Hannah has played No Thank You Evil and enjoyed it, but we may have reached a point where it's simplicity and whimsy aren't quite as enticing as they used to be. Not that she doesn't like kid things, but she's 9 now and has been into Harry Potter, Avatar, and some fantasy books that aren't quite as "for small children".
Trying to think of some more creative things to do during this pandemic thing, when we asked if she would be interested in playing D&D, she was adorably excited. Because I'm me, I spent way too long conceiving of a setting (and WAY too long drawing a map for it). We ordered her some dice of her own, and this last weekend spent an evening and an afternoon rolling up characters and starting an adventure.
System: D&D 3.5
Setting: The Kingdom of Elionde
Players: Sheri, Hannah
- Iris [Hannah] :: Elven Druid
- Ivy [Sheri] :: Elven Monk
Twin sisters Iris and Ivy had happened upon the mostly-forgotten mystery of a famous druid from their country called Elam Nethley. Nethley possessed a potent magical talisman said to have been blessed and empowered by the angel Saphrielle. Around 50 years ago, he had traveled north in search of a lost temple and never returned. Magical attempts to contact him or discern his fate failed, but a divination suggested that if any were searching for him, they should travel to the Kingdom of Elionde.
Iris and Ivy had been travelling along the west road through the White Ridge Forest for more than a week when they arrived at the tiny logging village of Bolgrove. Stopping at the tavern for food and lodging, they learned from a local hunter about the existence of a ruin the locals called the "sunken shrine" in the swamp to the southeast.
The next morning they headed toward the shrine, having decided to investigate it for clues. Just as the knight statue they'd been told about came into view, they were attacked by a large and unusually-aggressive constrictor snake.
|Friday July 17, 2020 at 9:00pm||new campaign, fate core, mouse guard 1156, game session notes||Comments (0) »|
Having been unable to run my normal, in-person games for some time, and with things looking more and more like it'll be a while before I can, it seemed like it might be time to start a remote-play game. Since Taylor & Dave had been begging me for some time to run some kind of Mouse Guard game, it sounded like a good choice.
System: Fate Core
Setting: The Mouse Territories
Players: Sheri, Taylor, Dave
Schedule: Remote play, TBD
- Hakett [Dave] :: Crabby Patrol Leader
- Nip [Sheri] :: Field Scholar Guardmouse
- Clove [Taylor] :: Battle-ready Tenderpaw
Hakett received a mission from the matriarch a bit earlier in the season than is usual. He and his patrol were to make their way southwest to the fallen settlement of Walnutpeck to look for evidence of new weasel activity. They'd still need to perform the other expected Guard tasks for this time of year, however, and on their way to the first stop at Ivydale encountered a section of the road that had been completely washed out. Deciding not to perform the 'quick fix' through the brambles atop the hill, they backtracked to the neighboring valley and cut a new path south. While doing this, they encountered a wandering badger, which they managed to avoid - but its presence so close to Lockhaven and Ivydale was concerning. Upon reaching the settlement the next day, the guardmice discovered a pair of young mice from the settlement had gone missing...
|Sunday April 26, 2020 at 4:00pm||new campaign, no thank you evil, wand of the deep, game session notes||Comments (0) »|
System: No Thank You Evil
Setting: Storia: The Land Next Door
Players: Sheri, Hannah, Micah
Schedule: Occasional weekend afternoons
Since Hannah has been talking about wanting to play again lately, I decided to start a No Thank You Evil campaign for the whole family. Micah's only 4, but he did pretty well his first time - and everyone had a lot of fun. The way I run NTYE has morphed a bit over time. Overall the system and setting are fantastic, but I've started stripping out things here and there that I think adds a bit of "clutter" - at least for our us.
- Hannah: a Pirate named Crystal
- Micah: a Pirate
- Sheri: a Wizard
The group appeared on a rocky beach near a sunken tower. They heard a voice from the tower beckoning them inside. Down the beach they found a rowboat to reach the tower, but had to fight off some giant, crab-shaped Animal Crackers to get it. They were also chased by a Crackin' on their way to the tower, but managed to get to the dock before it destroyed their boat.
- Inside, they met Marlin - the fish wizard. He told them he needed their help to find a magical artifact called the Wand of the Deep. It was somewhere in Storia, but he hadn't been able to find out where. He asked them to go to the forest of Big Blue where all of Storia's history is written, to see if they could find its last known location.
