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Old 02-22-2015, 04:16 AM   #11
Gef
 
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Default Re: Campaign: Facets

Thanks, I like campaign report posts. I especially like to see a review of how things worked out from a GMing angle, like game mechanics, whether a challenge like a mystery or encounter was too easy or too hard, what if anything caused conflict among the players (as opposed to characters). Sounds like you're off to a good start.
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Old 02-22-2015, 10:52 AM   #12
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Default Re: Campaign: Facets

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Originally Posted by Gef View Post
Thanks, I like campaign report posts. I especially like to see a review of how things worked out from a GMing angle, like game mechanics, whether a challenge like a mystery or encounter was too easy or too hard, what if anything caused conflict among the players (as opposed to characters). Sounds like you're off to a good start.
Thanks. I've GMed GURPS campaigns for a bit more than 25 years, now, including two long-running fantasy settings (one based on Harn) that went really well. I can always come up with pretty good stories, but for me the hardest part is carefully gauging the relative strengths of the party and the antagonists.

I plan fantasy game encounters pretty well, because I've had a lot of experience (and healing magic makes things much more forgiving). However, I've had only a little experience with more modern settings. The only one with a lot of guns that I'd run, before this, was the GURPS: Castle Falkenstein campaign that ended early. Fortunately, the Denver GURPS group has a lot of different games going, and Lex has one based on StarCraft. When one is fighting Zergs, it's all guns, all the time, except when it's grenades and flame-throwers.

So, when Tod and Chris couldn't make it, I struggled with how to handle the Apache encounter. Jeb and Deputy Torres are two of the group's better shooters, but I don't like to give the spotlight to PCs on autopilot whose players didn't show. I seriously debated whether or not to cut the number of Apaches by one (the red-headed kid was always going to stay back to watch the ponies).

In the end, even though the group was down by two players, it had gained one when Debbie decided she'd like to give the game a try. That gave me five active PCs, at least one of whom was tactically knowledgeable in real life (my sister loved her time in the Army), and whose character had similar skills.

That's a lot of guns in the hands of active PCs, plus two more inactive PCs who would simply return fire and not do anything innovative. The only thing I did with them that pushed my boundaries was to have Diego grab the .30-06. However, he had just finished reading the Mirandas to Sr. AKA when the Apaches opened fire, and that meant the rifle was right next to him, so that made it tough to justify not taking it, even by an auto-piloted PC.

He then proceeded to use it to put one attacker down, a few rounds later, but that provoked the Apache bullet-storm that dropped him (critical hit, max damage absorbed by the body armor, but still enough got through to reduce him to 2 HP and stunned).

That threw the spotlight wholly on the active PCs. Doc Bascher focused on dragging people to cover and starting to patch them up. Henrietta did the same and also traded barbs with the Apaches. Randy brought fists to a gunfight and declined the body-armor, so what happened to him was pretty inevitable and I didn't feel at all bad about it. In fact, it made Doc Bascher's skills absolutely crucial.

That meant the two main characters left were Arthur and Beatrice, and they saved the day by assembling two M4 carbines while Henrietta and the Apaches shouted at each other.
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Old 02-22-2015, 01:07 PM   #13
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Default Re: Campaign: Facets

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Randy brought fists to a gunfight and declined the body-armor, so what happened to him was pretty inevitable and I didn't feel at all bad about it.
Nor should you! Randy walked right into that one and got himself shot right and proper.

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In fact, it made Doc Bascher's skills absolutely crucial.
Indeed. Permission for Randy to have the most massively-ridiculous unrequited crush on Doc ever without RL problems?
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Old 02-22-2015, 02:02 PM   #14
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Nor should you! Randy walked right into that one and got himself shot right and proper.



