Monsters after Dark - Late-night Monster of the Week (PbtA) campaign

Editing post with new details (4/18/18) - the original post will be in spoiler tags below for posterity

(TL;DR: I am running a (currently) Monster of the Week campaign at 10pm Pacific on Friday nights using Roll20.net . I'm aiming at 3-4 players, but we could manage 5 if there was interest, and we are currently at 3 players plus myself. No real experience needed.

Podcast feed: https://bit.ly/GWJ-Monsters

Currently Committed:
JMnITup (Keeper/GM)
Amoebic (Player)
Kazar (Player)
Kazooka (Player)
(open slot)

Original post in this slot:

Spoiler:

(TL;DR: Trying to find if there is interest in players being available starting 10pm Pacific time (-8 UTC, so 6am UTC, 1am Eastern, etc) on any weekday or weekend, depending on what works for any interested ... after looking for a running group and finding none, I'm looking to DM/GM/run instead to reduce that barrier of entry - my initial thought is trying out Monster of the Week, no experience needed by players, but if we get an established group, we could potentially shift to any system as desired)

Edit: Useful details:
Roll20 game join link: https://app.roll20.net/join/3059913/...

Committed Players:
JMnITup
Amoebic
Kazar
Kazooka
(open slot)

I say campaign loosely, could be a series of one-offs like the Fiasco games that GWJ members occasionally run.

Basically, I've been looking at various games based on the Powered by the Apocalypse framework, and a number of them seem like they'd be a lot of fun. I've run games in D&D 4E, AD&D 2-3.5, etc, and some Roll20 and Shadowrun based games, but have been interested by the PbtA framework since I got tipped off to it from the GWJ RPG podcasts and some forum discussion. Monster of the Week looks like a good entry point for a DM (er, keeper) who hasn't run any PotA before, but it seems easy enough to jump into with existing DMing experience.

I won't re-iterate the details I put into the TL;DR summary up top, but basically, with a family and kids, I'm really not available to game until after 10pm (Pacific, -8 UTC) any day of the week... unless I can eventually convince my wife to join in, at that point I might be able to get down to 9pm, but I am not holding my breath on that, and need a group I'm comfortable with before trying to expose her to the world of online table-topping

Right now I'm just gauging interest/availability, but a cool thing about MotW is it can work fine with from 2-8 players (including DM/Keeper), though the sweet spot looks to be 3-5.

I'll leave it at this for now just to test the waters, but can answer questions or add details as they come. Oh, first question I imagine might be where to play, and I haven't looked at tools, but there are a lot of fairly functional options... probably roll20.net , though Fantasy Grounds or Tabletop simulator might be options (FG I own and can invite players at no cost, TTS requires ownership but is crazy flexible), and other options I haven't used probably exist that may be better. Basically, nothing in stone yet except the minimum start time.

So... anyone out there still awake now?

I've been looking for a monster of the week campaign ever since I played a one shot of it a few months back. I'm also on Pacific time. I'd probably have to keep it to weekends though unless everyone is in pst.

Repurposing this post to contain consolidated campaign history (also posted throughout thread in pieces as they occur)

CORE WORLD DETAILS

Setting (initial details at start of first session):

  • Town of Fayfield, a large town of about 25k people (24,276 at 2010 census)
    • Exact location is abstract/vague, but so far it feels sort of east coast/West Virginia-esque light suburban
    • Nearest city is Lacona City (about 284k people)
    • The characters are all from Fayfield, and their families have been from here as far back as they know
    • Town has heavy investment in its youth, ensuring numerous places that are teen-focused (teen hangouts, teen clubs, etc)
    • First session time:
    • Current year (2018), opens on a Monday in the Spring (EDIT: Opens April 2, 2018 as Day 1)
  • Notable Locations:
    • Museum of Arcane Curiosities - A large old-world style museum located in the heart of Fayfield. Known by most more by its coffee shop than the museum, its architecture is like a fortress, built of stone ornately carved, with multiple wings around a central hall. The main entrance from the street leads the main hall, but a large part of the front/street-facing side of the museum has had a coffee shop built onto it (perhaps once used as a gift shop). While the museum gets little actual traffic, the coffee shop is an oft-used business in town.

Fleshing out (details built up during sessions):

  • Notable Locations:
    • The Commons - A couple blocks from the Museum, The Commons is a large 2-story mansion converted into a teen hangout. It is one of the more subdued teen hangouts in town. It is like a mix of a library (several quite rooms upstairs with bookshelves, comfortable seating in couches and fake leather chairs, etc), rec center (ping pong, pool, football tables, etc), and coffee house, serving concessions at a booth setup on the 1st floor (run by a student usually getting school credit of some sort), and overseen by at least one adult during operating hours.

CHARACTERS

(These details are as established just prior to the first session. They may/will be further fleshed out over time)

Players:

Hannah Blue

Publicly: 18 years old, employed as a barista and oft-times shift manager at Arcane Coffee. She has the stereotypical look of a hipster barista trending toward goth, with visible tattoos adorning various exposed areas. Recently dropped out of high school to pursue life as a tatoo artist. She is generally perceived as aloof and standoffish

Secretly: Born into a family of Fae hunters many generations deep rooted in Fayfield, she has been trained since she was young in magical arts. Her tattoos act as foci for her magic, with varying affects requiring a specific series of contact between tattoos. Some of the tattoos have symbolic meaning, though most are artistic, infused with elements providing the effect rather than the shape itself providing the effect. Her coffee shop job is actually a cover for her involvement with The Order of the Vigilant, working out of its Fayfield base, The Museum of Arcane Curiosities (which is actually just a cover for The Order’s base of operations here).

Hannah had previously been the new girl in the team running from the Museum, but the rest of her team had to be relocated for a critical assignment. She was left to rebuild a new team under herself after proving herself repeatedly, leading straight into the happenings in the first session. She is still under the guidance of the Museum’s curator (and head of the Order’s presence in Fayfield), Maxwell Williams.

Chuck Wallace

Publicly: 16 year old, attending high school at Fayfield High School. He is fairly typical, somewhat out of shape, not particularly outstanding at anything, socially awkward, nothing that really draws attention to him.

Secretly: Chuck is just your friendly neighborhood Chuck, he has no crazy secret lives, no big secrets he’s hiding. He’s just Chuck.

Horace Teller

Publicly: Horatio Teller, 19, known as Horace to all but his mother, Laura Teller, works doing general tasks at his mother's pub/bar, The White Hart; though she still won't let him tend the bar. Horace has grown up in the shadow of his semi-ostracized mother, who is an infamous local legend. The general avoidance that tinged the town's interactions with Laura (who view her as largely insane) seems to have affected Horace's childhood, and he's often treated with distrust and distaste in a similar way. He also has never known his father, nor has Laura spoken about him. These likely played a large part in making him disillusioned with the world. He tends to get himself into trouble, typically way too deep before he realizes it is an issue. His sense of societal boundaries is not well formed, and he tends to go too far, and not care that others notice. He recognizes that others treat him differently, and this may be why he himself feels he IS different in some vague sense.
Unsurprisingly, Horace dropped out school at 13 and began working full-time for his mother at her pub.
Looks: similar to a Anthony Ramos

Secretly: Horace has often noticed that electronics, technology, and metal tools often irritate his skin, much as gold sometimes irritates certain people. His mother is aware of this and has never made much of a deal of it, so he assumes this is not uncommon, though he still does not advertise the fact. He doesn't purposefully hold a lot of other secrets, though he is also reserved and doesn't often openly express himself, so to most, his whole life is a secret.

Non-player notable personalities

Laura Teller

Publicly: 41, born in 1947, she works at and owns The White Hart, a pub in Fayfield. Astute readers may notice some bad math at this point.
She is infamously known as a local legend in Fayfield. She was unremarkable in the town until she was 21, but in 1968 she suddenly disappeared. The town was abuzz with concern and gossip for a few months, but as time went and she wasn't found, it slowly died down and was eventually dismissed as an unsolved case. In 1998, though, 30 years to the day of her disappearance, she re-appeared in Fayfield, seeming to be hallucinating and borderline deranged. The most interesting aspect of the re-appearance, though, is that she looked almost the same as when she disappeared, not seeming to have aged. A new wave of gossip flared up, with this one, distrust. People avoided contact with her, crossing the street rather than passing her on the sidewalk, staring behind her back. The fact that she was missing 30 years and seemed to not have aged took a backseat to other concerns, especially after a few months when she started showing as pregnant. Not quite a year after she reappeared, she gave birth to her son, Horace..

Secretly: Maybe not so secretly, people consider her crazy because she acts it sometimes. She will lay down circles of iron nails, draw odd symbols on walls, etc.

Maxwell Williams

Publicly: Maybe mid-40s, Curator of the Museum of Arcane Curiosities. British accent (that or a German accent is required in job description of all museum curators!).

Privately: Head of the Fayfield chapter of The Order of the Vigilant.


PRELUDE MYSTERY LETTERS

Prior to the first play session, each character received a Mystery Letter, which basically gave them an idea of their past and current state immediately before the first session. The characters are not aware of the other character's Mystery Letter (and nor are the players... until they read it here, but now most of this is generally common player knowledge, if not character knowledge yet).

Below are these letters:

To Hannah

Spoiler:

Hannah,
It’s been a busy week. Hell, it’s been a busy couple years, ever since you joined up with The Order of the Vigilant. You were trained in the art of magic and the hunt by your family, a long line of Fey Hunters at least a dozen generations deep, and you have had a loose relationship with The Order since you were young. However, since they brought you into the fold a few years back, your relationship has gotten a lot tighter.

It seems like only yesterday you were called into the Museum of Arcane Curiosities, greeted by the curator Maxwell Williams with his over the top ‘mysterious curator’ voice he often greets the rare museum visitor with (you've come to realize that he really loves the theatrics of it all). You still remember the confusion of the summons, not sure why The Vigilant wanted you to come here, but you soon learned that the museum was simply a front for The Order of the Vigilant, and the curator was a high ranking member of The Order and head of the Fayfield arm of The Vigilant. How you had never connected the Museum with The Order in the past, even with your awareness of their existence and workings, is a testament to their ability to work just under the surface of society.

Your time as an Initiate at the Museum, which you learned was long ago built as The Hall of the Vigilant before The Order went dark hundreds of years ago, seems to have gone in a flash. While it’s been a few years, your previous training gave you a leg up, and you quickly proved yourself. When you learned just about a month back that your mentors here were needed elsewhere, your disappointment was quickly surpassed by the weight of responsibility and expectation, as you were informed that you were to be Maxwell’s lieutenant in Fayfield, and responsible for building up the new team that would preside here.

You are still reeling from the suddenness of the shift, but have little time to think about it as you have been picking up the needed skills to do the job. This week, you’ve taken on the task of scouting for potential recruits, but an additional responsibility fell unexpectedly on you. Maxwell has been agitated about a particular prophecy The Order feels is coming due, and gave you the name of a young man he feels is at the center of it. One Horace Teller, the firstborn in a line of 15 generations of firstborns descended from… well, ok, you didn’t actually catch all the details, Maxwell didn’t detail the prophecy or specifics, he pretty much just gave you the name, the rest you deduced through carefully placed questions and some quick researching in the archives. The important fact is, Horace is at the center of this prophecy. This may not mean much to you, though, as it seems everyone is the center of some prophecy or other, lately. Maybe you’ve been involved in magic too long…

That’s when things started getting away from you. The weight of your new position already heavy on your shoulders, you went to speak with Horace. He was easy to find, he was making no attempts to hide, and turns out he’s the son of Laura Teller (you thought his name sounded familiar when you’d first heard it, and now realize why). Laura is something of a local legend, having disappeared without a trace 50 years ago, and re-appeared suddenly 20 years ago, 30 years to the day from when she was reported missing. The odd thing was that she seemed to have not aged a day; at least, odd to most people of the town, though you’ve seen stranger. What is really odd is how quickly the town dismissed the oddity. Sure, they all still talk and gossip about it, but they really don’t QUESTION it as much as you’d think. Mundanes have an amazing ability to ignore the things that don’t make sense to them, like if they pretend it doesn’t exist, it won’t disrupt their lives. This is, of course, why The Vigilant exist, but that’s another story. Horace was born not quite a year after she reappeared, and everyone just took that as things returning to normal… except, of course, that Laura wasn't married and no one knew who the father was, which gave extra fuel for the more busy-body gossipers in town.

