Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Chronicles of Ceteri - A-Team - S00E01 - Stone Dead, Part I


Dramatic Personae
  • Annalise "Annie" M. Murphy (played by +Ann LS): Exorcist extraordinaire, sorcerer, psychic, twice cursed and twice blessed monster hunter. Ex-Gladius Dei. The Murphy. Talks to God, sometimes He talks back.
  • Dr. Francesco "Frankie" Novella (played by +Troy Loy): Doctor and accidental hero. Surgeon with a shotgun. Unflappable. Logical. Sometimes literal. No sense of humor. Always capable.
  • Sir Al-Shams mac Lannageal (played by +Christian Gelacio): Man out of time. The Last Templar Knight. Warrior. Scholar. Sorcerer. Carries the Blood of Solomon and is the benighted grandchild of Brigid.

Previously...
(Owing that this is the inaugural game session there's not much here). When Annie hears that her uncle has gone missing she travels back to Boston to find out what has happened to him (and the family business). Frankie is going about his life not even remotely aware of what is about to happen to him and somewhere in a museum what looks like a statue has something stir within . . .


You All Meet In a Tavern
Annalise “Annie” Murphy, & Dr. Francesco “Frankie” Novella
The Warren Tavern
January 26th, 1999, 9:00 pm
2 Pleasant St., Charlestown, MA 02129

After exhausting all their other options Annie and Ronan find themselves at the Warren Tavern (her uncle Darius’s favorite watering hole) asking if any of the regulars had seen him lately. After three days of pounding the pavement looking for him, they give up (for now) and Ronan goes to hustle darts, while Annie orders for them and starts slamming back some of the Pub’s homebrew beer.

In a booth behind them, Frankie Novella has been set up on another blind date by his co-worker, Terry. This time with Sheila Caste, who happens to be taller than Frankie at her six and a half feet height. The two seem to be hitting it off just fine until Sheila is called by work and ends up having to leave for the night. Annie notices an odd little man at one of the tables in the back playing a “friendly game” of poker.

Using her Othersight1, she sees the fellow for what he is: ceteri2, specifically, a leprechaun. Noticing that someone had seen through his glamour, he glances over to a glowering Ronan, recognizes him for what he is, and runs like hell. The upset poker players feeling they were hustled follow the leprechaun (still in his human disguise) out. Annie finishes her beer off and follows him out as well with Ronan tagging along after. Frankie, who had been watching Ronan get four perfect games in a row quickly does the math in his head and concludes that the event of that happening was highly unlikely, so he decides to follow them out.

Once outside they find the card players unconscious on the ground with multiple contusions and the leprechaun running down the straight to get away. Annie sends Ronan after it and along with Frankie checks the unconscious forms of the men on the ground. When Ronan appears behind her using his spectral abilities, the bar-patron barely bats an eye. Annie and Frankie strike up a conversation for a second, but then rushes off with Ronan as they try to track down the leprechaun (which they eventually do by catching a cab that “appears out of nowhere” and track it to the Museum of Fine Arts).


Another Night At The Museum
Annie Murphy & Dr. Frankie Novella
Boston Museum of Fine Arts
January 26th, 1999, 10:00 pm
465 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02115

Once at the museum, Ronan pops open a delivery entrance door to find the security guard also unconscious with several bruises and possibly a concussion. Checking that he’s alive he uses the guard’s keys to open the door to let Annie in. The two disappear inside, unaware that Frankie has followed them to the museum – still curious as to exactly what is going on. Once inside, they hear the music playing in the background from a distant radio ("Time Is On My Side" by the Rolling Stones).

Heading over to the “Mystery of the Mont Saint-Michel Monastery Massacre” exhibit, they watch as what looks like a statue becomes a living, breathing, (and heavily armored) man. At first, they can barely communicate with him until Frankie sneaks up behind them and tries to get a handle on the situation. Mentioning that he’s a neurosurgeon, the armored man repeats the Latin word for brain. Annie points out a few things and names them in Latin and after speaking slowly to one another they quickly acclimate.

