There's a time to pray / and there's a time to fight / anything can be a weapon / if you're holding it right
- Emory, Carter, and Sara began heading north - back to the marina to get their cars and hurry to the train station Aaron had described. On their way, they encountered a deformed Leon Catch, obviously corrupted by some dark influence. Not wasting words, he immediately attacked them, proclaiming they must die. He had a fairly strong upper hand until Sara was able to find some manifestation of his corruptor lurking in the Twilight. That connection disrupted, Catch burst into flames and burned to ash in seconds.
- As Jordan hurried through the woods, he found himself running with deformed, ghostly wolves. Slowly converging on him, they somehow warped space around themselves, leaving Jordan in front of the train station.
- Aaron had a brief run-in with "Jason" - the supernaturally-influenced many Carter, Emory, and Sara had spoken with before. He criticized the groups interference in things over their heads and eventually headed off to the north as Aaron continued south to the nearest bridge over the river.
- Aaron and Jordan met up at the train station and sneaked inside. They spied several gang members hanging out - and one that had, apparently, been shot by the others on the platform. They found the main hall of the station covered in webs, and 11 skeletons suspended in them.
- When Aaron, Emory, and Sara arrived, the 3 gang members present became aware of the group's presence and a brief firefight insued. One gang member was gunned down, and the other two fled in short order.
- The group converged on the main chamber, where the massive, distorted spider appeared - clearly agitated. Some of the group engaged it with gunfire - Jordan's "blessed" bullets offering some aid - while others attempted to dislodge the skeletons. The spider's attentions seemed clearly divided. The group eventually killed it, but Sara warned them that it was only its physical form that was destroyed. To keep it dead, they would need to recover and bury the skeletons as they had done the other two.
- By this time, the police were arriving. Sgt Bryonson seemed interested on keeping most of them out of the way, however. The group was escorted to the station, where questions were asked and answered. After a long night, they were released, and they set about making sure the spider demon did not return.
Having rid the city of the beast at the heart of the drug problem and the spider transformations, they were, perhaps, surprised that their lives did not significantly improve. Most lost their jobs over the next few weeks or months, always on shaky reasoning, and they continued to observe hints of the supernatural haunting them. Also, the Man in the Pin-Striped Suit was still out there somewhere, with his inscrutable motives.
Eventually, they all received a letter:
"We have been observing your activities for some time, and you show some promise. Welcome. Stand by for further instructions."
The letter was "signed" only with the logo of a black bird with one, large, human-like eye - overlayed with the single word: SCARECROW
End Chapter 1
- As the black clouds above began to pour cold rain on them, the group set to work attempting to quickly dig some sort of grave in which to bury the bones they'd recovered, believing the lack of a proper burial for them is contributing to the spiritual unrest in town.
- As they made progress, the storm picked up and 4 wolves emerged from the forest. Believing the wolves to be connected to other events, the group attempted to avoid fighting them even though they displayed hostile behavior. Aaron got some sort of message from the wolves suggesting that something the group was doing was weakening them. When he petitioned for more information, something in the wolves changed - three of them ran off to the northeast, the other turned and retreated to the south.
- While Aaron and Jordan pursued the wolves, Carter, Emory, and Sara buried the bones. The Man in the Pin-Striped Suit appeared again, asking if they were sure that's what they wanted to do. He told them their actions would make them powerful enemies. The group largely ignored him, but he didn't interfere - disappearing after giving a final warning that there was no "going back".
- Jordan pursued the wolf to the south and encountered the ghost native the group had seen several times previously. Attempting to commune with the spirit, he began to meditate. The action seemed to engage the ghost, who passed on several impressions of the past.
- Aaron followed the other three wolves north to a place in the most run-down area of town at the heart of the storm which had moved over New Auburn, watching the shadow in the clouds above descend into an abandoned train station.
- The group met at the marina the next morning with the intention of locating and recovering bones/skeletons that believe have some connection to past events. Jordan had rented a pontoon boat for the day, and had brought a number of "supplies" designed to combat or subdue any supernatural dangers that might present themselves. Once the others arrived, they set out onto the lake in their boat. They quickly found themselves driving in and out of thick pockets of fog being driven by the wind.
- Near one of the deepest parts of the lake, they found a mostly-whole skeleton floating on the surface. It began to break apart as they gathered the bones into the boat. As they attempted to maneuver the boat to gather the remainder of the small bones, they noticed they were drifting toward a patch of lake water deep in the fog that seemed to be bubbling.
- As they drifted into the bubbling water, the boat's engine died and bone fragments began to fall from the sky like rain, gradually increasing in side. As Emory and Aaron worked to get the boat running and others attempted to gather more bones they found floating in the water and scattered around the deck, shadows began to appear in the distance around them and overhead. The boat began to corrode and fall apart around them. The depth-finder read 9999.
- Emory managed to get the boat running as the indistinct form of a massive, spider-like creature emerged from the fog above them. Its carapace writhed and dripped with some dark liquid. It's round maw shrieked behind monstrous fangs and the eight, translucent yellow eyes that hovered in a ring above its head seemed to burn with yellow flame.