You found Horace, who seems to be about what you’d expect of a 19 year old born to a troubled single mother in a society that, while not overly questioning the situation, still gave the family a wide berth and spoke behind their backs (BARELY behind their backs, hardly hiding their gossip). However, something about him made your skin itch, a feeling you filed to dig into later. In retrospect, maybe you aren’t so different from everyone else, after all. Through a little conversation, you convinced Horace to come with you to meet Maxwell at the Museum of Arcane Curiosities; you didn’t really tell him anything, and didn’t need to do much convincing; he seems to want to find out about himself, and just hinting that Maxwell could give him some information was all it took.

That’s when things got REALLY interesting. On the way back to the Museum, you sensed something… off. Diverting your path just a little, you came across a surprising scene. A kid, probably high school age, cowering under the attack of a small winged creature. Your training in magic was usually targeted at tracking and containing Fey, but it also prepared you for other supernatural events. In this case, you quickly recognize what you think this is, though you have never encountered one before. In studying the Fey and how to resist them, you have learned much about their oldest enemies: demons. This looked to be a minor demon, an Imp, and it was about to tear the face off of this kid.

Without thinking, you quickly warded him against the demon, and through a series of actions that came more from instinct than thought, you broke the demon’s connection to the mundane world, dissipating it from this reality. The rush breaking, you take stock of your surroundings, and realize that both Horace and the kid are staring at you like you’d sprouted another head, and you suddenly realize your mistake. Luckily, there were no other bystanders that you can see, but you needed to resolve this situation. You have no idea why a demon was here or why it was attacking this kid, and you don’t have time to work that out yet. After ensuring he was ok (he had some nasty scratches, but nothing life threatening), you convince him to follow you to the Hall of… no, you just made that mistake, need to stop doing that… the Museum. Again, it was an easy sell, he was already freaked out by what just happened (you aren’t sure whether it’s more about the demon or what you did), and he was pretty pliable in the state of shock he was in.

So here you are, making your way back to the Museum with 2 mundanes in tow, working out how you are going to explain this to them, and worse, how you are going to explain this to Maxwell.

Have fun with that!
-Your Keeper (that doesn’t sound creepy at all!)

To Chuck

Spoiler:

Chuck,
Ok… wow… so, yeah, it’s been a day, right? Maybe we need to take a second and recap to see if it all makes any sense at all, because so far, it doesn’t. Today started out so normal, when did it all go so crazy?! Well, ok, that at least is an easy question to answer. You’d probably say it was right about the time that that… well, that THING dove out of the sky and started trying to claw out your eyes. Yeah, that was probably the point that things started seeming abnormal, since to your recollection, you’ve never before had anything at all try to scratch out your eyes, much less some weird freaky flying baby-thing from a horror movie! Oh, yeah, that bit was a little out of the ordinary too. So those two things DEFINITELY rank in the top 5 list of weird things going on today. Ironically, they may not actually be at the top of the list!

So there you were, with a crow-baby from Hell seemingly trying to eat your face, when some girl just walks up and just… well, to be honest you are still not quite sure WHAT she did, but it was loud and ended with the half-werebat-thing just exploding into nothing, and the best part was your face was still attached to your head (where you tend to prefer it)! Though it will be hard to pass the scratches off as shaving cuts, and not only because you don't actually shave yet. Right before it went poof, it seemed like it smashed into a glass wall as it dove at you (you remember because you were sure it was the last thing you were going to see a half-breath before).

The odd thing is, after you got over your surprise at being alive, and verified you really were still in your body and not just a ghost floating above your crumpled corpse, you realized that the girl looked ALMOST as surprised as you did. Oh, and there was also some guy following her who you hadn't actually noticed until about then. He was looking at her with quite a surprised look as well.

Everything after that is kind of a blur, you haven't quite gotten back into sorts about the whole experience. You vaguely remember her maybe asking if you were hurt, telling you to follow her to the Hall o… wait, no, you definitely remember her mentioning the museum, though you were only half-listening and recall sort of nodding dumbly and following.

As she takes your through Fayfield on foot, your thoughts trying to make the jumble whole, you start to realize she must be talking about the Museum of Arcane Curiosities. You went there a couple times as a kid, the place always creeped you out but pulled you like you assume all creepy places pull kids. You hadn't really given it much thought for years, though, it is just sort of a place in Fayfield that no one really talks about much. You have NO idea why she (did she tell you her name? You feel like she might have, but you can't quite remember) wants to take you there, but as you realize and start to see the building coming into view, you start to wonder if following her was really a good idea. The other guy you hadn't given much thought of either, but now that you think about him, you are pretty sure you don't know him, but he does seem somehow familiar.

So here you are, your thoughts just starting to calm down enough to be coherent, enough for you to question your sanity and wonder if maybe this whole day is just a dream. Except for the pain starting to radiate from the cuts around your shoulders and cheek… dreams aren't supposed to hurt, right?

Ok, now you are here, too late to chicken out now. Time to see if you can add anymore crazy-arrows to your day's quiver!

Yours in insanity,
- Your Keeper

To Horace

Spoiler:

Horace,
Today is strange. No, not at first. At first, today was nothing, just another step toward tomorrow, like any other day. Until it wasn't. As you make your way by foot down the Fayfield streets, following the odd woman, you have a few moments to reflect on today.

Ah, the woman. You are quite sure that today is strange because of her. Well, it started being strange when she showed up. Hannah. Yes, she told you her name was Hannah, and she asked a lot of questions. Well, maybe not a lot, but considering the length of conversation you have with the typical townsperson (who seem to always have someplace else to be when they stumble across you), it FELT like a lot. And the way she looked at you… like she was trying to look into your eyes, like INTO them, see something she couldn't quite see… it was a bit unsettling, though she didn't seem to be aware she of it. She mentioned your mother, about her disappearance 50 years ago and her re-appearance 30 years later; she talked about information she felt you might like to know, and she invited you with her to the Museum of Arcane Curiosities. Most people don't talk about your mother's disappearance. At least not to your face, they wait until your back is turned, but few care enough to wait until you are out of earshot.

The Museum… there's a place you haven't heard anyone mention in a long time. It's right in the middle of town, but no one seems to ever actually go there or want to go there. You have been curious yourself, but never had much of an excuse to be bothered with it. Given your strange… abilities… you've maybe felt somehow kindred, but figured if you ever went you'd feel a farce, like the museum was a parody of your life in some way. You've always felt distant from others, different, and not just because you happen to be able to change shape… but knowing they can't do that never helped.

The Museum… and the things she was saying… they interest you, you want to know more, NEED to know more, about yourself, and she says she can help you learn more… just follow her to the Museum. So easy. But the way she looks at you…

Ultimately you decided to go with her, and while it felt like you were debating for hours, she seemed surprised how quickly you answered. Hannah… you don't know her, right? Why does she seem so familiar? Is that what it is? Familiar? Or something else?

So, to the Museum.

She took you on foot, you weren't actually terribly far, but along the way something even stranger happened. As you were following her, she veered off the path you knew her to be taking a bit. You got the sense that she didn't quite know WHY she veered, but you can't be sure. However, after a few blocks, you turn a corner and hear a yell, and see a boy (well, he looked to be early high school age, but you tend to consider most young men 'boys') cowering under the attack of a… a… bat? No, that was no bat. It was hatred on wings. Just SEEING it made your blood boil, made you clench your teeth and hiss unconsciously. You had no idea what this thing was, but you HATED it in a way you could not remember ever hating anything before. You still can't describe it, but it left you with a vague impression of a lawn gnome with bat wings and a bad temper.

Before you could react, while you were still having these jumbled thoughts wash over you, Hannah … well, you don't know what she did. She PULSED, like a sun exploding in a movie, with a chest-thumping thud of… of something you can't explain, but it felt POWERFUL. She pulsed with a bright light that wasn't light, your chest thudded, and the demon stopped dead in the middle of a dive at the boy's head that you are quite sure would have at the least torn off his nose. The CLAWS on it… they were rage sharpened to a point. You are still unclear whether the rage was it's, or yours.

Hannah… the thump almost took your breath away, and then she followed it with another burst of something you've never seen before. You are still processing, trying to understand what you saw, what you felt, but its result was the complete annihilation of the… thing. In a burst it was just GONE. You somehow felt it wasn't truly GONE, but it was certainly 'gone'.

She then seemed very surprised for a moment, and this somehow disturbed you. You aren't sure why. Actually, in retrospect, maybe THAT is why… you can always sort of read people, get a feel for their thoughts or intent… no, not read their minds, too bad, but just get a gut feel for what they are about. And you do not get this with her. It is unnerving.

After a few moments of looking unsure what to do, Hannah rushes over to the kid and asks if he's hurt. She then convinces him to follow her back to the Museum. He was pretty out of it, still seemingly in shock from the attack, so he was pretty pliable and had obviously not actually thought through his decision to follow, but given the circumstances, you weren't sure staying here would be a better choice.

Hannah… the Museum… and so the two of you follow her blindly toward the Museum with little idea WHY or what to expect, yet you both did so anyway. As we have established, Today is Strange (with a capital S). As you come into site of the large structure, you start to doubt your decision, but the pull of the Museum and the promised knowledge overwhelms it.

On to the Museum!
- Your Keeper


Session 1

Fayfield, 2018, spring, Monday afternoon (day 1):
(Pre-session)

  • Hannah Blue was sent by Maxwell to find Horace Teller and convince him to return to the Museum
  • Hannah found Horace and convinced him to return with her
    • Something about Horace grated at Hannah's consciousness, and she just generally felt annoyed and bothered by him, but she wasn't clear why
  • On the way back, Hannah had an odd sense/instinct, and decided to alter course back slightly
  • Chuck Wallace was attacked by some kind of winged creature walking on his way home from school
  • Hannah and Horace came across Chuck during this attack. Hannah used her magic to disperse the creature, and convinced Chuck to follow her for his own protection
  • The three arrived at the Museum of Arcane Curiosities

(Session 1)

  • They met Maxwell Williams, curator of the museum. He greeted them as he greets general visitors, with an over the top, theatrical and rehearsed "WELCOME TO THE MUSEUM OF ARCANE CURIOSITIES" with a bit of a spiel after
    Spoiler:

    As you approach this area of town, the Museum is impossible to miss. Which is odd, considering how most people hardly mention it. It is a massive structure, built like a fortress. At its front, what looks to have once been a gift shop has been converted into a coffee shop, and while people are occasionally going into and out of it, the museum proper doesn't seem to get a second look by any nearby pedestrians.

    As you enter, your footfalls tapping sharply on the marble floor and echoing around the large entry hall, the dim lighting, cool air and sheer scale of the room send a shiver down your spine, though you aren't quite sure which was the cause.

    From the back of the hall, a booming voice calls out (in an overdone british accent): "WELCOME to the MUSEUM OF ARCANE CURIOSITIES!" … a man emerges from shadows near an entryway from one of the side halls, walks towards you, while continuing "I am Maxwell Williams, curator of the Museum. Ah, Hannah! So you have brought friends to share in the treasures of the Museum?"

  • After getting that out of his system, he welcomed the 2, noted Chuck's wounds from the attack (bad scratches on face and shoulders, torn clothing), and got a debrief from Hannah. At first he was surprised to see Chuck, and unsure if he should speak openly in front of him
  • Hannah tended to Chuck's wounds, bandaging them with a first aid kit while secretly magically healing him. While doing so, she also gently probed to see if there was any demonic marker attached to Chuck, but found none with a cursory check
  • Hannah explained she felt she recognized the creature as a demon, possibly an Imp. Demons are rare if not completely unheard of in Fayfield, and Maxwell was visibly disturbed by and also somewhat skeptical about the occurrence
  • After some discussion, Maxwell explained to Horace why he had been brought in
    • Maxwell believes that Horace is the key piece at the end of a prophecy which Maxwell believes is coming due very soon
    • Maxwell notes he has had interactions with Laura Teller in the past, and has had some dealings with her, though she was not receptive
    • Maxwell tells Horace that he can help him discover more about his past, but also that he should not try to avoid prophecy, as the consequences can be great. He notes that Laura was trying to hide from prophecy, and it has been to Horace's detriment
    • After some obvious skepticism, Maxwell decided to share hidden information with the two
      Spoiler:

      The world… well, THIS world, has a veil over its eyes. Given the choice between knowing the truth and knowing a warm, comfortable lie, most people invariably tell you they want the truth, but choose the lie. It wasn’t always this way… once there was no one to tie the veil over their eyes, no one to keep it from slipping. And that time was trouble. We’ve come to believe that the reason those of this world cling so tightly to their safe reality may be a defense mechanism, because when confronted with the reality, most became monsters. Not literally, of course, but the things they did, the depths they sunk to to control and exploit the things they couldn’t comprehend, was mind-numbing. They became corrupted, mad with the thought of powers beyond imagining at their control, minds warped. We don’t know if it was ‘magic’ (which is really nothing but the intersection of the laws governing different worlds) that corrupted them, or if the corruption was inherent but stoked by the availability of magic, but whatever the case, the result was chaos.

