Colorado Boulevard, and soon found herself staring at the cold, misty evergreen forest that surrounded the vicinity of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

While certainly curious, the young Asian-American didn’t feel particularly suicidal, and decided to skip that particular forest. Instead, she worked their way west until she reached the warmer, and more inviting, forest that covered the west end of the park. Sunmi paused briefly on the sidewalk, and then took the plunge in amongst the verdant trees.

Sunmi walked for several minutes and saw a few large meadows with all sorts of spirits of wild herbivores who moved away from her when she tried to get close (except for the North American bison – the cows took the calves into the middle of the group, and then the bulls snorted at her and pawed the ground).

After she backed away from the buffalo, Sunmi continued the hike to the south and noted the terrain rising ahead of her, becoming more rugged. At that point, Sunmi realized she should have exited the southern edge of the park, by now, but this version had no end in sight.

She also noted that, while all she’d seen so far were the spirits of herbivores, plenty of predators had died at the zoo, too. With that, Sunmi returned from the direction she came, and woke in Assiah just as she left the boundaries of the park.

Once she woke up, Sunmi described what had happened with Cecilia (which delighted the rest of the group as much as it had her), and then the results of her subsequent explorations. While rather less than thrilled that she’d gone off on her own (again!),

At that point, the group decided to make a return visit to Yetzirah, to visit the projection of the Rossonian Hotel, again, since Beatrice wanted to taste astral booze and didn't get the chance, the last time. Subsequently, the group made its way back to the church, Sunmi prepped her spells, again, and they drove the camper up and parked on North Washington Street, next to the hotel (and near the entrance where they’d originally broken in, many months ago).

(continued...)
« Last Edit: November 13, 2017, 10:20:58 PM by tshiggins » Logged

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« Reply #478 on: October 19, 2017, 10:54:23 PM »

(...continued)

Four spell activations later, the group found themselves outside the cheerfully lit astral projection, from which the sounds of jazz emerged. They walked through the door, again, and the same older black gentleman behind the desk welcomed them to the Rossonian. Everyone stared at Beatrice's rather outlandish Amazonian get-up, but when the helicopter mechanic said they’d come for some drinks and music, the man politely directed them toward an intimate room in the back.

The group made their way inside, where the maitre d' noted they "must not be from around here," and found a table in the dark room that felt like night time. A jazz combo played on the small stage, and the audience of African-American spirits glanced at them curiously but made no fuss.

Soon, a lovely waitress in 1950s attire came out and took their orders, and the group settled in to listen for the few minutes they had left.

That brief interlude came to an end when A.J., who'd sat with his back against the wall (too many Westerns...) glanced at the door from which they’d entered, and saw both of the green guardian cat spirits who had guarded Oliver McShane’s library, hidden in the false wall in the basement of the Assiah version of the very building into which they’d blithely walked as mostly-unarmed spirit avatars.

The other members of the audience looked on in surprise and consternation of the feline warrior spirits strode across the floor toward the group. The jazz band shifted to a percussion-heavy fast-paced swing number as the cat warriors arrived and challenged the group.

Initially, the party tried to defuse the situation, but then the more hot-headed of the cat-warriors laid claws on Beatrice and the fight broke out as the drums laid down a heavy beat and the saxophone wailed (Elisa brought up a jazz riff on her phone and played it).

Beatrice and the one cat-warrior danced and dodged and didn’t do much to one another, as Sunmi and Henrietta tried to find an exit. A.J. remembered the rather "fluid" physics of this party of Yetzirah, jumped over the table -- and the combatants -- and landed behind them. Beatrice tried to do the same, and landed face-first on the table.

The second spirit grabbed at Sunmi, missed, and A.J. slammed it to the "ground" from behind, and it landed at Henrietta's feet as Beatrice tried to yell for calm. The archaeologist went all Indy, all of a sudden, and moved in with her boot heels as A.J. went for the grapple.

Henrietta landed a solid stomp that nearly put the cat-warrior out, as Beatrice finally managed to shout that they’d taken the books so as to return them to their rightful owner.

The spirit still on its feet paused at the information (and the realization that it was now badly outnumbered), while A.J. stayed on top of the second one until he was sure it had calmed down. The second spirit scrambled to its feet just as the elderly gentleman appeared at the door and demanded to know what was going on.

