Campaign of the Month: May 2014
Ladies in Hades and the Dyval Wears Prada
Tonight was about as productive a session as I’ve seen in a while. We only had 3 of 5 players and NO COMBAT which I think made a large part of the difference. We ended considerably earlier than we usually do (at 2100 instead of 2300) and we started promptly at 1330 but we used a solid hour and a half to play MAGIC: THE GATHERING!!!! It was a blast! I think Dave won the first game and um…did Dave win the 2nd game too?
Regardless, we have a super-intensive session of RP and discovery and wrapping things up. Last game session JFC had just finished EXPOSING the gi-normous plot to plague Medieval Europe with the gasp BUBONIC PLAGUE! This session, since we didn’t want to move the plot forward without other participants, we stuck mainly to the side-plots and fleshing out the actual “investigation” behind last session’s exposure. Thusly, I want to congratulate Dave for finishing with a record-high 6 clever and useful ideas and congratulate Dan for being right behind him with 5 clever and useful ideas. Believe it or not we had a neck-and-neck tie for deductive reasonings with Chris and Dan being tied at 6 deductive reasonings and Trent had a walloping SEVEN deductive reasonings!
As you guys well-know I have a propensity for the investigation and I absolutely love weaving an intricate plot and watching you guys piece together the clues. I have to say that tonight you guys were firing on all cylinders. You were respectful of each other’s turns, patient while waiting for your turn, and very helpful in spit-balling ideas during the collaboration and you really worked together for a dynamic exposure of the MEDIEVAL EUROPE META-PLOT. Again, because we didn’t have a full group we decided not to move that plot FORWARD but we did a lot of the background investigation and, while thoroughly scouring the town for clues, you ALSO uncovered TWO MAMMOTH SIDE-PLOTS!!! Congratulations! There are only four in Medieval Europe and they’re TOTALLY OPTIONAL instead of plot-integral like Ancient Babylon.
What follows is the recap:
We picked up with Trent reappearing with the baby and going to the Temple of Loki with HDSS while James was interrogating the christian Knight, Sigurd, in the catholic church. You guys took about an hour and a half to wander around the underground pathways and DOUSE ALL THE CENSERS and nullify the herb. I believe James figured out that the best way to dispose of it is to submerge the incense in water and it cannot be used again. Regardless, after snuffing them all out you arrived at the temple where HDSS was talking to Sigurd with Trent and the baby. He picked the guy’s brain for a bit and found out that they’ve been receiving shipments of the herb monthly and that their next one is due TOMORROW! How convenient! While this was happening HDSS was over at the Temple to Loki speaking to Methuselah and trying to convince him (with Trent) that the incense is causing people to be infected by this plague. Trent stepped in and cast purge-other and cured the old priest of the plague right then and there! The Priest seemed more concerned about the baby than himself and especially concerned about the baby’s poor mother — who he figured was worried sick. Trent and HDSS grilled MEthuselah about where the herb was coming from and who told them to burn it and why it was so important. Methuselah explained that he was approached in a vision by a disciple of Thor — it was a beautiful woman in a cloak who was shrouded in crackling lightning and thunder and clearly had the Norse god’s blessing. She told him that to restore faith in the Norse Pantheon and destroy the Christians he should burn this incense and direct the other priests to burn it and it would test their faith — but also the faith of the Christians. Only the unworthy, the impious, or the irreverent would feel the wrath of their gods.
James heard this over the radio and posed the very same question of Sigurd who told him something very similar — that an esteemed patriarch of the church, Father Dominicus Loricatus, had visited and personally assured him that this was a test of faith and that if he was pure and devout in his worship and devoted to god that he and the christians would be immune to the ailment and that their faith would overcome and eventually they would be hale and healthy. James took Sigurd into custody and gave him a prisoner’s protection but forced him to accompany him over to the Temple to Loki so that JFC could interrogate these folks together and compare stories more easily.