      In order to protect the world from itself, groups formed to try to protect the realm. Some focused on driving ‘unnatural’ influences away, others tried to destroy them outright, and still others tried to separate the worlds. None of these approaches were terribly good, as these ‘worlds’ exist to hold up the edges of the others, basically, so working to isolate them weakens them all.

      Eventually, another approach was found to be effective. The idea of ‘natural’ is really just a way of defining things originating from this world, and supernatural just captures everything else. By denying the supernatural, making it seem to simply NOT EXIST, regardless of what your eyes see, somehow actually lessened the corruption, and ultimately lessened the risk. In fact, it was surprisingly easy.

      People of this realm, or at least most, crave ignorance. Their minds seem to find every possible way to explain away strangeness, to the point of disbelieving what is clearly apparent if it doesn’t fit into their world view. And this is where WE [Maxwell makes a sweeping gesture covering the museum] come in.

      Now, this is where things get weird for you. Did you ever see that movie, The Matrix? This is the point where I basically offer you the red or blue pill. I’ve thought about just showing that clip, or just copying that monologue, as it fits almost perfectly. Well, except all the nonsense about the pills and all the bloody robots that took over the world… rubbish, that, robots would never be able to take over, the influence of the Celestial realm alone would prevent that! And don’t get me started on… oh, never mind, none of this matters.

      So, do you want to take the RED pill or the BLUE pill?

      Hell, I have no idea which is which… ok, fine, fine, let’s stop with the metaphors. Do you want to learn the truth or have the memory of the last day wiped from your mind?

  • With deeper skepticism, a longer conversation was had, and Maxwell shared the fact that the Museum was actually the local front of an organization known as The Order of the Vigilant (the museum was originally The Hall of the Vigilant, renamed hundreds of years ago), that he and Hannah were members of this order, and their purpose was to primarily control fae influence in the area, though occasionally that branched into other supernatural aspects as well.
  • Maxwell made it clear that he was worried about the demon attack on Chuck. Demons are nearly unheard of in Fayfield, possibly because the town lies on strong ley lines tied to the Fae realm, which either drives back demonic influence, or the fae themselves may directly interdict any demons before they are noticed. There has been no known demon presence in Fayfield or the surrounding areas for hundreds of years, except for a single summons by a rogue practitioner a couple decades back. Maxwell doesn't know if it was just a random demon summon that Chuck happened to stumble on, or if it was a targeted attack, but he felt safer if Chuck would stay in the museum where he could be protected, and made clear that Hannah would definitely need to look into the matter
  • Chuck agrees to stay in the museum for the night, calls and tells his parents he is staying at Jack's house, a friend of his from school
  • Horace did not seem interested in staying, and felt like he may be forced to stay. Maxwell explained to him that he was free to leave, though he offered to have Horace go home, think about it, and come back tomorrow, but ultimately it was Horace's choice. There was talk of memory wipes (seriously, by Hannah, and jokingly by Maxwell to goad Horace), and ultimately Maxwell made it clear it wasn't necessary… that the outside world would not believe him, and would just assume he was crazy just like they assume his mother is crazy
  • Horace left, with Hannah trying to convince him to stay, and Chuck trying to convince him to come back the next day
  • That night, Horace returned to The White Hart to work. He overheard various gossip about a student at the local high school, Sam Hoffman, who had mysteriously gone missing. He was last seen Friday night at one of the local clubs, and it had just been updated to a missing person case. Knowing that people just disappearing would be especially upsetting to his mother, after his shift he spoke privately with her. He was afraid that, with no intervention, she would just go off and try to do something about it, and Horace wasn't sure what that would mean. He spoke to her of the museum, not details but vaguely about the fact that they asked to speak with him, and they spoke of some weird stuff. She did not seem surprised, but their relationship was not much on open communication, so not a lot of real information was shared. However, when Horace mentioned the coincidence of the museum visit, the disappearance, and his interest in maybe talking with them about it, she was suddenly, almost explosively, very adamant that Horace help the missing boy however he could
  • Chuck slept in a warded room in the museum. While he slept, Hannah snuck into his room and tried to dive deeper into Chuck's thoughts and essence. She places her finger tips (with focus runes aligned to this purpose) against his temples. As she probed, she met a strong resistance, and when she tried to push through it, it pulsed back at her with immense force, breaking her contact (figuratively and literally) and singing her fingers (1 harm damage)
  • As Chuck slept (unknowingly, at the instant of Hannah's probe), he had a vivid dream vision. There were many flashes, but those that stood out most were of a generally human figure that felt _wrong_, which was unclothed, had pale white skin, black pits for eyes and a wide mouth that extended from ear to ear with dozens of sharp needle-like teeth showing behind pulled back lips as it seemed to reach for Chuck
  • After Hannah quickly left from the surprise of what had just happened, Chuck woke from his fitful dreams. He wandered the museum a little, and was drawn to an area unknowingly, specifically drawn to a bladed staff in a case. While he was doing this, he bumped into another case and knocked a ceremonial scepter from its perch. The scepter fell crashing to the ground, and snapped just below the head as Chuck tried to catch it and accidentally stepped on it in the process. He tried to balance the head back on the scepter and replace it where it was then snuck back to his room

Session 2

Fayfield, 2018, spring, Tuesday Morning (day 2):

  • In the morning, news of the disappearance of Sam Hoffman had spread quickly
  • Maxwell and Hannah greeted Chuck in the morning (both stayed in the Museum overnight). Hannah (somewhat guiltily) asked him how he felt, and he told them about his dreams, though mostly focused on "THE TEETH!". Hannah avoided telling Maxwell about her probing. They checked on Chuck's wounds ("Wow, this is healing fast!"), did some more subtle probing, and verified they could find no sign of demonic tagging.
  • Maxwell noted the fact that he'd heard about the disappearance of a student of Fayfield High School, through signs and portents. After a few moments to let that soak in, he admitted he actually just heard it over the police scanner. Sam Hoffman was last seen Friday night at The Commons. He asked Chuck about Sam, but Chuck only knew him in passing. Chuck decided to go to school rather than hide out for the day, partially due to curiosity about Sam and wanting to look into it. Maxwell was hesitant to let him go, but let him.
  • Chuck heard a lot of chatter about Sam at school. He also spent part of his day researching details about the thing that attacked him, and Imps and demons in general. He didn't find much of interest that seemed viable, though the Internet was full of info trash
  • Chuck went straight to the Museum after school, spoke to Maxwell about his 'research' (Maxwell had a bit of a laugh about that… researching the arcane on the Internet can be futile if you don't know where to look).
  • Horace pieced together more information during his day shift at The White Hart, hearing that he was last seen Friday night at The Commons. After his shift, he returned to the Museum to tell them he was in and wanted to help investigate The Commons.
  • Chuck decided he wanted to help as well, and agreed to go with them to The Commons
  • None of the 3 frequented The Commons much… Hannah felt she was a little old for it now, though she had been there a bit when she was younger. Horace had been kicked out years back and wasn't supposed to return, and Chuck was generally not into social hangouts so had not really gone before either
  • They decided they would host an ice cream social to help them get the information they were hoping for, but in contacting The Commons, they were unable to convince them to allow this (something about health permits for serving food). Hannah decided to just go for it anyway, and the loaded up packs with ice cream from the coffee shop and walked to The Commons

Fayfield, 2018, spring, Tuesday Early Evening (day 2), at The Commons:

  • Chuck tried to be cool and smoke out back, met a 'friend' from school, Waldo ('Wally') who was smoking in back, alone, un-subtly watching three people a bit further down the wall (Erin, who was a girl Chuck knew from classes, and some guy he didn't know). Chuck tried to carry on a conversation, poorly, tried to pretend he was smoking, and ultimately annoyed Wally while pretending to be cool and completely failing at smoking while asking about Sam. Wally brushed him off and told him to go talk to Travis (Travis Kim) and get out of his (Wally's) face, since Travis was the last person to hang with Sam. Wally mentioned Travis was inside somewhere.
  • Horace approached Mr. Pagleoni (who was one of his old teachers from years back), who was helping the kid assigned to run concessions (and who had kibashed the ice cream idea), asking about Sam, and was told that Travis Kim was the last person with him.
  • Hannah set up her ice cream social in an out of the way room, and started wandering with ice cream to lure others to it.
  • Horace caught up with Hannah, and they went to talk to Travis Kim together in an upstairs room.
  • Travis Kim was in a room with a wall-shelf bar on one side, some couches in the middle arranged at 90 degrees for conversation, 3 kids hanging out on couches, 2 along wall, plus Travis, sitting at the wall shelf, staring blankly at the wall in front of him, rocking back and forth subtly. As Horace spoke with Travis, someone passed and bumped him. Chuck wandered in a little into the questioning and stood, listening.
  • Travis was freaking out, talking about how Sam was with him, and then just wasn't. He wasn't fully coherent, he seemed like he was still in shock, he described where they had been with a gesture, and kept explaining that everyone said he (Sam) had run away, but he just 'wasn't'.. .he was here, then he wasn't… this went on for a short time
  • During this exchange, Hannah suddenly realizes that Chuck is no longer there. She gets a sense of foreboding beyond thinking he'd just wandered away, and started trying to figure out where Chuck was when the wall near her rattled, and a picture on it shook. Meanwhile, unnoticed by Hannah and Horace, Chuck was viciously attacked by not-quite-Sam-Hoffman
    • Chuck was assaulted very suddenly, so didn't have time to get a good take on what was going on, but he suddenly had what ALMOST looked like Sam in his face, though we was also in intense pain at that moment and had extreme tunnel vision from the surprise and pain. However, he noted that Sam's skin was a bit pale, his eyes cloudy and dull, but his MOUTH… the cheeks had torn from the corners of his mouth back to his ears, his lower jaw distended a bit, and his teeth looked like they were sharpened to points and spaced out a bit more than what you'd expect
    • Sam drove him into the wall, locking fingernails that were like talons into his shoulder (3 harm +grappled) and attempted to bite Chuck's face, and the pain is excruciating. Chuck gouged Sam's eyes (1 harm), distracting it just enough that its bite missed, snapping just in front of Chuck's face, and it fell back just enough to break its grip (-grappled). The thing tore its claws at Chuck, tearing from R shoulder to L hip (4 harm). Hannah cast a freezing mist in the area to try to detect what was going on, and they got a vague sense of 2 people against the wall that had shook, but couldn't quite NOTICE them. Horace started noticing Hannah's panic and came over. The Thrall sensed danger in her actions, and swung wide, catching Hannah and Horace both with a slice to their arms and ending grappling Chuck's ribs (4 harm split between them, 1 harm to Hannah's L inside forearm, 1 harm to Horace's R wrist, and 2 harm +grappled to Chuck, holding his torso). Both experience the most intensely excruciating pain as they are struck
    • Hannah and Horace could suddenly see Chuck being held by the creature, which they could also see. Hannah cast a force missile at it (2 harm +forceful, which threw it into a wall for +1 harm, putting a cracked hole in the plaster), blowing it away from Chuck but also tearing it's claws out of his side (1 harm to Chuck as it's torn off). The creature is thrown to the side, into a wall, cracking the plaster and leaving an indent.
    • Horace reacts to sight of creature with intense anger and rage. He dives at it, stabbing repeatedly with knife with an unnatural fervor (1 harm + 1 harm from intensity).
    • The creature catches Horace's knife arm in its jaws and bites hard (3 harm -1 for avoid harm) and locks onto Horace's knife arm with its bite.
    • It holds its bite, working its jaws (later they realize it was burrowing its tongue into his arm - 1 harm)
    • Horace reaches behind its head with his other hand, and life drains it (first time Horace has done this, he doesn't realize what he's done, it just happens in the intensity of the moment) (1 harm to creature, 1 healed to Horace), healing and the creature collapses, unmoving.
  • After the creature stops, Horace continues stabbing it in rage (and continues stabbing until the start of the next session)
  • Hannah tries to heal Chuck, succeeding in healing 1 harm, but not realizing he is just dead, though his body is mangled, gore surrounding him, and guts spilled. She is desperately trying to revive him, push his insides back into him, and trying to get him to wake up. She has dealt with dead Fae before, but never a dead human, and she is near hysterical trying to revive him.
  • Chuck suddenly finds himself walking in the downstairs door from the smoke lot in the back of The Commons. He wanders in a daze and shock back upstairs to where Hannah and Horace (and his body) are. He vividly remembers the pain of death, and is in shock himself still. He wanders up, past Hannah and his body, and sits heavily on the couch
  • None of the 3 have really taken the time to notice anyone or anything else in the room as all this occurs, and the session ends with them all in their own form of shock and reaction to it.

