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It Was Written In The Dust - A Promethean Dark Era Actual Play

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  • It Was Written In The Dust - A Promethean Dark Era Actual Play

    Hi everybody! I've just started a new campaign, and as with my previous I intend to chronicle my players' adventures. I'll be posting recaps of the sessions in this thread, as much so that I have a record of my own for everything that's happened as because I want to share it with you lot. This game will be set in the Dust Bowl, a setting that holds the singular honour of being the only Dark Era that made me want to run a game line that I hadn't already wanted to run on its own merits (as opposed to, say, any Mummy content making me want to run Mummy again). It really does feel like the perfect Dark Era to me, the environment and cultural events reflect the nature of Prometheans so well I'm half-wondering if the game's writers when back in time and orchestrated the whole disaster somehow just so it could serve the purpose of exalting Prometheans' themes. And with the release of Promethean 2E and the end of the campaign I've been running until now, I've got a chance to use it.

    Setting:

    Like my Demon campaign I've opted to create a fictional location rather than build on a real-world place. The reasoning for this mostly boiled down to the fact that one of my players offered to do a map of the region and inventing the territory let them work without needing to worry about real world geography.

    The game is set in Kilbreda County, a fictional region in the Oklahoma Panhandle. I've kept the exact location of the area vague and just handwaved its existence as folded in somewhere between two of the existing counties of the panhandle, it's not particularly important. It's a rural area with two large towns connected by railroad, hit hard by the onset of the Dust Bowl. The game begins in March 1935, so the inhabitants of the area have been dealing with black blizzards and other signs of ecological devastation for years. The mass migrations have begun at this point, starving the already barely functional economy of the region.

    Map:



    This map is intentionally incomplete. It will be updated as the player characters discover new locations.

    Player Characters:

    Abram - A Tammuz, currently following the Ferrum Refinement in the Soldier Role. Abram is a giant of a man, made from the body of a Californian miner killed in a mining collapse. His demiurge made him to dig them both free, but only Abram made it out. Embedded in his chest is the mangled remains of a canary and its cage. When overcome with Torment, he loses his capacity for speech and the canary stirs, beginning to sing instead. He is the oldest of the Throng, a man named John Shepherd introduced him to the mob and for several years Abram leveraged his physical strength for his adopted family. When Disquiet led to his work being taken for granted and his proceeds from the job were kept from him he took his pickaxe to the belongings of his family and left it embedded in the windscreen of their most expensive car.

    Elsie - A Galatea, currently following the Plumbum Refinement in the Sage Role. Elsie is a pretty young woman who fell ill and died of pneumonia. Her demiurge was her body's stepmother, who restored her to life as a domestic servant so that her father would not realise she had died, keeping the two of them separate as much as possible by pretending that Elsie was still sick. Elsie has an exceptionally stunted view of humanity, very dependent on posters and magazines depicting the ideal American family to inform her view of the world. The pressures of Disquiet and Torment eventually led to her abandoning her Demiurge, taking her stepmother's infant child with her out of some vague sense that it was an important prerequisite to starting a family. She's still a bit unsure of the biological needs of her Baby, but she does remember to feed it occasionally. Shortly after walking off with Baby she was sold a radio by a man named Mr Shepherd, and found the others of her throng while walking towards a thunderstorm in the general hope that a lightning strike would turn it on.

    Riley - An Ulgan, currently following the Cuprum Refinement in the Watcher Role. Riley is the youngest Promethean in the Throng, only three or four months old. They are slim, tanned, and tough. Their body appears to be around 18 or 19 years of age. They don't recall anything of the circumstances of their creation. Their creator was a Promethean named Malik, who for the first few months of Riley's life made sure they were sheltered from humans. Then came the day they met the man with the Shepherd's Crook. Riley remembers fleeing with Malik from the encounter, though whether they were running from the man or from something he had warned them of is unclear. The two Prometheans made camp that night. When Riley woke, Malik was gone, as was the throng of spirits that normally accompanied him. They have travelled in the company of a sour water spirit left behind from that night, looking for any sign of their creator. They desperately want the love and companionship they remember of their time with him. The trail led them to the storm where they met the other two, and they have been travelling together in the weeks since then, never saying much, keeping an eye out for any sign of Malik.

    The three players decided early on in character creation that they wanted the concept of family to be important to them all early on. I believe the intent is that the name of the Throng will eventually be "the Adler Family", though the characters haven't grown quite that close yet.

