Thursday, 27th January, 2011, 09:57 PM #751
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
The Windthrope Legacy: Part 1 – Dinner
Thank you RedTonic! This is a reboot of sorts, as I mentioned, and it threw my players for a loop. Here's how they reacted:
* Guppy (played by my brother): Loved it. Which surprised me.
* Hammer (George): Liked it a lot, but a little unnerved by the circumstances as he was the most comfortable in the "old" style of play, which was more Men In Black with unlimited resources.
* Archive (Joe): He enjoys it if only because, and you'll see this in the next chapter, he is supremely powerful here. Never underestimate the power of the Elder Sign -- or alternately, fitting d20 turning mechanics into Call of Cthulhu!
* Jim-Bean (Jeremy): Hated it at first, learned to like it, and by the end of the next chapter loved it.
Whenever I have a child (and I don't plan to have any more, thanks) we usually have a six-month hiatus so it's always a good time to shake things up. I think I suitably shook 'em up, but see for yourself.
Thanks for the praise -- it really does motivate me to post more often!
Hammer tore into the Beef Wellington with relish. "First thing we need to do," he said around chews, "is find some weapons."
Guppy snorted. "Computers first. If I can rig something…"
"You won't get any signals out here," said Jim-Bean. He had given up tea since he left England. But he sipped it anyway. "I said before the manor is isolated."
"Not from satellites," said Guppy defiantly. "It shouldn't matter where we are."
Archive had the decency to finish chewing before he spoke. "Something strange is going on. I keep trying to detect auras on this place and I can't see anything; the entire thing glows. It's like there's…magical radiation."
Guppy rolled his eyes. "Magic. Sure."
"The self-destruct mechanism took a few seconds to reach us," said Hammer. "The last time that happened…" he trailed off.
"Blade," finished Archive. "Blade blew up."
"That's why there was a countdown," said Guppy. "There was a delay. Interference. Otherwise the cistrons would just detonate immediately."
Jim-Bean's brow furrowed. "There was some interference over the cistron when I talked to SINNER. I've never seen that before."
A handsome youth with boyish features and blond hair entered and froze upon spotting Jim-Bean. "Oh, I didn't realize we had company."
Jenkins cleared his throat. "Master Windthrope, this is young master Cook. He tends to the grounds, the horses, and general repairs and maintenance."
Cook wiped a dirty hand on his overalls and then stepped forward, palm extended.
Jim-Bean looked him up and down. "I don't like this. Does he have clearance?"
Jenkins didn't lose his composure. "Master Cook can be trusted, sir."
"I don't like it. Keep him out of the manor." Jim-Bean's fierce expression didn't change. "I don't want him in the room when we have our…chats."
"Yes sir!" said Cook. He backed out of the room, still smiling.
"He's a good boy, sir," said Jenkins. "He lives at home."
"How long has he been here?"
"Shortly after you left, sir. We needed someone to pick up your chores." There was the slightest hint of a smile on Jenkins' face.
"Speaking of chores…" interrupted Guppy, "we need supplies," said Guppy. "What's the nearest town?"
"That's not the question you should be asking." Jim-Bean focused on Guppy, snapped out of his suspicious thoughts. "The more important question is: which town can you visit without a JAGUAR team taking you out?"
Hammer frowned. "So what's the seediest town around here?"
Jim-Bean grinned. "Now you're talking. Lower Brichester. Not sure how much you can buy, but you can get a lot of stuff that's off-market."
Guppy swallowed hard. "Oh. I really don't think I should go alone…"
"I know a guy," said Hammer. "He can hook us up with weapons." He nodded at Guppy. "I'll go with you."
Jim-Bean turned to Jenkins, who was standing by impassively. "What happened since I've been gone?"
"You mean besides the Event, sir?"
"We know all about September 11…" interjected Hammer.
Jenkins coughed. "No sir, not that event. The Nightmare Wave."
"The what now?"
"The Nightmare Wave, sir. The Pacific Ocean explosion. PISCES has been quite busy due to the proliferation of paranormal activity. It's one of the reasons we've been ignored of late." He looked down at his feet. "We're not quite considered front lines these days."
