Narrator: The Help Me! field team has been contacted by Liz Philips, a minor crusader in Wyoming who has prophetic dreams about murder. After doing some online research, the team has decided to return to their operations center in Denver and then followup on her leads.
GM: Okay, you guys are a bunch of investigators (well, sorta). Investigate.
Amilastet: Ack my token got reset?
EJ: i think they all did
Clay: We take a quick detour to our base to restock on charms then on to the murder site?
GM: I told everyone to modify the tokens on the !States page.
EJ: define "reset" em?
Nicholas: Well, the murder site is in Missouri; the contact is in Wyoming. The other murder that we think is related is in Nebraska.
Amilastet: (( all my stuff is gone off of it. Blank ))
Amilastet: (( annnd it's back ))
Clay: I don't see a big value in talking to our contact unless we think she is lying or in danger
Clay: well, face to face
Nicholas: Given that there's no direct connection that we can find linking McEuen (Missouri) and Walker (Nebraska), and given that both of them appear to have been involved in the binding and holding of different spirits, my suspicion is that we're dealing with something or somethings that are trying to free a LOT of creatures and gain power by doing so.
Nicholas: I have police contacts (12-, nationwide); can I pull the murder files and investigation reports on McEuen and Walker?
Clay: "I wouldn't discount some connection between the things being released either, they might all need to be loose to bring in the big bad."
GM: Let me look that up!
Amilastet: I'd also like to work my contacts (Claire and Kurt) to see if they know of the two victims, which might give us more links between things.
EJ: i have criminal! 12 - can that help?
GM: Anything can potentially help, but I need more than "I have a skill". What are you trying to do?
GM: Nick's FBI contacts: result: «succeeded by 4 » to contact them
GM: Nick's FBI contacts: result: «succeeded by 1 » to get information on the McEuen murder result: «succeeded by 6 »
GM: Nick's FBI contacts: result: «succeeded by 2 » to get information on the Walker murder result: «succeeded by 1 »
EJ: streetwise stuff, checking out the word on the street, that sort of thing
EJ: maybe they used local talent
Nicholas: 12 is apparently the right level to have.
GM: You'd need to be onsite to get the word on the street; it's basically social engineering of a sort.
EJ: fair enough
Clay: I'm going to see what the news has to say on the murders, and compare it to the FBI reports, also see if there are other murders that have the same hallmarks, if there are any distictive ones
Clay: or news of the things that were released from either
GM: The FBI doesn't have much on either murder, but they share what they have. McEuen's body was found half-burnt in his car, possibly the victim of a car-jacking. Walker's body was found in alley, sliced up by knives. It looked like a mugging gone horribly wrong. Both crimes are being investigated by the local authorities; the FBI has not and cannot assume jurisdiction. No evidence has been forwarded to their crime lab yet.
Nicholas: And contacting local police to ask for copies of the files 'since I'm investigating a similar murder that might be linked' would be more of a social engineering task?
GM: They do have some copies of the reports and the crime scene photos; they're not particular *good* photos after having been scanned, etc.
Nicholas: Because small-town cops haven't likely got digital photography.
GM: Yes, though you could approach it a couple of ways - you could try to pull FBI rank, but it'd be tricky.
GM: Also, everyone can attempt Biology-4 rolls.
Clay: Biology/TL8 (Earthlike) result: succeeded by 0
Nicholas: Must be trained, yes?
GM: No, default is fine.
Nicholas: (Not that I really want to trust IQ-9)
David: Biology default result: «failed by 7 »
Amilastet: IQ check result: failed by 4
Nicholas: I'm happy to leave it to the experts.
Johnny: Biology(14) - result: «succeeded by 3 »
GM whispers to Clay: Something bothers you about the knife wounds on the Walker murder. They're too irregular - some kind of wild animal or cryptid might be involved.
Clay: "Yah, I think I want to take a closer look at the cut up guy, I don't think those were knives."
GM whispers to Johnny: Something bothers you about the knife wounds on the Walker murder. They're too irregular - some kind of wild animal or cryptid might be involved. Possibly multiple critters, of the same type - and it's hard to say with the low quality pictures, but you don't think it's a type of cryptid you know about.
Nicholas: What is the GM's take on splitting the group?
Nicholas: Like, half of us taking up the investigation in Missouri while some head to Nebraska and one of us heads to Wyoming to interview the contact?
Clay: "Maybe claws or some strange weapon that we can track."
Amilastet: GM, can I check with my contacts? See if they have some sort of reputation in the arts or academic realms that we ahven't turned up yet? Or frankly any info.
GM: Right, sorry.
GM: Contact Claire: result: «succeeded by 2 »
Johnny: "These wounds look like they were inflicted by an animal. The marks are to irregular. It may have been multiple creatures. I don't recognize the claw marks."
GM: Claire has seen the news about the Walker murder, but doesn't know the man.
GM: Contact the prfoessor result: «failed by 1 »
GM: The professor is locked up writing an article; he'll try to get back to you when he's finished.
Clay: do we have a medical report or just crime scene photos?
EJ: "Animals... or a demon."
EJ: "Animals... or a demon."
GM: Just crime scene photos. Again, the FBI doesn't generally get involved in local murder cases, so this is mostly coming from the crime lab and at this point there's not much there. Well, there's a little more on the McEuen case: he was shot with a .45 at close range, but they can't do much with that information without a gun.
Amilastet: But he was only shot.
Amilastet: Not "cut up and then set on fire"
Nicholas: Shot and then burned?
GM: Shot, left in a car that was then burned.
Clay: how close in time were the two killed?
David: smooths what little hair he has.
Nicholas: A lunar month apart.
Nicholas: We had that.
GM: Half a lunar month, actually - one on each quarter moon.
Clay: McEuen first?
David: How far do we have to the next quarter moon?
GM: McEuen first. Roughly 13 days.
Clay: "Hmm, I have a bad feeling about this. First one was with a gun, the second a monster, maybe they are using the small fry that have been release to kill the other binders."
Nicholas: "Except that, from what we know, McEuen was keeping a poltergeist bound. I don't recall any poltergeists known for clawing people apart."
Clay: "Ok, I think of bad things."
Amilastet: "Was it confirmed a poultergeist? Some other sorts of spirits get pretty vicious."
Clay: "Hmm, wonder where it went, if anywhere"
GM: Yeah, the news reports don't say.