The armored man introduces himself as “Sir Al-Shams mac Lannageal of the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon.” He asks them where the witch he was hunting is and what the strange lights in the ceiling were (the fluorescent lights), but before they can finish, a piercing howl echoes in the night. Annie draws her sidearm and backs up, pushing the curious surgeon behind a stone pillar in the exhibit, she recognizes it. Al-Shams does as well, as the howl can be heard again – the sound of a hellhound on the trail of its prey.

Before they can come rushing in the back door running goes to grab the unconscious security guard and drags him with one hand while drawing the Judge3 with the other. The hounds come bounding in; one breathes a cone of flame on Ronan as he kneels down to protect the guard and charges up his leather duster with magic to protect against the fire. Grabbing the hound's neck, he calls upon his supernatural strength and snaps it in a single blow. Grabbing the guard's shirt, he then drags the wounded man behind Annie, Al-Shams, and Frankie, who has grabbed a blade off of the man out of time. As he turns the corner, a hellhound latches onto his leather-clad arm and bites down . . . in the process breaking several of its teeth before he shakes it off.

Frankie takes the time to stab the beast in the throat at which put it slowly crumbles to a sulfurous pile of ash like the other. Before another hound can latch on, Annie puts a bullet in its eye with an one-in-a-million shot in the nearest one as she draws, braces, and fires her weapon. Another hellhound sprouts two arrows as Al-Shams draws his bow and fires it off twice in the space of a heartbeat. Behind them, they watch as a hellhound comically skids across the freshly waxed floors and rams into the wall like an excited puppy.

Bracing themselves for the next wave the hellhounds they stop as a woman turns the corner and exasperatedly asks why “[Ronan] is always interfering” and then smiles at Annie saying, “Hello, Sweetie, how is Momma’s girl?” The two look absolutely confounded as this woman (who is Annie’s stepmother, Millicent Murphy) is supposed to be dead, shot with a bullet from the Judge. She tells them to give her the knight and she’ll let them leave. Annie counters by calling down the fires of heaven and destroying every single hellhound in the area except for the clumsy one behind Millicent – though she also injuries Ronan in the process (he quickly recovers thanks to his proximity to his skull4).

Realizing she can’t hope to win at the time she disappears through a gate taking her remaining hound with her. Al-Shams frowns and asks what his wife meant by calling her “momma’s girl?” Ronan’s jaw drops for the second time in as many minutes as Al-Shams explain that the witch he was hunting was his wife, Ariadne. Staring down at his sarcophagus (which was a part of the exhibit) he sees an imprint of the necklace he wears and taking it off pushes it into the indentation as a clicking sound can be heard in the stone tomb revealing a hidden, sliding drawer filled with his hunter’s tools and a letter from his youngest son, Alun.

Ronan glances over at Frankie and tells him that was a demon he just killed and how he felt about that. Frankie replies “Well, I’ve either gone mad or Hell really exists . . . either way it felt damn good sending the mutt back to wherever it came from.” Before anyone can respond, the sound of sirens can be heard in the background. They each grab up some of Al-Shams gear and rush to the alleyway where Nimbus transforms into its automobile form, and they pile in and head for the Shadowed Heights5.


All Your Bases Are Belonging To Us
Sir Al-Shams mac Lannageal, Annie Murphy, & Dr. Frankie Novella
The Shadowed Heights
January 26th, 1999, 10:30 pm
7 Cathaoir Road, Murphy Island, Boston, MA 02171

Once at the Heights, they rest, eat, and regroup while thinking of their next action. Ronan even ventures into the Vault to “borrow” Torquemada’s Witchfinder – an astrolabe like device that can find a particular witch across any barriers if they have some of her blood, flesh, or other bodily fluids. Al-Shams offers one of his wife’s handkerchiefs, stained with her tears. Annie sends Ronan into the lab in the basement to extract the tears alchemically, while she cooks and tries to convince the leprechaun that she’s its friend – which oddly enough succeeds.

