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A Chronicle of Herons

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  • #16
    Narrator's note:
    While this may appear to be cribbed from the plot of a recent Netflix show (which was really good, if you haven't seen it yet), the "where is my egg?" story hook is one of the oldest in my repertoire. I've actually run this adventure in various forms twice before, once as Changeling 1st edition and once in D&D 3rd edition. Something classically resonant about an old-fashioned dungeon crawl with a dragon as a threat.

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    • #17
      Due to illnesses and non-gaming appointments, we've not played in a month. Banality triggers for all of you.
      (Okay, the selkie's player has ballroom dancing lessons with her wife, so that's not a Banality trigger, I guess).

      Canto 3: Wherein things that were lost are returned

      The PCs emerge from Bo's cave into the Forest in The Dreaming. They decide to just return the dragon's egg to Agamenticus the Mighty. They find the cave, but she is not home. She returns just as they start to get bored. She is wounded, and they hear her crying as she picks spear points and arrowheads from her scales. Nikki introduces themself and says just the right words (five successes on Charisma+Etiquette). She takes back her egg and tells them, "Tell the kithain, I am not a challenge to be won nor a trophy to be taken. Now go."
      Muirin tries to bring up the missing girl, Maeve, but the dragon interrupts her, "JUST GO!"

      They travel down the path, and are met with four sidhe knights, riding to the dragon's lair. Leland tells them that the war with the dragon is over and presents Count Mathonwy's signet ring, which he'd stolen from D'arcy, to prove that they are on an official errand to that effect. (This is where the piskie's pickpocketing becomes a bit of deus ex machina, in that I can put anything into his inventory without worrying about how he got it). The knights return to ask the Count what to do next.

      The heroes prepare to return to Sir Arcite's car at Bo's house to head home. As they pass through a clearing with a dead chairlift from a long-closed ski slope, they are set upon by a giant chimerical eagle, which pins Leland to the ground, then carries him away! Muirin gives chase and keeps up for a while, but eventually the giant eagle pulls away. Their path is blocked by a river, which Muirin shapeshifts into a seal and continues the chase in the water for a while. Leland wrestles an arm free and pulls out the gun he borrowed from Bo's house.

      The eagle drops Leland into its nest at the top of an abandoned fire watch tower. Leland opens fire on it with the gun and injures it. It tries to knock him off the platform and fails. Leland flees and the eagle does not pursue.

      They consider what to do next and decide that this, not the dragon, must be what Bo observed snatching Maeve. The three engage in a song-and-dance number like in a musical (set to "Kill the Beast" from Beauty and the Beast), which acts as a bunk for Nikki's Chicanery cantrip. This frightens the giant chimera away. They investigate the nest and find threads from a nylon windbreaker. They search the area around the base of the fire tower and, at the base of a 30' cliff, find the dead body of an 8-year-old girl. (They figure out that the eagle carried her away, she died chimerically, then woke up confused and disoriented and fell down the cliff).

      They do not call the police right away, but instead return to the Count's castle and tell what they found. Here, Bo is informed of his daughter's death. Leland is congratulated, but Muirin and Nikki are asked to leave the castle. They are still oathbreakers.

      D'arcy talks to Nikki, which is infuriating since Pooka can't talk straight, and she pieces together enough of what happened to form a plan of how to get out of the binding oath.
      Last edited by GogariGlenRoss; 02-09-2019, 11:33 PM.

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      • #18
        Leland left Bo's gun on the porch when they return to the house for Sir Arcite's car.
        Leland and Muirin get messages from their parents since they've been out all night. Nikki's phone was pretty much destroyed when he fell in the pool of water fighting the Cloaker. They were in the Dreaming for a few hours, but in the Autumn World they were gone all night.
        D'arcy and Nikki's plan is very specific to the lie that Nikki used to fast-talk the ogre. Since Nikki is based on the Puss-in-boots story, he has a fake master who he serves named Marquis de Something-or-other (no one can remember the name). Anyway, he told Eleanor that the Marquis was going to inspect the gold to test if it was authentic, then they'd credit her account. They need to 1) Use Naming, which D'arcy has, to rename Hennessy to "The Marquis de Whatshisname," and 2) Return to the cottage in the Dreaming and leave the ogres a receipt.

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        • #19
          Canto 4

          One of the players wasn't able to attend, so we finished out the story with Hennessy and the broken Oath.

          Nikki finally managed to, despite his pooka circumlocution, explain his plan to exact his revenge against Hennessy. The specific lie that Nikki told to Eleanor, the Ogre, was that his lord, the Comte de St. Germain, would inspect the gold to make sure it is authentic and that they would be given a receipt crediting their account. At this point, Muirin was outside and didn't hear him say this. (Eleanor botched her Wits roll and thus was completely stupefied by Nikki's fast-talk, which is how he escaped with five gold coins).

          If they could make this lie TRUE, then the letter of the Oath they signed with Hennessy would be upheld.

          D'arcy tells them that the Bunk needed to implement a Naming cantrip to assign Hennessy the moniker "the Comte de St. Germain" is to have at least five people—other than us—address him with the new name.