- Unfortunately, everything written in Big Blue is in the Language of Leaves. Before they could read anything in Big Blue, they would need a Leafsicon to translate. Marlin didn't have one, but thought queen Woodlyn might - so he suggested they start there. He also said he had some things in a chest upstairs they could have before they left.
|Friday July 26, 2019 at 8:00pm||new campaign, savage worlds, delcron 2282, game session notes||Comments (0) »|
System: Savage Worlds
Setting: Delcron City
Players: Sheri, Taylor, Dave, Stephen
Schedule: Every Few Fridays
This game was started on Stephen's suggestion, and Taylor and Dave were really interested in getting to play something. After some voting, we settled on a cyberpunk-style game using the Savage Worlds system. I'm using a portion of one of my homebrew settings for this game.
Template: The party are a group of friends who have been taking jobs as private investigators and bounty hunters for the last year or so, and it's proving lucrative - or, at least, more lucrative than their crappy jobs.
- Sara [Sheri] :: a medic and emergent Empath
- Mario [Dave] :: an asteroid miner and pub bouncer
- Kendra [Taylor] :: a mechanic who runs a junk shop
- "V" [Stephen] :: a hacker now wanted by his former employer
Opening Session Highlights:
The crew got a message from their contact at the DCPD about a possible job. When they met up with sgt. Askara Kyotu at the usual place (an abandoned pier in the Old Harbor district), they were told about an armored car holdup. Three attackers, one of whom apparently killed the other two and was injured and on the run. They'd ID'd the man as Marrion Plaskov, a corp-worker in his late 40s who'd been let go about 15 months previous. The PD had gotten a tip about a man matching the description at a place called "Hotwired 6" in the Neon district near Res II. Askara told them bringing him in would be worth 20k to them.
- The group went to the bar, which was crowded and loud. They looked and asked around a bit, eventually talking to a couple of thugs who subsequently attacked them in the street outside. After Kendra took a wrench to one of their heads and Sara paralyzed the other with indecision, they learned that the group's target had paid them to "take care of" anyone asking questions about him. The thug told them the man indicated he would be back to the bar, and then fled down a back alley.
|Thursday May 23, 2019 at 8:30pm||new campaign, battletech, capellan march, game session notes||Comments (0) »|
For a variety of reasons we decided we'd start a new Battletech campaign rather than continuing Aralakh. We spent a session making new characters with some slightly different rules. The new gang will be a Davion-aligned merc unit operating somewhere near around the midpoint of the Capellan march.
|Monday March 5, 2018 at 8:30pm||new campaign, blades in the dark, black foxes, game session notes||Comments (0) »|
System: Blades in the Dark
Setting: Doskvol, the Shattered Isles
Players: Tony, Tim
Schedule: Occasional Weeknights
Starting a small, experimental Blades in the Dark campaign.
Tonight, we made the crew: the Black Foxes. A pair of disgruntled ex-miners from the district of Coalridge got together and decided to start a more lucrative, less legal enterprise. With the help of some chance relationships they've set up a hideout in a disused corner of the coal mine and have their sights on an area of the declining Six Towers district still possessed of some unjustified wealth.
Crew Type: Shadows (theives/spies)
Contacts: Adelaide Phraoig (noble), Lerrin (toolmaker), Mirage (Circle of Flame contact), Ulf Ironborn (gang leader)
Allies: The Circle of Flame (Occultists), Ulf Ironborn's gang (Bravos)
Enemies: The Stone Club (Bravos), The Dimmer Sisters (Occultists)
|Monday October 24, 2016 at 8:00pm||new campaign, numenera, mysts of the ninth world, game session notes||Comments (0) »|
Setting: The Ninth World, The Beyond, Arable
Players: Sheri, Tony, Adam, Tim, Keara
Finally starting a Numenera campaign! Been waiting for this for two years! Very excited!
The party is a group of young adults from a small town in the Beyond called Arable - a wasteland farming community based around a weather-control artifact. They will begin as assistants to an Aeon Priest called Polious, and tasked with assisting in the maintenance of the Weathervane, scavenging for parts, and generally discovering the Numenera.