Session 3

Fayfield, 2018, spring, Tuesday Early Evening (day 2):

  • Chuck wanders into the upstairs room in The Commons, stepping just past Hannah and his corpse, and sits heavily on the couch. Hannah notices in confusion, and asks Horace if he's seeing this also (he is). Chuck asks if he's a ghost, Hannah goes and pokes him (he isn't, or he's a very solid ghost). Horace finally stops stabbing the thing, all three start becoming aware of the room around them, and that the kids in it are just going on with their activities, starting to be lured by the ice cream. Horace and Hannah try to stop some kids or be noticed, and they just ignore them, or don't notice, and actively tripping/bumping them has them react like they tripped over their own feet. They notice the room feels somehow distant in a very subtle way.
  • Hannah wipes some of the green residue off of Chuck's body onto a Kleenex and folds it and puts it in her pack.
  • There is a quick discussion about what to do with the two bodies lying conspicuously in the room. Hannah convinces everyone to stash bodies in a gear box (a fairly large box containing various game accoutrement), presumably because she's worried that they might not be able to get them out cleanly. So they empty out the gear box, shove the bodies in (Chuck helps with Sam's, but is unwilling to help with his own), ward the box so that humans cannot open it, and the three leave, unnoticed. There is still a lot of blood where Chuck was (though Horace did notice that his knife was relatively clean, with only a very thick, almost black, highly viscous substance being all that came from Sam's wounds, and it didn't seep out).
  • The three go back to Museum and explain to Maxwell. Poorly. Maxwell was not expecting the trip to The Commons to be eventful, and was disturbed to hear that the attack occurred, more disturbed to realize this was the 2nd attack involving Chuck, possibly targeting him, and far more disturbed to learn that Chuck had died (and yet stood in front of him now). It was a disturbing day for Maxwell.
  • Maxwell tries to heal some of their wounds, and learn what he can from their wounds and residue, but realizes they need the bodies to really learn more. He does rule out demonic possession of those in the room, though, through a quick ritual in which they were all easily able to pass out of a warded salt circle.
  • Maxwell asks them to go retrieve bodies, but is hesitant about the fact that Chuck was attacked twice. He regards Horace for a while, then decides to lead them deep into the Museum into a hidden chamber, and opens a case nestled among various weapons, tools, implements, and artifacts. The case contained a staff, a foot-long blade extending from one end, silver with elaborate etched black lines running from end to end. Chuck recognizes this room, and that weapon, but doesn't mention it.
  • Maxwell opens the case, starts to reach for the weapon, stops with his hand extended toward it for a few moments, then steps back. He asks Horace to grab the weapon. At the moment Horace's hand closes around it, a thrum of power is felt by everyone, and Horace is jolted violently and repelled from the staff, dropping it immediately (1 harm damage). At the same instant, Chuck experiences a flash of visions, most of which went so quickly he cannot recall them, but images of the staff being used in combat stand out. Chuck quickly and unexpectedly steps forward to grab the staff. Maxwell tries to stop him, but Chuck somehow surprisingly moves too quickly to be intercepted. He grabs the staff and holds it, while Maxwell stands amazed and momentarily speechless.
  • Chuck quickly checks the spear, twists at its center, retracting the blade, breaking it down into 2 hand staves, reconnecting them into the full staff, extends the blade again, and then performs awesome flourish (in his head, though in reality it is about the equivalent of the 'star wars kid' flailing). No one is impressed, except Maxwell, who is still surprised Chuck is still holding it, while also shocked that Chuck didn't impale himself.
  • Maxwell decides to test the group, asking if they think they are prepared in case something happens again. Horace quickly answers "Nope", shaking his head earnestly. Combat music swells, a sense of anticipation fills the air, as Maxwell moves his hand Left hand from his right hip, steps back and flings his arm out toward Chuck, and 2 small projectiles fly out towards Chuck, as Maxwell yells 'Protect him!'. Horace sits back and watches, while Hannah reflexively throws up a barrier of air… which JUST misses stopping the projectiles, which hit Chuck in the head, and he falls down. Music scratches abruptly. Maxwell sighs.
  • Group goes to collect the bodies anyway, because they have no real choice; they can't just leave them where they are. Chuck decides to stay with Maxwell and train. Training goes poorly, Maxwell is frustrated, though Chuck does pick up some basics.

Fayfield, 2018, spring, Tuesday Late Evening (day 2):

  • Hannah and Horace take van to The Commons after hours. Hannah is decked out in black 'stealthy' gear, sneaking from cover to cover. Horace just walks in his clothes, taking a direct, open path. As they pull up, a police car is pulling out of The Commons.
  • They drive around the block rather than pulling in, but see no other police, so they pull into the side lot near a service entrance. Hannah tries to pick lock, nearly damages the lock and decides to take another path. She asks Horace if he can get in. Horace tries to open a window, but just catches sight of an alarm sensor just before triggering it, and decides to back down. Hannah enchants a lock pick set she'd brought and hands to Horace, who slides it into door jam and summarily breaks the jam away from the catch rather than a more subtle move (basically breaking the jam around where the lock would seat, rather than disabling/bypassing the lock itself).
  • They rush up, noting that there is a mop and bucket near the entrance to the room, and much of the blood is gone. Hannah magically boosts their strength and speed (a little too effectively, to the point that it is straining their muscles beyond their normal capability, which they'll feel later!), and they carry the entire box down to the van. In the process, they start hearing distant sirens, and as they work their way to the van, the sirens get closer. Only blocks away, they are wracked by indecision as to what to do, and finally Horace heads out front to distract the police while Hannah prepares to make a break with the van in a last ditch effort. As Horace gets to the front street-facing side of The Commons lot, he sees the police car approaching on the road. As it comes to the intersection in front of The Commons, Horace is preparing whatever he plans to do, but the car continues on through the intersection and off into the distance on to some other part of the town. Horace and Hannah slink their way back to the museum.
  • They bring the box into a room in the museum which looks to act as a large supply closet, with a number of items that look to be odd arcane components, jars of dust of varying colors, bottles of colored fluids, etc. Maxwell clears off 2 tables and they lay the bodies out on them. Maxwell examines what is left of Sam Hoffman's body, with a bit of excitement and zeal not necessarily befitting the respect that may be expected of the dead. He is grabbing limbs and pulling them around, holding them up to show his point, shoving his hands into its mouth and pulling apart to show how easily the mandible detaches and distends, etc. He occasionally grabs some powders or liquids or other items from around the room and sprinkles them, jams them, stabs them, etc, over/into the body. Meanwhile, Hannah examines Chuck's body. Chuck is stands over his body, holding the staff, blade extended, over his head pointing downward in an awkward attempt to guard it.
  • Examination of Chuck's body did not show anything unusual, it just seemed to be a normal body, pierced and shredded by sharp claws. The only notable thing was that the wounds had a vague, greasy green residue.
  • Conversation and examination continue, and ultimately Maxwell and Hannah determine the creature is not a demon, nor affected by possession, but there was definitely demon influence. Sam's fingers had dislocated at all the joints and stretched out into a claw-like shape, and his fingernails had thickened and curled and seemed to be almost talons. They were covered in a greasy greenish fluid. Green goo is found dripping from its mouth as well, and on a closer look at its mouth, though found:
    • Sam's mandible was dislocated and able to distend significantly
    • his cheeks had torn from corner of mouth all the way to the ear, exposing all of his teeth
    • his teeth looked like they were all canine teeth, though significantly sharper, and spaced out more than they should have been
    • his tongue seemed longer, like a rope or snake, and the end had a rough, sort of jagged, bony texture, reminding Maxwell of a lamprey tongue
    • in the roof of Sam's mouth, his palette had a deep hole extending up into his cranium. It was dripping with the green fluid
  • Maxwell, mid-sentence, suddenly gets a vaguely worried look, turns to a table and gets a wooden stick or dowel of some sort, grinds one end into a pile of dust on another counter, and then lights it with a bunsen burner. As it flares up, he turns and moves toward Horace, who was sitting along the edge of the room. Maxwell warns him to hold still, Hannah holds his arm down, and Maxwell thrusts the burning dowel directly into the center of the bite mark on Horace's arm. As he is doing this, a pebble hits Maxwell in the back of the head, he jerks back to see Chuck standing behind him, still in guard position, feigning ignorance (poorly).
  • In instinctive reaction to the sudden forced cauterization, while Maxwell is burning his right arm (with Hannah still holding it down), Horace moves to push him back with his left hand. As he makes contact and the pain in his arm flares, Maxwell's face looks like the blood drains from it (Horace life drained him, 1 harm, Horace healed 1). Maxwell looks both surprised and at the same time excited. Maxwell and Hannah instantly recognize the power Horace just released, and unmistakably recognize Fey influence in Horace. They know he isn't JUST Fey, unless he is well concealed in some way, because they would have detected this long before now.
  • Maxwell and Hannah confront Horace, driving him to tell them what he is, but he doesn't seem to be aware. Chuck is confused, watching as his mind slips from protecting his post-mortem self to watching this exchange unfold.
  • Maxwell explains to Horace that he is in some way Fey. He asks if Horace knows his father, or what happened to his mother in the decades she was missing (in a very indelicate and not particularly socially aware way, as Maxwell is very direct when he is pursuing information, just as he was with the bodies). Horace is not happy at the personal questions or the way they are asked. He decides to leave rather than put up with this, and walks dramatically to the door, out it and out of the museum. At least, that was his plan, but as he turns his back on Maxwell, Maxwell holds his hand up and clenches his fist, and the door to the room seals and Horace, expecting it to open, sort of walks into it. At this point, Chuck is turning against Maxwell and Hannah as well, perceiving the situation as them attacking Horace out of the blue and holding him prisoner, and Chuck wondering if he'd be next.
  • There is some discussion about what is going to happen next. At first it is somewhat antagonistic from Chuck and Horace, but Maxwell seems to notice his manner is causing some friction, and backs down a bit. He tries to explain the situation, explain that he isn't sure what is going on but knows that something caused Sam to change, and he wasn't sure what effect that bite would have, so he was trying to cleanse the wound and exercise any demonic influence that might have been asserted. He also explains that things are taking a dark turn, with 2 demon-related attacks in as many days, both targeting Chuck, along with discovering a Fae living under their noses without declaring itself, not to mention the fact that this Fae is the same person who was expected to be the fulfillment of prophecy, and that the prophecy was seemingly at hand. Then there is the whole Chuck situation which completely blindsided Maxwell. Chuck was not on his radar at all, and now shows up at the center of TWO unheard-of demon attacks, harmed by one and killed by the second, and then somehow both mutilated AND untouched by said attack… Maxwell tries to argue the case that it's understandable he's a bit ruffled.
  • Things cool down a bit, and the session ends as they decide it would seem they have some questions for Horace's mother.

Session 4: Interlude

(Read over "Paint it Black" cover by Hidden Citizens - https://fanburst.com/erispolis/paint... )

(Omnipotent camera): You see a dance club, an open floor crowded with people, in a large black room brilliantly lit by pulsing strobe lights, dancing laser lights cutting through a thick haze in the air, dozens of bodies move with a rhythm guided, but not quite confined, by the thrum of music that is felt as much as heard. As the view slides above the crowd, the impression is strongly reminiscent of a pit of writhing snakes.

The view moves in, focusing at the edge of the crowd, where a young man moves up on a woman from behind, pressing close to her as she dances; she jumps, startled, gives a disgusted grimace to him and moves away. He moves to another girl, tries the same move, and gets a similar response, though with a quick slap to the face.