          Nikki decides to enlist his Dreamer network in the Drama Club to flash-mob him and sing Happy Birthday to him. This means going to school. Nikki and Muirin face their worst nightmares and survive Banality triggers (they've been rolling well on those, might need to up the ante). At play rehearsal, Nikki convinces the club to join a flash mob and they drive out to Rochester to look for him.

          He's not at his house, but after a lucky break (three successes on a difficulty 8 Investigation roll), they stumble upon his pickup (he has a very distinctive vehicle covered in conspiracy theory text) at a restaurant. They do not see him inside, but are eyed suspiciously by the bartender. Technically, you don't have to be 21 to be inside, but "Donny & Brooke's Sports Lounge" is seedy as hell and not the sort of place teens hang out. The bartender (they're short-staffed; there literally isn't any waitstaff here) won't tell them where Hennessy is.

          A drunk guy comes down from upstairs, almost tripping over a velvet rope with an Employees Only sign. The kids rush the stairs and charge into the room upstairs where they find a poker game. They quickly sing their Happy Birthday and retreat. NIkki stays behind to convince Hennessy to give him a receipt. D'arcy rolls her Naming cantrip and succeeds, so suddenly Hennessy is less surly and more aristocratic. He convinces Donny to not kick them out (provided they don't post the video on the Internet) and he invites Nikki to play poker with them. They decline, and Nikki uses Dream Logic to convince Hennessy/Comte de St. Germain to write him out a receipt for the five gold coins.

          Next, they drive to Hampton Falls to the Beanstalk and return to the cottage in the woods. It is dark. Muirin tries using the flashlight she lifted from Bo's fallout bunker and it breaks spectacularly. Technology works differently in the Dreaming. The cottage is now a massive tower with no door. They climb to the roof and while wondering if they have to give the receipt directly or can they just leave it, Hugo stomps into the room. Muirin somehow avoids being grappled by him while Nikki presents the receipt. Muirin grows vines up the side of the tower to climb down, D'arcy uses the vines to climb up. D'arcy reaches the top just as the others are climbing down. She exerts some Sidhe Sovereign and tells Hugo to "Leave them alone" which he does, but that command doesn't actually protect her from him and he punches her directly in the face (she's gonna have a non-chimerical black eye for the next week). They flee.

          Storyteller's Note:
          I definitely could have made this a lot harder, but this was very much a side-quest and I didn't want to hold up the main plot because of it, so I'm letting this be a fun triumph for now. This is a story they can brag to others about and I'll let the continued fallout from this happen later.


          On Tuesday, Muirin returns to the Freehold to apologize to the Count for her actions. Three successes on an Etiquette roll, so she receives an admonition about honor and its importance to the Gwydion, but she is welcomed back.

          We played a short "on the next episode" teaser, but that is a tale for another time.

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          • #20
            Canto 5, Wherein reckless actions are taken by some, and desperate measures are taken by others

            Oh dear, did we not play at all in March? Banality triggers all around.
            Additional Banality trigger for Nikki's player, who still didn't join us tonight.


            Scenes 1–3
            Catching Leland up to Tuesday, where the other PCs are.
            Gary, Leland's foster father picks him up and drives him home. He's furious about his having been out all night without calling. He claims his phone battery died. He's grounded.

            Nicole, Leland's foster mom, doesn't trust him to go to school with Muirin anymore, so she drives him. She gets up really late and seems to be having tremors, but drives him to school anyway. On the radio, there is a talk radio program on NPR discussing free-range parenting (prompted by the accidental death of Maeve, the girl they found in the woods two sessions ago). A representative of the New Hampshire League of Concerned Parents and Teachers for Responsibility (NHLCoPTeR), argues that kids aren't supervised closely enough. Her argument triggers Leland to gain a Banality point, but Nicole thinks this all makes perfect sense.

            After school, Leland ditches home and sneaks into a movie using Portal Passage on the fire door (randomly determined which movie he ended up in, since he cannot tell from outside which auditorium he's going to end up in). His first time, he is caught by an usher taking out the trash, but the second try, he's more wily. His bunk is a shower of discarded popcorn from the dumpster. As he is waiting for the movie to start, a squirrel wanders in through his chimerical portal. The squirrel goes unnoticed until midway through trailers when it causes a commotion. Ushers chase the squirrel unsuccessfully and the manager finally closes the auditorium altogether and refunds everyone's money. Leland tries using Trick-of-the-Light (Chicanery •) to fool the manager into giving him a free movie voucher (glammering a piece of notebook paper into a "ticket") but it doesn't work. His foster dad texts him to come home. He asks Gary what's for dinner, and is told "ordering pizza," which is enough to convince him to come home.

            Nicole has multiple sclerosis, which has flared up tonight. Gary is really not in the mood for Leland's foolishness, so he sends him to his room. Leland plays Fortnite.

            Leland hears a tapping on his window. There is a small bird carrying a letter sealed with a wax seal. The letter is a formal invitation from Count Mathonwy to attend a Hunt. Leland sets his TV to shut itself off at 10pm, fakes being in bed, and sneaks out to go to the Freehold, Castle Elwyn.