Indeed. Permission for Randy to have the most massively-ridiculous unrequited crush on Doc ever without RL problems?
Talk it over with Samantha. If she's okay with it, go ahead.
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Old 02-23-2015, 02:51 PM   #15
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Default Re: Campaign: Facets

Thank you for posting your writeups, I really enjoy reading them. Very interesting campaign, too. Any chance we could get a peek at the character sheets?
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Old 02-23-2015, 04:58 PM   #16
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Default Re: Campaign: Facets

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Thank you for posting your writeups, I really enjoy reading them. Very interesting campaign, too. Any chance we could get a peek at the character sheets?
Easily. Most of them are here:

http://www.denvergurps.com/forum/index.php?topic=516.0
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Old 02-25-2015, 06:18 AM   #17
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Default Re: Campaign: Facets

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Talk it over with Samantha. If she's okay with it, go ahead.
Consider it done. She'll think it's hilarious and take it as an additional opportunity to hurl verbal abuse my way. ;]
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Old 03-15-2015, 04:56 PM   #18
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Default Re: Campaign: Facets

We held the third session of Facets, at chez moi in beautiful downtown Denver, yesterday. We welcomed new player Bennie H., to the table, as well. :)

----

Character's 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.

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 -- Played by Gold & Appel, Inc.

Francis "Jeb" Stuart -- an anti-federal government survivalist and gas station attendant, who believes strongly that local communities should be self-sufficient, and thinks 4CSAR epitomizes that ideal (plus, it provides health insurance) -- Tod has dropped out, so this is now an NPC.

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. She has a pet pig named Master Oink of the Porcine (just a pet and not an ally, trained to fetch, carry things and squeal when alarmed, meant mostly for comedy relief) -- Played by Samantha H.

Dr. Arthur Jamison -- a retired NASA scientist with a home in one of Moab's nicer canyon subdevelopments, who volunteers for 4CSAR because he needs to do something to get out of the house -- Played by Anten S.

Deputy Diego "Danny" Torres -- Grand County Sheriff's deputy who acts as the department's community policing officer and works with 4CSAR as needed -- Played by Chris L. (absent this week)

Beatrice "B" Lawrence -- U.S. Army veteran who works for a local air charter service as a helicopter mechanic. A cynic about men, and accompanied by "Grunt," the biggest, best-trained pit-bull anybody has ever seen (purchased as an ally, and a totally badass dog) -- played by Bernetta W. (also absent this week)

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 new participant Bennie H.

----

Aurelia Lockrin returned from Salt Lake City late in the day June 20, 2014, having caught a short flight from Denver, where she'd spent a couple of days on personal business. Grand County High School's school year had ended two weeks prior, and she'd finished up her grades and year-end reports, already, and taken off for the Mile High City earlier in the week.

Upon checking her voice-mail, she heard the message from Four-Corners Search-and-Rescue (4CSAR) Commander Pete Munroe, asking that available volunteers gather at 5 a.m., now nearly nine hours in the past, for a briefing. Aurelia threw her kit into the back of her car and stopped by the station, and Vice Commander Bertie Meyer filled her in on the request by federal agents to assist in the search for Jose Redshirt, aka many aliases. He also told her Dr. Henrietta "Indiana" Johnson had joined the search several five or six hours earlier, but no one had heard from the search party since Indiana Johnson had dropped out of contact, shortly after noon.

Lockrin drove down to Dark Canyon and found the Incident Command post, where Munroe, Sheriff Allen Brown, the two feds, and the Emery County Sheriff, as well as a fair number of deputies and volunteers who were milling about. She checked in, and Munroe advised her that all contact with the primary search party had been lost. Given that it was so late in the day, he had already planned to organize a larger search effort to scour canyon, the next day. In the meantime, all volunteers were to bed down at the Monticello High School gym, and be ready for assignment to a team charged with covering a search grid, the next morning.

The new arrival asked for more details, and went out to chat with the sheriff's deputy watching the forensics team at the suspect's abandoned rental Chevy Suburban. Since Lockrin knew every Grand County deputy pretty well, she easily struck up a conversation and learned from the deputy that her team had tracked the suspect to a point less than a mile northwest, where he'd entered the rugged canyon.