Unphased, he moves on to a third. This time, with a look behind her, she smiles a little, but she still turns to the side a bit, making space between them with her arm. He leans in and whispers something in her ear; she looks him in the eye, puts two fingers to his chin, turning his head so she can speak into his left ear. He stands for a second, listening, then turns to look her in the eyes with an unreadable look. She smiles sweetly, gives a little shrug, and he suddenly turns from her and storms away from the crowd. Her smile melts back into a less friendly sneer as she watches him turn from her, then she goes back to dancing.

The view lingers on her, a look of contented concentration on her face as she moves with the crowd.

She suddenly looks up, nervous, looks around at the people surrounding her. Her lips part slightly as she scans the room around her, though it isn't quite clear what she is looking for. Her eyes widen, just slightly, almost imperceptibly, but the look of searching panic is subtle but unmistakable. The view spins around her as she spins the opposite way, looking more worried with each passing second, bumping erratically into those around her as she pushes through them.

Finally she shakes her head slightly, takes a deep breath, closes her eyes, and looks to be trying to regain her composure. After a few moments, she re-opens her eyes, looks around, looks to smile to herself with a short laugh, and she begins dancing again.

With a sudden, violent jerk, barely an inch of movement in an instant, she is gone. The crowd around her continues its writhing, convulsive churning, and the music plays on, the pulsing lights palpitate, inscribing vivid explosions of light. The empty space in the middle of frame slowly collapses.

The music becomes thicker, distant, muted, and seems to adjust to a slightly disturbingly off-key pitch. The view pans down, the bright flashes of light begin to feel more like they are merely underscoring and accentuating the darkness and shadows in the room. As the view nears the floor, among the thrashing legs of the crowd, lies a young woman. Atop her, a sickly-grey/white person… no, not QUITE a person; there is something distinctly WRONG about it… it is straddling the girl's stomach, pinning her shoulders to the floor with its hands, locked in a kiss. No, not a kiss; it's lower jaw is distended, it's lips not so much pressing against hers as they are wrapped AROUND her mouth, nose, and chin.

As the music throbs, the lights flash, and the darkness presses in, feet occasionally stepping on her legs and arms, bumping against her body. The thing sits almost unmoving, the way a vat of worms sits unmoving.

And with a start, she spasms, jerks, and her eyes tear open, cloudy and cold and dead.


Session 4

Jump to 4:00 to skip interlude - audio in this session is not great, was just a local single-track recording of the session, music sometimes overpowers and voices are passed through roll20 compression, but it's still listenable

Fayfield, 2018, spring, Tuesday Late Evening (day 2):

  • Horace attempts to leave dramatically, Maxwell seals the door and Horace awkwardly runs into it as he attempts to open it.
  • At this point, Chuck is turning against Maxwell and Hannah as well, perceiving the situation as them attacking Horace out of the blue and holding him prisoner, and Chuck wondering if he'd be next.
  • There is some discussion about what is going to happen next. At first it is somewhat antagonistic from Chuck and Horace, but Maxwell seems to notice his manner is causing some friction, and backs down a bit.
  • Maxwell tries to explain the situation, explain that he isn't sure what is going on but knows that something caused Sam to change, and he wasn't sure what effect that bite would have, so he was trying to cleanse the wound and exercise any demonic influence that might have been asserted. He also explains that things are taking a dark turn, with 2 demon-related attacks in as many days, both targeting Chuck, along with discovering a Fae living under their noses without declaring itself, not to mention the fact that this Fae is the same person who was expected to be the fulfillment of prophecy, and that the prophecy was seemingly at hand. Then there is the whole Chuck situation which completely blindsided Maxwell. Chuck was not on his radar at all, and now shows up at the center of TWO unheard-of demon attacks, harmed by one and killed by the second, and then somehow both mutilated AND untouched by said attack… Maxwell tries to argue the case that it's understandable he's a bit ruffled.
  • Things cool down a bit, and the session ends as they decide it would seem they have some questions for Horace's mother.
  • Group calls Laura Teller, Hannah uses her phone and holds it up in speaker phone for Horace to convince her to come. Horace convinces Laura to come to the museum to discuss, Laura tersely agrees (hangs up)
  • Laura comes, but is less than forthcoming with details. Horace tells her they say he's half fey, Laura just says "yeah, you're half fey" without any hesitation. Horace is surprised by the candor. Maxwell confronts her about not informing them of this in the past, but Laura is unmoved, and just wants to live her life
  • Maxwell tries to convince Laura that things are getting bad, explains the prophecy again (Laura wouldn't hear any of it before, and still wasn't particularly interested in having anything to do with it now either).
  • Maxwell details more aspects of the prophecy. Main take-away points:
    • Prophecy was first uncovered hundreds of years ago (about 1665) when a local man (no one knows who he was before this happened, he seemed to either not know about his past life or chose never to speak of it) went seemingly insane, obsessed by a prophecy that were the only words he could speak for years (in Latin). He became known by locals as Adi DoomTeller (Adi having the meaning 'first' or 'primevil'), or more commonly just "The DoomTeller". At this point, The Order of the Vigilant began tracking him and his prophecy.
    • While for years his obsession focused around just spouting the words of prophecy at anyone he could get in front of, after several years (documented in 1674) he assaulted a woman and 'got her with child'. The community ostracized her, and she came to rely on Adi to survive.
    • They had a male child in 1675, which she named Abdul Awwal DoomTeller. Little else is documented about Adi or the woman
    • The curse of the prophecy (being forced to speak it obsessively) continued to pass down to the first born of each generation of DoomTeller, though each generation the compulsion seemed to lessen
    • At the end of the 17th century, about 1695, The Order was actively attempting to lessen the visibility and influence of 'magic' and the supernatural. One aspect of this was an active campaign that ultimately changed the family name DoomTeller to simply Teller
    • Maxwell does not get into exact details of the prophecy, but explains that it essentially distills down to: The 15th generation firstborn must wield a mystical weapon to prevent the demon armies from consuming the mundane world
    • Horace asks if the 'mystical weapon' happens to be the staff Chuck is waving around. Maxwell admits it is, and Horace suggests that, clearly, Chuck is the prophecy keystone, and everyone can go home. Maxwell explains that that can't be true, but admits he doesn't understand why Horace can't touch the weapon or why Chuck can, but it's impossible because:
      • Laura Teller is the 13th generation firstborn of the DoomTeller (now Teller) lineage
      • Horace, being Laura Teller's first-born (and only) is technically the 14th generation, but with Laura gone for 30 years, he falls into the timeline of the 15th. Given the vague nature of prophecy and other signs that align with the current time period, Maxwell's assumption has been that Horace counts as 15th generation due to the timeline, taking generations as a timeframe rather than absolute lineage count.
      • Also, Chuck is no-one, his lineage is not being tracked, he was not on the radar in any sense, and the Order wouldn't have been that far off
    • Perhaps it really is Horace's first-born, but that leaves the problem of the potential demon invasion being fended off by an unborn child
  • Laura tells Horace he will work with them or get kicked out of his apartment (over The White Hart). She makes it clear that's as involved as she wants to get, and Maxwell tells Laura that he feels they really need to get more info soon, but lets her go
  • Horace tells Chuck that, if that IS his weapon, Chuck should just hold onto it. Chuck makes it clear he is more than willing to get rid of it as soon as possible.

Fayfield, 2018, spring, Wednesday through Friday (days 3-5):

  • After Laura leaves, the group has some down time
    • Hannah starts working toward trying to find a mentor for Horace to help understand what he is, and maybe how to take advantage of this. This mentor may be a past adversary of hers, possibly under current armistice
    • Chuck starts trying to figure out how to have an extended absence from his house. He talks about faking his death, but ultimately decides they should simply write a note saying he ran off, possibly related to Sam's disappearance. Hannah starts thinking Chuck may already know about his re-incarnation and has 'died' in the past, and starts side-eyeing him a lot to try to catch him in the lie
      • Maxwell goes back and forth between vials, papers, and other paraphernalia as the plan changes
      • Maxwell and Hannah start planning a ritual based around the run-away note which will spread a glamour of sorts which will cause locals to believe the story of Chuck running off, as well as overlook/hide his continued presence locally, even if standing nearby
      • Ritual will require: a vial of Chuck's sweat (he gives Hannah an empty vial), a 4 person ritual (including Chuck), a strong bond/familiarity between Chuck and Horace and Hannah
    • Maxwell tasks Hannah with combat training of the 3 of them together as a group, especially focused on keeping Chuck from being a danger to himself or others around him with the bladed staff. He shifted between guiding and observing that training, and doing his own research into current state and watching local situations
    • Chuck, Hannah, and Maxwell pretty much stay in the museum, Horace only stays during the day for the training sessions
    • Some Laura backstory (from Laura's perspective) is detailed, outside of character knowledge… Laura fell into Fey accidentally, but to escape, she believed she needed to have fey blood. She decided that mating with a fey and becoming pregnant would accomplish this, and so she did.
    • During training sessions, Hannah is subtly ("Hannah-subtly", which is not-so-subtle) probing into what exactly Horace is. She believes she learns something about him (but out of character we have to hold this for later)
    • Chuck subtly improves with the staff over time with their training. He finds that, the more he uses the staff, the better he gets with it. In his mind, this is normal, but OOC knowledge, the speed of improvement is significantly faster than would be expected.
    • Horace and Hannah spend some off-time having Hannah show Horace some of the areas of town that are friendlier to fey, or may have some slight fey presence
    • Chuck had no changes of clothes from when he first came in, so Hannah and Horace take him clothes shopping, avoiding anyone who might recognize him (fairly easy in the places they go). They get him hipster pants, ironic t-shirt, Scott Pilgrim-ish… Chuck isn't excited for the clothes shopping or style, but goes along with it. Chuck gets new wardrobe in museum.
    • In working together the three learn some details about each other:
      • Horace often moves in very quick bursts of speed when under pressure. His strikes and dodges move in quickly
      • Chuck seems to be slow and clumsy, but somehow still tends to be just out of the way of a blow, in just the right spot to strike, and taking a step just in time to be in a better position
      • Hannah is impressed as she watches the other two grow/improve. Hannah gains further insight into the world of the supernatural and those actually living within it, expanding her world view (and helping her bond with them)
    • Chuck hasn't been noticeably reported as missing yet, even after a couple days of training

Fayfield, 2018, spring, Friday Late Afternoon (day 5):

