Kapre Aswang

Session 22
Return and Realization

Ten Minutes into Day 5

Midnight has just passed. Red, gold, and blue stars twinkle. The wind is cold off the lake.

Anthony, Belinda, and Saul stand in the ruins of the Wivanhoe hydroelectricity plant staring up at the two sound canisters bolted into the roof space ten meters above their heads. The canisters are quite large. They seem to have been up there a while, definitely since before the apocalypse as it’s quite a professional setup. Each of the intact canisters contains at least two tons of the glowing yellow goop and has a black, meter long monster embryo floating within it.

The embryos look like big catfish with hand like fins. There is some debate over whether they’re less developed specimens, but Anthony remembers how little of the goop was left over from the broken canisters and the way in which the monsters which got loose seemed to absorb the glowing fluid through their skin. Saul theorizes that the canisters are suppressing the monsters.


Extraction

The trio discuss how they should proceed.

Saul suggests abandoning the Suv and traveling with two people in the Lav as he can’t drive during the day anyway: “And if we run into any issues during the night we got someone on the gun.”

Anthony is keen to take the canisters in the Gwagon: “Just in case the fire guys were looking for them. We don’t want to leave them here.”

Belinda: “That’s fine buy you should probably drive in front then, just in case they get out.”

Anthony: “Oh no! I’ll go behind, so if there is an issue I’m not in front with the breakables!”

Belinda is the most skilled driver. She jumps up on the forklift to figure it out while Anthony digs through the fire guys’ tool kits and Saul equips himself with the dead sergeant’s assault rifle (the one with the under barrel grenade launcher). The army dudes had fired themselves dry but Saul finds spare ammo in the GWagon as they move all the stuff there into the Lav.

Anthony and Saul jump on the forks and Belinda raises them up into the roofspace under the canisters.

Anthony: “Up a bit. Up a bit. Woah!”

With the tines up under the middle of the first canister Saul manifests Roots Aura and uses it to Entangle the canister and forks. Meanwhile, down in the driver’s seat Belinda is estimating leverage and angles trying to decide if this forklift is really meant to be able to carry two tonnes at full extension. Anthony whips off the bolts and the forklift sways as it takes the weight.

Belinda eyes the canister and her two companions swaying ten meters up above her head for a moment. “It’ll be fine,” she decides and starts to lower them down. But the lever is a bit twitchy (single botch). Saul and Anthony clutch for dear life as the forks lurch down. With an effort of Will Belinda smooths the descent instead of bringing them to a hard stop. The canister flexes but does not crack, and she lowers them the rest of the way to the floor.

Anthony and Saul jump off and Belinda goes to load the canister into the GWagon. On another single botch she clips the back of the truck, but with another expenditure of Will manages again to avoid smashing the canister open and gets it safely loaded. Eyes wide she wipes off sweat as she drives back inside to line up the forklift for the next canister. Will depletion is causing her instability to have a larger than normal effect, pushing her up into the Exhilarated Temptation state. She almost wants the next canister to break just so she can fight the inhabitant…

Saul: “Starting to get good at this. Next one will be a peace of cake!” It’s noticeable that he’s standing close the Lav and its big gun.

Belinda raises them up smoothly until the tines are just touching the canister. Anthony starts to loosen the bolts while Saul prepares again to Entangle. But Anthony rounds off the second bolt he comes to (botch). Ten meters up they consider the canister.

Belinda: “Should we just leave it there?”

Anthony: “Toss us up that crowbar over there…”

Saul: “We could just go down, come back up and start again.”

Belinda: “But then I’ve got to raise the forks again.”

Anthony: “On second thoughts take us down.”

Belinda: “I guess it does sound better.”

Saul: “Better than throwing crowbars…”

And so (much to the storyteller’s disappointment) they opt for the safer course, lowering down again and searching for other tools among the electricians’ kits. Anthony leaves the oxy torch, opting instead for a battery operated drill and hacksaw.

Back up against the roof again Anthony drills and cuts the stuborn bolt away before Saul Entangles and the other bolts are undone. Belinda lowers them super smoothely and slides the canister into the back of the GWagon like it was her day job. Both Saul and Belinda make their stamina checks but Anthony fails his. His headache, the first since Awakening, reaches blinding proportions as he takes a level of aggravated damage.

Belinda: “How are you going to drive?”

Anthony: “I’m gonna get rid of my headache.” He draws on the Tree to regenerate the damage.

Belinda: “Ok, so where are we taking these canisters?”

Saul: “Home.”

Belinda: “They’re gonna start wondering where we’re getting these vehicles….”



The Trip Home

Belinda leads the way in the Lav while Anthony follows in the GWagon. She stops halfway up the hill where they’d left the Suv so that they can strip it of gear.

Cartons of food, loot, and other stuff are all transshipped from Suv into Lav. The character’s are careful to remember Evan’s Vampiric Bone Lance and Chainsaw.

As they move off again, Saul, riding in the Lav’s troop compartment sorts over stuff. Examining the uniforms scavenged from the dead army dudes he confirms about half of them had been wearing dog tags (country, service number, initials and last name, religion, blood group). Although the electricians had the same uniform as the others no tags were recovered from their bodies. Having absorbed a lot of their soul fragments (shoot 4) Saul also comes to the realization that the Green tipped, armour piercing, ammunition in the Lav is specifically meant for anti vehicle (anti monster?) roles where as he would have expected Orange, high explosive anti infantry rounds to be more suitable for travel since its a zombie apocalypse after all.

Belinda leads them down through the hills around the lake without incident. The army vehicles navigate the storm debris much more easily than the Suv did. Down near the dam wall they smell wood smoke but there is no sign of light or life from the scattered camps of refugees at this time of night.

Belinda opts to take them the long way around, through burned out Lowood and over the Glamorgan Vale hills rather than smash through the barricades at Fernvale. The two vehicle convoy rolls along through these stretches without incident, but as they turn back onto the Brisbane Valley Highway they come across a caravan overturned in the middle of the road.

There are five or ten people clustered around the wreckage arguing. Up in the gunnery turret Saul raises Spirit Sight, but none of them seem to be zombies supernaturals. As Belinda slows the first of them steps forward to flag her down. She turns off the bitumen and takes the Lav over the roadside fence.

Saul (calling down from the turret): “We’re not stopping? They’re just humans…”

Belinda (aware of her instability): “If they yell at me I’ll kill them all.”

Saul: “We could take a few…”

Belinda: “Driving around in army vehicles we should probably be in uniform.”

Anthony follows the Lav in his GWagon loaded with glowing canisters (having made another stamina check). The army vehicles bump across the open ground without issue. Some of the humans from the caravan wreckage run out into the star lit paddock after them. Saul swings the auto cannon around to point at them, which seems to dissuade most of them. He looks for a loudspeaker switch but can’t find it, and argues instead with the voices in his mind (high human instability from absorbing those soldiers’ shoot fragments).

The crash victims are soon left behind. When they’ve gone a good distance Belinda takes them back up and onto the highway. They pass Ipswitch, which is quieter now in the cold hours before dawn. Anthony succeeds another stamina check as they pass the burned out cars and turn off the highway to cross the river at Mt Crossby.

Retracing their route through the affluent, small acreage suburbs below the southern tip of the D’Agular range forest reserves all seems quiet. These neighborhoods are still deserted, with not even the tingling awareness of zombies on the edge of their Spirit Sense.

Suddenly there is a silent nova of light far ahead. From the direction of the CBD a beam of light ascends. Spreading phoenix wings it arcs away to the north east, descending somewhere. There is the feeling both of the old sun’s golden light and the new sun’s black radiance in the manifestation. It reminds them of the angel which smote the Black Priest’s church. With his years of urban survival Saul reckons its point of impact to be somewhere around Redcliffe. The phoenix apparition itself he estimates would have about a hundred meter wingspan.

Their way is largely unobstructed moving toward the city. As they turn onto Moggil Road Mt Cootha comes into view to the north. Dark wind still spirals out from the vent there. They’re just starting to feel the prickle of life and / or zombie presences on the edge of their awareness when a centipede like creature crawls out onto the road in front of Belinda’s lights. About three meters long it makes its sinusoidal way off into the northern verge of the road as she slows to stare at it. With it gone the convoy moves on.

They bypass the survivor colony at Indooroopilly. Heading north they are crunching through the debris strewn streets of Toowong when they spot a small pack of zombies. All of them are grey and emaciated. One lacks an arm while another is hunched forward and seems to have a longer neck than is humanly possible.

Anthony: “Giraffe zombie… It’s tempting.”

The characters decide not to attack. Belinda switches off the lights and idles the Lav until the zombies wander out of sight. Then they’re on their way again. Anthony passes his last stamina check and they all make it to Bardon without further incident.



Parking

The sentries at the end of Belinda’s street are quite excited to see army vehicles rolling their way, blowing on duck whistles and hailing them down. They seem reluctant to move the barricade vehicles aside first until Belinda pops her head out.

Sentry: “Who are you!?”

Belinda: “I live here.”

Sentry: “Oh Hi! Where’d you get them?”

Belinda: “We… found them… along the way.”

Sentry: “Does that mean you’ve found the army?”

Belinda: “Err… Not yet.”

Anthony: “Oi! Get these cars out the way I need to park this thing!”

When their neighbours jump to clear the way Belinda guides the Lav in between the cars making up the barricades. Anthony actually decides to drive further down, pulling into the street below Belinda’s. Her downhill neighbor had a suitably large garage, once Anthony pulls the useless boat trailer out of the way, so he parks the GWagon in under cover there.

Belinda drives the Light Armoured Vehicle past her house and then turns to slip it up in the space between two of the houses opposite hers on the uphill side of the road. The Lav crunches over the fence, with just enough space to fit between buildings.

Saul: “We should probably cover this up.”

Estimating the Enoggera army base’s search and recovery efforts should be getting around to Bardon any day now Saul fetches some ropes and canvases from the samaritan’s place, making do with blankets and clothes line when he can’t get enough of the first materials. By pre dawn star light he starts stringing a tent like construction between the two houses to shroud the Lav from view.

A crowd of the Belinda’s neighbours gather to help. They seem very curious, but Belinda, who is still pushing the Exhilerated Temptation State puts them off.

Belinda: “It’s been a very long night. I need a rest. I’ll explain tomorrow.”

Saul spends some time covering the tyre tracks in the yard too, and presumably propping up the fence.



Consulting Isobella

Coming up into the house from the backyard Anthony meets Quentin.

Quentin: “I see your hunting was successful.”

Anthony: “Yes, but we can cross Wivanhoe off our list of places. It was contested.”

Quentin: “Is this contestation something we need to worry about here?”

Anthony: “Well, there are some things Isobella may want to see…”

They find Isobella in the basement working with Liam.

Anthony: “We have some energy rich things you might want to see. Don’t break the glass, and don’t eat the goop…”

Down in the neighbor’s garage Isobella seems quite interested when Anthony shows her the two large glowing canisters which take up the back of the truck. She examines them carefully.

Isobella: “Where did you get these?”

Anthony: “Well. We had to see a man about a powerstation, and things came raining down from the heavens. They were stored in the roof, and there was a bit of a situation where one of the canisters broke open. The fish got quite large…”

Isobella tells him that she thinks the canisters are not the work of any vampiric tradition, but may perhaps be from human mages, specifically the Technocracy. She says she wasn’t aware the Prince had any dealings with Technocracy magi but that dealing with such factions is an unavoidable part of global politics.

The company name on the canisters seems to confirm the Technocracy theory for Isobella. On consideration she says that she thinks the occult workings on the canisters are designed to contain and compress the contents within. She’s not sure what the electricity would have been for but definitely wants to do further study.

Anthony indicate she should have a lot of time to do so, that they primarily took the canisters to keep them out of other interested party’s hands. She asks what kind of interest, Mages? Anthony indicates people like himself and the others, Awakened. This makes Isobella very interested but Anthony doesn’t give any details, prevacating a bit about what exactly happened.

Isobella asks him about the vehicles, whether they mean the army was involved. Anthony admits they’ve run into Enoggera barracks troops, (the CBF), and she asks what they’re like.

Anthony: “Let’s just say they like outdoor meals in the day…”

Isobella: “Oh… Oh dear. Well I guess that is to be expected with the infected having come from our thralls.”

She asks if the characters have seen any others of ‘high society’. Anthony tells her of their encounter with Ivy Purcel and Amelia Wright, mentioning that they promised to help some of Ivy’s humans. Isobella says she never knew Ivy very well, but that she and her coterie seemed to be sensible folk who kept to themselves.

Anthony fails a stamina test, taking a lethal damage as his headache returns.

Anthony: “I think I should absent myself. Lets just say some taste testing went wrong.”

Isobella is very interested and gets out of him that he ate some of the goop from a broken canister and has been feeling sick ever since.

Isobella: “There shouldn’t be any poison capable of hurting you from my suppositions.”

Anthony: “It may have something to do with the metal filings…”

Isobella: “Hmm… Maybe we should purge you.”

The pair return to the house where Isobella mixes up a big jug of black, evil smelling liquid, urging Anthony to partake. She indicates she wants to return to the downhill neighbors garage and keep studying the canisters, asking if she can lay wards to keep innocents and the curious away. Anthony agrees.

Anthony: “Good idea. These fish were… significant once they got out. They needed substantial dissuading.”

Left alone Anthony skulls the jug of liquid and heads to the toilet, spending several quality hours resisting the temptation to regenerate against the laxative’s bowl clenching effects.



Unloading and Investigations

While Belinda has gone straight to bed, (removing herself from potential Temptation in her Will depleted state, and Anthony is… otherwise occupied, Saul finishes rigging concealment for the Lav and starts unloading the loot in the hour or two that remain before dawn.

Removing the somewhat limited haul of small arms ammo, camping gear, and rations, Saul ponders that the army dudes couldn’t have been planning to take all five canisters with only the two vehicles they had. They also hadn’t seemed to know exactly where to look.

He notes that radios in Lav, Gwagon, and helmets are all set to the same frequency, which I’m calling channel F56. From the Tree Belinda uses Mind’s Reach to comment that they probably want to keep one of the helmet radios in the house and switched on at all times… I’m pretty sure Saul headed this.

Leaving the Lav locked with the ammo belt detached from the auto cannon and everything as secure as possible Saul stops by the Samaritan’s house to hobnob with some of the people who where helping him or haven’t gone back to bed yet. One of the survivors, an army enthusiast before the apocalypse, recognizes a badge or something from the uniforms as coming from the regiment stationed and Cabarlah Barracks on the Darling Downs, west of Toowoombah.

Calling it a night, with the sun near rising. Saul heads to the shelter of Belinda’s house to sleep.



Waking Pains – Shifting the Cargo

Waking around midday feeling empty, hungry, and still a bit headachy, Anthony heads for the kitchen. He meets his daughter Clara who is looking for some panadol among the cartons of stuff the guys looted a couple of days a go. She’s looking tired and drawn and, when Anthony asks, says she woke up with a bit of a headache too.

Belinda has woken by this stage. Her Will has recovered a little so her Temptation State is lower, but she too has a bit of a headache. Anthony calls a house meeting. With Belinda, Saul, Clara, Clara’s kids, Liam, Quentin, Curtis, and Stix gathered around table he asks.

Anthony: “Anyone feeling under the weather please raise your hand.”

Everyone does. Anthony smiles a bit grimly and ends the meeting. As the others disperse he goes down through the yard to the downhill neighbor’s garage. Bloodwards around the structure recognize him allow entry (not that vampiric wards are able to stop Awakened anway). Backing the GWagon out onto the street Anthony drives it further away, searching until he finds an abandoned house four or five streets over where the owner must have owned a campervan or something else large enough to require an oversized garage. He parks the GWagon under cover, shutting it and the two glowing canisters it carries into the darkness.



Some Time at Home

On this, the fifth day under the new Sun, Anthony and Belinda spend the afternoon training their neighbors in brushhook tactics, and helping the house stripping crew.

They note that Gary has another crew hard at work building a fence to enclose the whole colony, running it along the nearside footpath of the streets above and below their own, as well as to either side. They’re using tin panels by preference, recovered from fences between yards, but the posts are set in earth, and there will be wooden sections etc. The two vehicle barricades at either end of Belinda’s street form the only entrances.

Saul spends the afternoon indoors (vampiric taint). He spends some time considering the feasibility of digging tunnels before heading to his room downstairs. Bringing out the small jar of blood he collected from Isobella he meditates and prepares himself to cast the ritual for summoning a Shadow Servant. First Saul Cloaks himself in shadows and tries to create a Yawning Void. Unfortunately at that moment a football comes crashing through the window knocking open the curtain. Sunlight catches Saul at his most vulnerable. Screaming in agony he stumbles into the hall on fire. Anthony heals him, but Sauls chances of concentrating on rituals again this day are ruined. The kids ran away without trying to retrieve their ball.

Colony Kids: “I think we made him mad!”



Moon rise

The evening passes uneventfully, except that a few hours after sunset the Red Moon rises in the east. The illuminate portion is a bare sliver at first, but over the three or so hours before midnight it waxes to a crescent of brightness as it rises about six degrees from the horizon. On the very edge of the crescent the storm or eye like mark begins to rotate into view.



Midnight at the Tree

The characters make no special effort to listen to the Cries of the World.

A solid flow of Essence comes into the Tree, about eighty points all up, mostly from their neighbors but with some substantial interest from the survivors in the Indooroopilly colony. The reserve is fuller than ever before.

The characters sacrifice Protean to the Tree to start its stage four Adaptation process:

10 successes are required (the threshold value for stage four, ie 1+2+3+4).

Evan had a couple of dots of protean, which he loses, and there were a couple of fragments in the Tree. All up the characters sacrifice 10 Protean experience points.

Eight of the sacrifices are unsuccessful, returning a point of Essence each to the Tree without progressing the Adaptation.

Two of the sacrifices are successful, meaning the Adaptation is now 2/10th of the way to completion.

Absoption:

Anthony aborbs two zombie brawl fragments, successfully crushing the parasytes to gain dot 3 in Brawl.

Assimilation:

Belinda reduces her human Instability by 1, and cultivates dot 3 in Domain Extrospection (Spirit Step).

Saul reduces his vampiric Instability by 1 (to second dot of taint), and cultivates Spirit Step as well.

Anthony reduces his vampiric Instability by 2 and cultivates dot 2 in Domain Introspection (Circulate).

The Tree consumes twenty three Essence to grow. It is now 29/50th of the way toward growth stage five.



The Tree becomes Real

Belinda opts not to try out her new ability to Spirit Step but after some hesitation Saul gives it a go.

He manifests some aura and pushes on the boundary between reality and the Tree. As it gives out he starts to fade from Belinda’s house. Spending some more aura he pushes through to stand before the Tree.