Clay: "Do we know what Walker was binding?"
David: "Have we been combing through Walker and McEuen's backgrounds, looking for commonalities?"
GM: "Per an article in Children of Artemis monthly, Walker was also the hereditary guardian of the Dullahan Dúnmharú Dearg, the Red Reaver lord of Unseelie Sidhe (of County Caran)"
Nicholas: "They didn't have any direct connection, but they were both involved in binding dangerous spirits."
GM: You've only been able to access the web (overnight from your hotel in Colorado) and the police reports this morning; you don't have very detailed background reports on Walker and hardly anything on McEuen.
David: "Perhaps similarities in the spirits?"
Amilastet: You know.
Amilastet: "A poltergeist can weild a gun."
Amilastet: "A red reaver lord is going to shred you."
Amilastet: "It sounds like their own bindings were unleashed upon them."
Nicholas: Okay. Reviewing my notes.
Nicholas: I have one note saying that McEuen lived in NB and another saying that he lived in Omaha.
Nicholas: Were these at different times, or just a typo?
GM whispers to Amilastet: Mila is reasonably certain that a bound Dullahan can't be freed before his binding expires. I mean, without a cataclysmic even that someone would have noticed.
EJ: omaha is in nebraska
GM: I'm reasonably sure Omaha is in Nebraska. I mean, I hope I got that right.
Nicholas: Okay, I fail completely at Geography.
Nicholas: No, that's my fault.
EJ: you know there's 50 states right?
Clay: "Possible, but unless it was his gun that still requires someone to help them out for one at least."
Amilastet: "There's a problem with that though. Breaking a Dullahan free..."
Clay: "I don't really know about what a red reaver lord looks like for sure, do we know it has freaky claws for sure?"
Amilastet: pulls a face, her left lip tugging down awkwardly.
Amilastet: "It's a big problem. Yes."
Amilastet: "But freeing one, we should have seen the um, event from here."
Nicholas: "Well, he had to perform the binding ritual every three years."
Nicholas: "It was last done two years ago."
Nicholas: "That'll be a problem in a few months, since his son can't perform the ritual yet."
Amilastet: "So it didn't expire, it was freed. And we're back to 'ack' again."
Amilastet: "It sounds like it's a problem now, really..."
Nicholas: "Assuming it was freed, and it wasn't just a case of someone killing the person who's meant to bind it."
EJ: "This thing might be a bigger immediate problem than finding who released it."
Amilastet: "In a way very in character with what he was binding."
Amilastet: "Tore by the bone lash. Ugh."
Amilastet: shudders a little.
Nicholas: "I think we'll need the ME's report to check that."
Nicholas: "And I also think we're going to Missouri."
David: "Yeah. We need to seperate what actually happened from what someone might be attempting to make it look like happened."
Clay: "Yah, his report or me double checking his work, most MEs won't check to see if the bone fragments are part of the weapon."
Nicholas: Walker's murder was recent, right?
Nicholas: Is it possible his body hasn't been sent to the mortuary yet?
GM: The day before Liz called you.
GM: It's likely the autopsy hasn't before performed yet.
Nicholas: Right then!
Nicholas: I guess the question is, can we get gold to make bullets before we need to go to Missouri.
David: Pawn shop.
Nicholas: And I think the answer is 'fistful of cash and local pawn shop'.
EJ: hell yeah
Clay: "Anyone want to whip us up some gold ammo, or we should at least get some bracelets or something"
Amilastet: "Careful with a pawn shop. You guys have really crappy gold."
Amilastet: "More brass or silver than gold most of the time."
EJ: "It doesn't have to be 24 karat."
David: "Okay, so plan:"
GM: ... the article in Children of Artemis makes it clear that the Dullahan resides in County Caran, Ireland. And if he's like most faeries, he's so provincial that moving to the next county in Ireland would be an amazingly long and difficult trip. The chances of you facing him in America are vanishingly small.
David: "1. Pawn shop."
David: "2. Mortuary."
Amilastet: And yet something LIKE the Dullahan is or appears to be active. And gold bullets are awesome.
David: "3. Suggestions?"
Nicholas: "ME's office, not mortuary."
GM whispers to Nicholas: Also, shooting a dullahan with 21K bullets will annoy the piss out of him without harming him - 24K or go home.
GM whispers to Amilastet: Also, shooting a dullahan with 21K bullets will annoy the piss out of him without harming him - 24K or go home.
Nicholas: "Shooting a Dullahan with 21-karat bullets will annoy the piss out of him, but it wn't actually hurt him. We go pure or we go home."
Clay: "Do we know any replacement binders? Does it have to be his kid? Seems like a pretty error prone way to keep something locked up"
Nicholas: "It might have to be someone of his family. We can hope he has a brother, cousin, uncle, something."
David: "Lets worry about that next year"
Nicholas: "That said, I really don't think the Dullahan is loose. It can't hurt to be prepared, but I think we'll find a different killer."
David: "I'm worried what happens within the next couple months."
Nicholas: I call the pilots and tell them to get us ready to fly to the nearest airport to Walker's murder that can handle the plane.
Nicholas: File legal flight plans, etc, etc.
GM: okay, they do all that.
Amilastet: So the plan afaik is to go visit Walker's ME
GM: Checking the plans: leaving the outskirts of Boulder, going back to Denver for a day, and then going to Omaha, OR leaving Boulder and flying straight to Omaha?
Amilastet: And then snoop around in his home area looking for more info
Amilastet: I may suggest doing ritual divinations while we're there and closer to the scene.
Nicholas: Boulder > Denver > Omaha.
Nicholas: Probably going to be half a day in Denver.
David: I am digging into backgrounds on both people and looking for commanalities, trying to find the next vic.
Nicholas: While we're still in Denver: EJ, I need you to get some gold. 24-karat would be nice. See if you can get about a pound.
GM: So. Day 1 you fight the cryptids and return to Denver. Day 2 you leave Denver for Omaha. Morning of Day 3 you're in Omaha and ready to talk to people? Is that the plan?
Clay: I'll assist David with research if I can
Nicholas: "If you can't get 24-karat, get as close to it as possible."
Nicholas: While David and Clay are doing research, I'm replenishing charms.
David: Sounds like a plan to me.
Nicholas: And working up a ritual to purify gold.
Clay: sounds good. does that give Nick time for new/replacement charms?
Nicholas: Also, who can make bullets?