            Scene 4
            This is when Muirin is apologizing to the Count. As per last session, she rolls 3 successes and his Gwydion sense finds she is no longer forsworn of any Oaths, so he forgives her, but gives her a lecture in the importance of honor to the Gwydion and she must pay a penance with her knight, Sir Arcite. Arcite calls her to the docks for training. He throws her a quarterstaff and attacks her as soon as she arrives. Arcite rolls like a total loser and Muirin overpowers him (not how I envisioned that encounter going), he taps out and says, "Good. Now let's go hunting."

            Scene 5
            ​Baron Thibault ap Dougal, lord of the neighboring fiefdom, the Barony of Salmon, greets Leland when he arrives at the castle. "So this is our giant-slayer?" He has heard about how they fought the rukh in his realm and defeated it. He plans to go back to the nest and finish the job of slaying the rukh before it can hurt any more kithain or kinain. Leland is asked to squire for the Baron, and Muirin squires for Sir Arcite, as always.

            They arrive at the nest and the injured rukh is there. Baron Thibault unceremoneously gives Leland his sword to hold while he prepares a chimerical rifle. Muirin uses her Spring powers to make the nest grow vines to entangle the rukh. Baron Thibault tries shooting it and misses, as the others climb the staircase to prepare to attack it with swords.

            A couple of hikers come out of the woods. Leland tries to distract them, lure them away, so they won't be mortal witnesses messing with cantrips, but he botches the roll. They go away, but to call the police. The Baron calls Leland back for his sword and he hands him the rifle to hold.
            Meanwhile, the rukh's mate arrives and attacks the knights on the tower at the top of the nest. The Baron, Muirin, Arcite, and Count Mathonwy manage to injure it badly and it tries to fly away. Leland shoots it with the chimerical rifle, killing it.

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            • #21
              Canto 5,

              scene 6
              The two rukhs slain, Maeve is avenged and a banquet is called for the very next night.
              Distinguished guests from the Barony of Salmon and the Court of the County of Herons have a feast with awards given, Leland being the guest of honor! The little piskie that fought and defeated two giant eagles!
              Baron Thibault, in keeping with his Dougal craftworking, grants Leland a weapon prize: a slingshot made from the wood from the rukhs' nest.

              Things get boring and too formal and Muirin and Leland's attention wanders. They look outside and see a boat tossing in the high surf coming in from the Trod. It's a tiny inflatable raft with over a dozen people crammed onto it. They call the Court's attention to this. They watch as. the boat approaches, it drifts outside of the channel markers, off the Trod and into the storm-tossed open water, and it capsizes! Arcite, a Coast Guard rescue swimmer leaps into action, heads to the docks to take the sailing cutter out to sea to rescue them.

              As they sail the boat closer to the raft and away from the middle of the channel, they hear the singing of sirens (possibly how the raft ended up outside of the channel in the first place). A few botched Willpower rolls later, and Muirin and Leland themselves are in the ocean, swimming toward the sirens' beautiful music. (This encounter was designed with a certain pooka who can cast Summer ••• in mind, but without him, it's a bit more deadly than I'd planned).

              Arcite dives in and pulls Leland away. He's an astonishingly good swimmer for someone whose skin is rock. Muirin can't hear them underwater, so she shakes off their effects immediately. There's another problem—sharks.

              Arcite drags Leland back to the cutter and continues on to the swimming refugees. Leland botches his roll to get back on the boat.
              Muirin casts Primal to make a torrent of current to push the sharks away. The sharks should be strong enough to overpower this, but the best they can do is to match it. They cannot get to the swimmers. She then spends her next few turns attacking the sharks.
              You know that sharks eat seals, right? Doesn't matter. Time to be a hero.
              She gets a few lucky rolls and an assist from Leland and one shark is slain. The other rolls poorly and is swept away by the current. Muirin swims over and starts retrieving the victims from the capsized raft.

              Scene 7
              Saving the introduction of the refugees for when Nikki's player is here, but the people on the boat are a mix of kinain, enchanted, and kithain. They bring them inside the freehold. They are starving and freezing and they don't apparently speak English. More later.


              Epilogue
              Baron Thibault hauls the dead shark in and pulls a harpoon point out of it. He tells Muirin, "That was brave. And foolish. This kill is yours. Let me see what I can do with this." He is going to sand the rust from it and make a new harpoon for her to use as a weapon.

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              • #22
                Recap of Canto 6
                Leland's player was out this session.
                scene 1
                We left off with the refugees in the Freehold. Eight kithain, mostly of unfamilar kiths, and seven kinain. They formally request Sanctuary from the Count, who grants it "As long as you are here as friends, I grant sanctuary."
                There is a language barrier that they struggle to overcome, it take a while to figure out a common language. Only one of the Count's court is fluent in Spanish, and it appears that Spanish is a secondary language for most of the refugees except for one. It becomes known that they are Mayan and came from one of the Kingdoms of the Feathered Serpent via the Atlantic Trods. They report that they are fleeing from a civil war where kithain are being hunted by The Red King. The Count is visibly affected by this news. The Eshu, who is also translating, recounts a story about how The Red King was banished by the Tuatha de Danaan during the War of Trees. It is ill tidings, indeed, if the Fomorians are back.

