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Old 09-25-2020, 05:28 PM   #541
tshiggins
 
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Default Re: Campaign: Facets

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
"I own this ship. These ... people are various relatives of mine, with ambitions to become junior partners in a business. They'll need to learn to sail; at present they are landlubbers. Treat them as normal apprentices."
And, as you will see in the latest write-up I'll post, tonight or tomorrow, they'll very likely do something completely different. 8)
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Old 09-28-2020, 09:53 PM   #542
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Default Re: Campaign: Facets

Well, this took a few days longer than planned, but here's the latest session report.

##

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. -- Played by Anten S.

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

Dr. Belody "Doc" Bascher -- a local veterinarian for both large and small animals, who frequently fixates on her job and uses 4CSAR as her primary social outlet. -- played by Samantha H. (Not available, this time.)

Beatrice "B" Lawrence -- U.S. Army veteran who works for a local air charter service as a helicopter mechanic. 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 Ragan S.

Frank Moses -- A former Marine who quit his job as a trooper with the Utah Highway Patrol (UHP). Moses formerly volunteered with 4CSAR and has an interest in Doc Bascher. Frank has spent the past several months living in the Dark Canyon base camp on the 1918 side of the portal. -played by Mike H. (Not available, this time.)

Millicent “Millie” Brown – A member of the Columbine Lodge of Denver, and descendant of the Unsinkable Margaret “Molly” Brown. Currently an apprentice of the Invisible College of Thoth-Hermes, seconded out to the members of the Red Rocks Lodge. Owner of a large, well-trained Savannah Cat, named Apophis. – Played by Kaitlynn S.

Fergus O’Neil – A pirate and rascal who had the misfortune to cross the Red Rocks Lodge, and the worse judgement to try to rob them when they took passage on his ship across the Irish Sea in the late winter of 1712. However, against all common sense, the party (well, A.J….) decided to adopt him as a flunky after they saved his life from his own crew. -Played by Jeff T

NPCs Present

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

Amanda Gagnier: A professional airship crewmember and native of the Orbital Realm of Jupiter, hired as a guide as the Paradise neared the borders of territory controlled by the Nieuw Haarlem company.

Hops About: An enthusiastically lethal nunnupi, a 6-inch tall fairy girl with black wings, pale skin and American Indian features. Currently dressed in the colors of the Unseelie Court, with a bow and knife, she frequently takes the form of a magpie four times the size of a normal bird and can go invisible.

Twirls Thrice: A laconic and lethal nunnupi with a dry sense of humor, also dressed in the cool colors of the Unseelie Court. Apparently the sister of Hops About, she bears similar weapons that can inflict elf-stroke, also appears as a large magpie, and can go invisible.

##

The session kind of picked up where the previous one left off, as everyone had time to think through how they preferred to deal with the journey to the Sea of Fate.

Anten took the time to do a little figuring, so A.J. noted that the merchant barque – the largest and hence the fastest – of the tall sailing ships they considered, last time, could make no more than about 12 or 13 mph (11 knots) even with fairest of winds on its square-rigged masts.

By comparison, the brand new airship could probably make about 64 mph (if he understood how the elemental power cells worked…) – or more than five times the speed.

That would cut a trip that could take months to merely weeks, A.J. said, It would also pose less risk from pirates than sailing ships faced; and give them a lot more control of any encounter, in general.

They’d still have to worry about storms on this strange sea, he noted, but then, the storms on the Orbital Realm of Jupiter had been weird and bad, too. The Great Maelstrom probably had atmospheric effects that would require they skirt around it, one way or another, and who knew what sorts of flying creatures they’d face?

All of that said, A.J. said the dirigible probably required a crew of 25 to do a lot of manual work the 11 of them could manage, if they used the mana batteries they’d taken from the vehicles to route a lot of controls and monitoring sensors back to the flight deck, and power magical communications.

Fortunately, Claudia had all the spells needed to do all of that, A.J. said, which means they could comply with the wishes made her and Aurelia to limit the risk to innocents. Moreover, since all of them were already qualified airship crewmen, the only people they’d need to train were Fergus and Millie.

The group found the argument persuasive, generally speaking, but it did leave a couple of major problems. Firstly, they only had half the money needed to buy the airship and, secondly, they needed to somehow come up with an air elemental to stuff into the binding matrix.

As for the location of an air elemental, the group remembered they already knew the location of one – and a particularly powerful one, at that. On the Orbital Realm of Jupiter, not far from Nieuw Haarlem on the route to Nieuw Amsterdam, a huge air elemental had set up shop and created a cyclone that lots of airships, there, used carefully to move them along.

