Awakened Boston - Shadows of the New World

Battle wrap-up, planning, start of trip back to New Salem

Desmond and Rio are on the street, in Desmond’s car. They see white van speeding around corner (wrong way on one-way street) with a screech of tires. Patrick has just called them.

Battle is continuing…

Scarlet shoots guy in dumpster, 4 damage.
Kyle attacks guy in corner, using his knife. 7 damage. Target falls.
Keegan conducts electricity to invisible guy, shocks him. He falls, becomes visible. Spell is Prolonged….
Guy in dumpster leaps out acrobatically and flees past Kyle. (I see that he remains in the dumpster, must be an illusion.) Does not appear to be bleeding from his bullet wounds.
Elaine looks for the vehicle we heard, which is pulling into the alley.
Madelyn turning to face van.
Patrick moves up.
Van stops at entry to alley, blocking it.
Desmond pulls up behind van.

Scarlet uses Aura Perception to perceive what’s really going on with the vanished guys.
Keegan shoots the guy who tried to escape with an illusion (Keegan can still see him). 10 damage. He falls.
Kyle decapitates the one in the corner.
Desmond rear-ends the van (with his car), pushing it forward and blocking one door.
Guy in van yells something to his companions in Spanish, cracks door open, shoots at Scarlet (1 damage).
Second guy in van shoots Desmond.
Other two breaking out the windows so they can shoot out. At least one of them has a heavier weapon (the two in front have pistols).
Madelyn moves up.
Rio sets off the airbags in the van.

Scarlet shoots someone in the van. 6 damage.
Keegan increases flammability of the van by 1.
Kyle moves to van, keeping low for cover.
Desmond takes mental control of one of the guys in the van and has him shoot the others with his automatic weapon.
That guy does 4 damage to #3, 5 points to #2, 6 points to #1.
One of them gets out and starts crawling away.
Elaine finishes that one off.
Rio drops another.

Things pretty much over functionally at this point, police sirens are heard….

Scarlet puts Elaine in charge of her people, official line is they were meeting us for business. Scarlet was never here. She and Kyle grab the first two vampires we dropped (the two Kyle did not decapitate) and quickly escape. Elaine and Madelyn leave us contact info.

The decapitated guy’s body is drying out, decaying, flaking away… Keegan and Declan turn the decapitated guy into dust (accelerate what is happening to him). I reconfigure our guns into something not a gun.

Desmond covers for us with the police. Telepathy to coordinate our stories, befuddles the investigator, etc. By midnight, we are clear. Alex, of course, has been taken in an ambulance immediately.

Desmond’s car is getting towed, since the windshield is messsed up (after taking a bullet). We take Alex’s car to the hospital.

Alex will probably be in the hospital for 3-4 days (assuming we don’t want it to be super obvious, which we don’t).

Go over our objectives again. Lawrence is sounding like a better and better idea.

Leads for Lawrence:

  • Does Patrick have a dealership in Lawrence? Maybe we can use it as a base of operations.
  • Crime profiles for different neighborhoods in Lawrence might highlight favored spots. We figure actual HQ is probably squeeky clean, maybe suspiciously so.
  • We assume we can get more info from Scarlet.

Leads for New Salem:

  • Nothing, really, just go fishing.

We are thinking we aren’t ready for Mexico. We have no idea what we’re getting into there, no sympathetic item for scrying or portaling, no intel, no passports, etc. Need to advance things before we do this trip. Lawrence is sounding better, but we’re still concerned we’re giving Scarlet too much of a favor. She’ll come out of this down an enemy. In the long term, is that beneficial? What else can we ask for? She probably is even more inclined to accept a deal after this awkward incident.

Meet with Bina in hospital so Alex can participate (Sunday morning, fight was Friday night). If we do this, does she have suggestions for what we should ask Scarlet for? Our main ideas are something from the Mexico church, and intel on the Harvard mages. Bina is very interested in knowing what Harvard’s response to the Gray Pope is. They have paid lip service to the idea that he is a threat to them as well as us, but no actions as far as we know. What’s really going on? She can’t think of anything else.

(Bina clarifies to Declan that Harvard represents the “Seers of the Throne” rather than, like us, the Diamond/Pentacle. We see magic as a legacy of humanity; they see it as a way of exerting control. They serve the Exarchs who suspposedly threw down Atlantis, and who created the Lie. There have been some past alliances, e.g. against the vampires, but rarely.)

Things to ask Scarlet:

  • Item from Mexico church. Something with a sympathetic connection, and intel. Maybe she has people in the immigrant community, or knows people who know the area.
  • Info on Harvard and the mages who use it as their territory, in particular what is their real reaction to the Gray Pope’s work?

We plan to ask for both. If a choice must be made, we put Harvard as first priority, and Mexico second. Obviously we also need the intel on Lawrence as a starting point, but that should be a freebie once we agree to track Prince Florentino.

Other things to do in downtime:

  • Training — many party members have not been pushing themselves.
  • Kevlar vests are looking like a better and better idea.
  • Ritual magic to empower medical equipment (Alex + Blackthorn synergistic ritual), what’s possible?

We decide to get the ball rolling on those things (to be handled on-line), and then get ourselves to New Salem, which should be lower risk.

On Monday, Alex is released, to recover at home in bed. As soon as she is in the car the healing spells start and she is fine. We go to New Salem. Desmond says no one is in the church now (scrying), Alex senses no Life.

Goal is to go through the offices, look through the papers and effects, try to find things from Mexico. Use Space magic? Fate? Time to detect anomalies from the world change? Patrick will have to go in for Fate and Time. Rio for Prime, look for signs of the effects he saw before. Keegan may follow as backup if needed.

Contemplating the best approach, there’s snow on the ground, so we would be leaving tracks if we go around back. (Maybe we can prevent that with Matter?) Front door is obvious. Academy across the street is kind of busy….,-72.3313541,111m/data=1e33m1!1s0x89e1361dff1632bd:0×9ae142530b9d8ad

We’re thinking we should do this late at night, to avoid neighbors. Quietly approach from behind the church.

Seance, meeting with Prince Scarlet

At the seance…. Wednesday night (the 26th).

