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Old 04-28-2015, 08:46 PM   #21
tshiggins
 
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Denver, Colorado
Default Re: Campaign: Facets

Aurelia started to back away slowly, only to see the wolf down the trail lower its head and start trotting toward her, as the one up top disappeared from view. She turned and sprinted back toward the taped entrance to the slot canyon, where an alarmed Sunmi saw her coming. Aurelia shouted at her to get inside the passageway, just as the first growling mutated wolf appeared down the trail, behind her.

Aurelia ducked into the slot canyon entrance and pulled her bow out of its slung case, as Sunmi suddenly realized the danger of the situation ("Aah! What do I do?!" "Shoot it!") and fumbled out her pistol. She took aim, waited for the wolf to get closer, pulled the trigger with shaking hands and missed badly -- only to have Aurelia smoothly pull out an arrow and drop it in one shot (crit!).

As the two women cautiously approached the downed wolf, the other beast appeared down the trail, sized up the situation, and then bolted. Shortly thereafter, Beatrice and Grunt burst through the police tape, followed a few moments later by Henrietta. The women decided to pursue the beast, noting that it had headed generally south, toward the area most frequented by tourists. They gave chase, and came upon two flabbergasted young hikers about 20 minutes later who reported the giant wolf had fled past them.

The quartet went on awhile longer, realized the mutated beast didn't seem inclined to slow down, and noted that it was getting late enough that they had to head back out of the canyon before dark. They still needed to make the three-hour drive back to Grand Junction. They picked up the camera and hiked out, as Sunmi insisted upon coming along to get an explanation.

The four returned to Grand Junction by about 10 p.m., and reported the events of the day to McShane, who theorized that the wolves may have gotten possessed by some sort of bestial spirit. McShane said that was apparently a fairly common occurrence when animals pass through dimensional portals without protections (and perhaps one reason animals were usually so reluctant to get near them).

Alarmed, Beatrice noted that Grunt had gone through and seemed fine, and looked down at him -- only to see him gazing at her with bright green eyes, instead of dark brown doggy-eyes. Even more alarmed, Doc Bascher rushed outside to check on Master Oink, only to discover that the Vietnamese Pot-Bellied Pig had worked loose the latch on the tailgate of the truck and disappeared.

McShane decided that, since Grunt didn't seem inclined to attack anybody, perhaps the spirit inside him was more benign than those in the wolves. She politely asked the dog for his permission to check his aura, and seemed to get his assent when he layed down on his belly and panted at her. She took Beatrice and the dog to her home, made them wait out front while she went to her ritual space, prepped the spell, cast it on the dog, and reported that the spirit seemed neutral in outlook, and not hostile toward anyone -- at least, at the moment.

The pair returned to Café Nepenthé and the party determined they needed as much help as possible. Aurelia and Beatrice decided to take Randy some potions to heal him up enough that they could spring him from the hospital, while Doc Bascher, Arthur and Henrietta would remain behind and try to track Master Oink.

The next day, Aurelia and Beatrice left early and arrived in Moab by mid-morning, where they broke into Randy's apartment (screwdriver took the sliding door off its tracks) and packed him some clean clothes. They then drove to the small Moab Regional Hospital, where Aurelia remained outside and kept the car running, while Beatrice went inside and made her way to Randy's room. She found him awake but woozy on morphine, gave him the potion, helped him get dressed, detached the monitors at the last moment and hurried him toward the exit as the alarms started to beep.

A nurse tried to stop them but Beatrice and Randy brushed by her. Frantically, the nurse called the deputies for help and dialed the doctor, but by then the duo had reached the curb. They hopped in Aurelia's car and sped away (she clipped a fender on the way out), dropped her car down the block from Randy's apartment, got in his car, and then drove away as their cell-phones started to ring.

Beatrice noted her call was from Grand County Sheriff Allen Brown, while Undersheriff Mark Gray was calling Aurelia. Beatrice swiped "ignore" but Aurelia answered hers, tried to spin a story for Gray, and heard him shift voices from "concerned friend" to "cop with questions." Non-plussed, Aurelia struggled a moment to answer, until Beatrice took the phone and hung up on the undersheriff.

Meanwhile, the Grand Junction group (which now included Sunmi) tracked Master Oink through some alleys and determined that he seemed to have headed for the edge of town by the most direct route. They hopped in a car and spent the rest of the afternoon trying to figure out where he'd gone once he reached it, but lost the trail when they realized the head-start (at least 12 hours) was simply too large, given that Master Oink had apparently trotted through concrete alleys and along asphalt streets. A worried Doc Bascher spent the late afternoon and early evening phoning veterinary colleagues and animal control people, reporting the missing pig.

The next day, realizing they needed more information about magical beasties than JoCat's limited knowledge could provide, Henrietta drove back to Moab with a bouquet of flowers and a healing potion in a Starbucks cup, to try to visit Señor Andres Reyes. Meanwhile, the rest of the group practiced meditation and/or went to work (and/or fishing, and/or watched YouTube K-Pop videos), while awaiting developments.

Henrietta arrived, to find a half-dozen irate deputies, who immediately button-holed her to ask where Aurelia and Beatrice had taken Randy. Thinking quickly, Henrietta professed ignorance convincingly enough to mollify them ("What do you mean, he's gone? You let him go? I came to visit him!"), and decided to talk with Diego, instead.

The deputy demanded to know what had happened (and why), and after a bit of hesitation, Henrietta filled him in. She also offered him the healing potion originally meant for Señor AKA. After careful consideration, Diego declined it, realizing the rapid healing would force him to flee the hospital, just as it had Randy.

Diego also said that some of the other deputies had told him Reyes had "lawyered-up," and was now represented by a public defender named Don Melody, attached to the federal prosecutor's office in Salt Lake.

Frustrated, Henrietta asked for advice, and Diego told her the only way to get access to the other-dimensional sorceror was to work through his attorney. Moreover, since Reyes (or whatever name he was using) faced charges that carried combined sentences of 10-20 years in a federal penitentiary, Melody would likely demand "quid-pro-quo" and drive a hard bargain for considerations, before he would let his client agree to meet with anyone.

With that, Henrietta returned to Grand Junction for the night and gave the potion to Randy, who promptly quaffed it and was healed up, completely.

The next morning, Henrietta and Doc Bascher both received telephone calls. Diego reported to Henrietta that some of the deputies told him a "large wild dog" had attacked a lone camper, south of Dark Canyon, the previous evening. The man was badly injured, with a torn-up leg and blood-loss, but had managed to fight off the attack. Doc Bascher heard from an animal control officer in Montezuma County, more than 180 miles south, who reported that a large pig wearing a harness had killed two dogs in and broke into pig-pen, just outside the town of Dolores. A female Vietnamese Pot-bellied Pig had gone missing.

The session ended, as the group decided to go after the wolf, since it seemed to pose the most immediate threat to people.

###

Funny Quotes

Sunmi <listening to Aurelia, Beatrice and Henrietta try to explain about the portal and the mutated wolves>: Y'all be crazy, y'all need Jee-uzus, I'm out!
Bernetta (OOC): The funny part is, she talks like that all the time.

