Beyond the Veil: The Myriad

First Session 4/12/11
The beginning of the end. Maybe just the beginning.

Despite not starting up immediately due to some unnamed player not arriving on time, we actually did quite a bit. Not only were all of our characters introduced to each other (and none of us attempted murder on sight), we even met NPCs to talk to. A fight broke out at a frat house off campus (not because of someone flinging stones or saying the wrong thing, either).

Our group was investigating disappearances around the Plattsburgh State campus. We traveled to the Hawkins building, where we found lights on in one of the upstairs rooms, as well as the shadow of someone moving near one of the windows. We figured there were no night shift janitors, so we entered the building to figure out who that could be.

We found a spirit possessing one of the janitors, who turned out to be working for a small pack of werewolves that were trying to police the border between our world and the spirit world. The leader of the pack informed us of Beshilu (Rat Hosts) that have crossed the Gauntlet into our world. He told us that they gnaw holes in the Gauntlet to try to break the barrier between the two worlds. He accepted our offer to help, and the next night, we met back at Hawkins to figure out our game plan.

Oni hacked into the PSU server while Officer Sterling went to the library, both doing some research to find out likely places that the Beshilu could be hiding. They both came to the conclusion that a local frat house has had more than a little problems with rat infestations lately, and we decided to go check it out.

Since it was a weekend, and we exist in a world of stereotypes, there was a party going on at Rho Alpha Tau (just taking a guess at the name of the frat house taken over by the Rat Hosts). We entered the party. Davey could sense that not all of the party-goers were entirely human. We needed a way to separate the vanilla mortals from the supernatural baddies, so Officer Sterling drew her badge, and everyone’s attention swept to the cop in the middle of an underage drinking party. The kids ran away from the frat house, leaving the Beshilu bolting upstairs and into the basement. The werewolves followed the pair that bounded up the stairs while we chased the other into the basement.

The beshilu we followed began to tear off its own skin, which was simply a flesh mask that concealed its true form. A beshilu rat swarm flooded into the basement as well. We killed the humanoid one and broke up the swarm (using a little bit of impromptu sweeping from Zhi and a great impersonation of a wooden porcupine from Davey) and headed back upstairs.

By the time we made it to the second floor, the battle had already turned one-sided. One of the werewolves was thrown through a wall; another was missing an arm. The cause of all the damage? A giant, two headed rat monster. We entered the fray with Zhiusing the spell Knife Fist to make his whirlwind strike lethal, sending the beshilu reeling. Richard ducked in and delivered a few well-timed strikes to the monster. It tried grabbing Zhi in a bear-rat-thing-hug but only raked across his back. We were able to defeat the monster without any more injuries to our party, and Richard ran over to the wolves and assisted their already super-human healing. Then we booked it because there are few things like screaming teenagers and gunfire to attract the cops (other than Sterling, who may or may not have taken part in all the ruckus).

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Second Session 4/19/11
Werewolves and specters and acid, oh my!

Picking up right were we left off last week, the party and the wolves (which wouldn’t be a half bad band name) were vacating the premises of the beshilu battle. We ran back to Hawkins, and finally got to introduce ourselves formally to the pack. Maxwell was the Alpha, Jacob was the mildly high one, and Seth was the mystic. Since we had a couple of sun-haters in the group, and it was getting close to crisping time, we said our farewells to the pack and told each other to meet up at the library the next evening. Zhi had to make an honest living at the dojo, Davie collected information from his contacts, Richard did some clean up work along the river, and both Gabe and Oni slept the sleep of the dead.

The next evening, we all met at the library. Davie told us that his contacts heard rumors of ghost activity in the area behind the SUNY dorm McDonough. We decided to do a little bit of research at the library. We found out that the area around the building was actually used for executions. The gallows ended the lives of many people over the years before they were destroyed. We also did a little bit of research on ghosts. We found a couple of different ways to get rid of ghosts (someone suggested salt and burn the corpses a la Supernatural), but we decided on looking for the anchor.