On the table: rum, knife for drawing blood, cigars… Alex has brought rum, duck eggs, grave dirt…

Ritual begins. Patrick starts to see “potential” manifesting earliest, a crossroads suggesting something of importance is to be decided. This sense persists. Cigars lit going around, then the knife is passed. Then she begins intoning, calling the Lion. There is a sense of something sort of like a spell being cast, but less “crisp” and less strong. Alex sees a piece of Debra’s will reaching out “through a window” into the shadow.

With Grim Sight, Declan and Keegan see that Debra Mack has been close to death in some way, and it left a mark or scar on her aura. As she is calling, there is also a sense of a ghost stirring, listening to what she is doing.

She is passing on her bond with the spirit to us, as she will be moving on (selling the house to us). She speaks her words and then pauses to listen. She receives some kind of response, and smiles, and says he agrees. She blesses “this partnership” “may this alliance bear fruit as long as it shall last”. “He’s welcomed you” “seemed almost eager.”

(Alex hears the response from the spirit. It’s a bit squeaky, not lion-like. But it is pleased by the alliance.)

Alex and Debra spend some additional time discussing matters of voodoo, etc. Alex receives the cloth with the blood “as a symbol of our agreement”, and also just to avoid a loose connection to us.

Afterwards, review what other things are on our plate.

  • The church in Mexico for leads.
  • The church in New Salem, especially for things with sympathetic connections to the church in Mexico.
  • Also, will want to arrange a meeting with the “Lion” spirit on our own, so we can talk directly.
  • Friday is our meeting with Prince Scarlet.

Decide to sit tight, work on house, etc on Thursday. Not get caught up in something long that will keep us from the meeting. Start working on moving; expect that everyone will be moved into new house by end of March.

We do stop by and meet with Bina Thursday night. Discuss concerns about meeting with the vampires. Meetings are apparently rare. Prince Scarlet normally met directly with the Nemean.

Desmond will not be present with us for the meeting with the vampires, but will give us mental defenses, and will check us for any untoward mental influences afterwards.

Keegan casts Grim Sight ritually to prepare. Three hour ritual, 1 success towards duration (1 day), 4 towards potency. Also, armor, Suppress Aura.

The restaurant is in a nice built-up business neighborhood. 123 Stewart St. Tantric Bistro.

Our objectives in the meeting:

  • dealing with changes
  • - Gray Pope
  • - items from La Iglesio Del Evangelio Rojo in Mexico
  • she may want to bring up the court in Lawrence to use us against them

Questions that could be pursued:

  • does she know what the Nemean is up to?
  • does she know about the Harvard ties?
  • how have things changed for the courts?

Arrive at the entrance, everyone here appears alive. Show the hostess the invite, they promptly lead us through the dining area, through the kitchen, through another door, into a hallway (a couple of freezers on one side, offices on other), continue down, double-doors on office side. She opens the door. There’s a long banquet table inside. Room is nicely decorated, high-backed plush chairs, assortment of drinks. Near side, seats are empty. Far side, five seats are taken. Table is big enough for 20.

Prince Scarlet in middle. On each side, a couple of attractive youngish not-dead women. At ends, pair of not-alive men. We have seen all these people at the Prudential meeting.

Scarlet stands, greets us in Gaelic. “10,000 welcomes”. But then switches to English, apologizes that her Gaelic is rusty.

Small talk. She brings up the Prince of Lawrence. “He was the old prince’s lapdog.” “And very loyal it turned out in the end. Zuriel finally fell and it turned out he didn’t have a place in Boston anymore.”

Alex pushes for more information on his “zealotry”. “There is a branch of our kind who feel we are divinely cursed” and chosen. “Divinely inspired predators.”

Prince Florentino of Lawrence has grown very bold lately. Prince Scarlet says she is thinking it may be time to put an end to him. This is her first and more immediate goal. But the changes have caused numerous smaller problems for her. Some of the changes have made her life difficult. Florentino being just one of them. The attitudes of the people in the city, their sudden reverence to God… inconvenient and disruptive.

She is primarily looking for assistance getting to Florentino. She knows generally where he is, but if she sends her people to look, they cam be detected. And when the time comes to strike, perhaps “sharpen our blades if nothing else.” In return, open-ended offer for what muscle and ability she has when it comes to taking out the Gray Pope and his forces.

Alex asks why us, and not others she has dealt with in the past? Scarlet would have asked the Nemean, but in his absence, her relationship with his successor (who we know is Tiamat) is “considerably more cold.”

When we bring up the need for things tied to the Prince if we are to track him, Scarlet says, “Florentino has a very particular way of binding his subjects to him, which involves imbibing some of his essence.” Perhaps that creates a sympathetic link.

We agree to discuss this with the other members of our cabal, but no agreement yet beyond that. Best way to contact her? She gives us a business card. Call and leave a message when you have made a decision, and leave me a way of getting in touch with you. Card is for “Forever Young Day Spa” in Metheun.

Some chit-chat while Declan eats (and Keegan to a lesser degree). Declan asks about the title of Prince. Vampires are conservative, even though they now accept female rulership, they pretend things haven’t changed. Alex asks about her name, Scarlet. “It’s not my given name, but it suits my look. Years ago I was known by the name of Keeva.” (Which is Gaelic — might be spelled Caoimhe.)

We feel a sudden and potent act of Will. Shortly afterwards down the hallway, a whoosh. Alex: “Not your trap?” Scarlet: “No.” They stand. The male vampire pulls a shotgun from under the table, and the two women pull pistols. They will be leaving the back way, we follow.

Cast Alter Efficiency on our guns on the way out… 3 successes (+3 dice).

Get out into alley. There are 3 figures there, at the near end, hidden by a dumpster.

One of them opens fire with a shotgun. Shoots the male vampire (Kyle) in Scarlet’s entourage. Serious hit.
Scarlet shoots that guy (with her pistol).
Alex distracts one of them (in the dumpster) with rats.
Keegan shoots the guy in the dumpster. (7)
Kyle shoots back. Decent hit, reeling (was already hit by Scarlet). Drops shotgun and moves across alley. Pulls a knife.
Guy in dumpster does something to Keegan… points gun and fixes his gaze. There is a feeling of exercise of power and shiver of fear, like looking at my demise. Passes quickly, does not paralyze with fear…. Yawn, seen my demise before.
Elaine (human associate of Scarlet) shoots towards dumpster, hits dumpster.
Natalie (other human associate) also misses.
Patrick calls Desmond and moves up.