Arthur <to Sunmi>: I'm so glad you're here! You're another science-type! I can't talk to these people!

Doc Bascher <to Henrietta, just before she left to try to see Señor AKA>: You went, taking him a Jamba Juice (points at Randy), and four days later he was gone!
Randy: It doesn't have to be a Jamba Juice if you're not comfortable being seen with that.
<Henrietta pours the healing potion into a Starbucks cup.>

Arthur: Fishing is a form of meditation.

Debbie (OOC): Don Melody? It sounds like a performer, or something.
G&AInc (OOC): It sounds like a stripper.
GM: It's D-O-N Melody, not D-A-W-N Melody!

RANDY: Guys! Doesn't it suck that we all had to put rocks up our @$$*$!?
AURELIA: No, honey, only you.
RANDY: <horrified look> But...

G&AInc (OOC): I can see why you wanted us to play good guys. If we played this the way our regular group does, normally, Don would already be locked in the trunk and we'd be driving into the desert.
GM: On his knees, facing a hole. Better call Saul!

Beatrice: My dog does not need to be exorcised!
Henrietta: All dogs need exercise!

G&AInc (OOC): Your pig has gone on a murder-and-rape spree.

<Doc Bascher struggles to find a response to the news from the Montezuma County Animal Control officer that Master Oink traveled 180 miles in less than 40 hours, and may have killed two dogs and kidnapped a sow.>
G&AInc (OOC): I don't know what could've possessed my pig to act that way!

G&AInc (OOC): Now we get to find out if magical mutations breed true.

###
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Old 04-29-2015, 06:05 AM   #22
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Default Re: Campaign: Facets

Quote:
Originally Posted by tshiggins View Post
G&AInc (OOC): Your pig has gone on a murder-and-rape spree.

<Doc Bascher struggles to find a response to the news from the Montezuma County Animal Control officer that Master Oink traveled 180 miles in less than 40 hours, and may have killed two dogs and kidnapped a sow.>
Master of Oink's an unusual pig!
Wicked smart and fast, and absurdly big!
Killing some dogs and raping a sow,
Bet you wish you'd spent a point on him now!


MASTER! MASTER!
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Old 05-30-2015, 03:43 PM   #23
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Default Re: Campaign: Facets

This was kind of a dark session that stuck mostly to business, so I didn’t jot down much in the way of funny quotes. However, Chris was able to join us, so Diego lit up as a PC once again.

Also, Bennie had a family emergency and didn’t make this session, so Tori, the daughter of Anten and Debbie, decided to give the game a try and stepped up to play Aurelia. Bennie is long-time friends with Anten and Debbie, so Tori played Aurelia with Bennie’s blessing.

Character's Present:

Deputy Diego "Danny" Torres -- Grand County Sheriff's deputy who acts as the department's community policing officer and works with 4CSAR as needed. He has an extended family with members throughout southern Utah, with cousins in Colorado and Arizona. -- Played by Chris L.

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 used to have a pet pig named Master Oink of the Porcine, but he turned out to be possessed and made an escape, at the end of Session 3. -- 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. 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.

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 by what appears to be a benign spirit) -- 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 this time by Tori, who sat in for a session and played the character with Bennie's blessing.


Fifth Session

Deputy Diego Torres secured release from the hospital six days after his return through the portal, and returned to his family home where his two abuelas promptly attempted to smother him in tender loving care. He called Henrietta to touch base, and learned the stone that allowed him to sleep would lose its efficacy within the next day or two. The group sent Sunmi to pick him up at his home, and the abuelas promptly began to cross-examine their grandson about the pretty, but "skinny," young woman in the car.

Torres distracted them by saying he intended to visit some local shrines, and that he would appreciate some tamales (which take about three days of work, to fix correctly). He and Sunmi then traveled to Grand Junction, where he made the acquaintance of the proprietor, JoBeth Catherine McShane (aka, Priestess JoCat Nightshade), and learned more about how the passage through the portal had changed him. He also downed a potion that healed him up, the rest of the way, and discovered he’d be joining the semi-permanent slumber-party in the back room of Café Nepenthe.

The next day, the group set off to hunt down the second of the possessed wolves. They split into two teams, one of which circled south along Highway 95, and the other which circled to the north using county roads 107 and 088. The Highway 95 crew, led by Beatrice and which included Henrietta, Aurelia and Randy, touched bases with the animal control people from Grand County and San Juan County, and asked them to give a shout if they saw any sign of the “wild dog.” Both crews also checked in at campgrounds and known popular sites, for any sightings.

This paid off for the northern crew of Diego, Doc Bascher, Arthur and Sunmi, who were flagged down by a young woman who reported her boyfriend had been attacked. The group hurried to help, and found a young man with deep slashes and puncture wounds to his back and legs, pale with blood-loss. Upon investigation, Deputy Torres determined that the beast had probably been responsible, and that the site of the attack (and the place where the victim lay) didn’t have nearly enough blood spattered about.

Torres and Doc Bascher concluded that the possessed wolf had actually drained the blood of the victim, and the veterinarian noted that the blood did not want to clot properly. Diego noted that this resembled the scary stories about chupacabras he’d heard as a child. (No, he didn’t roll successfully against anything. Chris figured it out, on his own.)

The northern team called an ambulance, started to track the chupacabra and then notified the southern team to intercept once they figured out the beast seemed headed back in the general direction of the portal. The southern crew sped up county road 0106, which kept them on the plateau to the east of the main canyon. They accurately guessed the chupacabra would likely cross over, on its way to the portal, located in the narrow watershed between Shay Mountain and Twin Peaks East.

After casting about for a bit, the southern crew picked up a warm trail, had to abandon their vehicles, and set out in pursuit of the chupacabra. Meanwhile, Diego and his people zoomed around the southern side of the canyon along the paved Highway 95, and entered the side canyon at a finished trail that began at Nizhoni Campground.

The rugged hike caused Beatrice’s crew to fall behind in the pursuit, and Diego’s group reached the site of the portal, first. As they did so, they spotted the larger, grimmer-looking chupacabra at the top of the bluff. It was looking down at them.

Doc Bascher and Diego circled out to see if they could get a bead on the monster, as Sunmi began to climb the bluff to see if she could get close enough to use her pistol. Arthur stayed close enough to cover her.

As soon as Diego pointed his .30-06 at the chupacabra, it turned away and began working its way back up the slope, sticking to the cover of rocks and scrub-oak. However, Doc Bascher was able to follow its movements, and gave a running report about its location. She saw the chupacabra abruptly turn toward Sunmi, just as the small college girl lost her grip and began to slide down the bluff. The beast effortlessly vaulted over the gap made in the bluff by the slot-canyon that led to the portal cave, and closed in on the frightened girl.

By then, Beatrice and her crew had arrived, and saw the chupacabra headed toward Sunmi. Randy and Aurelia set off in pursuit, as Beatrice and Henrietta (winded and slightly hobbled by a twisted ankle and a twisted knee) worked their way down the slope to get better shots, only to decide they needed to drop a rope down the bluff, instead.

