Dec 012009

Hello Lodgers,

Here is another installment of SOTC. Someone tied to the previous adventure in that consequences from previous episode actions continue to haunt our heroes.  Basically, these APs become the continuing adventures of Union Jane (UJ) as she is the only protagonist to stick with the same character. She provides an interesting tie-in for the many (seriously) guest stars who would grace my game throughout its various arcs.

Two new characters: Juju Man and Death, respectively. Death (D) is a thin vampire with claws made out of solidified blood. He came from the underside/underworld of Etheropia. These eight or nine or so ghouls (Minions of a rival vampire) started following him. They wanted to kill him (because when the party splits up, call in the ninjas!).  He ended up taking refuge on the surface and found Juju Man (JJM) outside. JJM, who is a gaunt voodoo master (a “bokor”), intimidated the ghouls and they fled. While this was happening, UJ was still on the Sky’s Mistress dirigible, which was flying out of control towards Etheropia due to Petra (see last session) having vengefully fired a Pneumagun at it. A loa called Papa Legba (a real fun scene for me. Papa pulls rank and tells JJM one of his daughters needs help. This becomes a running gag through the adventure. Out of character, there was much speculation as to why UJ was a worker’s rights advocate for a voodoo spirit) appeared to JJM and Death (by this time they were in the city proper, and they saw a big shadow over the city) and told them that basically there was an out-of-control ship on its way containing a woman with a piece of paper, and they had to do something about it. UJ headed to the cockpit to try and keep the dirigible from hitting an orphanage. She managed to miss it but began heading for another building. D managed to jump onto the bottom of the cockpit, hanging on by digging his claws into the hull. He was able to open a door and come in. UJ asked if he could pilot a dirigible. He said no but that he could grab her and safely jump out of the dirigible. (He was a Human Spider and acrobatics expert.) UJ agreed with his plan. After they jumped out, the dirigible crashed into the building and caught on fire. People began jumping out of the building. Two firemen came to try to put out the fire. JJM got on top of a building, and more ghouls pursued him. UJ and D went up to help. Fighting ensued, and eventually the ghouls were no longer a problem. JJM was the first to notice that these ghostly moths had appeared on people’s shoulders and were saying to them, “Fight, fight, fear, fear” over and over. Eventually, UJ and D noticed them too. They had their own moths, as it turned out. Meanwhile, the fire in/on the dirigible and building unnerved D (he had an aversion to fire), and UJ gently dragged him away from the dirigible and told him to ignore the bug on his shoulder. JJM’s Mysteries knowledge told him that the moths were Shadow Moths and that the “Queen of Night” would be a harbinger of their appearance (ha ha, horrors from previous adventures), and that they would lead to the doom of all civilizations. UJ was able to confirm that this Queen was the Night Mother from a previous adventure. Almost everyone the party saw had the moths; some were frightened of them, and others were listening to them and going off to get weapons. The only people who had no moths were children. UJ spoke to one, and ended up being followed by a group of children, who she fortunately was able to persuade to go home. At this time the party was heading to an occult library, at the behest of JJM. This library was one of the tallest buildings in the city, except for the lab of Dr. Tigre-Morte (who was apparently staying pretty secluded in there, experimenting and not caring too much about what was going on among the populace, like a typical mad scientist). UJ’s contacts showed where to find the library, because she knew union people who had delivered furniture to such a place (teamsters are everywhere.). This attendant there wouldn’t let the party in at first, but JJM and D intimidated him into changing his mind.  (JJM’s Intimidation ability allows him to, well, among other things, unhinge his jaw and widen his ribs.) (Short pause in game while we regain control of the laughter. The store probably sold two more copies based on the laughing alone.) The party found a giant book in a dark area of the library that had a cool name: Book of the Forgotten Poets. It contained references to a pre-Atlantean people called the Poets, who could speak words that created objects. What seemed to have happened was that they created the moths, and the moths ultimately made them destroy themselves. It also said the moths would require a pool, sacrifices and servants (in order to create a hive of them). Once out of the library, on top of a tenement, JJM summoned a female entity (Erzulie, “she who would speak the secret words”) who was related to Papa Legba to ask where the moths could be found. This was the reason the party at some point needed some herbs, including what turned out to be the white flower UJ had been carrying around in a pocket since she pulled it out of the ground it was growing in in front of the gate the Nazis had activated through which the Night Mother came in an earlier adventure with the Hunter, Jolly Roger and the Crimson Specter. The summoning actually was the reason those items were needed; they were necessary for the summoning ritual. One of the other things necessary was a sacrifice, for which a pigeon would do. So D killed a pigeon. Afterwards JJM reanimated it. Then D killed the resulting zombie pigeon. JJM asked Erzulie where the problems were coming from. She pointed to the moths on the party’s shoulders. JJM clarified his question to mean their