Scarlet moving away, shoots middle guy. Moving fairly fast.
Bad guy with shotgun shoots at Kyle, misses.
Alex’s rats keep biting. Alex shoots him.
Keegan steps up to dumpster, shoots guy in dumpster. (6)
Kyle closes, attacks with knife, deals severe damage, nearly disabling one arm.
Middle guy backs up to narrow exit from alley. Shoots Alex… 8 damage. Also some kind of effect/magic, but moot, she drops.
Declan moves to Alex, stabilizes her.
Elaine shoots guy in corner, as she backs away.
Natalie does the same, misses.
Guy in melee with Kyle disappears.
Patrick tries to give the guy in the dumpster some bad luck.

Scarlet closes with the dumpster halfway down the alley in seconds and shoots the guy in it. Hits.

Breaking session off here…. Current status, one guy in dumpster has been hit a few times but still up. One guy backing out alley corner, shooting. One guy invisible and heavily damaged, I can see him with Grim Sight slinking towards the same alley corner (with a narrow exit).

Updates between sessions: Seance

The Seance
Around the Table

On Wednesday night Mrs. Mack greets you at the door.

“I hope you like a little spice in your food. I decided to make us some gumbo, and then remembered that I didn’t ask if any of you had a tender stomach. I didn’t make it too spicy though, so you ought to be okay. Go ahead and dig in. I don’t like to channel on an empty stomach. Having a little something in my belly makes me feel a little more … grounded. You know? Bowls and spoons are right there.”

The gumbo is delicious, but Debora’s idea of ‘not too spicy’ still turns out to have a bite to it. Later in the evening, some of you may consider calling on Alex for heartburn relief.

Mr. Mack focuses on the contents of his bowl, but his wife pauses frequently between spoonfuls to question her guests. “So, we know about Mr. Patrick here, but what do the rest of you do for a living?” “Do you have any family?” “Have you thought of starting one? My mother taught me a fertility spell…” “Are you Patriots fans? I was so sad that they didn’t make it this year.” The list goes on, and by the time Mr. Mack has finished his 2nd bowl, Deborah is only half-way through her first.

When dinner & coffee are over, Mr. Mack excuses himself. “My show is comin’ on, so I’ll let you folks get to your business.” It’s the longest string of words he’s spoken all night. Back bent slightly, he shuffles into the living room. You hear the click of the TV shortly afterwards, followed by the opening theme of CSI. Deborah follows him to close the door, and turns back to the table with a smile.

“Now, I’ve got to know, because this will effect things tonight, so I’ve got to know – do you all believe, truly believe, in the spirit world?” [Given your history, the ST assumes here that you all affirm your belief.] “Good, good thing. The loa can tell what’s in your heart, and a faithless heart has a bitter taste to them. Not believing makes it hard. Now, let me get my things…”

From a cupboard behind her Deborah Mack pulls a large carved wooden humidor. “I hope you don’t mind a bit of smoke. The Lion of Leonard enjoys a good smoke.” She also fetches a small, pairing knife from a drawer, inspects it, and gives it an extra scrubb at the sink. “A knife can’t be too clean for the loa. None of you are hemophiliac, are you? Or afraid of a little cut? Just a tiny one, mind you. The Lion comes at the whif of just a few drops.”

Once she’s done scrubbing the knife to her satisfaction she sets it on the table and opens the humidor. The interior is divided in two. One side holds a half dozen cigars. The other contains a folded white handkerchief, some wrinkled brown napkins, a purple and gold drawstring bag, and a lighter. Deborah withdraws some of the napkins and passes them out. “You have to have a bit of brown on you. Put if in your pocket if you like, but keep it on yourself.” She then pulls out the handkerchief and sets it next to the knife. Finally, she offers cigars to anyone who’ll take it, lights one for herself, and closes the humidor.

“So” she starts, as curls of smoke are rolling off her cigar, “because you are going to be living here, I am going to make a ritual that will bind you to the Lion, if he will have you. Normally, this ritual is like a marriage, but I am not going to marry all of you to him. Instead, I am going to make it like a pact, so that you’ll promise to guard and tend to this side of the world for him, and he’ll guard and tend to this place in the other world for you, like he’s done for me. And, if you have something else that you’re looking for from the Spirit World, maybe we can work that in too. Sound good?”

And a Little Feedback

• How openly do you respond to Mrs. Mack’s questions?
• Does anyone have a problem with the ritual that Deborah is proposing?
o Who’s (un)willing to shed a little blood for it?
o Does anyone ask Deborah to add ‘something else’ to the ritual?
• What spells are you casting, if any? (I assume that a few of you will have Mage Sight up at least.)

Updates between sessions: Home Inspection
1 Leonard Ct

Home Inspection

Now that the menace of the Abyssal mind f**k has passed, Alexandria has the time to check out the new house from her own particular angle. [I’m assuming that this inspection occurs some time prior to dinner with the Macks.]

Reaching out with her primal senses, Alex feels the presence of a little more life in the house than she might wish for. A few spiders and their chitinous kin have found refuge in the corners, especially in the cellar and the tiny attic space. And, while the cold has slowed their growth, fungi seem to be in greater abundance than she’d like. Nothing that a work of Will can’t snuff out quickly though. Even a little elbow grease and some Raid would have done the job.

With the ‘dirty work’ finished, Alex focuses on piercing the veil that separates this world from the spirit’s and sees:

The Shadow of 1 Leonard Ct., as seen from Leonard St.

The property, somewhat larger seeming on the Shadow side of the Gauntlet, is surrounded by hedges with only a single visible break in them. Two rows of trees with bare branches, surrounded by smaller plants, stand covered with snow, marking a path through a frozen garden. These things all have a slightly surrealistic quality to them, less than solid, as though they were painted in place to suggest their presence. Before the property (where the street would be) stand a cluster of cherubic statues and at the far end is a gazebo1 , both of which seem more solid and ‘material’ than the rest of scene.