A.J. scrambled off the table and quickly explained the situation. Once the manager understood the nature of the dispute, he said he’d offered the two spirits jobs as hotel security, since the successful theft of the books had left the guardians without purpose.

Struck by an inspiration, A.J. asked if the two spirits might be willing to take new employment, the cat-warriors expressed some interest, and pulled up chairs to engage in serious negotations.

The group explained the problem with the rape spirit in the portal, and said they might have need of good guardians even beyond that. The cat-warriors said they’d willingly assist with that problem, and even take up full time service with the Friends of Olivia Lodge (FOOL). However, in exchange, they wanted human bodies – both young, strong males, as attractive and healthy as possible – to wholly possess as in-betweeners in Assiah.

The party said that might be do-able, and arranged to return to the Rossonian with suitable hosts, should they be able to find any, in seven days. That left them only a couple of minutes left for their spells, so the group made their way outside and woke up in their bodies.

A.J. promptly put in a call to the number of the burner phone he’d left with Doña Eva. Shortly after sunset, Sebastiàn returned the call and asked how the vampires in Santa Fe could be of service.

The former NASA engineer explained they needed two young male bodies in good condition, but unconscious, within the next three days. Sebastiàn replied that this might be possible, as Doña Eva had been keeping an eye on the remnants of the Santa Fe chapter of the white supremacist Angels of Purity motorcycle club, as requested.

A quick discussion followed to set up the details, and three days later, the group took the camper down to Santa Fe to the designated area, and found two bound, unconscious and partially-drained young men in biker leathers with Angels colors.

The group tossed them into the back of the camper and took the long drive back up I-25 to Denver. In the wee hours of the morning, they arrived on Washington Street outside the Rossonian, and Sunmi took a quick astral trip inside to find the cat spirits.

A few minutes later, the weakened, unconscious bodies of the white supremacist bikers had become the semi-permanent abodes of two cat-warrior spirits that originally hailed from the jungles of West Africa, centuries in the past. The spirits considered this a bargain properly struck (notwithstanding the fact that they found the contents of the minds of the bikers rather offensive), and took service with the Friends of Olivia.

With that accomplished, plus the promises of aid from Don Maximo, the Columbine Lodge in Denver, and George LaMarque from the Goldenrod Order in Chicago, the group finally felt ready to take on the rape spirit.


The group headed back to headed back to Moab and picked up Jimmy Ehrland (since guest player Elisa, as noted, had arrived from Colorado Springs…). The group then settled down and did some prep work in anticipation of the next portal opening, set for April 19, 2015.

The evening of April 18 arrived, and A.J., Henrietta, Beatrice, Sunmi and Jimmy set up camp, along with George LaMarque, outside the Dark Canyon portal entrance. A few seconds before midnight, the new moon rose over Utah and the portal opened.

The group quickly drove through to the 1919 side, and found not only Don Maximo and Don Reyes waiting for them, but also their old companion Francis “Jeb” Stuart. They hadn’t seen since nor heard from Jeb since he disappeared into this world after helping Don Reyes escape from the transport van that was transferring him from the hospital in Moab to a Federal holding facility in Salt Lake City.

Jeb greeted them warmly enough, and said that while he remained satisfied with his decision to abandon the modern world for this much simpler one, it hadn’t been as easy as he’d thought. He’d had to take up formal service as an apprentice with Don Reyes, who had views about relationships between superiors and subordinates that Jeb didn’t particularly like.

That said, Jeb was willing to stick it out (“for now”), especially given that war was about to break out and both Don Reyes and Don Maximo had a lot to teach about magic.

George LaMarque greeted Don Maximo with cool reserve, and passed over a formal letter of greeting and introduction from the Goldenrod Order. Don Maximo accepted it with cool, formal grace, and asked some politely professional questions about the Stasis Box, and observed with keen interest as LaMarque called Henrietta over.

He opened up the long box and had Henrietta place her staff, inside. He then had her prick her palm with her athame, and dab a drop of her blood on the lid. He close the lid and engaged the lock, and said Henrietta should lie down next to it, when she was ready to shift to Yetzirah.