Now up until this point the Tree has had no physical reality. It has existed as a spiritual archetype, a symbol between the character’s minds. When the characters’ consciousnesses ‘go to the Tree’ they are really existing within that archytype. What Saul does now is become the first to set foot in front of the Tree itself.

The domain becomes real. The Tree’s third growth stage effect kicks into play. Essence flows from the Tree to condense into matter as the Tree strives to Realise space for Saul to exist, air for him to breath, a surface for him to stand on. Where does it draw inspiration for this process? Why from Saul’s expectations of course…

The Tree looms into air that is dark and still. Saul stands on mangrove like roots which emerge from the still water of a swamp, extending around where Saul stands for as far as his eye can see (which is not all that far, he’s envisaging dark swampland around himself not an open sunlit plain).

So far thirty points of Essence condense out of the Tree’s reserve to materialize this reality. Saul opts not to ‘explore’ further just at this point, perhaps noticing the shock of the other Awakened as they feel flow of essence and the direction of the Realization process.

Anthony (with his focus on Introspection) gets the feeling that Essence invested into realizing matter and space within the Domain may be recoverable for other uses, but that this would not be a healthy for the Tree itself. Realization is definitely something the Tree is doing, not a power of individual Awakened, although references their expectations.

Considering the space around him Saul discerns that he, the Tree, and perhaps some overlooked zombie soul fragments, are the only living things within the Domain’s space. It is a real, physical existence however, and should be able to support life. He even gets the feeling that if he desired creatures to come into existence the Tree would try to oblige him, materializing essence around spirit nucli (like the zombie fragments) in an effort to achieve life. But of course it should be able to support normal people and creatures as well.

Discussing it over Mind’s Reach Belinda is cautiously optimistic. She suggests that, if necessary they could retreat their followers into the domain. Anthony seems a little more worried.

Anthony: You know canaries? Let’s try some real world creatures first before be bring people here.

Saul: Do we want to bring people in?

Belinda: If things go bad in the real world.

Saul: They might ruin our Tree…

Belinda: Looks at the swamp roots…

Looking back toward the world Saul realizes that he can most easily Spirit Step to the other Awakened, or else to Quentin (who bears his mark). The rest of the world seems rather blurry, even Belinda’s house where he’s been spending so much time lately. He realizes he could use the glimpses he gets from Cries of the World, or Spirit Sight (tracking back Essence flows) to Step, but that that could be much harder. There is the chance that if every awakened and their followers were to enter the Domain physically they could effectively ‘lock’ themselves inside.



That is were we end the session for the week.

The characters immediate plans seem to be getting hold of some buses or trucks and fulfilling their promise to the Indooroopilly survivors to convoy them to Enoggera.

Thanks for reading.

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Session 21
It was a botch... Really.

Near Midnight, Day 4

The Botch

Anthony and Saul desperately try to overrun the Light Armoured Vehicle before the shadow blinded gunner can bring its gun turret to bear.

Meanwhile Belinda holds herself ready by the hydroelectricity plant’s roller door. As the army dudes inside rush for the entrance to rescue their mate Belinda steps forward to unleash a long burst at the first man to cross her sights.

She slips on piece of litter. Reflexively clenching the trigger she empties her uzi’s clip, sending a spray of bullets ricocheting from the concrete floor, off machinery, and up into the recesses of the hanger like shed’s roof. It’s a clean miss on the startled army dude, but doesn’t seem too bad for a triple botch, except for that tinkling of glass from somewhere above…

The army dude that she was shooting at stares at her in shock for a second before dropping to one knee and returning fire, a long burst from his assault rifle. Belinda catches several bullets, blood spraying from her body.

“Get in the vehicle!” The Lieutenant yells at the gunner, obviously aware that his squad are in great danger if these civilian attackers capture the LAV.

Gunner: “I can’t see!”

Lieut: “Jeff. Get in the fucking vehicle!”

Gunner: "I can’t see Sir!

Standing atop the hull Anthony heals himself and manifests more petal fall aura as he chops a quick blow at the gunner with his short brush hook. Seated and half blind the gunner can only try to duck, taking a deep cut to the shoulder.

The gunner tries to scoot down from the turret into the hull of the LAV, but Anthony grabs him and hauls him back out by the scruff of the neck. He’s got heaps of strength now and third level Potence activated as well. Note: That type of reactive grab roll shouldn’t actually be a thing unless its readied, but that’s my mess up – I might change the name of the sticky hands type block maneuver.

Saul manifests more shadow essence and tries to send it to reinforce the shadows smothering the gunner. But he botches, dissipating some of the existing shadows. He tries to climb the side of the lav but slips, “fuck it’s dark out here!”

Just inside the hanger style door of the hydro plant a big piece of curved glass crashes to the ground between the army dudes inside and the characters on the lav. The glass bears smears of glowing yellow goop. One of the army dudes inside the hydro plant looks up toward the roof where the glass fell from, the spot where Belinda’s ricocheting bullets caused a tinkling sound…

Dude: “Sir! Sir… I think we’ve found it!”

He backs away firing his assault riffle up toward the ceiling as a gigantic black mutant fish thing uncurls and lowers itself down before dropping the last few meters to the concrete (you’ve seen The Host you know what I mean). The fish thing lands next to the army dude in the entry way that Belinda exchanged shots with earlier. As it lands it catches the man’s head in one fin / hand and slams him bodily to the ground, crushing his skull like a watermelon.

There are traces of glowing goop all over the mutant fish’s body. To Spirit Sight it seems like a potent magical material. But even as the character’s look at it the goop is absorbed into the gigantic fish thing’s black skin. The fish itself seems like flesh with churning spirits of dynamism bound within, twisting, enlarging, and empowering its form, making it brutal and insane.

The surviving army dudes inside the hydro plant fall back among the machinery, emptying their assault rifles into the monstrous fish thing as they do so. The Lieutenant is screaming and praying:

“Fire Lords help us! We’ve found it! Help us! God’s of the Mountain hear my cry! We need help now!”



Capture!

Screams and gunfire echo from inside the hydro plant as the fish monster charges over to where one of the army dudes is hiding. Its prehensile tail whips forward, dragging the poor man into the open even as the lumbering fish smashes bodily into him. Its jaws extend forward over him in four separate pieces, scissoring closed, cutting off his screams and leaving only blood and a severed arm behind on the concrete.

Back on the Lav Anthony hauls the gunner up in one hand and chops down with his brush hook in the other. The poor, shadow blinded gunner takes another deep wound and it’s enough, combined with the suppressing effect of Saul’s shadows, to make him fall unconcious.

Dropping the gunner down into the cabin of the lav, Anthony takes his place in the gunnery turret. He tries with a quick glance over to work out the controls, and succeeds.

“Just like battlefield four!” He starts the turret turning toward the hanger door. “Belinda! Get the armoured car!”

Belinda races for the GWagon (basically an over sized four wheel drive with a camouflage canvas canopy on the back). Hauling herself up and inside she jumps behind the wheel and starts it up.

From within the hydro plant there are more screams and gun fire. The Lieutenant is still praying to the Fire Lords for help at the top of his lungs. Meanwhile Saul clambers up the hull of the Lav and squeezes past Anthony. He nods in the Lieutenant’s direction as he drops into the Lav’s cabin.

Saul: “This isn’t going to be that angel is it?”

“Nah,” replies Anthony, still bringing the chaingun around into position. “I don’t think so.”

Saul: “It did set fire to a lot of stuff…”

Inside the troop compartment of the Lav Saul crouches over the injured gunner. Laying on hands he tries to devour the man’s soul, but, even though he’s near death, the gunner resists.

Anthony fires a long burst from the autocannon. The whole Lav shakes. Twenty Five millimeter rounds rip through beast and machinery alike. It staggers into one of the generators as Anthony shrugs free of the gunnery seat and drops down inside the cabin of the Lav. “Take over!” he tells Saul, nodding up toward the turret as he lays hand on the dying gunner and rips out the man’s soul, absorbing a fragment of composure as the pieces flow through him into the Tree.



The Fire Lord

Inside the hydro plant a huge a Domain opens, a burning Volcano, from which steps a huge (eight foot tall) stone clad Awakened with Aura burning like glowing veins of magma within its flesh. To Spirit Sight it looks powerful, ariving at Release Level five, with five units of Aura manifest.

The Fire Lord steps between the babbling Lieutenant and the gigantic fish mutant. It’s eyes sweep over the Lav and Belinda in the GWagon.

Belinda (using mind’s reach): I think this is our queue to leave…

Saul: But we haven’t got what we came for.

Belinda: I don’t think bullets will affect that thing?

Anthony: Belinda, what’s in the back of that truck?

She looks over her shoulder but just sees a bunch of green bundles and troop carrier seats. She holds herself ready while inside the Lav the soul torn gunner dies of his wounds. Saul recalls his shadows from the man and climbs up into the gunnery turret. Guided by some shouts from Anthony he tries to work out the controls for the autocannon.

Anthony finishes devouring the gunner’s soul and climbs forward into the Lav’s driver compartment. Taking a seat he tries to work out the controls here, starts the Lav rolling forward away from the hydro plant.

Anthony: Maybe this’ll convince everyone to come out in the open…

Belinda: Should I follow you guys?

Anthony: Be ready to go, just keep us between you and them.

Belinda puts the GWagon in gear and rolls forward into the carpark, about halfway toward the access road gates.

Inside the hydro plant the Fire Lord, Awakened of the Volcano bends to scoop up an oversized handful of concrete from the floor. It throws the boulder sized chunk across the shed into the Mutant Fish. The chunk explodes sending chunks flying everywhere, rattling the roof and causing the Fish to scream horribly. It charges the magma man, smashing him back into the wall and trying unsuccessfully to close its jaws over him while the surviving army guys scatter, firing into its flanks.

Two more streams of glowing goop fall down splattering the concrete on either side of the army dude’s corpse where the fish first fell down. Anthony puts the Lav into reverse creeping back a little bit toward the plant’s hanger style door. In the gunnery turret Saul uses Spirit Sight to watch the fight between Fish and Fire Lord. Steam rises from where the magma man grips the black fleshed fish, wrestling its closing jaws back. Saul studies the connection between the Fire Lord and his Volcanic domain, and between Lord and the Luietenant who called him, a man who does not seem to bear any special mark.

Saul: Want me to start shooting?

Anthony: No, no. Lets keep a low profile now.

Ready to act watch the two gigantic combatants slug it out for another round, idling by the entryway while the army dudes fire desperately from inside the building.

Anthony: I was hoping they’d come outside.

Saul: Think this base is stuffed, and there’s more coming down…

Anthony: Maybe they’ll be smaller… I’m gonna try drag that human corpse in.

Saul: I’ll cover you. Belinda, you want to come take driver’s seat in the Lav?

Belinda reverses the GWagon back alongside and climbs across and into the Armoured Vehicle. Anthony gives her a quick course, “So I learned wheel, pedals, don’t know what this or that does…” and she settles in.

Two more mutant fish drop down in the entryway between the Lav and the fight.

The Fire Lord seems to be marginally winning his struggle with the original monster, holding it in place between banks of generators while his men fire clip after clip of bullets into it. The new fishes’ attention seems drawn by the fight so Anthony climbs out the hatch and jumps (noisily) down from the Lav’s hull.

Belinda: You want me in forward or reverse?

Anthony: Forward.

He holds, one hand on the hull, ready to climb for dear life if either of the new fish turn his way. Saul meanwhile crouches over the autocannon’s controls, ready to let rip. While making sure the Lav is in forward gear Belinda notices an amphibious mode leaver which is pushed fully forward. She leaves it that way.

The magma man smashes the fish with burning fists. The fish’s jaws close over one of his arms cutting it away and heavily injuring him.

Anthony creeps forward to look up and under the hanger style door.

Belinda: Really want to draw their attention?

Anthony: Just want to check the ceiling…

Concentrated gunfire from the remaining army dudes finally starts slowing down the first fish. The two newly emerged fish charge in on either side of the old one. One clambers over machinery to get at the cowering army dudes. The other manages to catch a soldier in its jaws, chomping him down.

Belinda and Saul hold, watching the show as the Fire Lord now struggles against three gigantic fish.

Anthony moves forward to the goop on the floor. He touches the glowing slime with his hand, noting the glitter of metal specks within it. It’s a high grade magical material. Scooping some up he swallows a mouthful of slime, Devouring it internally to convert 2 points of quintessence into Essence that flows into the Tree.

Looking up into the roof space Anthony spots broken lab style canisters each about two meters long with big electricity cables running in. They’ve been mounted to the roof and hidden behind false ceiling panels. He can see some writing on one of the canisters but the curve of glass is broken there.

Anthony: Nothing else here.

Belinda (from the driver’s seat): Are we going in?

Anthony: I’d say those three fish will slaughter everyone else in there soon…

Belinda: We may as well go. Bring the corpse.



Full Metal Fun

In the gunnery turret Saul glances at the four boxes of autocannon ammunition at his feet plus the open box beside the cannon holding the belt of ammo currently fed into the inport. He estimates there should be about two hundred rounds per box.

Saul: Fuck it. I say we open fire! Come back and reload for me.

Anthony: I’ll be back momentarily.

Saul holds down trigger, and keeps it down beginning a round of continuous fire. The whole Lav shakes. The belt fed, chain driven, automatic cannon fills the hydro plant with roar and boom as the incarnate aspect of Roots sweeps devastation across the room.

There is no room for finesse here. Saul sweeps a forty five degree arc over generators, army dudes, machinery, fish monsters, and Fire Lord alike with 25mm rounds firing on full auto at machine gun speed.

The army dude on the left of the fight is torn apart. The fish atop the machinery is mauled but still alive with huge holes punches through its hind quarters and back. The original Fish collapses, taking too many hits even for its spirit enhanced flesh to bear, while the fish on the right takes horrific damage but still seems agile.

The Lieutenant, Fire Lord, and two remaining army dudes all get some shelter from the machinery and Fish Monsters, but the Lieutenant catches either a round or some shrapnel and goes down in a screaming heap. The Fire Lord manages to shrug off most of the metal hitting him and Saul manages to sweep the arc of fire up over one of the last two army dudes but catches the other square in the chest, killing him instantly.

The chain driven auto cannon is still firing. This is the full round continuous fire maneuver. Saul manages to start barrel sweeping back the other way over the field of fire before it reaches Anthony’s position, but the noise is thunderous, there are holes in the walls, and much of the machinery is slagged.

Belinda holds with her foot on the break.

The Fire Lord regenerates, drawing more aura from the Volcano Domain until the veins of magma in his flesh are flaring. He throws himself over the last surviving army dude and begins to fade from reality, Spirit Stepping toward the Volcano with his follower in his arms. Of course Saul is still firing. More slugs and shrapnel slam into the Awakened’s stone like flesh as he does this.

Belinda: Those Fish will target us next.

Saul (still firing): But one of them is down. I think we can do this.

The mauled fish slithers down behind the machinery. Taking more shots as it does so it tramples over the semi corporal Fire Lord and the soldier he’s sheltering. It crawls deeper into the hydro plant, desperate to find shelter from the rounds smashing into it.

The other surviving fish also races away, chunks of flesh flying under the sustained fire. It starts climbing the storage racks in the shadows at the back of the hanger like plant, getting about halfway up toward the roof. Even as he fires on them Saul is watching carefully with Spirit Sight, somewhat reassured when he sees no signs of the fish regenerating.

Under cover of the deafening racket Anthony hoists the corpse he was retrieving up onto one shoulder and races for the corner of the building, (remembering he’s now built and inhumanly strong). He can’t find a switch for the roller doors so heads back toward the side of the Lav.

Anthony: Hey Belinda, start edging backwards. See if you can get inside.

While Anthony spots using Mind’s Reach, Belinda backs the Lav up, managing to crunch it in under the plant’s roller doors with only a little bit of metal crunching involved, (Saul ducks).

In the turret the last couple of rounds on this belt of ammunition whip into the autocannon. Saul pushes the empty box aside and reaches down by his feet to drag on of the remaining four ammo boxes into position. He manages to get it open and work out how to load the first shell on the fresh belt of ammo into positon.

“Hey Fire Guy!” turning the cannon to track the fleeing Fish Monsters. “No hard feelings right!?”

He opens fire again. Another round of continuous thunder as Anthony races for the side of the Lav and climbs in.

Saul: “Burn it all!”

Saul avoids the Fire Lord, instead sweeping a diagonal arc down the length of the hydro plant as Belinda backs them into a central vantage point beside the forklift.

The climbing Fish manages to cling through the first pass as the cannon blows big holes through its body. The slinking fish collapses however, barely able to claw its way forward towards cover. As it tries to move Saul brings the cannon sweeping back over it and it stops moving under the hail of heavy slugs.

Saul: “Smoke em if you got ’em!”

The cannon is chewing up machinery and punching holes through the plant’s back wall as Saul sweeps it back toward the climbing fish. Meanwhile the Fire Lord completes his Spirit Step. Both he and the follower in his arms, who is probably dead of his wounds by now, fade completely from reality as the connection to the Volcano Domain closes.

Saul completes his round of fire, riddling the climbing fish as it tries reach the shadowed ceiling spaces. It stiffens and falls, torn apart by the last few bullets from that belt of ammunition.

Saul: “Boyah!”

Their ears recover to the sound of screams as Anthony, inside the Lav, devours the soul from the corpse of the army dude he recovered. Fragments of electrician craft skill, and shoot flow into the Tree.

Saul reloads. Winding down from the rush he recalls his Shadow aura as Belinda and Anthony emerge from the armoured vehicle.

They have captured the hydro plant, and in the process totaled most of the machinery within.



Delicate Recovery

A tricky bit of soul looting follows. Anthony’s first attempt to Devour the soul of one of the Fish monsters reveals that they are fundamentally different from the humans and human like creatures they’ve encountered so far. These are Spirits magically bound into flesh. They’ve been blended together and pumped through with lots of quintessence but their nature is fundamental Other to the half human Awakened.

Anthony feels that instead of fragments of skill or knowledge he’d be able to pull large, dense, incomprehensible fragments of the Spirit away. But it is difficult. He does not manage it on his first attempt and the Tree is running low on raw essence. The fragments they have stored within are all relatively high value, having been kept aside for later Absorption.

It’s only twenty minutes or so until midnight, but by then they may have lost their chances to Devour as the souls naturally decay after death. Anthony gets Belinda and Saul to use up their remaining aura devouring the souls of the dead army dudes for whom they can find intact enough corpses. That is, the two or three who didn’t get completely eaten or blown to smithereens…

Those souls turn out to yield some pretty nice fragments however… It seems they really were soldiers, perhaps from an engineering corpse as there are a lot of shoot, brawl, and craft (electrician) type fragments. Belinda improves her Wits, passing the rest of the fragments into the Tree. Saul ends up overdrawing and causing a fragment of Occult skill, with partial knowledge of the Abyssal Threads ritual to break down within the Tree. He gets a bunch of good soldierly fragments in return however.