Jim-Bean shook his head. "You say that like it's a bad thing."
- EN World
- has no influence
- on advertisings
- that are displayed by
- Google Adsense
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
The Windthrope Legacy: Part 2 – The Enforcer
Thanks, RT! As promised, another update. There's not much action in this chapter -- it establishes that 1) there's no going back to the old way any time soon, and 2) helps set up the insane chapter that comes next.
Hammer entered the Strapping Lad pub with some trepidation. Lower Brichester was a seedy area of decay and degeneration. Burned-out shop fronts, condemned buildings, pornography shops, slums, sagging flats, and seedy pubs made up much of the town. The Beretta tucked into his belt was cold comfort – he felt naked without his Glocks.
He half-expected to be ambushed by PISCES goons when he entered, but the Strapping Lad was sparsely populated. The proprietor, Nobby, approached Hammer.
“You must be Mr. Grange?”
Hammer looked around. He was probably the only dark-skinned man for miles around. “Yes?”
“Mr. Cornwell is in the back, sir,” he said curtly, all business.
“Two beers please,” said Hammer. Before Nobby could ask, he added, “whatever you recommend.”
Nobby nodded and went back to the bar. Hammer got the impression these sorts of meetings were commonplace.
Cornwell sat at the pub booth and didn’t rise when Hammer approached. “Well, if it ain’t me old friend, back from th’ States,” he said, his Gloucestershire burr evident. He was a hard-looking man, with slightly curly gray hair and sharp features. Cornwell looked like he would just as soon punch you as shake your hand.
Fortunately he did neither. Hammer sat across from him. Cornwell had just finished a drink.
“It’s good to see you John.”
Cornwell was an enforcer for a London firm run by the notorious Roy and Dave Dixon. The Dixon brothers specialized primarily in porn and prostitution with occasional forays into armed robbery to improve cash flow. Possessing brains as well as brawn Cornwell worked his way up to become the firm’s chief enforcer and fixer. The Dixons disappeared in 1978, killed by Cornwell with the connivance of Roy’s wife, Kate. Cornwell and Kate took over the brothers’ organization and remained in charge ever since.
“I'd be lying if I said it was good to be back.” Cornwell had left Brichester for London in the 1970s. He flashed a sardonic smirk. “I assume this ain’t a courtesy trip.”
Hammer shook his head. “I need your help.”
“Is ‘at so?” He cocked his head. Hammer instantly regretted admitting he needed anything. Cornwell was the kind of person that could smell weakness.
“I need…tools. Tools only you can acquire.”
Nobby dropped the dark beers off and Hammer paid the tab. He wasn’t planning to stay long.
“This ain’t the States, mate. Across th’ pond, tools are difficult to come by.”
Hammer slapped an envelope on the table, filled with bills covering the fee of just getting Cornwell to show up at all. He started to get up. “I must be mistaken then. Beer’s on me…”
“I didn’t say I couldn’t get ‘em,” said Cornwell, moving on to his second beer. “Only that it’s difficult.” He took a sip. “For you.”
Hammer sat back down. It was his turn to take a drink. “I see. What will it cost?”
“I haven’t decided yet. What are ye lookin’ for?”
Hammer tapped the envelope. “It’s all here.”
Cornwell slipped the envelope off the table, removed the note, and secreted the money into a coat pocket. “Let’s see.” His dishwater blue eyes scanned the list. “Things must be pretty bad.”
Hammer simply nodded.
“Tell you what. This isn’t simple stuff – you and yer boys are gonna have ta prove yerselves a bit. I don’t make deals lightly, even with Yank spooks on the run.” Hammer let the jibe pass without confirming or denying it. “If ya prove trustworthy, we’ll work our way up. We’ll start small: Brococks, shotguns. ”
“When?” asked Hammer.
“Soon,” said Cornwell. “I’ll tell ye when and where.” He looked around with a grimace. “Are ye holed up here?”