Meanwhile, Don Reyes and Don Maximo handed out magical fetishes in the form of cheap necklaces to the group, and said the Ice Dagger spells on them had the condition that they could be triggered at the will of the astral entity who normally inhabited the body that bore them.

The group had already been tattooed with healing spells from the Columbine Lodge, and said they were ready to go.

Don Maximo had them lie down close to the Stasis Box, and he drew a magical ward around them (a circle of salt wouldn’t do, as it would trap their own spirits inside). Once ready, each of the group triggered the Astral Travel spells Sunmi had placed on them, and they appeared in Yetzirah. A second later, the two glowing cat spirits appeared next to them, having exited their stolen bodies.

The group found themselves in an environment that didn’t at all resemble the box canyon that led into the portal from the 1919 world. Instead, gray mists surrounded them on all sides and visibility extended no more than 12 feet in any direction, except what they surmised would be straight east in Assiah, where a tunnel bored through the gray mists.

Their feet rested on no ground, but they didn’t feel as if they floated. Rather they stood, still and silent, looking at the mouth of the tunnel.

The green warrior spirits moved out to the left and right, apparently by will, without seeming to actually walk. The mages moved down the tunnel and, after a bit, saw it open up into a large round chamber with an exit tunnel on the other side. In the center of the “spindle” of space in the astral mists, a glowing wheel of gold and green energy swirled, looking for all the world like one of the sun-wheel symbols Henrietta had seen carved as a petroglyph in the caves and canyon near the portal.

Hovering above the center of the slowly spinning maelstrom hovered the rape spirit, green tresses flaring out from its head and sparkling with energy. Beyond her, two glowing skulls flanked either side of the outgoing tube, and with a start Henrietta identified them as evil spirits called Kanontsistonties by the Iroquois, and mentioned in other American Indian legends.

The rape spirit spotted the group immediately – five mages with nearly two dozen decanic knots of spell energy sparkling around them, flanked by two powerful warrior spirits – and screamed in defiance at Sunmi. However, behind her, the two kanontsistonties whirled about and fled into the mists as the group advanced toward the center of the maelstrom. For his part, A.J. charged at the rape spirit, triggered his first ice-dagger, and slashed at it.

Realizing it was badly outnumbered, the rape spirit soared upwards and, to the consternation of the group, disappeared into the mists. Realizing that it would likely target Sunmi in preference to any other, A.J. shouted at the two cat-warriors to protect her, as the rest of the group tried to flush out the enemy.

Sunmi shifted left and began to skirt the edge of the mist wall, while Beatrice went low and A.J. went high. Henrietta and Jimmy actually plunged into the mists and tried to move upwards to see if they could intercept the rape spirit, but found themselves stymied by the limited visibility. The cat spirits retreated from their initial move toward the decanic wheel, and stuck close to Sunmi.

A.J. reached the top of sphere of empty space, the wheel turning slowly below him, and realized his ice-dagger spell only had about two seconds before it expired. He poked his head briefly in the mists, realized the futility, and began to move quickly along the inside of the mist wall toward Sunmi as Beatrice began to move up toward him to close ranks.

Two seconds later, he’d covered about two thirds of the distance and, with nothing to lose, visualized the path from the top of the sphere down to where Sunmi currently hovered, and threw the dagger into the mists just above her head. Expecting nothing, he was delighted to hear a scream of pain and rage from the rape spirit that he’d managed to impale (A crit is a crit!).

Henrietta brandished her staff and, followed closely by Jimmy, charged into the mists in pursuit of the rape spirit. However, she quickly realized she’d lost it and retreated back out in a hurry, although Jimmy went further in before he returned to clear space.

Since he’d guessed correctly that the rape spirit would most likely make Sunmi its primary target, A.J. moved to cover her, as well. Henrietta moved back to cover the way they’d come in, while Beatrice remained on high cover and Jimmy retreated back out of the mists.

Sunmi started to move back the way the group had come in, but didn’t get very far before the rape spirit suddenly popped up out of the mists at the bottom of the sphere, hemorrhaging ectoplasm, and drove hard for the energy wheel as the cat-warriors and A.J. charged to intercept.

