Rock of Faith

Whore-napping, pt. 1
Bat-man and a case of mistaken identity

The events of last night’s session include:

  • A bar fight and shooting in Quiff’s whore house (name this place, please).
  • A kidnapped whore, initially assumed to be Penny Whitrose, an employee of 4 months.
  • An aborted rooftop tracking session. Aborted because the only person that could follow the trail of blood from the kidnapper got a splinter and fell off a roof.
  • A drunken cart ride to the only river near Dry Gulch, and a short walk to an abandoned mine.
  • Shooting at bats, and making a torch-gun.
  • Exploring the mine, and some magic work by Ambrose that allowed the group to ascend a 100’ mineshaft.
  • Rescuing “Penny”, who was actually Sennah Harris, who’d been working for Quiff for 6 months, and seemed suspiciously capable despite just having been kidnapped naked by a bat-man.
  • Leaving the cave, then re-entering it from it’s top entrance after spotting the bat-man flying in that direction.
  • Trapping a member of the Order of Zarkos under a cave-in, and getting him to mention that the name of the bat-man is Manicus. Also, taking a badly blurred piece of paper with some Latin writing on it.
  • Having the demon in Quiff’s book translate the otherwise unreadable paper, in exchange for 5 minutes of freedom (as an aspect) later. The demon also thanked him for the blood, which he said he enjoyed consuming while reciting the Latin chant.
  • Preparing to face… whatever it is that the Order and Manicus are up to.
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Whore-napping, final
The team saves the girl from the Order of Zarkos

Highlights of last night’s session include:

  • “Brother” and Gallows, who were missing from last session, conducted a quick investigation and eventually caught up to the rest of the party.
    • The pair visited Penny Whitrose’s house, and learned that her boyfriend doesn’t know what she does, and that she’s been alive since the Starfall, but still looks like she’s in her early 20’s.
    • They also visited Sennah Harris’s house, and found it trapped and full of guns and knives. They took the guns, and an armed bear trap they found on the table under her window.
  • While investigating, there was another unexplained explosion in the caves leading up to Manicus’s lair, which collapsed some of the tunnels.
  • Once together again, the group laid in wait at the upper entrance to Manicus’s lair, and eventually caught sight of the bat-man.
  • While “Brother” talked to him, Timmy buried his homemade “bat-trap” (actually a bear trap on a rope) in Manicus’s chest, then charged past him and jumped off the cliff, hoping that the bat-man would be able to fly.
  • After the group took a few shots at him, and Timmy collapsed the cliff out from under him, Manicus took flight. This was short-lived, however, as he crashed into a tree shortly after.
  • Realizing his worth, the group cut him loose from the tree and healed his wounds, then had him lead them to the site where the Order of Zarkos was sacrificing its victims.
  • At the site, the group interrupted the ritual sacrifice, although they faced heavy opposition from about a dozen cherubs (or imps, depending on who saw them).
  • “Brother” tortured and interrogated three of the cultists performing the ritual, and let one run off. That one ripped his robe off as he fled and proclaimed himself done with the Order.
  • Ambrose attempted to put all of Penny’s life force, which had been ripped out of her by both the Order and Faustus (during his Five minutes of freedom), but didn’t have enough to restore her to her normal self, so he sacrificed a small portion of his energy to finish the job (and gained the aspect Always wounded).
  • Quiff made a deal with Faustus to learn the ritual from the instructions on one of the cultists he dragged off. Realizing that performing the ritual involves intoning the Latin chant out loud, he decided not to cast it immediately.
  • From interrogating the cultists, the group learned that the new head of the Order of Zarkos, Eric Wright, has a power that lets him detect the spiritual energy in others. He has had the Order keep an eye on a few people that he noted with high spiritual energy, and had Manicus kidnap one (Penny) for “sanctification” to Zarkos.
  • Another member, Michella Tone, learned of the sanctification ritual, and spread it to the upper echelons of the Order. In total, about two dozen people know what “Brother” knows about Zarkos and the sanctification ritual. The lower ranking members know of the ritual, but not of Zarkos’s nature.

For resolving the The kidnapped comfort girl aspect, the group gains a significant milestone. “Brother”, Timmy, and Quiff have not used their skill point increase yet; changes to characters will be reflected in the character sheets here on OP.

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It That Feeds, pt. 1
Never give Timmy dynamite.

