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Geist: Balance of Shadows (Actual Play)

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  • Desiree is as much a liability as a client. The cocky detective seems almost determined to throw things into chaos. But is this her plan?

    Session CCII

    Sara’s Letters

    Sasha -

    Our researching has gone apace, and boy did it bear fruit. A lot of what we have is speculation, but its well founded speculation, and we’ve tried to cover all our bases rather than assume any one guess is correct. No matter what it is, it seems likely that Desiree at least will have some interesting truths to work through.

    The film reels were what we looked into first. Two of them were tours of the house, newly purchased at set up at the time, while she expounded upon the strength and purity of her soul, and how those two stellar qualities of hers would be the reason why she would succeed in controlling the forbidden magics where others had failed. To be fair, it seemed to have worked, at least somewhat - she herself was not tainted when her tainted family members sacrificed her to their dark patron.

    The third was, well, disturbing. It started off cheerful enough, with a coven of witches celebrating the legalization of witchcraft in the state (putting its time period of mid fifties). This is clearly what all the books about the history of the town were being used to cross reference - there were plenty of clues as to where they were at, and plenty of impressive looking books of magic to make one want to know. The last scene, however, was of one of the women, staring into the distance beyond the lens of the fallen camera, missing half her skull. After a moment, the only thing on the film was the sound of her murmuring to herself in a childlike sing-song about playing hide and seek, as the blood she was drooling covered the lens.

    The O’Rourke family had clearly done some research before getting killed and had three locations marked as the book location. They had actually found one of the locations in the film, but determined that it wasn’t the same as the library. These days, the three locations were a downtown box church called “Voice of the Divine Congress of God”, a run down Laundromat, and a store that has changed hands and names at least three times since I got here. Natalie looked into all three later. The church used to be a different church in the 90s, until the monsignor of the congregation told them to fight to the death. Not all did, but some apparently were all for it. The Laundromat was also incredibly suspicious. Its current owner, to all appearances, doesn’t exist, and back in the 80s, a former Laundromat in that location shut down after employees a body that had been chopped to pieces and each piece put into a different washer. The rapidly changing storefront seems to just be a money-laundering scheme.

    That is all a side note for the moment. We will definitely look into it - apparently the coven is a somewhat notorious one, though no one knows what happened to them. Common knowledge was just that they disappeared. The film reel we have is a legend, one that people have killed to get their hands on, or so Janos told us. He was incredibly helpful - when we do find it, he’s probably getting at least a copy of some of what we find.

    See, he also had notes on the O’Rourke family, left by his mentor. He didn’t know much of what they were about, so we repaid him somewhat by filling him in on most of what we knew. He did know who killed them, a Christian-esque group calling themselves Vision of the Light, who claimed angels told them who to kill. It fit their MO to a T. They were a dead end though, as they got wiped out to a man in a police shoot out in the 80s. Janos was able to help out with our owl friend too, as a skinchanger with a great hatred of Teresa O’Rourke still lived in the area. As it turns out, we had a mutual acquaintance, so it was off to a visit to Crowley after discussing things with our archivist friend.

    Before we get to that though, I’ve almost forgotten an important link of our chain of deduction. Luke had gotten in touch with his dad, who had refused to answer a “perfectly innocent” question. Something about the question, or how he had evaded it, led Luke to think that Desiree’s mother hadn’t died, but rather left, upset by something to do with Desiree’s birth. That got me thinking about the film reel - Teresa had made a significant point about how “this face” would be coming to get anyone who messed with her or her family, no matter what happened to her. With those two combined, it seems incredibly likely that either Desiree is Teresa reincarnated, or being possessed by her. The dreams she had last night, about searching the house for something she never found, dreams she was unable to use her skills at lucid dreaming to wake herself up from, seemed further evidence.

    Now, back to Crowley. A strange old bird he is, but usually willing to help out. He was in a giving and knowledgeable mood today, consulting the stars to know that Desiree is actually Teresa reincarnated, not possessed. He did reassure us that if she were to regain knowledge of herself as Teresa, it wouldn’t erase who Desiree is now. With any luck, that might temper her desire to meddle with the darkest magics. If that is the case, one big problem we’ll have to overcome is everyone that hates Teresa, starting with the skinchanger. Crowley did promise to put in a good word for us there.

    Second might be to deal with Desiree’s family. See, after Luke got shut down, Desiree decided to go for answers directly, and in person. Her Dad greeted her with a gunshot, yelling that he wouldn’t tell her where her mom was. She, being the even tempered entirely sane woman that she is, shot back immediately, calmly and rationally making sure to not use her service piece. He called the police, and she booked it home, taking immediate measures to spoof her phone’s location, and driving like a bat out of hell for a club here in town, so she could sneak in the back and leave in plain sight out the front.