source. She indicated the House of Tenshuro. UJ knew this to be a Yakuza HQ (where else would I get my ninjas?) that union people avoided (their specialties were drugs and something else). Etheropia had two other organized crime HQs: the House of Finn (headed by an Irish guy. This wasn’t a yakuza group. They specialized in prostitution and drugs) and the House of Henzo  (who specialized in drugs and gambling). They all were having problems with the drug side of things because UJ, Jolly and the Hunter and the Musician in the previous adventure had disrupted the supply of the sky ash drug by ultimately destroying the fortress where it was being made, and causing this huge mess at the same time). The party headed to the House of Tenshuro. JJM hung back while D decided to just go up to the entrance, accompanied by UJ. D asked to come in, and a head guard type guy (there were about fifteen or so samurai out front) said he’d ask his lord. He left and didn’t come back for a long time, then told D and UJ that they couldn’t see the lord. D said something like, “I’ll have to kill you then.” The head guard guy was about to attack when UJ bashed him. In the ensuing fight, UJ rolled really well and killed a bunch of them. JJM reanimated seven of them. Afterwards, he went in with his new retinue. UJ followed, but D was temporarily delayed because he couldn’t help drinking some of all the blood. Inside JJM entered a courtyard and surprised three engineer types who were laying dynamite around a pool. JJM intimidated them; he tied up at least two of them. He took (some of) the explosives and secured them to some/all of the zombies. Oh yeah, turned out all/some of the dead samurais had living moths hiding inside them, which climbed out of their mouths upon death and flew up into an upstairs window. The party came upon this eight-foot-tall guy in a robe. He took off the robe to reveal himself to be a human(oid) with the head of a hyena (sewn on). D attacked him and got stuck to him by his claws. Hyena Guy (HG) flung D across the room. JJM used an artifact, the Ankh of Osiris. It caused a light to burn Hyena Guy, and the “Light of Osiris” to flood into the courtyard. Hyena Guy was stunned and gave a look of newfound respect to JJM. UJ bashed HG’s kneecaps so eventually he couldn’t walk and fell to his knees and burst into flames (but continued to attack). Sometime during the battle, HG summoned a giant spider, which D attacked. D pulled off two of its legs and beat it with them. It turned out that HG was a form of undead. JJM ordered some zombies to go and get blown up by the spider and HG. UJ got caught in (one of) the resulting blast(s) and took a lot of hits to her Health. JJM also somehow gave some blood to D to give him extra fighting power (D’s Weapon of Destiny was his blood–yes, his blood). Eventually the party killed HG and the spider. Oh yeah, during this fight and also the one with Goodwin (see below) the party had Resolve problems due to magic being used against them: JJM saw images from his Horrific Past (an Aspect) and UJ saw and heard her dead friend Arturo (another Aspect), which caused JJM and UJ to be temporarily distracted. The party then headed to this other pool that was about ten feet deep and had a brown gemlike object about the size of a human head at the bottom. D and JJM didn’t want to enter the water. (They were all sporting multiple consequences and full tracks.) JJM surmised that this thing was the hive. UJ swam down and brought it up. JJM determined that it was indeed the hive, but not finished. At this point, Officer Goodwin(main antagonist) arrived on the scene. His eyes were like shadows. JJM destroyed the hive and Goodwin said, “Do you know how long it took to make that?” or something. He then attacked, but with magic. He spoke words of power. He attacked the party’s Resolves. He also formed a shield of tentacles (Block with Mysteries). JJM ordered some of this zombies to shield UJ as she attacked Goodwin (Counterblock – mysteries). She faked him out with a feint (because he formed the shield only in the direction in which he was being attacked. Now, the party worked as a team and started placing aspects and free tags for the fighters), causing him to be off guard for a moment and giving him a taggable Aspect. Eventually D tore him open. He had moths inside his chest, which dissolved. He had been the deranged spirit of the last remaining Poet. At this point, the city began to crack into four pieces. D saved UJ again by catching her as she fell toward the part of the city that was starting to tumble away, because she rolled so crappy on Athletics but he rolled well. Some or all of the zombies guarding UJ, had, moments before, managed to save her from falling debris by shielding her. That was where the session ended.

Post any questions you may have in the comments. This was a while ago and our memory of it is pretty faint. I remember a lot of fun and the priceless expressions on the heroes’ faces when they realized that the big bad had just arrived and they were sucking wind on fate points. Classic terror. I believe one player summed it up like this: “We gotta take this guy down in the first exchange or we’re &%^^%$!”

One piece of critique here: SOTC makes this sort of timing very difficult but well worth it. The kind of fight it takes to wear down a full party is epic and players love that. When it’s done there will be dozens of bodies on the ground and the heroes will have no fate points left.  They leave the game drained so I usually aim this sort of thing for every third adventure. This fits my triptych adventure arc style.

My next adventure to post is a filler adventure because a player went missing: “The Hunt for Red Eliza.”  (Just kidding.)

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