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Found 5 results

  1. Having made it their mission to track down the creature or creatures who murdered Shannon’s coworkers, the party has just discovered, via the security tapes provided to them by Disco Nuit, that the murderers, whatever they are, aren’t visible on camera. Unfortunately, “invisible on camera” doesn’t narrow the field much when playing “guess the supernatural boogeyman.” We spend a few more minutes discussing the possibilities, but the reality is that it could be almost anything. Practically speaking, we’re still more-or-less at square one: we have no idea who–or what–Bella and Louisa left the club with, why they were attacked, or how to find their attackers. Finding someone who remembers seeing them leave last night would be a bit like looking for a needle in a field of haystacks, but at the moment it still seems to be our best option. The club doesn’t open for hours yet, though, and we want to keep working in the meantime. Shannon heads off to speak to Bella and Louisa’s families, wanting to offer condolences but also hoping to find out what they know. Which, as it turns out, isn’t much. Louisa’s roommate isn’t home, or at least isn’t answering the door. Shannon does manage to talk to Bella’s family, but doesn’t get much new information: they knew Bella was planning on going out last night, but didn’t hear from her before she died; the cops say there was no molestation involved, and have apparently suggested that the girls’ deaths were the result of some sort of wild dog attack. Sensing that there’s nothing to be discovered here, Shannon offers her help if the family ever needs it, and leaves them to their grief. John and Felix, meanwhile, pay a visit to the alleyway where the bodies were found. The alleyway, which is sandwiched between two apartment buildings, is empty but for a Dumpster, in which John’s dog develops an immediate interest. John suggests that Felix go into the apartments and start chatting up residents whose windows overlook the alleyway while he tries to find out what’s caught the dog’s attention. Felix, somewhat reluctantly, agrees. He doesn’t have much luck in the first building, encountering mostly unanswered doors (and at least one slammed in his face). In the second building, however, an elderly woman answers the door. Felix starts by giving her the same lie that Shannon used earlier: he’s a private investigator looking into some recent deaths in the area. The woman seems happy to help, but insists that he’s no private investigator, since he has neither a fedora, nor a trench coat, nor a fat man following him around. Felix promises to work on the trench coat and fedora, but assures her that he does have a man who follows him around out in the alley, even if he’s not fat. “One moment.” The woman marches back into her apartment and peers out the window, where she sees a seven-foot-tall man (John) and an impressively large dog (Duke) rifling through the Dumpster. Returning to the front door and Felix, she says solemnly, “he’s not a fat man, he’s a big man. He’s a villain. You should go arrest him.” After a few moments of wild speculation about which James Bond villains John might be related to, and a riveting discussion regarding whether Hitler had a dog, Felix steers the conversation back to the subject of the two dead women. The woman replies that she didn’t see anything, but that she did hear thumps coming from the roof; she’s very definite about the fact that they came from the roof and not the floor above her, even though the roof is three floors up. When Felix starts to speculate on what might’ve happened, though, she says, “you’re the private investigator, you tell me!” and excuses herself. John, meanwhile, discovers that the object of Duke’s interest is nothing more exciting than a pile of half-eaten cheeseburgers. It does seem, however, that the garbage has been professionally sifted through. He says as much to Felix once Felix emerges from the second apartment building. Felix summarizes his own discoveries, adding that he did attempt to check out the roof, but that the door leading to the roof was locked. When Felix reveals that the door in question was not, so far as he could tell, connected to an alarm, John figures that it’s worth trying anyway. Mortified though he is by the possibility of being caught skulking outside of a locked door in the company of a man who reeks of Dumpster, Felix allows himself to be convinced that they should go upstairs and try the door again. Once it transpires that the door is, indeed, still locked, John decides to unlock it the old-fashioned way. Once he’s forced it open, he and Felix head out onto the roof, and John closes the broken door as best he can behind them. “I hope you didn’t touch that door with your ungloved hands,” Felix says. “They can track you these days, man.” “That just tells them that I opened a door.” “Yeah, opened it with extreme prejudice!” “They can’t tell that from a fingerprint.” John pauses. “I think.” The roof is mostly empty, but Felix spots a woman’s handbag languishing on the fire escape, and climbs down to retrieve it. Both John and Felix recognize it from the nightclub’s security tapes; Bella had had it with her when she entered and left the club. It seems prudent to postpone sifting through a dead woman’s belongings until he and John are no longer trespassing, though, so they retreat from the building with the bag in hand. [This post is a continuation in a series of posts covering my group's ongoing World of Darkness campaign. The next post is scheduled to drop on Monday, January 20th, so check back then if you'd like to read more.] Source