- Narangerel "Naran" [Sheri] is an Inquisitive Nano who Possesses a Shard of the Sun
- Helios [Tony] is a Stubborn Jack who Exists Partially out of Phase
- Piper [Keara] is a Manipulative Delve (Seeker) who Makes Something out of Nothing
- Ronin [Tim] is a Wasteland Jack who Explores Dark Places
- Ganthet [Adam] is a Weird Glaive who Rides the Lightening
|Tuesday October 18, 2016 at 8:00pm||new campaign, battletech, aralakh company, game session notes||Comments (0) »|
System: Battletech / Mechwarrior Basic
Setting: The Inner Sphere
Schedule: Occasional Weeknights
Aralakh Company will be a strategic-level Battletech RPG/playtest that Tim is helping me with. I loves me some Battletech and I haven't been able to get a full group together to start a game (not for lack of trying) - so, instead, Tim and I are playtesting a "Mechwarrior Basic" RPG companion ruleset I've developed as well as feeling out the logistics of a Succession Wars era mercenaries campaign. Since it's just me and Tim, it will be light on the RP and mostly focused on game mechanics, battletech map combat, and strategic level decision-making.
My version of the Battletech universe is about .5-1 steps removed from canon. I leave most things as-is, but there are a few minor alterations to "the way things are" that improve the setting in my view. In addition to using my own Mechwarrior ruleset, I've made a few minor mods to the tabletop wargame and have come up with my own simplified versions of some other game-relevant areas.
"Aralakh" was the name Tim gave his merc company, having stolen it from a video game.
- "Steiner", a guy born into a merc family who inherited and/or split off to form his own company; Pilots a Blackjack.
- "Drevan", a friend of Steiner's who comes from the family of a house regular; Pilots a Warhammer.
In addition to the two "PCs" and their mechs, Aralakh also has a leopard-class dropship owned by the hired captain, a few techs for upkeep on the mechs & vehicles, and some light support equipment. They're also starting with a small supply stockpile for repairs and reloading, but it won't last them forever.
Character creation rules seemed to work reasonably well, especially the random aspects. The "average" starting character might be *bit* too skilled out of the box, but we'll see how this develops.
This is a loose campaign started for my 4-year-old daughter, Hannah. Sheri will be playing in it as well, and others may come and go occasionally.
- Angel [Hannah] :: a Powerful Princess with a stuffed fox
- Maria [Sheri] :: a Super-Smart Pirate with a stuffed rabbit
- Angel was awaked by her stuffed fox, Ocean, talking to her. He said her help was needed. Not sure what was happening, she hid at first, but eventually noticed the green light coming from under her closet door and, upon investigating, found that a gateway in her closet now led into a forest in a mystical land.
- Angel met with Maria and a teddy bear named Edwin and was told that the Princesses were trapped in a palace called Mirror Mirror, and that one of them had promised to go to the Flower Petal Ball with Edwin. Someone needed to get them out.
- After some discussion, the group decided to go to the Whispering Wood to see if it would tell them any stories about how to get into Mirror Mirror. Maria and Edwin discovered a rhyme that would open the way, but Angel saw something that frightened her, ran off into the wood, and got lost!
|Monday July 13, 2015 at 8:00pm||new campaign, new auburn chronicle, game session notes||Comments (0) »|
System: World of Darkness
Setting: New Auburn, CO
Players: Sheri, Tony, Adam, Tim, Keara
The New Auburn Chronicle is a (New) World of Darkness campaign set in a small city called New Auburn, located in the foothills of the Rockies in Colorado. It is intended to be a short-to-medium length campaign.
The PCs are a group of people who have witnessed the supernatural to some small degree, and are on the lookout to protect the city of New Auburn from its influence.
We did character creation for this game tonight. There are still some lingering details to be filled in, but most of the mechanical creation has been done.
- Sara Cruise [Sheri] :: a history/literature student at New Auburn College
- Aaron Taggert [Tony] :: a local police officer with a minor reputation as a nut due to some supernatural reports
- Carter Hall [Adam] :: a history/archeaology professor at New Auburn College
- Jordan Fitzgerald [Tim] :: a local radio dj who hosts a late-night show on the paranormal
- Emory Tate [Keara] :: a local paramedic
The current plan is to play this game on monday ("crackle") nights. We'll see how it goes.
|Friday February 7, 2014 at 7:00pm||new campaign, fate core, the zero line, game session notes||Comments (0) »|
System: Fate Core
Setting: The Milky Way Galaxy (Zero Line)
Players: Sheri, Tony, Adam, Tim
The Zero Line is a sci-fi setting based around emergent psionics in the context of an impending galactic apocalypse.