At this time I digressed and mentioned to folks OUT OF CHARACTER something that had been kinda nagging me. As the GM I setup a few speed bumps and some roadblocks and some clues and impasses and etc. When you guys get ‘em and put the pieces together I reward them dutifully and praise you accordingly. When you guys don’t get ‘em (hey, it’s all good — some of these clues are tough to spot and I’m not faulting ANYONE here) then I try my hardest to either let ‘em go or to work them out in another fashion. There was one GIGANTIC clue that you guys were missing that I DIDN’T just flat-out give you because I wanted to really give you AMPLE opportunity to stumble on it. My delivery can be pretty good…if I do say so myself. So when I feed you lies and misinformation you guys have a tendency to just kinda accept it. LOL! Dave brought up the fact that I don’t make it easy to “challenge” me because I’m not receptive to it or it has to be done in hindsight. That’s neither the aim nor the intent. The clue here was: Loki doesn’t have temples. He doesn’t have priests. He’s a big bad mammajamma and people DON’T want his attention. He fucks stuff up, plays tricks, he’s wicked and nasty and sinister and plots constantly. I said to you Loki is the patron god of this town. You took that at face-value. I told you that there were numerous temples to Loki in the town. You spoke to a few priests dedicated to Loki. I even said that the priests of the Loki temples had raided the coffers and turned on each-other in-fighting and jockeying for power. Those were my ideas of clues.
However, if you don’t know (in character or OUT of character) that Loki having priests and temples is completely abnormal then how the heck are you supposed to get that clue? Well it’s just a clue. Totally not a big deal. I gave you guys one solid-complete full session in Medieval Europe to get it and ya didn’t so I kinda just “out of character” stopped the game and told you guys. And I heard lots of eye-rolls and groans and quips about how this changes the whole scenario and changes the whole perspective and well…you can imagine. When I told you that I was kinda surprised it hadn’t arisen before as even a “question” to the GM or even a curious inquisitive or interrogative we ALL CAME TO THE SAME CONCLUSION…no one except ZANDER has the Mythology skill and Trent has it on his computer. Now, I believe it was mentioned that Zander had rolled his mythology skill and I didn’t offer him the information. That’s correct. Remember, I’m not gonna just spoonfeed the clues and the answers…well not immediately. If you guys have a hunch or kinda describe an inkling and want to flesh stuff out I give you the skill roll XP and if you produce a deductive reasoning from the skill information then BLAMMO!!! Ya got the skill. When Zander rolled mythology it had absolutely nothing to do with the peculiarity of there being numerous temples and priests and disciples devoted to a trickster god who typically has NO WORSHIPERS OR TEMPLES.
Again, I wanted to give you guys a little bit of time to mull stuff over and figure it out or stumble on it on your own. I waited one session. It didn’t happen. I gave it to you this session. I hope I didn’t piss in anyone’s cornflakes. Letting you completely miss it wasn’t an option and giving it to you willy-nilly is kinda anti-climatic so I hope you don’t mind how it all played out.
So, about this time the pieces of the puzzle started to fit into place. With the new OCC information and the side-by-side interrogations of both Sigurd and Methuselah you guys were able to glean from them that they were both approached by figured higher in the hierarchy and priestly food-chain and given similar instructions and directive…at about the same time — TWO YEARS AGO. THE PLOT THICKENS!!! From there you extrapolated that the corruption might run much deeper and you conspired to await the shipment on the next day and find out more information from the merchant caravan delivering the crates of incense and censers.
While you were waiting James took some time to heal some more people and Trent began working through the logistics of a town-wide purging-ritual that might heal everyone. HDSS jumped onto the bandwagon and you guys got the word out that people were being cured of the PLAGUE!!! Before you were able to actually gather up all 500 townsfolk, however, Trent cast Tongues on both Sigurd and Methuselah at different times (and eventually he did so for the baby’s mother) to prove to these people that the baby wasn’t possessed and it just was speaking a different language — possibly the language of its father, Dragonese. During this time HDSS accompanied Sigurd back to the Catholic church and helped him dig graves for the priests and knights he slew earlier. HOW NOBLE?!?! Trent was determined to get this ritual going but again, it took a while and lots of rolls and principles / lore magic rolls. HDSS used the opportunity to talk to Sigurd about his time in the Middle East and his foray into the Crusades and the Holy Lands. He said he had only returned from war about two years ago and that he had personally seen such relics as the Ark of the Covenant and heard about the Lance of Longinus. HDSS, knowing Odin’s testimony about Gungnir, the Spear of Destiny, and the Lance of Longinus, couldn’t help but chomp at the bit and devour all the information this guy spilled — which wasn’t much — but at the very least it was a confirmation of some of the Odinformation and corroborated by what HDSS later learned from Methuselah. Meth had heard of the theft of Odin’s spear, Gungnir, and purported to have been purloined by the greatest thief in the Megaverse (that was a little OOC aside from the GM wink). But Methuselah also confirmed that a Martyr hung on Yggdrassil, the World Tree, would restore faith in the Norse Pantheon and bring honor and worship to the gods once more. It would preserve the pantheon and finally rebuff the encroaching Christian religious-worship-poachers.