Lockrin hopped back in her car, drove it out of sight, and crept back to the trailhead mentioned by the deputy. She entered the canyon, unseen, in late afternoon, and pushed herself to catch up with the group.

She reached the rockslide, was just as confused as everyone by the disappearing bicycle tracks, made it down to the canyon floor about an hour before sunset, and entered the slot. It had already started to get dark, in there, but Lockrin followed the trail, anyway, and reached the grotto at the end. Aurelia noted the excavation of the east-side passage, and pulled out her flashlight as it had gotten difficult to see. She slid down the incline, found the petroglyph cave and the odd exit to the west.

Locrkin headed up into the unnaturally straight passage, took a few rubbings of the petroglyphs she found along the way, reached the point where the mist rose, and suffered the same severe headache. She retreated back down the passage, thought for awhile, and decided to spend the night in the slot canyon, rather than try to continue, under the circumstances.

After a bit of a struggle, Aurelia eventually got her portable alcohol stove lit, and found a bunch of discarded candy and gum wrappers, all of them missing the aluminum foil. Lockrin gathered up the dry paper and stuck it in her backpack, since it would make good tinder, if necessary.

After that, Lockrin tried to sleep, but immediately found herself in a vivid nightmare of breaking through canyon walls suddenly grown as thin as dry paint, and being consumed by the burning white light that poured from the fissures within it. She woke, screaming, calmed herself, and tried to go back to sleep. She immediately suffered the same vivid nightmare, again. Aurelia spent the remainder of the evening, dozing off and waking within a few minutes from nightmares of burning white light.

Further along the trail, her companions suffered from nightmares that differed only in slight details. Arthur and Beatrice took the first watch, after Doc Bascher finished cleaning up after her emergency surgery on Randy. However, they soon saw all of their companions jerk awake, bathed in cold sweat, from horrible dreams. When they tried to sleep, they also found themselves waking from dreams of burning light.

Doc Bascher checked Randy, and realized he had an accelerated heart-rate, and was thrashing around enough that she feared he might reopen his wounds. The badly wounded Deputy Torres also failed to sleep, at all, and by morning he was gray-faced and haggard. However, the suspect, who had come through the canyon only about an hour before them, seemed to suffer no such effects and was able to sleep, despite his wounds.

The next morning, Beatrice and Arthur quickly cobbled together a wheeled travois using scrounged wood, a sleeping bag, the wheels from the Yuba Mundo cargo bike, and the metal shaft from Beatrice's dismantled collapsible digging tool. Doc Bascher helped them harness it to one of the horses, mounted Torres on that horse and put Seņor AKA on the other. Before they left, the suspect promised to adhere to any story they decided to tell their superiors, as long as they agreed to let his son, Hector, head back north, toward his home.

After some intense haggling, Seņor AKA, who finally disclosed his real name as Don Andres Santiago Reyes y Vasquez, also disclosed that, without help, those who had passed through the portal would never sleep again, and soon their minds would break. In exchange for allowing his son, Hector, to return home, he would tell them to whom to go for help in their own world, so they could sleep again before they went mad.

At that point, the party agreed and sent Hector on his way, with the wounded mule and all the non-contraband that Don Andres had brought with him, through the portal. The group then began to travel back the way they came, and discussed a plausible story about the events, as they traveled.

Back at the portal, Aurelia packed up her camp after a long, sleepless night. She moved west, up the unnaturally straight canyon, and soon smelled the odor of rotting bodies -- a scent she knew from her past. Soon after that, she heard the sound of growling, from out past the exit.

She elected to sneak forward, and soon saw a pack of eight reddish wolves worrying at the dead bodies of two large people lying out in in the middle of a box canyon. Realizing she couldn't stay hidden for long from the keen senses of the wolves, Aurelia began to scale the north wall of the canyon, and soon reached a narrow ledge about 10 yards up, that followed the rim around to the north, where the floor of the box canyon appeared to rise.