That one was tough to reach, though, so the group decided to ask Athelstane Greer how the elementals got captured for use in engines on the Pearl Bright Ocean. So, the group decided to pay him a visit at his orchard plantation.

A bit taken aback by the question, Athelstane noted that the Pearl Bright Ocean featured any number of gateways to elemental realms. The sea, itself, had gates to the Elmental Plane of Water, naturally, and the “sunlight” was produced by huge gateways to the Elemental Plane of Fire, located high above the surface of the sea.

The winds came from Boreal Gateways to the Elemental Plane of Air, and were located in different places and at different altitudes, but remained mostly active, most of the time. Only the Elemental Plane of Earth was tough to reach from the Pearl Bright Ocean, but the larger land masses had a few rare ones, dotted sparsely about.

The elementals, though technically intelligent, represented their elements in their purest of forms, Athelstane continued. As such, they couldn’t really tolerate the close proximity of any elements other than their own, and found particularly frustrating and offensive living things whose physical forms tended to mix all the elements, together.

As such, finding an elemental was seldom a problem, Greer noted. Assuming one could survive long enough to come within close proximity of a gateway, he explained, the presence of the mixture of elements so close by would draw the attention of any elemental that happened to pass by on the other side of the portal.

At that point, the real problem became surviving long enough to bind the violent and chaotic thing, as it tried to separate out its element from all the others. Hence, a binding bottle that already held an elemental was vastly more valuable than one that did not.

(Upon hearing that, Debbie (OOC) asked how much more a filled elemental bottle was worth, which Anten asked as A.J. Greer replied that a loaded matrix would sell for at least double the value of the binding bottle, alone, and could go a bit higher if the elemental proved particularly powerful.)

At that point, a light went on in A.J.’s head, and he said that, were they to spend their money on a binding bottle, and then stuff an elemental into it, they could then sell it for enough to buy the airship outright. Then, they could take the bottle out of the ship, and bind a second elemental for it.

So, binding two elementals would solve their liquidity issue, get them to the Sea of Fate in weeks instead of months, and give them a fantastic airship that would function in any of the inner realms without fuel. An airship they could manage themselves – assuming Claudia, A.J., Beatrice and Steven came up with a good design for the automation.

They just had to survive not one, but two close encounters with elementals and actually bind each of them.

(continued...)
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Old 09-28-2020, 09:56 PM   #543
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Default Re: Campaign: Facets

(...continued)

A flabbergasted Athelstane Greer said he’d make some inquiries about airship crews willing to take enough money to get them to close proximity of a Boreal Gateway.

At that point, A.J. decided he’d like to consult with Sir Isaac Newton, to find out what the Invisible College of Thoth-Hermes knew about air elementals, and asked Athelstane to open the portal back to 1712 London. Steven decided he wanted to come along, as well, but the rest of the group chose to either remain at the orchard or travel back Avallon.

So, A.J. and Steven had Athelstane send a note ahead while they prepared for the trip through, and the rest of the group departed (except for the characters whose players didn’t make it, as well as Fergus, who had a bad hangover, and Amanda, who had gotten in trouble with some people running a crooked poker game). A bit later, Greer opened up the portal and said Newton had agreed to meet with them.

A.J. and Steven went through and, with minimal delay, soon found themselves in Sir Isaac’s office. He greeted them with his usual reserved cordiality, and listened with increasing interest to their idea.

Newton found the entire exercise quite fascinating, albeit far too dangerous to actually contemplate doing himself. He did note that some of the (understandably spotty) research the Invisible College had on the subject indicated that use of the elemental’s “true name,” or the name it thought of when it thought about itself, gave an advantage in attempts to bind such creatures.

In response to inquiries from A.J. and Steven, Newton said he understood the true names of elementals resembled some interaction of the element they represented, with the larger world around it. So, for instance, the name of a salamander (as an elemental of fire), resembled the sound of a roaring conflagration as it consumed some combustible material or other.

As such, the true name of an air elemental almost certainly sounded like the howl of a gale, or something like that, Newton said. It was almost certainly unpronounceable, but then, it didn’t really need to be as the mage “merely” needed to keep it in mind and weave it into his efforts to overcome the will of the entity he or she needed to bind.

At that point, the conversation turned to the nature of the minds of elementals, and things got a bit speculative. Newton noted most names of elementals (or other creatures) were usually gained from higher entities (“gods” – although he flinched at the use of that term) as a reward for services rendered.

A.J. asked if it might be possible to use mind-reading magics to try to figure out the name, before the attempt to bind. Struck by the cleverness of the notion, Newton guessed that it might be worth a try and probably wouldn’t make the binding attempt that much more dangerous.

