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Geist: Balance of Shadows (Actual Play)

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  • It’s time to confront Russ Turner about Lauren’s death. Unfortunately, an unstable Sin-Eater makes things complicated.

    As before, Natalie recaps, Sara discusses, so it might be easier to read Natalie first. Maybe I should give up and switch their places for the foreseeable.

    Session CLXXVII

    Sara’s Stories

    “You like ‘em dangerous and in wooden shoes, huh?”

    Tommy watched Sara smirk in response to her strawberry scented wife’s concerned teasing. He agreed with the crux of Natalie’s worry, wooden shoes notwithstanding. Even Doc’s healing ritual couldn’t leave Emily completely stable, not after having lived so long with the damage. Not to mention the sheer power she had - he was new to this, but the Dark Mother’s touch laid heavy on his love and her friends, and they were wowed by Emily’s power as well. She had even been able to keep Natalie from setting up her Boneyard, somehow.

    Still, Tommy was sure that if anyone could help Emily remain stable, it would be Sara. He hadn’t been happy when Sara had gone off with her and Russ, ostensibly to direct them from the restaurant to the firehouse church - Natalie had been even less so - but he did have to admit she’d managed to talk the Dutch Sin-Eater down from a full-blown episode to a mostly centered state. And the mutual attraction might even have helped.

    That mutual attraction was not quite enough to get Sara new company for the evening, however, so it was just Tommy, Coffee and the krewe in the van driving home. Natalie’s relief was clear, and everyone was pleased with how things had worked out, so the mood was high.

    Back at the House, Karen and Chandra were quick to greet them. As they stood around catching them up, Sara moved to stand close to Tommy. He put an arm around her shoulders and she reached up to tug gently on his earlobe. A familiar and comfortable gesture, it had more meaning since the night before. He glanced down at her and she smiled.

    Once they’d gone over the broad strokes, before they got too sidetracked by whether ‘the mood’ would be killed by having sticky hair, Sara suggested hot drinks and comfortable seating. When everyone agreed, she volunteered to get the drinks and Tommy quickly followed after her. “Not hungry anymore then?” she asked when they got to the kitchen.

    He shook his head. When she seemed to be waiting, he gathered his thoughts and elaborated. “He knows what he did was wrong. He has seen, truly seen, the harm he’s caused. And he knows what it is to be alone and afraid.”

    “He does.” There was a note of regret in her voice, but Sara always was the most forgiving of them. “I’m glad it worked out. I was worried we might have to drag it from him, word by word, and him seeming like he was usually an outgoing guy.” Sara raised an eyebrow at him as she pointed out where the trays were kept. He rather thought his use of Nightmares had saved them a lot of unnecessary bluster, but he didn’t say that out loud.

    “Perhaps he had some realization his daughter was around. He seemed terrified of her.”

    Sara made a considering noise. “Don’t lose yourself in bitterness, mo chroi.”

    Tommy thought for a moment, the silence between them still comfortable. “He does care for her. Theresa as well.”

    Sara gave him a brilliant smile. “He does. I think that may have turned the tide for Lauren as well, after Natalie bled on her.” At Tommy’s confused look, she explained. “The blood of a Sin-Eater can help ghosts focus... well, really, it helps them focus without fixating, in the way the dead often do.”

    “I thought you already had...?” The ritual had been quick, but the ghost had seemed to form by flowing from Sara’s self inflicted wound.

    The Sin-Eater shook her head. “I provided the Plasm, the death-stuff, for her to manipulate into a form to wear.” She sighed, pouring out the various drinks. “It felt nice getting back to giving the dead a voice. I’m hopeful that Lauren will be content with a proper burial and return to the cycle.”

    Tommy kissed the top of her head. “Very few can hold onto vengeance with you as an advocate for forgiveness.”

    “You do.”