                Nikki makes eye contact with a rabbit pooka amongst the group, they share a knowing moment. When the formal Court ends and people are more free to interact, he does some contact juggling with a ball that he has. The pooka asks for the ball, Nikki tosses it to him, and he catches it without using his hands and snaps it off his hip to one of the others, who also plays it without hands. An impromptu hackysack circle forms. Muirin joins and drops the ball. She can't do what they're doing despite her athletic prowess. The kids amongst the kithain start to relax a bit.

                scene 2
                It's October in New Hampshire and practical matters come to the forefront: none of the refugees have warm clothing. Some discussion and they decide on a trip to a big box thrift store. Nikki insists that the kids come with them. So, at 8pm a bunch of unaccompanied-by-adults kids walk into a store. One blatantly has no shirt (Muirin gives him her Aloha shirt that she wears over her selkie skin).

                This place is Banality exemplified. A bleak, joyless retail hellscape that is understaffed for this many customers, and are counting the minutes until they can either lock the doors or die, whichever comes first. I decide, however, they only need to roll a Banality trigger if they ignore this to just buy clothes, or if their intervention fails.

                Nikki walks straight to electronics and finds a bluetooth speaker that he hooks up to the lavalier on their magic microphone. Their intention is to make this place FABULOUS by signing Fashion by David Bowie.
                Muirin decides to use Primal to add fog to the runway show Nikki is putting on. Her Bunk for this is to wear all the fabulous clothes at the same time. There's a section of worn-once prom dresses and she starts putting them on, in the aisle, one over the other. When confronted by staff (there are only two people working), she flashes the $100 bills they got from Hennessy (the curse on them being broken). Muirin tries break-dancing. The penalty imposed on her by the restrictive clothing and she still suffers a dice penalty from the shark bites she sustained earlier, she botches the roll terribly. She takes another point of bruised health damage, but the hilariously bad break dance was enough for a successful Bunk. She gets a mild success on Primal cantrip to create fog. One of the NPCs, seeing what she is doing, shows off his weather-control powers and fills the entire store with fog.

                Nikki rolls three successes on Summer •• and overcomes the Banality of the store and wins over the staff to the fun of what they are doing.

                The NPCs, being young and with not terribly much exposure to the kinds of media that Nikki likes, aren't clear on how to runway model. Nikki coaches them. They buy a bunch of clothes, prom dresses, and the Bluetooth amp. Nikki plans to return to try to cultivate these employees as Dreamers.

                scene 3
                A few days later, they return to Court and Count Matthonwy looks troubled. He isn't sleeping, he's losing weight.
                Something about The Red King feels familiar to him, but like remembering a dream, he cannot think of the particulars.
                Lady Braith suggests using Oneiromancy to explore his dreams directly to see what it is.
                Long story short, this isn't successful.

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                • #23
                  A few days later, the Dougal smith, Baron Thibault has finished Muirin's harpoon.
                  Nikki finds the end of D'arcy's sword under the bleachers at drama club practice.
                  D'arcy hasn't been around. The school guidance counselor is trying to figure out how she got the black eye. Child Protection Services are now involved (yay, just what every sidhe needs).

                  Scene 4
                  The squires are called to court (Nikki by a pigeon courier, Muirin by a pelican) by Lady Braith.
                  Mathonwy, Sir Arcite, and Sir Elvis are in a coma. Lady Braith prepares an Oneiromancy cantrip to enter Matthonwy's dream to free them.
                  They are in a grassy field with wildflowers. The earth begins to shake.
                  A stampede of horses. Horses with riders. They are on a racetrack.
                  They move to the side of the track and there are grandstands. They notice a bank of windows for betting.
                  The cashier at the window says, "Promises. Make your promises here."
                  There is an odds board. The horses racing are, according to the board, "Gwydion" "Beaumayn" "The Red Branch" "The Red King" "Seelie" and some others.
                  Nikki places two bets and gets tickets with oddly specific text, such as: "I promise the gold is not stolen"
                  Muirin hesitates, but her ticket says "I promise to get Leland to school"
                  They notice that Count Matthonwy is in line. He gets a ticket.

                  They go to the grandstands to watch the race. The Red King is scratched from the race.
                  In the gate are Sir Arcite and Sir Elvis on horses, and, somehow, Matthonwy, no longer with Muirin and Nikki. The race starts, but their gates don't open. The other horses run on.

                  Nikki rushes over to the gates (movement here is more based on intention than distance, so just willing "I go to the gate" puts them there). The gates are locked shut.
                  Lady Braith tries and fails to craft a key of dreamstuff. Muirin hits the lock with the harpoon from Baron Thibault, breaking it. Muirin repeats this on Sir Arcite's gate. Matthonwy frees Sir Elvis, and in so doing, drops his ticket on the ground. Nikki picks it up. It appears blank, or rather, what had been written on it is smudged beyond the ability to read it. The memory is gone.

                  Freed from their imprisonment, the whole group are free to wake up.

                  Interpretation of the dream points to Matthonwy is committed to some Oath, but he cannot remember the exact contents of it.

                  Next session: questing to recover the Oath.