Randy, Aurelia and Grunt the Dog also vaulted the slot canyon gap (Aurelia made it look good) and closed on the chupacabra. The beast reached the top of the bluff only to find that the banged-up and bloody-fingered Sunmi had skittered back down the cliff-face after almost falling all the way down, and landed in the hands of Arthur. She and Arthur hastily backed up to try to get shots at the monster, as Grunt and Randy entered close combat with it.

Randy and Grunt kept the chupacabra immobilized long enough (and mostly avoided getting bitten) that Aurelia and Arthur were able to get good shots, and the monster expired. Doc Bascher came to the top of the bluff to examine the creature, reported some unprecedented physiological changes. They took the head and some blood samples, doused the rest of the cadaver with kerosene and white gas, and burned it in place.

The group then headed back to Grand Junction, reaching Café Nepenthe by early evening, and got healed up.

(Continued)
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Old 05-30-2015, 03:43 PM   #24
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Location: Denver, Colorado
Default Re: Campaign: Facets

The next day, the group rose early and started the long road-trip down State Highway 141 to Montezuma County, in the southwest corner of Colorado. Along the way, they looked up information about the area and learned it had a population of about 25,000 people and nearly that many cattle, and that most of the people not involved in cattle (or the tourism trade, driven by the presence of nearby Mesa Verde) grew hay and/or silage corn for the feedlots.

Upon arrival in the county seat of Cortez, Doc Bascher made some calls to local veterinarian contacts, while Diego spoke to Montezuma County Animal Control. Doc Bascher learned that, while the county had no large hog operations (mostly cattle and a few thousand chicken and sheep, plus a few horses), a few scattered farmers kept some pigs for personal use. Bascher also learned the name of the farmer closest to Dolores who kept a pig-pen – one Luis Hernandez.

With that information, the crew headed northeast, out of town, and took Highway 145 to Dolores. They arrived at the Hernandez Farm, northeast of town along Highway 184, about 30 minutes later. They took the farm’s access road through the waist-high cornfields, and pulled up in front of a battered old wood-frame house that had seen better days. When no one came out to greet them, Diego went to knock on the door while the others prepped their gear.

Receiving no answer to his knock, the deputy (very much out of his jurisdiction…) walked around to the back. Glancing around for the back door, he noticed that the top-rail of a wooden fence had been broken, on a pen about 20 yards away. He walked through the weedy lot, and got close enough to see the bloody, slaughtered bodies of a boar-hog and a middle-aged, strong-looking Hispanic man, lying intermingled in the middle of the pen.

The rest of the group came running, at Diego’s shout, and began to look around. A quick check of the pen revealed that about a half-dozen young piglets had been mauled to death, and the sow was nowhere to be found. The group quickly found tracks of what appeared to be a large boar and a smaller sow headed into the corn-fields to the north.

Diego called the Montezuma Sheriffs Office, and three deputies soon arrived. They called the county coroner and, after a quick discussion, decided to allow the Utah SAR team track the killer boar, while they used the county and farm-access roads to try to get ahead of it.

With that, the group spread out into a “beater-line,” weapons at the ready, and worked their way across the large cornfield. The three patrol vehicles got ahead of them, and waited on the county road on the other side, about 100 yards apart, Montezuma County deputies with shotguns at the ready.

Diego’s cell phone rang before the group was about halfway across the field. The last deputy reported movement in the field near him, and said he’d called the other two to help. The group saw the strobed vehicles start to move down the road, as the deputy on the phone with Diego screamed for help. The group broke into a run as they heard the blast of a shotgun.

They staggered to a halt at the county road a couple of minutes later, to see one deputy with his guts spilling out, a second desperately trying to shove them back in, and a third deputy, pale and shaking, staring out into the cornfield on the other side. The third deputy kept saying something seemed to be wrong with the face of the boar, and that all three of the pigs had attacked at once and then dashed into the other field as soon as the wounded deputy went down, rather than stop to maul him, further.

The SAR team had the deputies stay back with their wounded colleague, and they spread out again, not quite so far apart, and moved into the field. Several quickly spotted a blood-trail (the deputy had apparently winged at least one pig) from the smaller of the two sows, and followed it to the middle of the field. There, the bleeding sow turned at bay and Beatrice ordered Grunt to “harass." At that instant, the other two pigs attacked from flanking positions, using the corn as cover – the mutated Master Oink, from the right and the larger sow from the left.

Master Oink, which now resembled a cross between a boar hog and a rhinoceros, closed quickly and smashed Arthur in the leg, nearly breaking it. Arthur managed to keep his footing and shot his crossbow at Master Oink. On the other side, the sow closed to within six feet of a panicky Sunmi, who missed with a wild pistol shot, as Diego swung his .30-06 around to cover her. The deputy got a bead on the sow, and dropped her at Sunmi’s feet, just as a shot from Henrietta’s pistol hit the young Asian woman in the back.

Over on the other side, various shotgun blasts and arrow-shots hit the charging tusker, as Arthur (with Randy’s help) desperately tried to avoid getting gutted like the deputy. The frustrated Master Oink suddenly switched targets to the unwounded Randy, but several well-aimed blasts from Doc Bascher put her former pet on the ground.

A moment later, Diego’s scoped deer-rifle neatly zeroed the last sow.

Doc Bascher ran to help the stunned and shocked Sunmi, patching her up well enough to make the trip back to Grand Junction as Diego trotted back over to talk to the shaken Montezuma County deputies. He reported that all three pigs were dead, and asked that they not mention his presence, as he was supposed to be on a 60-day administrative leave. They readily agreed (Crit on Savoir Faire – Police!) and the "Blue Wall" went up to shield the Utah deputy.

With that, the group fetched their vehicles, loaded Sunmi and Arthur into them, and sped back to Grand Junction where JoCat’s healing potions waited.

With that, we hit “fast-forward” to say nearly four weeks had passed, and the next scheduled opening of the portal, on July 26, 2014, lay only three days away. That gave the group enough time to have learned the “Meditation” skill, which meant they no longer had to sleep in the back room of Café Nepenthe, every night.

At that point, JoBeth McShane declared her obligation to them at an end, and demanded that they make the choice – either walk away, or agree to become her apprentices in exchange for learning the basics of magic. Jeb chose to leave, but the PCs who remained all agreed to become apprentices – with the caveats that they would not kill or hurt anyone, or engage in felonious behavior likely to get them put in jail. Diego added that he would not, under any circumstances, break the law or in any way violate his responsibilities as a law officer.

With some hesitation (she'd grown a bit unnerved by the fact that her quiet life had been interrupted by people who kept bringing her monster-bits and gunshot victims...), McShane agreed to everyone’s conditions, and the apprenticeships began. She also gave them a first assignment: McShane said she'd used a lot of spell components, this past few days, and they needed to carry some items through the portal, so as to "facet" them and restore her stock. Not thrilled, the group agreed, nonetheless.

The next day, Diego received a call from Grand County Sheriffs Office, followed by similar calls to the other members of the SAR team. Apparently, Don Reyes, aka Señor AKA, had escaped from an ambulance transporting him from the hospital in Moab to a federal prison in Salt Lake City.