Anthony drops his Potence transformation to allow ‘space’ to activate Domain Dreaming, splitting his consciousness between reality and the Tree so that he can make some hard choices, breaking down zombie strength and brawl fragments to produce enough raw Essence to make further attempts on the Spirit souls within the Fish.



Extracting Primal Essence

Anthony’s attempts to Devour the first Fish finally succeed. Instead of a soul fragment he extracts a dark mass of Primal Essence.

Each lump of Primal Essence is dense with power. Unlike ordinary soul fragments the Awakened can’t (at this stage) see how they could Absorb any knowledge or skill from each piece of Primal Essence. However if they were to use it to Manifest then each point of Primal Essence, which draws just like raw Essence, would create up to 10 points of Aura (with excess being wasted). Using Primal Essence to create Aura will we a usage of Manifest Aura which I’ll add this week.

The Fish screams are truly horrible sounds, and its heavy work but finally the characters finish devouring all three of the monster’s souls. In total I think they channeled 8 units of Primal Essence into the Tree.



Midnight at the Tree

As a story bonus I give 1 experience point in Stealth to each character who snuck up on the Lav while having Stealth skill at dot 1 or less. I think this gives a few of them dot 1 in stealth.

73 points of (normal) Essence flow into the Tree. The character’s closer followers like Stix, Clara, and now Lisa all contribute, as well as a steady flow from the Bardon survivors. The thirty point or so increase is due to the crowds in Ivy’s Indooroopilly colony focusing on the characters as they debate whether or not to join tomorrows promised exodus to the Enoggra army barracks / refugee community.

Either none of the characters listened to the Cries of the World, or none heard anything. I can’t remember. I probably just forgot to prompt, and will try to remind you guys next time.

The characters Assimilate some Essence:

Belinda reduces her human instability by 3.

Anthony reduces his human instability by 1, and cultivates 1 experience point in introspection as well as one point in Aspect of Leaves, which is not enough to gain the next dot in either.

Saul reduces his vampiric instability by 3.

The characters Absorb some fragments:

Belinda increases her Wits and Shoot to excellence (dot 3), and her Awareness to professional levels (dot 2). Her human Instability reaches taint level 3 as a consequence, which doesn’t (seem to) have any real consequences.

Anthony increases his Composure to dot 5! He’s now reaching the human limits for acting with aplomb, (think Ghandi, or maybe an action movie hero). As a consequence though his human Instability has pushed up to the top end of level 4, while his vampire taint at the top of level 2, so he’s hearing whispers on the edge of him mind and getting sunburned real easily.

Saul increases his Presence to dot 2, and his Obtenebration to dot 4, gaining the Shadow Ward ritual in the process. He also pushes his Shoot skill up to dot 4! He’s both hearing voices and burning in daylight again! (“Ah what’s new… Voices / Visions, same shit…”).

The characters break down some of the werewolf gift soul fragments on the basis that if no one has Absorbed them yet its better to convert them to Essence and buffer the more valuable fragments from accidental breakdown.

The Tree consumes 19 points of essence to grow, achieving stage 4.

The players have another opportunity to sacrifice power to the Tree for Adaptation.

They can now assimilate 4 essence per day.

They can achieve release level 4 (and thus use 4th dot powers).

The maximum aura they can manifest is now 10 (1+2+3+4).

The Tree’s growth brought it 6 / 50th of the way toward stage five.



Mundane Scavenging

Anthony makes his first stamina check successfully.

Saul sweeps the concrete floor for spent shell casings from the auto cannon with an eye toward repacking the 25mm rounds himself sometime in the future I think. Out of the four hundred and something rounds fired he collects about 300 empty shell casings which haven’t been lost, driven over, crushed, or mangled too badly.

By looting the bodies, and fragments of bodies, they gain the following:

4x Austeyr assault rifles (clips mostly empty).

1x Austeyr assault rifle with underslung grenade launcher, (empty of bullets but with grenade rounds inside).

5x 9mm handguns (clips full).

2x Army issue body armour.

3x Heavily damaged Army issue body armour.

3x Damaged but fixable Army uniforms (varying insignia).

3x Damaged but fixable Army Issue gear webbing.

4x Army issue Combat Helmets (with pickups).

7x Spare clips for Austeyr assault rifles (mostly empty)

4x Spare rounds for the grenade launcher.

4x Combat Knives.

3x Usable Army issue Boots.

2x Electricians tool boxes, including some Occult multimeter type tools.

Anthony: “We might have to get Isobella to take a look at this…”

1x Personal Journal (a betting book).

1x Light armoured Vehicle and contents.

1x GWagon and contents.

Saul spots the fiber optic video pickup on the Lieutenant’s helmet and squats down to look at it.

Saul: “What you reckon these are?”

Anthony: “Cameras.”

Saul: “Oh well. If you’re watching Fire guy, like I said, no hard feelings…” (he clicks it off)

Belinda: “We should worry about the army…”



Investigations

Belinda notices that the Lav is parked pretty much direcly under the broken canisters. She looks up just as a big shard of glass falls down next to her, splattering her legs with glowing goop. She makes her stamina check.

Saul goes off to look around the office.

Anthony finishes packing the army dudes’ halogen lamps and batterys back into the Lav. He investigates the banks of hydro plant machinery where the men had been working, noting that they’d mainly been taking the covers off things to uncover the insides, possibly looking for those canisters.

Saul finds that the inside of the office has already been ransacked. There’s no power for the computers of course, but the paperwork has been thoroughly searched. Saul notes that the hydro plant seems to have been owned by a company called Endron International. He jots down the names of all the people he can find mentioned in the office papers and on rosters, memos, letters etc, thinking to charge up and carry some mobiles for use as cameras and note pads etc.

Meanwhile, back in the shed, Anthony gets Belinda to drive the forklift while he rides up on the forks (workplace health and safety having died out in the apocalypse) to investigate the canisters bolted to the roof.

Getting closer he notices that, for the first time since Awakening, he’s getting a bit of a headache. He successfully passes another stamina check, finding words on the broken canisters saying ’Property of Panacea Inc", and recognising that name as a company which makes cutting edge mutagenics and anti-cancer drugs, (remembering Anthony spent a lot of time in hospital as a mortal).

He makes another stamina check, feeling his headache worsen, and calls down to Belinda:

“Don’t eat the goop.”

Belinda (laughing): “That’s something you’d tell a two year old…”


There we end our session.

Note: Apologies but I messed up something fairly significant which is why I changed the order of the end bit slightly to end at this point (midnight actually came after this in game). When Anthony investigated the ceiling he should have found the three broken canisters, plus an additional two unbroken ones. I’ll start the next session at this point so that you guys can decide what (if anything) you would like to do with them

Thanks for reading :)

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Session 20
To Wivenhoe we go

Evening, Day 4

Making Promises

Crowds of survivors have gathered in the food court of the Indooroopilly stronghold to hear the Awakened speak of refuge and safety. Standing a couple of steps up the escalator to the cinema section Ivy Purcell gives a short introduction by candle light:

“Listen up! Got some people here who say they know of a safe place. I know some of you are finding it hard here. Anyone who wants to go can go, and if you want to stay you’re welcome to stay.” She yields the stair to Belinda.

Belinda (in her managerial voice): “We’ll be back at 3am tomorrow. If anyone wants to go to the army barracks they are in place if you wish to seek refuge. Leave your weapons behind for those who stay. The army will confiscate them” She glances at Anthony’s prompting gesture, “Oh yes… We’ll get you there if it’s the last thing we do!”

Anthony (working the crowd in support): “We got in here with uzi’s… Imagine what the next mob could do.”

A big fella steps forward from among the survivors.

“Well we can’t stay here for ever, but what’s their organisation like?”

Belinda: “They’re very structured. They’ve got fences and fortified areas in place…”

Evan (to himself): “It’s the Australian army… pretty shit.” He memorises the big fella’s face.

Big fella (looking around): “Sounds good. I’m in. There’s definitely something wrong about this place.”

Belinda reiterates that anyone who wants to come needs to be ready at 3am the next day. Just as she’s about to step down a elegant looking lady of Indian or Aboriginal appearance blends out of the crowd. Anthony and Saul both have Spirit Sight up and only notice her at the last moment. She’s a vampire. The scarlet veins within her seem weaker than Isobella’s but stronger than the gangers they’ve seen.

Lady: “So who exactly are you people? I don’t believe we’ve been introduced” With heavy inflection on the word ‘introduced’.

Ivy (rolling her eyes): “Ah, Amelia turned up, as she does…”

After searching his memory with his improved intellect Saul uses Mind’s reach to send to the others:

Think I remember Quentin talking about her… She’s a Malkavian, might have been part of Zhou’s harem in the sixties but left. Known to associate with Ivy and the St Lucia rabble, supposed to have had a house in Dutton Park and a studio in West End, part of the music and dance scene.

Anthony: So which side of the fence she on?

Saul: Camarilla.

Anthony aproaches Amelia through the crowd.

“We’re just your friendly neighbourhood peace keepers, passing on a message…”

Amelia: “Is this offer open to everyone?” (again with the heavy emphasis).

Anthony: “Anyone who can stand during the day…”

Amelia: “Oh, and will you be returning after you take our people away?”

Anthony: “We’d be happy to, and say how things go.”

With Amelia satisfied and the big fella interested the meeting wraps up with the crowd talking among themselves. Mingling afterwards Anthony is persuasive, Belinda reassuring, Evan blunt and somewhat disconcerting.



Taking their leave, and some radios

Time’s ticking on and Anthony indicates they’d best be on their way to get some other stuff done. Ivy walks them out, asking if they still plan to go south across the river. Anthony indicates they’ve worked out it’ll be easier to head west first and cross the river upstream. Ivy relieved, reiterating that the area across the river from Indooroopilly is overrun with zombies and packs of feral gangrel.

Saul asks what they’ve done with the contents of the stores they cleared to make living space for the refugees. Ivy indicates it’s all been piled in either basements or carparks. He asks if there are any radios that haven’t been claimed. Ivy’s not sure, but when Evan says there should be some in the security offices she agrees to have a look.

“we’re using the offices ourselves but I can have a look for you.”

She turns up three security guard radios. Pete (the balding ghoul) hands them over, telling them the frequency that they’ve been using to coordinate with the guards at bridge and gates etc.

There’s some discussion about vehicles. Ivy indicates that there are several delivery vans and small trucks in the carparks as well as a semi trailer down near the loading docks which no one knows how to drive. I think the characters make the assumption that Lisa will be able to because she comes from a farm

They go back to their suv. Ivy bidding them farewell.

“Looking forward to working with you all, because this situation only going to get worse…”

With that cheery thought they drive out past the guarded barricade and are on their way.



The Road West

Heading down Moggill road out of Indro they go under the Western Freeway which seems to be choked with an abandoned traffic jam.

Driving down through Chapel Hill and Kenmore the roads are quiet. The suburbs are dark and seem mostly deserted with just the faint prickle of Spirit Sense to indicate there are people, zombies, and / or other things out there. I should also have mentioned that Mt Cootha is still spewing out the alien black wind even when seen from the south side

Miraculously they have no incidents as they travel carefully down through Pinjarra Hills and Anstead. They follow Mount Crosby road through some hills and down to a river crossing, still without incident.

The bridge over the river is intact, but there is enough mud and debris to indicate that the tidal surge reached even this far upstream. There are wheel tracks through the mud ahead of them, but no sign of moving vehicles.

They turn onto the Warrego highway and things look a little more grim. They see the glow of fires and hear sporadic gun fire from the suburbs of Ipswitch to their south. On the highway itself they pass burned out cars in a couple of different locations and evidence of violence several times. Once they pass a crashed car with zombies moving inside, too stupid to let themselves out. Some of the characters are tempted to feed, but Belinda keeps them going:

“We’re kinda on a time limit here…”

Picking their path through the wreckage they continue west until they get to the Brisbane Valley Highway turnoff which they take, heading north toward Wivanhoe. It’s much more rural out here, starting to open up from acreage into small grazing properties. They start to notice clusters of cars and campervans out in the paddocks, sometimes surrounding a farm house, sometimes on their own in the scrub. At this time of night there are no lights or evidence of life. Saul raises an eyebrow at Anthony:

“Seems kinda indefensible…”

Anthony: “No! Don’t eat the refugees.”

They drive on.



The Farmer at the Gates

They keep heading north until, quite some time later, they approach Fernvale, a small town sprawled that straddles the highway. The highway is broad, but as it gets in toward the town someone has posted up signs.

‘Road Closed!’
‘No entry!’
‘No Zombies!’
‘Refugees Fuck Off!’
‘Take your Infected back to the City!’
‘Trespassers will be Shot!’

Before the town itself there barricade of parked cars stretching right across the highway and a good distance off to each side. An old, hard looking farmer type sits up on one of the car roofs with a thermos and a high powered rifle. He squints into the headlights as Belinda brings the suv idling to a stop about ten meters in front of him.

Meanwhile Saul gets some binoculars off of Evan and uses them to look around, activating Spirit Sight as he does so. The farmer looks human, and there’s no sign of other people lying in ambush. He relates this to the others.

Evan: “Fuck him then, lets kill him!”

Belinda (to Evan): “Be nice, next time you start a fight with someone we’re trying to help I’ll chuck you out of the car…”

She dims the lights.

Farmer: “Can’t youse read?”

Saul (winding down his window a bit): “We’re not refugees, and we’re not infected, just looking to pass through.”

Farmer: “That’s what they all say. We’re full and we got no food left for strangers!”

There are no lights in the town itself but the characters can smell woodsmoke in the air. The farmer is continuing to rant.

“We’re sick of people coming in here stealing food and biting people. If you come any closer I’m gonna put one right through your windscreen!”

Anthony: “Did you say biting?”

Farmer: “Yeah! Dunno what wrong in the city but you folk been bringing in biters, and when they bite people those people bite other people. We’ve had to do some horrible things to get it under control and we don’t want more coming in!”

Saul: “So how do we get around your little town?”

Farmer: “Go back south, then west to Glamorgan Vale.”

Saul: “Seen anything from the army?”

Farmer: “Yeah heard there been some up around the dam, but they’re fucking useless. We gotta help ourselves.”

Anthony: Well the country army may be useless, but the city are up to it. Got food and supplies for ten thousand people. They’ve got tanks and vehicles too. “

Farmer: “Yeah? What’s it like in there. We’ve heard some bad things bout Ipswitch.”

Evan (snorting): “That’s because it’s Ipswitch…”

Anthony tells the farmer they drove safely past Ipswitch and out of the city using the Mount Crosby way. The farmer starts to warm to them a bit. He gets their names, tells them his is Daren. Still not willing to let them through the town, but warns them to beware of the other people who’ve been turned back and are hanging around. He says they’ve got the sick among them and are fast running out of food. There was also some mention of the volcanic glow to the west, but I can’t quite remember what it was.

The characters bid farmer Daren good luck and turn around. They drive south again, leaving him to his lonely vigil, bright stars burning red, and gold, and blue above.



Detour & the Dam Wall

Retracing their route no one jumps out at them. They pass the clusters of cars and camper vans again without stopping, until they get to the Glamorgan Vale turnoff. Heading north west they pass through some pleasant hills, about a hour’s careful drive.

Coming down the other side however they see fires. Lowood township is smoldering ruin, filling the air with the smells of burnt plastics, paint, and flesh. At the intersection before the township their route turns. They turn with it. Leaving Lowood behind they follow the Brisbane river north and east until they can pick up the Brisbane Valley Highway again, but to the north of Fernvale this time.

A short drive without incident brings them across the river (now much smaller) and through some crop land (withered) to the dam wall itself. The road runs across the top of the wall. Approaching it they see more clusters of vehicles and tents huddled in the recreational areas.

The dam itself is satisfyingly big. There is water flowing down the spill way but no hydroelectricity plant. Belinda stops in the middle of the wall. Everyone looks at Anthony, then at Evan who remembers somehow, even though he’s a southerner, that the hydro plant is on the eastern side of Wivenhoe, between the main reservoir and another dam higher in the hills.

Belinda turns the car around again.



The Hydro Plant

They find the road that winds around the east side of Wivenhoe without incident. It’s getting late into the evening but the stars are not yet at their midnight positions. The road winds up into some hills. There are less crash sites and stranded cars here, but still a fair degree of storm damage.

After a half hour or so they pass a substation with massive pylons stretching east from it, presumably toward Brisbane in the distance. It doesn’t seem to be powered

The road winds around beneath the wall (still intact) of a dam higher in the hills and then they find the turn off into the sharp, horse shoe shaped valley in which the hydro plant is situated.

The roadway in switches down over the southern arm and into the valley in some sharp hairpin turns. There are moderate sized gum trees and dry scrub covering the flanks. Belinda takes it carefully. Below them the hydro plant comes into sight. It’s basically a massive shed, has been built out over the lake water in the pocket made by the horse shoe valley.

Harsh halogen lighting glares off the front of the hydro plant. Portable stands have been set up to shine in through the plant’s hanger style doors, beyond them, in the carpark an army GWagon and Light Armoured Vehicle are parked across entryway. In the turret of the LAV a man in army camouflage uniform and combat helmet sits, manning its 25mm chain gun.

“Kill the lights,” says Saul urgently.

Belinda flicks her headlights off, brings her suv to a stop. They sit, scrub quiet around them, and look down the slope at the activity below.

A couple of minutes are enough to convince them that somehow the man in the turret did not notice their approach. Using the binoculars Saul observes four or five men, also in army uniforms, going in and out of the shed. One of them leans up against the wall taking a break and talking to the guard on the turret while he smokes a cigarette.

Belinda: “I think it might be time to name drop. They did say they were forming a militia.”

Saul: “They’re probably in communication…”

Belinda: “But Enoggra didn’t know about the dam.”

Saul: “Those were just low grunts.”

Anthony: “Can’t hurt to ask if they’re trying to power the city. Worst they can do is shoot at us, at which point we’ll deal with them.”

Belinda: “They might even have a medic…”

Saul (suddenly eager): “To devour?”

Belinda: “Well… we’ll ask questions first…”



Shenanigans

“Might go on from foot here hey,” suggests Anthony.

Belinda pulls the car up and everyone piles out, taking their usual equipment except for Evan. Evan takes his uzi, kukri, machete, and scope but leaves his bone lance, shotgun, and chainsaw in the car. They start walking quietly down the road. Belinda (botch) steps on a stick and shrieks reflexively thinking it’s a snake. She turns back.