Highlights of last night’s session include

  • Gallows received a request from one Tina Larkscall to help her oust a demon that threatens Dry Gulch from the town: The East Utah Territorial Mining company. She offers to pay a lot of money for information that will lead to the company’s eviction from the town.
  • After gathering the group together, everyone decides to infiltrate the company as employees. Ambrose (looking very out of place), Gallows, and Timmy pose as miners, while Quiff and “Brother” pose as admin staff and a foreman, respectively.
  • Everyone but Quiff caught one of the wagons headed out to the mine site. While there, they questioned the miners and engineers working on the project, and discovered the following:
    • The engineer that found this site was rewarded for the find, and is expecting there to be a lot of coal in the ground here. There may also be some silver or gold here, which he didn’t tell the company about, but tipped off a few miners about in exchange for a cut.
    • Gallows found a sketch of a hexagonal crystal, about a foot long, that may be of some interest to the company. Ambrose recognized it as a potential focus for eldritch energies.
  • The entire group found that security around both the site and HQ office is very lax. They were able to steal dynamite and information without any resistance.
  • Timmy used the dynamite to finish the initial excavation of the site. After blowing it up, Gallows found some shards of crystal, indicating that one of the crystals in the picture may be nearby.
  • In the HQ office in town, Quiff received the key to the office from the lazy head clerk, and made a copy of it.
  • He also snooped around and found a list of mining sites stretching east from Dry Gulch. Notes indicate that the mines were profitable, but shut down due to the miners dying off of a consumptive disease. Some of the miners survived, however, and their names are listed.
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It That Feeds, pt. 2

Highlights of Monday’s session include:

  • Almost everyone split up to investigate their own leads. Timmy and Gallows went to the nearest town that the Company had been to, Little Big Bend. Ambrose used the crystal shard they found after the blast excavation to create a divining rod. He also created a sensationalist news article for the local weekly paper. Quiff and “Brother” worked at the mining site.
  • Timmy and Gallows had an adventure in Little Big Bend
    • They found the town deserted but for a few families. The one man they talked to in town said that the town dried up after most of the able-bodied men died of a wasting sickness while working in the mines.
    • Exploring the mines, the pair found an empty crystal, like the shard found on the Dry Gulch mine site, and a boarded up room that contained a giant and his giant pickaxe. After a few hours work, they managed to get the giant pickaxe out of the mine.
    • Just before leaving town, Timmy ran into his sister, and Quiff’s psychotic “ex” wife, Darla. She mentioned that she’d been in another town like this while searching for Quiff. She then joined the two and headed back to Dry Gulch.
  • Quiff and “Brother” continued to work at the mine site.
    • Quiff spotted the same man that they saw the previous day snooping around the Company’s headquarters doing the same around the mine site. “Brother” walked up to him, intimidated, beat, and interrogated the man. He said his name was Homer, and that he was also investigating the case at the behest of Tina. He said that his theory was that there was a thing called germs that was being transmitted by some agent to each of the mine sites worked by the Company, and that this was causing the sicknesses. “Brother” beat him until he agreed to work for him and report their findings to him.
    • Quiff later ran into Homer while at the sheriff’s office for an unrelated matter. He saw Homer reporting what had happened to him to the sheriff.
  • Ambrose created a divining rod in a lengthy 12-hour ritual, which can be used to find the rest of the crystal that the shard he used came off of. He got “Brother”, in his role as a foreman, to order miners to dig around the spot that the rod located the crystal in. They dug all day, and managed to make a 10’ deep hole, but still hadn’t found it.
  • Ambrose also created a sensationalist story for the local weekly, the Dry Gulch Chronicle, which will be printed later this week (in a day or two). Fill in the details of the story here.
  • Quiff saw Gallows, Timmy, and Darla arrive back in Dry Gulch, and proceeded to hide from his wife. He went to the sheriff’s office later to get him to intervene when she decided to sleep on the porch of his whorehouse.
  • Later that night, as they slept, all five men were attacked by oversized, supernaturally-enhanced miners. Timmy and "Brother"’s attackers were awakened and returned to normal (or dead, in Timmy’s case) by Timmy’s dynamite toss. Ambrose did something similar and set off all of his magician’s flashpowder in his room, which left it Filthy and reeking of smoke. Quiff led his assailants on a (very short) rooftop chase, that ended with them falling and waking up. Gallows got into a drawn-out fight with the miners attacking him, which ended with all parties awakened and injured (or dead, in one miner’s case. Up to Gallows), and Quiff’s liquor collection again being destroyed, and this time set on fire. He is, once again, Short on alcohol.
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It That Feeds, pt. 3
All problems can be solved with dynamite.