Aurelia crept along the ledge, and then saw that two of the mangy wolves had spotted her, and were trotting back and forth, trying to figure out how to get up at her. Aurelia pulled out her bow, shot one in the back, and then slipped and almost fell. She managed to grab a handhold with her right hand, while successfully clutching the bow in her left.

(Continued)
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Old 03-15-2015, 04:58 PM   #19
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Default Re: Campaign: Facets

At about that time, the rest of the group reached the northern entrance to the box canyon, and immediately heard the yelp of a canine in pain, followed by loud barking and growling that immediately caused the horses to snort and paw the ground, nervously. Arthur crept forward, followed a few yard behind by Beatrice, Doc Bascher and Henrietta, while Jeb remained behind to mind the animals and watch over the wounded. Arthur went low and poked his head around a bend in the canyon, and saw Aurelia hanging from the top of the canyon wall by her fingertips, with seven wolves circling below, and an eighth trying to reach the arrow sticking out of its back.

Quickly recovering from his amazement, Arthur and the rest of the group settled in and took aim, as Aurelia smoothly recovered and hauled herself up on the ledge. A fast little fight followed, in which six of the wolves wound up dead, and two others (despite their near-panic at even getting close to the entrance) fled down the canyon to the east, through the portal mist.

The group, now united with their final member, detached Randy's travois-cart, and led the nervous horses toward the portal canyon. The animals stopped about 10 yards from it and refused to go further, digging in their hooves, tossing their heads and showing the whites of their eyes.

Bascher and Henrietta realized it would take extraordinary measures to get them down the canyon, and the veterinarian decided to try to panic them enough to flee down along the passage. Henrietta held the leads as the veterinarian pulled out her tranquilizer rifle, loaded an empty dart, took aim, missed the haunch of the horse, and instead shot the archaeologist in the thigh. With a curse, Henrietta grabbed reflexively at the dart and the two horses wheeled around and galloped in a panic back up the box canyon, where they escaped to the north.

After tossing her rifle to the ground in frustration, and yelling back and forth with Henrietta for a few minutes, Doc Bascher hooked the handles of the travois to Master Oink's pack straps. The group then proceeded down the canyon, exited into the wilderness area, and heard their cell-phones chime to tell them of incoming text messages. They then used the satellite phones (not enough bars on their cellphones to achieve a reliable connection), and called for help. As they did so, Don Reyes told them to travel to Grand Junction, and find JoBeth Catherine McShane, the owner of the Nova Nepenthe occult shop, who would be able to help.

As the sounds of the helicopter rotors grew louder, Jeb and Aurelia decided they had no interest in debriefing by the federal agents, and told the group to meet them in Grand Junction. With that, they scampered to the north, deeper into the canyon, to take the steep path back out.

The rest of the group loaded the wounded on the Flight-for-Life chopper, and took an easier path out. They then spent the next several hours being debriefed by a distressed pair of federal agents, but all of the party members managed to keep their simple story straight (They reached the suspect's camp, observed him in an altercation with two people already there, and a fight had broken out. They rushed forward to help as the suspect got shot, got in a brief gunfight with the two assailants, received their wounds, and then the pair had fled. The group didn't try to follow and, no, they didn't have good descriptions.)

With that, the increasingly weary group were released, learned that Deputy Torres would be placed on a 60-day paid administrative leave pending the results of a shooting-incident investigation by a team from the Utah State Patrol, and had been taken to the hospital, along with Randy and Reyes.

The ambulatory members of the group trudged to their cars, made the two-hour drive to Grand Junction, and used their smartphones to find the address of Nova Nepenthe. They drove to that address, and saw Jeb's truck parked down the street. They locked all their firearms in the trunks of their cars, and met up with Aurelia and Jeb. The weirded-out survivalist chose to stay in the car and only come in when he knew it was safe.