    Anyway, that's the set-up. We played our first session yesterday, so I'll be trying to get the write-up done in the next day or two.

  • #2


    How long do you intend this one to be? Similar to Demon or longer like Mummy?


    CofD booklists:
    Beast I Changeling | Geist l Hunter l Mage | Mummy | Promethean

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    • #3
      The current intent is for it to run longer than Demon. Maybe as long as Mummy. We'll see how it goes

      Comment


      • #4
        Yay! A Promethean: The Created actual play thread!

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        • #5
          I loved your Mummy Actual Plat threads and I'm storytelling a Promethean game on the forums right now, so I'll be watching this closely.

          Comment


          • #6
            Chapter 1 – The House on Dolmon Hill

            It had been more than a week since Riley, Elsie, and Abram had seen any sign of civilisation when they found the road. They hadn’t slept in two days, not wanting to risk camping without shelter. The stores of food for Baby and Riley’s horse Terah were running low, it had been difficult just finding food the Prometheans could eat.

            There were other travellers on the road, coming towards them. Riley moved to the back of the group, shying away from the approaching humans, as the leader called out a greeting. The travellers were three men, their clothes and skin covered in a fine layer of dust, mouths covered in cloth. The two groups approached each other cautiously, the humans calling out a greeting.

            Elsie was the first of the Prometheans to speak, but her stilted attempts at conversation caused the men to turn their attention to Abram as the clear “man of the group”. They asked the group if they were heading to Joseph’s Cross. They weren’t able to get much out of Abram, but they did tell the Prometheans that if they were looking shelter there was an abandoned house not far behind them where they had stayed the night.

            This… did not go down well with Abram. The Tammuz was immediately suspicious of why they would leave good shelter, and demanded to know. The men backed up a few paces and said that they were hobos making the trek to Wakesfield for work. They told Riley, the only character who hadn’t yet entirely alienated them, where to find the house and hurried away.

            The throng reached the house shortly before dark. It stood atop a hill, a large homestead fit to host a family and several attendant employees. There was a barn beside it, its roof caved in. Both buildings had clearly been abandoned for some time. Dust was piling up against their windward walls, windows were cracked and broken, and the door stood ajar. A small signpost stood on the path leading up to the property, reading “Dolmon Hill”.

            Riley led Terah to the barn and immediately began hunting for food, turning up a stall filled with hay in various states of decomposition. They spent some time picking through it to get together a bundle fit for Terah’s consumption. Abram found some leather tack and set about it with Riley’s knife to get it into bite-sized pieces, fit for the Prometheans to eat. Elsie did a once over for any human food, but ultimately conceded that rotting hay was probably not fit for Baby. A bit more exploration led to the discovery of a tool closet, where Abram recovered a pickaxe that was probably once used to lever tree stumps free from the earth.

            With Terah safely tied up in a stall with an evening meal, the throng decided to investigate the main house. It was apparent by the smell of smoke and the charcoal mark on the floor that the hobos had opted to make camp in the barn instead of the house. Abram gently pushed the half-open front door open the rest of the way with the pickaxe, scanning for any sign of trouble. The paranoia with which he had treated the hobos was still on display. There was evidence that they had gone inside as well, footprints tracking through the dust inside the front door.

            Abram called out, but when there was no answer the throng began to explore the house. Riley was in front, about to open a closed door, when they heard sobbing. They pushed open the door, only to find the room beyond empty. Thinking fast, they called on the Pyros inside them to let them see into Twilight. They glimpsed a dark silhouette vanishing through the floorboards, too quickly to see clearly. On guard now, they retreated from the room and informed the others. “There’s something in here with us.”

            After a short discussion the throng decided to see if they could work out what was going on. The spectre hadn’t made any hostile moves towards them, and there was every chance they would be able to find something else of use within the house. They located the kitchen, and Elsie was able to find some preserved foods that seemed edible enough for Baby to manage. She fed him, staring fixedly at the way he chewed, then gathered up some of the perishables that had long since rotted in the kitchen cupboards. She found plates and cutlery, set the table, sat Abram and Riley down, and fed them a proper meal.

            Riley had undertaken some discrete investigating while Elsie made dinner, and had discovered a child’s rattle beneath the table. When they picked it up they were momentarily transported, their senses wrenched to another time and place. They could hear a Black Blizzard howling outside, the storm battering at the house’s walls like a battering ram. It almost drowned out the sound of their daughter’s coughing. She wasn’t getting any better. They had given up nursing her. The dust would have her.