Since none of us really knew a whole lot about ghosts and spirits other than “destroy the anchor and they go away,” we ran over to Hawkins and met up with the pack again. We asked if Sethwould be willing to come with us and assist in the patching of the Gauntlet. He has an affinity with spirits and actually seemed interested in our little adventure. With our own personal spirit detective in the party, we headed over to McDonough.

We were able to see, but not hear, the ghosts, which according to our research meant that they were not fully manifested, so they could not directly interact with anything on this side of the Gauntlet. Seth peered across the Gauntlet using one of his werewolf gifts. He saw the gallows were still present on the other side, but it was burning. Officer Sterling had a flash of supernatural insight and told us that the gallows were struck by lightning and burned to the ground. Zhi decided to use Supernal Vision to look for auras, and as luck would have it, there was a faint aura buried under where the gallows once stood.

Apparently using Batman’s utility belt, Gabe pulled out a collapsible shovel and dug to the source of the aura. It was a piece of the gallows that was not cleared away with the rest of the refuse. After a few minutes of arguing whether or not we should burn it and how hot we would need the fire to be if we burned it, we came to the conclusion that we should bring the anchor to Hudson and break into one of the chemistry labs to dunk it in acid.

While we were figuring out what to do, however, the ghosts were getting more and more agitated by the minute. We realized we had to hurry up with our plan if we didn’t want the ghosts to fully manifest themselves and actually pose a threat. We ran over to Hudson. Zhi and Davey picked the lock to the door. Seth and Oni offered to stand watch at the door. The rest of us went up to the chem labs. Richard took the lead and found a suitable vial of acid. We could hear the ghosts outside before Richard dumped the anchor into the acid.

As the last of the anchor dissolved, the ghosts grew silent and faded back to the spirit world. We regrouped with our watchdogs and thanked Seth for the help. As we started to split up, Zhi mentioned that if any of them were interested in training, he was always open to new students at the dojo. He looked at Gabe and Oni and added, “I have two night classes during the week, too.”

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Session Three 2/27/11
Why can't we all just get along?

About a week after our last run in with the supernatural (other than each other/ourselves, which don’t count), Officer Sterling found out that there was a strange death that cropped up in one of the reports. Turns out, the body was drained of blood, was badly burned, and had a strange sigil carved into the back of its head. She brought this to The Life’s Flame Dojo, Zhi’s dojo in Plattsburgh. When she showed Zhi the symbol, he told her that he had a vivid vision of the same symbol earlier that day. He said that it reminded him of a kind of archaic brand used as a mark of punishment, but he couldn’t place the culture or the time frame. Considering the fact that it was a drained body, we guessed vampires were involved. We decided to get in contact with our personal vampires and wait to party up with them.

When we asked them what they thought of the symbol, Gabe and Alexis looked paler than usual. Turns out that the symbol is used by vampires from The Cult of Magdras, who punish any sins (in their eyes) with death. Apparently, the symbol was used as a way to punish supernatural creatures, used to keep an eye on them (the symbol is called the Eye of Magdras). It also can keep a vampire in torpor and prevent final death as long as the symbol remains on his body.

At first, we thought that we should just avoid the entire situation. What did any of that, the dead guy who pissed off the vamps or the symbol, have anything to do with us? Then we started piecing things together. Why did they let the body go to the morgue? What if the symbol isn’t actually a punishment, but rather a way to stave off final death and it’s used to bring the body (of an assassin) to it’s target? We guessed that the target might have been a doctor at the hospital. Alexis hacked into the police network and found a picture of the body. It was all out of focus—which is a giveaway for a vampire—yet the Eye was still clearly visible. Guess we knew what to do next. Onward to the morgue to see what’s up with that vamp.

Richard had a talk with his coroner buddy, Morry Stones. After a few odd innuendos relating to his suspicion of Richard’s proclivity for the dead, we made our way inside. The “body” was in one of the fridges in the back. Richard opened up the fridge, and when everyone else was too freaked out to open the body bag, fearing the vampire inside to jump out and tear out their throats, Zhi unzipped it.