Since the rape spirit had appeared so suddenly, it managed to reach the energy maelstrom before the trio could stop it, and two spear-tipped tentacles lashed out. However, the cat-warriors dodged them, A.J. got in a slash with his second ice-dagger, and then the cat-warriors dog-piled the rape spirit as the rest of the party moved in for the kill.

The cat-warriors focused on holding the tentacled horror still, as ice daggers flashed blue in the fists of each of them except Henrietta, who wound up her staff and charged. The group converged from three different directions – up, down and from the tunnel where they’d entered. A.J. and Jimmy reached the spirit first, A.J. triggered his second ice dagger and slashed as he moved by, followed by Jimmy, only to see the wounds close up as the rape spirit absorbed decanic energies into itself.

The rape spirit continued to try to break free of the grasp of the cat warriors until Sunmi arrived and began to slash at it. By then, the wounds were coming in faster than the rape spirit could heal them, and, in desperation, it stopped stabbing at the cat warriors and managed to wrap Sunmi in a tentacle.

Sunmi immediately felt the assault begin on her mind, and she began to catch glimpses of the rape spirits intentions. It meant to try to overwhelm her by force of will, and leverage itself into her body, where it would be protected and have time to heal.

Furiously, Sunmi tried to throw it out of her mind, and managed to succeed for an instant when Henrietta came up behind it and clocked it with her staff. The Korean-American girl lashed out just before he ice-dagger blinked out, cut out a ragged chunk of the figure, and the badly wounded rape spirit shredded apart.

The group had a few moments to calm down and recover themselves, before they woke up in their bodies to see a rather disheveled Jeb looking down at them.

Jeb greeted them with a dry, “Well, that was fun,” and explained that the two kanontsistonties had manifested, and immediately charged the wards around the comatose bodies, apparently with the intention of trying to seize a couple of them. The spirits had proven tough, strong and fast, and it had taken some effort to inflict enough damage to drive them back into Yetzirah.

The group reported that they’d managed to destroy the rape spirit, and that the portal between the two world now lay clear for those who wished to pass from one to the other.

With that, the session ended. Man, it was a long one.

##

Funny Quotes

Beatrice (to Henrietta, discussing a return to the astral plane, given Sunmi’s string of bad spell rolls): We’re a good match, we’re both cautious.
Henritta: I’m chickenshit. There’s a difference.

Sunmi: Oh, wait! I’m over here, by myself! I’m going to the zoo! <pause> This is probably really bad….

Beatrice: Benign. That’s the word you’re looking for. We don’t care how weird it is, as long as it’s benign.

Sunmi (charges out of her sacred space, a bit wild-eyed): I was trying to cast a spell, and I messed up, and now there’s a voice talking to me! Where am I?!

Beatrice (arguing on behalf of having the vampires round up a couple of white supremacist bikers as involuntary hosts for possessing spirits): They’re bad guys!
Sunmi (appalled): That doesn’t matter!
Henrietta: Yes, it does!
Beatrice: Yes, it does!
Sunmi: Get young ones, then. High quality bodies.
Jimmy: No, old ones! The old ones aren’t going to change, but the young ones might.

A.J.: We’re taking two white supremacists and dropping them in the middle of Five Points.
Beatrice: Unconscious!

##

The session meandered all over the place, but everybody who stayed the whole time gets three experience points. Those who arrived late or left early get two.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2017, 09:48:31 PM by tshiggins » Logged

"Our problem is, our plans never survive contact with US!" -Christopher Denny, veteran gamer, incorrigible punster.
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« Reply #479 on: November 20, 2017, 08:03:06 AM »

Well I haven't written in a while and really have had no time.  The reality I once knew, "bash it and make it shut up if you don't like it or ignore it if you sorta do" disappeared so long ago I am seriously having a hard time remembering it.  We have been magicked and fought such a variety different weirdness, both physically and astral-ey (yes I said astral-ey) that which end is up has completely eluded me.  We are now on another crazy adventure, we are stealing a dirigible, sailing it around (driving it???) around the world to Shangri-La to get rid of the thing possessing Sunmi, then we are going through to the portal in Paris back to 1711.  I f I was a drinker I would swear I was a drug addict.

Signing off for now, geez, i certainly hope no one ever finds these journals, I'd be committed.  Maybe I could play it off as a book deal.
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