Trya Bucchari (Sheri)
Malcolm Faulknen (Tony)
Kenneth Lockley (Adam)
Trenton Greaves (Tim)
Group is assembled by by the Galactica Humanus Navy, Delphi and the Periphery Initiative to explore a far-periphery system. As they were about to set out, the GHN informed them their mission has changed and they were instead directed to investigate a derelict freighter which recently appeared in a coreward system.
|Saturday February 9, 2013 at 6:00pm||new campaign, d&d, cyrran reaches, game session notes||Comments (0) »|
System: Dungeons & Dragons v3.5
Setting: The Cyrran Reaches
Players: Sheri, Tony, Adam
[Adam] Tyrrox - Ibixian Fighter
[Tony] Taryn - Human Cleric of Olidammara
[Sheri] Lily - Human Bard
- Party traveling with small caravan (lead by a man called Ruglan), is waylaid by bandits. After fighting them off, they arrive in the settlement Ettaseph
- Spend some time talking to people in town, learning some interesting things about the Old Oak Inn, Loreth's Tavern, the Orchard and the settlement in general.
- The town is attacked by treants, who seem intent only on capturing the women of the village.
- When the treants' leader comes to the village, it wants to speak with someone no knows. With the help of a local druid, they learn that the person in question was a centaur who helped establish the old "accords" between the humans and the fey of the Charothi forest. More pressingly, however, it seems that some dryads had been kidnapped and would soon die if they were not found...
|Saturday August 25, 2012 at 3:00pm||new campaign, savage worlds, savage seas, game session notes||Comments (0) »|
[Sheri] Clara "Breeze" - Wind's Wings crew, sea singer
[Tony] Lucas - Ex-priate, Wind's Wings conscript
[Adam] "Zatara" - Castaway, amnesiac
- the party aboard the Wind's Wings (captain William Collette) was ~3 days ahead of the rest of the expedition. The ship was just arriving at Basnet, an island fishing village and the western-most point of the commonly-travelled sea. This was the last stop in the known world before the expedition was to head into the western sea.
- it was a bit after sunset, and the captain sent the group ashore to ask get the harbormaster's permission to moore the next day, as well as to speak with the local authority about the arrival of the rest of the expedition and to ask about the availability of provisions for the expedition's resupply.
- on their way into the village, they encountered a nearly-capsized fishing ketch. They helped the three crewman right the vessel, though there seemed to be something more to the situation than the captain's explanation of a 'freak accident'.
- in the village, the group spoke with the harbormaster and the proprietor of the local tavern. The patrons of the dockside establishment seemed unusually dour, though the bartender explained that many were simply tired of their monotonous. He also steered them toward the town's "inn", which rarely saw customers. The innkeeper and his wife were indeed very happy to see them.
- it was some hours into the night when they were awakened by the sounds of a scuffle in the lobby area of the house-turned-inn. They arrived on the scene just in time to be nearly deafened by the report of a musket being fired indoors. Before the black-powder smoke obsured their vision, they caught a glimpse of a scaley, hunched creature with bat-like ears and a maw full of tiny, pointed teeth...
|Saturday July 7, 2012 at 5:00pm||new campaign, world of darkness, scarecrow, game session notes||Comments (0) »|
[Tony] Thomas Cain - Desert Storm veteran, former Mayor
[Adam] - Prize Fighter
[Sheri] - Private investigator
Characters belong to a quasi-secret organization called Scarecrow. The organization's nominal goals are to prevent the unhuman from gaining too much power, particularly where human administrative structures are involved. Scarecrow is, however, a self-serving entity and generally keeping an eye out for profit.
The PCs have been in a mid-sized, east-coast city called New Auburn for 3 to 6 months, going about their own business...
|Friday September 9, 2011 at 6:00pm||new campaign, star wars, shards of endor, game session notes||Comments (0) »|
Star Wars Saga Edition | canon/story/feel = Original Trilogy (only)
[Tony] Pike - human scoundrel, former bounty hunter
[Adam] Ash - human soldier, former storm trooper
[Sheri] Jaylyn - human scout, pilot of transport The Verity
The Battle of Endor was not the resounding victory it might have first appeared. After the second Death Star was unexpectedly destroyed, the holding Imperial Fleet began to engage in earnest. Outgunned by a significant margin, the remaining Rebels were forced to flee.