He also said he’d like to read about any results of such an experiment and, should it prove successful enough to provide insight into the cognitive nature of elementals, it could form the basis of a doctoral thesis recognized as valid by the Invisible College, its daughter lodges and probably even most of its allied organizations.

Quite the feather on one’s cap, Newton said.

Back in Avallon, the group decided to productively use the time A.J. spent back in London. Aurelia and Beatrice went shopping, Claudia and Henrietta stayed in the hotel to hash out some automation designs for the airship, and Millie took Apophis to visit Lawrence, the son of the owner of the airship firm.

Aurelia paid a visit to a fletcher and discussed the possibility of the creation and/or purchase of a variety of lethal trick arrows, and learned it might be possible to have the bow charge the spells on the arrows with energy the bearer provided to it. Meanwhile, Beatrice rattled through the streets on her mana-velocipede and visited carriage-makers and cartwrights.

Beatrice wanted to find someone willing to make her a pair of leather pants with pockets, as well as a side-car big enough to hold Grunt, comfortably.

As Aurelia left the fletcher’s she thought she glimpsed someone following her and, more curious than anything, decided pay more attention to her surroundings. To her consternation, she soon realized that, not only did she have one shadow, he seemed to be part of a professional team of four who kept her bracketed.

Aurelia doubled back to the fletcher’s place, where the proprietor greeted her return with some surprise. Aurelia quickly asked if the shop had roof access, somewhere in the back and, now somewhat alarmed, the fletcher said he did and showed Aurelia the way.

The former high school art history teacher quickly scrambled up the ladder, popped open the trapdoor, quietly crawled out on to the roof between steep gables, and closed it carefully behind her. After a quick reconnoiter, Aurelia spotted all four men following.

A quick look around revealed that, while not too awfully large and bound by busy streets on all sides, she could cross the block via the rooftops and drop down out of sight of the watchers. She promptly did so, lost herself in the crowd, and made an indirect path toward the part of the market she knew Beatrice planned to visit.

As she drew near to the row of clothiers, Aurelia started to look around for anybody who might be following Beatrice and, relieved, she spotted no one. Aurelia quickly joined her violently talented colleague, who had grown increasingly frustrated as all the tailors kept insisting that “women wear skirts,” and quickly filled in Beatrice.

Beatrice brought Grunt to alert, and after a quick discussion, the two women decided to take an indirect route back to the hotel instead of jumping one of the shadowers. This they did and, as they drew near, Aurelia spotted at least one watcher with a clear view of the hotel’s main entrance.

She brought the man to Beatrice’s attention, who pointed the target out to Grunt. The foo dog marked the presence of the observer, but he neither growled at the man nor did the ruff of his neck rise.

Relieved that the watchers didn’t seem to be supernatural beings, or shape-changers or possessed by spirits or anything, the ladies decided to break cover and make for the lodging house separately, so they could advise Claudia and Henrietta of developments.

As they moved quickly across the street, Aurelia saw the watchers note her presence, but pay little attention to Beatrice, before the two disappeared inside.

Spotting no obvious interlopers in the lobby, Beatrice and Aurelia trotted up the stairs, knocked on Henrietta’s door, received no response, and then went down to Claudia’s where they found both firmly embedded in a moderately sizeable snowdrift of paper and drawings, many of which they’d taped to the walls of the room.

Alerted to the presence of the watchers, Henrietta and Claudia joined the speculation game and, after a bit of discussion, the four realized that while Aurelia had taken part in the recent sale of interdimensional commodities, Beatrice had not. To test this hypothesis, Henrietta – who had also helped find buyers for the goods they sought to liquidate – asked to take Grunt for a walk.

Aurelia, Beatrice and Claudia watched from the windows as Henrietta and the huge foo dog emerged on to the street, and Aurelia saw the watcher take keen interest in the archaeologist’s activities. Henrietta soon returned to the room without mishap, and the group decided to test if Claudia might draw the same interest..

Claudia decided to walk to a nearby café located not far away, down a quiet little side-street, and asked Beatrice and Grunt to come along, while Aurelia and Henrietta – both considerably more stealthy than either of the other two – decided to see if they could lurk along behind and watch who watched, and possibly snatch and grab one who let himself get separated.

With that, Claudia and Beatrice headed out of the hotel, with Grunt at the heel, as Aurelia and Henrietta watched the street from upstairs windows. Sure enough, they saw several of the watchers peel off and start to follow the trio.

Henrietta and Aurelia waited a minute, or so, and then exited the hotel and trailed along, noting that the watchers all seem to have decided to follow the Claudia and Beatrice. Moving to catch up, Aurelia was alarmed to note that a couple of her original stalkers had joined in.