A string of singularly large rabbit tracks dot the snow along the path, along with wisps from something else which may have glided over it’s surface.

1 – I’m fairly certain that gazebo is the wrong word for this structure, but I couldn’t find the right word for it. There’s a BP for anyone who can clue me in.

Updates between sessions: Changes

Changing Times
What Changed
Technology rolls back to something resembling circa 1990

  • There are no search engines, no wikis, no wi-fi
  • BBS ‘Networks’ are what you connect to if you have a computer
    • Browsers have evolved to display their content
    • They sync with one another to disseminate content
    • Certain boards specialize in certain content.
    • Local BBS’s can be looked up in the phone book.
    • Google and Wikipedia are pipe dreams that exist only in fiction.
  • Instant Networked Payment systems don’t exist
    • Credit Cards can be stolen and used for days before they’re flagged as bad transactions.
  • You may carry a PDA Phone, but there are no Smart Phones
    • Palm is the major player in the market, followed by Nokia
  • 80-486 like chips are the latest & greatest
    • Moore’s Law has been violated.
      • In fact, you see no reference to it, or to Gordon Moore, anywhere.
    • SVGA is the bleeding edge of graphics
    • VHS tapes are for movies (no DVDs) , and CDs still compete with cassettes
  • Pay phones and pagers are back in abundance
  • Other Changes
    • Lunar Landings didn’t occur until 1979 (assuming they weren’t faked.)
      • The Soviets reportedly made it first, but were unable to return the Cosmonauts
    • The economic boom of the 1990’s never occurred.
      • There was growth during that period, but it wasn’t as explosive.
      • The Housing Bubble still burst and caused the Great Recession of ‘08-’09.
      • The market has largely recovered, and the DOW is currently just shy of 8,000 points.

What Else Changed?
I’ve wracked my brain to think of what might be different in 2014 if technology was suddenly rolled back to what we had in 1990, and came up with the list above. I suspect I’m missing a few things, though, so I’m offering BPs for ideas. If computers were beige again, and there was no internet, what would the world be like?

Keep in mind, time has not rolled back. It’s still February, 2014, and things have evolved (slightly) beyond what we had in 1990. So I’m asking for what’s new (BBS networks, for example) as well as what’s missing.

More notes:

  1. Some of the advances in medical science have been undone by the recent Change
    1. A number of drugs and treatments for illnesses were delayed in their development, or have yet to be developed.
    2. The Jarvik-7 artificial heart was not first used until 1995. Artificial hearts are still partly experimental.
    3. AIDS is still a lethal disease in the western world; prevention is the only available ‘treatment’.
  2. Geo-politically, not a great deal has changed except that native cultures hold greater power within their nations; and some hold sovereign territories of their own.
    1. Mexican natives govern several territories.
    2. Southwestern U.S. reservations act as semi-independent states with special Representatives (but not Senators) in D.C
    3. The Republica de Inca governs a small territory from it’s ancient capital, Machu Picchu.
    4. The Dreamtime Territory is an Australian state within a state; It holds power in the central continent, but it’s boarders are disputed.
    5. The Arab Spring never occurred. There is no Twitter, so dictators are safe.
  3. The Titanic was discovered, but not until 1993. It has been visited only a few times by submersibles, one of which is now a wreck near the site.
  4. Development of the Space Shuttle has been delayed by budgetary cutbacks to NASA for over a decade.
  5. To meet EPA regulations, most cars are smaller and/or noticeably less powerful since the Change.
    1. Rio’s Jeep is lacking some horsepower.
    2. Alex’s car is positively claustrophobic.
    3. The back seat of Desmond’s sedan is, unbelievably, even more uncomfortable.
    4. The T is more popular / crowded than you remember.
  6. Apple is a semi-popular competitor to the X86 Computer market, but is far from the powerhouse that it’s founder believed it was destined to be.
  7. Law and public rhetoric against illegal drugs is indeed stronger than ever. Despite this, the ‘drug culture’ seems to be alive and well, if still very underground. Aside from the absence of a few choice pharmaceuticals, Declan’s ability to get high has not been severely diminished.

One of the more popular systems on the market today bears a strong resemblance to the Amiga 500. It’s buisness applications are underdeveloped though (the latest version of VisiKalc for instance, has not been released for this system) and it’s primarily used as a home computer system.

GPS satellites have not been deployed, and the system is unlikely to be realized in the near future. A ground based system, working off of a similar concept, is supposedly being tested by the army and air force, but is rumored to be limited by its range. Radio navigation is still the norm for trans-ocianic flights and shipping.

Rand McNally is still big. Duct tape a Leatherman are still critical parts of a do-it-yourselfer’s tool kit.

The amount of Tass that Rio’s gifts are granting has not diminished, but it’s now being stored on 5¼" floppy disks.

What do you mean she's contagious?
In which the world changes, AGAIN

Sanctum: so far we have spent 24 XP on this. Plan is to spend more expanding it and improving the security.

Size: 2 dots (6 points)
Security: 2 dots (6 points)
Hallow: 3 dots (12 points)
Total cost: 24 points

6 of us = 4 each

Increasing security…. will eventually want to cast some spells as well, but those will be active spells or need to be sealed with a point of Willpower (which can be bought back for 8 points).

Things to do at this point:

1) Taking Alex to the Brotherhood of the Ineffable Truth (Mysterium) sanctum for help from Potestas.

2) Want to talk to our new neighbors, feel out what they actually know (Sleepwalkers?), maybe take the Voudoun angle and see if they will say more. Alex might be best for this, as she probably knows something about it, once her head is back together.

3) Prince Scarlet’s invite is pending (for Friday the 28th, about a week from now). Note that the vampire/mage conflict was 70’s/80’s, pretty much fought to a standstill. Vampires largely withdrew to Lawrence, everybody has tried to stay out of everybody else’s business since then.

The Academy, Brotherhood of the Ineffable Truth, Potestas:
After the meeting at the Prudential, we retreat back to the Brotherhood. Alex

He asks how long she has had symptoms. We estimate Monday or so (Prudential meeting was on Thursday). Asks some other questions, we try to answer. He tells us he thinks this comes from an Abyssal source, an Abyssal spirit which works through incoherent language. Was successfully treated once. He calls it “Dark Angel Aphasia.” Also suggests that Sheila Little may be contagious. Discussion of whether she is treatable, whether she is a threat to her hosts.