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                  • #24
                    Canto 7
                    Scene 1


                    Nikki and Muirin skip school. Rabbit Pooka Thiago and Chaacob (a custom kith for this campaign) wilder Zakuk go with them. Nikki spends the day in the downtown square busking, while the two refugee kids teach Muirin how to play hackysack like they do (they're particularly good). A cop shows up, asks Nikki if they're supposed to be in school. The refugee kids start to lose their cool, but Nikki talks to the cop. When the cop engages with the others, Muirin explains (lies) how she's chaperoning exchange students but she absolutely crushes the roll and the cop somehow believes her. (Leland's foster parents have much the same response to her. The selkie just come across as very wholesome, somehow).

                    Scene 2
                    Nikki and Muirin go to Drama Club rehearsal. On their way around the stage side door, they see two mortal kids standing by an SUV in the parking lot. Just standing there, looking bored. One has a cardboard sign with "Jesus Loves You" handwritten on it. Nikki can't let things like this alone, so he engages the kids. They're waiting for their mom, who has a meeting in the school. These kids don't go to school, they're homeschooled. Being Pooka, Nikki gets a great deal of information out of them. They hate that their mom drags them to all of her crusades. Mom is here because of some blasphemy happening at the school that's inappropriate for children. Nikki says, "Blasphemy is cool!" which offends the kids greatly. He tries to inspire them, but these kids are dead inside and they make no progress.
                    Scene 2b
                    They finally give up and go inside. A woman they've never seen before is talking to the vice principal Letorneau and the drama club director, Elden while the rest of the drama club sits in the auditorium seats, waiting. Elden tells Nikki and Muirin to wait. Nikki tries to intervene by using his microphone to cast Summer •• to give a rousing speech to resist, but it fails, incurring a Banality. The woman misgenders Nikki, then interrupts and corrects the vice principal when she uses singular "them" talking about Nikki (this is Nikki's personal Banality trigger). Muirin tries climbing the lighting grid as a Bunk for her own cantrip, Elden tells her to stop and the woman also expresses how inappropriate it is that the school has such dangerous hazards. Her cantrip fails, incurring Banality (GM note: mechanics I forgot: she should have taken two because she botched and rolled two 1s, she is still injured with a chimerical shark bite and the climb should have incurred dice penalties).
                    Elden informs the students that rehearsal is cancelled today, but that they will resume soon. He won't let them cancel the show entirely. Unfortunately, all of the work that Nikki has spent musing Elden is probably wasted, as her Banality cancels out four successes on the Reverie roll when (if) the show opens.
                    Disgusted at their powerlessness in the face of this monster, they go to the castle.

                    Scene 3
                    At the castle, they talk to their mentors, Sir Arcite and Sir Elvis about what had happened. So far, they've encountered people who were overcome by Banality, but they'd never met anyone so committed to Banality. They ask what you do to fight such people.
                    Run. Run away. Don't fight an Autumn Person.

                    As it happens, the Court of the Count is planning a Quest. As Mathonwy's ennui gets worse, he plans to take an expedition into the Dreaming to recall the Oath that he has lost to the Mists. Muirin is expected to go, since she's Sir Arcite's squire. Nikki decides to go because time in the Dreaming will cancel the Banality he just got hit with and he doesn't have drama club to do anyway. Leland is also expected to go, since he's squire to Sir Elvis, (his player wasn't here, but we brought him along anyway).

                    Preparations are made and they board a fantastical ship, the RCS (Royal Concordian Ship) Celia Thaxter. A schooner whose sails have been replaced by House Dougal with windmills.

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                    • #25
                      Canto 7
                      Scene 4


                      Aboard the Thaxter, the squires are given assignments, Muirin reports to the bos'un, Mister Latch, a nocker whose job is to keep the engines running. Leland is put to work with the cook, Old Salt (a sluagh, hardly older than 20, called "Old Salt" because that was the previous cook's name and the Chief Mate can't be bothered to learn new people's names). Mister Latch's chimerical parrot, Shuddup, freaks out when he sees Nikki, "A cat! It's a cat!" The Chief Mate, Ioan, is a clurichaun with magnificent mutton chops/sideburns. The captain, Durth, is a massive troll who is big on protocol and sailing etiquette (Muirin gets to add her Boating skill to etiquette rolls, and she's immune from seasickness. This ship is her environment). Finally, the kids share berthing with an enchanted mortal who is aboard to serve as Count Mathonwy's personal valet.

                      Over the next few days, they find ways to entertain themselves. Nikki sings the raunchiest, most profane-laden sea shanty he can conjure for Chief Ioan. Muirin impresses by properly trimming the jib sails (only the two gaff-rigged masts are windmills, the forward jib sails remain sails). Some observations: the Count's breakfast goes missing. They run out of biscuits at dinner. Mister Latch yells at Nikki the cat to leave his bird alone, even though Nikki hadn't harassed the bird at all.

                      Muirin wonders if there's a stowaway and searches the entire ship. (GM note: Here's where I get to feel clever for making a situation where her two dots in Investigation matter, even though I didn't know she had two dots in Investigation but it's great when a PC's abilities matter).
                      Under the floorboards, inside a dangerous area with all the machinery, they find two of the childlings from the refugee boat. They're another custom kith that I created for this campaign who can shed their fae mien like a selkie skin, which turns into a chimerical jaguar, which is why Shuddup, the bird, kept seeing cats. (I'll post the stats for the Nagual kith in another thread eventually).