  • 8 hours a day combat training… at the end of 3rd day, Maxwell comes to observe. As the group breaks down, Maxwell confronts them, asking if they are done already, and if they feel they are ready. Horace again smiles and nods "Nope!". Chuck throws a stone at Maxwell in response, starting a live test
    • Chuck throws a small item/rock at Maxwell's head while he's asking (at the word "ready), intending to catch him off guard. Maxwell grins, deflects the object with his forearm (which was well-aimed at his head) and it crumbles to dust as it hits his arm. Maxwell flicks 2 small projectiles back at Chuck in response
    • Chuck was already moving as the first item crumbled on Maxwell's arm, moving just out of the way of the 2 projectiles. At the same instant, Hannah raises a force/air barrier in front of Chuck, just catching the 2 items, which explode against it into green and blue goo. Horace simultaneously tried to pluck one of the balls out of the air (attempting to throw them back); Horace crashes through the wall, grabs the remains of the goo and flicks it back at Maxwell, which spatters him slightly with color.
    • The group seems to hesitate, not sure whether they should retaliate. Maxwell responds by sidestepping, thrusting out his hands, and firing a wide horizontal plane of flame as Hannah's barrier falls, threatening all 3 of them, making it clear the test is not over.
    • Hannah attempts to magically increase her strength and throw the other two down out of danger. However, she misses the proper contact point for the spell and her spell collapses, and she doesn't have the force to succeed in moving them. Chuck had been attempting to dive behind cover, but Hannah caught him just as he started the dive, causing him to stumble. Horace attempted to ollie off the barrier and over the flames, but Hannah also interfered with him, and her barrier was already collapsing, so he didn't quite clear. In the end, Hannah took the full brunt of the flame blast across her chest, Horace is clipped by on the legs it as he leaps over, and Chuck leaps to the side, with the flames washing over just his left arm and side. As the flames reach them, though, they disperse into something like paint globules, spattering the areas hit with a burst of yellow, red, and orange color. Maxwell gives a humorless smile, saying "What, you think there would only be a single attack?"
    • Maxwell again moves straight into another attack while the group stands semi-stunned, laughing at each other being splattered in color, unsure whether to continue or not. He pushes his hands, flat, palm-down, at the ground, and for an instant the ground under the 3 shakes. Horace is distracted laughing about the paint, but Chuck scans the room for something valuable to threaten.
    • Chuck sees a scepter in a case, grabs it, raises it threateningly above his head, threatening to break it on the ground, and yells "ENOUGH!". Hannah starts to try to support Chuck, but as Chuck lifts the it, the head of the scepter rolls off of a broken haft, falls to the floor with a loud thud which echoes through the room alongside Chuck's exclamation, followed by silence and stillness as everyone stares at its fall in slow motion. Chuck realizes his mistake as he suddenly recognizes this scepter as the same one he had earlier accidentally broken when he was drawn to this room days before.
    • Maxwell's eyes widen, and he gets a far more serious, angry expression on his face. As he completes the motion of his hands, his fists clench as his eyes glare in rage. The ground under Chuck thrusts up, throwing Chuck up and sideways across the room, slamming him into a case 15 feet away (1 harm to his Right shoulder). Hannah and Horace are knocked off balance but still on their feet.
    • Chuck, from the ground by the shelf, takes his staff (blade retracted) and throws it at Maxwell. Maxwell waves his hands up and to the side, and part of the floor juts up but just misses blocking it, rather deflects its back, sending it in a spin at Maxwell's head. Maxwell jerks his hand up and catches it in his right hand and flinches.
    • Maxwell stops, staring at the staff, seemingly distracted from the 3. He is focused intently on the staff, his expression hard to read, almost one of longing, or possibly lust. Chuck yells "Now's our chance, guys!"
    • Horace drops to the floor and stands back up, tossing up something in his hand. As he winds up, it is suddenly clear that it's the head of the scepter Chuck had dropped and, with a burst of speed too fast for the eye to track, he launches it at Maxwell's head. It catches Maxwell in the left temple, drawing blood from his face (2 harm). As this hits him, Maxwell's eyes seem to re-focus, his expression flicks to disgust, and he flings the staff away from himself. It clatters to the floor, landing within arm's reach of Chuck.
    • Hannah is getting disturbed by how far this is going, so she tries to trap Maxwell, putting a spherical barrier around him, yelling "STOP!", attempting to stop the fight.
    • Maxwell touches his temple, sees the blood, briefly considers the dome, lifts his hand, and with a sneering grin, closes his fist hard, and the dome visibly shatters and collapses like broken glass around him
    • Unheard by others, the staff calls out to Chuck, almost pleading with him to pick it up. Chuck grabs his staff, and something in his head calls out for revenge. Chuck feels taken advantage of, needs to get back at the unprovoked attack, and feels the intense urge to finish this with Maxwell. He presses the release causing the blade to extend and lock into place, and lunges at Maxwell, trying to stab him through the bubble. The bubble collapses as he charges. Maxwell is just lowering his fist, and the scene plays out in slow motion as everyone watches. Chuck charging, staff extended blade first like a spear, directly at Maxwell, Maxwell's eyes sliding from the dome above him down to Chuck's movement, and a look of surprise and confusion washing over his face as Chuck quickly closes the distance. As Chuck is nearly on top of him, he raises his hands in front of him defensively, and as the blade reaches his chest, he claps his hands together, directly onto either side of the blade, and yells "STOP!" in a voice too loud to come from a person. The room echoes with the word, slowly fading to silence, and Maxwell looks down at his chest. The blade is pressed into it, blood already starting to show on the fabric of his shirt, Chuck frozen in place mid-step, his mind screaming to drive the blade deeper into Maxwell's heart.
    • The sight of blood shook Chuck, and while his body is still essentially paralyzed, he gives up on the attack.
    • Maxwell finally steps back, the blade sliding from his chest, about a quarter-inch of the blade tipped with blood, looks at the blade for a few moments and reluctantly lets go of it, and says "ok, I think that IS enough for the day"

Session 5

Audio in this session is improved, but one of our voice tracks got botched 15 minutes in, and I had to reconstruct that from my local audio, but it came out pretty well

Fayfield, 2018, April 6, spring, Friday Late Afternoon (day 5):

  • Everyone stands in shock as Maxwell's "STOP!" booms and echoes throughout the chamber, Chuck still poised mid-strike driving the bladed staff through Maxwell's chest, its blade piercing Maxwell's shirt and chest, blood already starting to bleed into the fabric around the tear, Maxwell's hands clapped around the blade
  • Chuck is shaken from his internal bloodlust by the shout, and lets go of the weapon, stepping back half a step, shocked at what he'd just done. Maxwell takes a step back, pushing the staff away from him, about 1/4" of the tip of the staff blade painted with blood, and it clatters to the ground. They all agree that's probably enough training for the day.
  • Maxwell asks Chuck what happened, Chuck responds he's not sure, he just suddenly wanted Maxwell dead, takes the weapon back after regaining his composure, retracts the blade, and collapses it.
  • Maxwell informs them that the ritual preparation has been complete (was in process over the last couple days):
    • Have a vial of Chuck's sweat
    • 4 people to do the ritual (Chuck, Hannah, Horace, Maxwell)
    • a strong bond/familiarity between Chuck and Horace and Hannah. Each person bound with the target must give an aspect of the glamour
    • A letter written in Chuck's hand (letter to parents about being upset by Sam's disappearance, Chuck hit that point in life where he saw his own mortality. He needs to go find himself, and maybe go find Sam, track him down)
  • Maxwell leads them to the room prepared for the purpose to perform the ritual
    • Circle in room split into 3 equal parts with space for all 4 to stand in it, one (Chuck, holding the note) in center, 3 at each opposing point on the divided circle
    • Each in turn speaks/describes and visualizes their aspect:
      • Hannah's chosen aspect was voice: Lower, more "bro-ey" voice
      • Horace's chosen aspect was clothing appearance: UPS uniform
      • Maxwell's chosen aspect attached to Chuck's weapon rather than Chuck, since Maxwell did not have the personal bond with Chuck, but had some bond with the weapon. The weapon looks like a ratan/bamboo cane
      • Chuck's chosen aspect was physical appearance: Looks like James Hong (older, shortish Chinese man)
    • As Chuck speaks the final aspect, energy glows from the 3 on the circle edges, flowing through the lines to the center, up Chuck's legs, and into the letter he holds, which appears to glow briefly, then the energy bursts and absorbs into Chuck, who suddenly looks like James Hong to those in the room, who says in a baritone 'bro-ey' voice "Cool…". After a few moments, Chuck returns to normal to those that were part of the ritual (though they can choose to see him as the glamour)
    • Ritual won't take effect until it is delivered and read by Chuck's parents
    • Group discusses how to get the letter to his parent's, Chuck just wants to mail it, but they decide to have Horace deliver it. He just places it straight into their mailbox and leaves.
    • World note: Chuck's house is 141 Green St, 4th house on the right (3rd house has crazy dog that has attacked Chuck) , big blue door
  • While waiting for the glamour to take effect (which probably will take until the next day):
    • Hannah starts trying to determine what Horace is. She somewhat creepily stalks him without him noticing, plucks hair off his clothes and lifts cigarette butts he'd just discarded.
      • She notices that the cigarette she successfully grabbed seems like the tobacco didn't seem to actually fully burn and doesn't match up with the typical burn behavior that would be expected.
      • Hannah already knows about one of the major fae heirarchies, the Summer Court (Seelie Court, or light fae) and the Winter Court (Unseelie Court, or dark fae). She knows that the Summer Court tends to be more friendly to humans and generally 'good' while the Winter Court is far less so.
      • She recognizes some traits of the Winter Court in what she observes in Horace. However, she overconfidently decides she immediately knows exactly what he is, and decides she knows everything she needs to know.
      • Hannah decides that Horace is definitely a werewolf (superhuman speed, fast reaction, coming in tired like he's been up all night, Winter Court), and starts trying to bait Horace into showing Alpha wolf reaction to her press for leadership. Hannah expects Horace to challenge, but Horace just falls in assuming she's trying to form a leadership style of the team. Hannah believes he's accepting her as Alpha.
    • Horace heads back to his apartment to rest, skips his work shifts during training, has fitful dreams that he's been having lately. Dreams where he's flying, crawling the walls, roaming the neighborhood from a low view… dreams he's always had, but have been far more prevalent lately

Fayfield, 2018, April 7, spring, Saturday morning (8-12) (day 6):

  • The group continues training as they have all week, though the dynamic is odd.
    • Hannah is trying to push/bait Horace into showing he's a werewolf, convinces he knows and is hiding it from them.
    • Chuck is holding back more than he was, now that he hurt and possibly nearly killed Maxwell. Also, Horace was not willing to make contact with the staff as well, so he was making Chuck use a broom during training. Chuck is NOTICABLY better using the staff than a broom.
    • Horace is constantly baited by Hannah, who is becoming more flustered by the fact that he isn't taking the challenge, but she takes this as proof that he's trying not to let on about what he is

Fayfield, 2018, April 7, spring, Saturday mid-day (noon-ish) (day 6):

  • The group feels the sensation of the magic they were involved in taking seed and spreading, and Chuck suddenly takes on his James Hong façade for a few moments before fading back to whatever each person chooses to see him as (himself or the façade, at least)
  • Maxwell returns, confirms he felt the glamour take effect as well
  • Maxwell says he just heard a report of another missing person on his police scanner, reported last night (Friday night) but upgraded to missing person just a few minutes ago due to the second incidence of youth disappearing.
    • Missing person reported as Ashley Hicks.
    • Chuck knows of Ashley Hicks, she was upper class to him (2 years older, he knows she was about 2 years older)
    • Hannah knew her as an underclassman (a year earlier)
    • Horace may have sold her some drugs once
    • Given that there are almost never missing person cases in the town, and this is the second in a few days, Maxwell believes this may be related
  • Chuck isn't aware that it was real yet, but he dreamed the previous Interlude Friday night, though he is still discounting this as a dream and isn't connecting it yet.
  • The group decides to break training for the day and starts researching into details about Ashley's disappearance
    • It was too recent for major news reports, though there are some flash news bulletins at local paper website
    • Chuck uses his phone to search, and really wanting to help, is constantly bothering Hannah with articles he thinks might be useful or interesting, though none of them actually are. Also, he's doing this in front of coffee shop customers, which earns him a lot of odd looks and some people leaving rather quickly.
    • Hannah hacked cash register to have web browser on it, and does some Internet research while appearing to work, listening for rumors among customers. She gets some useful info from social media.
    • Horace watches Chuck and Hannah researching, but finds some books (those Chuck was reading and some others) and grabs a book, flipping through it trying to find a bite mark matching the one he got. Horace doesn't find much, though he does find some details in a bestiary that Chuck had been looking at that might be relevant (which later Maxwell finds is indeed relevant, but it doesn't click until later/next session, but it does help Maxwell in formulating his eyedrops - see below)
  • Ultimately, they get the majority of their information from social media, where many students are talking about Ashley's disappearance, what might have happened, where she was, who'd seen her last, etc. It looks like she was last seen late last night (Friday) at The Pit, one of the more 'intense' teen hangouts in town, somewhere between a dance club and a rave. Ok, well, basically a rave with a fixed location. It is in the far SE corner of town (the 'bad' part of town, in-so-far as any part of Fayfield is 'bad'), near the train tracks, in an abandoned railway storage building under tressels.
    • She'd gone with friends, but she had decided to stay when they left
    • Someone mentioned she'd seen her have some sort of exchange with a guy, who left angrily
    • Chuck found articles with some interviews with a few friends and parents, but it was too early for any real details to be found there
  • They decide to go to The Pit during the day, before it fills with people.
    • Hannah is familiar with The Pit, knowing it opens its doors at 9pm. Current time is 5ish, they decide to go while it's still light.
  • As they are leaving, Maxwell catches them, and lets them know one of the things he's been working on the past several days that may help
    • He's been studying the green fluid being excreted by the remains of Sam Hoffman
    • He's magically distilled it and made eyedrops that he believes, if applied to the eye, may help to be aware of anything like whatever Sam is. He has not had time to test it, so is unsure exactly what will happen, and warns not to ingest or otherwise use.
    • Maxwell seems more excited about the discovery and his work than confident it will be perfectly safe, and is not exuding confidence in its abilities. The group is skeptical.
    • Maxwell provides them 3 vials in containers like clear saline eyedrop bottles, the small sized ones. The fluid is greenish with gold flecks
    • The group asks Maxwell a number of questions about the use, but he just replies to all of them "untested". He would really appreciate a field test report from Hannah though!
    • Horace takes his and puts it in his pocket
    • Hannah takes hers and puts it in her dimensional pocket she'd just perfected (formed by making a circle with her hands and sliding objects through)
    • Chuck takes his and puts it in his backpack
  • World/character details learned:
    • Hannah's past knowledge about Fae (not yet shared):
      • One major heirarchy:
        • Seelie Court (Summer Court)
          • More friendly with humans
        • Unseelie Court (Winter Court)
          • More vicious/uncaring about humans
    • Chuck's staff is made of silver
    • Museum has computers, but very old technology. Hannah get them set up when she came onboard, pulling Maxwell into the 20th century, but just barely into the 21st.
    • Coffee shop name is: Coffee Arcana
    • Horace is secretly into old books, Raymond Chandler, etc
    • Date is set, started on April 2, 2018, current date is April 7th, 2018