The rest of the group walked into the occult shop, and discovered it filled with more than a dozen pagans of various stripes, all speaking very seriously about the deep religious experiences they'd had during the previous day's Midsummer bonfire ceremonies, and purchasing replacements for the incense and other items used during those rituals. After a quiet inquiry, one of the employees brought the "High Priestess" JoCat Nightshade out to talk to them ("Which high priestess did you need, exactly?").

"JoCat Nightshade" took them into a ritual chamber (which she'd apparently been sweeping), heard their story, and promptly went over and locked the door. After dropping her high priestess persona, McShane questioned them closely, growing ever more distressed as she learned who had sent them, and the circumstances of their visit. When they told her of the nightmares, McShane became deadly serious, and advised them that she needed to cast a ritual of peaceful sleep in the room, and they'd have to sleep there for the night. They'd have to return there, every night, until she taught them the proper meditation techniques, so as to allow them to order their minds and prevent the nightmares.

McShane then told them that the passage through the portals had acted as a form of initiation. She said that, while the world truly did follow the scientific laws they'd all been taught, it also consisted of a set of "Decanic Forces" that combined in a very finely-grained way to create the structure of reality. When they had passed through the portal from one world to another, however, their minds -- or perhaps their souls -- had become "faceted." Now, they had the ability to perceive the various types of Decanic forces, as if viewing a white light refracted through a clouded prism.

With proper training, McShane explained, not only would they be able to sleep peacefully, again, they'd also gain the ability to alter reality by force of will. They could become "Magi," practitioners of thaumotology, and able to perform magic.

However, those lessons would not come without a price. McShane said that, while she felt somewhat obligated to teach them to order their minds so as to prevent madness, that sensibility did not extend to the greater lessons. If they wished to learn what she had to teach about magic, she would require them to remain silent, share with her any magic they learned from any other source, and obey any command she gave them, as a duty owed to a master by an apprentice.

After some close questioning that evoked some disturbing responses ("I don't think I'd be willing to break the law." "This power will place you above the law."), and a demonstration of the reality of the power offered, the group -- reluctantly, in a couple of cases, but enthusiastically by Jeb ("Above the law?! Hell, yes!") -- took the offer.

At that point, McShane produced two amulets, which she said had smaller versions of the ritual. Those would allow their wounded companions to sleep, as well, as long as they kept the amulets on their persons.

Aurelia took the two amulets and, after a quick shopping trip for some fresh clothes, drove back to the hospital in Moab. She slipped into a locker room, jimmied a lock, donned scrubs, grabbed a clipboard and kept her head down as she worked her way past the sheriff's deputies milling around the hospital hallways. Aurelia stayed away from Don Reyes' room, slipped into Randy's and hid the amulet underneath him. She then moved to Torres' room and found the deputy determined to remain awake. She told him about the amulet, and convinced him it would help.

After that, Aurelia left the room and encountered one of the deputies, who had finally recognized her. She talked him out of reporting her presence, at least for awhile, and then left the hospital and drove back to Grand Junction. Upon arrival, JoBeth was finishing up the ritual, so Aurelia took a shower. She returned to the ritual room, which now resembled a slumber-party, crawled into her sleeping bag, and passed out.

----

Funny quotes

Henrietta: I don't know if you've noted that, but we're in 1918.
Aurelia: No, I didn't know that.
Arthur: Oh, and it's an alternate reality.
Aurelia: Of course it is. Can we go back, now?

Seņor Reyes <upon seeing the dead bodies of wolves and ogres splashed around the canyon>: Oh. This is a mess.
Doc Basher: Ya think?

Aurelia<hearing about the gunfight>: A ginger Apache?

G&AINC (OOC): Look on the bright side. There's no way the Feds send us after a fugitive, again.

Henrietta: <swearing loudly and in graphic detail, after she was accidentally shot with the tranquilizer dart>
Doc Bascher<who shot her>: Want me to put some lidocaine on it?

