Kapre Aswang

Session 14

Like Mad Max

Evening, Day Two

Three hours after sunset on a moonless night with the red, blue, and gold stars above Anthony is devouring zombie souls in the yard and underhouse area of a house in kelvin grove while Evan hustles the girl they’ve just rescued up to the car.

The girl, university age, is hysterical, crying for her friend who got eaten by the zombies. On reaching the car she remembers, “the bag! I need to go back for the bag! We need the medicine!” At about the same time Anthony has noticed this backpack on the remains of the victim devoured by the zombies. It is very light but full, and sounds like it has small boxes inside.

He brings it up to the car and the girl is grateful. Calming somewhat as Evan and Anthony talk to her. Her name is Poppy. She says she and her friend had been out searching for medicine for some other friends. The uni has bad people, the hospital is flooded and full of infected, while the road north is blocked by debris, so they’d ended up walking all the way to Red Hill to find a pharmacy (someone called Andy had taken their car). On the way back they had to detour and hide to avoid infected people. It got dark. They tried to make a run for it and got caught just before the characters came along.

Poppy asks Evan and Anthony if they could drive her to her friends, “it’s only a few streets away,” “they really need the medicine!” Evan asks if she realises what had attacked her, that her friends are likely to turn into those things. He seems to be prepareing her for the need to kill her friend (or abandon them) before they turn. She sounds like she knows whats happening, that she’s heard about how people become zombies, but says that “Mrs Nagey said we should try getting them the strongest antibiotics we could find.”


The Apartment

They drive Poppy a couple of streets north to a twin block of brick apartments about four stories high. The stairwell between the blocks is barricaded with furniture and a young man (also university age) stands guard with a spear made by gaffer taping a kitchen knife to a mop handle.

He’s obviously alarmed when the heavily armed Evan and body armour wearing Anthony get out of the car, but Poppy’s emergence reassures him. She introduces the characters to the lad, whose name is Vahn. Vahn brightens when Poppy confirms she found some medicine but looks stricken when she tells him Fredrika died. He lets them through the barricade.

On the way up the stairs Evan suggests in an aside to Anthony that they may want to develop a cover story to explain supernatural powers. Anthony indicates he’s not going to be healing anyone, not enough essence in the Tree to cover multiple people. I think Evan may have remained outside at first to talk weapons with Vahn. I remember Evan asking Anthony, “will you be alright in there?” and Anthony “they’re only human”.

Inside the unit there are seven more people, mostly university student types but with an old man in road worker clothes and a middle ages woman as well. Poppy introduces Anthony and Evan. The middle aged woman is Mrs Nagey, a lecturer from the uni. She’s obviously the leader and is very happy to see the medicine, but also stricken when Poppy tells them all Fredrika didn’t make it.

On a mattress along the wall two sick people are lying. Anthony’s spirit sight reveals the zombie spiritual parasite in both of them. The young woman is a fair way into the infection process, while the young man (who has been heavily bitten) is in the earlier stages. Mrs Nagey is sorting through the boxes of medicine, trying to find the strongest and asks Anthony’s advice. She’s a professor of arts not science. Evan tells her there’s no hope, asks why the victims aren’t already restrained, saying they’ll be a danger to everyone else when they turn. Anthony backs him up, saying bluntly that there’s no hope.

Mrs Nagey seems to accept that but also be determined to see the illness through and do the best possible for the two infected (Yang and Elena). Her group came from the kelvin grove university campus. Before the apocalypse Yang was one of her students, and she’s come to know Elena well over the last couple of days.

Mrs Nagey tells them how a lot of the students and other people who went into the city to protest government inaction during the long night took refuge in the uni campus buildings after the rioting and violence broke out. However something went wrong in the uni. In a cult like atmosphere a goth student called Flynn gained great influence. People started disappearing and there were rumors of blood rituals. This morning Mrs Nagey and the people with her decided to get out, but quietly getting everyone together, working out who had a car etc, took longer than expected. Then they found that the bridge over the creek to the north was blocked by flood debris, Elena turned out to be sick, Yang got bitten, and while they were regrouping here in one of the student’s apartments, another of the group (Andy) took their only car and went back in the direction of the university.