Grand County Sheriff Allen Brown told Diego the federal agent sitting in the back of the ambulance reported that his memory of the escape was extremely fuzzy, while the ambulance driver said that Reyes had used the agent’s weapon to force him to pull to the side of the road.

At that point, Brown said the suspect zip-tied the hands of the driver and the EMT to the hubcaps and dashed over to a waiting pickup truck that had pulled to a stop a ways back from the ambulance.

The sheriff said that, although he hadn’t gotten a really good look, the ambulance driver had given a description of the accomplice that closely matched Jeb Stuart. The truck description seemed to match the one owned by the survivalist, too.

###

I didn't write down any funny quotes, this time, although G&AInc remembered a few:

BERNETTA (OOC): Well, at least we're fighting something Randy can't wrestle now...

[time passes]

G&A (OOC): So, am I close enough to do a Step and Grapple on the Chupacabra?
GM: Yes...
BERNETTA (OOC): You realize that thing is covered in spikes, right?
G&A (OOC): That just gives me something to hang on to!

~~~

RANDY: [upon learning that unstable, somewhat dangerous former ally Francis "Jeb" Stuart has been witnessed henching Don Reyes] Guys!? What's that thing we always said about Jeb? Y'know, about how he'd be really f#*&!#@ scary if he wasn't on our side?
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"Some days, I just don't know what to think." -Daryl Dixon.

Last edited by tshiggins; 06-03-2015 at 07:43 AM. Reason: Fixed annoying typo. Montezuma County is in southwest Colorado, not southeast
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Old 06-27-2015, 11:08 AM   #25
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Location: Denver, Colorado
Default Re: Campaign: Facets

We held the latest session of the campaign, last Saturday. It started with some bookkeeping and included couple of serious information dumps, but we did manage to squeeze in some good role-playing and a fun little firefight.

I hadn't realized how much we got done in the session, until I started to write it all up.

Character's Present:

Deputy Diego "Danny" Torres -- Grand County Sheriff's deputy who acts as the department's community policing officer and works with 4CSAR as needed. He has an extended family with members throughout southern Utah, with cousins in Colorado and Arizona. -- Shifted back to NPC status.

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. -- Normally played by Samantha H., who couldn't make it to the session, this time.

Dr. Arthur "A.J." 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. 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.

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 by what appears to be a benign spirit) -- 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 once again by Bennie P.

Sixth Session

The bookkeeping began with a brief discussion of a vehicle Bernetta and Anten wanted their characters to build. Anybody who wants to follow the details of the conversation can go over to the Denver GURPS Group forum, as it took place between sessions. In the end, the characters knocked together a diesel-engine 4x4 ATV with a crank-started engine, instead of an electrical ignition system.

http://www.denvergurps.com/forum/ind...?topic=516.150

They also settled on the construction of some dune-buggies as they could afford them, equipped with steam engines that don’t require electricity. They’ll have three of those done by the time the next portal opens on Aug. 25, 2014.

We made job rolls for everybody, and a self-discipline roll for Randy. Everybody but Aurelia succeeded. Aurelia had decided to take a year off from work at Grand County High School, ostensibly to work on her master’s degree in teaching (she plans to forge the diploma), and received approval to do so. However, the school district misunderstood the situation and cut off her paycheck a month early.

Additionally, we generated birthdays for all the characters:
-Randy was born on Dec. 5, and is a Sagittarius;
-Sunmi was born on Nov. 16, and is a Scorpio;
-Beatrice was born on Feb. 18, and is an Aquarius;
-Aurelia was born on Aug. 10, and is a Leo;
-A.J. was born on March 15, and is a Pisces;
-Henrietta was born on March 2, and is also a Pisces.

We didn’t generate birth dates for Diego or Doc Bascher, since those players missed the session.

Beatrice used her money to pick up a .30-06 deer rifle, but didn’t have time to zero a scope, so she left that off. A.J. coughed up the bucks for the used 4x4 ATV he and Beatrice rebuilt.

At the party’s insistence, Henrietta spent some time at the shooting range, when she wasn’t giving talks about petroglyphs to the Anthropology departments at various colleges in the region (she did well on her jobs roll).

Randy spent a few days filming a commercial for the Southland Corporation (7-11) and Mountain Dew Code Red, which made fun of his unannounced and rapid departure from the hospital, in Moab.

(See the script on page 11 of the campaign thread, above, on the Denver GURPS Group forum. It’s pretty funny.)

Anten and Bennie also spent some points on the acquisition of a contact group for A.J. and an ally for Aurelia, based on the character backgrounds. A.J. had started to make multiple calls to old colleagues at NASA, so we agreed he should purchase a contact group. Bennie wanted a reliable off-screen ally (and possible backup character) that her PC could call for computer-hacking help and general information gathering.

In addition to helping Beatrice with the ATV conversion, A.J. made a few trips to laboratory supply places near Salt Lake City and Grand Junction, and that’s where we started the role-playing part of the session.

-----------------------------------------------------

A.J. and Sunmi set up magnetometers, Geiger-counters, and electrical field monitors, in various spots around the portal opening, out to a range of a bit more than a mile away. Sunmi helped during what little free time she had available, between learning to meditate and working at her father’s office, and the two managed to complete the work the afternoon of June 26, 2014, just as the rest of the group arrived and pitched near the portal entrance.

During the month, Henrietta had asked the rangers in Dark Canyon to put up a chain-link fence with a sturdy gate, to help preserve her “archeological find,” and the group pitched their tents down the slope about 20 yards away, and kept an eye on it. The new moon was scheduled to rise at 10:42 p.m., that night, and they had a lot to do.

Their new teacher of the magical arts, JoBeth Catherine McShane, had sent with them more than 100 lbs. of what she called “spell components.” This included various bits of gems, incense, clay, polished marbles, and other items mostly divided into several different plastic bins – except for several trays of living flowers. The whole pile probably comprised about $12,000 to $15,000 worth of "stuff."

The group had stacked everything carefully in the two-wheeled trailer hooked to their new 4x4 ATV, with its modified engine. They’d left the access road awhile back, which meant they could get a ticket if caught driving the motorized vehicle on the hiking trail, but so far the rangers hadn’t come around.

The group heard a whistle from outside the camp, shortly after nightfall, and Beatrice, Diego and Randy went to check it out. They found Jeb and Don Reyes waiting; Jeb with a fully kitted-out assault weapon and Señor Reyes with his own .30-06. After a very tense discussion, Diego decided he wouldn’t arrest either man, so long as they agreed to go through the portal to Reyes’ 1918 world, and never return.

Jeb readily agreed, because the exile allowed him to escape the oppression of the modern U.S. government. They joined the rest of the group and, once there, Jeb said he might welcome the occasional visit. However, he declared that anybody from the modern world had best make sure they came with peaceful intentions.

With that, the group held a brief conversation with Don Reyes, who explained a few things about magic, but declined to go into detail – much to Sunmi’s frustration. He also expressed disdain for the culture of the 21st century United States, declaring it a decadent near-anarchy doomed to failure, because it refused to follow the prudent leadership of a superior noble class.

The party mostly let that slide, and settled in for the night, except for A.J. and Sunmi. Don Reyes advised against trying to go through the portal until the next morning.