Cornwell sniffed. “Buncha backwards bumpkins. Not sorry I left.” He slurped the rest of his beer and got up. “Got t’ get back to th’ wife and kids.”
Hammer rose and this time they shook hands.
“You watch yer back mate,” said Cornwell, eyes boring through Hammer’s skull. “If yer in the kind of trouble I think ya are, life’s not gonna be easy from here on out.” He shrugged on his overcoat. “This town…it eats people up.” Cornwell put up one finger. "I nearly forgot. Here's your phone. Consider it a token of good faith on my part. Untraceable. Throw it away when you're done."
Hammer pocketed the phone. "Thanks."
"Calling home?" smirked Cornwell. "Don't be surprised if your parents don't want to pick you up."
Hammer left without explaining that he was more concerned what would happen if Majestic did.
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
The Windthrope Legacy: Part 3 – Who Ya Gonna Call?
There was an international phone number that Hammer had with him at all times. As cell leader he had never needed to use it. Now was as good a time as any.
He dialed the number. It pinged an automated system. Hammer pressed one for an operator and was put on hold with some lovely country tunes and the occasional “Your call is important to us, please stay on the line.”
He was finally rewarded with a human voice. “Hi, this is Nancy in customer service. How can I help you?”
"Nancy, this is Agent Hammer. I need an extraction."
"Please hold while I transfer you to Special Claims.” He was put on hold again.
Hammer's anxiety increased with each passing minute. Two minutes later, a male voice picked up. "This is Special Claims."
"This is Agent Hammer. I am asking for extraction for my team."
There was an odd clicking on the phone.
“Your claims will be looked into. Please provide a phone number and an address where we can reach you.”
Hammer hung up and threw the phone in a trash bin.
"Any luck?" asked Guppy, arms loaded with some basic electronics.
Hammer shook his head. "Your trace detector worked. They were trying to track us."
Guppy looked crestfallen. "First time I've been sorry a gadget of mine worked."
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
The Windthrope Legacy: Part 4 – Exposition
They met in the drawing room. A portrait of Queen Victoria done by Burne-Jones hung over the fireplace.
Jenkins reported a message for Jim-Bean right around when Hammer and Guppy returned from their respective supply trips. It was an audio recording on a reel-to-reel tape from Section H.
"What is this?" asked Guppy.
Hammer sighed. "Believe it or not, audio equipment used to have moving parts."
"Funny," said Guppy. "I know that. I just don't understand why a message from Jim-Bean's organization came on an obsolete tape."
"Not obsolete," said Jenkins. He lugged out a dusty tape deck.
Archive blew the dust off of it. "This thing has to be decades old!"
Jenkins plugged the tape in and pressed PLAY.
"I'm not sure what happened to you, but I do know what came for you – the Shan, those brain spiders as your report once called them," breathed a husky female voice in mid-stream with an upper class British accent. "And if they're after you, you're going to need some help to survive."
"That'd be Dr. Ariadne Hennessey," said Jim-Bean with a smirk. "She's section chief of Section H."
"Accompanying this tape are your new cover identities: you are now officially employed by the British Archeological Review Board, which reviews applications for archaeological digs. It liaises with English Heritage, the Department of the Environment, and the British Museum. You are all specialists in your field: arcane research, research, and security. And of course, Jimmy, you're just stepping back into your role as mission leader."
Hammer flinched. It hadn't hit him until now. Jim-Bean had more authority here than he did.
"Priorities have shifted after the Nightmare Wave. The Bringers believe the explosion unleashed
eldritch horrors of cosmic malevolence, called the Iconnu, or sometimes the Unbidden. The Unbidden, attempted to consume our reality, reshaping it for some unknowable purpose. This attempt, called the Intrusion, should have spelled the end of the world, with little humanity dying a swift, horrific death and six billion souls consumed by these Unbidden bastards who didn’t even fully recognize their existence."
Jim-Bean arched an eyebrow. He'd never heard Hennessey swear before.