                      Scene 5
                      Sir Elvis has been using the Soothsay Art to navigate toward the Oath, but they eventually come to a maze of icebergs and rocks. The ship can navigate through, but they need a pilot who knows the area. They reverse course and head to find someone that the sidhe know who might be able to help.


                      On the way, Sir Arcite calls Muirin to the deck to train. Ioan, insulting Nikki's fancy clothes and new fancy rapier (that Baron Thibault of Dougal had made for him), challenges him to train as well. "Are you anything other than fancy, you pussycat?"
                      "I don't know if you'd noticed but that's kinda my thi—."
                      Ioan interrupts Nikki mid-sentence with a punch to the face.
                      Muirin hesitates to strike an officer, tries to wrestle him. Beats his brawl this round.
                      Nikki, failing his Willpower roll to resist Ioan's clurichaun power to start a fight, punches the restrained Ioan but fails to beat his soak.
                      Ioan breaks Muirin's grapple (she manages to keep her eyes on him, so he can't blink away), then Sir Arcite blindsides her as she was so focused on him, she didn't see any other threats.
                      Nikki hits Ioan twice over the next two turns dealing minimal damage. Muirin flattens him with the butt end of her harpoon, though right before Arcite drops her.

                      Ioan ends the fight, falling to the deck laughing. This was a good sparring match.

                      Scene 6
                      They arrive at a lighthouse on an isolated island. The Count, the knights and the squires row ashore. They are greeted by an ancient sidhe of House Danaan. We glossed over much of the roleplay with Etiquette, Persuasion, and Perception rolls. We might revisit this scene when Leland's player is present.

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                      • #26
                        Canto 8
                        Scene 1

                        With Leland's player here, we re-roleplayed the scene with Sir Valen ap Danaan. The cook, Old Salt, give Leland some advice about interacting with ancient sidhe (if you're not sure what to do, copy what the Captain or Sir Arcite do, don't imitate the sidhe). Everyone does well enough with their etiquette rolls. Sir Valen asks them to tell about the Autumn World, as it has been a long time since he was there (making everyone wonder how he is holding off Bedlam). Leland looks with interest at his trophy case, which contains a baseball, a newspaper article from 30 years ago about a Little League team, and an orange traffic cone. Nikki gives Valen his iPhone (which hasn't worked since he fell in the water in Bo's cavern back in episode 2). Mathonwy convinces Valen to come with them to guide them to the Promise Land as the ship's pilot.

                        Scene 2
                        The First Mate, Ioan, confronts the young crew aggressively, "Which one of you done it? Which of you wankers has been f-ing with my wee men?"
                        They learn that Ioan's clurichaun treasure trove is a collection of Funko Pop figures which line the walls of his cabin. One is missing! It's a new-in-box Master Splinter. Investigating, they find there are rat droppings on the shelf. Nikki shapeshifts into his cat form, and the twins shed their jaguar cub forms and track the rats. There is a crawlspace in the ship bilge and the three cats find their way down, but the others cannot fit. They find the box chewed open, Splinter missing. They search the rest of the bilge and discover the figure on a pedestal surrounded by tiny birthday candles like an altar. When they try to take the Splinter, they are set upon by a swarm of rats, defending their god-idol with their lives. It's all end-of-act-I of The Nutcracker in here.
                        Leland and Muirin try to help by prying open an access panel in the engine room. She casts Spring to try to entangle the rats (which, if you don't know anything about rats makes sense, I guess) but the sprouting vines get entangled in the chain mechanism that transfers power from the windmills to the propellor and the RCS Celia Thaxter stops dead in the water.

                        Muirin is put to work by the Nocker bos'n cleaning all the vines from the mechanism.

                        Scene 3
                        When the arrive at the ice labyrinth, Sir Valen takes command of the ship and begins to pilot it between the icebergs and through passages. Visibility is low and along the way, they pass into the Far Dreaming. (Here we had to do some house-rule because the Augmen effects for piskies and selkies aren't established in canon, afaik).

                        On the far side, they arrive at a rocky, barren island. Valen pilots the ship between a large tidal maelstrom and the shoreline and they sail up the beach and around the island. They come around and do it again except this time, the monster is waiting for them. An anemone reaches its gooey tentacles out of the water to try to grab the ship. Muirin is directed to trim the jib sail (the gaff-rigged masts are replaced by windmills, but the foremast with the jib and spinnaker are still traditional sails). She succeeds well enough to maintain speed and Arcite and Leland keep the tentacles from the ship. They sail around again. Muirin fails her roll to maintain proper sail trim. Leland shoots a tentacle, Arcite cuts one with his sword. Nikki stabs one but fails to damage it.

                        After the third time around the island, they look and it is no longer barren but it now houses a massive brick and stone structure, tall enough to reach the sky. They take drop anchor and take a rowboat to the shore.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Scene 4
                          The structure is built of red bricks upon white foundation stones. Atop massive plinths over 100' apart are marble pillars that rise up as far as the eye can see and beyond, fading off into the distance above. The archways of red brick between the pillars fills in walls that extend two to three stories. The building is physically impossible. They walk for miles before they see a break in the landscape. They find an entryway. A courtyard with a dry fountain and pool, overgrown topiary, and stairs. The giant door, many times larger than a person has fallen from its hinges onto a stair. One of the pillars has fallen and the area of sky it was holding up has fallen, too. Far above, they can look through the sky into void.