The Emperor's death has created a power vacuum which many will try to fill. The Imperial Fleet now weilds a great deal of near-independent power, but the bureaucracy is failing even as rumors of an imperial successor begin to circulate. The Senate is attempting to reconvene, but they have little real power. De facto rule has fallen to regional governors, some of whom plan to remain autonomous, and, of course, there are other powerful entities and organizations that may be vying for a slice of the galaxy.
In many ways, matters are now worse...
|Saturday September 18, 2010 at 12:00pm||new campaign, d&d, sandstorm, game session notes||Comments (0) »|
Game: Dungeons & Dragons 3.5e, Sandstorm, Unearthed Arcana
Characters: Alina [Sheri], Glitch [Adam], Tisroc [Tony]
It was an evening in late spring. Alina, an acolyte of the Temple of the Sun, was to meet Tisroc, a young, local wizard at an inn called Mavani's. She had told Tisroc she had a book that may be of some help to him.
Alina happened to know that Tisroc had a small problem - his soul had been inadvertently bargained away by his parents in exchange for his mortal life when he was very young, and since he learned of this he has been tireless searching for a way to undo what had been done. Alina herself had lost her mother some years ago and knows her to be living happily in the Offering Fields - and it troubles the acolyte to think that anyone's immortal soul could be stolen from them so unfairly.
Glitch was a guardian "assigned" to Tisroc by one of the few others who knew of Tisroc's dilemma: Elmnal, his mentor in house As'Kim. As the inn was only just down the street from Tisroc's second-floor apartment, and as he would likely simply stand outside anyway, Tisroc decided Glitch should remain at his residence. Tisroc made his way down the street to Mavani's Inn. It was mid-evening by this time - after dark - but it was still quite warm.
The inn was relatively empty at this time, so the innkeeper, Erik, noticed him as he entered, giving him a hearty wave and calling out his greeting. Both Erik and Loren (Erik's wife) were friends of Tisroc's and were almost always jovial and outgoing. Their 7-year-old daughter, Isha, however, was somewhat less so.
Tisroc had taken a seat at one of the many empty tables when Isha approached him. "Good evening," she said, her expression dour, "...so far. What would you like to eat tonight? I'm fairly certain none of it has been poisoned." Tisroc asked for some bread and cheese with some dates (meat being rather expensive), and Isha informed him that it was probably moldy, but she'd check.
Alina arrived sometime later with a large, leather-bound book. Its weight was such that it took some effort on her part not to slam it down onto the table. The book, she explained, was full of religious tales and fables - several of which contained instances where demons were out-witted by particularly clever or pious mortals. She had hoped something in its pages might be helpful to Tisroc.
Tisroc doubted that anything in the book would be relevant enough to his cause, but he agreed to look through it anyway. Isha returned a bit later with his food, remarking that it appeared he hadn't been "stood up" after all. by this time, the Inn was beginning to become more crowded and the environment was no longer conducive to their discussions. Tisroc and Alina decided to return to his residence to continue their discussion. The two were walking back down the street toward his apartment when they heard a loud pop from further north in the city and saw a strange, spiraling flame erupt into the sky. For a moment, they simply stared at it, unable to comprehend what they were witnessing - then they heard the sound again, from another place in the city. Then again in another.
Tisroc began sprinting down the street, Alina behind him, when there was a loud boom from the street in front of him, which sent tendrils of flame out to the surrounding buildings - including Tisroc's apartment building - and a spiraling column into the sky.
After the first pop, Glitch had moved to the apartment window and so when the flames erupted in front of him, the firelight illuminated a shadowy cloaked figure in an adjacent alleyway. Tisroc and Alina saw a pair of similar suspicious figures moving along a parallel street.
Glitch leaped out of the apartment's window into the street, causing several nearby people to gasp in shock. The cloaked figure took off running away down the alleyway. Tisroc heard some nearby shouts accusing Glitch of starting the fires and, subsequently, heard his name mentioned under suspicion.
The party took off down the alley after the cloaked figures, and saw a group of three of them gathered at a dark intersection. When they were spotted, however, the group took off. The party gave chase, but the figures eventually split up. Deciding to stay together, the party followed one of the three up to a large, abandoned mansion in a largely ruined part of town.