Sunmi and A.J. went out to check the equipment one last time, before moonrise, which came as scheduled. As the dark moon crested the horizon, the equipment began to misbehave. The cell-phones and other devices with minimal voltage experienced a static burst, and then rebooted themselves (in the case of the cell phones) or otherwise cleared up. Higher voltage equipment either shorted out or, for the those items with 10 or more volts, burst into flames.

A.J. and Sunmi scampered around frantically, trying to look at all of the equipment in the immediate vicinity of the camp. They also got the rest of the group to help them shovel dirt on the blazing devices – nobody wanted to start a grass-fire, accidentally.

As they jotted down their notes and observations, Sunmi said she’d seen an energy wave unfamiliar to her, in a couple of the devices just before they failed. A.J. remarked he may have seen something similar in the cell-phone static, on his first trip.

(Continued...)
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Last edited by tshiggins; 06-29-2015 at 07:29 PM. Reason: Fixed Aurelia's birthdate
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Old 06-27-2015, 11:09 AM   #26
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A.J. also noted that the items with the greatest voltages reacted much more violently than he’d expected, far out of proportion to their normal electrical charge. He suspected the opening of the gate had triggered an energy burst that may have dumped power into the electrical devices on some sort of logarithmic scale.

If that were so, A.J. theorized, the voltage in a ignition-coil of an gasoline vehicle would likely fail catastrophically – so much so that it probably would ignite the fuel-lines.

Beatrice thought that sounded pretty cool, and planned to bring a car battery hooked to a dismantled ignition system, the next month, just to see what would happen.

With that, the group settled in to get some sleep.

They rose before dawn, the next day and, after a brief breakfast, headed into the slot canyon, leaving the camp intact. McShane had explained the portal only stayed open until the new moon set, and they had no desire to get trapped on the other side.

Jeb and Don Reyes agreed to walk in front, while Sunmi and A.J., who returned late from checking the more distant devices, trailed along at the rear with Doc Bascher. Diego and Beatrice realized, with great consternation, that their precautions might have been in vain. Jeb and Señor Reyes were about 20 yards ahead of the group when they crossed the halfway point, and disappeared into the suddenly-rising mist.

After a bad moment or two, Diego and Beatrice waved the group forward. After all, Jeb had not opened up on them with what they figured was his fully-automatic AR-15.

They emerged on the other side to see Jeb and Reyes looking back at them, fully aware of what had occurred, but nobody made an issue of it. The group continued along silently, except for Sunmi, who complained of a bad headache and asked for some ibuprofen.

The silence was broken when Jeb and Don Reyes emerged into the box-canyon, saw the remains of a large bonfire over near the former lair of the siants/ogres, and realized they were being observed. They hit the dirt and shouted for everybody to take cover, as a brief firefight broke out between the group, and the remnants of the Apache war-party they’d fought on their first visit.

As soon as the shooting started, a flock of magpies that had been picking at the bones laying about, scattered in a flurry of wings up the box canyon to the west. However, two huge magpies (three to four times the size of the others) flew over the group’s head and into the portal canyon, where A.J. spotted them circling overhead, chattering at each other.

This time, the party was much better prepared, and Jeb and Beatrice dropped two of the Apaches quickly, Diego accounted for another, and Aurelia put an arrow through the shoulder of the red-headed kid. (Another crit!) Meanwhile, A.J. shouted for Sunmi and Doc Bascher to help him try to scare the giant magpies away from the portal, but to no avail. He took a shot at the fast-moving birds, but watched in dismay as the two oversized scavengers arrowed through the gateway.

The group also saw Señor Reyes pull out a stick, nearly 2 ½ feet long, wave it and shout something in Latin (“Avertus!”), before he hit the dirt and started to take aim with his rifle. The fight ended before he got a shot off.

At the end of the brief fight, they’d killed the leader, put one Apache in critical condition, and seriously wounded the third Apache. The red-headed kid, who had shot at Aurelia with a battered old Colt .45, was barely conscious.

Don Reyes took a look at the prisoners, briefly questioned the kid, and then recommended the group execute them all. The Apaches did the same sorts of things in North America that gypsies did in Europe, he explained. They pretend to take odd-jobs (but do the work poorly), rustle livestock and steal everything that isn’t nailed down. Also, he said, the boy was a member of the Latter Day heresy, and their lives were officially forfeit in La Colonia de Nova España.

Beatrice said the group should follow Reyes’ advice, noting that the choice seemed to be between shooting the bandits or allowing them to die slowly in the hot desert. Aurelia objected strenuously, and asked Diego if he could arrest them and take them back to the modern Earth for medical treatment.

The deputy pointed out that if he arrested anyone, he’d have to arrest everyone (including Jeb and Don Reyes). The other members of the group noted that Diego was way out of his jurisdiction, anyway; he still had 30 days left on his administrative leave and an arrest would raise some serious questions; and passage through the portal would make the prisoners into mages (with all the issues that implied).

Aurelia reluctantly acknowledged the infeasibility of taking them back, but demanded they be left with enough food and water to have a chance of survival. She also insisted upon rendering First Aid.

This proved somewhat counterproductive when Henrietta to cut the bloody shirt off one of the unconscious Apaches and promptly put a shallow cut in his chest. (Another crit fail for her!)

However, Doc Bascher did much better, and brought the other unconscious Apache around, and managed to pull Aurelia’s arrow out of the Mormon boy without doing any additional damage. She also patched up the third Indian, and stitched up the laceration left by Henrietta’s knife.

While Doc Bascher performed her field surgery, Beatrice and Henrietta decided to explore the area with the ATV. Randy, Jeb and Reyes found the four ponies ridden by the war-party. Jeb and his new patron promptly took two of them and rode away.

Diego elected to stay with Aurelia and Doc Bascher, while A.J. and Sunmi went to examine the portal from the 1918 side.

Beatrice and Henrietta found a few small adobe shelters that resembled the Anasazi sites on the 2014 side. In one of them the archeologist also found a sun-wheel symbol positioned on a wall where a sitting person could easily focus on it.

The rest of the adobe shelters were in worse states of repair and, after several hours. the two women returned to the group.

(Continued...)
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Old 06-27-2015, 11:14 AM   #27
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Meanwhile, Aurelia had spent time with the prisoners, and learned a few things about the local area of the 1918 world:

-The red-headed kid, James “Jimmy” Erland, had been kicked out of the compound of his family, in early spring, after he and his father’s youngest wife had fallen in love. Erland said this happens every now and then, in the polygamist Mormon families.

-Erland said he’d traveled to the town of Lago Salado, on the southern shore of the salt lake, which acted as a haven, of sorts, for people who had nowhere else. That made it a lawless, dangerous place full of exiles who made money any way they could.

-Much of the money in Lago Salado comes from back-breaking labor in the salt pans, as the town produces purified salt and agricultural goods for trade. Most of it travels south along the Rio Grande del Norte (the name of the Colorado River, in La Colonia de Nova España), and then turns east to Santa Fe.

-Some of the goods go east to the Hopi and Navaho farming settlements in the Valle Grande (those nations are much further north than in the U.S. of 2014), where the Rio de San Javier empties into the Rio Grande del Norte. The Valle Grande Indian settlements also act as the primary point of trade between northern Nova España and the United States.