The leprechaun (who doesn’t like being called that) tells her his name is Bellingar. After the wee man devours half a plate of chicken and downs a couple of beers, he tells her that he was being chased by Millicent 800 years ago because she wanted to bind him, but that “that the rust-bucket” (Al-Shams) caught him first by the left leg and then recited St. Patrick’s rhyme, thus binding him. After the knight and Millicent fought to a standstill, he wished “they didn’t have to fight” and since Bellingar hadn’t given him his tokens yet (three four-leafed clovers) he saw an opportunity to run and turned them both to stone. He hadn’t stopped running for 800 years.

Annie went to check on the others after that only to find Ronan running up the stairs and to the front door. Following him, they see him open the door and Millicent stand just outside. Ronan quickly rescinds her invitation to the house and pulls the Judge. Making a show of power, she stands her ground even as she begins to bleed from the eyes. Millicent asks for Bellingar, but is turned down. She then threatens to “go after everyone you’ve ever helped, loved, or met” if they didn’t. Annie grits her teeth and replies with “Get. Thee. Behind. Me.” and Millicent leaves. Less than twenty minutes later Annie gets a call from a friend of theirs – Alvin Merrick – he’s been trapped inside a local convenience store. Gearing up the group of strangers goes to help him.


Thank You, Come Again
Sir Al-Shams mac Lannageal, Annie Murphy, & Dr. Frankie Novella
Quicksilver Convenience Store #13
January, 26th, 1999, 11:00 pm
451 D St, Boston, MA 02210

When they arrive, only a single hellhound can be seen as it barks and claws at the entrance – the Mount Everest of salt lines can be seen at the door, and Alvin’s got a pistol drawn while he keeps the chunky clerk safe behind him. Eventually, more hellhounds and a few soldier demons show their ugly faces.


Aftermath
After some fierce fighting and several carefully aimed shots the group banishes the demons and hellhounds, gets Alvin to safety, and tells the clerk (“Bob”) that he should “say nothing, and even if he did, who would believe him?” Afterward, they head back to the Heights to regroup and figure out what to do next, since clearly Millicent wasn't going to give up on what she is after.


After Action Reports/Game Notes
Mostly, everything just went right here. The fact that Frankie's player succeeded so many of his "I should be freaking out" rolls thanks to the Mists helped that. Even more, Frankie's player just went with it in a way that was both good in-game and out of it.


Footnotes
1Othersight is the ability some ceteri possess that allows them to see the true forms of others (or at least guess them) as well as auras.
2Ceteri is a generic word used to refer to all supernatural creatures – including human beings with paranormal abilities like psychics or sorcerers. It is a corruption of the Latin word ceterus (which means “other” or “the remaining”).
3The history of Ronan’s weapons is long and storied, but suffice it to say that he made them himself from the hearts of thirteen demons, the halos of thirteen angels, and the metal from a Pale Rider's scythe (Pale riders, sometimes called reapers or fetches are the helpers of Death itself).
4Exactly how many dullahan skulls there are is lost to time, but at least 3 are currently active: Ronan’s skull, the Hessians’ skull, and the Green Knight’s skull. Each skull gives the master command of a nigh unkillable spirit called a “dullahan.”
5The Shadowed Heights is the name of the Murphy family home (built in the early 17th century – some say by sorcery) it’s an imposing figure on Murphy Island (a fictional island existing only in the campaign world) and has multiple floors as well as basement levels carved into the bedrock of the island. It’s been the seat of the Murchadh (modernized to “Murphy”) family for over four hundred years. Additionally, the Cathaoir Bridge is a massive stone bridge connecting the island to the mainland via Moon Island. Built on the bed rock underneath the sandbar it’s a private bridge that has a mechanically operated drawbridge to bar access.


Session Soundtrack
"Shipping Up To Boston" by The Dropkick Murphys (opening song)
"Top Of The Morning To Ya" by House of Pain (tavern song)
"Time Is On My Side" by The Rolling Stones (song in the museum)
"Man Out Of Time" by Elvis Costello
"Hellhound On My Trail" by Robert Johnson (closing song)

No comments:

Post a Comment