    This somewhat ruined our plans. Alexia had talked to Tavia about the ritual symbols we’d found on what we assumed was the being’s prison (that sort of thing is something of a family hobby). Specifically, she asked about symbols that had changed from the ones we saw on the film reel, when the house was first set up, and the ones we saw in person. Now, in the film Teresa had explained that what was in the ‘prison’ was a vessel, not the being itself, and Tavia was able to tell us that the change in symbols described the change in vessels. The non-white male that was in there in the film had been replaced by a woman (without a specified race). Our assumption was that Teresa’s body was in there. Tavia also explained that the vessel would like be animate and malevolent, and that should we burn and bury it, that particular method of drawing in evil energies would no longer be effective.

    Now, given that, we figured that it would be a very bad thing to have Desiree come in contact with her grandmother’s body. Since she didn’t want us going to the house without her, we had to be tricky. She was going to be out visiting her father for the night, and Natalie scored Luke a visit to a sweet party that came along with crash space for the night. So we thought we were scotch free. Since she was racing back, and we didn’t have any tasks to distract her with, that was a bit of an issue. Thankfully, she had her alibi to create. Unfortunately, it turned out that the police weren’t actually looking for her, so she wasn’t making an alibi for very long.

    By the point she realized that, however, we were already at the house. Poor Alexia doesn’t do well with lying, and its even worse over a crappy cell phone connection, especially when you are lying about whether or not you are at a place known to have crappy cell reception. Natalie was able to spin Alexia’s hurried story about watching a horror movie into something at least vaguely reasonable, at least once we got back into a good area for reception. First though, we had to put an end to the very unpleasant corpse that had Desiree’s eyes. Her very, very identifiable eyes. Thankfully, for many reasons, not the least our safety and the believability of our story, it didn’t take very long until it stopped swiping at us, and it was the work of a moment to cleanse the area as we had been told.

    So, part one, cleanse the house itself, is likely accomplished. Part two, make sure Desiree/Teresa does not pursue the same monstrous path as she did once. Part three, make sure no one kills her before she’s made any such decision. And for bonus points, find the coven’s library! Always good to have a plan.


    End Session CCII

    Sara covered most of it fairly well, even if in her usual doublespeak, lets see

    Janos is the Hunter (in the Vigil sense) who trades in artifacts and such, and has high occult knowledge (and the Japanese vampire bodyguard who was sweet on Doc, remember?) Crowley was the apparent gentleman of the road who knows way too much and is some sort of Immortal…he has not appeared in this drama for awhile. (And no, he is still absolutely not THAT Crowley)

    We had a funny moment when, planning to open the coffin, it came up that Desiree is a police detective, and if we want to cover our visit and battle we will need to be careful, so they talked about covering the floor with plastic before we open it, which lead Alexia’s adorable player to chirp happily up with “We can make a murder room!” but then she always seems to have the best lines.

    During the combat Emily still kept repeating Amos 5:24 during the fight. So she is still a little crazy.

    What will happen the next day, we will see next time. Sara’s player will have to miss but game should happen. Comments and Questions welcome.

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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]


    • The team continues to work the case, focusing for now on the films. Sara had to miss, but Natalie has an update

      Session CCIII

      Natalie’s Diary


      We are going to need you tonight (like always xoxoxo) but we have a mission for you.

      Breakfast went well. We decided to divide the case into two aspects, one being finding the library, and the other finding out who set up Desiree. After all, we searched the house, but someone lured her down there, and we need to find a way to find them. I being heroic and self sacrificing, agreed to go talk to Desiree and get her to agree to help us find the library, and smooth over the issues that may have popped up before Alexia sells us out.

      Well you know me, I was of course extremely convincing. And despite the slings and arrows from Karen and Alexia, did not sleep with Desiree or even try. May have made out on the couch. But what is important is I determined she is still the same (hot) police detective we had been dealing with, being of a Straightforward and Reckless nature.

      Anyway after any snogging that may or may not have taken place, we went to meet the group at Lulu’s. She actually was remarkably calm about the possibility her grandmother may be in her head. She insisted on seeing the films, which had some resistance from Alexia despite her assertions she was a homicide detective and would not be bothered. Doc suggested grabbing a generator and watching at the firehouse church. Desiree offered her apartment but they did not want that. We went back to her apartment and she gave me a taser and her pistol, then we made our way to meet the others at the church.

      True to her word, she was unmoved. She watched Theresa unmoved, and studied her and her family. She seemed unphased by the zombie girl. Honestly, the disturbing part was the second reel where Theresa was describing her spell system. She said she “understood the proof” but she “had no tools and would not even begin to know how to do it.” She did, however, argue fiercely with Alexia that the proof, as presented, would work, though she “had to presume she was given all factual information” but apparently within that just understood it and felt it would work. However on a check her personality was the same, and she had no magical ability like Tracy or Timothy…she just, apparently, understood magical theory. Great.