With all that out of the way James had actually pieced together some more information about the origins of the plant and how to destroy it and what properties it had but Trent also supplied that you guys didn’t want to upset the order and alert the possible PLOTTERS to your awareness of the plot so you might have to go along with things for the time-being. You guys replayed (with the thought-projector) more of the object read images which portrayed a robed figure, hooded, underground or in a cave with weird light reflections, and in some kind of alchemy lab that looked rather sophisticated. THANK GOD FOR OBJECT READ?!?!? Anyway, from here you took a brief surcease to heed Methuselah’s advice and return the baby to its mother. After asking around you found out that she was a whore who was living out of a dog kennel by the good graces of the breeder.
She was haggard and ragged and muddy and disgusting and covered in dog shit. Trent chivalrously cleansed her and healed her of the plague. He returned her Dragonese-babbling baby to her and then allowed her to understand the child with the TONGUES spell. He also told her that JFC had secured a place in the Temple of Loki for her to stay with the babe where she would be taken care of and the child could live and grow strong. He left her with two talisman — one of tongues in case she ever needed to speak to the baby or if it ever started saying something different (not that she’d really know) and a talisman of armor of ithan — awesome! She was speechless and grateful and offered to love and to worship Trent with his divine miracles for as long as she lived!!! Again, Methuselah, Sigurd, and this woman they took the tongues spells and the magical cleansing and curing of the plague as MIRACLES FROM TEH GODS — they couldn’t comprehend magic or spells or anything like James’s psionics until Trent EXPOSED THE SECRET to them and told them that human beings can do these miracles. They were each a little DEMYSTIFIED but none so bold as to completely agree to faithfully worship like the babe’s mother. As a gift she gave Trent a little pouch, produced from her bodice, and thanked him profusely. You guys asked about the babe’s father and she said her husband was named Beowulf and that he had left two years ago and never returned. She was stuck in her current predicament as a widow who was unskilled and penniless. He had left for King Hrothgar in Denmark who, she heard, had just recently gotten married.
Okay, it’s time for the town-wide ritual. 100 PPE per person is needed for the purge other spell, 500 townsfolk, 5000 PPE — and TRENT WAS AT THE HELM!!! Holy shitballs! What an exciting time! With massive and generous contributions from both HDSS and James and absorbing PPE of the townsfolk you were able to come up with ALL FIVE THOUSAND PPE and cure the fuck out of the entire town. AWESOME!!!! James was actually able to convert some of the more ignorant followers to worship him but anyone with half-a-brain understood that Trent was actually LEADING the entire ritual and had made it all possible. After the kumbahyah campfire you guys went to sleep at the only inn in the town and were given free room and board.
During the night, however, while Trent was meditating and James was sleeping and HDSS was advanced meditating you hear a knock on your room door and James answered it to find a woman, almost looking ethereal, with a shrouded face on half of it and wearing a deep cloak, couched in shadows. Her message was cryptic but she said something like, "I wish to speak to the bearer of the gift. You have received an incredible gift and it is worthy of a King. She turned to walk away and melded into the shadows in a cloak of darkness, ethereal, and it almost seemed intangible. James put on his thermal optics and followed her while HDSS and Trent consulted the pouch to see what was inside. A magical ribbon that radiated magic when Trent used his Sense Magic had been his gift. A quick consultation of the Mythology computer program PDA told you guys that this resembled a mystical ribbon that had once been used by Odin to tie the Fenrir wolf’s mouth shut and that the god Tyr, sick of Odin’s lies, had boldly let the Fenrir wolf hold his hand in its mouth as insurance that Odin stuck by his word. When the ribbon was tied around the Fenrir Wolf and it knew it was trapped and COULD NOT ESCAPE it bit down hard and ripped Tyr’s hand off. The God of Justice for the Norse Pantheon has been one-handed ever since. James followed in pursuit of the woman and, giving more information to Trent for the Mythology computer PDA skill program when he was within striking distance Chris came up with a big deductive reasoning that this woman was actually Hel, Norse Goddess of the underworld. She spoke to James in riddles and told him the rules of the game — he could ask three questions and she would ask three questions and then their chat would be over. He poured out with his. She very subtly asked hers and DAVE picked up on the fact that she had hidden three questions in her reply (go brent for RPing the SHIT out of that conversation) and James actually MADE IT OUT ALIVE WITHOUT CAUSING A TEMPORAL PARADOX by giving her an amulet that he had seen her wearing and actually absconded with when she was found IN THE FUTURE hanging on Excedrin’s LOBOTOMIZED FAILURE WALL OF SHAME. HOLY SHITBALLS!!! Temporal paradoxes are bad news folks. Thank Time Trent was there to talk James out of his folly!