Their original plan, Mrs Nagey tells Evan and Anthony, was to head north and flee the city entirely, but now they’re stuck. Anthony suggests they might want to head to bardon instead. Telling them that there is a stable group of survivors there and giving them directions to Bob and Laura’s house (the samaritan house on Belinda’s street). He and Evan stress that they should leave immediately. They’re concerned that Andy will bring trouble from the university faction. Some of the students seem to think its impossible, “its dark”, “we don’t have a car anymore”. Evan tells them they need to adapt to the new world, “take a car, make it yours. Find a weapon, find a car, leave as soon as possible.”

In the end Anthony and Evan go out to find cars for them. Being malevolent nothing bothers them as when wander around the neighborhood in the dark. Many of the cars on the sides of the road were parked before the apocalypse and so don’t have their keys inside, but there are enough crashed and abandoned cars that they soon find two. One has some dried blood on the driver’s seat the other a dented front end and leaking radiator, but they’ll do for the trip proposed. Evan also smashes in the back windows in on several keyless cars collecting tyre levers

Bringing them back to the apartment they find that the group has moved Yang and Elena to the neighboring units to isolate them but are still not organised to leave. Mrs Nagey is actually in favor of the rest of the group, “the children”, heading for bardon straight away but insists she’ll stay behind to feed the infected antibiotics and tend them “till the end”.

Evan takes her aside to try persuading to go as well. First he offers to remain behind instead to “look after” the infected pair, but she refuses, perhaps hearing the euphemism in his voice. Then he suggests the other ‘children’ need her more, but she returns that she feels they’re more likely to leave. If she didn’t remain one of the others might try to, then they all would. Finally Evan spins a story that he’s heard a rumor about a certain mystical creature that if he could catch it and feed the blood from it to the infected would cure them. Mrs Nagey seems to believe him (a lot of supernatural things been happening lately). She asks if he would find the creature for him, saying she’ll pay ‘anything’ if he does so. Of course while he’s out hunting she’ll stay behind tending the ill folk with antibiotics and water…

In the other apartment people are still disorganized and dithering. Anthony finally cuts through with an ultimatum. Mrs Nagey knows the risks, she can do whatever she wants, but if everyone else isn’t moving within two minutes he’ll personally go downstairs and shoot those cars he just got for them before he and Evan leave. People start moving. Evan hands each of the young folk a tire lever and Mrs Nagey a combat knife. Some short time later the two carloads of survivors pull away with Anthony and Evan behind them as Mrs Nagey waves from the apartment doorway.


Road Trip

The university group take the Red Hill turnoff on their way to Bardon. Anthony and Evan continue south on Kelvin Grove road toward the city, and their eventual goal of Isobella’s storage unit in Woolloongabba.

Kelvin Grove road is fairly clear, just some branches and other storm debris. As Anthony guides their vehicle down the hill a new car, loaded with youths, pulls out from the university’s entrance. It turns north. As their car passes the other Evan spots a rifle in the hands of the front passenger. “Lets stop them, she knows the street!” He crawls halfway out the passenger side window of their car, leveling his uzi at the rear of the other car as the two vehicles draw apart. Then he hesitates, ducks his head back down, “she chose to stay, should we just drive past?” The moment is lost, the distance between the vehicles widening. The car with the youths in it passes behind a concrete barrier in the middle of the road while Anthony keeps driving calmly toward the city.

They got on the bus way to get down into the city itself. It’s here that I fucked up. I happened to drive past that bus way in real life after the session and realized its sunken not raised. In game it should therefore have been blocked at the bottom of the hill by water remaining after the flooding. Continuing along Kelvin Grove road and down the hill into the city via Countess street however should have been relatively clear, its the Inner City Bypass which has the abandoned traffic jam on it in game, not every road out from the cbd.

Whichever way the characters got there, as they came over the hill Anthony noticed an emanation of power from the side, over toward Spring Hill. It had the sense of choral singing and Light within it and made him remember that he’d once heard there was a theological collage on Spring Hill in that direction (where the private hospital is in real life). He also notices that alien elemental force they’d noticed spiraling out of Mt Cootha is swirling in (much more weakly) toward Spring Hill.