  2. This campaign takes place in a setting that is more-or-less present day, in a world that more-or-less resembles our own, in the city of Juniper, Massachusetts (which is more or less like Boston). Like any big city, it has its share of murders. At least, they might’ve been murders; the police haven’t said much about the two young women found dead in an alleyway last night, barely a block away from the nightclub known as Disco Nuit, but they apparently have reason to suspect homicide. They’re asking anyone with information about the women’s movements last night to come forward. The players don’t have any such information, but they’ve taken it upon themselves to acquire it (as player characters do). Shannon is particularly determined, since the two dead women, Bella and Louisa, were her co-workers. Her dance studio has been closed temporarily while everyone deals with the loss. Not knowing where else to start, Shannon, Felix, and John head to Disco Nuit. It’s early enough that many of the staff who were working last night are only just finishing their shifts. Despite the hour, a set of large double doors is wide open, and the group heads inside. John approaches someone polishing glasses at the nearest bar. The bartender is apologetic but unhelpful, saying that he served literally three thousand people last night. But, he says, the police have been pestering someone named Gerald, who might have more information. Up the stairs indicated by the bartender is a hall that ends in another set of open double doors. Shannon, who creeps into the hallway to better see what’s going on, spies a room containing a few people in suits and a man with a French accent yelling into a phone. She pauses to hear what he’s saying, but he’s mostly going on about how people in big cities die all the time and shouting at his employees. Deciding that there’s not much to be gleaned from listening to the man yell about cocktail weenies and complain about the police, Shannon knocks on the door. Gerald glances up, then down at a clipboard. “Yes, yes, come in! You must be–” Shannon cuts him off. “Actually, I’m a family friend of–I imagine you heard about those two girls who died? I’m a friend of the families, and we’re conducting a private investigation into their deaths. We were hoping you could provide some more information…” “Yes, yes, of course.” Gerald sounds faintly disgusted, but he waves Shannon inside anyway. He insists that he is “deeply distressed” to hear of the two women’s passing, but seems more distressed by the possibility that the families might decide to hit him with a lawsuit, stating that the two women left the club safely and “of their own will and volition, with no health issues that we could possibly be responsible for.” He does mention one thing of interest, however: the club’s security cameras saw them leave. When Shannon presses him for more information, Gerald does something surprisingly helpful: he has one of his employees produce copies of the tapes. These wouldn’t normally be made available to the public, but, Gerald says, he wants to “make it clear in the families’ minds how happy and healthy they were on leaving the club.” (In other words, as Felix remarks to John while the two of them wait in the stairwell, “there is epic chull coverage occurring.”) Whether Gerald’s chull is covered or not, the party now has what it came for in the form of two VHS tapes. John suggests that everybody reconvene at his grandmother’s house, since he’s pretty sure she still has a VCR. His grandmother is sleeping when everyone arrives, so once John digs the VCR out of the attic, the group is able to watch the tapes without having to deflect any awkward questions. The first tape, labelled “ladies entering,” shows just that. The women spend a few minutes waiting in line, but eventually enter the club through a doorway marked “Diabolique.” The second tape shows them leaving the club, apparently alone but for each other. They’re just as animated as they were when they entered the club, laughing and chatting as they leave, but now there’s a distinct difference in their body language; they seem to be having trouble keeping their spines straight. It’s John who figures it out. “She’s not holding herself up there.” He pauses the tape. “She’s putting all her weight on that arm.” Now that he’s pointed it out, the rest of the party realizes that the women are leaning on people that the camera can’t actually see; there are even finger-shaped indentations visible in their clothing, although nobody can see any actual fingers. “Do vampires show up on camera?” John wonders. “Werewolves?” “They didn’t used to, and then there was Stephenie Meyer,” Felix answers. “Sorry, I don’t read enough real books to know.” John, commenting that the women seem pretty lively, theorizes that whatever is with them must not be invisible to them. When the group watches the rest of the video, it does seem that the women are talking to people that the camera can’t see as well as to each other. They move out of view of the camera, heading off in the direction where their bodies were eventually found. Having discovered everything there is to be discovered from the security tapes, the party sets about trying to figure out just how to track two invisible people in a crowd of three thousand. It sounds like a fool’s errand in more ways than one, but then, fools errands are pretty much what you get when you go chasing the things that go bump in the night. [This post is the first in a series of posts covering my group's ongoing World of Darkness campaign. The next post is scheduled to drop on Thursday, January 16th, so check back then if you'd like to read more.] Source