            Blinking, Riley found themselves back in the kitchen. They said nothing about what they had seen to the others, pondering the experience. When the meal finished, they led the exploration through the rest of the house. When they stepped back in to the entrance room their senses were wrenched once more into another vision. The air was clear, the smashed windows were whole, the floor was clean, and a woman they loved was nursing a child ahead of them. Just as the woman looked back towards them, the vision ended.

            The others had wandered into a room that appeared to be the laundry. Abram began piling clothes into a bag, in case they could be of use or sold later. Elsie picked through the pile to find anything of actual worth. The only one of the throng with any true discernment, she quickly picked out the finest dress and held it up.

            She felt the same sensation that Riley had been experiencing, that their senses were in another time. Her eyes flew open, hearing Annabella crying. Her wife was not in the bed beside her, though her spot was still warm. Elsie felt herself get up from the bed, pick up her daughter, and, cradling her, begin to look for her wife. She wandered from room to room finding each of them too large, too silent. Her wife’s name felt strange on her lips. She never found her. Elsie blinked, back in the laundry, and quietly folded the dress and tucked it under her arm for later.

            The throng then went upstairs. There were several bedrooms, perhaps once used by hired workers, which had been stripped bare and cleared out. And then there was the master bedroom. It was Spartan, without much decoration. A crib stood at the foot of the bed. It was empty, the pillow inside stained with age. As the three Prometheans approached it they were all consumed by a final vision.

            They were staring at a grave abutting the rear wall of the house. It was terribly small. They laid flowers on the grave, picked up the rope that lay beside it, and looked towards the barn.

            Riley was the first to speak. “Did you two feel that?” Abram grunted, Elsie nodded.

            “We should go and see if we can find that grave,” Abram said. Elsie chose to wait behind, to see if she could get Baby to sleep in the crib. It was clearly the space where children were meant to go.

            The other two went back downstairs. The front door was closed, locked. Words had been traced in the dust of the floor. “Please, please don’t leave again.”

            Riley scanned Twilight, but they could see no sign of the spectre. Abram sighed, stepped across the words, and set their pickaxe into the gap between the door and its frame. With a tug they damn near wrenched the door from its hinges, shattered pieces of wood exploding out. The door would never shut again.

            Abram saw the paw prints first, sinking deep into the dust just beyond the door. The outline came next, sketched in the air from shadow and gossamer. The details were then filled in, shading as the two creatures stalked towards him. They were like large dogs, gaunt and starved. They kept their bellies close to the ground, lips pulled back over rows of sharp teeth.

            Riley reacted first. They rushed forward, shoulder lowered, and slammed into the leading dog and knocking it to the ground. Their disfigurements flared as long, sharp claws grew from their hands. The fight devolved into a mess of claws and teeth as they thrashed wildly at the enemy.

            Abram let out a deep breath as the other creature charged them. The dog ploughed into them, teeth biting into their side. They accepted the wound calmly as they raised up their pickaxe, and brought it crashing down on the dog’s head. The creature twitched, ephemeral flesh torn apart, before they dispatched it with the backswing.

            Footsteps came from behind them as Elsie emerged from the house, Baby in their hands. The Galatea clearly considered getting herself involved in the melee, but Riley and Abram had it in hand. Riley tore more chunks out of their opponent, until Abram gutted the creature with another blow.

            They were breathing hard, and both Abram and Riley were leaking fluids from their respective wounds, but there appeared to be no more real danger. The spectre was surely still out there, however. Abram looked sadly over the damaged buildings and told the others that they should try and find the body, see if they could put the ghost to rest. Their eyes were drawn to the hole in the barn’s roof. Abram retrieved a shovel from the barn and went to dig a grave, beside the small grave behind the house. Riley and Elsie, meanwhile, went to see if they could shift the beams that had fallen from the roof.

            Riley saw the spectre clearly for the first time as they worked. It took the form of a tall, broad-shouldered man, dressed like a farmer but with features obscured by ever-moving shadow. His head was cocked to one side as he watched them work, clearly torn between curiosity and more violent impulses.

            “We’re trying to help you,” Riley said, willing the ghost to understand. It stared at them, a long moment passed, and it raised a hand towards the beams they were trying to shift. They rolled away, landing at their feet. When Riley looked back, the ghost was gone.