- Aaron managed to force the boat backward out of the bubbling water and away from the creature even as it tore the canopy from the craft. More concerned with escape than direction, he ran the boat all the way up onto the shore - the same place Carter had found himself after his hospital blackout.
- After taking a couple of weeks to recover, the group once more began investigations. Carter, Emory, and Sara went to the run-down lower-east side of town to ask questions of the guy that found Carter in the lakeside park and took him back to the hospital.
- Locating the man took some time and "negotiation". When they did found him, he at first seemed unimpressed and uniterested in the their conversation. After moving to a somewhat more isolated location, he began to talk to them a bit more openly.
- The group learned little from the man regarding the questions they had - they did learn, however, that he himself had something of a supernatural nature. He told them that he had laid low for decades, doing his best to avoid the supernatural darkness that seeped into various corners of the world. In his experience, engaging that sort of evil only made things worse - and he strongly advised the others to follow his lead.
- Meanwhile, Jordan did his best to obtain any useful objects or materials that research and folklore suggested might be helpful in confronting the perils of the supernatural - and rented a boat in preparation to attempt to recover the floating bones Carter had seen on the lake...
- Whle Sara, Jordan, Emory, and Carter were all receiving treatment, Aaron decided to go back to the West Tenements to speak with Bethany about buying some of her charms.
- Bethany was quite intoxicated and seemed to have been crying. She became fixated on Sara and the watch and pleaded with Aaron to convince Sara to give her the watch. While they were still talking, Aaron heard gunshots. He arrived outside in time to see a man hurled through a glass tile wall by a massive, glowing humanoid wolf. The creature did not give chase, but Aaron and the man - who turned out to be the fugitive Elijah Sims - decided to leave the area anyway.
- Back at Sims' hideout, they talked over the things that had been going on. Sims knew nothing about "spiders" or "Niatha", but did know the local gangs were up to something bad. He had been hunting a small werewolf pack in the city for some time - his success in killing three of them so far had earned him a reputation as a serial killer. Sims agreed to offer whatever help he could as long as Aaron didn't tip off the department as to his whereabouts and activities. He did stress, however, that he had his own problems.
- Aaron returned to the hospital and told the others about his early-morning adventure. The group took the next week or two to fully recover. Nothing major happened while they laid low, but small incidents which they felt were related to the "problem" continued to bubble to the surface. They needed to form a plan. They would have to act on something - anything - and soon...
Been trying to play Battletech whenever I get a chance. Love this game. I didn't do a post-mortem on Trogland 2016 this year, but the one game I ran at that event was a Battletech scenario that lasted from about 11am-5pm on saturday. Yeah, turns out lance-on-lance (plus extras) with 5 players takes a while, especially when there are some heavies on the field. Next time, I think I might run a 2-on-2 game that might not go forever.
A while back I bought a copy of the 3rd Edition box set from Ebay, which included plastic models of 14 of the "unseen" mechs, several of which I really wanted. This set was made back in '94 and the plastic models aren't great quality. I actually had to use modelling putty to repair a couple of my favorites - the set was in great shape, it's just that the plastic casting was bad. That said, I think my paint jobs on the ones I painted turned out "decent" to "great". Still need to clear-coat them before they're ready to go, however. I did decide not to paint a few of them for aesthetic reasons. Some of the old models look straight-up goofy (I'm looking at you, Thunderbolt), and with other's I'm not a big fan of the "backpack" and/or (to a lesser extent) the "handheld weapon" looks. I did paint the Phoenix Hawk, Stinger, and Battlemaster that fall into that latter category, but the Griffin and Shadow Hawk look more like space marines than battlemechs IMO. The Wolverine I *might* have painted, but its head is extremely poorly cast and mangled. Anyway, they didn't make the first cut. I'm up to 34 painted models now, and I think they've generally improved over time.
Compiling an Arsenal
I also went to Kinko's and printed out 114 pages of mech sheets - one copy of each common variant for each model I have painted. I've got these sorted in a binder now.
And I've completed my first draft of what I'm calling Mechwarrior Basic - a companion RPG system and set of Battletech mods to play the game as a ttrpg. It takes some elements from Mechwarrior 2nd Edition and a variety of other games. It's intended to be simple and quick, specifically to contrast the methodical crunch of the wargame aspect.
The reason for all this is that I'm still hoping to run a Battletech campaign at some point...
...or, as soon as I find another player.
Still Current Campaigns
As you can probably tell from this blog, our World of Darkness game continues - and it's going quite well overall. This has been a really solid game. I like the characters, the setting is good, and the mystery is interesting. And maybe a little too involved.
The WoD game is great - and I'm still having a lot of fun with it, but I'm really looking forward to starting a Numenera campaign after this one resolves. Looking back at the blog, I can see that I've been trying to resolve WoD and start Numenera since December. I'm not good at ending things. Even when I want to.