  3. If you’re a newcomer to the blog, you might want to check out the first two posts in this little mini-series, located here and here. Finally, the party arrives at the slave pens and the latrine in question. It’s … well … a latrine, which is to say, an inglorious hole in the ground that smells about as good as one might expect, surrounded by a floor that is none too clean (it appears that not all of the slaves bother to aim). After expressing the requisite amounts of disgust (Yrisi launches herself into the air, while Raven scoops up Fling and places the goblin on his shoulder) the party gets down to the business of investigating. Not that there’s much to investigate; the only possible way into or out of this room, aside from the door that the party entered by, is the latrines themselves. And so, because every adventure has to start somewhere, the party peers into the toilet. After a moment, someone detects a patch of wall or floor down there which is, well, differently slimy. Since scouting is important (read: no one really wants to climb into a sewer), Xeroz attempts to persuade Alarra to do their scouting for them. Alarra looks to Yrisi in appeal. “Help. Puppy want me to go down hole.” Yrisi, however, just starts to laugh, in a way that is no help at all. And so Alarra reluctantly flies down into the latrine to take a closer look. Shortly thereafter, there’s a splashing sound, followed by a panicked raven who comes shooting back up out of the toilet at mach speed. “Something down there! Scary monster.” Well, every adventure has to start somewhere, but we’d really rather not start ours in a sewer (aside from which, the latrine hole is designed for human slaves, and so Raven, the ogre, won’t even fit). So Xeroz decides that rather than going into the latrine after the monster, we should make the monster come to us. “Hey, bird. Go fish out the monster.” Alarra, of course, refuses, having gotten close enough to the monster the first time. When he doesn’t make any headway in persuading her, Xeroz pulls out a gold piece and flips it into the air, ostentatiously walking it across his knuckles. Suddenly, he has the raven’s attention. “Can I have that?” Xeroz, of course, informs her that she can have the coin if she goes back down into the latrine after the monster. He’s barely gotten the bribe out of his mouth before Alarra takes off again, without even bothering to inform Yrisi of what she’s doing. Yrisi, of course, has managed to get more or less the gist of it, and shuffles a little closer to the latrine to watch, anxious. She’s no longer certain this is a good idea. Neither, it seems, is Vashra, who glares at Xeroz as they wait for Alarra to return. “You know, if you get her pet killed, she’s going to bitch at us. Forever. And it will be even more annoying because we won’t understand her.” Meanwhile, the raven is fluttering about in the latrine, attempting to distract the monster. Before too long, she succeeds. Unfortunately for Alarra, so does the monster’s attack roll. Her panicked squawks for help are followed by abrupt silence and a splashing sound. A glance into the sewer reveals an unconscious Alarra in the tentacles of an otyugh, which is a monster comprised of, well, of the materials one normally finds in a sewer. Vashra, somewhat surprisingly, wastes no time in leaping into the sewer after the bird, shouting “storm yoooooooou!” all the way down. Weapon out, she lands on top of the otyugh. The rest of the party scrambles in after her. Yrisi, of course, is the first one to start moving once Alarra starts shouting (or at least she would have been, had she scored higher on her initiative roll) and flies down after them. Xeroz, figuring he owes the bird that much, likewise makes a jump for it. Raven, meanwhile, won’t fit into the latrine in any case, so he ties a rope to his leg and waits at the top, figuring that this way the party will at least have a way back out when they’re done. Rather than jumping headfirst into the muck, Fling simply waits for him to finish and scales down the rope to join the rest of the party. The otyugh, meanwhile, is understandably unhappy with the fact that an armed, screaming half-fiend has just landed on its head, and that the half-fiend has apparently brought along friends. Since discretion is the better part of valor, especially when you’re a literal rust-monster, the otyugh retreats down a narrow corridor leading towards the sewer proper. The party gives chase. A few flung javelins, magic missiles, general bashing at parts that may or may not contain a brain, and a whole lot of four-letter words later, the party has chased the otyugh into a widening room where the floor slopes down into a pool of black water. The otyugh has taken a few (thankfully ineffectual) swipes at the party members, but it’s mostly focused on running the hell away. It’s taken a fearful beating by this point and is making its slow, painful