      Her guess was the Laundromat. She noted their burglar alarm went off a lot but given the history of the place they sent rookies out there after telling them what happened to scare them. So she wanted to go in and play the heavy, saying she could get a warrant but if she did they would stop be forgiving of the regular false alarms. Doc suggested I do the talking. We compromised and she started the conversation, while I jumped in and soon enough we had access to the back rooms.

      Use of Boneyard proved…interesting. So there is a stairway down behind the wall in the back room of the Laundromat, and it leads to a large room with several smaller rooms. There are like five bodies in there…one at the foot of the stairs, two in the main room, two in a back room, as well as furniture. Moving around was someone moving on all fours, well, three as they were missing an arm. I had Doc walk loudly and the figure moved staying under him, following his footfalls. That was creepy.

      The next stage was access. Whatever door lead to that stairway was gone, replaced by solid wall, and very solid floor below us. We would have to break the wall down to get in. Curiously, there were other options. Via the sewers there was a thin way that would have to crawl through a narrow pipe. Meanwhile next door there was a back room with a trapdoor under boxes leading to the basement, with a (less) narrow tunnel connecting it to the other basement. There was some obstruction I could not make out what it was, it had to be easier than breaking a wall down.

      According to Desiree Vice had raided that place as it was a prostitution front (the store that kept changing, not the church, she knew nothing about the church but is “allergic to churches”). But it sounded like a place reluctant to call the police.

      So the plan is we will break in tonight, use the basement, take the tunnel, move the obstruction. Your job will be to fly in with magic ghost body and since you can light up have a look around before we move in physically. We should be careful, all of us agreed it was a trap, and it gave Desiree a bad feeling. She also posed an interesting question…how did the film get out? Interesting huh? Also she mentioned looking for her mom. That could be interesting as well. That makes two possible leads if Jake knows little.

      Perhaps I will find out more when she and I have dinner.

      Well that is your update. I hope you have had fun today. Love you


      End Session CCIII

      Natalie did not leave much out. Desiree did, in fact, move in quickly with the implied threat of starting to fine the Laundromat, but Natalie swooped in with her superhuman socials and headed that off.

      The dredging around with Boneyard took awhile, as did negotiating over how to move next. But they found their way eventually.

      More tonight, comments and questions welcome

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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]


      • We had a slightly shorter session this time and Doc’s player was unable to show, but we still had fun. Let’s peek in.

        Session CCIV

        Sara’s Stories

        Tommy peeked his head into the library, catching Emily’s eye. She caught on to his gesture quickly, and nodded, then turned to Sara and made an excuse to leave. Tommy came in as she left, taking her seat. “Hey, Sara.”

        She smiled up at him. “Ready for the big plan? B & E, some creepy crawlspace diving, a pinch of object reading, and fighting a big, badass murder spirit infested corpse?”

        “That what it is?”

        “Well, death spirit, technically.” Sara sighed, flipping through the book on the desk next to her. “Good news, it’s only really dangerous when it possesses someone, so if we damage the... host...” She closed her eyes.

        Tommy moved to put his arms around her. “More fighting, huh? Nee nyar guh cur leh chaylee.”

        She managed something like a smile again “Chéile. Very good though. Yeah, we’ll be fine, together. It’s just... I’ve seen lots of death, and I never like the violent ones. She - it - ripped that Hunter in half. Longwise. With her - its - claws, while one arm was being shotgunned off... I’m not sure even how that worked. The father, Desiree’s grandfather, he escaped that bloodbath at Desiree’s house to get torn up by the spirit. It ate his face. His jaw, right through, into his brain.”

        Tommy held her close, letting her talk. “And the coven... I don’t know what they did, how the death spirit found them. It was trying to possess her, and when it couldn’t it just... ripped half her skull off. Then possessed her body. That other body, the fifth one in the basement, that I didn’t recognize, it’s probably the body the spirit used to kill the covener with. Maybe that will help figure out why the spirit was trying to possess her, what happened.”

        “Will that help? Knowing why?”

        “Maybe.” Sara sighed. “It’s something to focus on that’s not bloodstains and clawmarks. There’s plenty of mystery still, not just the coveners. That woman in the crawlspace.” She shuddered. “Dying of dehydration, stuck in a small crawlspace, with some kinda of monster on one side. Though, she might not have even known about it, it seemed to avoid the ritual room that the crawlspace opened into. Wards, I guess.” She pulled back into herself, rubbing her arm where Tommy knew she had a scar from the attack that killed her.

        Tommy took her hand. “The werewolves Alexia mentioned. They know spirits. And fighting?”