“Maybe I should stay in the car…”

Saul manifests his cloak of shadows, while Evan turns out to be pretty heavy footed too.

Anthony: “Maybe just two of use should go forward?”

Evan: “What?”

Saul: “Don’t fuck us up.”

Evan: “Alright… I was trying to get the hang of this with a sheet.”

He returns to the car to wait while Anthony and Saul slip forward down the inner side of the roadway. They split up as they approach the outer edge of the parking lot. Then Saul actually steps on a snake! It hurts! He spends a will trying to muffle his shriek but ends up crying out anyway.

Smoking dude (on other side of the car park): “Did you hear that?”

The dude in the chain gun turret picks up a pair of bulky binoculars.

Anthony drops: Get down! Night vision!

Saul dives into the roadside gutter behind some bins, pulling the snake free from his leg and cutting off its head with his combat knife as he does so. Anthony ducks behind a tree, snapping a branch as he does so.

Gunner: “Hey lieutenant get the light. Not sure, but I think we got something!”

Someone turns one of the halogens and light sweeps out. Saul’s Shadow Cloak steams but covers him as he lies flat, leg throbbing. The gunner steers his turret around until the chaingun points at Anthony’s tree.

“Hey you! Get out from there!”

The rest of the army have taken positions using the vehicles for cover. With five assault rifles and a 25mm chaingun pointed his way Anthony steps out from behind the tree.

Evan: Should we go help?

Anthony: Maybe just edge forward a bit.

Belinda puts the car in neutral and starts rolling down the slope. Luckily the wheel doesn’t lock and the brakes keep working. In front of the hydro building the lieutenant steps forward, seeing that Anthony is only armed with a brush hook.

“What the hell are you doing here?”

One of the other army dudes yells as he spots the car on the road above.

Anthony: “Tried to get through Fernvale but they turned us away. Now we’re on back roads in the middle of nowhere. There’s people biting people out there. My wife’s the one in the car.”

Lieutenant (squinting at Anthony’s body armour): “Where’d you get that shit you’re wearing?”

Anthony (without missing a beat): “Used to have a prepper friend. Stuff in the basement.”

Lieutenant: “Well we can’t help you, but if you can get to Enoggra the barracks there is still up. Don’t go north. Don’t go west. It’s all brown”

He reiterates that his squad have a job to do and can’t afford to be diverted helping civilians, but seems willing to let Anthony go, even wishing him luck. Anthony asks what they’re doing and the Lieutenant indicates they’re trying to get the power supply working again, which Anthony piously agrees would be a very good thing.

Anthony: So we just gonna let them do their jobs?

Saul: Well, we’re not really in a good position…

With her motor on now Belinda flashes her headlights on as she rolls through the gates, giving Evan a chance to dive into the back and hide, and trying to give Saul enough time to retreat into the scrub. But Saul, distracted and in pain from his snake bite botches the timing and keeps lying where he is on far edge of the parking lot.

Anthony: “You wouldn’t happen to have an auto electrician here would you?”

The Lieutenant gives him a bit of a funny look. I think Anthony might have sensed that the man’s credulity was running a bit thin and took the opportunity to get in the car and get them turned around. They have to leave Saul lying, snake bit, in the ditch as the halogen lamp is still spilling light over his position.

Saul watches the army men stare up the hill at the receding vehicle. When it’s up and around the arm of the ridge the Lieutenant stirs.

“Well get back too it. We gotta find that shit and get outa here before daybreak.”

Through Mind’s Reach Saul relays what he just heard to the others.

Anthony: Well. That doesn’t sound like people trying to get power back to the city…

Saul: Unless they’re looking for the switch. Don’t know how these things work but there’s only one guy outside now…

Belinda pulls up.



Attack! Attack! Attack!

Anthony gets back out of the car and starts sneaking back down the hill, cutting down the slope and around the roadway this time, careful for lose rocks and snakes. He manifests Petal Fall aura as he does so.

Belinda turns the car around and pulls up at the corner. She and Evan get out and start climbing down the side of the ridge toward the lakes edge. Evan manifests Heartwood aura, spending some of it to gain Fortitude and Chitinous Skin (his Gift of Metis), but leaving enough that his Greenwood Flesh transformation is at level two.

In his ditch Saul manifests as much Shadow Cloak aura as he can manage. The gunner looks more attentive than before, but still doesn’t seem as though he’s genuinely expecting trouble. Saul starts crawling toward him, down the gutter on the western side of the parking lot.

Anthony meanwhile has snuck around through the scrub to the east of the hydro plant. He gets to within a short sprint of the light armoured vehicle and waits, ready to attack.

Belinda and Evan make it to the waterline without mishap. They start clambering carefully and quietly toward the hydro plant aiming for a ramp up from the waterline which will bring them out near the vehicles.

Inside the hydro plant the squad of army men are still moving stuff around and talking to each other. Inching forward Saul brushes a rock, causing it to fall and attracting the attention of the gunner, but Saul’s Shadow Cloak saves him as the gunner’s gaze sweeps over his position and up the bank behind him.

Evan draws on the Tree to manifest some Shadow Cloak aura of his own, for the first time ever!

He and Belinda crawl closer up the rampway. Belinda pops her head up a little too far, momentarily skylining herself. This time the gunner gaze is a bit more keen.

Belinda: Run in now!

Gunner: “Hey, what? Alert! Alert!”

The gunner starts his chain gun turret swinging toward the ramp, sweeping over Saul’s position as he does so.

Anthony dumps some of his aura into activating Potence and Celerity. He breaks from the shrubbery sprinting across the roadway as the gunner rotates away from his direction, managing to clamber up onto the front of the light armoured vehicle, but not to get close enough to swing his brush hook.

Saul rises to sprint across the tarmac toward the lav. He sends his shadows sweeping up ahead of him in an attempt to Smother the gunner before he can open fire. Seated as he is the gunner can only duck rather than fully dodge. The shadows cling to him, obscuring his vision and sapping his stamina.

Evan dashes over to the carpark side of the lav, hiding under the vee of the hull itself. With a wheel between him and the army guys inside the hydro plant he holds further action.

Belinda races over to the corner of the hanger style entrance into the hydro plant. She readies her uzi with the idea of firing a burst into the first of the army dudes inside to cross her sights.

The gunner turns away from the chaingun’s controls, firing a hand gun at the dimly seen figure of Anthony climbing the vehicle’s bow. Anthony takes a bullet to the chest and keeps on coming. He cuts at the gunner’s head with his brush hook, unfortunately missing with his uneven footing on the hull of the lav.

Saul sends more of his shadow cloak out to smother the gunner, increasing the effect on the gunner to level two. But the gunner turns out to have above average stamina, remaining conscious, although weaker and with his vision more heavily shadowed.

Evan keeps sheltering behind the lav, and Belinda waits. Most of the army dudes scatter, running for cover as they advance, but one of the electricians races forward incautiously into Belinda’s line of sight. She pulls the trigger of her uzi and…

Triple Botch!

There we end the session for this week as I need time to think of something suitable :)

Thanks for reading.

Next – It was a Botch… Really

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Info Dump 2
The Wolves of Beerburrum

This is a synopsis of the information Lisa (wife of Dave the pighunting werewolf tour guide) was able to tell Saul about the werewolves who live north of Brisbane. Remember this is information about the situation pre-apocalypse.

She said the Glass House Boys actually consists of three packs. A lot of them are bikers and they hang around a pub called Gagargen which is north of Beerburrum. Apparently it was started by the Baker family, but over the last generation has taken in more drifters and exiles from the Lunatics. The Glass House Boys pay at least lip service to Mother Gaia but Lisa says Dave was dubious as to their actual dedication.

Here is what she knows from rumors and gossip:



The Old Leaders

The Headless Giant:

Prime Totem – A very powerful spirit of the land which rarely moves. Known to grant gifts of Nature, Rage, Might, and Death.

Frank O’Kelly

Leader of all wolves in the area. About fifty years old with strong Rage and Primal Urge, but not yet unworldly. He was originally a drifter, but a long time friend of James Baker. He took over the position when James started becoming unworldly and now runs the Gagargen Pub where most of the local bikies and wolves hang out.

James Baker

About seventy years old, his Rage is weakening but Primal Urge has become so strong he as to make him somewhat unworldly. Used to be leader of all local wolves, now walks the Glass House Mountains. Can still be found at Gagargen most afternoons.

Alex Hall

About forty. A Baker on his mother’s side, but his father was a Lunatic. Grew up south of the border and returned about ten years ago. Strong Rage and Primal Urge. Very loyal to Frank O’Kelly. Alex acts as Frank’s enforcer if necessary. He can easily cow the leaders of the other two packs.


The Main Pack

Totem – One Eyed Cat

A somewhat weak but approachable urban spirit. Blesses most of the gatherings when the Headless Giant doesn’t deign to move / appear. Known to grant gifts of Evasion, Insight, Might, and Stealth.

Garret Rankin

Leader of the main pack. Young, he took over main pack leadership from Andrew Baker by mutual acknowledgement of relative strength. Subordinate to the old leaders, he gets along in uneasy comradery with Larry Banik despite others’ speculation on who would win in a fight. Strong Rage and Primal Urge. He’s channeled most of his energy into living a (relatively) normal life. A local boy who must have had some old family blood he married a mortal woman and works as a paramedic. He rides with the others, but isn’t much into the organised crime side. He has a big house in the north west of Caboolture. It is common form many wolves and kin to crash and hang out there. He has a big family and most of them are in on the secret of the pack. Dave and Lisa have been to his house for barbecues and gatherings.

Calvin White

A bar tender at the Gagargen. Second in the main pack. A local boy, married to Jame’s granddaughter, (Bailey White), he’s been pushing to become leader of the main pack. Rumor has him behind several incidents and dramas etc. He’s a dedicated bikie, controlling much of the flow of drugs, etc north of Brisbane, and having contacts with the Lunatics and mortal gangs etc. Despite his obvious desire to take over he’s never quite dared directly challenge Garret. He has had the shit beaten out of him by Larry Banik a few times. Calvin and Dave were good mates. Lisa never quite understood that but assumes it’s because they grew up in the same circles.

Andrew Baker

Eldest of the surviving Baker boys. He was wild in his youth but has settled down now. He has a concreting business and large family up in Caloundra. He rides with the pack on weekends, acknowledging that he’s been surpassed in strength by both Garret and Calvin.

Bailey White

One of the rare women who survive the change. Bailey is the granddaughter of James Baker and married Calvin White. Given the macho cultural bias of werewolves however she holds her rank as forth in the main pack on the strength of her Rage and Primal Urge.
She rides with the men and has won several challenge fights. She has three children, none of whom show signs of turning (yet). Used to be friendly with Lisa, talking to her whenever Dave and Lisa attended a pack event as guests and bringing her kids out to the property a few times a year.

Tod Neives

Nephew, or maybe nephew-in-law, of Andrew Baker. Moderate Rage and Primal Urge he works as a concreter for his uncle and rides with the boys on the weekends. Rumor has it he’s been getting deeper into the crime side of things recently.

Ethan Baker

Young, he has moderate Rage, but a weak Primal Urge. He’s eager both to get into the organised crime side of things and to step up in the pack. Has challenged, and had the shit beaten out of him by Bailey White a couple of times in the last year. Works as a delivery driver around Caboolture and the coast.

Grace Erkens

A local girl from Maroochydore. Turned unexpectedly a couple of months before the apocalypse. She had been a married school teacher, but lost both job and spouse soon after her first change. She was now living in north Caboolture under the watchful eye of Garret Rankin and his family. Said to be unhappy and unstable.


Banik’s Security Firm

Totem – Crow

A crow spirit of moderate strength. Banik’s people are very tight lipped about what gifts it grants, but odds are on Knowledge, Death, and Insight.

Larry Banik

Leader of his pack. Nominally falls after Garret Rankin in the overall scheme of things, but the two have never fought. There is much gossip about who would win, especially as Banik has beaten the shit out of Calvin White a few times (at White’s instigation). Banik has strong Rage and Primal Urge. He runs a boxing gym and security company with about ten employees, about half of which are wolves (the only ones Lisa knows by name). Banik takes direction from, and will often lend his men to, Alex Hall on issues of external pack security. He does not interfere on internal issues of main pack discipline however, referring people to Garret. Banik was originally a lone wolf of unknown origins. Frank O’Kelly brought him into the area about ten years ago. He rides on occasion, but isn’t (known to be) involved in the organised crime side of things.

Phil Neives

A local boy from a family of kin, raised in the traditions. He split from the main pack to follow Larry Banik, becoming his second in both the pack of the crow and Banik’s security firm. Phil has strong Rage but only moderate Primal Urge. He rarely rides.

Jake Baker

Another local boy who split from the main pack to follow Banik. He has strong Rage but weak Primal Urge, and competes in boxing at a semi professional level. He hardly ever rides with the other Glass House Boys, but is said to be courting one of Andrew Baker’s mortal daughters (despite the same last name their closest kin tie is about third cousin).

Doug Mori

An older wolf and an outsider. Banik brought him into the area. He seems to have weak Rage but very strong Primal Urge. Rumored to be unworldly. Lisa doesn’t know much else about him.

Ivan Carter

A local, but not from a family of known kin. He turned about a year ago and seemed to want to try a bit too hard to carve himself a position in the main pack. After causing trouble, and getting the shit beaten out of him, for the umpteenth time Garret effectively asked Banik to take him on which he did, saving Ivan from having to undergo trial by the mountain spirits. Ivan would out there riding and drug dealing every day if Banik would let him. Rumor has it however that he’s kept on a very short leash.



The Baker Clan

Description:

A big sprawling clan of mortal families in the area, many of whom are wolf kin. There are lots of branches of this family, especially around Caboolture, Burpengary, and Beerburrum. Lisa has just mentioned some of the major personalities.

Old Ma’am Baker

The grandmother / matriarch of the clan. Mortal but half blind and rumored to have the second sight. Knows full well about the wolves and is shown respect even by people like Andrew Baker, Garret Rankin, and Larry Banik. She’s treated as an equal by James Baker.

Amanda Neives

A Baker by birth, married to Phil Neives (of the Crow pack). She knows of pack buisness, and is a friend of both Lisa and Bailey White.

Tomas Baker

A mortal middle aged man who is high up in the Caboolture police force and acts as liaison for pack business. Said to make a lot of money from kickbacks.


The Neives clan

Description

Another old and sprawling family of kin folk from the area, distinct from but highly intermarried with the Bakers.

Samuel Neives

An old pineapple farmer, patriarch of the Neives’s. He never turned himself, but is said to be beloved of the Headless Giant. Owns a big property out the back of the Glass House Mountains where many kin folk and wolves go for sunday dinners, etc. He’s an old crony of James and Frank.

Samatha Baker

Married to Andrew Baker (ex leader of the main pack) and thus has quite a high standing in the area. Helps run the concreting business, and is said to hate anything to do with werewolves and organised crime. Lisa only met her once, they didn’t get along.

Simon Neives

A mortal. Local Councillor and business man who’s on the take from the Glass House Boys. He has high prestige among the local mortal community.



Lone Wolves

Description

Technically not part of the packs, Lisa knows of a couple of other notable wolves from the greater area.

Bryan Amis

A local lad who turned half a year ago, but who absolutely refuses to join the main pack. He works as a kitchen hand and is said to be unstable. Before the apocalypse there was a rumor that he would soon be put down.

Old Sam

Half legend, an old feral wolf who lurks in the state forests. He’s rumored to roam mainly up around Kenilworth and to be a Vietnam War veteran. There is also a rumor that he’s been cursed by the spirits, that his Rage and Primal Urge have been crippled until he hunts enough wyrm spirits to achieve redemption. James Baker declared him untouchable many years ago, and the declaration was reiterated by Frank O’Kelly when he took overall leadership. It is whispered that the declaration was at the direct bidding of the Headless Giant.



Next – To Wivanhoe we go

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Session 19
Meetings and Greetings

Added a slight correction that when they were throwing debris off the Kelvin Grove to New Market bridge last session they should have heard them splashing into water below. The creek seemed to have risen two to three meters in the time they spent at Chandra Ultavi’s place.

Having done that we fast forward to the character’s driving away from a student apartment block on the north edge of Kelvin Grove, having found zombies but no sign of Mrs Nagey.

Belinda decides to take them up the hill, past where they saw the scavengers earlier rather than risk going through new territory. On the way through the intersection Saul spots a watcher on the roof which his hand to his ear as if talking into a phone or walkie talkie or something. Belinda speeds up as much as she can, but the debris and stuff on the road makes it harder to maintain speed. She slows rather than risk an accident, and there is no sign of pursuit.

About half way through Paddington her caution pays off. A bloody zombie carrying a dismembered arm lurches out into the road ahead. Belinda runs it down. The others are fairly chill, no one suggests they stop.

In the back seat Saul considers the rituals he just learned by Absorbing fragments left from the Black Priest’s soul. To summon a Shadow Servant he needs a quantity of low grade, entropy aligned magical material to use as ink. Vampire blood will do. Saul muses about using a pint from Isobella, “She owes us one.”



Home Safe

About three hours before dawn the characters slow down at the entrance to Belinda’s street. It looks like their neighbours have been busy. This end is now blockaded with cars in similar fashion to how Evan closed the other end the day before. The sentry gets in one, starts it and backs it aside to make space for Belinda to drive their SUV through.

Inside there are now many more cars lining the street. The front yard on one side of the good samaritan house is piled with solar panels, sheets of tin and fencing materials. The yard on the other side has partially dismantled cars, tools, and other durable supplies.



An Interview with Isobella

The character’s pull up outside Belinda’s house. Anthony is keen to talk to Isobella quickly so they can use the last couple of hours of the night, so While Saul, Belinda, and Evan unload Chandra’s solar panels and batteries etc, Anthony heads inside.

Quentin is awake in the kitchen, not being on guard so much as making sure someone in the house is awake and aware. He tells Anthony that Isobella woke, but that she is still weak after prolonged exposure to the rent, and goes with him downstairs to talk to her.

Isobella answers their knock, she’s sitting up in bed looking weak. She thanks Anthony for saving her, asking if the rent is still open. He says it is and she looks concerned, asks how things are in the world outside. Anthony says its not good out there, mentions that they just came back from Ultavi’s house, and that the rent there is sealed, but Ultavi seems to have hidden within it. Isobella is surprised to hear there was a rent there at all (“I’ve been to her house…”). She says Ultavi does come from a strange bloodline, indian necromancers who turned to vamperism.

Isobella seems concerned about the approaching dawn, asking if the room is secure. Anthony reasures her it is secure here in the basement, and “You’re welcome to have Quentin tell people they come down here on pain of bullets.”