Potestas says that anyone showing symptoms should be removed from the source (the papers, or Sheila). It will get progressively worse until becoming mute. Most then become catatonic, and later enter a vegetative state, and a few vanish entirely.

When he did treat this, it was worse, and it took 3 weeks to recover. Mundane conversation (not on magical topics) is useful. Sobriety may be helpful.

It’s possible a potent mind spell could be helpful in rewriting the language centers of Sheila’s brain.

The next day, Blackthorn goes to visit the Dead Wrens at the Emerald Scroll with Rio, let them know about this issue, what to look out for with Sheila, etc.

Davy asks us to take Sheila back, hide her from Scrying, because his cabal’s mastigos (Rabid Annie) is showing the same symptoms as Alex. Meet them at the docks later today, around sunset (6 pm). Have Desmond try to treat her language abilities.

Discuss with the cabal, and then with Bina. Best idea seems to be Desmond’s place, which is warded already, and Bina will help with someone to stop in and help keep an eye on her.

Moriah stops by Desmond’s place shortly after this conversation. He has no TV, radio, internet… need something to keep her occupied. One of the White Putnams brings a TV, DVD player, DVDs, bedding.

Desmond, Keegan, and Rio go to pick Sheila at the docks. Desmond shields against scrying.

Meanwhile, Patrick and Alex go to research the vampire battle at the library in Salem. 70’s, early 80’s, vampires mostly in “the combat zone”. When the Nemean came into power, the vampires were running a lot of gangs and rackets, causing mayhem. He began the big push back against them. Got a small group of vampires not loyal to prince working with him. Their leader was Scarlet. Was instrumental in the burning of Prince Zuriel, and the remnants of his court fled the city, and later regrouped in Lawrence. Scarlet took control of the vampires remaining in Boston. Things have been smoother since them. Agreements were made between her and the Consilium.

Patrick also notices Alex’s notes are starting to be affected. (She also dreams of the dark angel, but doesn’t mention it.)

At the docks, Davy says we will have to be quick, Annie will be back soon. Sheila is silent, staring off into space. Does not make a sound. No issues getting her back to Desmond’s.

Over the weekend (Saturday the 22nd), Rio and Keegan go to the house to work on the security stuff.

Others are catching up on work, etc.

Declan is checking the house for death, ghosts, etc. Not much Death aspect here, though, when he looks. No ghosts detected within the property. Maybe some not so far away, in the neighborhood.

As an attempt to get Alex’s communication back, Desmond tries temporarily erases the memory of the last two weeks. This does not fix her speech, although she does not know about the pages to obsess about them.

Potestas gets back to us. Confirms writings appear to have been infectious, is having them destroyed. With Sheila turning catatonic, it’s probably no longer possible to help her, even magically. Might be able to halt the progress, but that’s it, not getting better.

Sunday night… things change. Monday morning. Computers are mostly gone, some replaced with large beige boxes with basic VGA monitors. No internet. Shortcuts to BBS networks. There’s no satellite TV. DVD player is a VCR. No network payments. Credit card systems need to be updated once a day. Smartphones mostly cease to exist, larger and Palm brand. Regular cell phones large brick design. Pagers. Payphones. Lunar landings occurred in 1979. Technology is roughly circa 1990.

News reports of border conflicts with tribal nations in the southwest, reservations are state-sized and semi-autonomous. Mexico is divided into smaller states, some of which were never fully occupied by Spain. Capital punishment legal in all 50 states, public in most of them (usually by hanging).

Does not seem like there has been a further shift in morality or religion, that was all the first time. Naumkeag are still barely mentioned in sources.

Time between first and second jump was - Jan 18th/19th. Today is February 23rd. So, 34/35 days.

Thinking of going back to the church in New Salem. Have things changed there? Also, are there any items that we can pick up linked to the church in Mexico? Letters written back and forth, etc. Anything we can use to make a portal. Also, any links to the Gray Pope. (Or, is there a tourist destination down there? Both to get there and as cover story.) Failing that, does the Mexico church have connections to local ethnic groups?

Other lead is hoping that Prince Scarlet can get us some leads. We need anything linking back to Pope. Could be items, could be people who are linked to him, etc. Maybe she has spies in Florentino’s turf?

Alex is getting better, almost normal.

On Monday, Sheila has suffered a major stroke, and goes into a vegetative state. Putnams arrange to have her “found” and transported to Mass General Hospital. We don’t think she is saveable at this point. Potestas thinks the Dark Angel has finished taking what it takes, and no longer getting anything from her.

(Regarding the other cases he’s seen, Potestas says one started with a hand-written novelette, with some sections crossed out and that scribbling out was the part that became harmful. The second was a transcript, garbled in just a few places, but the garbling was infectious.)

Drop in on our house, and on the neighbors, bringing food “too much, we thought we’d share”. The discreet networked cameras are now larger wired-in cameras. Alex is looking for a read on their voudoun, mostly New Orleans and maybe a little Haitian influence as well. Statue of one of the more protective Loa (Damballa). Alex compliments it, starts a conversation about Voudoun which Deborah Mack is quite interested in. She asks some leading questions about Alex’s personal experiences. Gets Deborah talking about lessons, channeling members of the spirit world, speaking with the dead, says she has a bit of a talent and has led seances herself. Is “in touch with her surroundings”, a lot of spiritual activity in this area.

She did notice something changed, and about a month ago, and that something noticed on the other side. He doesn’t seem to be so on board with this idea. Discussion of introducing us to the spirits — maybe tomorrow night (Wednesday)? Sure, at sunset. Will make us dinner.

Buying a Sanctum, A Prudent(ial) Meeting

2014 July 6th

Finished the interrogation of the vampire. Some major points:

  • “El Papa Gris” (the Gray Pope) is working with the vampire Prince of Lawrence.
  • The Prince of Lawrence (Prince Florentino) is at odds with the Prince of Boston (Prince Scarlet), and wants her territory.
  • The Gray Pope has asked the Prince of Lawrence to have us killed. We should expect more attacks.
  • They may be working with La Iglesia del Evangelio Rojo church in Mexico, maybe even running it.
  • Sensitive to fire, or a stake through the hard. Bullets are like punches to them.
  • Detect Vampire is possible as a 2-dot Death spell. Life and Death sight should be able to spot them as well.
  • The particular group that attacked us numbers 5 vampires + 5 staff. But other families may also join in.