            Beneath the beams was a body, sure enough. A frayed rope was tied around its neck. The body had been virtually mummified by the arid conditions and the dust swept in through the hole in the roof. They gently removed it and carried it to where Abram had dug the grave. They laid it down and, as the dirt covered it from view, they all saw the spectre together standing in front of them. The shadows were gone from his features now, and they could see a handsome young man looking at them with tears in his eyes. And then he was gone.

            With two of the throng wounded, all of them tired and running low on Pyros, they made their beds in the barn. Abram half buried themselves in the dirt to attune to their element, and the residual energies of the haunting appeared enough to benefit Riley.

            “I don’t want to lose my family.” Elsie spoke as the others were on the verge of sleeping. Riley stirred, thoughts of Malik running through their mind.

            Abram shuddered, thoughts of his family running through his mind. “My family betrayed me.” He spoke slowly, quietly, explaining to the others what had happened in his time with the mob. Riley was horrified, protesting that no true family would behave like that.

            Then Elsie made her offer. She could bind them together, brand them as a family with her Transmutations. The others accepted. The family was born.
            Last edited by Azahul; 03-02-2017, 02:52 AM.

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            • #7
              Nice! A haunted house story! The classics are classics for a reason!

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks I did want to start off with something pretty basic. While one player is a veteran of my Changeling, Mummy, and Demon campaigns, the other two haven't played World of Darkness games before. One is brand new to RPGs altogether.

                I believe the characters intend to travel on to Joseph's Cross next session, so I'm sure things will get more complicated very quickly.

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                • #9
                  Chapter 2 – Escalating Quickly

                  When Abram woke the next morning, he found Riley in a corner of the barn bandaging their wounds and glaring in frustration as their ectoplasm continued to leak out anyway. The sight of Riley in so vulnerable a position stirred something in Abram, and he ducked out the barn to ransack Dolmon House for any medical equipment. It took some digging, but eventually he found a set of bandages, needles, and salves in a cupboard of the house. He picked them up and hurried back.

                  The following conversation unfolded as awkwardly as possible. Abram, ever conscious of his size and physical presence, stood in front of Riley shifting from foot to foot and just about managing to get out the words offering his help. Riley, never the most adept in a social situation, wasn’t entirely sure how to react. It brought up memories of their time with their creator Malik, and they didn’t want to feel like they were replacing Malik with Abram. At last they accepted, holding out their wounded limbs for Abram to treat.

                  Abram took Riley’s clumsy bandages away, stitched the worst of the wounds closed, and began bandaging them again. The wisps of shadow leaking from Riley’s body were a lot less noticeable now. After several hours of work Riley was beginning to open up, talk a little, as Abram finished things off. They had just started asking Abram about his old family, and had seen a glimpse of the hurt and betrayal Abram felt towards the mob. That was when the first convulsion hit. Riley felt something burning through their veins, wracking their limbs with pain. They curled into a ball instinctively. When Abram reached out a hand, trying to help, Riley flinched back and screamed.

                  Confused and hurt, Abram got to his feet. Riley was clearly in pain, but refused to let Abram come close enough to do anything. Before long Riley’s sobs subsided into short gasps and a steady, quiet mantra. Abram couldn’t see who they were talking to, but it sounded as if Riley were describing their own pain. Guilty, battling their own humours, Abram retreated entirely.

                  The rest of the day passed slowly. The group couldn’t move with Riley apparently incapacitated. Abram had nothing to do besides mope around the house. Elsie had chosen to lock herself in with Baby and clearly assumed that a little more rest and Riley would be back on their feet. And Riley kept to their corner of the barn, in pain in body and in spirit.

                  When night fell, and the others had fallen asleep, Riley crept from the barn. Bent almost double, they were still able to mount Terah. Abram woke to the sound of clattering hooves, pulling himself from the dirt in time to see Riley riding south and east, towards Joseph’s Cross. He stood there for a long moment, knowing he couldn’t catch a horse on foot, and then rushed to get Elsie up and moving. His new family was so young, he couldn’t bear to see it torn apart like this. Because of him.

                  Riley reached Joseph’s Cross before noon. They kept some distance from the town, watching it from afar, as they tried to work out what they needed to do. Malik had left them with a deeply ingrained fear of humans, and they’d had very few opportunities to interact with humans in any way. And yet, if they wanted to find clues to where Malik had gone, they were going to need to talk to people.