He mentions Isobella’s weakness. She says it is from exposure to the rent after being drained. I’m sure in here she mentions it was Garouche who got her, but she indicates she should recover in a few days, “with Quentin and Curtis’s assistance”. She says she could recover quickly if could get some ritual materials with which to resummon her familiar. Anthony mentions that her house was trashed, but if she wants to draw up a list of materials they can take Quentin or Liam over to pick some up. Isobella thanks him and asks after Erin, seeming remorseful at having left her behind during the attack. Anthony says they’d glimpsed her hunting in the valley. Isobella, “well she seemed a capable girl, she should be fine.”

Isobella asks how secure the location in general is, saying she’s heard from Qeuintin that its a regular suburban street. Anthony may have muttered under his breath about paranoid vampires, but mentions they’ve been meaning to check out the army barracks at Enogra. She interested, asks if any vampire stronghold survived, mentioning the Prince’s mansions in Hamilton and Balmoral, and his training facility in Tingalpa. When told the Prince’s Hamilton mansion is trashed (A: “you mean the one with all the smoke and sirens and explosions…”), she mentions that the senior members of the Court of Brisbane have a few drop points where they can leave messages for each other, especially if on the run, in the CBD, Toowong, and at the Airport. Anthony mentions that blood brothers are in control of the city. She says they’re bad news, Blud Oth, a gang of neo-nazi vampries from Melbourne who serve the Sabbat, that there will be six of them but you’ll only see one or two of them at a time, and that you have to kill them all to get rid of them.

Anthony: “Oh but in good news the Black Priest is dead…” Isobella is amazed and delighted. Anthony, and Evan (who has come downstairs) are casual. “He had an accident with a machete”

Even asks Isebella if she could examine the bone lance that he got from the Black Priest’s church. She agrees, and while Evan goes to get it Anthony goes upstairs to get ready for a quick trip out again before dawn.

Saul pops his head in: “G’day, just letting you know I’ll need some of your blood soon, a cup or so will do.” Isobella looks at him worried like, “You’re not… hungry are you?” Saul assures her it’s for something else and she hesitantly agrees.

When Evan returns with the lance Isobella is horrified, shrinking away as he waves it near her. She says it’s definitely a Tsmicie item, made from powerful vampire bones. She says it’s evil, mentions a vampire taboo called diablore and that the lance may possibly made from the Prince of Zhou’s remains. She seems to be scared of the lance, advising Evan to put it away “wrapped in silk and salt” until she’s stronger and can deal with it properly. Evan agrees, telling her he’ll put it in the garden shed.



Return to Isobella’s

Anthony is keen for a quick trip before dawn. Saul stops Evan on the way out into the garden, “where you going with that?”

Evan: “She said should hide it.”

Saul: “You could keep it in the car.”

Evan: “Guess I’ll keep it with me then, seems like it’ll do damage to vampires.”

Anthony: “Because it’s a big stick…”

Evan: “But one possibly carved from the Prince…”

The climb back in the car with about two hours left before the black sun will rise for the fourth time. The moon is still absent from the sky. Anthony drives this time, while Belinda tries to use Domain Dreaming to split her conciousness between Tree and real world in an effort to sense how Lisa is going. She’s unsuccessful but builds up to Release Level two as they head north toward Enoggra.

Driving out of Bardon they get the familiar prickling of their spirit sense that warns of zombies out among the quiet houses, but as they go down over Ithica creek and up the hill toward Waterworks road it gets quiet again. Approaching Waterworks road they see backhoes parked among the rubble where they’ve been tearing down houses on the south side of the road. Event style chain link fencing has been errected on the north side of Waterworks road and there is an light armoured vehicle sitting square across the intersection ahead.

Anthony slows to a halt. The chaingun turret of the LAV is not pointed in their direction, but there is a man in camouflage gear sitting in the gunnery position, looking their way. Another man, also in camouflage but carrying a torch walks around the side of the LAV and waves them forward.

Inside the SUV Anthony, Saul, and Belinda rais Spirit Sight. Both of the army dudes seem to be human. Anthony idles drives carefully up to where the torch bearer beckons and pulls up. He wind’s down the window, “Well… It’s been a rough few days…”

The army man starts a spiel, but, sweeping his torch light across the interior of the SUV spots the the characters uzi’s, shotguns, and body armour. “Err… Are you seeking refuge?”

Anthony: “Oh thank god. Are you saying the army is still going?”

Army dude: Yeah… but what the hell?!?"

Evan (without missing a beat): “We’re doomsday preppers.”

That seems to break the ice with the army dude, whose name turns out to be Andy. While his mate up in the LAC turret keeps watch over the area he talks to the characters. Confirming that the Enoggra barracks is taking in refugees, but warning them that they would have to give up there guns, and that the base isn’t taking in anyone who has “been bitten”.

Andy proves quite friendly, seems to be impressed with the character’s apparent self reliance, especially when the characters say they’re familiar the infected, (there are both bullet holes in, and blood splattered over the SUV). He says the base has pushed out to the main roads on all sides and that ‘the commander’ has ordered the demolition of the houses on the far sides to open out a killing field in case of zombie attack.

He says the base is well armed, equipped, and supplied, “Even got our own reservoir for water!” He admits that they’re out of contact with the government, or even their superiors in the armed forces. “It’s like they were all the first to get sick.” He says the chaos of the long night was rough, “but the Commander stood up and pulled us all together. He even dragged in some units from Amberly, and he’s got us operating as the Combined Brisbane Forces.”

Evan chuckles: “The Can’t Be Fucked?”

Andy doesn’t seem offended. He encourages them to join up and tells them the Commander (Colonel Kirby) has plans to train up a militia of volunteers. Andy seems to think the characters would do well in it. He doesn’t seem to think much of the average refugee they’ve been getting, but says if the characters join they’d be able to get issued guns again. With just a couple of days of training he reckons they’d and be able to join in Search and Recovery efforts (which sound suspiciously like looting).

He asks them where they’re from and Anthony tells him Samford Valley, says the characters had heard a rumour that the Enoggra base was operational and are checking it out for a larger group of survivors. Andy seems impressed, but warns them they’d have to get their people here soon. After reorganising the CBF have only just started clearing and evacuating the suburbs immediately around the base and they’ve got refugees pouring in. He seems to think the base can hold about ten thousand people (it is huge), but says that with three thousand personnel on site and two thousand refugees received already it’ll probably only be a couple of days before the Commander cuts off the intake, “And once the gates are closed that’ll be it!”

Anthony tells Andy they should be back in a day or so with their people, says its madness out there, mentions meeting some weird folk out toward Kelvin Grove. Andy gives them an assessing look. He advises them to stay away from the city.

“Few some sorties over the riots in the long night. The things we seen… They’re not human…”

He reassures that characters that the Commander is determined to screen and kill out any blood suckers who try to sneak into Enoggra among the refugees, that he’s making every refugee line up in the sun each morning to get their days rations and supplies.

“When you come in,” he tells them. “Make sure it’s during the day. You’ll get a far better reception then.”

Saul, with fourth level vampiric taint, is well aware that the Black Sun is only a forty minutes or so from rising. Anthony brings the conversation with garrulous Andy to a friendly close, saying they’d better head back to their people in Samford. Andy waves cheerfully as the characters drive west on Waterworks road, along the army’s perimeter fence.

At the next major intersection they find a similar set up, just with a GWagon this time parked in the middle. The army dude there greets them, saying Andy radioed ahead about them. He waves as Anthony turns carefully south away from the base.



Home Again

With the sun getting closer they head back toward Bardon. Belinda relaxes in the passanger seat, using Domain Dreaming again, and this time succeeding. Using Spirit Sight from the Tree her conciousness is able to catch a glimpse of Lisa. The wife of Dave the pig hunting werewolf tour guide is napping in the front seat of her own four wheel drive. It looks like she’s pulled up in the middle of a wide open paddock and has a riffle across her lap. Using Mind’s Reach Belinda establishes gestalt with sleeping Lisa: “It’s Belinda. Don’t ask, just come to the house and avoid the army barracks.”

The character’s pull back into Belinda’s street with ten or so minutes to spare. Saul dashes inside:

“You guys can unload this time”.

Inside Quentin is still up. He says Isobella has already retired for the day. Anthony asks him if a Colonel Kirby was a known vampire contact. Quentin doesn’t recognise the name. He says that the Prince tended to keep key high level humans in thrall rather than micro manage. He also mentions that Negis helped with government liasons.

Saul asks Quentin if Isobella is really down. Quentin says she sleeps early and wakes late, which jibes with their memories of her turning up well after dark. Saul goes and gets some mundane paint to practice drawing ritual sigils.

Finished unloading Evan asks: “Are we gonna talk to our guys about moveing to Enoggra?”

Anthony: “Saul can’t go for at least two days and Isobella won’t get through the door. Although, given what the Private said, they’re likely to be at our door within two or three days anyway…”

Saul: “Be interesting to see what happens when they come to our house…”

They pretty much decide against telling their neighbours about the base surviving I think.



The Fourth Day – Morning training and Retrieving goods

Saul holes up in a dark room practising his ritual calligraphy.

Evan spends the morning trying to “train” the sentries by sneaking up to them with a bedsheet over his head in an effort to prevent the sun blistering his skin (vamp taint 2).

Belinda, Anthony, and Liam drive over to Isobella’s house to retrieve her ritual supplies.

Before she left Belinda makes sure to tell Clara, (over breakfast with the kids?) to expect Lisa’s arrival. Telling her to interrupt Saul if she gets there before the other awakened get back.

Amazingly though the trip is uneventful. They find Isobella’s house still trashed and unoccupied. With Liam deactivating some wards on her ritual room they get the goods and get back successfully.

On the way back they do bump into a family of humans who’ve broken down. The radiator is steaming, and the harassed looking middle aged man who seems to be the father of the family asks if they know anything about cars. He says they’re trying to reach Enoggra, having heard a rumor the army is holding it safe. Anthony confirms Enoggra is safe and advises the man to take a new car that someone else has abandoned rather than try to repair his old one.

Man: “Isn’t that… Illegal?”

Anthony: “It’s all about expedience.”

Man: “But how do we start it?”

Anthony, (pointing to a house with a car parked in front of it): “Kick in the front door, find the keys, start the car.”

Belinda (smiling): “It’s the new world!”



Dashing Hopes

Back at Bardon, as they’re unloading their haul a young woman crosses hesitantly from the samaritan house toward them. She was one of the prisoners they rescued from the Black Priest’s church and Anthony’s face falls when he sees her. “Oh fuck,” he mutters before turning to her with a gentle smile.

Woman: “I was just wondering… Our families… You said you’d try to save our families?”

Anthony: “I have some bad news. We got in, but it seems… When the Angel came down all the people inside must have died.”

Woman (crying): “Really?”

Anthony: “Some of the vampires ran off, but the people who were inside…. They were like the others in the church…”

Woman: “Oh god. I was afraid, but I so wanted to see my father again.”

Anthony: “When we’re in the city we’ll do what we can, but it’s not looking good…”



Activities around Home

Anthony escorts the grieving woman back to the samaritan house. With the leadership of Garry Choi and the others the community of survivors is starting to work well together. They’ve got old style latrines set up down in the back gardens and are starting to divide up the labour. Most of the survivors are out as a work crew while those who remain behind are cooking, hauling away the shit, looking after children, or dismantling things the scavangers have hauled in.

It’s still a very civilian looking affair however. Anthony spends the spends some time teaching anti-zombie techniques using a brush hook. Evan uses tools and materials the scavengers have brought in in the workshop they’ve set up next door to put together some spears and resize some short brush hooks into reach three weapons. He also invents a pole saber type weapon by fixing machete blades to a medium length shaft of wood. He uses Call the Sap a few times to ease the process and improve the quality of the materials he’s working with.

Saul keeps practicing his rituals.

Belinda spends some time on her back deck, relaxing in a chair reading one of Isobella’s occult texts with a tall glass of water beside her. She tests the photosynthesis side effect of Petal Fall Hair, finding that it is invigorating, but not as hearty as an actual meal.

At some point Anthony puts his 10mm handgun and spare clip into storage. Belinda swaps her kitchen knife for a parang. Evan replaces the two uzi clips he gave away with ones from the house’s stores.



Lisa Arrives

Mid afternoon a battered looking four wheel drive with ’Dave’s hunting tours’ emblazoned on the side passes through the sentry’s blockade. Directed to the samaritan house she approaches the active people:

“Is Belinda or any of those guys around? I really need to talk to them.”

Anthony greets her: “Glad Belinda got into contact with you.”

Lisa: “Thought that was a dream. I’m glad… But Dave’s dead.”

She tells them that the Glass House Boys (the werewolves north of Brisbane) have gone insane. That some of their kinfolk have turned or partially turned into werewolves, and that they’ve started abducting the kinfolk and families of lone wolves and outliers. This is how Dave died, holding them back so she could get away. The claw marks and blood splatter on her four wheel drive seem to bear this out.

Lisa says that it’s taken her two days to get to Brisbane from Kilkoy:

“It’s bad out there. Everywhere’s full of people who fled the city and there’s infected, and people are running out of food, and the locals are starting to push back. There’s murder and chaos everywhere. I couldn’t think where else to go, remembered Dave said you were some kind of weird Gaia blessed type of wolves, and going to the suburbs is not something the Glass House Boy’s would expect when the whole city seems to have emptied out. I’ve got to warn you though… They’re probably still chasing me.”

Evan: “Fuck off!”

It’s more a expression of surprise than a directive and the others assure Lisa she’s welcome, asking how far behind, and when she last saw her pursuers. She doesn’t know. The last time she physically saw them was as she was fleeing the farm, (she shot and ran one over on her way out), but as wolf kin she’s sensitive to spirits and she’s had the feeling for the last two days of being watched and followed.

“I only managed a couple hours of sleep.”

She looks shattered. They take her into Belinda’s house and put her to bed upstairs before helpfully unloading her car. In the process they discover she was carrying two .308 hunting rifles, a ten gauge pump action shotgun, a (highly illegal) .300 sig assault rifle, a big carton of boxes of ammunition, and a hastily packed bag of clothes, food, and water.



Afternoon Activities

Belinda does some more photosyntesis.

Anthony goes out with a scavanger crew, working on stripping houses from two streets over.

Evan inspects the samaritan house, reinforcing doors and windows. He also warns people,

“If you hear howls then get everyone indoors. Barricade yourself in and get on the roof with the rifles and let us know.”

Curtis seems to understand that Evan means werewolf trouble. The other survivors maybe not so much. A rumour starts going around that there’s a group of bandits out there using imitation wolf howls to communicate.

Saul wakes Lisa after she’s had a couple hours rest. He gets some more detailed descriptions from her of the Glass House Boys, how many (about three packs with six or seven wolves in each), where they lived, who their leaders were, etc. I’ll do this up as another info page when I can.

After an few hours of hard work Anthony coopts a couple of samaritans with electrical know how (maybe one of the uni students). He gets them installing some of the solar panels and batteries they took from Chandra onto Belinda’s house. It’s a pretty dodgy job, with second hand wires and taped up joins etc but they get the panels bolted (directly) on and the inverter spliced in.



Nightfall, day 4 – The first Bestowal

Saul aproaches Quentin about an hour after dark.

Saul: “Need to talk to Isobella about some pretty personal things. Not interested in harming her.”

Quentin assures him that vampires are pretty old and morally flexible. Saul says he just needs some blood and to establish a connection…

Quentin: “You’re not talking about Vinaculum?”

Saul: “…no. Not the blood bond, just a connection.”

Quentin says he’s pretty sure Isobella will want a chance to study it first, but shows Saul in.

Isobella is well enough now to sit up in bed. With some assistance from Anthony (offers to heal damage done) Saul is fairly easily able to persuade her to give him a cup or so of her blood, which they do.

She does indeed want to see Bestowal demonstrated before receiving a mark herself. Cold bloodedly she suggests her armless servant Curtis as a subject. Saul indicates he’d prefer to mark Quentin, and Quentin indicates he is willing.

Isobella agrees. Saul bestows the first Mark from the Awakened of the Tree. Faced with a choice at the last minute of exactly where to put it Saul touches Quentin’s armpit. A pattern of shadowy roots grows down across Quentin’s skin from out of his pit hairs. The connection is made.

Having noticed that Saul and Evan are both a little uncouth when persuading, Belinda and Anthony take them aside to teach the basics of expression. With his newly enhanced intellect Saul is able to grasp the fundamentals (gains dot 1 expression). Evan… will need some more time (“Eh fuck it whatever”).



Headed out again – Toowong

Over dinner the characters discuss what they should do next.

Saul seems in favour of a quiet night at home, (he’s got rituals to cast and servants to summon), but he’s amenable to a trip.

Making a trip to scout out to Wivanhoe comes up. Lisa didn’t come down past the dam, having instead travelled through Caboolture, and then south until blocked at the Strathpine river (bridge down) and having to backtrack north and slightly west again and come in through Samford valley.

Anthony is in favour of heading out to Tingalpa to see if the Prince is holed up there, but it’s on the south side of the Brisbane river, as is the Prince’s Balmoral mansion. The Story Bridge is the only crossing that they know is still up and they’d have to get through the CBD, Blud Oth territory, to get to it.

They decide on a trip to Wivanhoe via the Toowong drop off, and load into the trusty armoured SUV. Evan is now carrying one of the pole sabers he made that afternoon. It’s on the back seat next to him, along with his bone lance, chain saw, machete, kukri, shotgun, uzi, and gods know what else.

Traveling south from Bardon to Toowong is uneventful. The roundabout near the cemetary where they picked up Charlotte a couple of days ago is dry, if muddy, where it had been a couple of meters under water last time they were there.

The drop point they want to check is at the business centre post office, a post box which senior members of the court had keys to. Driving carefully into the business area they see Toowong tower is still standing, if seemingly abandoned. It’s quiet, but Spirit Sense is registering the prickly of zombie, or other supernatural presences on the edge of their awareness.

Their headlights sweep over a teenage boy with eyes that gleam like a cat’s standing by a bus stop halfway down Sherwood road. Spirit Sight reveals the (weak) scarlet core and veins of a vampire even as the kid turns and sprints towards the old grocery store. Belinda speeds up, swerving into the carpark after him.

Malevolent anticipation of violence grows in the car. Anthony starts building his Petal Fall aura. Belinda raises Mind’s Reach. Saul starts building his Shadow Cloak. Evan looks at the other three as if they’re wasting Essence, while he tries to decide which of his plethora of weapons to actually use.

The vampiric teenager is running toward a cluster of four or so vans and delivery trucks parked in front of the grocery store. An academic or office worker looking man with early balding is loading cartons into the back of one of the vans. Spirit Sight reveals him to be a ghoul, although the flush of vampiric power in his flesh is very weak.