Also of note — Hel warmed to the idea that the plague was certainly filling her ranks of undead legion and the welcome mat would NEVER wear out its welcome in the udnerworld. You guys had the notion that she might be behind it but I believe you shied away from that line of reasoning when pitting the logic of wiping the population out across the planet with the impulsiveness and complicity of a greater goddess. Also, you still haven’t ruled out Loki as a possible constituent but I believe it was DAVE who deductively reasoned — holy shit, look at this great trickster plot…and Loki can’t be here to witness it or take the credit or even to have orchestrated it — he’s gotten himself kidnapped — if that’s not a fucking slap in the face then we don’t know what is. YOU’RE GODDAMNED RIGHT?!?! The trickster god WISHES he could take credit for this. Okay, I’m toeing the line — you guys have Ancient Babylon under your belts — you don’t need me to take liberties but you’re so on the right track.
Btw, CONGRATULATIONS TO JAMES for knowing that FENRIR WOLF IS ONE OF LOKI’S SONS!!!!! That was a huge clue and connection here. You guys got the ribbon, you got the wolf clue, you pieced together the Beowulf thing and the Grendel connection and you did some GREAT SPITBALLING! You found the second side-plot — BEOWULF!!! The first one, in case you didn’t get it last session is NORSE MARTYR — hang from the world Tree Yggdrassil in the image of Jesus Christ who STOLE THE IDEA FROM ODIN (the original hanger on the World Tree) and have your side pierced with the Spear of Destiny, Lance of Longinus, and Gungnir. Whew! That’s two sideplots! There’s only one more in Europe and I believe HDSS stumbled upon the Robin Hood one but I don’t know if Dan told the rest of the group. He may hang himself on the World Tree, die, and come back as Bruce Banner in a few sessions so this could be a m00t point.
Okay, you guys went back to sleep and the next day the merchant caravan arrived. HDSS confronted the oncoming merchant wagon-team caravan arms akimbo in the middle of the road. None of them were inhuman or looked amiss with the dragon’s eye gems and you guys pumped them for a bit more information, James cured two people of the plague and gained them as converts (I think his total is up to 42 now — congrats), and they agreed to take you guys with them after you proved how the plague is being caused by the incense in the crates and that you guys wanted them to help make people aware. BLAMMO!!! That was where we stopped.
You guys didn’t leave the town yet but you’re circuitously on your way back to Hrothgar and the seat of the kingdom at the Danish port. From there you have many options — not the least of which is booking passage on a merchant vessel and getting your asses out to the MIDDLE MOTHERFUCKING YEAST!!!!
SHIT!!!!!! I almost forgot to mention. HDSS pumped both Sigurd and Methuselah for information on both of their knowledges of the holy lands. Sigurd made him an actual MAP that he was supposed to go back and pickup in the morning and gave him a neat little condensed list of the SEVEN HOLY SITES that I’m supposed to email you guys…and I’ll do that tonight before I forget. CONGRATULATIONS to Dan for getting that MAMMOTH clue! At first the only person to show interest in Sigurd was James and I wasn’t sure if you guys were gonna pick up on him and really win him over to pick his brain. Admittedly, it was only AFTER James healed him of the plague and Trent gave him tongues and you guys ALL convinced him that his faith was misguided or misplaced and that there might be a subversive reason for the incense coming from the Vatican / holy roman empire and causing the plague — he had his CRUCIAL CRISIS OF FAITH — and Dan capitalized on his newly loosened tongue by asking all the right questions. Truly a group effort guys…was really great to see you working WITH EACH OTHER instead of arguing or bickering or talking OVER one and other…and you each had key discoveries and contributions.
We’ll see you guys on the nineteenth. Later fuckers!