Highlights of Monday’s session include:

  • The news story that Ambrose got worked into the Chronicle was printed, but edited to remove any supernatural references. Even with the edits, the outcry against the Company was so great that it forced them to temporarily suspend operations at the mine.
  • “Brother” and Quiff questioned the head engineer, who told them that he reports to a man named Tobias Drake at the main office in New York via a meteoric bowl. Tobias and the head engineer both gave the group their blessings to find the crystals, which were believed to be the source of the wasting disease that affected the miners at the mines that the Company operated.
  • Ambrose used his dowsing rod several times and managed to locate another crystal in the ground. Volunteer miners assisted with the excavation of the crystals over the course of two weeks.
  • The group eventually found and destroyed the first crystal that Ambrose found.
  • Ambrose conducted an experiment with the second crystal. He left it in the cave with the bats that Manicus lived in, and after a couple of days, they grew huge and began ravaging the town. The group eventually decided to recover the crystal and see if it could be blown up with dynamite, which it could.
  • After the destruction of the second crystal, a flock of giant bats was spotted headed towards the mining site. At the same time, a group of huge miners made their way from Dry Gulch to the mining site. Quiff and the others spotted this, and quickly made their way to the mining site to stop whatever was going on there.
  • Due to the increased activity from the crystals that remained buried, Ambrose was able to find them. He used a quick and dirty spell to open a dynamite-sized hole in the ground down to the level they were at, and Timmy rigged some dynamite to blow up the crystals while they were still in the ground. Once the last crystal was destroyed, a large green mist rose up from the corners of the mine and formed into a thick cloud, which then moved to take over the body of a miner, causing him to grow huge.
  • A battle ensued. On one side stood the manifested demon, and his bat and miner minions/puppets. On the other side stood the characters. The battle was fierce, and each side was bloodied. In the end, the characters won the night by blowing the demon’s body’s head off and shooting down his neck. As this occurred, another, familiar demon appeared near Quiff and cut the giant miner in half and killing it for good.
  • As the bats and miners woke up and returned to normal size, Ambrose did a search of the area to see if any of the demon’s residual energy could be harvested. It seemed, however, that whatever ended up killing the demon erased any trace of its energy from the area.
  • The next day, both Tina and Gallows’ contact in town (on behalf of the Company) rewarded Gallows (and by extension, the group) for removing the demon. Split up, this gave everyone in the party an aspect called Tina’s fat stacks of cash with a single free invocation. The aspect disappears upon invocation by the player. Gallows also got another aspect called The Company’s reward money with a single free invocation, which was not divvied up.
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The Matriarch of Renewal

Highlights of tonight’s session include:

  • Timmy received a request from a deputy named Aiden to find a missing woman named Gretta Roarke and her two kids. He told the others and they went to her employer, a barber named Titus.
  • Titus told the group that he was worried about Gretta since he hadn’t seen her for over a week, so he went to her house and broke her window to see if she was home. She wasn’t, so he left and reported it to the sheriffs.
  • At Gretta’s house, Quiff found some scuff marks and a child’s head-sized dent in a wall that indicated a struggle. Gallows also found a picture of Gretta as a child, plus three pregnant women named Annabelle, Susan, and Syndee. The women are all related to Gretta.
  • After tracking down Annabelle, who is in her mid 40’s but looks like she is in her mid 70’s, the group learned that the whole family used to belong to the cult of Subortus, a god of renewal and resurrection. The cult broke up after its matriarch, Annabelle’s grandmother, was betrayed by her son and killed, then came back as a zombie during her funeral and killed him in return. The cult’s temple is in the old temple district in town.
  • At the temple, the group found a homeless man squatting in the temple foyer. When spotted, he ran off, fearful of being arrested.
  • Deeper in the temple, Quiff spotted some shadow dogs, which stalked him back to the front of the temple. The group got into a fight with a few packs of the shadow dogs, and Gallows was severely injured before they were driven off.
  • While drunk, “Brother” had a vision of himself being sacrificed on the meteorite altar in the mountains near Manicus’s old place. He also ran into his “totem”… plant, an ambulatory cactus with a cowboy hat, and a vaginal-looking mouth filled with spiny “teeth”. He memorized the faces of the people participating in the ritual.

Next week, we’ll meet at Ward, then see if we can play on a table in the hall, since it was really loud tonight. If not, we’ll move up to my house. We’re also going to rework some characters and backstories, and figure out what everyone wants out of the game.