It was a body. It didn’t jump up at us or anything. After everyone sighed in relief, we noticed that this body didn’t have the Eye on him. Gabe bite the body’s arm at the same time that Zhi peered into the Supernal to detect supernatural auras. Gabe told us that this is definitely a vampire, and that he’s not dry—still has a least a bit of vitae left in his undead flesh. Zhi turned around and noticed two vampiric auras inside the walls, apparently using the same power that Alexis used to sleep inside solid objects. Thinking that he could buy the rest of the party some time to run away, Gabe called out to the vampires, declaring who he is and saying that he has a contract out to kill them.

Well that got their attention. The two in the walls came into view, and the vamp in the body bag started waking up. Gabe muttered something about our odds of fighting three vampire cultists. Richard noticed the bagged vampire stirring, so he kicked the gurney into the fridge and slammed shut the door. Zhi said, “You mean two vampires” as he took out a zippo from his coat pocket.

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Session Four 3/6/11
Nobody messes around in our town and gets away with it

this is just to have something up

A fight broke out in the Green Room bar
we beat the stuffing out of those Cult of Magdras wusses. Of course the fight left Richard halfway to dead and Gabe is taking an extended vacation in torpor.

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Session Five 3/12/11
Rick Rolls, Blue Oysters, and Foreigners complete the Dark Trifecta

Tacking up something while session is still fresh

Zhi talked to Loredo

Sterling talked to chief of police

Richard strengthened connection

Maxwell joined the party

Group went to prison

Given tour. Spirit interaction.

Talked to Zephyr stoned, singing Part of Your World Little Mermaid, ran into Anna.

went to Kehoe admin building
Primogen flung from building
lots o combat
2 guards outside
guy on top of elevator
2 guys at top of elevator shaft – 1 got pegged and knocked out window
final room 3 elders, 3 soldiers. Fraking Davey. Tough long ass fight

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Session Six
Don't worry, I'm sure he's okay.

Water tastes weird/leaves filmy residue.

Zhi figures out it’s supernatural in origin/has a funky aura.

Zhi tells Davey, who figures out it’s most likely caused by a Promethean. “Wasteland” effect.

Collect group, relay information.

Sterling tells us about attack on a student.

Investigated the student’s attack. Possibly a werewolf, possibly the Promethean. She has a hazy memory. She had a weird dream about a werewolf, drew one in charcoal as well. Zhi thinks it might have to do with a possible first change. Maxwell thinks otherwise.

We leave to gather more information through contacts. At the library, Lady Deathstrike didn’t know anything about anything, apparently.

Upon leaving, Maxwell gets a phone call from Jacob. He and Seth are getting attacked. Maxwell speeds off, followed by Alexis. The rest of us double back into the Library and use a fae pathway over to the lupine melee.

When we arrive, Seth is dead, and Jacob is flying through the air into the river. Bunch of werewolves and a couple of azlu. Maxwell almost loses it, but manages to hold himself together. We kill one azlu as the werewolves run away, then Maxwell pulls an Earthbender and buries the other azlu up to it’s neck in rock.

Should we kill the thing or interrogate it? I think I know what Maxwell wants to do.

Fin.

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Session Seven
Nope, he's dead.

Picking up from where we were two weeks ago, the remaining Azlu had just been trapped by Maxwell’s Earthbending skills. Before they ran away all helter skelter and possibly to the front of a moving vehicle, Richard nailed the two fleeing mortals with a bit o’ “point and stop” magic. He went over to handle them while the rest of the party dealt with matters concerning what had occurred on the field of battle.

Alexis interrogated the Azlu for a moment while Maxwell (who was in no shape to interrogate anything except if by interrogate you meant make it more dead) did what he could to take care of Jacob. The Azlu was surprisingly no nonsense about spilling its guts and gave away a few bits of information. It opened with threats of its brethren crushing us. It told Alexis that the Azlu had cut a deal with this pack of Pure. The option of possible death whilst working as lackies for the Pure was much more preferable to the definite destruction they faced if they refused. The creature also imparted the general direction the enemy werewolf pack had departed to.