-The Ute people still exist as a nation, and have numerous settlements along the length of the Rio Grande del Norte, between the Valle Grande and the vast Yavapai Cañón. They herd horses, cattle and sheep, and take a cut of the trade that moves from Lago Salado and Valle Grande to Santa Fe.

-Apaches wander around nomadically, taking any work they can get and surviving as best they can.

-Generally speaking, the Indians have hard lives and lost most of their populations to disease, just as they did in the party’s home world. However, the Spanish never subjected the Indians to any sort of reservation system, and mostly leave them alone. That makes the nations much better off than they were in the 1918 of the party’s world.

-As such, the Indians will sometimes take in Mormon boys who have been kicked out of their families, for whatever reason. Once the young men have proven themselves, the Indians permit them to join the tribe and take wives. That’s what Jimmy hoped to do with the Olleros Apaches, from whence the war party came.

-The river ford that led to the foundation of Moab in the modern world appears in the 1918 world, in about the same place. However, no town currently exists there, although the area has some nice campsites the local Utes keep in good condition.

The conscious Apache, Itza-chu "Izzy" Norroso, confirmed Jimmy’s information, and said he’d only taken part in the raid because the former leader (shot during the first encounter) was about his only friend. He’d accompanied this raid, as well, because he had a drinking problem that the other Olleros Apaches considered “weak.” He agreed that, in exchange for a bottle of whiskey, he’d never come near the party, again.

Aurelia fetched him a bottle of the Stranahan’s sent along for faceting as spell components, by McShane.

About the time Beatrice and Henrietta rolled back into camp, a group of horsemen trotted down from the north. Señor Reyes and Jeb, accompanied by Reyes’ 16-year-old son and four hacienda gauchos, comprised the group. Apparently, Reyes’ son had dashed home as fast as possible, and then returned with reinforcements to the ruined cabin to wait for his father.

The gauchos gave the group some hard looks, and the party returned the favor, but the situation remained peaceful. Señor Reyes said he’d take the two living Indians and Jimmy off the party’s hands. Aurelia finally agreed, after she wrung from him a promise that he wouldn’t kill the two Indians outright, and would let Jimmy go once they reached a settlement.

Reyes agreed to the terms, because he said he “had a use for” the two Indians, and didn’t particularly care what happened to the red-headed kid.

With that, the groups parted ways. The party returned through the portal about an hour before sunset, and made their way out of Dark Canyon to their waiting vehicles.

----------------------------------------------------
We ended the evening with a discussion of Decanic magic, and the players learned the Decans associated with the birthdates of their characters. We also went over the various materials (colors, metals, stones, plants, etc.) associated with those decans.

(I changed a few things, because I want ferrous metals in the setting to cause problems for magic. As such, Aries is associated with vanadium, instead of iron, and Pisces with titanium, instead of steel.)

After that discussion, McShane charged each of them with the construction of an athame, a chalice, a wand and an amulet, which should incorporate the symbols and substances associated with their birth signs.

She also said they should give some thought to the creation of sacred ritual spaces of their own, built in a place or places they considered uniquely theirs.

Magic relies heavily on the four elements, with “spirit” or “soul” as the fifth element, McShane explained. As such, ritual space needed to be isolated enough to allow for quiet introspection, secureable against interruption by interlopers, and incorporate all four of the elements. The mages count as the fifth element, she said, and the ritual space needed to include what most mages usually called an “altar,” but was really just a work-table.

The space didn’t need to be in a building or anything -- an isolated cave or thick grove of trees would do, she said -- but a rented house or apartment would be wholly inadequate.

In the meantime, they could use the ritual space at the back of Nova Nepenthe, since McShane would need to be close by so she could teach them and monitor progress, anyway.

That ended a very busy session.

--------------------------------------------------------

Funny quotes:


(The group goes through the pile of spell components loaded into crates.)
Randy: Anybody wanna drink the Stranahan's?

(The party discusses a marching order that includes the presence of the questionable Jeb and Señor Reyes.)
Beatrice (to Henrietta): You're driving the ATV.
Randy: Guys? We need the ATV!
Beatrice (to Randy): Fine, I'll drive it. You ride bitch.

(The firefight ends, and the party starts to render first aid to the shot-up Apaches.)
Debbie (OOC): I can do this! (Rolls a critical failure on First Aid, and her face turns bright red.)
Beatrice (IC) : Goddammit! Jesus Christ, I will shoot you, myself!
Anten (OOC, and Debbie's husband): Now, that's funny!
GM: You roll the best critical failures, ever. Roll damage!

(After everybody is patched up, and Doc Bascher has gotten busy with field surgery, the rest of the group starts to scatter.)
Beatrice: We've got all day, guys! Let's go explore!
Aurelia: Hey! Giant pterodactyl magpies!
Beatrice: A.J.'s the one who missed shooting them. Talk to him.
A.J.: I'm not the one who missed shooting them! I'm the one who yelled, and nobody paid any attention!

Aurelia: We're on the hostages. Good cop / bad cop?
Randy: Yeah, let's do this.
Both: [fist bump]

(The party has returned to Grand Junction from the eventful trip, and McShane assigns them the task of creating or acquiring the basic magic tools.)
Randy: So, JC, do you happen to sell any of this stuff..?
JoCat: As a matter of fact, I do!
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Last edited by tshiggins; 06-30-2015 at 07:42 AM. Reason: Added funny quote
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Old 08-02-2015, 02:03 PM   #28
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The latest session took place last weekend. Bennie and her husband had their anniversary, so Aurelia went to NPC mode, but Samantha was available so Doc Bascher was active. Samantha’s husband, Mike, decided to check out the scene, since he’d never seen a table-top RPG, before. Chris L. doesn’t make it to many sessions, these days (it’s a long commute up from Colorado Springs…) so we dragooned Mike into playing Deputy Diego Torres.

Character's Present:


Deputy Diego "Danny" Torres -- Grand County Sheriff's deputy who acts as the department's community policing officer and works with 4CSAR as needed. He has an extended family with members throughout southern Utah, with cousins in Colorado and Arizona. -- Played by guest, Mike H.

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 Sakagawa

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. -- Normally played by Samantha Heuett, who couldn't make it to the session, this time.

Dr. Arthur "A.J." 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. 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 Sakagawa.

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 Williams.

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 by what appears to be a benign spirit) -- played by Bernetta Williams

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 once again by Bennie Rae Palko.


The session was largely devoted to investigation of a mystery that goes back nearly a century, and Mike is an ex-cop, and he enjoyed himself so much he’d like to create a character. Given that Chris isn’t making it to sessions, what we’ll do is ret-con Mike’s guy into the campaign as the Grand County Sheriff’s deputy who has accompanied the group, all along.

That means he’s already gone through the portal, and had all those experiences, which makes him easy to slot into the group. We’ll see how it works out.

--------------------------------------------

After the last trip through the portal, the group tried to settle down and accomplish things, while keeping an ear open for reports of attacks by giant pterodactyl magpies. Arthur and Beatrice focused on the construction of steam-powered dune-buggies, primarily. Arthur and Sunmi did spend some time rigging equipment to take readings of the next opening of the portal, scheduled for August 25.

Aurelia spent her days at Café Nepenthe in Grand Junction, as did Randy. Deputy Torres (or whatever he winds up being called) did the same. He has about three weeks left on his administrative leave.