        Sara nodded, with a smile recognizing his attempt to focus on solutions. “Yes. Deirdre and Ildefonso will be amazingly helpful.” She chuckled. “So long as Desiree doesn’t shoot her. According to Natalie, Desiree’s in a really good mood though, so probably not.” Tommy gave her a questioning look. “They have history. Deirdre apparently distracted Desiree from the werewolves’ hunt target, and Desiree cottoned on. Deirdre’s been avoiding her since.

        “She was OK with it?” This time, Sara gave him the questioning look. “Deirdre. With Desiree knowing.”

        “About being a werewolf?” Tommy nodded. Sara smiled. “She hopes it’ll keep Desiree from being too mad at her.”

        “Think it will?”

        She turned around to lean back into him. “That, or the afterglow.”

        Tommy looked down at her. “Feel better?”

        “I do.” She kissed his chin. “Thanks Tommy.”

        “You’re welcome.”

        End Session CCIV

        We did get further, just was not a good point to stop and do a story. The body was determined to be a missing person who was assumed to have killed a wealthy local citizen in the 90s. And it turns out from examining her the killer was likely the one who was chopping people up in the Laundromat. But there will be more of an explanation on that…next time.

        Comments and Questions welcome

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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]


        • Hey guys; was curious how things have gone with the campaign, given that it has been a couple of months with no updates on the status of the game. Has life just been prohibitive towards a new session coming along? Hopefully everyone is doing well, regardless of the circumstances.


          • Yeah I need to get back with updates. We have missed one due to storm and I will be out of town for the next. Docs player has been unable to make for awhile. The main thing is coming slowly. If he continues to no show I will get on to wrapping the game up, but hopefully won't come to that. I'd like to have him back before major plot progression but we will see. I will get caught up tho thanks for the nudge.
            Last edited by Baroness Nerak; 09-28-2018, 06:28 AM.

            Onyx Path Moderator
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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]


            • Okay so It's been a rough time with this game. One player got an injury that reduced his attendance, and and we had people get sick. The problem with this game is that anyone missing really impacts how much we can get done. Then we missed two games due to vacation's a mess. So we had a good session two weeks ago, and I am hoping this gets back online. I am going to start posting journals now hoping to get caught up. The game is still going, and I owe you the journals. Okay, time to stop yammering and start posting

              Session CCV

              Sara's Stories

              Fear not, we have returned! A few cuts and bruises, but nothing serious, and the spirit is banished. Its spiritual residue is really soaked into the place unfortunately, so that’s going to cause some problems. Well, potentially.

              See, that other body we found, the one not associated with the spirit we were tracking, needs to be found. Her ghost wanders unresolved, and that’s still our thing, as Death-touched. Her body did rest on the spirit’s lair side of the blockage in the crawl space, but we’ve moved her to be on the other side of it, and made the blockage more impassable.

              I suppose I should explain why she needs to be found. Gloria Gotterhind (name in her passport, lying nearby) died in the 90s, trapped in that crawlspace after she got stuck (Tommy almost did himself as he tried to get through, not that it would have been nearly as dangerous to him, what with all of us around). She had been running from the Laundromat Slasher, the one who’d seeded the all laundromat’s washers with pieces of the people he’d killed, and heard the spirit on the other side. When she tried to turn around, she couldn’t escape either way.

              That was what our Deathsight showed us. Desiree recognized her name right off, once we got eyes on her passport. She told us that Gloria was the lead and only real suspect in a pair of murders. Francois Duchamp, Gloria’s lover, and his wife were found hacked into pieces in their room. Gloria’s footprints were found in the blood, and a diamond necklace - the one found with her body - was missing. With no other leads, and the fact she disappeared, her guilt was assumed.

              Natalie spoke with the body, learning what it knew just before it died. She did not kill Francois, but instead came upon the bodies when they were still warm. The killer was in fact still on the scene, the Laundromat Slasher as I mentioned earlier, and lurched up at her from his position lying face down on the floor. She grabbed the necklace and ran.

              So we’re going to try and get her name cleared, and the actual killer caught. Once the investigation is done, the police’ll be sure to give her a proper burial, and hopefully that will allow her spirit to rest. If not, we’ll have to disturb her wanderings to ask what would bring her peace. But that’s for later - for now, we need to get to the bottom of Desiree’s situation. Her grandmother’s part in this was in enacting her revenge, something that was handled quite well as part of putting the spirit down - one of the spirit’s victims was Desiree’s grandfather, and she... well, threw down some pointless violence on his corpse. Not the easiest thing to watch, but it seemed to help. But someone had a hand in getting her the house, and her intuition says its someone still alive.

              So that’s immediately on the plate, along with probably getting our handsome collector of knowledge some infamous books. Nothing particularly special in the library, after all that, but its legend gives it some weight. Hopefully he’ll like his present.


              Session CCV

              Okay, not sure if next update will be next week or two weeks, but will be soon. Comments and Questions welcome.

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              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]