"The Iconnu weren’t even really aware of us. We’re as unknowable to them as they are to us. We were just too insignificant for them to notice. Yet the Intrusion wasn’t the end of the world. Something stopped them. Not sure what, but it stopped them and stopped them hard. Despite this resistance, the Iconnu established a sort of foothold in the world — specifically in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It’s a seething sphere of nightmarish unreality. Currents — including those strong currents by which mariners have navigated for centuries — were irrevocably altered. Trade across the ocean ground to a standstill as ships became becalmed or were carried far off course or sunk in freak whirlpools. Furthermore, the Intrusion sent a ripple through existence that altered the rest of the world. Changed the whole nature of reality, really.
"That's what we witnessed!" exclaimed Archive. "That was a tear in time and space! It explains the time jump, and what happened in this reality. "
"This ripple, called the Nightmare Wave, left its mark in many ways, some small, others not so much. In some locales, particularly those close to the Intrusion Point, the Nightmare Wave wrought terrible physical destruction. In others, the changes the ripple brought were subtler and more insidious."
"Their goal was to wipe us out entirely, so their victory was a partial one. Unsatisfied, the Iconnu then loosed spirits and demons into the material world. At first they were just trying to figure out what was stopping them from their goal, like when you stop on the street to figure out if there’s gum on your shoe."
"Some of these spirits merged with human bodies and souls to become composite entities. Others clothed themselves in earthly matter and took on the guise of men and women. These beings seek to complete the world’s destruction — through terror, through misinformation, through assassination and brutality and murder. Though it may be important to know that as strange and horrific as they are, they’re not the Iconnu themselves. Even to these demons and things, the Unbidden are alien and unknowable. These things are more like agents, corrupted and converted to work for them."
"Yet again something happened that the Iconnu did not expect. Once more they underestimated the human spirit.
Some of the possessed humans retained control of their bodies. They resisted the Iconnu and maintained their free will. Many turned their powers against the Iconnu and work to save humanity. I am one of them."
"There are layers within layers of conspiracy. PISCES may be in league with some of the Iconnu, but if they are they are very unhappy about it. After you reported the brain spiders in the organization, I did some investigating on my own and came up with far too many nervous breakdowns in other departments. When the Bringers of Sacred Light contacted me it became clear; the things known as the Shan are vying for dominance. They want their own Iconnu to come out on top, and in the mean time they're suppressing all other supernatural activity."
"That brings us to now. We’re in the wake of a focused apocalypse. These agents of the Iconnu travel throughout the world, seeking to complete its destruction. Their own kind fights against them, along with true human allies — some who know more than others, and some who wield ancient powers given new potency. A maelstrom of warping reality howls in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The Nightmare Wave’s influence haunts sites across the globe."
"PISCES has its hands full trying to stop the Iconnu’s agents, and people throughout the world struggle to discover what’s really happened and what’s happening. Few of them get close. We’re fighting a shadow war for Earth and all humanity. Also included with this tape is information for your first mission. I need you to take out two of the composite entities I mentioned previously. Their pictures and bios are included."
Jim-Bean dutifully handed out copies of the mission folders. The files were typed on paper and photocopied. A red stamp labeled the files as OPERATION GOTHIC.
"This is a trial run. Your team is uniquely positioned to help me take down the Shan – you're the only group I'm sure is uncorrupted. We'll see if you have what it takes to handle these two. Jenkins, destroy this tape after it is played."
Lightning fast, Jenkins grabbed the tape and tossed it into the crackling fireplace.
"But—" protested Hammer. It was too late.
Archive beamed. "Just like old times."
Jim-Bean looked around. "I don't like it."
Hammer didn't smile. "We should be worried about our own mission…"
"You mean the island?" asked Guppy. "I checked. There is no island. That island, the whole place, disintegrated in the Nightmare Wave."
"Then we'll need the backup. Until I can get weapons this is our best lead," said Hammer. "I say we do it."
"I don't like it," said Jim-Bean. "At all. Hennessey's one of those…things."
"I'm in," said Guppy. "It's our best bet in the short term anyway."
"Me too," said Archive.
Jim-Bean frowned but didn't say anything else. When the time was right he would have words with Hennessey personally and judge for himself.