The group approached the building, climbed the front stairs and, when no conflict came, kicked the door in. Taking a look around, the dark and debris-filled room, Tisroc noted the rotted state of the floorboards. While he and Alina might possibly be able to negotiate it without falling through, Glitch almost certainly could not.
As they were discussing this, Tisroc suddenly exclaimed in pain. Looking around, a cloaked figure was holding a hollow reed which he had used to fire a poisoned dart into Tisroc's neck. Alina immediately leaped into action, jumping off the porch and clubbing him in the back of the head with her mace before he could get away. The figure collapsed, unconscious. Upon examination, he was an ordinary looking man in a dark cloak. He had a reed in his hand and a pouch of darts on his belt. He did have a strange tattoo on the back of his neck - an image of a black serpent. Alina recognised this as the symbol of a demon lord called Set. As she looked over the unconscious body, she told the others, "I don't think this is the one that went into the house."
Tisroc decided to put his magic to use. He assumed a gaseous form and began floating around the house. He found no trace of the cloaked figure, but he did find two other automatons - very similar to Glitch, in fact - standing in the basement. When he returned as assumed his solid form, he and Alina decided to move over to a large hole in the floor to look into the basement with the help of a magical light Alina had manifested.
This plan may have been helpful if the floor hadn't given way, dumping the two into the basement. The automatons called out: "Why have you come into the darkness?" Tisroc gave them an answer, but it did not seem to satisfy them. "You are not welcome here!" they shouted, raising swords and beginning to attack.
At first, Tisroc thought to flee and ran for the stairs, but Glitch had jumped down into the basement and engaged one of the automatons in combat with his large shovel. Alina had pulled out her mace and attempted to bash the other with it.
The three fought off the robotic beings as best they could, Tisroc providing some magical support to the physical combat the other two were engaging in. When both automatons had collapsed, they looked around at each other. Before they could suggest a further course of action however, they heard footsteps on the stairs outside.
Tisroc began running up the stairs into the house. Alina and Glitch stood and waited. The dark prevented them from making out more than the silhouette of the figure that appeared. They could see a tall, thin form, unhooded and with long hair. The figure seemed to stair into the house and then down through the (now larger) hole in the floor before simply turning to walk away. By the time Tisroc reached the entry hall, the figure had gone.
Confused, the party left the building. The unconscious man they had tied up and left outside was gone. Looking out over the city to the east, they could see the dim glow of fires.
They hurried back east to aid the firefighting effort. Tisroc's apartment, however, had burned to the ground - along with several other buildings. By the time the fires were brought under control, dawn was approaching.
Alina returned to the temple to find that it had been attacked and several of the priests killed. The attackers sounded like the cloaked figures they had seen earlier. The high priest himself was gravely injured and his wounds seemed to resist the miracle healing.
Tisroc returned to the As'Kim estate to speak with his mentor and ask if he could stay there for a day or two. Elmnal obliged, also mentioning something else to him: Elmnal had found an old genealogy record of a man called Lord Artal Al'Kim. The record mentioned that he had "come to regret a deal he'd made with an evil power". The record comes from a time when the house resided in a citadel in what is now the Dead Forest - and his grave is certainly located in the catacombs beneath it. Elmnal isn't sure if there would be anything helpful there, and certainly a journey into the Dead Forest would be very hazardous, but it's the best lead he could find.
Later, after the fires were out, Glitch returned to what had been their apartment building. He had been staying out of sight during the firefighting efforts, trying not to draw attention to himself. In the wreckage of the building, he was able to find Tisroc's spellbook - damaged, but mostly intact.
Game: World Of Darkness
Characters: George [Curtis], Gerald [Robb], Katherine [Sheri], Molly [Edie], Robert [Chuck]
Kathrine, Robert, Molly and Gerald had met before, but - apart from Gerald and Molly - were not well-acquainted. However, they all happened to be in Saint Paul's Churchyard on the evening of April 7th 1802, just after the last service of the day.
The square was crowded and people were beginning to disperse to their respective residences for the evening when an unnatural stillness settled over the square. The people all seemed to turn to look as two figures entered from the east - a well dressed man who was briskly walking through the churchyard and was being pursued by an overweight, staggering and obviously intoxicated sailor spouting slurred curses and threats.