                  Since Abram and Elsie were going to be travelling on foot, Riley knew that they likely had most of the day to investigate the town before the others caught up. Pain still wracked their body, increasingly focussed around their stomach. It was the pain, more than anything else, that drove Riley into town.

                  Joseph’s Cross was a lucky little town, clearly spared the worst of the Dust Bowl. There were farms with fields full of growing grain lining the road approaching the town. Riley could see farmers working the fields and people in the streets. They avoided these people as much as they could, heading instead towards the church on the edge of Joseph’s Cross. It was the largest building in town, a rather simple wooden hall with a sloping roof. They aimed for it because there didn’t appear to be many people out near it at this time of day.

                  Riley took a somewhat circuitous route, leaving the road and avoid Joseph’s Cross itself, as they rode up to the Church. They left Terah tied up in the graveyard outside the building, and stepped inside. The front doors were slightly open. It was stiflingly hot inside, with the sun directly overhead. There only appeared to be a single occupant, a priest busy sweeping the floor. The human looked up a few seconds after Riley stepped inside, and took a few steps towards them.

                  Riley knew how they must look, dishevelled and hurt, with their bandaged wounds clearly on display. The priest was an older, balding man with a slight paunch, his complexion clear and almost child-like in countenance. He hurried forward as he drew close enough to note the look of distress on Riley’s face.

                  “Are you all right?”

                  Riley allowed the priest to help them to one of the wooden pews, and shook their head. They muttered that their stomach was hurting, but when the priest reached for them Riley couldn’t help but flinch and recoil instinctively. The priest paused, considering, and asked them to wait where they were. He promised to be back in a few minutes, and hurried out the door.

                  The next few minutes passed. Riley grappled with the stories they had heard from Malik, all the warnings about the danger humans posed. They didn’t know if they should trust the priest, though some flashes dredged up from the Azothic Memory suggested that places of worship could serve as sanctuaries. Did that mean they could trust this human?

                  The priest returned with a neatly dressed, middle-aged woman with a small satchel, which turned out to be a medicine kit. She had a pair of heavy leather gloves tucked through her belt, somewhat out of place as the rest of her clothes looked more appropriate to going to church.

                  The woman was softly spoken and gently approached the skittish Riley, introducing herself as Iris Donahue and the priest as Reverend Luke Black. She was able to talk Riley into letting her see their wounds, and gently unwound the bandages. Riley’s Azoth appeared to successfully mask the ectoplasm leaking gently from the wound, but it didn’t seem to hinder Iris’s ability to work out the course of the problem. Since Riley wasn’t forthcoming with conversation, Iris mostly talked about her garden. She was a widow who mostly kept to herself, but the Reverend had come to her because she had some experience in healing. In the end she found a small vial of a clear liquid which she bade Riley drink, keeping one hand on their arm the whole time.

                  When it was clear Riley had nowhere to stay, Iris resolved to fix that problem as well. She told Riley that a woman named Sarah Lawson owned a clothing store in town, and offered to take Riley there. Riley meekly accepted, feeling a lot better now that the pain in their stomach was fading, and the two of them left the church behind. Riley could feel the Reverend’s eyes on their back as they walked away, and when they looked back they could see him watching them until they were out of sight.

                  Riley stayed close to Iris as she led them through the streets. It was so crowded, more people in one spot than anywhere Riley had ever been. They found that keeping their eyes fixed on Iris helped them to manage the sensation of being overwhelmed. At last they arrived at a clothing store, women’s dresses visible in the shop window. Iris opened the door and they stepped off the streets. Riley breathed again.

                  Inside there was a stout woman, maybe a few years younger than Iris, manning the counter. She watched them approach with a careful neutral expression on their face, and greeted Iris carefully. Iris introduced the woman as Sarah Lawson, and then the two women waited patiently for Riley to offer up their name. It took a few moments, but eventually Riley choked it out.

                  Iris then explained the situation. She mentioned that Riley was suffering some kind of blood poisoning, and Riley’s mind flashed back to Abram. “He poisoned me,” they hissed under their breath, and only realised they had spoken aloud when they saw Sarah eyeing them. Iris didn’t appear to notice, and asked Sarah if Riley could stay in her spare room. Sarah agreed, and Iris said a quick goodbye and left with a satisfied expression on her face.