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Exponential Evil (and The Matriarch of Rebirth wrapup)
The group (and the GM) have math problems.

First, the wrapup for The Matriarch of Rebirth. Since we did character modifications last week, I declared the mission from the end of this story as a failure and had the ending of that story narrated. Overrun by shadow dogs, the group fought valiantly into the belly of the Temple of Rebirth, but were unable to rescue Gretta Roarke and her kids. Timmy and Quiff covered the escape of the rest of the group, but were blown up by Timmy’s dynamite vest in the process. The explosion also collapsed parts of the temple’s underground structure, at least injuring the Matriarch (“undead grandma”) in the process.

Exponential Evil takes place about 9 days after the end of this story.

Highlights of last night session include:

  • Zahariel, the voluntarily fallen angel, senses a malevolent presence nearby, and outside of Lars’s brothel (recently left to him by Quiff), they heard some screams. Investigating this revealed that a demon had just manifested in a family house, and was terrorizing the family.
  • Everyone except Gallows entered the house and converged on the demon’s position. Zahariel finished it off with a single shot, while Lars pulled another child away from the demon and healed another member of the family, who’d been eviscerated.
  • The group split up to gather more information:
    • Lars and Vincent, posing as a sheriff and deputy, questioned the family members, then sent them out of the house to Ambrose’s apartment while they searched the house. They learned that the demon’s name was Orley Schindler, owner of the only bank in town.
    • Armed with the above information, Gallows hit all the bars in town, and learned that Orley was an alcoholic, and under a lot of stress from living with his extended family.
    • Lars and Vincent went to his bank, questioned his partner and looked through his records, and found that he was embezzling money. His partner also indicated that they had a lot of enemies, mostly those who they had to post bounties on for bill collection. Vincent then went to the alley where Orley was last seen, and with the help of the rest of the group, was able to track his attacker back to her house.
  • It seemed that his attacker was Gretta Roarke, who was the subject of the last story, and who everyone failed to rescue. She made it out of the Temple of Rebirth with her kids, but was killed during a ritual her grandmother casted, and came back with a demon within her. She’s been killing people whenever she can’t hold the demon back, which is about every three days, and assumes that those she’s killed has been doing the same. Zahariel restrained Gretta in an old Christian church while they thought of a solution.
  • Lars received a vision of 8 demons, that looked roughly like the one Orley turned into, and Gretta told the group that she escaped from the Temple of Rebirth and made her first kill about 9 days ago. Question is, how many more demons will be created after Gretta’s victims, and their victims’ victims, have made their kills?
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Exponential Evil, pt. 2
Undead grandma resurfaces; the demons spread

Here are the highlights of tonight’s session

  • Ambrose dealt with the banker’s family by taking them to jail, under the mistaken assumption that the sheriff that they were talking about was the actual sheriff. He was very drunk, and gave Ambrose the key, which he left with. The family hung out in jail until their house was cleared.
  • After Zahariel finished exorcising Gretta, in a grueling 4 hour ordeal, the group investigated the watcher that Vincent noticed a few buildings over. They found a corpse, which Gretta identified as her 17 year old cousin, Alfred. He apparently died from the fall off the building.
  • When the group, including Gretta, went back to Gretta’s house, they found that her son, Randy, was missing. Zahariel climbed up to the roof and spotted him bounding rooftop to rooftop, gave chase, and eventually captured him.
  • After questioning, it was revealed that Randy was possessed by his great-grandmother, Priscilla. She was also the one who accidentally cursed Gretta (while trying to kill her as the sacrifice for a ritual), and released the plague of demons on Dry Gulch. She told Ambrose that the ritual was supposed to anchor her to a body and make it so that she wouldn’t burn it out after a week or so. She got this ritual from a cloaked (physically and magically) man, who knew of her plight and wanted to “help”.
  • Ambrose attempted to purge Priscilla from Randy’s body through a battle of wills, but lost and was psychically battered. He then agreed to work with her to figure out how to modify the ritual to reverse its effects. The group locked her in one of the cells of the jail, and the pair got to work.
  • Zahariel, Vincent, Gallows, and Lars tracked down one of the demons using Zahariel’s ability to sense them. The found the demon in his house, in human form, and easily subdued him, then locked him in a jail cell.
  • From earlier divinations, Zahariel knew that there were 5 large malevolent presences, and 3 small ones, each paired with a large one. The group tracked down one of the small ones, which they realized was a freshly killed human and nascent demon. The one they tracked down was dumped into the river and eaten by an alligator in the swamp a few miles from Dry Gulch. The group killed the gator and took it back to the sheriff’s office, locking it up in the third cell. They are waiting to see what happens to the nascent demon in its belly when/if it awakens.