Teenage vampire: “Pete! Pete! There’s people.”

The ghoul puts down the carton he was carrying and walks out from behind the van, raising his hand to wave and to shield his eyes from the glare of the SUV’s head lights. He’s carrying a heavy baseball bat slung over his shoulder with a jury rigged guitar strap.

“Hey there!” he calls softly. “Are you after some food?”

A different vampire emerges from the grocery store onto the walkway behind and above him. This one looks like a teenage girl, maybe eighteen or nineteen years old in appearance and dressed in punk clothes. She’s carrying a length of heavy pipe, and squints as if looking through the glare of the headlights and frowns at what she sees. There are torch lights bobbing around behind her within the grocery store itself.

“Who are you people?” she calls.

Inside the car Belinda prepares to floor it, while the other’s ready their weapons. But Evan sticks his head out the window.

“We’re friends of the Prince!” he yells,.

The girl’s face lights up: “Have you heard from him!?”

The character’s look at each other. Anthony leans out his window.

“No,” he says. “But we have spoken with Isobella recently.”

The girl (mouth twisting): “Well we’re not real high up or anything, so I’m sorry if I’ve done something wrong, but I’ve got over two hundred people safe back at Indro if Miss Scholar wants to tell me what we should do with them. If it’s food you’re after you can have some. There’s more here than we can take.”

Saul notes the licence plates and details of the vans. Over Mind’s Reach he asks: What are we doing?

Belinda: Want to help them?

Evan: Worth it to help them.

Anthony: We help them go back, then tell their two hundred about the army barracks and warn the vamps to hang with us…

Saul: Don’t think the vamps’ll want to abandon their herd though…

The girl stares at them, starting to look impatient:

“Yo! You want some or not?”

Anthony: Well should we kill them then?

Saul: Nah. Let’s warn them about the army.

Anthony puts down his gun and gets out of the car. The other’s follow suit, they walk forward to say hello and help carry stuff. The teenage girl vampire introduces herself as Ivy, and the teenage boy vampire as Zach, the older ghoul as Pete, and the others from inside the grocery store with names I haven’t made up. All the others are carrying makeshift bludgeoning weapons similar to Ivy, Zach, and Pete, bar one, who was carrying a shotgun and also a weak ghoul.

While they’re working Anthony tells Ivy: “I’ll give you a heads up. The army at Enoggra are taking in refugees, but they’re marching them all out during the day.” He doesn’t mention the character’s own survivor colony at Bardon.

Ivy stares at them several times while they’re working: “I don’t mean to be rude, but… youse are kin arn’t you?” They assure her they are.

After they mention they’re headed south she tells them that the Indooroopilly bridge is up, and the Centenary Highway bridge down. She warns them that the area south of the river is swarming with zombies, and increasingly with gangs of feral gangrel. She says gangrel like it’s an expletive, and then with a glance at Zach , “not that they’re all bad”.

The characters finish helping, taking the opportunity to load up their SUV too, especially with some alfoil for blocking out windows. Ivy invites them back to Indro so they pull out of the parking lot after the vans and follow the convoy south.



Indooroopilly Stronghold

In the valley between Toowong and Taringa the convoy pulls up. They idle, lights off, while a mob of fifty or sixty zombies stagger across the road ahead, flowing from the Toowong side toward St Lucia. In their SUV the characters follow suit, and the mob passes without incident.

The rest of the trip is uneventful. Soon enough they’re pulling onto the ramp up into the top level of the Indooroopilly shopping center’s multi story carpark. The lower levels have been fenced off or barricaded. All plate glass windows facing the outside have been reinforced with plyboard and timber. The head of the ramp is also barricaded. The people standing guard there (humans all) pull aside the middle section to allow the vehicles through. As they pass the characters spot one rifle leaning against a wall close to the guards, but mostly they seem armed with bludgeoning weapons.

The convoy backs up to the doors leading into the upper area that used to be a cinema. Turns out Ivy has converted the theatres into storage for dry goods. After the characters help her people unload Ivy and Zach take them downstairs. The food court is one massive communal space, teeming with survivors. In the main part of the shopping centre the shops to the side of each gallery have been divvied up with hanging blankets and canvas to make separate dwellings for families etc. This is repeated on the two levels below, creating the the overall impression of a massive, jury rigged fire hazard crawling with people.

It’s dark, and somewhat smelly. Ivy explains that after her group’s house was overrun (“St Lucia’s a write off”) they fled to the shopping center as it was the biggest, most most solid building in the area. They found people there already, and more kept turning up.

She shrugs: “You can’t just turn them away.”

She pretty much implys that she’s revealed the existance of vampires to at least some of the survivors, but has a difiant, “let them have done better in the situation we were in” type attitude.

While talking and touring Anthony has, moderately discretely, raised Spirit Sight (is he still rocking the hat?). Out of all the people he’s laid eyes on Ivy and Zack seem to be the only vampires,and he only spots five ghouls, most of whom were either on the scavenging expedition or standing guard outside. Spirit Sense is remarkably calm here inside the center, with no trace of werewolf or zombie, but perhaps a hint of another vamp somewhere within.

When asked how she came to be in charge Ivy shrugs and says she’s older than she looks and used to being in charge, (I actually had her claiming to have been turned in the 70s but that’s my error, she should have just claimed an extra decade not four).

The characters raise the possibility that the survivors may want to seek refuge with the army and Ivy seems amenable. She doesn’t seem to see the Indooroopilly survivors as her property, or as a resource for providing blood.

“People are people.” She shrugs, “they’ll do what they think best for them. It is pretty dark in here, and the sanitation bad. I can see why some will want to go.”

When asked what she’d do for sustenance if most of the survivors leave she laughs:

“We’re not like those high society types, used to having hundreds of blood dolls and big mansions. Been living the last ten years in a share house with just three or four friends for support. We know how to live cheap.”

This attitude jibes with what Saul has remembered from the info Quentin gave him about the vampires of the city. An Ivy Purcel, a weak brujah, was mentioned as leader of ‘the St Lucia rabble’. They seem to have been a group of anarchists turned as part of an earlier Sabbat attempt to invade the city, and given a chance by the Prince to swear allegiance to the Camarilla and live quietly.

She asks about the roads to the north and if the characters would help with transport. There’s some talk about where to get hold of trucks or buses. It seems that during the long night buses stopped coming to the station outside. Raiding the council depot at Toowong is suggested.

We end the session with Anthony intending to gather the survivors within the building and make a speech, outlining the chance to flee north to the army barracks, and saying that whoever is willing should be ready tomorrow night when he and his friends will arrive with trucks to get them there. We’ll do the actual speech making next session though

Thanks for reading :)



Next – Info dump: Wolves of Beerburrum

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updates for 19

I got another week to do this properly :)

Moved the index:

It should now be there when you click wiki tag.


Renamed some stuff::

Term Archetypal changed back to Domain.

Inward Looking line of powers now called Introspection.

Outward Looking line of powers now called Extrospection.

Recapture is now Circulate

Thanks for the help :)


Merged the old ‘generate aura’ powers into Manifest Aura:

It’s rewritten for clarity.

It’s now part of the Domain, Extrospection line of powers.

Removed the old generate aura powers.


Changed the dot of some powers:

Burrowing Roots now dot 0.

Greenwood Flesh now dot 0.

Call the Sap now dot 1.

Petal Fall Hair now dot 0.

Note, Scent of Life and Entanglement remain dot 2 powers (they’re too good for dot 1).


Added some powers to fill the gaps in aspects that moving stuff made:

Aspect of Roots – Dot 1 – Subtle Grasp

Aspect of Heartwood – Dot 2 – Resinous Exudation

Aspect of Leaves – Dot 1 – Verdure


Changed Scent of Life:

Now roll [Resolve + Medicine + Release Level, up to aspect] to see how much aura you can spend in a single action.

This is to bring it in line with verdure and other direct essence expenditure powers, as part of a general attempt to have skill and release level affect the use of these powers.


Added a section for Rituals below the Powers section:

Added two rituals:

Abyssal Mysticism – Dot 2 – Lesser Shadow Servant (yeah it became a dot 2 ritual, sorry).

Abyssal Mysticism – Dot 3 – Comforting Darkness


Added some basic rules pages:

How Maneuvers Work
How Powers Work
How Rituals Work

Just cause I realised the differences not written up anywhere.


Changed effects of activated Spirit Sense (spirit sight):

The bonus to initiative is now +1 dice.

The bonus to perceive mundane effects is now +1 dice.

The bonus to perceiving the supernatural is now equal to [Release Level up to dots in Domain Extrospection powers].


Replace the old Visions dot 2 power with Glean Thoughts:

Basically the old Scenes from the Past power was too similar to Reverie and inferior to it.


Moved the ability to split awareness between body and the Tree:

Took it away from Mind’s Reach.

Added it to Domain Dreaming.

It now costs an aura (which it effectively used to cost anyway when had to raise mind’s reach first).


Changed the default usage of Domain Dreaming:

Instead of automatically projecting into the tree “when asleep” this now occurs “at midnight” (whether awake or asleep), or when dead. It can still occur when sleeping but is no longer reliable (the second usage now covers attempts to nap your way into the Tree).

View
Session 18
Off to See the Necromancer

Day Three, Mid Afternoon

The characters get back into the car after they finish devouring their zombie kills and looting the house above.


Kelvin Grove Scavengers

They continue on their way to Chandra Ultavi’s Grange address. They end up (botch nav) taking the known route down Padington, through Red Hill and out onto Kelvin Grove road, looking to turn north. A botched luck roll means they run into a band of scavengers looting the retail strip shops at the top of the hill in Kelvin Grove right where they want to turn onto the road.

There’s a ute with six or eight young men working to strip the shops while a few more stand lookout. The men look like they would either have been uni students or office workers (jeans to business slacks). They’re mostly armed with tools, shovels, crowbars, sledgehammers etc, but Saul notices that the ute’s driver has a rifle. He makes sure his own shotgun is loaded.

Belinda glances at the other characters, “Shall we stop and interrupt them?” She pulls forward into the intersection.

“Hey!” yells one of the lookouts. He walks forward with his hand raised. Belinda rolls to a stop.

“Sup fellas!” Evan yells out the backseat window.

The leader of the scavenger band approaches him, the other scavengers walk over, a couple of them stepping around in front of the vehicle casually holding their makeshift weapons.

“Haven’t seen other survivors in a while! Are you guys going all right?” The leader sounds like he’s trying to be friendly, but he’s eyeing off the characters body armour, uzies, rifles, shotguns, chainsaw, knives, etc. “Where youse from?”

“Brisbane mate!” Evan says sarcastically. “Are you guys alright?”

“Yeah, we’re right, we’re from the neighborhood.” The leader of the scavengers is still trying to sound friendly, still eyeing off the character’s guns. He seems to be considering something. “Are you guys with a group?”

“Massive group!” says Evan says instantly, and somewhat threateningly.

“Ah,” says the scavenger leader. “So where you going?”

Can’t quite remember what Evan said exactly but it was basically another sarcastic fuck off type response. The leader steps back. “Well you guys seem shifty as fuck. Maybe you should just keep moving on.”

The men in front of the vehicle step back too. But Evan says something, again I can’t quite remember what but it seemed both sarcastic and threatening. The leader ends up telling him to stay the fuck out of Kelvin Grove. Evan suggests he’s the more heavily armed party. The leader says if he wanted Evan dead he’d be dead.

Saul intervenes a bit, asks what they should do if they wanted to talk with people from the scavanger’s group on some other day. The leader of the band says if they came back to this spot a bit more friendly and politely armed there’d be someone from his group they could talk to.

The characters pull away, headed north on Kelvin Grove road.


The Bridge

They don’t get far, the bridge over the creek in valley between Kelvin Grove and Newmarket is blocked with debris.

From the condition of the banks it looks like the tsunami (or whatever it was) pushed up the creek below, possibly even flooded over the bridge, but with a tradie’s eye Evan realizes the blocking debris has been deliberately arranged.

He whips out a detached rifle scope, starts scanning the slopes as Belinda rolls to a stop, thirty or forty meters short of the bridge.

Evan: “This could be a trap.”

Anthony: “More likely its the organised group we saw before trying to stop people coming into their area.”

Everyone has a look around. Evan spots some good potential vantage points for snipers on top of buildings on the Newmarket side of the creek, as well as some on Kelvin Grove hill, but he doesn’t spot anyone watching from them. Belinda senses some zombies about a hundred meters away moving down in the creek bed itself. As far as anyone can tell the bridge though is clear.

Saul is the first to get out, walking forward and setting to work hauling wreckage aside. Evan and Anthony follow suit, while Belinda edges the car through the gap they make.

There is a little debate about whether to rebuild the blockade. They decide to leave it open, both in case they need it heading back, and as an indicator. If it is rebuilt quickly, they reason, then the builders are watching the area closely.

Driving away Evan wants to stop and check some of the potential sniper points out for signs of habitation. “We don’t always have to look for trouble,” Anthony tells him. They continue on through Newmarket and into Grange without further encounters.


House of the Necromancer

Rolling into the street for the address they were given the characters raise Spirit Sight and Mind’s Reach. They notice a subtle ward on the street, meant to deflect attention from the address they’re looking for, which turns out to be a driveway running up an easement between neighboring house blocks.

Turning into the driveway Belinda encounters a cold stop type ward. She draws on her Malevolent Soul and pushes through it, reaching Release Level two. The driveway leads down between trees. It seems Chandra Ultavi’s property is in the center of a triangle of streets, surrounded on all sides by normal looking house blocks with trees growing wild toward their back fences. The drive goes through what is basically a small belt of encompassing forest emerging into a clearing that looks out of place in the middle of the city.

A small neat bungalow sits in the middle of the clearing, with the gravel drive going up to its front porch and thicket of bamboo sweeping out from either side of the house to forest’s edge. Belinda turns the car at the end of the drive so that it is facing back the way they came. The character’s get out.

Saul, shotgun ready, approaches the house. With some excellent perception successes he and the others detect the faintest traces of black wind flowing from houseward. It’s the same kind of alien void energy as is pouring out of Mount Cootha in torrents.

Anthony: “Do we knock or walk in?”

Evan: “We knock, wait… do we know this person?”

Saul explains who they’ve come to see (a necromancer vampire, reclusive member of the prince’s pre apocalypse ruling court) and Evan nods. “I think we should knock.”

Anthony tap on the ordinary (but high quality) looking door with the but of his brush hook. Evan taps a light tune, the door meets his professional approval.

Saul meanwhile is looking around for murder holes, spots some discrete cameras positioned to get front and side angles of anyone approaching the porch. He points them out, Evan waves.

No one answers the door, so Belinda rings the doorbell. It seems to have no effect, but Saul and Evan (again with excellent perception) hear the faintest of chimes from deep in the house, probably from below ground.

“May as well wait a bit,” Saul cautions, but no one comes to the door. The afternoon sun slants down into the clearing. Saul asks, “Shall we have a look around the back?”

“Yeah,” says Evan. “Before we break down the front.”

They wander around the side of the house. The thick wall of bamboo planting seems like its meant to stop this but the characters push through. They discover a formal zen style garden behind the house. Echoing the tree line, a white circle of gravel has been raked into patterns which harmonize with a moss covered spiral of stepping stones leading to a paved circle in the center. The effect is almost like a large mandala. In three key points around the circumference stand shoulder height, black stone statues of Anubis. Each holds upturned hands out, and on their palms each holds: a block of crystallized salt, a sheaf of wheat, and decaying pile of metal rust.

Evan: “Oh good, more occult stuff to mess with!”

Those with the best perception feel that the faint traces of black wind they felt out front are actually coming from the paved circle in the middle of the occult garden.

Saul turns to the house. On the back veranda is a rocking chair with a small table beside it holding a japanese style teacup. There are also more discrete cameras. Saul isn’t fussed. Walking over the ex vagrant picks up the cup and stares at it, drawing on the Tree to trigger Reverie. He gets the image of an old, pale, ascetic, indian looking woman sitting in the armchair in the dark, drinking tea and enjoying the beauty of the garden. Underlying echoes to the vision suggest she has done a lot of this before.


Breaking in

Belinda tries the back door, which is locked. Anthony taps on the window. When no alarm goes off he tries to smash it, but the glass proves resistant, with an embedded mesh. Evan unloads his shotgun and steps up raising its but. The other characters step well clear as he smashes the window inward.

Belinda: “Hello? We did try knocking!”

Anthony crawls in and opens the door for the others. They find themselves in a neat, clean living room. All the furnishings are of modest appearance, but very high quality. Beside a comfortable armchair a copy of War and Peace lies open. Saul grabs this on his way through

In the display room standard kitchen the fridge is on but empty. There are plentiful supplies for making tea.

There is only one bedroom, which is very neat and tidy, and looks unused.

There is another ward in the hallway, meant to deflect attention from the study door. The characters notice it relatively easily. Inside the study there is an old fashioned, solid wood writing desk, and custom made shelving for a range of books, tomes, and scrolls. Anthony begins grabbing down the books with a glimmer of vampiric power in them. “I’m sure Isobella will want to read these.”

Both Anthony and Saul completely fail to recognize the language most of the texts are written in. This makes the only title written in french stick out more. When Anthony goes to grab it it levers downwards. Behind him the writing desk slides aside on smooth hydraulics revealing a hidden stairwell.

Anthony: “I guess we’ll go that way. Ancient languages… there is no such thing.”

Saul: “Guess all these others were just made up by the illumanati.”

Evan: “She is the illumanati!”


The Morgue

Evan leads the way down. The stair’s come to a clinical sliding door from under which cool air wells. The door has a keypad. Saul gets Evan to try the page number that War and Peace was left open too, nothing happens. They try the page number backwards, again nothing.

“Failing three times is never a good idea,” Evan says, refusing to try any more variants.

Belinda knocks on the door, no answer.

Evan knocks on the door, no answer.

Evan: “Might be better to break it down rather than fail three times…”

Anthony: “Off you go son.”

Evan flips his shotgun around and raises it, ready to smash the but end down on the door.

Belinda (as all the other awakened plaster themselves against the corridor walls): “Err… could you please unload that first?”

Evan unloads the gun and uses it to smash open the door, breaking the locking mechanism. After carefully examining it for hidden dangers they slide the door open. A large room is revealed, about half the width of the house above. The walls are made of cold room paneling. The floor is tiled and slopes to a central drain. Two stainless steel dissection tables stand in the middle of the room under operating lights. While the far wall is full of square hatches. A desk to the side of the room holds handwritten paperwork, while a cabinet next to it holds operating tools, especially a lot of needles and suture thread. There are discrete speakers mounted into the wall above, and I messed up sorry, there also should have been some security monitors here .