[The group spends about an hour carefully crafting an elaborate cover story for the shootout while Randy is knocked out, and can't participate.]

[Time passes; Randy wakes up in the hospital surrounded by cops]

THE COPS: So what happened?
RANDY: [BLITHELY SPILLS THE BEANS ON EVERYTHING, so far as he kinda-sorta understood it]

RANDY: Wait, Nurse? I've got one more question...
NURSE: Yes?
RANDY: Are my tattoos okay?
NURSE: Well, there's some damage to one...
RANDY: ^#%$#$%! I get all my work done by this guy in Boulder who has a six month waiting list! This is the worst day ever.

RANDY: [upon waking up in the hospital again later and discovering a paper-wrapped rock shoved into a particularly sensitive spot of his anatomy]
RANDY: [unwraps the paper, grimacing, and reads out loud] Randy: Put the rock back in your @$$. It's the only thing that will stop the nightmares. I'll explain later. -XORLYA
RANDY: What the!? What even... [exhausted sigh] Aurelia...
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Last edited by tshiggins; 03-16-2015 at 06:35 AM. Reason: Edits made to remove embarrassing grammatical errors
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Old 04-28-2015, 08:45 PM   #20
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Default Re: Campaign: Facets

Fourth Session Notes

This one took place six weeks after the last session, which is much longer than I would have preferred. However, when three of the participants (including the GM) come from the same family, sometimes family matters interfere.

So, this one was a bit chaotic, and mostly dealt with the aftermath of the events of Session 3. We also introduced another character, Sunmi Jones, played by Bernetta's youngest daughter, Rebecca (aka, Dark Niece).

I have also shifted Deputy Diego Torres to NPC status, as Chris has missed three sessions. We can pick him back up again, later, if Chris' schedule clears up (or he can just start a new guy, based on where the campaign sits).

---

Character's 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.

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 -- 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. She has a pet pig named Master Oink of the Porcine (just a pet and not an ally, trained to fetch, carry things and squeal when alarmed, meant mostly for comedy relief) -- Played by Samantha H (aka, First Niece).

Dr. Arthur Jamison -- a retired NASA scientist with a home in one of Moab's nicer canyon subdevelopments, who volunteers for 4CSAR because he needs to do something to get out of the house -- Played by Anten S.

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 volunteers with 4CSAR because volunteer work is required for her degree. -- Played by Rebecca W.

Beatrice "B" Lawrence -- U.S. Army veteran who works for a local air charter service as a helicopter mechanic. A cynic about men, and 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) -- played by Bernetta W.

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 H.

---

NPCs

Francis "Jeb" Stuart -- an anti-federal government survivalist and gas station attendant, who believes strongly that local communities should be self-sufficient, and thinks 4CSAR epitomizes that ideal (plus, it provides health insurance).

Deputy Diego "Danny" Torres -- Grand County Sheriff's deputy who acts as the department's community policing officer and works with 4CSAR as needed -- Shifted to NPC, this week.


---

The session began with the party split geographically. Randy and Diego remained at the small Moab Regional Hospital, while the rest of the group sacked out in Grand Junction, at Nova Nepenthe occult shop, under the watchful eye of Mistress JoCat Nightshade (aka, JoBeth Catherine McShane), the proprietor and a genuine practicing mage of apparently modest ability.

Randy remained in intensive care, in serious but stable condition, while Deputy Torres was in fair condition and remained under observation. Also present at Moab Regional Hospital was Seņor Andres Reyes, aka many aliases, including "Seņor AKA," also in fair condition and under observation, and also under armed guard by Grand County Sheriff's deputies.

After the last session, Aurelia decided to lay low for a couple of days, and the group in Grand Junction remained in that Western Colorado town at the base of the Grand Mesa, and started to practice the meditation techniques that would preserve their sanity without magical assistance. For his part, Jeb mostly remained close to Nova Nepenthe, while Beatrice declared herself "on vacation" for a couple of weeks, to a sympathetic boss who figured she'd been traumatized by recent events.