Henrietta worked on an academic paper about the petroglyphs, and tried to figure out how to discuss them in the context of American Indian culture, without disclosing the existence of the portals.

That lasted about three days. Randy was approached on the street by a someone who recognized him and introduced himself as Lou Delacourt. Delacourt declined Randy’s offer of an autograph, and instead made inquiries about the group’s relationship with “the High Priestess.”

Curiosity piqued, Randy learned that Delacourt, who gave his “craft name” as “Gray Deer,” had learned from Krystal Swan, (“Uhh, Krystal…?” “She’s Madame Nightshade’s assistant manager!” “Oh! C-Money! That’s what I call her.” “Right. Whatever.”) that McShane had begun to teach an “intensive seminar” of the likes she hadn’t done in more than five years.

According to Delacourt, McShane had said she didn’t have time to do much “with the community,” after she opened the marijuana dispensary, next door. As such, some found it disconcerting that she had chosen to spend so much time with people nobody in the Western Slope pagan community had ever heard of.

Thinking quickly, Randy said he’d run into McShane at a festival, got to talking about philosophy and meditation, and had put together the study group. He assured Delacourt there was “nothing sexual” about the relationship, which flabbergasted the pagan, so much, that he beat a hasty retreat.

Later, McShane explained that Delacourt considered himself something of a leader in the small Western Slope pagan sub-culture, as well as Krystal’s boyfriend (even though they’d only dated a few times…). Given that he probably wouldn’t be the only one poking around, McShane said the group needed a cover story. After a brief discussion, everybody decided that Randy’s impromptu explanation would probably do the trick, quite well.

A few days later, after a long day in her office looking at house-pets and listening to the (usually) polite complaints from customers dismayed at her “irregular hours,” Bascher called up the Moab newspapers and took out an ad for a receptionist/assistant. After that, she locked up and headed toward her car, only to notice six (regular-sized) magpies fluttering around the parking lot.

She quickly went to her pickup and grabbed her shotgun from the rack, and cautiously circled the building. She found the two large magpies (each nearly two feet long) perched on a fence in the alley. Bascher clicked off the safety and didn’t quite point it at them, but the two big magpies flew away, anyway.

She called the rest of the group and headed home. The next morning, she saw the six magpies perched in a tree in her yard. She made some quick calls, and Deputy Diego said he’d hurry over. Doc Bascher grabbed her shotgun, again, went into the house, and looked out the window to her back yard. The two big magpies were both out there, as well.

A bit unnerved, she waited for Torres, and the two went through the gate at the side of the house. As soon as they saw the armed pair, the magpies flew away, again.

This happened a couple more times, the next couple of days. Finally, after she got off work, she noticed the six regular magpies perched on the edge of the roof of her office. She slung her shotgun and clambered up to the roof using the ladder in the alley, and saw not two giant magpies, but two little people, about two feet tall.

Dressed in beaded buckskins and moccasins, the two little figures had the features and jet-black hair of young American Indian women, but very pale white skin. They stood out in the middle of the roof, and eyed the wide-eyed Doc Bascher, cautiously.

Thinking fast, Bascher took off the shotgun and hung it from the ladder by its sling. She slowly climbed on the roof, and the two little Indian girls backed away.

The doctor made soothing motions and then sat down and pulled out her cell phone. She quickly dialed Torres and Sunmi, and they said they’d be right over. As she rang off, one of the little females suddenly said, “¿Habla español?”

Doc Bascher jumped and stammered out, “No hablo español!” motioned for the girls to wait. Torres’ truck screeched to a halt, soon thereafter and, after she quickly explained the situation, he came up (mostly) unarmed, and began to talk to the two little people.

They called themselves “Hops About” and “Twirls Thrice,” and explained they were “Magpie Girls” – but the Comanche called them “nunnupi.” They said they’d come through the portal because they found the group a lot more interesting than the wide-open emptiness of the wilderness on the other side of the portal. They also revealed they could speak English, as well, and switched languages.

Upon Bascher’s inquiry, the Magpie Girls explained they decided to follow her because the veterinarian “smelled like dead animals,” which they liked a lot. To the consternation of the Doc and the deputy, they also explained that humans were “really good” at killing things and, given that the group had demonstrated considerable proficiency at that, the two nunnupi had decided to come through the portal for “a visit.”

(continued...)
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Old 08-02-2015, 02:04 PM   #29
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Rather unnerved, Doc Bascher asked the two nunnupi to follow her home, and they agreed. Along the way, she called Henrietta and asked her to hurry home from Grand Junction. However, while Bascher advised the rest of the group about the situation, she asked them to stay away, since the two visitors seemed pretty jumpy.

Eventually, Doc Bascher got the two Magpie Girls settled into a shed with some ham sandwiches and a television tuned to the Cartoon Network (they liked Bugs Bunny, a lot). The veterinarian tried to find out more about the nunnupi, but what she discovered during the somewhat disjointed conversation disconcerted her further.

The nunnupi absolutely refused to promise not to harm anyone, saying that while they didn’t go out of their way to hurt anybody, they absolutely would do so if they thought they had “good reason.” To them, “good reason” included somebody trying to hurt them, or trap them, or trick them, or (worst of all) try to “break a deal” with them.

Henrietta arrived a few minutes later, and she took over the conversation. She discovered the Magpie Girls really liked stories, and agreed to swap stories with them. During the course of the long evening, she learned a bit more about the two little people.

The anthropologist reported that they seemed to genuinely match the Comanche “little people” folktales and myths, even though the Comanche stories said female nunnupi were incredibly rare. Henrietta also said the nunnupi had let slip that they were “hundreds and hundreds” of years old, and had traveled through “a number” of portals and across “a bunch” of different worlds. She also said they told her a lake in the mountains to the west had a "spirit-gate", and Superstition Mountain in Arizona had another one.

Henrietta explained that their actions (and the fact that they sprouted dragon-fly wings, at one point) made them New World counterparts to Old World faeries and, as such, would likely be mischievous, somewhat random, easily bored, offended by lies or other forms of deception, and amazingly dangerous.

When she arrived the next morning, a shocked and disoriented McShane (after she recovered herself) agreed with the anthropologist’s assessment.

With that, the party decided they needed to get the Magpie Girls back through the portal, as quickly as possible. However, McShane said she had no idea how to do that, and knew even less about the nature of these creatures. She had learned what little she knew of magic from apprentice notebooks left by her father, Douglas McShane, after he and her grandmother fled Denver in 1927.

They had done so following the mysterious death of her grandfather, Oliver, a mage from an ancient line of Scottish mystics. He had died as part of some sort of secret magical conflict, during the 1920s, and his entire occult library had disappeared, the same night. JoBeth McShane said she had gone to Denver 20 years ago – in her early 40s – to try to learn what she could, but had instead lost her nerve.

For most of her life, McShane explained that she had used what little magical skills she possessed to give her an edge in business, and as such had a fairly successful life. However, that left her wholly unprepared when faerie came fluttering through a gate between universes, and seemed disinclined to go back from whence they came.

With that, the party decided they urgently needed to find out what happened to the elder McShane, and try to recover his books.