                          They are confronted by a giant with antlers (a fir bolg) who threatens, then attacks them. He invokes fear magic, which makes only Arcite and Muirin able to fight him without cowering from him. Arcite blocks a blow from its warhammer with his shield and mortally wounds it. It channels a fir chilis, which draws down some of the void from above to attack the others then it flees inside the temple. Leland shoots the void with his slingshot (they flutter like bats). Nikki swipes at another with his rapier. Arcite and Muirin pursue and slay the fir bolg inside.

                          Scene 5.
                          The interior of the structure is a ruin. What they find is that every brick and foundation stone in the building is engraved with an Oath. Some examples include, "I will never stop loving you" or "I'll never take cocaine again." The white foundation stones contain Oaths such as mathematical formulas, the value of Pi, etc. The building has fallen into ruin as people break their oaths, weakening the structure.

                          In the far back, they find a break in the wall, where it has collapsed entirely. Sir Elvis's compass indicates this is where they need to find the object of their quest, but which one?

                          Outside of the wall is a thicket of brambles and fog in the distance. There is a path and someone has scavenged the stones from the temple to pave the path. Sir Elvis's Soothsay locates the exact stone as a white foundation stone on the path outside the building. As they consider how to get it, one of the twins stops them, points and says, "Xibalba." The other nods in agreement and repeats, "Xibalba." None of them know what that means and the children don't speak enough English to explain. Nikki, being a fool, shrugs and walks over to pick up the stone. He disappears into the fog. The twins chase after him. They don't return for a moment, at which point, Count Mathonwy orders Muirin and Leland, "Squires, go and get that stone."

                          Muirin and Leland find Nikki, holding the white stone block, however when they look back, the path is gone, the temple is gone, and there is only thicket of brambles. They can only go forward on the Black Path of Balor that they've found themselves.

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                          • #28
                            Canto 9
                            Scene 1

                            Nikki, Leland, and Muirin, along with Hun and Balan, the nagual twins, are on a Black Path of Balor trod through an impassable thicket. They go forward. Where the nagual twins walk, the path seems to widen and the fog parts. The others don't have that effect.
                            The path leads down the cliff to what should be the beach, but Muirin does not sense the ocean. Instead, there is a black, obsidian-like plain extending as far as they can see. Everything is gray and drab and plants appear dried out and leafless. They walk into the obsidian plain a ways and come upon some gray, humanoid figures with indistinct features. The drones take no notice of them but appear to be in agony. Some marauders come out of the fog and try to drag the drones away, but they take notice of the changelings and approach them. As they stand off, a gondola poled by a hooded figure with a lantern. It comes to rest and the hooded gondolier threatens the raiders with a gigantic scythe. They back away, knowing better to mess with a Ferryman. The drones begin to reach toward the boat, but the Ferryman points to the five changelings, and says, "Your toll is paid in advance."
                            "Paid? By whom?"
                            "Your kind pays in advance by upholding the traditions."
                            Not willing to stay on the shore with the raiders, they get in the boat.

                            Scene 2
                            They arrive on an "island" that is made up of scavenged shipwreck material built around a barren rock sticking up from the "water."
                            They are swarmed by a crowd of grim people, many dressed like fishermen and boaters, fascinated by the arrival of strangers. Strangers who, one of them points out, can leave.
                            Some of them ask them for favors—(rolled randomly by the players from a table) help my daughter, she's gotten into some trouble; find my boat where it sank and I died, it has something in it I need to bring to my family; help my kid find something of mine that he lost… etc. Others insist that what they are doing is forbidden and they mustn't ask. (For the record, this necropolis is far offshore away from central Hierarchy offices and controlled by Renegades).

                            Scene 3
                            "This is forbidden"
                            "It's not forbidden to me. Seize them." From over the ridge, five monstrous changelings try to capture the kids and a short scuffle ensues. After a moment, the figure on the rock declares it's enough and demands they approach. They are unable to resist and do so. The figure appears like a devil, reddened skin and long teeth. They recognize that despite his unorthodox appearance, he's a sidhe, probably of House Balor. He is attended by a bodyguard, a gigantic stone-skinned Troll (new Player Character, welcome Kevin).
                            "What were you doing on my road?" he wanted to know. On of the goons hands him the brick, taken from Nikki. "What did you want with this?" He reads it, "Do you know what it means?"

                            He has his minion, an Aethu dark-kin, tell the story of the Battle of the Trees, when the Tuatha named Gwydion awoke the trees to battle the Fomorians. This completely enraptures Leland, Hun, and Nikki (which is bad, because only Nikki can countersong this with their own story).
                            The sidhe, Crúaich, comments that the tale of the Battle of the Trees is Tuathan propaganda, and he goes on to tell the origin of the rise of the Green, Black, and Red Courts before the eventual rise of the upstarts, the Courts of the Tuatha de Danaan.

                            Among this, Nikki lets slip some intelligence about Count Mathonwy, which it's not clear how much he believes, coming from a pooka.