    Her gaze was piercing but he held it, which surprised her into a brief frown. “You’ve never asked me to go against my nature.” When she opened her mouth to object, he shook his head. “I know you aren’t now either. Which is why I’m harder to... what did you call it before? Resolve?” She nodded, considering him thoughtfully. As they left, tray of drinks in hand, he spoke up again. “I do listen.”

    “I know.” Sara smiled up at him. “I will too. I promise.”

    Natalie’s Diary

    April 24th 2011

    Six Days Till Walpurgis

    Broad strides on dealing with the Redcrow case, but it was not without setbacks.

    Doc arrived this morning as we were planning where to meet Russ and Emily Turner. Alexia put forth a “real” Italian restaurant, i.e. not Olive Garden or Carrabba’s, though it was originally due to the whole idea of putting a breadstick in Doc’s mouth if he got threatening. Karen and Chandra agreed not to go to stay out of danger, but Catherine insisted; I was unsure at first but I really think it was to help rather than any jealousy thing with Chandra. I texted Emily to make the arrangements.

    Unfortunately, that was a setback. Emily responded in Dutch. While Babelfish translated, it was very stilted, but clearly she did not know who I was or why I wanted to see Russ. It started getting very paranoid so I backed off. I called Russ directly and made the arrangements. He was, to put it mildly, very wary. Emily contacted me again, still in Dutch, seeking information later in the afternoon. And Theresa Redcrow called later in the day to let me know her uncle had tried to contact her about it, but she dodged his calls. By the time we left we were very concerned that an unstable Sin-Eater would be hounding us there. Anyway, Catherine came too, to watch from a safe distance nearby.

    This was sort of the case. Russ seemed muted compared to what I expected, probably concerned about Emily. He was somewhat evasive at first, but seemed to realize quickly we knew what was going on. Somewhere during this time I noticed we were in a Boneyard; Emily was observing us. I signaled Catherine, who slipped out. Sara and I tried our best to change the subject from Emily, talking of Theresa some. I quickly found Russ cared a great deal about Theresa and Emily, but he was terrified of Emily, and knew she was supernatural somehow. This meant he was quicker to accept the idea of talking to Lauren’s ghost than I expected.

    The whole incest thing we left alone, but it was implied.

    As we left, Sara said something to Emily, and sure enough the Boneyard dropped and a few minutes later she came strolling up, smiling and looking adorably boyish. She pretended to remember us, but it was clearly cloudy. She had not fully “woken up” yet. She rode with Russ and of course Sara volunteered to go. Tommy was going to but Alexia interposed herself. Which is good; Tommy does not come back.

    We traveled to the Firehouse church, where I did a Ceremony, Distant Voices, to get Lauren’s attention. Sara followed this up with a Ceremony to make her visible and audible, but unable to harm Russ. Emily had “woken up” by this time. Russ’s affection for his daughters may have turned the tide; that and agreeing to recover her remains. That and some Sin-Eater blood from me to clear her head. She wanted him arrested, initially, which was understandable. Fortunately she was moved by how he watched out for Theresa and Emily, especially the damaged Emily.

    Lauren parted, and Sara spoke to Emily about her head. Doc wanted to try to fix her, as he had with James and Miranda. Emily clearly suffered from severe mental problems. Doc examined her, and she acquiesced due in no small part to Sara’s charms, no doubt. Doc was able to help her, but the damage to her brain was extensive. While she will hopefully suffer from fewer fugues…Emily does not have a stable mind. Her road through life will still be difficult.

    Less difficult, perhaps, since Sara walked her out, had a private moment with her, and Emily looked rather like she had been struck by lightning thereafter. I know that look well. Sara’s charms were insufficient to work her way into Emily’s bed, but that was a very smitten, very unstable woman who left our company. Sara is good. Not as good as I am, but good. Though she, at least, is more honest about it.