Regarding the possible sanctums….

18 Ethel St would be both halves of the duplex. Still, hallow is small, group leans against it.

1 Leonard Ct., Dorchester: Very close to T (red line). Right near a commercial area (2 blocks away). It’s kind of in the middle of the block, which makes it a bit more private. Small.

The group likes the hallow here, and the weirdness. It would be nice to also pick up a neighboring house to get the space we need, ideally 2 Leonard Ct which is only ~20’ away across the dead-end drive.

The bank wants 500 Tass as part of the payment. Need to figure out timeline…. Bina gives us contact info for the real estate agent, who she notes is a sleepwalker.

Bina also tells us there is another convocation scheduled at the Prudential tower (again, including others besides mages). Thursday, Feb 20th. (It’s Sunday currently.)

For now, we decide to stay at Patrick’s house, which is the largest in the party. Taking precautions in case of more vampire attacks. Trying not to travel alone, especially at night.

Want to pick up some hardware, Dragon’s Breath shotgun shells, pump shotgun (if that’s not what Desmond currently has?), crossbow, wooden dowels, see if we can make a stake-firing gun. However… this is Sunday, and nothing is sold on Sundays. So, a little delay. But nothing happens Sunday night.

We notice Alex is starting to mix up the sequence of her words. Maybe one word every couple of sentences. Blackthorn: “Sounds like Sheila Little.” Written word seems ok still. Desmond perceives that her thoughts during speech also get out of order, it’s not just affecting speech. Alex says she believes there are hidden patterns in Sheila Little’s writing, and she has been studying it intensively. Presumably this is the cause.

For now she is going to continue, but we are going to keep an eye on her. She will take some time off work, use the attack as a cover story (since police showed up, it’s on the record).

Monday, while Alex is packing her things, Desmond notices “there are a couple sets of eyes on us”. He goes over to talk. Supposedly these guys are Prince Scarlet’s. Desmond runs the plates on their truck. It’s registered to “the Estate” which is apparently a popular dance club on Boylston Street.

Blackthorn and Darasgath get a zipcar and do the shopping. Wooden dowels, crossbow, wooden bolts (or, more likely, the parts to make them). Desmond can get his own Dragon’s Breath shells (since neither of us have a gun permit to go buying ammunition).

We go meet the real estate agent at 1 Leonard Ct, Dorchester, MA. No special Death or Matter energies. Seems solid in its fundamentals. 1920 construction. The Gauntlet (into the spirit realm) is thin, about half as thick as the surrounding area. Prime shows a lot of general activity, power welling up. Clearly the previous owner used to grow some kind of plants in the basement. Currently mushrooms only. It’s maybe 50 mana worth of Tass, although also some natural mushrooms.

The other place… big, does have a hallow although small. Gauntlet is strong. Some sense of death and decay, unclear why. (The owner passed away, could be related.) But party feeling is we would rather get the stronger hallow with its weirdness.

1 Leonard Ct: $346,000 plus 500 tass is the asking price.
Offer: $280,000 plus 300 tass in one year.

Hope for 400 over 8 months.

Negotiations on Wednesday: $280,000 is not out of the question, but 300 over 12 months is not. They expected 500 in 12 months. Negotiations go well though, Patrick is a pro. Final agreement: 15 tass down, 300 tass, one year term.

Notice that Alex’s speech impediment is getting worse over the next few days. Still not affecting the written word. She continues her research. Has the impression that some of the false history “may have been true at one time”.

Patrick casts an Augury, which answers “simple questions” -

  • Will further research into the papers yield useful information?
    -- likely yes
  • How can Alex’s condition be treated?
    -- Aversion and listening
  • Does Aversion mean ceasing to read the papers?
    -- Yes
  • At what point will the condition no longer be treatable by aversion and listening
    -- So long as she can speak, her speech can be corrected.

Get working on some initial upgrades to the house – security, locks, motion sensors, cameras.

Prudential meeting – setup similar to before. Weapon checks again. This time we just check in our weapons without fuss. Fewer people than last time, but still fairly crowded. Chain Parris still acting as Consilium leader, with Nemean absent.

Potestas interrupts Chain Parris immediately after the welcome, asking about the absence of the Nemean. Parris explains he is on a “pilgrimage” and one from which he may decide not to return. The Council has concluded he has abdicated the position. Parris was acting in his position but now the Ebon Noose has appointed Tiamat as his replacement. This is the first official announcement although she is not surprised.

The Winter King is first on agenda. A number of motleys have informed him that there has been a rash of new, young fetches in the city. Suggesting high levels of Fey activity. Cases of SIDS are up 50%, also a sign of Fey activity.

Prince Scarlet and entourage arrive at this point. One member of the entourage (a young brunette woman) approaches us, leans in, gives us a small envelope. Small, square, embossed.

She reports, the Prince of Lawrence has grown bold and sent his agents to Boston to harass members of the Consilium.

There is a group of hunters and arsonists who have been making trouble in Lawrence of late, probably come down from New Hampshire.

We are called on to speak next.