                  It quickly came out that Riley had no money with which to pay for room and board. Sarah told them that if they did some work on her younger brother’s farm then she would allow them to stay in the room until they found their feet, no money necessary. She was worried about her brother, and knew the farm was in trouble even if he refused to talk about it. Riley agreed, and Sarah made sure they were settled and comfortable as the night crept in. There was a brief dinner in which Riley was introduced to a hobo named Harry Cross, Sarah’s other charity case. Harry was almost as taciturn and withdrawn as Riley though, so conversation over dinner was almost entirely dominated by Sarah’s chatter. Riley did interrupt at one point to describe Malik and ask if anyone had seen him. To their surprise, Sarah recognised the description. Apparently he’d been in town four weeks back, and had spent a lot of time at the church. He’d avoided the Reverend, just seemed to enjoy the quiet there. And then, like so many others, he’d vanished. Back on the road again, Sarah assumed.

                  Abram and Elsie arrived in Joseph’s Cross shortly before sunset. Abram wanted to make sure they had somewhere safe to stay for the night, so they fell back on old habits. Some discrete inquiries about finding “work” led them to a small house on the southern edge of town. There, Abram knocked on the door. It was answered by a man who had clearly begun to relax for the evening, wearing an undershirt, trousers, his suspenders loose around his waist. He was smoking a cigar, but he stubbed it out as he looked up at Abram towering over him.

                  It didn’t take long to come to an arrangement. The man gave his name as Al. He was in town to collect somewhat owed to his employers, he didn’t go into any more detail than that. He’d been putting feelers out for some local muscle, in case the debtor wanted to make things physical. There had been some interest from a few of the townsfolk. Hearing that, Abram shook his head. “I’ll be enough.”

                  Al seemed to like that. He invited the two Prometheans inside. Abram saw no point in lying about his intentions, and said that he wanted a few days to look around town for a friend of his. Al didn’t mind, he’d handed his quarry an ultimatum and they still had a few days to come forward of their own accord. Together they arranged for Abram and Elsie to camp out in a spare room of Al’s current accommodation, until their mutual business was complete.

                  Early the next morning, Sarah gave Riley a note of introduction and instructions on how to get to her brother’s farm. Riley collected Terah from the church, avoiding any further conversation with the Reverend, and set off. A few miles north of Joseph’s Cross was the Lawson family farm. They found Jack Lawson working the fields. Riley handed the note over without a word. Jack read it, smiled warmly, and quickly introduced them to the other farm worker. This man, Jarred, was Jack’s brother-in-law and was an enormous, ugly brick of a human being. After a quick conversation Riley was set to work repairing a fence. Once they were out of earshot, they saw what looked like a heated conversation between Jarred and Jack, and then Jarred stormed off towards one of the sheds on the property.

                  Abram spent their morning scouring Joseph’s Cross for any sign of Riley. Given that Riley looked to be of mixed race in a town that was just about entirely white, it wasn’t long before Abram heard rumours of the new arrival. And in a small town like Joseph’s Cross, they were standing in front of Sarah Lawson’s store only a few hours after they stopped looking.

                  Unfortunately, Sarah was entirely unwilling to tell Abram anything about Riley. She at first claimed that there was no such person staying with her, and then, when Abram pointed out the lie, just ordered him out of her shop. Abram tried to browbeat her into telling him, looming over her as he growled out his demand. Though visibly scared, Sarah refused to give in. For a moment Abram stood there, terribly tempted to bring the entire place crashing down if necessary. He took a deep breath and, taking firmer control of himself, agreed to leave. He knew Sarah would be talking to the authorities about the incident, but he hoped she’d at least tell Riley that he was in town and that Riley would see them out. If not, well, she couldn’t keep them apart forever.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Ok, to add a bit of commentary, this entire session spiralled out of Abram opting for a dramatic failure while looking for medical equipment. They ended up with something that gave Riley a minor case of poisoning. And all subsequent events blew out from there.

                    Also, we were missing Elsie's player this session, hence why she stayed out of it so much.

                    Finally, we have our first relevant instance of the Disquieted Condition. Riley's player has proven that they have a hard time not getting a success on a Disquiet roll, despite only rolling one dice. The Reverend is the only NPC who has failed to resist, and Riley's player chose to take a beat and get the Watched condition as well. So that should be interesting.