Up ahead, Claudia and Beatrice took a table at the street café and a water greeted them. It was mid-afternoon, so the place didn’t have very many other customers and, as they engaged in the usual sort of chit-chat about drinks and menu options, two of the followers sat down at a table next to them.

Again, Grunt didn’t raise any fuss about the two men, so Beatrice and Claudia tried to ignore them and simply spoke about the menu options (lots of fish and a fair amount of pork, not too much beef, cider and a variety of fruit tarts). The waiter took their drink orders, returned with the goblets fairly quickly and departed with their food orders.

Aurelia and Henrietta had arrived by then and had taken up posts down the street, within view of the sidewalk café. They’d also spotted two watchers down the street, doing the same thing they were, plus the two at the table, and they suspected the side-streets had flankers, as well.

Fortunately, while quiet, the street did have some pedestrian traffic in the afternoon, and the occasional cart or carriage rattled by, as well.

(continued...)
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Old 09-28-2020, 09:56 PM   #544
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Default Re: Campaign: Facets

(...continued)

As soon as the waiter left to place their food orders, the men at the nearby table greeted Beatrice and Claudia, and tried to engage them in smalltalk. The two women kept things superficially polite and, in response to the normal sorts of conversational gambit, acknowledged they had only recently arrived in town – but were staying with friends.

At that, the two men seemed to perk up, and they immediately began to offer to show them around the town, and perhaps treat them to some Avallon hospitality by buying them dinner. Caught a bit off guard at the gambit, Beatrice and Claudia nevertheless recovered quickly and politely declined the offer.

The two men immediately began to try to cojole them into the changing their minds, but the ladies continued to decline.

Then, the man opposite Claudia told her he knew where to find “the best” something in town, used a strange word in the course the of the sentence, and the physicist felt a spell wash over her. For an instant, she felt attracted to the man.

However, she immediately shook it off (great saving throw!), only to see the man talking to Beatrice say something similar. Grunt growled in response, but then stopped in confusion as Beatrice immediately flushed, her eyes sparkled, and she told the man that sounded like fun.

Now thoroughly alarmed, Claudia told Beatrice they needed to leave “right now,” only to have Beatrice respond that she didn’t want to go, because she was having a great time and needed a chance to relax, for once. Claudia began to insist they leave and, down the street, Aurelia and Henrietta noted her raised voice and also got alarmed.

They started to move toward the café, only to see the man who had successfully enchanted Beatrice tell Claudia that she really needed to stop trying to control her friend, and let Beatrice go out and have a good time. The other man joined in as if it were all a bit funny and said he wished Claudia would change her mind, as the other diners looked on in amusement.

The waiter, who had come out to check on things, hovered a bit in the background, unsure of what to do, as Beatrice began to argue with Claudia about leaving. Meanwhile, Henrietta and Aurelia moved quickly down the street – only to get spotted by two other stalkers, who moved to intercept.

The two men confronted the ladies about half a block down, put their hands up to stop them, and declared that what was going on at the café was really none of their business because, as a grown woman, Beatrice could do as she pleased. By then, though, Aurelia and Henrietta knew something had gone seriously sideways and they tried to shove their way past the two men.

They promptly complained loudly and one called Aurelia a “crazy woman” and the other told Henrietta to not “start trouble.” At that point, they put their hands to their sword-hilts, as Beatrice began to stand up and move toward the men at the other table.

Claudia, now quite alarmed, tried to interpose herself between Beatrice and the stalkers, only to have the second man declare loudly that her behavior was “out of line” and that she needed to leave Beatrice alone. He put out his hand to shove her aside, and Henrietta and Aurelia decided they’d had enough.

Aurelia drew her sword as Henrietta used her staff to clock the other man blocking her way. The two men began to shout for the constabulary as they started to “defend themselves” from these “mad women.”

At that point, Henrietta lost patience, took a few steps forward and triggered a spell. Claudia again resisted, as did Aurelia, but three of the four men (including the two in the café), plus Beatrice, all dropped unconscious – as did the waiter, a few of the patrons, and a couple of passing pedestrians.

The fourth man immediately took off down the street, shouting loudly for the constables and yelling he’d been attacked by sorcery. A few frightened onlookers also backed away quickly, as Claudia, Aurelia and Henrietta grabbed the unconscious Beatrice and carried her in the opposite direction as fast as they could.

Within a few minutes they’d cleared the area and ducked into an alley. Aurelia and Claudia woke Beatrice up as Henrietta stood ready to knock her out, should the mechanic prove to still be ensorcelled.