Having heard more than enough, Maxwell decided to swipe the Azlu’s head clean off. The remaining party members sat back and watched while the werewolf’s hand moved in bullet time. The head went flying off into the night and while the body transformed into hundreds of spiders. Once again the earth was moved and the spiders all cried out with one voice and were suddenly silenced with a loud squish. Zhi practiced some healing and helped get Jacob back on his feet again. As per usual when he came to he started asking for the good drugs. Maxy let him know that drug production was on at least a temporary hiatus as their herbalist was no longer among the living.

Jacob healed himself up some more and took Seth’s corpse back to the new werewolf hangout. The party rejoined Richard and began to talk with the vanilla mortals that had “witnessed” the group’s latest victory. “Surprisingly” all of them knew at least one of us. There was Ken Richard, Misaki Nagai, and Scott Tremaine. Miss Crowl wondered aloud about having a snack which recieved a resounding “no”.

Ken and Zhi go way back, and Richard had met him before. He had been out for a walk when he heard a scream and the sounds of violence. He ran to check it out, and the world suddenly went blue-green, freezing him in place. Zhi did a little magical detection and figured out that he had become a sleepwalker. He told him they’d talk about what had happened later.

Sterling knew both Misaki and Scotty through playing a popular role-playing game with them. Richard had met Misaki as well in a class they were both in. The two regulars had been out collecting water samples during which their memory blanked out, and they suddenly ended up over here. Although mostly at ease because of a spell cast earlier, they were all a bit frightened. The girl had been bitten by one of the Pure though Richard had healed that up. A quick consultation with Maxwell and an even quicker sniff revealed that she was well on her way to becoming a werewolf. Misaki did reveal some info that could give us better insight into the water mystery. The water taint effect seems to be occuring in a 1 mile radius circle. Water from outside the circle brought in is affected just the same as the water already there. She was working on a map to find the boundaries of this circle of taint, figuring that from there she could ascertain its center and possibly the source of the problem.

The map, unfortunately, was lost. After the group searched for it unsuccessfully Richard did a little “cleaning up”, and the party formulated a plan. Richard would take all of the mortals back to the Life’s Flame Dojo and have Jacob meet him there. The two of them would watch over the rest in case any of the Pure doubled back and tried anything funny/not actually funny with them. The rest of the party would track the enemy werewolves and put an end to their wrong doing.

Following the trail of the Pure proved to be very easy. After some time the group came across a rend in the ground. A round of detection abilities went with nothing coming up just yet. Wishing to avoid an obvious trap, they went alond the edges instead of through it. At about 3/4 of the length along it something sent most everyone’s spider-sense tingling. Somewhat farther away underground, a great disturbance could be felt. The party went into the ditch, showing off their skills of sliding down. They discovered an entrance into what was a cave or a tunnel, but before they could enter they were ambushed by a group of four more of those giant half man – half spider Azlu. Two of them had burst of of the very earth behind them. The Azlu all tried to grapple and poison bite the group, but to almost no avail. The only success was against Sterling, and Alexis’s opponent merely managed to keep her occupied. Davey, Zhi, and Maxwell did most of the exterminating with only one managing to escape back down the tunnel and all of the little spiders scattering every which way.

Maxwell was able to perceive that the Pure had not gone in the tunnel on their last pass, one of them had been in it before. Despite feeling a lot of bad mojo, the group decided to venture underground, eventually coming to a cave where manny other tunnels led to. In the middle was a cairn of stones. With detection abilities some truly horrific sights could be seen. The ethereal webbing that had been spotted earlier all stopped at the entrances to this cave. The cave’s walls were bleeding and strange symbols in flame writing appeared on it. The cairn itself was aflame with green, ghastly fire, and the ground around it quivered like living flesh. This was a Wound. Maxwell used a bit of trickiness to send the Wound’s keystone into the Shadow Realm. This tactic would cause the Wound to eventually dry up and gained him some measure of favor with the celestial choirs.