Brainstorming list of things to report at the Prudential meeting:

  • [Original charge — look into whether events in New Salem and the Wood of Empty Houses were related to the world change.]
  • [We tracked the energies implicated in the real world into the Spirit World and specifically the Wood of Empty Houses, and obtained a ghostly ally.]
  • [Signs that some aspect of these energies affected dreams in the regular world.]
  • [Found Sheila Little in the Wood (who had formerly been implicated in a case of cannibalism), chained and writing dreams which were closely linked to the dreams at New Salem.]
  • Rituals performed by the Gray Pope in the Wood of Empty Houses. Multiple human sacrifices (in the Wood). Victims kidnapped by “cultists” in the real world (brown robes). Disappearances began at least a year and a half ago, possibly two, sacrifices spread out over that time. At least 12 sacrifices. At least two of the victims and probably more were mages. Identities of the victims were erased.
  • The Gray Pope appears to have some kind of religious ties which we are looking into.
  • The rituals involved sacrifices to a demon who has the capacity to change history, called “the Scribe” or “He who reveals wisdom in the fading moonlight.” (Formerly called upon by Epona’s Chariot to fight the Naumkeag.) Actions of this demon had consigned some entities into the Wood.
  • [Ghost ally (Black-eyed John) did not approve, but appears to have been barred from the Wood by other rituals (we destroyed the Ward).]
  • [Some spirits in the Wood working with the Gray Pope. But loyalties are limited as far as we can tell.]
  • Ties to cannibalistic dogma/religion, in part as a pact with a forgotten native American tribe in the Wood.
  • “The Gray Pope” has also allied himself with the Prince of Lawrence.
  • [He put a hit on us with the Prince.]
  • According to one of his subjects, the Prince of Lawrence says a new night is falling, that God’s hand is at work to strike fear into the hearts of the sinners, and that ‘the damned’ are his chosen instrument. His prince says they still have to stay hidden, for now, but that in the nights to come they will be ‘worshiped in the shadows’.
  • [The Prince intends to take control of the Boston territory.]
  • The Gray Pope has ties to a church in Mexico, La Iglesio Del Evangelio Rojo. Possibly he is a leader of it.

Items in brackets are not mentioned, items not in brackets do get covered. The only one who responded visibly to the mention of Epona’s Chariot was Tiamat — although Chain Parris also arched an eyebrow.

Have lost contact with cabal in Prague. Other cabals in eastern Europe are threatened by Hunters and other supernatural.

Ferrum of the Exalted Knights of the Gryphon (tasked with speaking to the Stone of Gilliad, a spirit court), reports that the Gray Sacchems (sp?) agree the changes are shaping the Shadow, some spirits starving while others are consuming that which is not theirs. Black Magistrates are meting out “justice” with a heavier hand than normal. More examples that refer to things we don’t know about. Lots of disruption in Shadow. They say “the entity” must be brought to justice, referring to one entity. Spirit world highly disrupted.

Dead Wrens have taken in some refugees, including from eastern European cabals.

Discussion of how to deal with the Prince of Lawrence. General agreement a response is required.

Everyone enjoined to be vigilant.

Envelope is an invitation to meet with Prince Scarlet at such-and-such a restaurant on Friday night.

I speak briefly with Ahriman (Ebon Noose), suggest that they might know more about the demon. He says he will ask Arathnos to see what he can turn up.

Potestas congratulates Darasgath on his work, and says he may have info regarding to Sheila Little’s affliction. Dara mentions that Alex is having similar symptoms. Potestas says to get the papers away from her immediately and don’t read them. Dara goes to take them and she casts a pain-causing spell at him. Desmond compels her to start handing papers over, but the spell ends quickly, she tries to grab them away but Blackthorn turns all the papers into holy bibles (3). Desmond transports them to the other side of the room.

Potestas says, “Yes, both of these individuals will need to be treated. Bring her back to my sanctum as soon as possible.”

Hand crossbow for future reference…

High Stakes Encounter
Dana, Keegan, Sean, Declan, Patrick

Alex, reading Sheila Little’s writings, thinks Sheila is being channeled information from a particular outside entity, through an intermediary entity, into Sheila’s mind and then writings.

Alex thinks the second entity is familiar — the Stork spirit we saw on the roof. Probably it was a fairly powerful entity.

Patrick Flanagan (Rick’s character) is casually strolling through his car dealership when he is struck by a Maserati driven by an underpaid young employee, and Awakens, but then is not actually hit by the car, by total chance. For the rest of the day, he constantly has premonitions of things that are about to happen, weird double-vision.

He goes to see Reagan Flanagan (the doctor). Reagan calls Bina, who shows up. Bina looks at him, and then calls Alex. They go to Alex’s, joined by Keegan and Sean. We can see that he has Awakened. Sean can see it more clearly. We give him the briefing.

Keegan notices a young hispanic male following him home. He has a recent association with death, according to his aura. Trying to remain hidden. I try to shake him in the T but fail. Call Alex, phone tree happens. Confront him, he runs, I go home. It appears no one else is following.

Someone knocks on Alex’s door, who claims to be Desmond, but something about the aura is odd, and she refuses to let him in.

Sean goes to pick up Declan. Being followed by a blue Toyota Corolla. He kills its battery.

Much phone calling….

Someone else (not Desmond) pounds on Alex’s door. “We have some business to discuss.” Loudly. She’s on the phone to Sean at this point, leaves the call open. They hurry up driving over.

He kicks in the door. Tall, ugly, pockmarked face, hispanic man in jeans and a black windbreaker. Alex shoots him in the abdomen, he flinches and there is a hole, but it doesn’t seem to slow him down. He says something under his breath in Spanish and strides into the room. Grabs Alex and opens his mouth, revealing fangs.

Fight… Declan and Sean arrive. As Declan is about to go in, someone seems to appear before him, shoots Declan. Another hispanic guy. Declan shoots him back, he flinches but does not seem seriously concerned.

Alex gets bitten.

Sean grabs a piece of wood from the door frame and stabs one (but not before being shot), Declan enlarges it in his chest and it drops.

Alex changes her blood to tree sap as it exits her body. The vampire biting her lets go, she shoots it (a third time), he steps back and vanishes.

Sirens are heard.

Sean makes Declan’s gun (which is actually Keegan’s spare gun) invisible, so the police won’t see it.

Calls made to Bina and Keegan.

Police arrive. Statements are taken. Ambulances. Notice cousin Stewart walking in, he’s one of the police.

Keegan is on his way to Bina’s. (With armor spell and mage sight…)

Dr. Reagan Flanagan meets them at the hospital and speeds up getting them released. The three of them are released from the hospital the next morning. Meet at Bina’s.

Reagan has something done with the vampire body (the one with the stake) — it turns out the body has been taken to the Putnam estate. So he can be questioned….

Things we want to know:

  • What was the motivation for the attack?
  • Are they related to the shadow on Keegan? same group?
  • How do we detect vampires? Death sight seems insufficient.
  • How do we kill vampires?

Also, getting ourselves a defensible sanctum is also becoming a priority.