Fortunatley, that proved to not be the case and Beatrice recovered herself when she recovered consciousness. Deeply mortified and incandescently angry, the other three had to talk her out of going for some payback immediately, because they didn’t know how the constables would react to the whole thing.

Instead, the three dashed back to the hotel and buttonholed the concierge. They asked him to immediately send a message to Sanctum Park and Menagerie, where Millie had planned to spend the afternoon with her young man, and tell her to return without delay.

The concierge blinked in dismay and summoned one of the young men who worked at the hotel, as Henrietta scribbled out a message. The boy tucked it away inside his tunic and took off toward the east side of town at a trot, as the four headed up to their rooms to pack their bags.

Over in the Uther Isle Quarter, Millie had spent her day in amiable company, as she wandered through the park, looked at some of the odd creatures (and the fairly mundane ones) caged there, and tried to keep Apophis from eating the peacocks. She and Lawrence had just about decided to leave for a mid-afternoon snack when the messenger found them, and delivered his alarming letter.

As the son of a reasonably wealthy artificer and friends with the children of families even more wealthy, Lawrence knew that this sort of thing – while rare – wasn’t unheard of in Avallon. He ordered the messenger to trail along behind as a footman while he and Millie began to walk quickly toward the bridge that would take them back to the hotel by the most direct route.

The first few blocks passed without incident, but as the two approached the crowded throng crossing the Yarrow Bridge, Millie saw Apophis suddenly look behind them. She gave a quick glance backward and then, in a quiet voice, told Lawrence the messenger boy had disappeared.

At that moment, a man in leather armor emerged from the crowd in front of them, his hand on the hilt of a sword that looked all business, and told them to stop. Lawrence immediately stepped forward, swept Millie back with his left arm so she could be safe behind him, and drew his own sword.

Although pleased and rather charmed by Lawrence’s chivalrous impulse, Millie promptly triggered an Armor spell, and a Missile Shield, and commanded Apophis to attack.

The large savannah cat launched itself at the attacker’s face and gave him a good clawing. Although momentarily shocked by the sudden act of bloody violence, Lawrence didn’t hesitate to take advantage of the opportunity, and he and Millie cut the man down.

They young couple immediately took off at a run as some of the crowd began to scream and shout about what had just happened, but they managed to stay ahead of the hullabaloo long enough to make it back to the hotel.

There, they reported the attack to the rest of the group, and Lawrence had the concierge send a second messenger with a note to his father, so the elder gentleman knew about the attack and that he’d found a safe haven.

At that point, the group realized that the attack on Lawrence, as the son of an established family, would probably lend credence to their side of the story, so they decided to remain in town and wait to see what happened.

Nothing did. No constable ever showed up and, while some later arrivals reported rumors of odd things happening in town, nobody seemed to trace anything to them.

With that, the session ended.

##

Funny Quotes

(The group discusses transportation options.)
Aurelia: I’m all about stealing an airship! You know me.

Beatrice: How many innocents have we killed, actually?
A.J.: Only the ones you made me kill.
Beatrice (long pause): Okay, I’ll give you that one.

(The group decides to try to capture elementals as a means to solve their liquidity problems.)
Claudia: It’ll all end in bloodshed, but sure.
Aurelia: I want to believe we can do things without it turning into a chaotic mess, though!

Fergus: As your captain, I want you to know this man is likely a charlatan! Ships travel across the water, not through the air!

Steven: Just because you’re the voice of reason doesn’t mean you’re right.

Beatrice: What’s really funny is that you’re worried about control of your own destiny.

Steve: A.J. has the “Telepathetic” spell and can call Athelstane!

Beatrice (receives yet another offer to make her a skirt): I hate this place.

(Aurelia evades her followers and finds Beatrice)
Beatrice: Who are we killing?
Aurelia: I didn’t say killing! I said, jumping!
Beatrice: So, whose pants are we taking?
Aurelia: That’s better.

Aurelia: Secure after capture!

Beatrice: We brought you coffee!
Henrietta: Oh, you are smart women!

Beatrice: Hey, Claudia! We need you!
Aurelia: We have a situation.
Beatrice: And snacks!
Claudia: Snacks?!

Beatrice: Henrietta’s gonna make them go to sleep; and then we’re gonna capture them; and then we’re gonna scare them, and then we’re gonna take their pants!

(Beatrice decides to stick with the plan, and play along with the conversation in the café.)
Aurelia: Oh! Bea is growing, as a person!

(Beatrice recovers, realizes she got Charmed, and promptly blows her stack.)
Aurelia: You remember how you guys gave me a bad time for cutting out her tongue? Yeah. That’s about it.

##
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