David: We should have someone else looking for any other strange occurences in the areas right before the murders.
Amilastet: EJ can totally make bullets. In a kitchen.
GM: Sure, 6 hours easily for ritual work - that's about 8-9 charms. and plus, I can assume that Nick has his generic charms pre-prepped.
EJ: I have a reloading kit
Amilastet: With, like, random crap out of someone's toolkit (with a -5 penalty probably but still)
Amilastet: Reloading kit is better
Nicholas: I have a full Armory workshop good for +2 to skill.
EJ: better still
EJ: the reloading kit is kept on the bike, for field reloading
Nicholas: Something something richer than Croesus something.
EJ: we police our brass anyway, so that's never a problem
GM: IQ based Gun! at -3 to make some gold bullets. Assuming you have a source of gold.
GM: Which we can pretty much handwave.
Clay: just buy 24 caret, faster, cheaper most likely
EJ: gun! is dx+2, so it would be iq+2?
Nicholas: IQ+2, -3, +2 for workshop.
Nicholas: So IQ+1 net.
GM: One roll is good for (yes, EJ) 20 bullets
EJ: okay, so effective skill of 13 then
EJ: 20 rounds result: «succeeded by 4 »
EJ: how many we need?
David: Ehm.... lots?
EJ: 20 rounds result: «succeeded by 0 »
EJ: 20 rounds result: «succeeded by 5 »
EJ: 20 rounds result: «succeeded by 7 »
EJ: 20 rounds result: «succeeded by 4 »
David: How much is a DE round weigh?
EJ: is 100 rounds enough?
GM: Well, at roughly $10000 per lb of bullets, how many can you afford?
Nicholas: Yeah, 24k gold isn't cheap.
Clay: doesn't think we need that many
Nicholas: And we don't need many rounds.
GM: Also, it probably takes about an hour to cast each load, and you only have about 6 hours to work in, so you can't make more than 120 bullets anyway.
Nicholas: I think we were good with 20, really.
EJ: i can roll all night, just tell me when to stop
Nicholas: If it can be killed by filling it full of holes, then we can fill it full of holes.
David: Okay, okay.
Nicholas: If it is *totally messed up* by being shot with gold, then it doesn't matter if we're carrying 20 rounds or 200.
David: I didn't realize we would only get 15 rounds of DE ammo out of a pound.
David: Though.... not all of that is the round... hrm.
Nicholas: So we use about a pound and a quarter of gold, costing us $12500.
Nicholas: I'm willing to call that right.
EJ: really we could have done just one round
GM: You guys need to specify a caliber - these are not generic gold bullets, but specific gold bullets. And they're at either -2 accuracy and -1/die damage OR straight -2 to skill (depending on whether you underload the powder for the right volume or use the right powder for weight and have short bullets).
GM: So you have, uhm, 100 rounds of .50 AE?
Nicholas: 20. 20 rounds of .50 AE.
Nicholas: Which is about 3 lbs of gold.
Nicholas: 1 reload is 7 rounds, 1.2 lbs.
David: 1.3 pounds.
David: WPS is 0.067 lbs
EJ: we don't need to make 20 rounds
GM: Can we just assume that Nick pays for it and we'll sort it out later? Take it to email, please!
GM: You have somewhere between 20 and 100 rounds, TBD in email.
GM: Nick is doing charms. EJ is playing with fire. What's everyone else up to on Day 1 before you leave for Omaha?
EJ: we can use 1 lb of gold and work out how many rounds that makes, up to 20
Nicholas: David should call Liz and let her know the situation.
Amilastet: I'm seeking medical treatment.
Amilastet: Starting with getting my salt stuff.
Nicholas: If she feels unsafe, she should schedule a trip to Denver; I'll buy her ticket.
Amilastet: And then seeing if I can induce Nicholas to help me out with a ritual.
GM: She doesn't feel personally unsafe except for in an "end of the world in approximately 6 months" kind of way.
GM: Mila, is that something we need to play through or can we just assume you're healed.
Nicholas: In that case, I let her know that we're investigating Walker's murder as part of the issue, and will keep her posted.
GM: Liz thanks you for your assurances.
Nicholas: Someone also wants to book us a hotel in Omaha.
GM: Okay, Johnny, Clay, and David do generic background research, review the available information, and watch the news which conveniently updates them on whatever is happening. Sadly, not much.
Amilastet: It's going to require a ritual casting from Nicholas for healing but I'm willing to handwave that >.>
Narrator: That afternoon, the team leaves for Omaha and gets in after dinner. They set up at the hotel, eat, and make preparations.
GM: Day 2: Omaha, NB. A fairly nice hotel. Early morning, after breakfast.
Amilastet: I believe our first planned stop is the Medical examiners.
Nicholas: This is where David and I call local cops, I identify myself as FBI, and we talk our way onto the investigation in an unofficial, 'looking into possibly related murders' capacity.
GM: Check! Crime Scenes (MHM p6) and Social Engineering (MHM pp8-9).
Nicholas: And we say that we'd like to assist with the autopsy, all while making sure that they retain jurisdiction and are just getting a friendly helping hand from an agent with spare time, and not being run roughshod out of their own investigation.
David: "Strictly in an observational capacity, officer."
GM: Talker! or Law (Criminal), either at -1, or Criminal! at -2, to make an impression (success gives +1 on subsequent rolls). And then Diplomacy or Fast-Talk at secret penalties to actually get into the autopsy room.
David: Talker! result: CRITICALLY SUCCEEDED by 10
David: ((Shaka KHAN!))
David: Talker! result: succeeded by 0
David: Talker! result: succeeded by 5
David: Talker! result: succeeded by 0
GM: DId you just use Luck on a critical success?
David: I forgot my +1, but that's success by six minus secret penalties.
David: I got a crit success on the first roll.
Nicholas: No, I think he used it on hte 'Diplomacy or fast-talk at secret penalties'.
David: I assume I can use Talker! to replace Fast-Talk and Diplomacy as well?
Nicholas: (Notably, we want to get CLAY into the autopsy room with David.)
Nicholas: (Since he's our medic.)
GM: Oh, I see. Yes, Talker! replaces social influence skills.
Narrator: David smoothly talks his way into the Medical Examiner's office, explaining that Clay changing careers and wants to see how things are done. The ME is more than happy to help and is willing to guide Clay through the process or point out helpful things, as Clay prefers.