Ahead of them the skyline of the city itself looks different. It’s unlit, of course, except for the flicker of firelight from the upper floor of one particular skyscraper. But it also feels gap toothed, as if some of the towers have perhaps fallen.

Cruising down toward the river they discover that the William Jolly bridge has fallen, along with the Go Between bridge, rail bridge and kurilpa pedstrian bridge. They turn along North Quay finding that large sections of the River Side Expressway have collapse into the river, along with Victoria and Captain Cook bridges. They’re on the high side of the river here so there is no tsunami wreckage washed up as there was around the suncorp stadium, but looking across toward south bank the silhouettes of the state library, museum, and performing arts center (elysium) seem significantly lower.

The weird thing is that the water itself seems to have mostly disappeared. There is no surface below them to reflect the stars, instead the undercut bank drops to a exposed river bottom of wreckage, rubble, and twisted cars through which a trickle of water flows.

A collapsed overpass soon forces them to turn inland. They proceed carefully down George street along the line of the river side ridge. Its very quiet among the towers. No human life moves, although by the prickling of their spirit senses they know there are zombies in the surroundings. George street is fairly clear. Its covered in the litter and trash of both protests and riots, and there are frequent abandoned cars, some burned out, but its no where near being blocked. One new feature is great spills of glittering glass where panels of cladding have fallen from the skyscrapers above, presumably during the earthquake. They also come across first one building, then another where the facade has been stitched with large caliber bullet holes and are reminded that they heard heavy helicopters flying in toward the city during the long night.


Visiting Belinda’s Work

They come up to the office tower where Belinda used to work. Anthony pulls the car over to the side and kills the lights and motor. They may as well check just in case those subordinates who rang her just before the phones died (about 70 hours ago) are still holed up on the floors above.

The tower is dim. Its front entrance has been shed, or blown outwards. Evan and Anthony enter carefully, crunching across the glass. The door into the emergency stairwell is jammed. Evan levers it open with an unexpected crash. Its very dark within, but our ex-tradie is prepared pulling out the spotlight he’d taken from their gunshop loot. With its strong beam playing ahead of them the pair climb and climb, trying to remember which floor exactly Belinda had said her offices were on.

At the twentieth floor they stop. The firedoor opens at their touch. The building’s emergency protocols must have triggered at some point. They emerge into a desolate reception area, ceiling panels hanging. Listening, they don’t sense any signs of life. “Hey Belinda!” yells Anthony, “We’re Here!” They wait, listening again, but there is no response.

The pair turn back to the stairs, assuming Belinda’s subordinates must have moved on.


On the Road Again

Approaching the car carefully it seems there is no movement on the street. They get in and get going again. Passing the Queen street Mall they turn down Elizabeth street. It’s deserted and relatively clear (abandoned cars, glass, debris, etc).

They’re moving downhill carefully, doing about thirty five kilometers and hour as they have everywhere when, about halfway down the street, they hear a whistle. They don’t stop. In their rear vision mirror they see a figure walk out into the road behind them, staring at their tail lights.

The end of Elizabeth street is blocked by tsunami wreckage. It seems that the pubs and shops of Eagle Steet Pier got smashed. One of the nearby apartment towers also seems to have fallen, but the characters can see from here that the Story Bridge has survived.
Anthony turns them uphill on Creek Street, then right onto Anne and along onto the bridge without further incident.

After (carefully) crossing the bridge they’re on their way down Main st near Kangaroo Point when a zombie lurches out into their headlights. Its arms are red with gore, its stomach grossely distended. It ignores the oncoming vehicle, headed blindly west.

In the passenger seat Evan pulls out his machete. Anthony speeds up, swerving to give Evan room for a drive by swing. The blade impacts with augmented force, cutting through the zombie’s shoulder, ribs, and deep into its chest. Evan’s ridiculous strength helps him avoid having his own arm wrenched from its socket as the zombie falls and he pulls his blade free. They drive on. In their tail lights they see the monstrosity still crawling westward, struggling to rise while ignoring the severed limb it leaves in the road behind it.

Coming down to the gabba stadium they arrive at an area covered in mud and light flood detritus (not tsunami wreckage). They drive slowly, concerned for their tires. In passing Anthony notices that the smashed in doors of a grocery store situated at the base of an apartment towers complex. It seems that looting is widespread now.