Session 6

Fayfield, 2018, April 7, spring, Saturday early evening (about 5) (day 6):

  • The group prepares to head to The Pit to investigate the disappearance of Ashley Hicks last night, choosing to go at 5pm when the club is closed and there are still a couple hours of light
  • Hannah grabs
    • Eye Drops (dimensional pocket)
    • Flashlight (clipped to her belt)
    • Extra phone batteries
    • Rope (rope bracelet woven into bracelet)
    • Sundry things hooked to her belt
    • Dressed like they might go clubbing later (evening makeup)
    • Lockpicks
  • Chuck takes
    • Eye drops (in backpack)
    • High school backpack
    • Staff broken into 2 pieces, 1.5 ft length each, tucked into backpack
    • Found protective padding in armory, wearing under clothes (1 armor)
      • Perceived as Cosby sweater under UPS jacket in James Hong glamour
  • Horace just goes as normal, with knife strapped to boot
    • normal = jeans, long duster, A shirt
  • The Pit
    • Far SE part of town, near(/under) train tracks. "Bad" part of town
    • 1.5 miles from museum
    • entrance is below an old train tressel, a large abandoned and repurposed train depot storage building, semi-underground
    • Small discreet sign saying "The Pit" over an otherwise non-descript door in a concrete wall in a narrow valley
    • Parking lot above entrance a block or more away
    • Door is heavy but not high security
  • The group walks, and are amused by people's reaction to their group as they go (no overt reaction, but a lot of looks). They encounter no major situations in transit
  • Hannah unscrews plate over lock guard, pops it off to start picking lock, and Chuck thinks she finished and just steps up and opens the door, and it pops open. Chuck: "Nice job picking that lock, Hannah!", Hannah plays it off like she did something
  • Behind the door is a nearly pitch black hallway which seems to open out into an empty abyss. Dust/smoke can be seen hanging in the air as thick as smoke, and tightly defines the beam of Hannah's flashlight
  • As they prepare to enter, Horace puts eye drops into his eyes, and is met with extreme, intense pain, and yells out
    • Horace experiences a sense of disassociation as the world gets a little fuzzier, red tinged, slightly darker.
    • As Horace yells, Chuck and Hannah both hear him. Hannah turns to look, and doesn't see Horace. Horace is speaking to Chuck and Hannah, but they seem to be ignoring him. Chuck and Hannah are just noticing there is someone else near them at the door, surprising them and putting them on edge.
  • Horace decides to take his eyedrops, walks up to Hannah, and squirts her in the face with it. As he approaches her, she recognizes SOMEONE approaching, is aware that Horace is no longer there, and decides this mysterious figure is somehow involved. She starts to try to trap it magically, but as she focuses on the figure, she loses track of it. Suddenly, she feels a burst of pain in her eyes, clenches them shut, and bull rushes the figure out the door.
  • Chuck sees someone bump into Hannah, then Hannah disappears before his eyes. Chuck pulls the bladed half of his staff out of his backpack, and extends the blade. The door he's holding bumps slightly, making him more nervous.
  • Horace is surprised as Hannah bull rushes him out into the daylight, he falls to the ground, dropping his eye dropper bottle, and Hannah stumbles as he falls. After a moment, they recognize each other and start realizing what has happened.
  • Chuck, getting no response, heads into the dark (with no light) thinking the other two are inside, bladed half-staff leading the way.
  • Hannah convinces Horace to go squirt Chuck in the eye. Hannah follows, her flashlight providing some light in the room, though Chuck does not see a source (and is a little too nervous to consider this fact).
  • Horace catches up to Chuck as they both enter a large, dark, open room. Horace moves to Chuck's side and squirts the bottle into Chuck's eyes. As he does, Chuck feels the intense burning pain in his eyes, is briefly blinded, and freaks out, starts swinging his staff wildly, thinking he's being attacked. Horace leaps away and barely dodges out of the way as Chuck's blade tears a hole in Horace's duster right where his heart was a moment before. Horace falls down as he's leaping away.
  • Hannah magically holds Chuck while he is in attack mode, and this gives him enough time to get his bearings, recognize Horace, and the 3 are again aware of each other, all 3 in extreme pain, eyes watering.
  • They find themselves in a large, open room, nearly pitch black other than very small guide light LEDs that do nothing to light the room. The walls and ceiling are so far it seems like an empty abyss.
  • No one looks up.
  • As they scan the room, they see a wide open area taking up most of the center of the room, presumably a dance floor, a few support poles toward the corner of the open area each of which have steps up to a raised dais, which has another raised cage in the center. A DJ table is on another raised area at the far center end of the room, one wall is basically a large mirror, another wall has a large mural, and there is a bar in the near right corner
  • No one looks up still.
  • Chuck notices the large mural (was a train map, has been overlaid with a plastic layer and graffiti), and it triggers memory of his dream. At this point, he realizes the Session 4 Interlude, his dream, took place or will take place here. He tries to convince them that he's seen this before. He explains that he saw someone getting consumed by a creature with teeth. He points to the general area he thinks this might have occurred, though the room was filled with people then so it's a general idea of location
  • They continue not looking up.
  • They see (from afar) a discoloration on the ground to the edge of the dance floor area. They don't investigate yet.
  • They continue looking around the room, Hannah investigating the cages, Horace "investigates" the bar
  • As they search, they start noticing the vague smell of something dead, like the rot of a corpse
  • They continue not investigating Chuck's spot on the floor. They also continue not looking up.
  • Hannah expresses that she doesn't know what to do next.
  • She crosses her arms, flashlight in hand, and it shines on the ceiling. No one looks up at the lit ceiling.
  • Eventually, Hannah is thinking about what to do, and happens to look up. She sees a ceiling.
  • Chuck and Hannah finally decide to check out the discoloration on the floor. It is either blood, or it isn't. Just as they start to investigate, Hannah's cell phone rings (piano crescendo tone). Chuck jumps, Hannah is slightly startled. She pulls it out of her back pocket, sees that it is Maxwell, and answers.
  • Maxwell, on the phone, tells Hannah he has "lost his rat". Hannah has no clue what he's talking about. Apparently, he was testing the eyedrops on a rat, and it … exploded, maybe? He warns them to maybe not try the drops, but Hannah lets him know they already have, and they didn't explode. Maxwell tries to get a field report on the drops.
    • As he's getting details, and Hannah tells him they moved trans-dimensionally, he suddenly lets Hannah know he needs to get back to her and hangs up.
  • They start realizing their eyes are not burning as much, the room is less distant, the smell is less noticeable.
  • As they realize this, Chuck looks at the floor discoloration again, and while they had thought it was blood at first, they decide it's just something someone spilled, clearly not blood.
  • Maxwell calls back
    • He expresses concern about where Hannah is, but feels it is ok as long as they are alone. He found reference to something like this (well, like what Sam is), and while he hasn't been able to fully research yet, these are some points he believes are likely true:
      • It is an ambush predator that hunt in crowds
      • It avoids contact when alone or with individuals
      • It may not be visible
      • The eyedrops may help to locate it
      • It is probably hiding or nesting when there is no one around
      • The group is probably safe while they are alone, may be a good time to hunt for any creatures
    • Maxwell lets her know suddenly he needs to get back to her, and hangs up again
  • Hannah suggests finding it or getting out of here, Chuck suggests waiting until crowds arrive to lure it out. Hannah counter-suggests hiding out in a storage room or bathroom stall.
  • They ultimately decide to search the lower level, where they assume any administrative offices, storage, environment control, etc., might be. They head down stairs they find just off the main room.
  • As they go down the steps, Horace and Hannah both re-apply their eyedrops. They curse again as the pain resumes.
  • As they disappear, Chuck decides he doesn't want to go through that again, offers to go search the walk-in freezer (The Pit doesn't serve food, so likely doesn't have one), and heads back up the steps.
  • Chuck then realizes it is very dark after Hannah goes down with the light, decides he's more scared of the dark, and runs back after them. "Hey guys, wait for me!"
  • At the bottom of the stairs is an unlocked door with an "employees only" sign on it
  • Hannah slowly opens the knob, then flings it in suddenly, ready for death on legs right on the other side! As she flings it open, she is met by darkness in a short, empty hallway. And a distinct lack of death on legs.
  • As they enter the hallway they notice the smell of death is far stronger here. They think to find a light-switch on the wall and turn it on, and a single incandescent in the middle of the ceiling flicks on. They immediately see that there is a body on the ground nearby against a wall in the hall. Well, most of a body, at least; it is only the bottom half, about waist down, wearing a skirt and high heels. So maybe not a TOTAL lack of death or legs.
  • Chuck looks closely at the corpse, deciding that it looks like the top half has been eaten. They try to tell if they can identify the body, but there's not enough to determine anything other than female.
  • Chuck pulls out his weapon and assembles it fully, as Hannah's phone rings again. Maxwell again, with a little more information
    • He thinks they should look in areas where it won't be noticed
    • While it likes crowds, it doesn't want to be caught alone
    • Unless you are in a crowd, or directly threatening this creature, or contesting a kill, or some other major direct threat, the 3 of them should be safe
    • Mostly, he wanted to remind Hannah to pick up another rat on the way back
    • As an afterthought, after Chuck reminds her, Hannah tells Maxwell they found a body, and Hannah texts him an image. He isn't fazed at first, but on realizing that they are in the basement of The Pit, with this body, he starts seeming very nervous, and tells Hannah they may need to get out of there quickly. In fact, they SHOULD get out quickly.
  • As Hannah explains why she texted him a pic of the body, misunderstanding Maxwell's point, Maxwell tries to get a point about the body across. Before he can make his point, Chuck suddenly notices a door on in the hallway ajar and moving slightly, and quickly catches the insanely fast blur of movement shooting across the hall at Hannah, and yells out "Hannah, look out!". and Hannah turns just in time to see the blur of a woman slam into her, it's hands tearing into her chest and shoulders, gripping tight, and slamming her into the wall with the full weight of its momentum (3 harm, and held).
  • As it hits her, she drops her phone. The scene follows the camera, skittering across the ground, as Maxwell yells from the other end "Hannah? HANNAH?! HANNAH!!!!", and the phone flashes "Call Failed" as the session ends

Session 7

Summary coming soon


Session 8

Summary coming soon


Session 9

Summary coming soon

Yeah, I could definitely do that. Especially now that the new job doesn't have me getting up quite as early.

IN.

Great, with 2 in I can start taking this seriously!

I still need to get my legs under me for how best to run this, but looking at Roll20.net, that looks like it will work all right. I think Tabletop simulator could have been a better implementation (they have a mod for MotW), but given a slightly higher barrier to entry, Roll20 should be fine.

I think that once we've locked in who is interested, I'd like to do an intro session that's basically a meet & greet, working through technical details (getting into Roll20, ensuring voice works, etc), and initial quick rules breakdown and then character creation. This will give me a slightly lower pressure chance to get everything in Roll20 setup, get a feel for group dynamics, and see what the team makeup looks like before planning out the mysteries. It also gives time for players and keeper to think about their characters and the world, come up with cool ideas, and keeps the first session from being crazy long.

I figure that first session will likely be shorter than typical, and may help us gauge as a group what we'd like typical length to be... given the late starting time, I figure these will probably be 1-3 hour sessions unless we get really into it, and may need to split mysteries into multiple sessions. Shouldn't be a problem other than potentially not wanting to wait a week to find out what happens next. Network TV has trained us to handle that, though, so we'll live.