Clay: hmm, guess I will let him lead since he has paperwork to fill out as he goes
Clay: I'll assist and look for strange stuff
GM: Everyone involved in the Walker autopsy (either as observers or participants, and than can include all of you, though they give EJ some odd looks) can make each of the following: Search at -5; Criminology at -2; Biology -4. Anyone directly participating in the autopsy can also make a Surgery roll.
David: Investigation! I assume. Penalty?
GM: hmm. Surgery or Diagnosis -2, whichever is better.
Clay: not diagnosis?
EJ: any of those covered by criminal! or no?
Amilastet: I can't make any of those rolls
David: Er, Detective!, rather.
Clay: Diagnosis/TL8 (Human) result: CRITICALLY SUCCEEDED by 8
GM: Right, Investigation substitutes for everything to find clues. Criminal! replaces Criminology, EJ.
Johnny: Biology(14)-result: «succeeded by 0 »
GM: Err, Detective!.
David: So rolling it with no penalties.
David: Detective! result: succeeded by 3
EJ: criminal! result: «succeeded by 1 »
GM: No, you still have the penalties for each version.
Nicholas: I'm sitting the autopsy out, since I have no particularly useful skills and someone should be watching the van.
David: Okay, succeeded at the Criminology version, then.
GM: No, you need to make 3 rolls and specify which is which.
David: Okay, first was Search, fail by two.
Clay: oh, we make all three?
EJ: wait, need to make all 3 rolls?
David: Detective! result: succeeded by 5
David: That was criminology.
GM: How is making a Criminal! roll by 1 the same as making a Criminal!-2 roll?
David: Detective! result: succeeded by 1
David: And that is Biology.
GM: There's a bunch of stuff you guys can pick up in here.
Clay: Search result: failed by 2
EJ: i made criminal! -2, for criminology... but i can't hope to do the other ones
EJ: well, maybe search, if that's criminal! but not biology
GM: you rolled Criminal! at no penalty, made it by 1, and you needed to succeed by 2 to cover the penalty.
Clay: Psychology (Human) result: failed by 5
Clay: Biology/TL8 (Earthlike) result: succeeded by 1
EJ: okay, i put the -2 in
EJ: it is skill(12,-2) right?
Amilastet: Should be yas
Amilastet: with square brackets around
EJ: oh, i put the ,-2 after the )
EJ: i'm not going to waste my luck on it... there's enough eyes here
Clay: luck on the search roll
Clay: Search result: succeeded by 5
Clay: Search result: succeeded by 1
GM: At any rate, after quickly comparing notes: Clay, Johhny, and David all note that several of the knife wounds are almost certainly claw marks of some kind, likely on the end of long, spindly fingers from the bruises. Some of the wounds were pre-mortem, others post. Clay also notices faint ligature marks - he was bound at some point, but someone took some effort to cover it up. Clay also notices that someone painted some runes and carved some symbols into Walker with a knife - before he died - and then went back and covered it up with additional claw and knife marks. This was clearly not a simple mugging; several people had to have been involved.
Amilastet: I'm not any use here at all. I take notes!
GM: Also, everyone can roll against Thaumatology -2, OR Occultism -6, OR Hidden Lore (Spirits)/Theology (Shamanic OR Voodoo).
Clay: Occultism result: succeeded by 2
David: Thaumatology result: failed by 3
Nicholas: Thaumatology: result: «succeeded by 5 »
Amilastet: Hidden Lore (Free Spirits) (13) result: succeeded by 6
Johnny: Occultism(13)-result: «failed by 4 »
EJ: and i'll roll hidden lore(demons) because everything is a demon of some sort!
EJ: result: «succeeded by 6 »
GM: It's hard to say, but Mila, Nick, and Clay think that some of the carved/painted symbols are in an In-Betweener language. Mila and Nick think that two of them in particular mean "promise fulfilled" or perhaps "debt repaid." EJ can clearly read the phrase "The power is taken, let the gate open" written along Walker's stomach, though certainly obscured.
EJ: "That doesn't sound good."
GM: Okay, whooo.
GM: Now I need to make a bunch of Deduction rolls, which let me tell you is a pain up the ass.
Amilastet: I recommend a spreadsheet.
Amilastet: But I really like Excel >.>
GM: I have a spreadsheet. It doesn't help as much as you might think.
Nicholas says to the GMs: I'd like to double-check EJ's delusional thinking. Conveniently, I'm probably better at HL: Demons than he is (skill-16). Should I roll or would that be you?
GM whispers to EJ: This is obviously an attempt to release some elder devil from Hell. That's what the prayer meant.
EJ: "Someone is trying to release an elder devil from Hell. 'The power is taken, let the gate open.'"
GM whispers to Nicholas: a) don't you speak Demontongue? b) while you're chewing on that, you're pretty sure that writing has to do with a type of In-Betweener known as a Bargainer, which is odd because they rarely have anything to do with humans since humans rarely have anything to offer them.
GM: okay, one clue handled!
Nicholas says to the GMs: I have no Languages. Maybe that's Mila? In-Betweeners are generally 'free spirits'? I'll have to dig up what I know about Bargainers.
GM: another clue down
GM whispers to Nicholas: In-betweeners are a general type of non-fae free willed spirit. Along with Loa, Devas, Asuras, etc.
Nicholas: We'll thank the ME kindly for his time, ask if he can forward us a copy of his report, and return to the hotel?
GM whispers to Clay: This further confirms your theory that someone is killing these people to make some kind of deal or bargain - it isn't as straightforward as it might seem. It isn't just "kill these guys and steal the monsters they guard" - there's something else there.
GM: Hang a second - anyone speak Demontongue?
David: Russian is close, right?
GM: ... yeah, that needs to go in my spreadsheet.
EJ: i might have removed it from my sheet...
Johnny: ((Didn't know it was an option))
Amilastet: If you're a demon, you get it automagic
Amilastet: I think that's about it.
EJ: YES! demontongue, broken, spoken only
Nicholas: I have HL: Demons, Theo (Abrahamic), and Path of Mind?
GM: Right, well, then if EJ can read what's written on the guy's stomach, no one is going to argue with him.
GM whispers to Nicholas: You might, given that you think it's in a different language and that those are blood spatters anyway. and that's he's totally off his rocker. But I mean other than that.