    We came home for talk n’ tea. There was far, far too much talk about messy hair being appealing or unappealing…this was used by Emily to bow out I think? She got alcohol poured on her head for Doc’s ritual. We kept it going much longer and with far more innuendo than necessary, which is always fun with this crowd. Some gentle teasing of Coffee too. I am really going to miss her when she moves on. I am not entirely convinced she should.

    At the end of the day, that decision is hers though. But I wonder if I can get her Christian name out of her first, at least.

    Speaking of Coffee, the typing has finished from the room, meaning Karen is done with her paper for tonight. I should see what they are up to.

    End Session CLXXVII

    Okay, Natalie used Distant Voices to contact Lauren, and she had made Emily an Anchor so she came. Sara used Plasmic Manifestation to give her a body, after some discussion of which ritual to use (Natalie and Sara both have Speaker of the Dead, Natalie has Faces in the Smoke and Lifting the Scales). Natalie could not beat Emily’s Boneyard successes so failed to make one to push Emily out.

    Russ had You are all alone Nightmare used on him by Tommy which is why is was somewhat quiescent at the dinner.

    Okay I want to talk just a moment about themes and decisions made at the table. Fixing Miranda, or James, or Emily with Mending the Mortal Coil was not something I planned in any case. James and Miranda were powerful (ish) dangerous damaged people. When MtMC came up, I thought about it. While it seemed an easy (ish) out, there was another side to it.

    Geist is a game of second chances. This is true thematically broadly and with Balance of Shadows. Sure, Doc, Gwen, Sara, Jasmine, Natalie, Alice, Alexia and Simon all got a second chance at life. But there was more. For Gwen it was a second chance to be a good person. For Jasmine, it was a second chance at love. For Alice, a second chance at redemption. And for Natalie, it was a second chance at taking her drug fueled Z list celebrity life and make it something to be proud of.

    So I said yes. Let that be an option. Letting them off easy? Sort of. James and Miranda are no longer so deeply damaged. But they are still strong psychics with difficult pasts; we have not heard the last of them. And Emily? That times ten. I was a little more prepared when they asked about healing Emily Turner. For that, there was a “yes, but…” and it was a big one. It did not make her fully stable or functional. It just made her…comparatively…stable and functional. Still, she has more of a shot at a normal (for a Sin-Eater) life than she had. Less fear of flipping out and drowning or incinerating a friend. But she is still damaged. I have not handwaved it. And they will likely have to deal with her issues again. But they helped her. The storm in her head is quieter than she remembers it being before. She has a second chance.

    Half my group are sick tonight, so no game. In two weeks I will be putting up current stats for anyone in the game whose current stats I can get a hold of. Alexia and Natalie at least. And hopefully in two weeks game. Regardless, see you then. Comments and Questions welcome.
    Last edited by Baroness Nerak; 03-19-2017, 03:00 PM.

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    [Geist: Balance of Shadows ][ Vampire: The Conspiracy of Hrad Černá Hora ][ Scion: Bohemian Front][Changeling: Malibu Dream House] [Demon: Night Train Detective Agency] [WoD: The Golden Eagle]


    • Thank you for sharing your decision-making process here. That insight is most appreciated. By chance can you post (or direct me to a previous post of) the Krewe and all the regular cast we see mentioned in these posts? I get most of them but a few I'm unsure on.

      Once again, my thanks to your players for very enjoyable write-ups.


      • The Krewe is entirely in the front page. Pictures and descriptions, though Sara and Alice are behind the spoiler box. I will try to put a little info on some of the regulars (Tavia, Karen, Tatum, Christina, Chandra, Coffee, Noriko) up next week when I do the filler for the missed session. Anyone else you want to see? Just like a name, maybe virtue/vice and a little info.

        Onyx Path Moderator
        Forum Rules
        This is my mod voice. This is my goth voice.
        [Geist: Balance of Shadows ][ Vampire: The Conspiracy of Hrad Černá Hora ][ Scion: Bohemian Front][Changeling: Malibu Dream House] [Demon: Night Train Detective Agency] [WoD: The Golden Eagle]