Everything is neat and clinically clean. Anthony gravitates to the hatches in the far wall. The first dozen hatches have tags with handwritten numbers attached to them. While Belinda and Evan stand ready with their knives Anthony slides opens one of these. With a blast of chill air a morgue tray slides out. On it is a human body, a male I think, dead but well preserved, with one arm surgically removed. Spirit Sight reveals vampiric magic holding traces of life force within the flesh of the corpse, although the soul itself has long since dissipated. There is a hospital tag attached to the corpses toe. The number on this is the same as the number on the hatch. Pulling out other hatches with tags reveals the same thing. There are a dozen corpses stored in this morgue. Each has been preserved with magic and refrigeration. Each has had a limb or some organs (y cut on torso) neatly removed after death.

Evan starts investigating the paperwork. The papers seem to be medical records with tag numbers cross referencing hatches and corpses. Cause of death seem to be things like car accidents, heart attacks, etc. Date of death in all cases is within eight weeks of the apocalypse (none since – whatever the old earth date would be now). There are reference numbers listed after the cause of death, one per patient. There are only four of these numbers overall, with different patients having the same number. They check, but the numbers do not correspond to the limbs or organs which have been removed.

Evan checks if the corpses have been drained of blood. Discovering that they have not been drained. There is some lividity but the preservation magic seems to have stopped the blood in the corpses from fully undergoing normal post death processes.

Anthony tries Devouring a corpse. There are no soul fragments, but he is able to get a return of about four essence from the remaining life force and the vampiric preservation magic itself. He and Belinda steadily work their way through the stored bodies, adding to the Tree’s reserves, increasing their Malevolence, and leaving the corpses deader than dead.

Saul has a look at the papers too, spilling a bottle of cavicide all over them, which makes the ink run. He still manages to trigger a Reverie however, seeing a a vision of the old indian looking lady writing notes at while a corpse lies on the table behind her with a y section cut in torso. The lady is absentmindedly munching on slices of liver from a surgical dish on the desk beside her. Having glimpsed this Saul has another look at the corpses with y section cuts, trying to see if there are similarities between the people who’ve been cut this way. He doesn’t find any however.


Robbery and Ransack

Saul: “May as well ransack the place then…”
Evan: “Pretty much fucked up all her research anyway.”

They head upstairs to loot.

It’s about four hours after noon at this point. Judging from the last few days this means its also about four hours until the black sun sets. The characters don’t find anything too amazing upstairs, despite Evan knocking some holes in the walls. They get some clothing, jewelry, cash, kitchen appliances etc.

Saul focuses on some of the jewelry, using the question “where is Chandra” to trigger another Reverie. He sees a vision of the indian looking woman in the bedroom dressed in opera going clothes. She takes off the necklace Saul is using as a focus and walks out through the house into the back garden. Barefoot she steps onto the spiral path under a starry sky showing the first faints stains of pre-apocalypse apricot dawn in the east.

Evan: “What I want to know, is where does she keep her garden tools?”

Saul: “Do you know where we can get hold of a backhoe?”


Into the Spiral

Anthony walks the spiral path in the garden, within the perimeter formed by the three Anubis statues. With Spirit Sense he feels the faint traces of black wind flowing out against the spiral. An occult pressure of containment builds the further he walks in. In the middle, a small circular area paved in obsidian, he can sense a sort of overlay of another world. A cave formed by an overhanging ledge of sandstone, with three figures around him in the same spacing as the Statues on his side. The wind of oblivion seems to be seeping out from that space. The center of the spiral a plug between two worlds.

If he just had a little more understanding of his innate powers Anthony feels as if he could step between the two worlds. As it is the seal holds him out. He turns to walk back out along the spiral but has to push against the containment force. His malevolence is still high and his will more than enough to resist the effect, hunching his shoulders and drawing on the Tree he forces his way out. It gets easier step by step.


Uninvited Sleep Over

Back with the others Anthony tells them what he sensed, saying it felt like the Rent in Mount Cootha. Saul suggests that this other world is probably where Chandra is. Mentions that he’s on the verge of being able to develop Spirit Step himself, but that he’s not too keen on being going alone.

Anthony: “We know that vampires are usually only active at night. Want to see if anyone comes to check out the house after dark?”

Saul: “I’m good with laying down here for the night.”

Belinda: So should we get extra weapons out of the car?”

Saul: “Maybe Evan should get his bone thing out, don’t feel comfortable leaving that laying around.”

Anthony agrees. He sits down in the rocking chair, but not to drink tea, while Evan retrieves his lance. Saul and Evan get distracted looking at the house’s off grid solar panels and (large) battery bank. Evan manages to disconnect the inverter and dissassemble the battery bank down into three racks, each the size of a normal house’s battery set up. They manage to load two of the racks onto the top of the suv and chuck the inverter into the back, leaving the third rack leaning up against the side of Chandra’s house.

Meanwhile Belinda has a hot shower, her first in days, while there is warmth left in the system. It turns out the house also has an off grid rainwater tank and rooftop hot water system. She borrows some of Chandra’s clothes to change into, some clean jeans and a button up shirt, slipping her bullet proof vest back over the top.

Saul backs the suv right up to the house’s front step. He investigates the pantry, but there’s no food, just tea. There’s only one bed in the house. He claims it to take a nap.

Rocking in the chair Anthony enjoys the view, and the afternoon sun, which he hasn’t seen for a while. He flicks through one of the old tomes from Chandra’s study but, unable to make heads nor tail of the language it’s written in, ends up dozing.

Night falls. There is still no moon, but the few stairs there are are bright, red, gold, and blue twinkle down at them from over the surrounding trees. The characters prepare for visitors, but its very quiet. They can hear some night birds, fruit bats, etc. No one approaches the house from either direction.


A Rustle in the Bushes

About three hours after sunset Saul becomes convinced that someone is skulking through the shrubbery (perception botch). “There’s someone in the bamboo! I’m going out!” He slips away, quite stealthily, following faint rustles and glimpses of movement through the trees and the back yards of a couple of neighbors before realizes he’s following a stray dog.

He notices an eerie similarity of the houses which back onto Chandra’s property. All of their lawns are well maintained, although wilting now after the long night of the apocalypse. All of them have allowed shrubs and trees to grow wild toward their back fence line, contributing to the belt of forest ringing Chandra’s property. Peering some windows while he’s out and about Saul sees evidence of previous occupation, children’s toys, furniture, etc. But all the houses seem to have been abandoned in good order sometime in the last couple of days.

Heading back toward Chandra’s place Saul meets Evan, coming out to look for him. “What are you doing mate!” Evan diverts them into checking out garden sheds, also noting the uniformity of the neighbor’s yards. They find several tools, but no lawn mowers, stealing a heavy duty hedge trimmer to take back with them.


Midnight At the Tree

The Tree drinks in essence from those who are thinking of the awakened. Its around a 50 point influx, slightly less than the night before, but still more than the characters are used to seeing.

Among the influx Saul senses some essence from Lisa (the wife of Dave the werewolf who ran pig hunting tours on his property out near Kilcoy). From the Tree Saul raises Spirit Sight to track back her essence for a glimpse of her situation. Lisa is driving through the night, thinking of the characters. She is worried and grieving, has the feeling of someone taking a long shot. She’s somewhere between Kilcoy and Brisbane (closer to Brisbane) and headed the character’s way.

Saul: “She’s grieving, so old mate’s gone. Does she know where Belinda lives?”

Belinda: “Yep. I signed up for the weekend with my card and address.”

Anthony: “Was she a werewolf too?”

Saul: “Nah, I think she was kin to wolves though?”

Anthony absorbs a soul fragment to get even stronger (dot 4), pushing his human instability so high (level 5) that he’s starting to hear whispers in the corners of his mind from un-ameliorated fragments.

Belinda absorbs a human soul fragment to bring her dexterity up to average.

Evan absorbs two zombie soul fragments, crushing both of the parasytes with his will, to bring his Stamina up to dot 4. I think he may have also absorbed a vampiric fragment of Fortitude?

Saul absorbs a fragment of occult from the vampire Maen Bok, gaining the Abyssal Magic ritual Lesser Shadow Servant, and bringing his knowledge up to dot 3. He also absorbs a fragment of Obtenebration from Maen Bok, gaining his fourth dot and the Comforting Darkness ritual. I think this brings Saul’s vampiric taint up to level three again (burn in sunlight) but, undaunted, he also absorbs a fragment of human intellect, gaining dot three, above average intelligence.

Each character assimilates three points of essence from the Tree. Belinda and Evan use theirs to ameliorate down three different taints by one point each, while Saul drops his vampiric taint by three (still leaves him vulnerable to the sun). Anthony ameliorates two points, but uses his third to cultivate his first dot in Innate Celerity.

The Tree then grows, putting on size and weight. It is now 27 / 40th of the way to its fourth growth stage. In reserve it contains 54 points of raw essence, and 58 essence worth of soul fragments.


Back to Kelvin Grove

A few hours before dawn is due Anthony stirs. “It doesn’t seem like anyone is coming back. We should go back to Isobella and tell her that this… exists. For that we’ll need to talk to her while the sun is still down.”

The others agree. They pack up and leave Chandra’s place a ransacked mess behind them. On the roads all is quiet. Anthony suggests they should check up on that apartment they left the university lecturer in (Mrs Nagey) and see if they can see how she went.

Belinda: “Just give me directions.”

They head back in toward Kelvin Grove, encountering nothing along the way. The bridge however is blockaded again. There are no lights or signs of watchers so they get out and clear a path.

Saul: “Let’s just throw this stuff over the bridge.”

Anthony: “Righteo”

Evan: “Nah, if it helps any group…”

Anthony: “You do know a blood cult controls the university.”

They argue while they work. Evan of the opinion that the scavengers were too lightly armed to be part of a group controlling a whole suburb. Saul pointing out how confidently their leader had ordered the characters to stay out of Kelvin Grove. Anthony, that the characters themselves have only just given a couple of firearms over into the hands of ‘their’ survivors back in Belinda’s street.

It devolves into an argument over the merits or arming or not arming their own people.
Belinda raises Mind’s Reach and Spirit Sight to keep lookout while the three men toss the barricade rubble over the edge of the bridge. No one attacks them. Job done, they get back into the suv and drive on.

A couple of streets over, on the edge of Kelvin Grove they pull into a familiar apartment block. As they climb the steps they can hear a rhythmic bang, pause, bang from the apartment across from the one the stranded uni students had been holed up in.

Anthony pauses on the outside, brings up Spirit Sight and tries to sense through the door. There is a zombie behind it, banging its head as it blindly, and repetitively shuffles forwards.

“Sure, why not.” says Anthony, preparing to go in.

“I’ll go first,” says Evan, pumping Fortitude, and generating a point of aura to gain one dice of armour from Greenwood Flesh.

He stands square in front of the door while Saul stands to one side with shotgun ready. Anthony stands to the other side. He twists the handle, but it is blocked. Together Anthony and Even kick in the door, revealing the zombie of an unknown young man with heavily bitten neck.

The zombie lurches at Evan, missing. Evan brings his kukri down, cleaving into its skull. The zombie falls.

In the room behind is another zombie of a young man, recognizable as Yang, one of the infected students the characters declined to heal. Yang has been strapped to an overturned table. His blood mouthed zombie reaches futilely for the characters with its one free arm. On the other side of the room the corpse of a young woman, Elena, lies slumped against the wall. She was the other infected student. Someone has shot her through the head.

Anthony steps toward the zombie of Yang and swings his brush hook, but misses. Evan is close behind, splitting Yang’s skull with his kukri. While Saul keeps watch Anthony devours the tattered souls of the two fallen zombies. Their torn screams echo in the small room. Elena has been dead long enough that the remains of her soul have already dissipated.

Belinda looks around the apartment. She finds some overturned bowls, towels and empty medicine packets, but no sign of Mrs Nagey. Other than that it looks like the apartment has been trashed. It’s stripped of all food, medicine, water, etc.

Anthony: “Looks like she’s gone. We should be too.”

The character’s leave, headed for home.

There we leave it for the week. Thanks for reading :)


Next Session – Meeting and Greeting

View
updates for 18

Changed the dots on the following powers:

Devour, back to dot 0.
Absorb, now dot 1.
Enhance, now dot 2.

Note – I’ll update your sheets in game (you’ll prob all end up with enhance as a result).

Note – This isn’t quite the end of the power reshuffle. I intend to consolidate generate aura into a 0 lvl outward power, and move your aspect powers down a dot to compensate. I just don’t have time to consider it properly and action it this week sorry.


Added Recapture:

The new dot three inward power.


Changed successive action penalty:

Now reduces initiative score after you take you main, but no longer affects initiative rolls.

Wound Penalties now affect initiative rolls.


Changed some Costs:

Reverie now costs 1 aura to use.

View
Session 17
Return to the Rent

Sunrise, Day Three

Giuseppe Awakens.

A middle aged restaurateur caught in crossfire during the night of the fall, he merged with a Heartwood aspect of the Tree. Now, several days later, Giuseppe returns to the world of the living in the post apocalyptic streets of Bardon, miles from where he died.

Malevolent and Indomitable he can sense the other Awakened, recognizing them as fellow parts of the Tree. They in turn sense him.

Anthony, “Let’s go collect our newest branch.”

They walk out to say hello. By now they’re barely recognizable as the people they used to be, pre-apocalypse. They’re heavily armed, their clothes are dirty, and most of them are wearing Isobella’s black body armor vests strapped over the top.

Evan, “G’day mate! How you going?”

Giuseppe, “Don’t even know I am…”

Evan, "Oh well, sorry mate but there’s vampires, werewolves, zombies…. "

They explain the apocalypse from their point of view as they walk back to Belinda’s house, waving to the survivors standing sentry at the end of the street as they go past.

Evan, “So if there’s anything else you need to ask…”

Giuseppe, “What the hell is going on! Do we have a plan?” And then… “I’m gonna need some fukin weapons!”

Saul, “Come down to the basement…”

Down in the basement Giuseppe is faced with an array of firearms and piles of ammunition. Evan tries to push the compound bow on him, saying he should learn to shoot using more expendable arrows rather than ammunition.

Evan, “Can you even use these weapons?”

Giuseppe, “Ay, I was in the war! I used to be a sniper back in the day!” (and some time later) “Don’t you dis my fukin restaurant!”

Actually Giuseppe has never handled a gun in his life. He chooses a .223 rifle with a scope. Taking three spare clips for it realizes he has no idea which way round to load the bullets (into the clips).

Giuseppe, “Err… I’m don’t have my glasses.”

Evan, “There’s a bow and arrow here if you want.”

Giuseppe, “Fuck off, you can go be Robin Hood. I just need a bit of help…”

Saul loads the bullets for him. Giuseppe watches but doesn’t quite see enough to learn the basics of gun handling (fail’s intellect roll to acquire dot 1 shoot).

S, “You want a pistol?”

G, “No I’m all good, I’m just short sighted…” He does take a combat knife though, “Why not, I’ll stab some people…”

Meanwhile Belinda reloads her uzi, pistol and shotgun. She grabs a replacement kitchen knife, while Saul mounts a laser pointer on his plain nine mill pistol, and another on his gold plated one. Evan and Giuseppe keep up their banter.


Quentin’s Request

Quentin comes down the stairs supporting himself with a home made crutch and his remaining leg. Liam hovering behind him. The old ghoul asks if he and Liam can take some weapons and supplies from the awakened’s stash, as well as one of Isobella’s armored suv’s.

He seem’s to feel that there must be some hope for Isobella’s survival after all. Dreams may have been mentioned, as well as the growing certainty that, as her longstanding vassel, he should be able to feel if she had actually died. Liam backs him up on this.

His plan is to go to Isobella’s house first, to see if she returned after the sabbat gangers’ invasion. Failing that he says he’ll take the suv up to Mt Cootha and into the Rent to look for signs of her there.

Anthony agrees, but says that the characters will go with Quentin and Liam to Isobella’s house this morning, and decide how to proceed from there. The characters have ameliorated down enough vampiric instability each to make venturing out during the day semi feasible.

Anthony, “It’s only reasonable, if we can find Isobella it would be a great advantage with all the things we don’t know.”

Evan, “We’ll look after you mate. Not letting you go out there alone, otherwise you won’t have a leg to stand on…”

Saul (thinking about the info Quentin previously gave them), “I’d be willing to go with them to the rift as well. I wouldn’t mind dropping by Grange to check out this other vampire’s place too…”

Talking about future plans remind’s Anthony that he said he’d meet with Garry Choi and others from the samaritan house across the road this morning. He’s got the impression its about trying another grocery store raid.

Anthony, “Just give me five minutes to head these guys off and we’ll be with you.”

With the character’s blessing Quentin and Liam arm up with uzis, 9mm ammunition, food, and body armor.

Anthony goes to put aside some .223 rifles for the neighbors’ use while they’re at it. Saul agrees with the idea, but persuades Anthony to take the two .22lr competition rifles and the two .22lr pistols as they’ll be ok for shooting zombies from rooftops but less suitable for heavy combat. They end up putting aside two boxes of .22lr bullets as well.


Preparations

Saul persuades Giuseppe to take an armored vest and an uzi.

G, "Err, I’m sorry I’m not familiar with this particular weapon… Can you show me it?

Saul demonstrates the safety, loading and swapping clips, fire mode selection etc, and Giuseppe successfully gets his first dot in shoot skill.

Meanwhile Evan has headed down to the back shed to make a peg for Quentin’s missing leg. He still hasn’t developed his Heartwood ability to manipulate wood using Call the Sap, but he was a qualified carpenter in his previous life. Making do with the tools he can find he crafts a serviceable piece.


The Meeting

Upstairs, Garry and some of the other leaders among the survivors arrive at the front door. Anthony quickly realizes they’re more interested in longer term planning.

The fledgling colony of survivors is starting to feel the effects of crowding.
Sanitation and water supply are the worst pinch points, but food is running out quickly again as well. There is also the feeling that the street is just not secure enough to protect everyone living there.

Garry asks if they’ve encountered any government forces on their travels or heard of any evacuation centers. Anthony says they haven’t, saying they’ve been as far as Woolloongabba, that there are gangs in the city, but that otherwise,

“The whole place is like the streets outside… The dead walk.”

He says they’re still intending to check out the army barracks, but that the awakened will check that out by themselves. They don’t want to run the risk of taking ordinary folk along if they discover gangs have taken it over, gangs armed with military weapons…

One of the older survives exclaims, “I just don’t know why it is so quiet here!”

Anthony admits, “That’s because of us.”

Garry, “Well just tell us wherever you guys want to go… cause we’ll go with you!”

So plans for the future remain unresolved, but Anthony tasks Garry and co in the meantime.

“I’ve realized we’ve been going about this the wrong way. The best source of food is all the abandoned homes around us.”