Doc Bascher ruefully noted that her one-woman veterinary clinic in Moab really needed some vet techs, and called her colleagues, there, to take on her clients. She arranged to assist other colleagues in Grand Junction, for the next several weeks.

As a retired gentleman of means, Dr. Arthur Jamison's time was his own, so he practiced some of his meditation while at the same time carefully researching whether the Colorado River or the Gunnison River offered the better fly-fishing spots.

Dr. Henrietta "Indiana" Johnson took a trip to Moab to bring Randy a potion (in a Jamba Juice bottle) to help speed his healing (but not so much it would arouse the curiosity of the attending physician), but mostly worked on her meditation and chatted remotely with colleagues in Colorado about the petroglyphs of the Ancestral Puebloan cultures. She determined she needed high-quality photographs to assist her research but, given the group's experiences with electonics in the close vicinity of the portal, mentioned that she needed a large-format film camera.

Aurelia noted that she had such a camera at her home, and the two women decided to head back to Moab, along with Beatrice (who had gotten bored) and Grunt (because he always went everywhere with Beatrice). Once there, they split up, briefly, so Henrietta and Beatrice could stop by their places. Aurelia took a moment to call a "business associate" in Denver, only to be told to not call again for at least a month. Her name had appeared in an AP story in the Denver Post, as someone who had helped chase down a federal fugitive.

In the meantime, Sunmi Jones, age 19 but already a senior at Utah Valley University, returned to Moab on June 27th, from a month of visiting family in Korea. She checked her messages and learned about the events of five days past. Still ragged from her flight, she nonetheless went down to the 4CSAR station, chatted with Vice Commander Bertie Meyer (who asked that she remain close to her phone since he 4CSAR was pretty short-handed), and then went to Aurelia's apartment to look for her.

A surprised Aurelia welcomed her, but spoke as little as possible about recent events, in an effort to prevent Sunmi from becoming too interested. Henrietta rendered the effort moot. Henrietta mentioned the return to the canyon to get the photos as soon as Aurelia opened the door -- and before the archeologist realized Sunmi was present.

The three women met up with Beatrice, and then the foursome headed down to the Manti-LaSalle National Forest. They hiked down into the Dark Canyon Wilderness Area from the northeast, using the same rugged trail. They arrived at the slot canyon by early afternoon, to find the entrance had been covered with yellow police tape. Apparently, the Grand County Sheriff's Department and the Feds had backtracked the group to the slot canyon at some point, in the past couple of days, and sent in a forensics crew.

At first concerned, they relaxed a bit when they realized this must have happened no earlier than June 23, which meant the portal would have closed, by then.

Sunmi hesitated to cross the police tape, but Beatrice and Henrietta entered, undeterred. Aurelia, who knew the portal would be open on this day of the new moon, agreed to remain on the proper side of the police tape with Sunmi. She didn't want the young woman to find out about the other world, anyway. Henrietta and Beatrice headed inside to set up the camera so the archeologist could get her photos, while the former soldier kept watch up the once-again present portal passageway.

Outside, Sunmi and Aurelia chatted for a bit, and then the younger woman heard movement from what sounded like a large animal, on the top of the bluff above. Suddenly wary, Aurelia moved down the trail a bit to see if she could spot anything, rounded a bend, and saw a large, slavering wolf with moulting fur and huge teeth glaring at her, from about 50 yards away. At the same moment, the other wolf appeared at the top of the bluff, above.

(cont'd)
__________________
--
MXLP:8 [JD=1, DK=1, DM-M=1, M(FAW)=1, SS=2, Nym=1 (nose coffee), sj=1 (nose cocoa)]
"Some days, I just don't know what to think." -Daryl Dixon.

Last edited by tshiggins; 04-28-2015 at 08:55 PM.
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