A little further, into south brisbane industrial area brings them to the lane where Quentin said Isobella kept an emergency storage unit.


The Stash

Its an old fashioned lockup, one in a row of others. Evan twists off the padlock and rolls up the door. Within they find a black suv. It is unlocked and its key is in the ignition. Otherwise the small space is bare.

Opening the boot of the suv the pair find:

A rack of uzis (6)
A stack of body armour (6)
Three full sports bags.

They decide to take the whole car. Anthony transfers one of the sports bags into the care they arrived in while Evan jumps in the drivers seat of Isobella’s escape vehicle and reverses it out of the unit. The idea is that he’ll follow Anthony back to Belinda’s place.


More Driving

On mains road again, approaching the gabba from the south this time Anthony spots zombies, a lot of zombies lurching eastward through the intersection ahead of him. He pulls up, behind him Evan does the same.

The zombies seem to ignore the two vehicles. There are outliers roaming from the crowd to the edges of the street before circling back into the mob but the general direction of movement is east, down the middle of the road.

There are at least fifty or sixty zombies in front of him. Anthony eases his car into reverse, Evan follows suit. They back up untill they come to a cross street. Evan turns into it first with Anthony following. Planting his foot Evan leads them east, and then north on Wellington road. As they come up on the gabba from the other side they spot the zombie crowd again, but its only shambled part of the distance between intersections. Evan and then Anthony cross in front without problem.

Evan continues north along Wellington road, passing a gun shop with its front rammed in. At the end of Wellington the road to the right is blocked by tsunami wreckage. Evan knows he needs to turn left anyway to get back onto the Story Bridge and the road in that direction is clear so he takes it.

Signs telling him that the right lane feeds into the Clem Seven cross river tunnel tempt him, but he can almost hear Anthony muttering from the car behind that tunnels, floods, and zombies don’t mix well. They get onto the bridge without incident and Evan leads them across.

Being a southerner Evan is not familiar with the local roads. The gps unit in his (Isobella’s) car brings up maps, but doesn’t know his position so isn’t able to bring up the right map or plot a route (presumably the satellites are gone, new sun and moon and all that). Evan decides to retrace the exact path they followed in reverse, successfully turning them onto Anne street, then down Creek, and onto Elizabeth street into the heart of the central business district.


Road Racing

Ahead on Elizabeth street, at about the location where that person had whistled at them, Evan spots a few cars with figures gathering in their around them. He turns off his headlights and stops. Behind him Anthony does the same. With much yelling the figures pile into their vehicles. Engines roar.

The cars ahead are perhaps two hundred meters away. Evan floors it. Racing for the intersection between them Evan hooks right into Edward street. Anthony follows as close as he can, making it in front of the oncoming vehicles. They skid in behind him, tires squealing as the race is on.

Going against the one way trafic signs up Edward street Evan flashes past the Queen Street Mall. He takes the hill with his foot flat to the boards. The road is ending up ahead, but he notices signs for Central Station and recognises a bar from the wedding party on the night he got killed. He wrenches the wheel to the left, squealing through the turn, and floors it down Anne street.

Anthony takes the turn a bit wider, loosing ground while the hoons behind are gaining on them both. Rough youths hang from the windows firing guns. Ricochetes sprang from the back of Anthony’s (bullet proof) vehicle. In the lead Evan wonders if Isobella put the same foresight into her gettaway cars as elysium seem to have put into all of theirs.

The gangers are getting closer. At the last minute Evan realises he needs to turn into Roma street. He hooks it through the intersection near King George square. Caught by surprise Anthony turns wider again, mounting the curb but keeping control of his vehicle. The gangers do really well. The lead car cuts across in front of Anthony and rams Evan from the side, pushing his car up over the footpath into the side of a building. Inside the car Evan is smashed against window and door frame, while its all Anthony behind can do to pull up before he crashing into them both.