EJ: your call, but i don't think this includes being able to read it
EJ: i'm willing to shift the point to reading rather than spoken, of course
GM: I believe in you, EJ!
GM: No, no, you're good as you are. You can't read much, but you know demons - you can work this one out.
EJ: i went with spoken for the character concept, but reading is obviously more handy
EJ: yay, overconfidence!
Johnny: Depends on the situation...
Kuroshima is disconnected.
Johnny: Reading will not help you decipher the war cries of demons
Narrator: The autopsy finished, the field team washes up and heads out for lunch.
Amilastet: Nor let you scream back at them
GM: And after lunch?
Nicholas: Okay, first, I think those were blood splatters, not demontongue
Nicholas: Discussion over lunch!
Nicholas: (Because autopsy reports make great lunch conversation)
David: "So, do we have cultists?"
Nicholas: "Some of the symbols there indicate pacts made with a kind of spirit known as a Bargainer. Which is strange, because usually we - humans - don't have anything Bargainers want."
Clay: "What blood splatters? They carved it in him and then covered it up"
EJ: "They clearly carved a prayer into him."
David: "We washed off the blood splatters. Well, Clay did."
David: "I see cultists being led by some sort of critter here."
David: "Knives, claws, coverup, and multiple participants."
EJ: "Okay, so cultists trying to release an elder devil."
Nicholas: tunes EJ out a little.
Clay: "They're making a bargin with something all right, it seems the key is finding out who is doing it. I think a least one of them is human since they have gone to a fair amount of trouble to set this up and cover it up after."
David: "We may want to check their usual hangouts to see if we can spot where they were snatched, to see if they left anything the police may have missed."
Nicholas: "And the methods seem human. Claws aren't, really - but the lengths they've gone to to try and elude investigation say that something mundane is working with the supernatural element."
Nicholas: "I think we'll want to do a detailed examination of the scene."
Clay: "I think the claws were to throw people off the trail"
Nicholas: (Which /should/ still be cordoned off.)
Clay: "Yes, there is a decent chance where he was found wasn't where he was killed though."
David: "Well, yes. But we may be able to find more clues to the cultists identies at a scene the police haven't actually been over yet."
Nicholas: "Still, knowing that will be helpful."
Nicholas: "Okay. Next stop, crime scene."
Clay: "Since he was tied up at least once and several of the wounds were port-mortem"
EJ: "Humans and demons do work together sometimes. Though it's always a better deal for the demon."
David: "Agreed. Most recent first."
Clay: "Is a barginer a demon or in-betweener?"
David: "No idea"
GM: Demon, if you ask EJ.
Nicholas: "It's an In-betweener."
GM: Mila might call it a free spirit.
Nicholas: "Demons have clear motives. Bargainers... well, there's a reason we usually don't have anything to offer them, it's because they simply don't think the same way we do."
Nicholas says to the GMs: I assume you'll rap my knuckles if I voice an assumption that's blatantly false.
Amilastet: "Demons are pretty obsessed with humans. All of the free spirits, not so much."
EJ: "I think we're splitting hairs. I just need to know one thing: what type of ammo and how many rounds?"
Clay: "Yah, that will make it hard, but perhaps it is collecting something from these binders magically."
Clay: "First we need to know where it is, so lets see if there are clues at the scene."
GM whispers to Nicholas: Partially odd thoughts, and partially they're so powerful on that we really just don't have much to offer them. and unlike most demons, they aren't particularly interested in Earth.
David: We finish lunch and head to the murder scene?
Nicholas: We finish lunch, call the detective in charge of the investigation, and ask if he would mind our taking a look at the scene in addition to our work with the ME this morning.
Nicholas: We will, naturally, happily share anything we come up with.
GM: okay, somewhat make a social roll at +1 (net -1 for suspicious detective type, +2 for David's earlier making an impression)
Amilastet: DOn't make me.
Nicholas: David is our designated talker.
Amilastet: (( brb, ICE CREAM ))
David: Does this mean I'm rolling?
GM: You are designated.
David: Talker! result: succeeded by 9
Narrator: The field team visits the crime scene. Nick flashes his badge ("FBI: Authorized IT Technician") and David explains the situation. The patrolman is more than happy to let the team examine the crime scene.
David: "No, please, we'll be fine. You don't need to come over to help us. Sure we'll take the original crime scene report. Thank you for your time, officer. Yes, you too."
David: looks at Nick.
David: "It is a very good thing I only use my powers for good."
Nicholas: "I'm just glad you're on our side."
Clay: I make sure none of the cops is looking too closely and pull out the EWD, just in case
GM: It's a secluded area, on the edge of Omaha's warehouse district, not too far from some of the lousier bars. The body was dropped, face-down.
GM: Uhm, roll whatever you roll to use that thing.
Clay: Electronics Operation/TL8 (Psychotronics) result: succeeded by 6
GM: Nothing noticeable - actually, less than you'd expect if a murder had actually occurred here. If it occurred somewhere else, it'd be about normal.
David: starts looking for tire tracks, foot prints deep enough to look like someone carrying a body, copious cigarette butts, empty soda cans, etc.
Amilastet: (( back ))
David: Was the body bound on initial discovery?
David: If not, looking for discarded possible bindings.
Clay: no, they tried to cover up that he had been tied at all
GM: Also, everyone call roll Criminology or Criminal! to case the site.
David: Duct tape, seram wrap, rope.
David: Detective! result: succeeded by 8
EJ: criminal! result: «succeeded by 2 »
David: taps his lips thoughtfully.
Clay: Psychology (Human) result: succeeded by 5
GM: This is General Analysis, so Criminology.
Clay: that was including the -4 for default to criminology
GM: Right, thanks!
Amilastet: IQ check result: failed by 3
Nicholas: Criminology (Default): result: «succeeded by 2 »
GM: okay, looking at the crime scene, Nick, Clay, EJ, and David notice a couple of things: there are a lot less tracks than there should be: only 3, including the victims', who walked this way from the direction of the bars and was apparently ambushed by two people who came from the other way and left the same. There's a lot more blood than there should be, especially given the fact that Walker was almost certainly killed somewhere else. The tracks aren't deep enough for carrying a body. And there's no evidence of strange cryptids with spindly fingers.
GM: Also, David thinks the blood is surprisingly flesh - it should be a lot drier, but it's still a little tacky.
Clay: um, do I think it actally human blood?