                    I think that's most of the stuff I wanted to clear up. If anyone has any other questions I'm more than happy to answer

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Is Riley male? Female? Something else entirely? I notice you always use 'they' when referring to Riley, so... Yeah.

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                      • #12
                        Singular "they" is the best pronoun

                        Yeah, Riley is non-binary. A lot of the NPCs assume they're male based on their clothes, and every now again I stumble and use the wrong pronoun (although, on the flipside, I've also found myself using "they" for Abram and Elsie...), but the character doesn't identify as either male or female.

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                        • #13
                          Ah! Ok! Thanks! That's much clearer. Being gay myself, I was curious if Riley fit somewhere on that spectrum.

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                          • #14
                            No worries Sorry it wasn't more clear to begin with!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Chapter 3 – The Scourge of Joseph’s Cross

                              OOC Note: This time around we were missing Abram's player, and Riley hogged the spotlight somewhat. We're hopefully going to rectify both problems next time.

                              The sun was well on its way towards the horizon when Riley completed their work for the day. They had a brief conversation with the beaming Jack Lawson, who made it clear just how happy he was to have their help. He bade them to hurry back to Joseph’s Cross before it was dark, and said he hoped to see them again on Monday.

                              Riley made good time, and was back in Joseph’s Cross before sunset. They were approaching the street where they were staying when they spotted the hobo Harry Cross talking to a tall, thickset woman with a greying bun made up of frizzy, auburn hair. Riley chose to lurk and watch rather than approach them, and listened to the conversation from the shadows.

                              Neither of the humans noticed them, so they were able to hear Harry talking about how he had managed to find employment with the mayor doing some manual labour and repair work around town. When he mentioned that this job could keep him employed for months, the woman, Riley gathered that her name was Viola, looked suddenly concerned.

                              “I thought we agreed to leave as soon we were able to save a little money. I’m still worried about what happened to Barnaby. I don’t think this town likes outsiders.”

                              Harry shrugged. If anything, he looked annoyed at her for trying to ruin his good mood. He pointed out that there wasn’t likely to be anything for them back in Wakesfield, so they would need to get as much as they could from Joseph’s Cross before they left. Then he bid Viola goodnight, and headed back along the empty street to the house.

                              Riley stayed hidden until Viola had disappeared, and made their way to the house as well. When they stepped inside they were greeted by a worried looking Sarah. After checking to make sure they were ok and that they had fared well on the farm, she brought up what was worrying her. She described the giant of a man who had barged into her shop, demanding to know where Riley was. Riley recognised Abram pretty easily from the description. When Sarah asked if they were in trouble, Riley shook their head.

                              “Not in trouble, no.” Riley promised to try and make contact with Abram so that he wouldn’t come bothering Sarah again.

                              That night, Riley snuck out of the house. They wanted to see if they could find any clues about where Malik had gone, and Sarah had mentioned that he’d spent time in the church. When they reached the graveyard they burned Pyros to lift the veil on their eyes and catch a glimpse of the local Twilight. They see a dark-skinned man, hair mattered to the left-hand side of his head, clothes torn, racing through the graveyard. A frayed rope trailed behind him, looped around his neck. Riley watched them race up to the church and pass through the shut doors.

                              Not wanting to be seen breaking into the church late at night, Riley carefully circled the building several times to see if there was another way in. When none eventuated, they approached the front door. It was unlocked, and they stepped inside.

                              The long hall was dark and full of shadows, and Riley could see no sign of the ghost they had glimpsed. They continued on, walking the entire length of the building in their search. When they reached the altar they noted a curtain behind it, obscuring the entrance to a small room. They looked inside, and found that it was little more than a cupboard filled with odds and ends important to the church. There was a broom and pan, a shelf of old Bibles, a silver collection plate, and an open, dried up tin of paint.

                              As Riley stood there they felt their Azoth flare up, attracted to something inside the room. The moment it made contact with their spiritual essence, Riley felt something inside their fire twist, Flux surging through them. They felt the ectoplasm roar through them, overwhelming thoughts and feelings, as the Torment took hold.

                              They didn’t stay to look for what had caused the descent. Instead, Riley staggered from the church towards the graveyard, wanting to sleep among the essence and recover their strength. Their eyes closed as they hit the dirt, and they felt their body fill with the morbid essence of the graveyard.

                              The sun was only just edging above the horizon when they woke. Reverend Black was standing there, looking at them with a mixture of confusion and disgust.