Then the cave began to collapse, but fortunately the group ran out and was unharmed. After a breather they were back on the hunt. A short time later they came to a spot where a peninsula jutted out into the water and the trees thinned out. A short way past the tree line stood a wooden door frame, that they found to be a locus. Everyone agreed that going through to the Shadow was probably a bad idea and they should just let the Pure come to them. Maxwell drained the remaining free essence in it and worked on damaging/draining the locus permanently. In the middle of doing that, the group was “plane shifted” into the Shadow Realm. They had all totally botched their resistance rolls to avoid it, and their rolls to notice the train tracks leading up to this door that had been slightly covered in plant material.

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Session 8
No, he's not Zack Galifianakis.

Picking up right were we left off last session, we got bamfed to the Shadow Realm by the Pure pack. After a small monologue by the Pure second-in-command (which was interrupted by Maxwell reciting it along with him due to hearing “this shit” before), combat started with Zhi tossing flames at the dude on top of the shadow tower. The Pure then jumped down three stories, and the brawl ensued.

A couple Azlu and a few Pure joined the melee, and a hunter (little “h”) was shooting at us from a nest in a tree. Despite being a wolfblood, his frail mind didn’t stand a chance when Maxwell entered Gauru form. The Pure were using some gifts that allowed them do deal critical wounds on the party, but they were in poor form tonight—whereas Sterling was pullin’ off headshots like nobody’s business. Between her silver coated bullets and the ridiculous damage a ten-foot-tall whirlwind of death tends to do, we tore through the Pure and their allies.

All of us took some pretty bad damage except for Davey, who got away with only a couple nasty scratches, but we all made it out alive—which isn’t what happened to our enemies. All except the Pure second and the hunter were killed in combat. Alexis wanted to drain the hunter, but Zhi told her not to since he was only a mortal, and would not be able to defend himself especially since he’s affected by Lunacy. She grudgingly agreed and only took a bit of vitae from the man. Maxwell then sent him back to the real world.

The Pure second was tied up so he could be interrogated by Maxwell to find the rest of the Pure who were not in combat, including their Alpha. We searched the shadow tower and found a broken orb of some kind (which Alexis recognized but neglected to share any information with the group), as well as the map that belonged to Misaki. Alexis took the shattered orb, and Zhi grabbed the map. Maxwell sent us back through the Gauntlet after we finished up in the Shadow Realm.

We trudged through the wilderness back to town. As we approached the Life’s Flame, we saw someone on the ground. Jacob’s head was blown apart from several high-power rounds. Maxwell grabbed a silver hatchet from Alexis and ripped out the Pure’s throat. No one could blame him.

Running into the dojo, we found several walls missing. Not blown up, destroyed, or broken, but missing. Richard was pinned to a wall with giant spikes stabbed through his wrists. Maxwell tore them out as Zhi scoured his pattern for extra mana to heal Richard. He told us that when he took Misaki, Scotty, Ken, and Jacob back to the dojo, they were attacked by heavily armed Hunters (big “H”). They watched Jacob die, and Richard told the three who couldn’t fight back to run and hide in the sanctum. Richard was quickly pinned to the wall, and when the Hunters started looking for the others, he used magic to transmute a couple of (Zhi’s) walls into stinging insects that attacked the Hunters. They fled after being (literally) swarmed, and Richard waited about twenty minutes until the party arrived.

Zhi put his hand on Maxwell’s shoulder and said, “I’m sorry,” as he walked past him to go check on the (mostly) mortals. They were shaken up, but uninjured. Zhi knew he had to tell them something, since it’s not a normal thing to watch someone get killed just outside a city dojo. Maxwell came in and said, “Magic’s real, there’s more out there than you know, and we need to talk later,” to Ken, Scotty, and Misaki, respectively. He then said directly to Scotty, “There are real monsters in the world, and I’m one of them.” Zhi added, “The guy who died out there? He was his friend. The guys who killed him hunt monsters. Not all monsters are bad; they are just not human. But those guys don’t care. They hunt monsters and don’t like it when normal people know about monsters. You can’t tell anyone that you know anything about them, or they might come after you.” Scotty said, “I’m good at keeping secrets.”