way towards the black-water pool. Xeroz wades in after it, paying no mind to the treacherous footing, and gives it another good hard whack before it can disappear into the sewer. The otyugh slumps lifelessly into the water and starts to drift away, carried by the current. Alarra, still unconscious, is likewise floating inexorably away on the current. Yrisi, some ways behind her, decides not to give chase and risk Alarra getting any farther away from her. Instead, she recites a cantrip and the raven’s unconscious body floats through the air towards her. She cradles the unconscious bird protectively in her arms. The party members head back in the direction they came, climbing (or flying) back up to where a waiting Raven greets them with, “You all smell HORRIFYING.” Since they all do, in fact, smell horrifying, they decide that the best plan of attack is to put the murder investigation on hold while everyone takes a bath. Even this most noble endeavour, however, encounters an obstacle in the form of Sendric Truthers, who interrupts his own self-important posturing to comment on the smell. If our intrepid adventurers weren’t in the mood to deal with him before, they certainly aren’t now. Xeroz makes this clear by enthusiastically shoving the Brightsword into a corner before tromping away. The rest of the party follows suit. It’s Yrisi, however, who gets the last word (so to speak). As she walks past the Brightsword, she gives her wings a vigorous shake, much like a dog might shake out wet fur. This effectively halts any comment that Truthers might have made, as he is now too busy spluttering over the sewage decorating his once-fine clothes. Yrisi gives him the slightest of smirks as she walks by. Because as long as your heroic quest through the sewers ends with you covered in crap, you might as well spread it around. Source
  4. It’s been long enough since I posted the first “episode” of this campaign (although these posts are actually all from the same session) that I feel obligated to link it again. Xeroz continues towards the slave pens with Vashra, Yrisi and her raven trailing along. Needless to say, they attract more than a few odd stares as they make their way through the city. None of them are exactly common sights in Candle’s End, and Yrisi is still glowing, although the latter state of affairs lasts only until Vashra says irritably, “Hey, bird. Would you tell your mistress to put out the damned light? If this migraine gets any worse I’m going to have to give it a name.” Yrisi obligingly dims the light and they trudge on. They do so in relative silence until Vashra, gazing ahead, says, “Oh, look. More freaks.” A large group of people seems to have just dispersed near one of the city entrances. They’re a mixed bunch, from a variety of races and, as far as their clothing indicates, a variety of walks in life. Of course, some of them are more varied than others, and the pair that Vashra is focusing on certainly falls into that category. One of the two is an ogre, uncommon though certainly not unheard of in Candle’s End. The other one is an alien. More specifically, she’s a frost goblin. Goblins made a spectacular entry into this world some four hundred years ago, when they escaped their own dying planet by crashing large bits of it into this world and flooding the dwarven homelands. The dwarves, of course, were about as happy with this development as one might imagine. Some of them still aren’t over it. Eventually the goblin and the ogre cross paths with the rest of the party, as player characters in tabletop campaigns are wont to do. In the conversation that follows, Vashra and Xeroz divine that a merchants’ caravan has just arrived in the city. The goblin, Fling, and the ogre, Raven Fireclaw, were acting as caravan guards, but now their contract has ended and they’re free to wander the city at will. Xeroz explains their mission to the newcomers, while Vashra, not particularly under her breath, disgustedly dubs her migraine “Jommy.” Fling and Raven aren’t too sure what to make of Xeroz, who apparently attempts to solve latrine-based murders for fun, nor his companions the foul-mouthed half-fiend and … whatever Yrisi is, since the sum total of what anyone knows about her is that she doesn’t speak Common. They’re a little sceptical about getting involved, but somehow–exactly how is lost to the mists of time and this writer’s flawed memory–they agree to join Xeroz, Yrisi, and Vashra in their investigation. [Meta note: to really appreciate this dialogue, it's worth knowing that the ogre has an INT score of 18, the highest in the party by a long shot. He also speaks in a cultured British accent and carries an honest-to-god monocle.] As the party continues towards the slave pens, the ogre says conversationally, “so, bird, what’s your name?” The raven (whose name, noted for expediency’s sake, is Alarra) eyes him suspiciously for a moment. “What’s yours?” “Raven Fireclaw.” “You not raven. I a raven.” “Yes, I know, but my name is Raven Fireclaw.” The raven turns its attention back to Yrisi. “Ogre thinks it’s a raven.” Yrisi, who of course can’t understand any of her companions’ conversation, says dubiously, “well, I’ve heard that they’re not very bright…” And so it continues. Not long before the party arrives at the slave pens, they encounter a cleric of Torm who is–ostensibly at least–looking into the same problem they are. The cleric, whose name is Sendric Truthers but who styles himself the Brightsword, is a loud, gregarious figure who is committed, he says, to finding and rooting out sin. Naturally, he spends most of his time looking for sin at the local bars. He apparently plans on using the same strategy this time around. The party members are appropriately disgusted with this approach, but also rather relieved, since at least it means they won’t have to deal with him… And so it continues … next Monday, when I post the last installment in this little mini-series. That’s right, you won’t have to wait a year and a half for the next one (which I’m sure you were doing with bated breath. Mind you, given the contents of that final post, bated breath might not be a bad idea). Source