                            Crúaich's villain monologuing is interrupted as Balan hits him in the middle of his forehead with a lacrosse ball. The troll bodyguard fails to stop the ball from striking him.

                            Enraged, he orders his minions to kill them. The troll bodyguard resists, not willing to harm a child like Leland, Hun, and Balan. The wraiths who were promised favors close in around the characters and in the chaos, a scuffle ensues. Leland tries to sneak over to snatch the brick and fails to get through the crowd. The beastlike one who Nikki fought earlier botched a Dexterity roll and steps on the lacrosse ball and falls down. He picks up the ball, which triggers Balan's cantrip. Balan speaks the first English words they'd heard him say—"Game On!"

                            the cantrip was Sovereign: Protocol and the protocol he was invoking was the Ball Game, which is an underworld tradition.

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                            • #29
                              Canto 10
                              New character, Braum the troll, was played as an NPC, as his player is on vacation this weekend.
                              Scene 1
                              The nagual, Xbalanque/"Balan", had some surprises as he casts a Sovereign cantrip with Fae and Scene to reshape the upcoming brawl into a game of Ball. The devilish sidhe, Crúaich ap Balor, is immune from the effect, but his minions are not. The beastie still has possession of the ball, and the highest Initiative, so he starts to advance the ball toward the hoop (a rescue ring on one side and an antique, hoop-style lobster trap on the other). The other minions use cantrips to Entangle Leland and the boggarts try to evade Muirin and get open under the hoop. That doesn't go well, as Muirin hip-checks one into the other and they crash down. Xbalanque steals possession of the ball from the beastie and passes it toward his twin, Braum blocks him and the ball falls to Nikki, easily the least-athletic person on the field. Leland, stuck to the ground, casts Quicksilver on Nikki. Nikki strips like Brandi Chastain as a bunk to use Chicanery to pass the ball to both Muirin and Hunahpu. This fakes Braum out completely, but the aethu Entagles Muirin with a Legerdemain cantrip. This cantrip triggers the aethu's Nightmare (rolled two 0s) and suddenly all the faeries become aware of the Tempest and the Oblivion just below their perception of reality. Now Leland and Muirin are both mostly immobile. Muirin tries to knock the beastie over with a blast of wind, she fails, but also rolls a 0 on a Nightmare die and hits him with a blast of Void ectoplasm, which messes with his mind a bit (even for a Thallain, Oblivion is off-putting).
                              Nikki, uncertain of his ability to out-athlete the remaining thallain, Unleashes Chicanery to try to make it impossible to track who has possession of the ball by making it appear that everyone has the ball. The Unleashing fails, however, locking Nikki out of any further Chicanery.
                              Braum stands as an obstacle, but doesn't try to hit any of the PCs. Taking advantage of his halfhearted defense, Xbalanque posted up under the hoop, Muirin passes him the ball, and he kicks it through the hoop.

                              Scoring on the team causes something to snap, breaking the enchantment that Crúaich had been using on the wraiths. He prepares a bunk to recast Sovereign to retake them.

                              Scene 2
                              As they celebrate and reset for another point, a massive WWI battleship comes out of the fog, announcing over a loudspeaker (or perhaps telepathically) "YOU ARE IN VIOLATION OF THE DICTUM MORTUUM. STAND DOWN AND PREPARE TO RECEIVE THE JUDGEMENT OF THE IRON LEGION" Muirin: "Heh heh, he said dick." (Causing the GM to laugh and break character such that Muirin was granted one level of Bunk instantly).

                              Some renegades (Doyle's Irregulars, for you World of Darkness canon people) rush to the front with what weapons they have. In the chaos, drowned fisherman Conrad, crashed airplane pilot Leonard, and lost boater Julien, along with some other wraiths try to shuffle the changelings away to safety. Leland takes advantage of the chaos to steal back the brick and Conrad insists, "Don't forget your promise. Take this to remember." and hands him a coin.

                              The landscape warps into a bizarre escherscape (Pandemonium arcanoi), confusing Leland, but Nikki grabs his hand and guides him. Nagual twin, Hunahpu is particularly resistant to this confusion. Braum chases them, asking to come with them. The wraiths know where the Black Path of Balor is, even if they can't use it. They are shown an old-fashioned well, like a stone wishing well, and are told to climb into it. As the Hierarchy Legionnaires come closer, they dive in.

                              Scene 3
                              The well flips over, and down becomes up and vice versa. They distinctly sense that they are in the Dreaming again. They climb out of the well with great effort (Braum's shoulders barely fit). Nikki is able to shapeshift even with people watching this deep in the Dreaming, and he claws up the side of the stones, looking like the soaked cat that he is. They re-emerge back on the island with the temple, but miles away from their comrades. They find the count and the knights on the beach building a fire.

                              Back on the Thaxter, Leland fails his etiquette roll and steps onto the deck with his left foot first, pissing off First Mate Ioan McGann.

                              The GM has been busy and on this day is recovering from surgery, so lack of preparation made the Legion a bit weaker than intended and encounters on the island didn't happen, either. We'll make up for it next session.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Side note: the Ball Game was surprisingly fun and I recommend it as an on-initiative action scene alternative to combat.

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