Next game probably not in May… maybe in June?

On the Nets

The Red Word of God

What church benefits from the changes? All of them, apparently. Churches of all denominations, temples, mosques, ashrams, and just about every other place to gather and worship are regularly full to capacity during services and ceremonies. And the record reflects that it’s been this way around the Hub for as far back as records have been kept. New Englanders have always been the church going sort, it seems, and tradition dies hard. You’ll have to consult someone with a better memory than The Globe to hear otherwise; perhaps an Awakened memory.

The most glaring and obvious result of your search for the Red Word finds:, but it doesn’t take long before you conclude that this isn’t the ‘red word’ you’re looking for.

There are plenty of other references to ‘Red Word’ on the nets, but almost all of them seem to be referring to the red ink commonly used to print the words of Christ in some editions of the bible. Eventually you need run queries in more and more obscure engines – writing scripts to dig through P2P and USENET listings after the standard faire is exhausted, carefully filtering out the ‘normal’ stuff, and are about to give up when a return from YaCy points to a translation of a Spanish language site: La Iglesia del Evangelio Rojo; The single page might as well have been written in 1995 and describes a church outside of Comitán de Domínguez in Tenam-puente, Chipas, Mexico (a strange place for a Christian church) where God is still worshiped ‘the old way’. References to sacrifice and dream interpretation seem to cinch the connection; the next closest ‘chapter’ of the Red Word Church is no where near home.

Salem Book Hunts

Salem Book Hunts – Alex

With a fresh cup of coffee and a warm smile driving him on, Arathnose seems eager to assist in the search for colonial era mysteries. “I don’t recall seeing much about the local natives,” he confesses. “But we’ve managed to recover a lot of the early consilium’s records, and there’s plenty said about the cabals of the time. What was the name of that cabal you mentioned again?…”

Despite large gaps in the record, the writings of the Stone Assembly are voluminous, and a slow paging through them does reveal a few connections and more history about Epona’s Chariot and the early history of the Wise in the New World. From their point of view:

  • Epona’s Chariot was described as a rogue cabal of pagan mages, made up chiefly of “women, landless bastards and other undesirables”.
    * Around 1627 (prior to the charter being granted to the Stone Assembly by the Consilium of Cambridge, England) the majority of the the Chariot was struck down by some unknown enemy, from whom only one member allegedly escaped. (Though the shade of another was rumoured to haunt “the village on the river Naumkeag”.)
    * Later, the cabal was struck again, this time by suspicion and infighting. Schisms were noted in 1647, and again in 1692, over the relationships between it’s members and those with “sleeping-souls”, as well as what to do about the growing presence of witch hunters. In the latter episode, some records suggest that a few cabalists of the Chariot may have been among the imprisoned and perhaps even those hanged in Salem (“as such roges aut to be”, the writer notes), though no individual members were identified.
    * In December, 1692 the Stone Assembly voted not to render aid to the accused witches, “be they sleeping-souls, or rogue practisors”.
    * From 1700 onward there’s no mention of the Chariot.

As Arathnose suggested, it seems that only passing mention of the Naumkeag tribe is made within the Consilium’s collection. Every writer you find except one notes that the tribe was all but gone by the time colonists arrived in number. That one exception claims to have heard from another mage of the once powerful medicine society within the tribe, but the claims “appear to be greatly embellished”.

As you worm your way through the records, the coffeeholic Herald appears and reappears from time to time with another volume, frequently bookmarked for your convenience, then visits the coffee pot, pours himself another cup, and disappears into the shelves again. During one of his visits he deposits a small, brown covered pad next to you and says, “It may not be completely relevant, but I didn’t know if you knew this…” before circling back to the brew.

The pages are handwritten in a messy script and the contents appear just as confused; a diary entry here, a dissertation there, and then a scribbled drawing. The inside cover notes the author as Geryon, ‘historian of the Ebon Noose’, and one page is conveniently bookmarked:

Sept. 7th, 1916 – I believe that In the aftermath of the Salem trials, Epona’s Chariot sent out a call throughout New England to gather witches and magic-men who were rebuffed by the Stone Assembly, and who had been told to ‘leave the practice of magic to those qualified to do so’; lest they be exposed as witches! These messages carefully bypassed the eyes and ears of the Assembly, and made it to those whom, after many years of isolation, the habit of solitude was strong, but so was fear and the desire for companionship in the art. Many of these witches did gather under the leadership of Epona’s Chariot, and they vowed to prevent tragedies like the one in Salem, and to remind themselves of those unfairly hanged, and to atone for their own guilt in that place’s curse, Epona’s Chariot shed it’s old name and reconsecrated itself as the Ebon Noose.

Some time after your trip to Cormant House, you manage to sit down and begin looking at the writings of Sheila little. The stack is over three inches thick and the first hundred pages are nothing but garbled nonsense. Why anyone would shackle a woman to a typewriter in a parallel world for this is beyond your comprehension. But as you leaf through the pages, a half dozen at a time , phrases begin to appear. Then full sentences, with a bit of random nonsense here and there. A few hundred pages later, it’s worth reading a little.

The content begins to take on a certain familiarity, reminiscent of the notebooks that were collected from the pastor’s residence in New Salem. There are descriptions of strange phenomena (green fire) fantastical creatures (enormous centipedes) and a great deal of … eating.

“… and Wahid was eaten by Ihab Fahim, whereby the kingdom passed unto him.”

There are whole genealogies of who ate who, quotations from speeches by leaders who never lived, descriptions of conquests by Nations that never existed, and impossible plagues of biblical proportions; as though the First Testament had been rewritten by John Carpenter channelling Hannibal Lecter. But while the gruesome content (or its similarity to the notebooks) fails to hold your interest for very long, something else keeps you scanning the pages; a feeling that there’s more here than meets the eye. After long period of scrutiny, you think you see it. Not in the sentences and phrases of the pseudo-history, but in the gibberish and nonsense scattered amongst it; a subtle pattern in the words that threatens to make sense to you. And like the patterns in High Speech, you feel instinctively that these patterns may hold some useful power.

If Alex looks for meaning in these patterns, you may roll Wits + Occult up to 6 times for her and tell me the successes.


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