  5. This is a story that starts in a volcano … and ends with the party covered in crap. Candle’s End is a mining city carved into, yes, the guts of an active volcano. Most of the PCs are just arriving, but one, a gnoll, has been here for some months already. Xeroz works at a Temple of Kelemvor, Lord of the Dead, retrieving the bodies of those who’ve died and preparing them for burial. So it’s business as usual when Vashra, another Temple worker and a half-fiend (a rather foul-mouthed one; reader, consider yourself warned) returns lugging the body of a dead slave. There are a couple of oddities about this one, though. The first, as Vashra’s complaints immediately make clear, is the fact that this particular slave died in a latrine. The second is that he died from a terminal dose of mace to the face. No friend or relative claims the body, and so the Temple’s acolytes bury it themselves. This isn’t particularly surprising. Many bodies go unclaimed in Candle’s End, and it’s unlikely that anyone would care so much about a slave. Of course, the same logic makes his murder a rather puzzling event. Who would care so much about a slave? Vashra doesn’t know what happened. She had attempted to talk to one of the slave masters, “the one who actually gives a rust,” but he wasn’t around. Xeroz insists that they try again, since nobody else is going to bother pursing justice for a dead slave. Vashra grumbles and complains, but eventually allows herself to be persuaded–more to shut Xeroz up, it seems, than because she thinks (or cares) that it’s the right thing to do. The slave pens are some distance away. Xeroz and Vashra haven’t made it nearly that far when Vashra stops, staring upward. “What the storm is that?” She’s gazing towards an airborne vehicle some distance away. It looks a bit like an oversized kite, large enough to carry at least a couple of passengers, and appears to be powered by a small cloud of translucent gas (what an experienced observer might recognize as an air elemental). The vehicle, known as an air skimmer, is a fairly normal sight in Candle’s End. The blue light trailing after it is not. But Xeroz has never seen anything like it, and it’s getting farther and farther away in any case, so they keep moving. When they reach the bridge that spans the city’s East and West Shelves (the floor of the chasm beneath the bridge is known as the Drippings, and houses the city’s underprivileged and unsavory), they spy a raven strutting to and fro along the bridge, but it doesn’t fly away as they approach. Instead, the bird stops hopping around and eyes them. It sizes Xeroz up. “Puppy.” Xeroz growls at the racially charged insult, but the bird isn’t done. It’s looking Vashra up and down, and after a moment’s pause, it says solemnly, “Ugly as storm.” “Don’t mess with me, bird!” Vashra’s predictable tirade of insults, cursing, and threatened violence convinces the raven to revise its opinion. “Pretty lady.” Somehow, the conversation survives this rocky introduction. Xeroz, hoping for some extra help, explains their mission. At least, he tries. The raven is not terribly bright, and both it and Vashra have an attitude problem. Meanwhile, the blue light that Vashra had spotted earlier has been heading back their way, and now it lands on the bridge, only a few feet away. It–she–is under three feet tall, covered from head to toe in tribal tattoos, and has black, furred wings that wouldn’t look out of place on a gigantic butterfly. And yes, she’s glowing. Vashra mutters something disparaging, including a few four-letter words and at least one five-letter one (“pansy”). Xeroz, however, seems nothing daunted. He asks the fae, if that’s what she is, whether the raven is her companion … and gets a blank stare in return. When she finally does respond, her words sound like complete gibberish. [Meta note: She's actually a gloaming. I mention this now for expediency's sake, since it's much easier to call her a gloaming than it is to call her "that butterfly-looking thing with the funny tattoos."] It quickly becomes apparent that the gloaming doesn’t actually speak the common tongue. She manages to introduce herself anyhow, and Xeroz, with the raven translating, explains their mission again, much to Vashra’s disgust. The raven’s translation is spotty to say the least (“found dead man in hole. Want help finding who make dead”), and the gloaming, Yrisi, is a little taken aback at being so casually recruited to help solve a murder. But she’s already learned that traveling by oneself is a recipe for boredom, and since she’s only recently arrived from the Underdark, she doesn’t have anything better to do. She gestures for Xeroz to lead the way… Source