JoBeth McShane said her grandfather, Oliver P. McShane, had worked as an architect for the firm, Bennett & Associates, of Chicago. Oliver McShane traveled to Denver in 1909, as a liaison between his Chicago employer and the administration of then-Denver Mayor Robert W. Speer. Speer sought to create Denver’s Civic Center Park as the locus of the city, a plan that eventually came to fruition during his third term, which ran from 1916-1920.

The party’s instructor said the park project had been controversy, as it had required the condemnation and demolition of several blocks of homes and businesses, located to the west of the Colorado statehouse. Speer, a successful property developer before he entered city politics, had actually been voted out of office after his first term, despite the establishment of a strong political machine.

However, after a four-year absence, he won a second election, and pushed the park project through, in the face of strong opposition by (among other groups) the Colorado branch of the Ku Klux Klan.

The park opened in 1919 and was hailed as a success. By then McShane had married and settled down in Denver, and become embedded in the city business and political community. Although he married rather late, he had a young son, by then. His son, Douglas McShane, was JoBeth’s father.

The success of the park didn’t end the political conflict, in Denver. Oliver McShane stayed on, JoBeth reported, and her grandfather worked with the city’s business and politicalelite to oppose the KKK efforts to take over city government.

She suspected that was why he was murdered in his 17th Street office, in 1927. Following his death, her father and grandmother fled to Grand Junction. At the time, Grand Junction was difficult to reach from Eastern Colorado, and they feared they would be hunted if they returned to Chicago.

Also, Oliver’s had discovered the portal during a hunting trip, and by the time of his death he had initiated his son by traveling through it. Douglas McShane thought it might offer an opportunity, of some sort, to gain enough power to avenge his father’s death.

By the time he arrived in Denver, Oliver McShane had already been a mage for some years, as well as an established architect. He hailed from a line of magical learning that ran through his Scottish family line, and may have dated back as far as Roman Brittania.

He came to Denver with an extensive magical library, but that had disappeared the night of his murder, along with a negro janitor who worked in the building. The only magical knowledge available to Douglas were the notes he’d taken as an apprentice to his father.

Those books, in turn, formed the basis of JoBeth’s knowledge, and were her only resources. As such, she had little in the way of general magical knowledge.

The party decided upon a road-trip to Denver, and the Magpie Girls (sensing adventure) invited themselves along.

The group located an inexpensive hotel outside of downtown, and traveled to Civic Center park to look around. The Denver Public Library had been created during Speer’s time, and group thought McShane’s books might have wound up locked in a sub-basement, somewhere. It seemed as good a place to start, as any.

However, upon arrival, the nunnupi went into a flurry. They reported that the park had a much stronger magical field than usual, and almost reached the strength of the area within a mile of a naturally-occurring portal.

Shocked, the party continued to the library and located a helpful research librarian. She helped them uncover newspaper coverage of the Oliver’s murder, including his obituary. From that, they determined the Denver Police Department likely had an old case file, somewhere. They also learned that McShane had been a founding member of the city’s venerable Academy Club.

Upon investigation, they learned the Academy Club served as a private, invite-only organization for the city’s educated business and political elite. College degrees were required, people could only join after invitation from a current member, and were vetted by two others before the membership board even began to consider a membership application.

(continued...)
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"Some days, I just don't know what to think." -Daryl Dixon.
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Old 08-02-2015, 02:05 PM   #30
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Location: Denver, Colorado
Default Re: Campaign: Facets

The next day, Henrietta and Aurelia chose to stay in the library and keep digging, while Arthur, Sunmi, Beatrice and Doc Bascher scheduled a tour of the public areas of the Academy Club. Diego went to the police department, located a couple of blocks west of the library.

At the library, Henrietta and Aurelia dug up more background information about the KKK takeover of the city government. The Colorado branch had apparently formed in the blue-collar neighborhoods of Pueblo, then a large steel-producing town. They had some success and then moved north, and apparently capitalized on blue-collar resentment of Speer and his cronies to the extent they were able to seize control of Speer’s political machine, for a time.

However, the ladies found no evidence of any weird occurrences that might indicate a magical conflict, in any of the news stories.

At the posh Academy Club, A.J., Sunmi, Beatrice and Doc Bascher noted that security seemed inordinately tight for a social club devoted to literature, poetry and cultural advancement. The tour guide firmly steered them away from the club’s private library (“I’m afraid that’s reserved for members in good standing, only…”), but they managed to get good photos of the large marble fireplace. It had tiles with the family crests of the founding members, and the McShane gold-and-green hippogriff featured prominently.

At the police department, Diego lucked into a good contact (a good Acting roll turned into a decent reaction roll upon the initial meeting, and then into a critical success when Diego asked to see the cold case files). He presented himself as an experienced law officer who was seriously considering applying, and DPD Lt. Dave Hamilton offered to show him around.

Hamilton proved a fan of old, historical cases, and willingly discussed the McShane case. From that, Diego learned that McShane had been killed with a blow to the head, he discovered the name of the vanished janitor (Toby Hooper), and learned that the missing books amounted to dozens of antique volumes totalling several hundred pounds.

According to the case file, the size of the theft made the investigators, at the time, think it had to have been an inside job. They blamed Hooper for the death, which they said had to have occurred during the theft. The fact that he was never found made it easy to pin everything on him, and then close up the case.

Diego also got a shot of the SWAT team’s blueprints for the Academy Club building (but couldn’t get a copy). The party later determined the wall at the back of the library was thick enough to include a narrow hallway, inside.

With that, the group determined they needed to gain access to the Academy Club library. Since Aurelia had not gone on the tour (her player was absent), and seemed to have a curious quantity of appropriate skills for a high school history teacher, they thought they might be able to forge an identity for her as Oliver McShane’s great-granddaughter, and have her apply for a legacy membership.

They then returned to Grand Junction to report findings to JoBeth McShane, and to set up Aurelia’s fake identity.

---------------------

Funny Quotes:

Randy: So this tall, kinda heavyset guy came up to me outside the magic shop and started asking a bunch of questions about JC like he knows her. He totally knew who I am, too, but he didn't ask for my autograph. I'm kinda bummed about it...

Arthur (about the Magpie Girls): Maybe we should give them peanut butter and Nutella.
Sunmi: No! We want them to leave!

(The party learns the connection between faeries and the illness, “stroke,” and the fact that even Comanche legends indicate the nunnupi use a deadly-powerful poison.)
Diego: Well. We can’t force them to go back….

Twirls Thrice: I like the rabbit. He defeats his stronger enemies through cleverness.
Randy: Bugs Bunny is the trickster-god of American culture.

Diego: Maybe I could go in as JoCat’s son or grandson, or something?
Doc Bascher: Except that you’re a Mexican. “‘Ey, vato! I’m a McShane!”

###
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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.
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