Clay: it is*
GM: Roll Forensics, at -4 for lack of supplies unless you have a kit.
Nicholas: Oh look, a box lab in the van.
Nicholas: Forensics: result: «succeeded by 5 »
EJ: more deduction rolls to come or what?
Clay: hmm, did you buy the stupidly expensive blood analyzer too?
EJ: cause i can't figure this out and i'm smarter than EJ
Nicholas: I don't think I did.
GM: EJ - yes, trying to figure out what. Nick - it's blood, and at least the blood type matches Walker.
Nicholas: And I probably /can't/ tell whether it's 'two people, with the same blood type', right?
Amilastet: Which mean's its human.
Amilastet: A vampire could
Nicholas: (-- knows shit-all about blood identification tech.)
GM: Not without a blood analyzer or a DNA scan.
Johnny: "Perhaps whatever killed him added anti-coagulants to his blood."
Clay: takes a sample to check for others things in the blood and DNA
GM: I mean, a normal person couldn't.
GM: Vampire, sure.
Nicholas: We are not adding a vampire to the team.
David: "Don't they add anti-coagulants to blood-in-a-bag?"
EJ: there goes my next character then
GM: Vampire EJ!
Nicholas: (Unless someone makes one as a PC, and then you get to put up with Nick only trusting you because he really has to.)
Clay: "They might have dumped some blood packs here, they might have had some anti-cougagulents in them"
Clay: do I know if adding those to blood in a bag is SOP?
GM whispers to Amilastet: Mila also notices a small, cheap glass bead carved with angular in the corner, chipped and broken.
Nicholas: "It's possible they dumped someone else's blood - from bags - to try and make it look like he was killed here."
GM: Clay - Uhm, I'm going to say no?
GM: I don't know in reality, in this game, it's a no.
Nicholas: "I mean, a really casual examination of the crime scene and the body would point to your basic really savage mugging by a junkie or something, I think."
Amilastet: bends over and almost picks something up, before thinking the better of it and pointing.
Nicholas: "We're just careful."
Amilastet: "I think we have a busted ritual charm here guys."
David: wanders over, peers at where Amilastet is pointing.
Clay: "So, three guys came in, two ambushed them, only one body?"
EJ: looks at where she points.
GM: No, 1 guy came in, 2 guys ambushed.
Clay: ah, ok
EJ: wait, why was 3 track too few?
GM: only 3 tracks total. but you think from the autopsy there were more like 4-5 guys plus the cryptids.
Nicholas: Also it seems likely to me that Walker didn't actually walk in.
Clay: yah, but not everyone was needed to get rid of the body, but noone was carrying a body either
David: Yeah, since disfiguring cuts were made post-mortem.
EJ: nobody who needed to walk on the ground was carrying a body
David: "So, Nick. What can you find out from a busted charm?"
David: "And can you make sure this isn't a booby trap?"
Narrator: EJ and David see a small, cheap glass bead, chipped and broken, in a corner. There's some pattern etched on the surface, angular lines.
Clay: "I'd guess that he was teleported back here honestly, unless someone really did a good job covering the tracks."
Clay: was there a lot of blunt trauma, like someone threw him off a nearby roof?
Clay: takes a look at the rooftops near the alley
EJ: picks up the glass bead to examine more closely.
GM: No, not much trauma.
GM: It's a cheap bead, you buy them in bulk lots at Wal-Mart for $10 and use them for tokens when playing D&D4e
David: reflexively steps behind EJ, keeping EJ's body between him and the bead.
Nicholas: And maybe crack them when you make charms?
Amilastet: (( they're also great for fishtanks ))
GM: Well, if you're a witch, sage, or certain kinds of inhumans, sure.
David: "EJ, tell me you're wearing gloves."
Nicholas: distracts the cop with a discussion of his career path. Has he ever considered the FBI?
GM: This particular bead is teal with some white swirly bits.
GM: Fast-Talk, Nick!
Clay: do the footrints coming in match Walker's?
GM: Clay: yes.
Nicholas: By the way, this is an untrained skill for me.
Nicholas: Fast-Talk (Default): result: «succeeded by 1 »
EJ: "As a matter of fact, I am wearing gloves."
EJ: "Poor circulation." He grins slyly.
David: "Then quickly put that in your pocket."
GM: He's flattered by your interest and talks about how hasn't really thought about what to do after he makes detective, but being in the FBI might be good.
EJ: has already pocketed it.
Nicholas: Mumble mumble benefits mumble pay mumble chance to travel mumble call this guy he's a recruiter.
GM: Not that he's sure how he'll make detective, but he's hoping for a lucky break and some hard work.
Amilastet: We has a clue!
Amilastet: Which we can take back to somehwere safe and perform psychometry on to get the real clue
Amilastet: And it's not one of those bullcrap gumwrapper clues either.
Amilastet: Nobody is a medium, huh?
Amilastet: Ah well.
Clay: I'm a large
Johnny: looks confused. "What does size have to do with the situation?"
GM: Anything else you guys are doing at the crime scene?
Nicholas: (I think that was an OOC comment.)
Nicholas: Photos. Photos liek whoa.
Amilastet: (( semi-IC but works either way really. ))
Johnny: ((nooo...great time for my cluelessness!!))
Amilastet: (( I'm pretty sure either players or characters could answer it. ))
David: Sample of the blood we already have. PHotos like whoa. See if we can find any nearby suveillance cameras that might have caught the perps.
Nicholas: "We're actually just testing the equipment - they want us to run comparisons between these new digital cameras and the ones you guys use."
EJ: i imagine if there were any cameras in the area, the police would not be as clueless
Amilastet: Any conspicuous curtaintwitching neighbors with big telescopes in their windows for spying on the neighborhood?
David: They might not have PC for a warrant.
GM: Someone roll something to take photos. Somoene else roll, uhm, hmmm... Diplomancy -7 or Streetwise -3 to find eye-witnesses or surveillance cameras.
Amilastet: (( David is our diplomancer. ))
Amilastet: (( EJ is our Streetwise ))
EJ: Criminal! result: failed by 4
David: Talker! result: failed by 5
David: Eh, destiny point or whatever.
EJ: Criminal! result: succeeded by 0
Nicholas: defaults Photography. result: «CRITICALLY SUCCEEDED by 7 »
EJ: Criminal! result: failed by 5
David: That's STreetwise.