- Carter dragged Emory back into the room and pulled out the gun she still had on her as the man burst in. As the nurses and doctors followed him in, Carter decided to engage the massive guy in hand-to-hand instead of shooting. They traded a couple of blows before Carter tossed the gun on the bed where Emory picked it up and shot the man and he collapsed.
- Things weren't going much better back in the alleyway where the giant spider had attacked Jordan, Sara, Aaron and the injured man. The group strugged to get away, and were cut off from the injured man in the alleyway. They had mixed results fending off the persistent spider, but eventually made it back to Aaron's patrol car - though Jordan had to be carried. The creature attempted to stop the car from driving off and nearly succeeded in prying the roof off the vehicle before Aaron was able to drive them all to safety.
- Back at the hospital, the group reunited - several of them in pretty rough shape. After some treatment, Sara got a phone call around 4am. It was Owen. He told her he'd found something - some clue about their situation. He told her the only way to free an individual or environment from a demon's influence - short of somehow destroying it - was to close the door it came through...
- Sara, Jordan, and Emory had an interesting conversation with the priest Owen and his sister Crista. They had experienced some odd things themselves, and Owen showed them some photocopied pages of some old, partiall-burned documents that his predecessor had left him - documents that seemed similar to the occultic 'book of prophesy' Sara had found references to.
- Meanwhile Carter was visited again by the man who'd given him a ride back to the hospital. He said he'd gone back to the shore where he thought Carter had come from - and he saw some of the same disturbing things. He cautioned Carter not to pursue any of that too far, only saying that it was 'bad stuff'.
- Aaron went to meet his mysterious caller later that night. He was picked up in a limo and driven around a bit while "Sam" talked to him. Apparently, this man was a rival of Leon Catch, and wanted the police to know whatever was going on with the new drug Leon had been selling, they weren't involved and wanted the cops concentrating on Catch's territory (the East side).
- When he returned, he re-joined Sara and Jordan who'd been watching from nearby. Sara had heard something in an alley and was making her way to investigate. She found an injured man who seemed strange in some way. As they approached asking if them man needed help, the group of them were ambushed from above by a large, spider-like creature.
- Carter and Emory were awakened at the hospital by some commotion in the hallway. Emory stepped outside and saw a crazed and massive man pushing his way down the hallway against the efforst of nurses, aids, and doctors to restrain him. When the man saw Emory, he became enrage, grabbing a nearby metal cart and hurling it at her.
- Jordan, Emory, and Sara made their way to the St Monessa Catholic Church at 8550 Newfield. After entering and looking around, Jordan and Emory decided to go up and talk with the priest while Sara hung back to observe. Jordan had been experiencing minor but worrying "reactions" since they entered, but these drastically intensified when he caught sight of a girl sweeping up in a corner of the sanctuary. At that moment, something seemed to trigger in the building resulting in the sound of a high-pitched, howling blowing through the building and the numerous candle flames becoming much taller and agitated. The young priest was momentarily shocked by this, exchanging a looking with the janitor, before pulling a gun on Jordan and demanding to know what he was. The two tried, now much more urgently, to explain some of what had been going on. The priest directed them out of the sanctuary, through the building, and into the crypt beneath it.
- Deep in the crypt, the priest was accompanied by two faintly-glowing men in white robes - one of whom was sent for the janitor. The other pushed Jordan into a small circular room and bound him to a worn wooden board with silver manicles. The janitor returned with two of the men in white robes and took up a position in the room, pulled out a small book from her clothing, and began singing. Emory demanded answers, eventually pulling her own gun on the priest who was now standing behind a sort of podium. When he began reading aloud in a strange language, Emory fired over his head. The priest remained focused on his task, but the shot did startle janitor who briefly faultered in her song. It was then that Sara, who had been stealthily observing from the shadows, emerged to place a hand on Emories arm. "It's an exorcism..."
- Jordan's call to Sara telling her he's on his way woke her from unconsciousness. She was soaked with lake water, but the building appeared intact. Sara took another look around the now-peaceful house. She didn't find the book she was looking for, but did locate some volumes on the Arapaho containing burial practices, and a scrap of paper mentioning Father Brogan at St Monessa Catholic Church.
- After Emory got off work, the group met at the hospital in Carter's room. They had a lengthy discussion on what to do next, during which Aaron received another call from the dispatch telling him that somone had just called from the same payphone. Aaron called the number back and, after identifying himself, was told "here, 2am". Jordan, Sara, and Emory decided to go to the Catholic Church, leaving Carter alone in his room to recover.
- As Carter slipped into sleep, some part of his subconscious nearly panicked, recalling that sleep in this hospital has rarely been peaceful. He woke up to find himself in a log cabin with an elderly native woman who asked if he would listen to her when his grandfather had not. She told him that the "demon" must be stopped; banished; destroyed. It had preyed upon the community for too long, and many of them could not rest peacefully in their deaths. He saw a brief glimpse of what must have been the past from his window before his hospital room light came on and the vision faded.