First session could test out a desired timeslot, or we could try to do it outside the expected time if there is availability. As mentioned, I'm available pretty much any night of the week from 10pm - 4am or so (Pacific), I'm totally flexible within that hour range but very little flexibility outside of it.

To get a taste for the system and especially the character playbooks available (basically, classes), here are links to the free PDF versions of the manuals. It's probably worth throwing them $12 for digital or $25 for physical+digital versions of the full manuals. However, really, all you NEED to play is the free resources they provide here, as long as the keeper has the full manual.
https://www.evilhat.com/home/monster...

Specifically, grab this to see a list of the hunter types:
http://www.evilhat.com/home/wp-conte...

And this for a hunter reference sheet detailing basic moves available to all hunters:
http://www.evilhat.com/home/wp-conte...

Things to think about:
Ideas for possible team concepts, and your own preferences for character playbook/concepts
Ideas for desired setting, time period, location, etc.

I could likely do some Friday/Saturday nights.

I'd be happy to help implement any assistance with Roll20. I'm interested in looking to see if there are for means for for fill character sheets we could make.

Not sure if you'll want to open it up to these, but there's a few more hunter classes (both official extras and fan made) on the Generic Games website: https://genericgames.co.nz/files/#mo...

MikeSands wrote:

but there's a few more hunter classes (both official extras and fan made)

I was thinking of opening it to any of those summarized in the revised versions playbook (that pretty much includes all those linked above), though I feel the original set is the best written and fleshed out, so as my first time running (and possibly players first time playing) it may be best to stick to those at first.

Some of them seem like they might work well, but something about the idea of having Scooby Doo (literally one of the models for the meddling kid playbook in all but name ) potentially eviscerated and consumed by my monsters hurts a part of my childhood.

JMnITup wrote:
MikeSands wrote:

but there's a few more hunter classes (both official extras and fan made)

I was thinking of opening it to any of those summarized in the revised versions playbook (that pretty much includes all those linked above), though I feel the original set is the best written and fleshed out, so as my first time running (and possibly players first time playing) it may be best to stick to those at first.

Some of them seem like they might work well

Yep, there's a reason that they are "extras".

The Hard-case and Snoop fit in to a regular game easily, but the Meddling Kid adds a lot of craziness, and the Exile and Summoned will both bring a lot of baggage into your world. Reid San Filippo's hunters are good too but very specific concepts.

but something about the idea of having Scooby Doo (literally one of the models for the meddling kid playbook in all but name ) potentially eviscerated and consumed by my monsters hurts a part of my childhood. :)

Haha, that's perfectly understandable!

Amoebic wrote:

I'd be happy to help implement any assistance with Roll20. I'm interested in looking to see if there are for means for for fill character sheets we could make.

There's a Monster of the Week github template for character sheets out of the box in Roll20. I'm not 100% satisfied with it, but it looks functional and accurate, so at least short-term that one will probably work. I could see myself forking it and updating to be a little more the way I'd like to see it, but short-term it looks quite functional. That said, I'm also always up for any help with setup/prep/hints, etc. I have a test game I've already created, I can send invites for that to start prepping the tech side

I am in. Most nights post 10pm I am free with the occasional night where hockey schedules an 11:15pm game.

Ok, I created a roll20 game, easiest way to invite I guess is to post the link here. I don't expect a flood of people, but if for some reason that doesn't work out, I can recreate a new link later. Those able to make the 10pm+ time slot, feel free to join, we can work out actual participation and days either here or within.

https://app.roll20.net/join/3059913/...

Were you going to do a full session tonight or a session 0? I've got surprise baby sitting, so I'll be a few minutes late either way.

I hadn’t actually set an official date/time for start, I was thinking next Saturday, but was hoping to get 1 more player saying they were in. I’d like 4 players, right now I have Amoebic, Kazar, and kazooka as “in” with J.C. and MikeSands showing potential interest but no actual commit yet. We can definitely make it work with 3, though (even just 1 or 2 if we had to).

Also, tonight I probably won’t be available until 11 (an hour later). I wouldn’t be against doing the shorter intro session late tonight, at the least see if there is any general consensus or ideas on setting, team concept, etc, but if we do full a 4th player seat, I’d definitely prefer they were part of that. We can always work in a 4th or 5th later, just nice if someone is joining this early if they are part of that intro.

Oh, JMnlTup, I don't think I can actually play... I was just chiming in due to my prior interest in Monster of the Week

I wouldn't mind joining you in theory, but I'm pretty busy right now. That said I see that NZ time for that slot is currently 3 hours earlier but on the next day. Perhaps I can fit in a guest appearance some time?

Yeah, I figured you were just commenting and not expressing ability to join... no problem, just wanted to be clear on what I knew so far.

Ok, @amoebic, @kazar, @kazooka (I wish there was an actual way to tag individuals, if I don't get a response here I'll follow up in another way), and the mysterious 4th person just waiting to make an entrance (you know who you are! ... I wish I did. :

How does next Saturday (March 3, 10pm PST (-8UTC, so 6am UTC) work for all of you? We can schedule our initial meet then, if it works for you all. If you know of another who would like to join, please feel free to point them here or towards me or the Roll20 link ( https://app.roll20.net/join/3059913/... ). Again, I think ideally I'd like 4 players, but anything 3-5 will work out fine. I'll ask my wife if she would want to fill a spot, but I have a feeling I know the answer already.

Also, the first meet-up will probably not be an actual session, it will probably be more character and world creation and ironing out any technical comms details. If there is a time ahead of that we could all meet up to do that early and have Saturday be a real session, let me know and we can work that out... alternatively, if we finish quickly enough Saturday, I could just wing it with what we have and see where that goes .

A couple other things.
1. Please join the Roll20 game linked above ahead of time, be sure you can start the game, etc.
2. We need to decide on the best way to communicate outside of sessions... we could a) use the Roll20 forums, b) start a Slack channel, c) we could just use this thread (I find that starts getting overwhelming and hard to follow), we could use a Twitch Messenger (i.e app formerly known as Curse), or any of the dozens of other options.
I lean towards b (slack), but I live in Slack so that may only be convenient for me. My 2nd choice would be the Roll20 game itself, it's forum notification seems to work well enough

3. We can discuss during session, but wanted to get an idea of your in-session comms preferences... I personally like running voice and video, I've gotten far better participation and group cohesion that way than just voice, but wanted to get other opinions ahead of time rather than making anyone uncomfortable on the spot, and won't force anything. I haven't used Roll20's built in yet, if it is good enough quality, that's an easy option, or we could use Twitch, Google Hangouts, etc... give me any thoughts or opinions.

4. Provide confirmation of the above (time, and if there is any desire to do a pre-session ahead of time)

5. Recruit player #4 ... or don't.

I'm excited to get started!

Small caveat. Normally every weekend I am available. But the March 3rd is one of the rare ones I am not. I am out of town from Friday afternoon til Sunday morning and have two Ice Hockey games Sunday night. I can meet another time to do the pre stuff, or maybe if you can give me a summary I can do it on my own.

(cross-posted to Roll20 forum and here):
Ok, so trying to figure out the best place to handle out-of-session communication... I posted to the GWJ forums (here), but I can't get them to send me notification and I'm not sure how often others read that, so I thought that either the Roll20 game forum or Slack might work well. In both cases, I'd need everyone to join whatever we use (I have Kazar and Amoebic in both already, but couldn't find Kazooka in Slack and he hasn't joined the Roll20 game yet, so not sure if Slack will work for him or not)

​I pro-actively created the #monsters-after-dark slack channel in the GWJ slack server in case that works out, and I've posted here. We could use either of these (whichever works out) to handle the current pre-session needs of discussing team concept, world preference, and any playbook preferences (the playbooks will be unique in the group, so just need to be sure there's no duplication, OR we discuss good reasons why we should bend that rule). We still need to do actual character creation together via voice at least, but early discussion will make that go faster.

​It's looking like first session might be March 9 or 10, since Kazar is away this weekend... if we have a chance to do a prelim-session before that, the first official session could be an actual mystery, otherwise it will just be character creation. If I can get a feel for your world preference and team build ahead of time, though, I COULD have a mystery prepared for that session that we could start on immediately following character creation. Or I could just do an ad lib mystery that first session as a last resort, but I'd prefer to have something prepared.

Oh, I'm here, just busy. Sorry. I'll join the channel when I'm home.

I don't know how everyone else feels, but I'd push for a setting where all the players are in high school.

High school... that cuts down some backstory options (though I guess not everyone needs to be in high school, or even students... could have a teacher by day, monster hunter by night situation), but provides obvious reasons you'd be acquainted, and gives some lighter pressures (well, less life threatening and more life influencing, though in situ they can feel life threatening!). I'm a couple decades out of high school, so my view of it is purely what I see on TV, so as long as you aren't turned off by that interpretation, it would be possible.

I'm curious why you'd like to see that, what role high school and high school life would have in the character's version of the world, etc. Other thoughts (about this core idea or other suggestions)?

It gives everyone a common setting and a shared sense of place. It's also an experience that almost every player has a strong connection to, and brings out interesting storylines because of that. It's also a touch lighter than a straight up Supernatural style monster adventure.

It's just a suggestion, but it's worked really well in the game I played.

I can go either way with whatever setting the Keeper of the current arc (JMnITup) wants to run.

If we want to do high school I'm cool with it as a setting or location, but I'm not sure I want to willingly limit character selection to being only a group of teenagers if it's not integral to the plot? (I mean, unless it's a selecting-from-a-stack-of-pre-mades situation with a need for that much railroading to fit a tighter timeline or story arc makes sense kind of thing).

If this is to be open ended, I'd prefer to set general details like universe, town, high magic or low magic or no magic, group types (cult? organization? fbi? bounty hunters? gang? monster vs monster? human vs monster? human vs human? etc et etc) and then work in finer details before start limiting what kind of characters people can choose to play.

I feel like day 1 should be world building into character creation. From that, Jm can either

1) Give us perimeters on what fits his campaign for us to work from, or
2) tell us yay or nay if some of our ideas or hopes fit any notions percolating in his brain for building the narrative arc for the game, or
3) use the information we meddle with on character creation day to build a narrative

just a few options, anyway. I guess what I'm trying to say that if we're looking for details regarding group collab, we should save it for the table during character creation.

I think I mostly wanted to a) get some inspiration on the first possible mysteries and arc, and b) not have to wait so long to actually play. I can be very patient, but I don't LIKE to be.

As Amoebic, my only real hesitation with a high school based setting is the apparent limitations it puts on character type/background. That would probably be fun for one-offs, but for a more open campaign I'd want players to be less limited in their options. However, as I thought through that, I realized it didn't FORCE everyone to play a teen student, and even if it did, nothing says we can't take some liberties with how possible it might be for a high schooler to be part of some secret society, a young government agent, etc. It worked for Buffy.

That said, I like challenges, so I'm totally fine with having to run a campaign that challenges me a bit or takes me a little out of my comfort zone (not that a high school setting is really anything crazy, I've just never done it). As mentioned, I mostly just wanted to get a head start on planning, and even the idea presented gave me some ideas that bore fruit, and I now have a pretty good foundation that will work in almost any current-world circumstance, whether based from high school or out of town mercenary/govt group, or anything in between.

I agree with what Amoebic said (and what I previously said before I started prodding for early details), we should use the first meet to plan out characters and world as a group, and what I've started putting together will survive (with a little tweaking) whatever wrenches you all throw at me. I'm just champing at the bit. Still, the conversation was useful to get me thinking, so thanks!

I never really got any confirmations, but haven’t heard any “can’t make it”s either, so just a reminder, tonight (Saturday), 10PM Pacific (1am Eastern, 6am UTC) we will meet in Roll20.

Will be there with bells on!

I'll be there!

OMG SO GOOD. I'm so excited. This was amazing and I love all of our characters.

I'm re-purposing this thread to also make it an archive of the campaign, in addition to any possible recruitment of a 4th seat. I'll update the initial post with current session details, and the 2nd post I'm going to use as a running log (with the segments as posts in-line)... I don't know how that will work out, there may be a post size limit that I run into, so I'll figure that out shortly... maybe actually host the details externally and link to them, eventually... but for now, this is my plan, though it will probably only be of interest to those actively playing. Or possibly any new recruit to help spin them up.