                              “Didn’t we go to all the effort to arrange you a room? Has Miss Lawson thrown you out already?”

                              The words rolled over Riley. The question was irrelevant. They remembered why they had come to the Church, to look for clues that would lead them to Malik. They stood, suddenly, and the Reverend took a step back. Riley advanced, their voice soft, as they asked him if he knew where Malik was.

                              The Reverend shook his head, his eyes widening as Riley described Malik to him. He tried to shift the subject back to Riley’s sleeping arrangements, but the Ulgan spoke over him, demanding an answer to their question.

                              The situation clearly scared the priest. He turned and ran for the church, slamming the doors behind them. Riley let him run, turning to catch a glimpse of the rising sun. They let their Pyros rush through them, lengthening their hair, turning their nails into claws, their teeth into fangs. They stepped up to the church door. It had been locked or barred, but that proved no obstacle. In two quick blows Riley splintered the doorway and stepped through. The Reverend was huddled by the altar, and screamed as Riley drew close enough for him to see their transformation.

                              This time, the priest is more than happy to tell everything he knows. It isn’t much. Malik spent time in the church, but he never came to the services. He didn’t talk to Reverend Black, so the Reverend mostly just kept an eye on him to make sure that he wasn’t going to steal anything. The Reverend recalled catching him with the collection plate a few times, but Malik never seemed as if he were going to abscond with it.

                              Riley dropped the Reverend and stalked back towards the curtained room. They snatched up the collection plate. The moment their hand made contact, they felt the pull. Pyros burned out of their body, streaming into the object. Their Azothic Memory stirred, providing them with a name for what they held. A Jovian Athanor.

                              Riley shuddered and accepted the guilt and horror and sense of abject failure bound within the object. It clattered to the ground, falling from their fingers. Tears streamed down their cheeks. Their mind conjured visions of cool water, underground air, and large, pale leaves unlike anything they had seen in the Dust Bowl. They were torn with the knowledge they had lost what they most treasured in the world. And as they stood there they poured out their Flux-tainted Pyros, dissolving the barriers between the material world and the spirit world in a Wasteland as they shed their Torment. They screamed at the priest, telling him to never speak to them again, and allowed their bestial form to fade.

                              And then they fled.

                              Elsie had risen a few hours previously on the other side of town. Al’s house was empty, with just a short letter from Abram to tell her that he and Al had to go out on business. She smiled when she saw it, grabbed it, read it twice, then showed it off to Baby. “We’ve got mail!”

                              After her excitement wore off, she started trying to clean the house. There were a few mishaps with the chairs, but eventually she decided the place was clean enough. Next on the agenda was clothes shopping. Elsie had no money, but she hoped that the dress she’d salvaged from Dolmon Hill could be traded for something nice for Baby to wear. She wandered back and forth through the streets of Joseph’s Cross, eventually finding a dress shop.

                              It was still very early in the morning, the sun was only just up, but Elsie could see someone inside the store so she more or less barged her way inside. The woman appeared startled, more so when Elsie produced the dress and started talking about trading it for a baby’s outfit, but after a bit of mental scrambling she was able to catch up to the conversation.

                              The store owner, Elsie gathered her name was Sarah, eventually agreed to the trade. Elsie was curious about the fate of the dress’s owner, so she mentioned that she had passed Dolmon Hill on her way into town and asked what had happened to the people who lived there. Sarah’s face turned grave. They were all dead, she said, though the wife had never been found after she disappeared.

                              With an agreement struck, Sarah told Elsie it would take her a few days to get the dress ready. Elsie walked out, and, suddenly, aimlessly, looked around at the town. The church was the only large building of any note, so she started to wander towards it. She was halfway thre when Riley raced past her, looking upset. Elsie stared at them as they went passed, waved hello, and shrugged. She’d tell Abram about it later, but now that she’d decided she wanted to go to church she wasn’t going to let a little distraction stop her.

                              She found the church’s doors broken open, and the priest a snivelling mess on the ground. When she asked if he was ok, he stared at her with wild eyes and yelled that it wasn’t safe inside. He grabbed her arm and insisted she come with him to see the sheriff, he refused to let her stay in the church alone. Some kind of monster had attacked him, he said, and the sheriff would need to hunt it down.

                              Elsie liked the idea of meeting someone important like a sheriff. She was smiling as the priest led her out the door.

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