Rumble on Roma Street

The second pursuing car pulls up in the middle of Roma street while the third screeches to a halt tight in behind Anthony’s vehicle. Before Evan can recover or Anthony act a fledgling vampire is out of the second car, charging across with the smoothness of celerity and ripping open Anthony’s door with strength and protean claws. The front passenger in the car which rammed Evan (a ghoul) discharges a rifle at Evan’s head from less than a meter away. Luckily it turns out Isobella did invest in bullet proofing and the window (just) holds as a starlike fracture pattern spreads in the glass between Evan and the surprised ganger.

Evan jumps out, slashing with his kukri at the vampire attacking Anthony, giving Anthony a chance to get out and on his feet. In the space between vehicles Evan passes his machete to Anthony. They fight back to back as two ganger vampires and three ghouls rush them while the other vampire cloaks himself in shadow and circles with a rifle using the roof of the car between them to steady his shots at the duo. The ghoul with the rifle scrambles after his mate while two more ghouls from the rear car circle in the other direction firing handguns at Anthony and Evan.

Not everything goes badly for our heros though. One of the ghouls charging into melee trips over his own shotgun, blasting himself and the protean clawed vampire. Similarly the shadow cloaked vampire takes a risky shot, managing to clip one of his own men. But bullets, claws, and knife blades find their mark as the characters face their attackers with their backs to the metal.

Evan resists the temptation to draw heavily on the Tree. Anthony generates as much aura as he can, spending it heavily to regenerate his wounds as well as heal those Evan takes. Quickly punching up to release level three Anthony enhances his strength as much as possible while activating potence to its limit to become a brutal close combatant. Together he and Evan (who is naturally fucking strong) chop into their opponents.

A particularly massive slash from Anthony takes down one of the vampires while Evan drops one of the injured ghouls. The gangers seem horrified that the prey they’ve chased down is so unkillable and violent. The ghoul with the rifle breaks and flees. When the two other ghouls in close combat fall and only the protean clawed vampire is left to hold back this pair of awakened monsters the whole group routs.

Anthony and Evan chase down the protean clawed vampire as he sprints across Roma street and tries to flee across the roof of the entrance into the underground bus station. The vampire misses his leap and slides back down, claws screeching, unwilling as the pair catch him and cut him apart.


Aftermath

The remaining vampire and ghouls have fled, variously up into the park lands or between the buildings along the street. Neither Anthony or Evan give further chase. Anthony starts Devouring the souls of the fallen, while Evan loots their corpses and cars.

Evan finds:

2x .223 rifles
1x 12 gauge shotgun
3x 10mm police issue handguns
30x 12 gauge shells
20x loose 10mm bullets
1x spare 15 bullet clip for a 10mm handgun {full}
a keyring from a car that holds building keys as well
a couple of pills with smiley faces on them
a butterfly knife
a can of capsicum foam
a wallet with about $100 cash, some cards, and id
a blood stained police id card (stuffed down between car seat cushions.

Evan also takes a moment to grab one of the body armour vests from the back of the suv and put it on.

Anthony’s efforts yield a fragment of vampiric Celerity. Because the Tree’s adaption process is underway this fragment is immediately sacrificed. The sacrifice is successful, completing the adaption process. The Tree quickens, gaining Celerity as an innate line of powers. Characters no longer learn celerity by finding and absorbing soul fragments (indeed they’re now unable to do this for celerity). Instead the characters can develop Celerity powers of dot up to the Tree’s Growth Stage by assimilating essence in the same way they develop their domain or aspect powers.

Anthony also harvests soul fragments from the other vampire and ghouls they’ve killed. He converts some of the less useful fragments into essence as they pass through him to the Tree (this is a new use of devour to be written in), using a fair bit of that essence to fuel subsequent devour attempts (increasing his malevolence further). I don’t think he absorbed any soul fragment for himself.

We end our session with zombies, attracted by the screams of souls being devoured closing in on our characters from all sides while their cars are blocked in :)


Status

Anthony is Exhilarated, with 22 malevolence and 24 instability (including vampiric taint 3 and werewolf taint 2). He is slightly injured with full will and no aura expressed.

Evan is Rash, with 4 malevolence and 16 instability (including vampiric taint 3). He is quite injured with full will and no aura expressed.

The Tree is 4 / 40th of the way to its fourth growth stage. It contains 5 raw essence and 101 essence worth of soul fragments.


Thanks for reading :)

Next Session – RIP Black Priest

Comments

Avandus

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