Zhi gave Misaki her map, and she showed that the center of the Wasteland effect (not that she knew what it was called) was right around the public library. We decided to check it out after we had a couple days to recuperate and replenish our mana/essense/etc.

Maxwell went to take care of the bodies of both of his packmates and the Pure, Sterling brought Scotty and Misaki home, and Richard started to clean up all of the evidence of the combat. Davey headed home to heal up, but he left a note for Zhi saying that he knows who to talk to about getting his dojo’s walls fixed. When everyone came back, Richard and Maxwell did the ritual to heal the damage from the Pure.

As everyone was leaving, Zhi offered Maxwell a place to stay at the dojo, as well as sparring whenever he’d like. “Yeah, I could use a beating or two right about now.”

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Mini-Session 8.5
"You could have knocked first, you know."

Previously, on Dragon Ball—wait, what? Wrong show? My bad. It’s because Zhi and Richard just recruited a new cabal member who is a big fan of anime in general. Celeris also happened to deliver us some neat magical items: a Mana Bowl that helps to preserve the mana that comes from the Hallow, and the Tearstone, which is basically a portable locus for Maxwell. She showed some of her techniques to the team, and we readily accepted her into our cabal. No, we are not super secretive, especially with people who already know our secrets.

Speaking of secrets, guess who knew where Zhi’s sanctum was? A group of mages who want to “borrow” it for a few days. It all started with some wounded mage named Mary who came by the dojo. She asked for help, claimed she was attacked, and on top of that, invoked the Right of Hospitality, which essentially required us (as a Council cabal) to provide for her for about a week. Zhi and Richard didn’t trust her immediately since she knew we were mages, knew where the sanctum was, and then claimed that she “sensed” the sanctum. Despite not trusting her, we went to check out the scene, which turned out to actually look like a fight, except there were no police or anything covering the scene, which made us think it was set up. We went back to the dojo, found nothing amiss, and called it a day.

That night, Zhi was rudely awakened at gunpoint. Despite wanting to lash out at the offenders, he tried to reason with him because, even though he’s an master at kung fu and knows magic, that’s a gun less than a foot from his face. After a short scene of conversation, the group of mages didn’t KO Zhi and instead brought him into the next room to wake up Richard. Richard, however, did not get to walk out of the room on his own. He was very vocally pissed off at what happened, and after saying something along the lines of “How about I take the girl and we call it even?” he gets leveled by a sleep spell. The leader, who was identified as Peregrine, asked Zhi if “the werewolf” would react the same way. He replied, “I don’t think he could take the three of you, but I wouldn’t want to be in the room when you wake him.” So Peregrine decided not to let Maxwell wake up and just send him into a deeper sleep.

Upon reaching the sanctum, Zhi asks to go into the other room, and promptly “cleans the fridge” so that they can’t use the Hallow. When he comes back, he hears a sharp whistle and doesn’t hear Maxwell shout out or anything, but still hears shuffling of feet. He realizes it must be Mary, and that she is working with them. He walks over and sees her with the other mages. He asks Peregrine if he can get one punch in for the betrayal. He says sure. Zhi turns, looks at Mary, and cleanly knocks her on her ass. He then promply sits down as he feels the sleep spell hit him so that he doesn’t just fall on the floor. He fell asleep smiling.

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Session 9
New Years Eve with Lady Deathstrike.

Today was all about information gathering and plan formation. After waking up, Zhi, Richard and Maxwell figured they needed information on the group lead by Captain Falcon.

They called up the rest of the party and let them know what happened, as well as asking them to check their contacts for info on “Peregrine Layne” and his cabal. While they did that, Zhi and Richard called up both Loredo and Celeris for mage opinions. (Surprisingly enough, Loredo was actually quite amicable when we called him at four in the morning. I guess asshole doesn’t kick in until after his coffee.)

What the group found out was that Peregrine is part of a mage Legacy that messed around with ley-lines, that he is part of the cabal called the Matrix Tappers (probably the A-holes who took over Zhi’s dojo.) We also found mention of the name Donald McArdle, who happens to be a visiting professor at the local college.

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