The altercation between the two escalated when the sailor, obviously consumed with a burning rage, shoved the man into an unattended cart hauling barrels of pickles - sending one of the barrels through a nearby shop window and caused another to fall to the cobblestone street beside them. The distraction of the pickle barrels allowed the gentleman to escape to a reasonable distance, he pulled a pistol from his jacket and pointed threateningly at the his assailant. The sailor balked for a moment, but ultimately decided the man was bluffing and lunged at his target. The gentleman then shot him and the large sailor fell limply to the ground, unmoving.
The crowd didn't seem to respond to these events in any way apart from simply looking on, and the man did nothing further beyond looking around the square until a few of the Runners arrived and took the man and the body from the square. After they left the scene, the people in the square slowly began talking, moving and going about their daily lives again.
The four went back to their respective residences, finished their evening rituals and went to bed - falling into a hard, dreamless sleep.
When they awakened, they had one thought at the forefront of their minds - the events that transpired outside St. Paul's the night before. Something was wrong with what they had witnessed. None of them could put a finger on it, but something didn't add up. They each felt absolutely compelled to find out why. As they pulled on clothes and headed out they noticed something else - it was dusk. They had slept through an entire day. The concerns about commitments they may have missed, however, faded strangely into the backs of their minds almost immediately - there was something inexplicably more important.
They each made their way back to St. Paul's square independently, but on arriving they noticed each other. Apart from them however, there were unusually few people in the square that evening. As they took in their surroundings and thought back on what they had witnessed 24 hours before, a few strange inconsistencies started to bubble into their thoughts. They didn't remember hearing a rage-filled shriek and yet they got the feeling it was there - and that it filled the square. Conversely, they remembered seeing the gentleman shoot the sailor - and hearing the crack of the shot - and yet, they felt convinced that the pistol made no sound. In addition, some recalled seeing some odd, moving shadows cast about the square as the events unfolded. None of them could make any sense of this, however.
Their investigation of the scene only turned up more mysteries. They took a look at the area around the shop where the cart had been and where the sailor was shot. They found no evidence of blood or vinegar solution from the pickles on the ground. What they did find was some blood on the broken glass outside the now-boarded shop window and some strange white shell fragments scattered in a vague line in the square some distance away.
As they were discussing these oddities, they were approached by a well-dressed man who had the bearing and manner of a butler in every way. He approached them, bowed, reached into the satchel he was carrying and produced 4 heavy parchment envelopes. As he distributed them to the group, he told them "Sir Barnabas would be honored if you would accept his invitation".
The envelopes contained a letter written in fine, neat script which read:
To the Bearer,
You are formally invited to 1 Queen Ann Street for a delicious evening meal and polite conversation tomorrow, the 9th of April. Present this letter to the doorman at the entrance to the manor. Arrive at dusk.
Sincerely, Sir Barnabas
After a few moments, they noticed something else to the letter. Beneath the handwritten script, there was a watermark that contained something written in what looked like Latin or Greek. It took some time to locate appropriate reference materials to translate the strange message, but by lunchtime the following day, the group reconvened and Gerald read to them what the hidden message contained:
So, you like secrets then - and you have the wit to find them. If pleasant ignorance is not enough for you, you must dig deeper. I would caution you in this pursuit, however, as few survive such dark curiosity. I advise you to join the other guests and forget you found this message. If you are deaf to my warnings however, arrive at nightfall. The doorman will not enforce his instructions.
The group discussed for a while what they should do, but ultimately decided that accepting the bizarre invitation may be informative. Following the second set of instructions, they arrived just after nightfall. The doorman - who was the man who had delivered the letters - took their invitations and directed them to the west parlor on the left side of the entry hall.
The hall was dark apart from the dim light afforded by a candelabra sitting on a small stand opposite the doorway. Directly ahead of them was a dark stairway going up to a balcony overlooking the entrance hall. There was no light coming from the second floor and the chandeliers overhead were unlit.
The door to which they were directed, that lead to the west parlor, had closed about the time they were walking in, and they could now only hear muffled conversation coming from the other side and could see only a small strip of golden light issuing from the crack beneath it. Directly opposite the west parlor was another closed door, the gap beneath which also leaked a strip of light. No obvious sounds came from the other side of this door...