"I just hope Caprice is okay," said Guppy.
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
The Windthrope Legacy: Conclusion (AKA Caprice Isn't Okay)
Caprice lay face down on some sort of bed. His head was held up by a firm, circular cushion of some kind, while his hands were level with his head, restrained by medical restraints. Indeed, wrists, ankles and forehead were all held by Velcro restraints, ensuring that he did not move from their current position.
Caprice was laying on something soft. His eyes were closed. A faint smell of disinfectant lingered in the air and he could hear a soft humming sound…perhaps of a fan. Beneath him, Caprice could feel the crispness of fresh sheets. He was comfortably warm.
He opened his eyes. Darkness. Total darkness.
There was the rattle of a trolley moving closer, a slight change in air pressure and the noise of a door being opened.
“Good morning,” came a female voice with a pleasant British accent. She sounded youthful, yet professional. There was a smell of perfume, which was quickly overpowered by the smell of burnt toast.
“Have some breakfast,” she said. “I’m afraid it’s just the usual, orange juice and toast. You can’t have anything more substantial until the doctor gives you the once over.”
He heard the sound of furniture moving – perhaps a small table, and the squeaking of metal underneath his face. Caprice flinched as something plastic was pushed into his mouth, past his dry lips – a straw? Tentatively taking a sip, he felt the sweet taste of orange juice in his mouth.
The nurse went round to the other patients in the room. Caprice gathered it was the crew. Given their predicament he guessed none of them were his fellow agents.
"What…happened?" he croaked. He remembered tentacles, and screaming, and free falling. The glass of his helmet shattered, and hungry mouths…
"You've undergone eye surgery—" The noise of a door opening cut her off in midsentence.
There was another change in air pressure and Caprice heard a door open and close. A male voice, with a distinct far eastern accent could be heard.
“Good morning, everyone. I hope you had a comfortable night.”
The man seemed to shift about the room as his voice grows and diminished in volume as he moved around. He appeared to be stopping at each bed and picking up something, making “hmmm, yes,” noises –studying medical charts.
“Yes, all quite good. Each of your eye procedures has gone very well,” the man said, somewhat smugly. “Now, you need to rest for another twenty-four hours. I’m afraid we can’t have you moving around as it may cause complications, hence the restraints. Yes, face down and no exposure to light. We don’t want any of that! None of you would like to have any disastrous complications, eh?! Don’t want anybody going blind!”
"What happened?" Caprice asked again.
“You have each had your eyes rebuilt. I then replaced the emptied eye cavity with a gas bubble. Since gas rises and the macula and retina are at the back of the eye, you must remain face down in order for the gas bubble to apply pressure to the area in need of healing. And so, allow the macula or retina to re-bond to the eye wall and a new vitreous to replace the gas bubble. Although vitrectomy has a strong, successful track record in improving vision, the recovery from it is often far more challenging as patients must put up with the discomfort of being held in a face-down, post-operative position for a further twenty four hours. As I said, we don’t want you going blind!”
After a cursory examination of each of the patients, the doctor pronounced that he was happy with everyone’s progress.
"The nurse shall return shortly, should you require anything further."
Caprice's thoughts roiled. What happened? He caught the British accent, but he didn't recognize the other one. They were over the Pacific Ocean, right? What was he doing in a hospital? And what in God's name had happened to his eyes?
A terrible female scream snapped him out of his dark thoughts. It was from somewhere close to, yet outside the room, followed by the sound of someone running. It was followed by a strange, high-pitched, twittering sound that seemed to appear from nowhere.
Caprice gasped. He knew that sound. It was the thing…the thing in the air that was trying to – no had succeeded in – eating his eyes.
More screaming. A male voice shouted something in a foreign tongue, and more footsteps. It was followed by a sucking noise that rose in volume.
Last edited by talien; Thursday, 10th February, 2011 at 06:16 PM.
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
- Join Date
- Nov 2010
- Providence, RI
ø Ignore RedTonic
Nothing creepier than eyeball-eating monsters. Nothing.