David: Talker! result: CRITICALLY FAILED by 11
David: That's diplomacy, and Luck.
EJ: i'll take the success
David: Talker! result: failed by 7
David: Talker! result: failed by 1
David: Eh, nope. Streetwise yes, though.
GM: okay, David looks around, there's no cameras in the area. EJ talks to some people on the street, being an obvious criminal and talks to a streetguy.
GM whispers to Nicholas: Well, there's something a little odd about a few of your pictures. On some of them, there are many more footprints compared to what you can see on the ground.
Street Person: "Whacha wan'? Don hur' me, playa!" he says to EJ.
Nicholas says to the GMs: Uhm. Er. Is that an /illusory/ coverup? That'd be some sort of Sense Magic Effect, which I think I can probably do with a second of concentration and personal reserve?
GM whispers to Nicholas: sure, try that.
Nicholas: Sense Magic: result: «succeeded by 6 »
Narrator: Nick mutters to himself, scratching his arms and contorting his fingers.
EJ: "You see this shit going down? Some sucker got rolled, yo."
GM whispers to Nicholas: Some of the blood is magical - it's been created. And there are, uhm, probably illusion spells near the body, leading to the road.
Nicholas says to the GMs: Replenish energy over the next few seconds, then start figuring out what to do to get rid of the illusion spell. Dispelling a Lesser Effect should be a Lesser Effect?
Street Person: "Yo, yo, I saw tha', I saw tha'. Buncha hoods rolled up in a swee' ride, met a pair of crackers coming from there, dumped tha' poor sucker and rolled away. The crackers walked away, but the boyas in the car came and picked 'em up. And when I say up, I mean UP! they went straigh' into the sky, 'cause the Greys came in the UFO and took 'em. You check, you check, tha' sucker go' probe', something fierce!"
GM: Fortunately, EJ, you know that aliens don't exist. Those are just demon sightings.
Clay: ok, I get out of sight and teleport to a roof and search it
Clay: because getting on a roof is way easier than flying
GM: Uhm. Okay, what are you searching for?
Amilastet: Alien spacecraft, or whatever they took the guys to "up".
EJ: "No shit? You saw the grays?"
Clay: stuff! tracks, more beads, ropes, EWD signatures
EJ: is humoring the guy, of course.
Amilastet: (( could be little grey demons ))
Clay: (( details on the sweet ride! vanity plates! ))
Street Person: "I saw 'em! I saw 'em! I done ducked down 'cause I don wanna be probe', but I saw 'em good! They go' three eyes, I saw 'em peeking outta tha' uhm, whachalli', bubble thingie onna top their ship."
GM: Clay, roll Observation, I think. Or Perception if better.
Nicholas: Sense Magic result: «succeeded by 2 »
Nicholas: Sense Magic result: «succeeded by 4 »
Nicholas: Sense Magic result: «succeeded by 1 »
Nicholas: I'll have to take 'By 4'.
GM: The dice giveth, and the dice taketh away. You can't get a firm grasp on the spell.
EJ: "Right, right. Tell me about that ride. It have flashy rims?"
Clay: Perception check result: succeeded by 6
Nicholas: Trying again: result: «succeeded by 5 »
Street Person: "Nah, nah, man. It was souped-up, some Terce' rocke' with a dam and a spoiler! Ar-Tee-Ex ENHANCED!"
EJ: "Huh. Vanity plates on it?"
Nicholas: motions David over.
Nicholas: "I need that cop gone, and witnesses distracted, for about five minutes. Can you do that for me?"
Street Person: "Uh... maybe. wha'si worth tya?"
EJ: ((btw how reliable does this guy look? crackhead, crazy homeless guy, or just live around here?))
David: shrugs and ambles towards the cop.
GM: Homeless, not too crazy but maybe alcoholic, but reguarly drinker, no DTs.
David: "Hey man, I don't know about you but I could do with a pickup. Coffee and a danish? I buy, you fly. No, I'll watch the scene. Besides, the evidence dweebs have already been through."
GM: Roll Fast-Talk, +2 for impression, +1 for plausible, -4 for hard thing to do.
David: "Not like the scene is gonna walk away, right?"
EJ: pulls a $20 out of his pocket.
David: Talker! result: succeeded by 4
Patrolman: "Sure. I don't think anyone's going to disturb the scene with 5 federal agents standing around, and they'll get what they deserve if they try."
David: "Yeah, right?"
Amilastet: "If the scene tries to escape, we'll be here."
David: I get his cell number, and call him when he's out and extend the errand to something from a store that is even further away from the scene to make sure he's gone long enough.
David: Sandwhiches or something.
Street Person: "Yeah, I saw tha' too. I' was DNAMITE, black le-ers on whi' Like I said, i' was swee'!" He snatches the twenty.
EJ: nods and returns to the group.
GM: Also, roll Criminal!
EJ: Criminal! result: failed by 2
GM: Well then.
EJ: destiny is guns only huh
GM: Your Destiny points from Gun! only apply to Gun!, not Criminal!
EJ: and 5 minutes until luck
GM: You have 12 points in Criminal!, though? That's a Criminal Destiny point.
EJ: 24 points, actually
GM: 2 then.
Amilastet: He's used one point, but that means he has two
Amilastet: I think he used one? Someone did.
EJ: not me
David: I did
Amilastet: Someone else then
GM: David, I think, on Talker!
Amilastet: Ah, yah
David: On streetwise
EJ: destiny gets me a reroll?
GM: Or Detective!
Amilastet: One point for one reroll
EJ: Criminal! result: succeeded by 5
Clay: reroll or bump to success
EJ: oh... well the roll went okay anyway
GM: Right then. Yeah, he was totally lying to you, and not very well.
EJ: "Well, that was a wash." Turns to Nick. "You owe me $20, rich boy."
EJ: ((lying about the whole thing or just the last part?))
GM: Just the license number. Well, and he was wrong about the Greys, but that's just normal confusion. There are more than a few 3 eyed demons out there.
EJ: not a total wash then
EJ: relates the information he learned.
GM: By the way, all of you have decided there is a rogue witch, rogue sage, or inhuman involved in this mess.
Amilastet: What do I know about three eyed Inbetweeners?
EJ: "Smelly over there got spooked pretty bad about the guys in the car, I think, so forget getting a good description of it."
GM: Uhm. Most inbetweeners have a variable number of eyes, depending on what they're doing. Free willed spirits with 3 eyes are mostly subcontinental Indian or Chinese.