According to Vincent’s calculations, there were 6 demons unaccounted for before the guaranteed transformation tonight. Zahariel sensed 5 of them, along with 3 of their kills, leaving one unaccounted for.

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Exponential Evil, final
More than one way to skin a demon.

Highlights of tonight’s session include:

  • After meeting back up at the sheriff’s office, the sheriff realizes that he is not fit for the job, and cannot handle it. He gives the position to Lars, who then deputizes the rest of the party.
  • Ambrose wakes up every day with a different wound. Unfortunately for him, today his wound looked like a demon’s stinger wound, and the party, suspicious of this (and knowing that being killed by the demons leaves you in a fugue state for a while), were scared and attempted to lock up or otherwise restrain him. He convinced them (mostly) that he was clear, and then bandaged his wounds up.
  • Ambrose, with the assistance of Elijah Gray, a fellow member of the Society, reverse-engineered the ritual so that it could be used to purge the demons from their victims. They also worked together to purge one as a proof of concept, and got a whole demon corpse out of the ordeal (Demon body parts)
  • The group rounded up the remaining demon victims over the course of the day, interspersed with exorcising them.
    • Zahariel, with Gallows’ help (as well as the help of the Christian priest that blessed his “holy water” in the whorehouse) exorcised two demon-possessed people. Zahariel immediately passed out after this 4 hour ordeal, supernaturally taxed beyond even her ability to withstand.
    • As mentioned above, Ambrose and Elijah uncursed the first victim, then after the rest were rounded up, Elijah and Zahariel, working together, used the modified ritual on the Temple of Rebirth’s altar to cleanse the remaining victims.
    • While rounding up the demons’ victims and cleansing them, Lars, Ambrose, and Vincent came across doctors from the Order of Zarkos who were looking to dress the victims’ wounds. Lars avoided these doctors, with good reason, but to everyone else they seemed like normal doctors.

Other things of note:

  • Zahariel felt a resonance with the demons they cleansed by using the ritual. She thought about it for a while, and realized that they feel similar to her, like kin, and thinks that they may be from the same source.
  • Ambrose discovered that his affinity for magic can hinder his working of magic if used too often in the same place, especially when doing powerful workings.
  • Priscilla decided to leave Randy’s body, which was verified by Ambrose. She is now at large, and has a grudge against at least Ambrose, and very likely everyone else in the party.
  • The doctors of the Order of Zarkos seem to know about the demon attacks, but so far have only been treating the physical wounds. At the end of the story, they had done nothing further.
  • A major milestone (1 refresh) was awarded at the end of this session. This also comes with a significant (1 skill point) and minor (change a non-High Concept aspect, swap two skills, swap a skill at +1 for one you don’t have, or change a stunt) milestone as well.

Petered out in the end, and ran out of challenges more interesting than the dice rolls to find and cleanse the victims. I think it was because of the 3 session length of this story, but was feeling burnt out at the end of the session. Looking forward to making new material again.

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The Longshots
Vincent edition

Lars Ian Appleby Roberts III was called into the mayors office to discuss recent events at the prison outside of town. It turns out that a group who identify themselves as “The Longshots” have somehow taken over and killed all other inmates within the prison.

At this point, the group took on three different objectives, Brother and Ambrose Strange decided to recruit more people to help take back the prison. Zahariel decided to try to infiltrate further into the Order of Zarkos. Vincent Valise decided to scout out the prison. From his scouting he was able to determine:

1. There are approximately 6 people standing guard on the walls.
2. The prison is approximately 100 yards by 100 yards.
3. Parties of 5 people leave the prison during the night.
4. The gate stays up for approximately 30 seconds. (10 up, 10-15 open, 10 down).

It’s discovered that The Longshots are sustaining themselves by raiding nearby farms and traveling merchants. At this point, Ambrose decides that the best way to deal with them is to poison their food supply. So himself and brother “persuade” some individuals to assist them by supplying carts and food so that it may be hijacked and Ambrose learns new ways to poison things. The plan works out beautifully as they are robbed at gunpoint by The Longshots while Vincent and Zahariel look on.

The gang regroups in town to decide how best to thwart the future plans of The Longshots and how to retake the prison.

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