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
We're running Caprice's campaign solo via email and it's turned out surprisingly well. Amazing what you can do with PBM campaigns. His story won't come until after the next chapter. The downside of PBM is it's very sloooow.
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
- Join Date
- Nov 2010
- Providence, RI
ø Ignore RedTonic
The suspense! Ack!
I usually run/play in PbPs. Sometimes it's lightning fast, sometimes it takes months to finish an encounter. But I do like the luxury of having the time to make an IC decision and weigh a character's response rather than the tabletop immediacy, which tends to run on my instinct rather than what might be more the PoV of my toon. Plus, it generates an always handy record. I suppose that's rather nerdy... But hey, I'm an accountant.
Cutpurse (Lvl 5)
Chapter 58: Gothic - Introduction
I agree, there's an entirely different feel to PBM. You'll see this later -- I'm able to create horrific situations that I couldn't if I had players sitting around a table. I'm not sure how many players would tolerate keeping their eyes closed to mimic being blind...
But since you commented, back to the story!
This story hour is from "Gothic" by Richard Watts from Ramsey Campbell’s Goatswood, "Whack the Vampire" by Tony DiGerolamo, and Expedition to Castle Ravenloft by Bruce R. Cordell and James Wyatt. You can read more about Delta Green at Delta Green. Please note: This story hour contains spoilers!
Our cast of characters includes:
You might have heard a lot of criticism of Gothic, the scenario about homosexual vampires in love who are being stalked by a fanatic with a sword, blah blah.
- Game Master: Michael Tresca
- Kurtis "Hammer" Grange (Fast Hero/Gunslinger) played by George Webster
- Jim “Jim-Bean” Baxter (Charismatic Hero/Telepath) played by Jeremy Ortiz (Jeremy Robert Ortiz)
- Joseph “Archive” Fontaine (Dedicated Hero/Acolyte) played by Joe Lalumia
- Hank “Guppy” Gupta (Smart Hero/Field Scientist) played by Joseph Tresca (eyeballistic.com)
Well, all that backstory is in here, somewhere. It just went up in flames when our resident acolyte Archive turned them with a critical, causing them to burst into flames. No time for angst, discussion, or character development. And that was just fine with the group.
As they dusted their hands, they discovered that there's actually quite a bit more to this mission than they first thought. This isn't the first time my players surprised me and it won't be the last. But it certainly did make things interesting.
Defining Moment: Archive cuts out fifteen pages of investigation and plot by blowing up their targets.
- [ame=http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1568821530?ie=UTF8&tag=michaeltresca&linkCode=as2& camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1568821530]Ramsey Campbell’s Goatswood and Less Pleasant Places[/ame]: by Scott David Aniolowski.
- [ame=http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003A9V246?ie=UTF8&tag=michaeltresca&linkCode=as2& camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B003A9V246]Temple of Love[/ame]: by Sisters of Mercy
- [ame=http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/078693946X?ie=UTF8&tag=michaeltresca&linkCode=as2& camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=078693946X]Expedition to Castle Ravenloft[/ame]: by Bruce Cordell and James Wyatt
- Whack the Vampire: by Tony DiGerolamo
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
- Join Date
- Nov 2010
- Providence, RI
ø Ignore RedTonic
I need more of this as motivation to pass some exams. *brings bowl around, makes orphan eyes, pleads.*
By talien in forum Story HourReplies: 4Last Post: Wednesday, 12th December, 2007, 04:13 PM
By Byrons_Ghost in forum RPGs & Tabletop Gaming DiscussionReplies: 8Last Post: Wednesday, 16th August, 2006, 09:42 PM
By Corinthi in forum Talking the TalkReplies: 13Last Post: Thursday, 11th March, 2004, 09:36 AM
By Garnfellow in forum RPGs & Tabletop Gaming DiscussionReplies: 5Last Post: Friday, 14th November, 2003, 02:51 AM
By blue crane in forum RPGs & Tabletop Gaming DiscussionReplies: 20Last Post: Wednesday, 7th May, 2003, 07:07 PM