He hands over the .22 rim fire guns. Instructing Garry to organised looting parties and systematically strip the nearby abandoned houses in the streets around this one. Anthony tells them to be careful: move in groups, flee rather than engage zombies if possible, take it street by street, and to especially focus on bringing back water, food, solar panels, and working vehicles. He mentions one of the students who came in the other night was doing electrical engineering at uni or something and can probably help advise on removing panels etc.


Isobella’s House

Leaving the survivors to organize scavenger parties the awakened, Quentin, and Liam take both of Isobella’s armored suv’s and head off toward Ashgrove. The trip over is (miraculously) uneventful, apocalypse damage and storm debris notwithstanding.

The walls around Isobella’s property have been heavily graffiti with tags, names, and symbols of flaming knives etc. The gates hang outward.

The characters pull up on the street and get out. Cautious that the fledgling vampire gangers might still be holed up inside Saul pulls up Mind’s Reach and leads the way in.

Giuseppe stays close with uzi ready.

“I got your back!”

Evan brandishes his vampiric lance.

“I can’t wait for the first time I stab someone with my bone!”

The rest follow at a more cautious distance.

The garage doors hang wide. There are no vehicles left inside the underground space. Saul leads them in through the passage to the bottom floor, which has been trashed and looted, sprayed with graffiti.

The upstairs has been trashed as well. There are more gang signs, a pool of dried blood in the room where one of the prince’s vassals had lain recovering from zombie infection, as well as overturned furniture and damage to the walls. The vault door stand’s exposed, its cosmetic paneling ripped down and scattered. From the smell of it someone has pissed on a couch.

Evan, “Fucking scum!”

The vault door itself is still secure. Quentin enters the pin and it hisses open, revealing the long tunnel sloping down to Isobella’s bunker, (remembering that Isobella’s outer house is built into the side of a steep hill so that both lower and upper floors back into the slope).

Giuseppe backs away,

“I don’t like tunnels. I’ll stand guard up here.”

Saul raises spirit sight and leads the way down.

In the six room bunker the smell of rotting flesh is strong. To first glance Isobella’s study looks the same as they left it (half looted). The laboratory and cold room look like they’ve been rifled however and the awakened don’t remember doing that. The bathroom is empty, the ritual room is empty, although glowing with wards and workings to spirit sight. On the bottom bunk in the sleeping chamber Zoe’s corpse rots, sprawled in the position they left it.

The characters spread out. Upstairs Giuseppe starts backing down the tunnel toward their voices. In the study, Belinda finds a note left on top of the mess.

It reads, Mrs Yasley, I hung around a long time after those blades finally gave up banging on the door. You never came back and I’m getting really thirsty again. I’m gonna try going down to that eloosan place you were talking about. I’m taking some of your drugs and shit in case I need any money cause I don’t know how to get the door open from the outside. Ring me if you need me, I’ll come.

Using the note as a focus Saul tries to activate his old visionary power. He manages to catch a glimpse of Erin lying in wait behind the corner of a concrete overpass. She has a length of metal pipe in her hand and a vicious smile on her face. Behind her a ragged woman in her early twenties crouches against the concrete with her head in her hands, looking stressed and afraid.

Taking an old journal from the shelves Saul focuses on it and uses visions again. At first the results are vague, images of Isobella dressed in styles from the last few hundred years of fashion sitting at this desk but in different rooms handwriting entries into the journal. With a burst of effort Saul is able to push through to a vision of where Isobella is now.

In darkness her pale corpse, throat torn, lies sprawled across the bonnet of a beat up old sedan. Black winds spiral over her, issuing from a nearby pit which is a yawning gate into Oblivion. To the other side a huge iron cross leans over the scene, empty now where once an ancient vampire hung. At its feet the shriveled corpses of fledgling vampire gangers still lie strewn. The valley all around rises steeply, twisted ghost gums grow on its shadowed slopes. The black winds flow up between them. It is the Rent on One Tree Hill.

Using the gestalt of Mind’s Reach to view the scene Giuseppe comments,

“She’s dead!”

Anthony, “Are there any blood products here?”

Evan (holding up some clinical samples from the cold room), “Yep… I stole some!”

The Awakened loot the place, taking the remaining books and medical supplies. Evan discovers and removes the wall panels concealing battery bank and ventilation units but leaves these behind as, although they’re very high quality, they’d weigh at least a ton. His ransacking of Isobella’s underwear drawer draws Giuseppe’s ire.

“You shouldn’t do that. Respect your woman! Each and every one of them….”

Heading back out the characters decide that Quentin and Liam should take the haul back home while they head on to the Rent. Quentin tries to persuade Anthony to take him along,

Q, “We can offer some back up. I can give supporting fire from a vehicle, and if she needs blood…”

Anthony, “I’m more worried about losing all of Isobella’s notes if something does go wrong. If we need blood I can bleed for a week…”

He successfully persuades Isobella’s followers to leave the undertaking to them.

Evan, “She’s dying! Let’s go!”

Anthony, “Well… She’s a vampire, she is dead. But her souls should still be in her body.”

Saul (soft voice), “Which means she’s still devourable…”

Amazingly there are no incidents on the way back from Isobella’s house either. Passing Belinda’s street in Bardon Quentin and Liam peel off in their suv while the suv with all the Awakened in it continues on.


Once More into the Breach

On the way to Mount Cootha Evan toys with the idea of making a molotov cocktail, on the back seat of the car using a plastic water bottle and fuel from his chainsaw. He discards the idea after Belinda bounces them over a speed bump a little hard.

About halfway there Anthony spot a pack of dogs, as in pet dogs that have gone feral post apocalypse. These particular animals seem to be dragging a corpse into the bushes. Anthony glances at Belinda. They decide not to stop. In the back seat Evan and Saul, still arguing about molotovs, don’t even notice.

Driving up Mount Cootha’s slopes they take the remembered turn onto a forestry road and come to a gate. It is warded, they can’t quite remember what Isobella did to open it (I think I said, “they pass over a ward” in the session 7 writeup sorry).

Saul brings up Mind’s Reach. First Belinda, then Saul bring up Spirit Sight as well. Anthony gets out of the vehicle. With his formidable will and Malevolent Soul he pushes forward on foot against the ward. Belinda drives in his wake as Anthony pushes the gate aside, and the road wavers into the dark downward spiral of the Rent in One Tree Hill.

Anthony gets back in and Belinda drives down the gravel track, her headlights once again weak in this space below the world. They pass the fallen tree, and then the massive vozhid’s corpse. The black wind blows up over their vehicle, bowing the ghost gums, as they drive right down to the bottom of the steep sided valley.

Next to the iron cross and the Rent in space, the beat up old sedan still sits. Isobella sprawls dead across its bonnet just as Saul saw her. Anthony gets out again while Belinda gets the car turned back around. The rest of the awakened scan the slopes around them, windows lowered, and weapons ready.

By the Rent, Anthony makes a shallow cut on his forearm and dribbles a small amount of blood into the mouth of Isobella’s corpse. Her fangs gleam. There is no movement, but the blood is absorbed. Satisfied he scoops her from the bonnet and carries her back to the suv.

“Let’s get the fuck out of here!” Giuseppe calls.

There is no movement from the slopes around them. Belinda puts the suv into first and starts them back up the spiraling gravel road.

On the (crowded) back seat, Anthony cuts his arm again to trickle more blood between Isobella’s fangs. She swallows! Her wounds begin to heal. Anthony raises aura and uses Scent of Life to heal her body, and feeds her more blood.

With a violent spasm Isobella latches onto Anthony’s wrist. Her mouth opens wide. With frenzied, but unenhanced strength, Isobella unconsciously strains to reach the source of blood. With the help of the others Anthony restrains her, pinning her to the seat while he dribbles more blood into her mouth and Belinda drives steadily forward, up and ever round the spiral.

At the top of the gravel road Belinda stops. The black wind flows around the vehicle and out into reality as she turns to the others inside.

“Um… We should cover Isobella.”

Giuseppe, “Why? She’s not naked.”

Belinda, “No. But she is a vampire, and it’s daylight out there.”

With Giuseppe holding his uzi ready they get out. Saul and Belinda dig around for a picnic blanket or something to wrap Isobella in, while Anthony, with Evan’s assistance, feeds her even more blood, (healing himself as he does so).

Belinda finds a tarp in the back. They bundle Isobella in it and put her in the back out of the road. Evan climbs in with her to keep her still, worried that she may have been corrupted by exposure to other dimensions…

With that they drive forward, past the gate and back into the light of the real world, where the black sun rides high in a moonless sky.


Giuseppe’s first Zombies

On the trip back they pass a trio of shambling, bloody chested zombies.

“What the fuck is that!” Giuseppe yells.

He leans out the window of the suv and fires a long burst, riddling the bodies of all three walking corpses with bullets. Flesh and gore flies to little effect. The zombies shamble toward them, but Belinda calmly keeps driving, soon leaving them far behind.

“Don’t waste bullets!” Evan scolds.

“I panicked!” Giuseppe responds. “I was in the war!”


Situating Isobella

Early afternoon, the Awakened pull back into Belinda’s street. At the house Quentin, Liam, and Curtis greet the characters anxiously. Anthony reasures them, but tells them to stay away for a bit as she’s hungry.

Anthony and company smuggle Isobella’s wrapped (and struggling) body down into the basement.

Evan immediately starts building a coffin… or cage? Going out to tear down a neighbor’s fence for timber.

Anthony feeds Isobella again until blood pools in her mouth. She’s still unconscious, but using Spirit Sight Anthony can sense that she is physically restored, with her blood thirst fully quenched. He even gets a vague sense of her bloodline and followers links. He goes back upstairs to tell Quentin, Liam, and Curtis that it should be safe to go down and be with her now. Suggesting they’ll need to see if she wakes at sunset to see if she ok.

Deeply thankful, the trio go downstairs to hover. There they encounter Evan, framing up his box. Quentin argues against imprisoning his mistress. With Saul’s mediation they come to an agreement to lock Isobella and Quentin in a room together so that if she wakes (and doesn’t blindly kill everything) Quentin can explain what has gone on.

Evan argues with the others that they should warn their neighbors about Isobella. Anthony is against telling anyone they have a vampire in their basement. They compromise on Evan giving the neighbors an unspecified warning to be alert as it could be a hostile night.


Going Out Again

It’s still only early afternoon. The characters decide to head over to Grange to check out the house of the necromancer vampire that Saul is interested in. They arm back up and head out again.

About half way over they sense a cluster of zombies sheltering from the daylight in the under house area of an old raised queenslander. Belinda stops the car.

Raising Mind’s Reach and Spirit Sight the characters move in. Saul with his shot gun, Anthony with a brush hook, Evan with his bone lance, Belinda with her uzi ready, Giuseppe with his scoped .223 rifle (and a cool hat).

There is a small crowd of half a dozen zombies standing quiescent in the shade under the house. Evan gets their attention by running down the fence line and banging a fist against the paneling.

When the zombies turn Saul lets the whole crowd have both barrels from his sawn off ten gauge. Shotgun slugs rip though zombie bodies.

Giuseppe carefully lining up a head shot with his .223 rifle.

Meanwhile Anthony starts drawing aura and steps forward, waiting, with brush hook ready, for the zombies to get to him. Belinda steps to one side and holds down the trigger of her uzi for a long burst, but the mechanism jams, and she swears.

Giuseppe finishes aiming and pulls the trigger. The rifle goes off and a patch of hair and skull explodes away from one of the zombie’s head, just short destroying it outright.

The first zombie gets to Anthony who pumps Potence and swings. He strikes the skull of his target at a bad angle and the hoot jars from his hands.

Saul pulls his plain 9mm pistol. He goes for a head shot but misses. A zombie grabs at him but he dodges to one side.

Evan runs forward, activating Potence, he plunges his lance into the body of the nearest zombie. It’s a brutal blow, with the bone tip emerging from the zombie’s back. He can feel the will of the lance reaching through the wound, but it fails to find anything to supernaturally grip and retracts again. Even with a massive hole in its guts the zombie reaches to grasp Evan, who twists free.

Belinda swaps to her handgun, missing.

Giuseppe starts lining up another head shot as the zombies close in. Anthony dodges one’s grasp, and Giuseppe pulls the trigger. His rifle jams. (murphy was strong this night)

Scooping up his brush hook again Anthony swings at the zombie in front of him. This time the curve of the blade sinks in the crook of its neck. The head flops, the body collapses.

Evan switches to his kukri and machete, cleaving a zombie’s skull and dropping it.

Saul, draws aura, using it to entangle the zombie grasping at him. This is the zombie with a head wound from Guiseppe’s earlier shot. At point blank range Saul fires his handgun into the zombie’s skull finishing it off.

Belinda steps back, firing her 9mm handgun into the body of an approaching zombie, to little effect.

Anthony cuts another zombie’s head off.

Saul, using his laser pointer for guidance, tries to line up a head shot at the remaining zombie. Meanwhile Evan sprints toward it. He tries for a flying side kick but doesn’t get the jump right, lurching off the the side as Saul pulls the trigger and the zombie goes down.

The Awakened leave Anthony to devour, what turns out to be a fairly typical harvest of fragments from the tattered souls of the zombies. Within one zombie’s belly however old man Anthony discovers a small, one essence value, fragment of Resolve. He Absorbs it and that final point of exp is enough to raise his Resolve as high as is thought to be humanly possible.

Saul loots the bodies, finding some wallets, with cash, and some keys etc.

Belinda clears the jam in her uzi and then gets back into the car, keeping the engine running as she stand’s lookout for any trouble attracked by the screaming of devoured souls.

Giuseppe stands with her.

Evan goes up into the house. He find’s evidence that someone has been camping in the living room, and takes their little gas cooker and stash of food.

There we leave it for this week.

Thanks for reading :)

Next Session – The Necromancer’s House

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updates for 17

Huge changes :)

Changed the Index:

Now very long.

No more nested subindexes and hidden pages.



Rewrote / altered many pages:

You’ll need to find and reread your equipment stats, maneuvers, powers, etc before you use the.



Split Domain powers into two seperate lines:

There is now an Inward Looking line and an Outward Looking line of archetypal powers (check them out in the index).

Because of this shuffle, I’ll be getting people to clear their current innate powers and refunding some assimilation exp so they can respec their innates a bit.



Rewrote Maneuvers:

This is a large reworking, in several cases just need to forget the old and read the new.

Block no longer uses strength. Dodging is the most extensively reworked section, having skill and movement capacity give you better dodge options.

Combo Blow replaces Double Cut.

Riposte has an inbuilt advantage for duel wielders too.

Long Burst and Short Burst now incur extra successive action penalty.

Reloading a Break Action gun, can do two shells with one minor action now.



Split Equipment into individual pages:

Some changes to stats, you’ll need to look up your gear again.



Rewrote and changed some basic rules:

Initiative:

Each turn now adds to old initiative score instead starting fresh.

Score can go backward.

Successive action penalty now affects initiative roll, but its the penalty your last main action suffered.

Will:

Clarified Maximum Will, Current Will, and Will Depletion.

Health:

Clarified Maximum Health, Current health, and Wounds.

There are now 4 levels of wound penalty (-1, -2, -4, -6)

Stagger Penalty:

Now heals by characters Stamina per turn.

Reach:

Now grants a bonus to attack (and defense).

Formalised concept of “sufficient space” and lengths that yield reach.

Penalty for wielding a weapon too long for the space is now twice the ‘overreach’.

Not completely happy with it, might need to rework it after testing.

Awkward:

Now gives bonus to target’s defense, penalty to wielder’s defense.

Cumbersome:

Now penalises non fighting actions.

Is indicative rather than strict, (storyteller judges if appropriate).

Negligible actions:

Replaces the old “free” and “not an action” classes.

Takes, but does not add to successive action penalty.

Minor actions:

Now consume (but don’t require) a unit of movement allowance.

Can often move one meter as part of a minor.

Main actions:

Now require and consume a unit of move allowance.

Can move a meter as part of the action unless stated otherwise.

Targeting Body Parts:

Altered effects a little.

Individual attack maneuvers now list where you can target and the penalty for doing so with that maneuver.



Added the following powers:

Archetype – Outward Looking – Dot 2 – Bestow
Obfuscate – Dot 1 – Sleight Aversion
Obfuscate – Dot 2 – Slippery Mind
Obfuscate – Dot 3 – Acceptance
Vicissitude – Dot 1 – Malleable Visage



Merged the following powers:

Amelioration into Assimilation.
Spirit Sight into Spirit Sense.



Changed the dot of the following powers:

Minds Reach > dot 1.
%20Inward%20Looking%20-%20Dot%201%20-%20Devour/new" class=“create-wiki-page-link”> Devour > dot 1 (consequences for tapping cintimani).
%20Inward%20Looking%20-%20Dot%202%20-%20Absorb/new" class=“create-wiki-page-link”> Absorb > dot 2.
%20Inward%20Looking%20-%20Dot%203%20-%20Enhance/new" class=“create-wiki-page-link”> Enhance → dot 3.



Changed the name of the following powers:

Protean 1 now Bestial Senses.
Protean 2 now Gifts of Metis.



Changed how the following powers work:

Regeneration:

Improved healing rate of “accelerated natural healing” feature.

Enhance:

Back to allowing to add a dot of equal to or lower value than the release level giving you that dot.

Burrowing roots:

Radius spread is now 1 meter per aura expressed.

Entanglement:

Amount of aura can invest now depends on successes in attack.

Breaking free now a minor action maneuver. Successes destroy points of aura instead of effect levels.

Withdrawing aura now a seperate usage of power.

Seeds of Life:

No longer need successes on roll if creating a cintimani, just “spend a will to invest an aura” (still need successes to invest aura into an existing cintimaini.



Changed “scene” duration to “while maintain sufficient release level” on a bunch of powers, including:

Adapted Celerity – Dot 1
Adapted Celerity – Dot 2
Adapted Celerity – Dot 3
Auspex – Dot 1 – Heighten Sense
Fortitude – Dot 1
Fortitude – Dot 2
Fortitude – Dot 3
Obfuscate – Dot 2 – Slippery Mind
Obfuscate – Dot 3 – Acceptance
Obtenebration – Dot 1 – Draw the Shadows Close
Obtenebration – Dot 3 – Flesh of Darkness
Potence – Dot 1
Potence – Dot 2
Potence – Dot 3
Protean – Dot 1 – Bestial Senses
Protean – Dot 2 – Gifts of Metis



Removed “Start of Turn” from the following powers:

Regenerate(although if fail temptation check this is still first thing you’ll be doing after generating aura).
Celerity
Fortitude
Potence
Gifts of Metis



Relegated some pages to unmaintained status:

Roll of the Fallen
Characters
Factions
Locations
Other Concepts

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