EJ: "But this does explain how the body got here."
Amilastet: "It certainly does..."
EJ: "Let's see... demons with 3 eyes that fly..."
EJ: Hidden Lore (Demons) result: succeeded by 0
Nicholas: Dispelling Illusions « You pulled it off!
You made 15 attempts to accumulate energy and you ended up with 76 energy.
You took 15 successes to get it (including 1 Critical Successes)
You failed 0 times while doing it. »
Amilastet: (( WELL done. ))
GM: Sweet. So that's, uhm, 70 seconds or so?
GM: Yeah, roll Path of Magic.
GM: You forgot to account for the critical success.
Nicholas: 71 seconds.
Nicholas: Path of Magic: result: «CRITICALLY SUCCEEDED by 12 »
Nicholas: The real question is, 'is 70 energy enough to dispel the illusions'.
GM whispers to Nicholas: As you struggle against the spell, you get the sense of a powerful, but untutored spellcaster, almost more personal energy than you can comprehend, but not nearly the same skill as you.
Narrator: Nick chants and gestures for a little over a minute, his eyes and fingertips slowing glowly. Sparks fly from his fingers, lighting up a trail around the crime scene.
Narrator: There are several obvious, blood-spattered tracks going from the road and back. They weren't there moments before.
David: from halfway down the block "Yeah, just six pastramis on rye would be wonderful, patrolman. Grab yourself one too, there's this great deli on fifth, I'll pay for it all when you get back here."
Nicholas: "Covering THAT back up is going to be a chore."
GM: Two different patterns, maybe a third.
Amilastet: But not, say, pawprints?
David: So, new photographs.
Amilastet: Lots of closeups of those new prints >.>
GM whispers to Nicholas: There's a ritual caster of some kind involved, and something odd about that caster.
David: Hrm. I am gathering new clues.
GM whispers to Nicholas: There's a ritual caster of some kind involved, and something odd about the caster - too powerful to be that inexperienced.
EJ: yeah, we can check every payless and footlocker in town...
Nicholas says to the GMs: Possibly a neophyte who was granted a lot of raw power through some other method?
David: EJ is going to be cleaning up the scene as soon as I'm done.
Clay: I take it I found nothing on the rooftop, I will come back down I guess to see the new REAL clues
Amilastet: Does Nick get an impression about how skilled the ritual was, as he blasts through it?
GM whispers to David: There's a ritual caster of some kind involved. Perhaps enhanced somehow and more powerful than she should be?
Amilastet: Are we dealing with experts, or someone like me?
GM whispers to Nicholas: You have your suspicions. Nothing I can confirm.
Nicholas: "This was not a particularly skilled magician, but I'm at a loss to explain how someone with such poor technique amassed so much raw power."
EJ: "Demonic assistance."
GM: Clay, yeah, you never saw anything.
Nicholas: "One of these days you'll actually be right, EJ."
GM: David and Nick can see EJ's point.
EJ: "Huh? I'm always right."
David: "Yeah, black contract or something."
Nicholas: "There are other ways, but it could have been a demonic pact."
Nicholas: "Still, nothing else about this says 'demon' to me."
Amilastet: scratches her chin. "He's probably basically right. Spirit-asisted magic can get a big oomph behind it."
Nicholas says to the GMs: Any chance that a Bargainer could have provided that kind of power?
Johnny: "Perhaps an artifact of some sort as well?"
David: "Demon, outsider, both can provide oomph."
Clay: "Inbetweeners don't have really big power pools do they?"
GM whispers to Nicholas: Sure, but why would they bother?
Nicholas: "Anyone think the cop's going to notice the new trail of bloody footprints?"
David: "Yes, EJ is going to hide them."
Amilastet: "They're usually got their mojo bound up in being physical..."
David: We got a fire hydrant wrench in the van?"
Amilastet: (( GM? Bargainers got magical power to bargain with perchance? ))
GM: I doubt it.
EJ: "He's going to think one of us walked through the blood and ruined the crime scene, at best."
Nicholas: "I'm /sure/ the cop would notice if we opened a fire hydrant on it."
Nicholas: "Let me work up something to cover it back up."
GM: Mila: yes, but again, they don't give it to mortals, in the same way that you don't provide power tools to ants.
Clay: "Don't suppose you can conjure an quick rainstorm?"
David: "Beats boosting a car and ramming it into the fire hydrant."
EJ: "That's not a bad idea, actually..."
EJ: shuts up before he admits that was his plan.
Amilastet: On the other hand, a bargainer might be bargainaing with a monster. It's not like we're totally incompetent at magic just because we're immortal or something.
GM: Well, yes, but Rogue Angels and Elder Demons don't fuss around with minor murders and cheap cars.
David: continues scanning the scene before Nick puts the illusion back.
Clay: don't supposed there was a poorly maintained water tank up on the roof?
David: Do the footprints roughly match the story the street person was tellign?
Amilastet: I'm willing to burn my Destiny point on a poorly maintained water tank
Amilastet: For reference.
GM: The parts you can easily observe, sure. The car bits are harder to authenticate.
GM: Rihgt, Mila.
GM: Right, Mila.
GM: Can't type.
EJ: the car isn't important, the people in it are
EJ: and if my guess is right, they are the local gangbangers
Clay: "So, we track down some gangbangers and see who has been using them?"
Nicholas: Lesser Restore Magic: « You pulled it off!
You made 15 attempts to accumulate energy and you ended up with 67 energy.
You took 14 successes to get it (including 0 Critical Successes)
You failed 1 times while doing it. »
GM: A quick survey of the immediate vicinity shows that most Nebrask plates are not black letters on white; blue on yellow or black on yellow-to-orange are more common.
Nicholas: One quirk!
David: Google to the rescue.
GM: You bet.
GM: Okay, there's a quirk. Heh.
EJ: "That's going to be hard. At least for you guys. You look too much like cops."
Nicholas: I give the illusion Cancer.
David: arches an eyebrow, slouches, and ambles towards EJ with a noticable gangsta lean.
Clay: "No, we don't look enough like criminals, there is a difference"
GM: David looks less gangster than EJ, but more than enough to pass - more mafia than streetbanger.
David: snarls something in rapidfire russian, followed by "bitch."
Narrator: The field team finshes their business at the crime scene and moves out to track down some suspects.