Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Chronicles of Ceteri - A-Team - S00E02 - Stone Dead, Part II


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...
The heroes have retreated to the Shadowed Heights to assess the situation they find themselves in, nameless the fact that an ancient witch wants to kill one of them and recruit another. Since Al-Shams is badly bleeding they decided to focus on that first.


Don't Worry, I'm a Doctor
Sir Al-Shams mac Lannageal, Annie Murphy, & Dr. Frankie Novella
The Shadowed Heights
January 27th, 1999, 12:20 am
7 Cathaoir Road, Murphy Island, Boston, MA 02171

Both Annie and Frankie patch up Alvin and begin to help Al-Shams when they notice the only thing keeping him from bleeding out from the wound he sustained by the demon to his back is his armor. They go downstairs to the surprisingly modern surgical suite and prep the injured knight. Once they are ready Annie picks apart his armor impossibly quick as blood gushes out and Frankie gets finger-deep in the bloody wound, sewing up the bleeder (a nicked abdominal aorta) efficiently. Al-Shams passes out after Alvin brings him a foul brew (some hoodoo his granny taught him) and the rest head to bed and wait until the morning to figure out what they are going to do. The next morning Ronan volunteers to fix breakfast for everyone, and both Al-Shams and Alvin are left with only pink scars thanks to the hoodoo potion. 

When Al-Shams asks for an alchemy lab, they (again) bring him downstairs to the second basement where the Murphy’s centuries old lab is. Frankie remains behind and in the library where he and Annie had been looking for more information on Tzazel aka the Biblical demon Legion (who Millicent apparently serves in some fashion). He spends his time learning as much as he can about the hidden world that he’s been sleepwalking through for most of his life and even learns that the creature he killed in Afghanistan was a “ghul” – a nasty eater of the dead. Al-Shams, Using some of his own equipment, he begins to brew a strange elixir and all involved ask questions (which he gladly answers). 

He explains that a normal genera linguarum spell (one that grants a language) can be made permanent by infusing the spell in a concoction that includes the blood of a dragon – if done correctly. If done wrong it creates a nasty acidic poison. After four hours of brewing, Annie quickly picks up what Al-Shams has to teach and has even improved on his recipe by splitting one ounce of the precious blood into four vials of the base (three of which she saves). The fourth is brewed with the ashes of an entire modern college English course book and an Encyclopedia Britannica and then imbibed by Al-Shams, who immediately begin speaking in modern English.

Just then a crash can be heard as the front door comes down for a second time and a huge monstrous lupine shape can be seen rushing after Alvin (who’d just come up from the basement). On instinct, he throws a silvered dagger into the first creature’s throat and grabs up a silver serving tray and rushes after the second. Frankie comes from the library grabbing a handy saber from a nearby table and slashes at the second werewolf, though he misses. Annie calmly asks them what they are doing and twists a spell from an inscribed bead in one of her golden locks, which forces one of the werewolves into his human form. 

Ignoring him for now, she growls at the injured werewolf until it whimpers (Critically succeeded Intimidation roll). She then pulls the knife from its throat and heals it1. Looking up to the now nude werewolf, she repeats the question and gets her answer: apparently, part of Alvin’s reason for being in Boston and not his native Georgia was the protection offered by the Kveldsongr clan of werewolves (and more specifically, Erik Longarm) from the other clans. For this protection to remain, in effect, Alvin was on a kind of “parole," and he needed to check in – often – the demons and the aftermath of the fight at the convenience store made him skip a check so Longarm sent some of his clan after them.

Annie decides to speak with Erik as her Uncle had a deal with the wolves – they stay in Wompatuck State Park during the full moon, and he wouldn’t hunt them down and kill them (Murphys don’t believe in the “carrot” in “carrot and stick,” it's just the “stick”). Gathering up their gear, they make their way to Erik – who is currently on Langlee Island visiting his brother along with the rest of his wolves.


What Smells Like Wet Dog?
Sir Al-Shams mac Lannageal, Annie Murphy, & Dr. Frankie Novella
Clan Kveldsongr Longhouse
January 27th, 1999, 12:40 pm
Langlee Island, Boston, MA 02171

The arrival on the island is a quiet affair and when Annie explains to Erik what happened, he goes to one of his wolves and calmly snaps the man’s arm in a dozen places before setting it and sending him off for some unnamed punishment. After explaining the situation to Annie, Erik informs her that Markus of the Haugaldr Clan has come for Alvin. Because of how varou (werewolf) law functions, he has a claim . . . but Erik can force a trial by combat for the issue. The problem is he can at most field two of his own (including lone wolves and allied clan-members), though he does mention a little known rule stating that Alvin can also field two champions/proxies since his life is at stake from the outcome of the trial. Armed with this knowledge Annie bullies her way into being a member of Clan Kveldsongr since she dominated one of his wolves and said wolf acknowledged it.

By the time Markus shows up Al-Shams and Frankie have volunteered to be Alvin’s proxies and Erik asks Annie and his brother, Aldrick, to serve him in this trial. Weapons chosen (Frankie chooses the Calvary saber he brought with him, Annie her relic, the Spina, Al-Shams his sword, Claíomh Solais, and Aldrick his magic) the trial begins with first blood being drawn by Frankie who tosses a fully shifted werewolf out of the burning hexagram as it charges at him. Aldrick invokes Odin to grant a win for the Kveldsongr and grabs a hold of the charging half-shifted varou about the neck and chokes him.

Since Markus chose “till death,” at least one of the combatants must die before the trial is over. Aldrick waits to see if one of the others can kill a full-changed varou. Eventually, the varou that Al-Shams is fighting loses an arm and then his head to the burning blade. After a few probes to test defenses on both sides, the varou (an ulfríkr or “alpha” varou, informally called a lycanis rex) tries to bite and claw at Annie, but despite his precise strikes ends up setting himself up.

She shoves her sword into its groin and with a powerful pull rips it open from balls to throat with her blade. Staring at Markus, she sticks her fingers in the beast’s eye sockets (much like a bowling ball), whispers a spell to stop it from transforming back to its human form, and rips its head off, pulling the spine out in the process. Holding it up, she takes turns staring at the nearly two hundred-person audience and then settles her gaze on Markus before tossing the head to the ground.


Aftermath
The trial having been settled signals the end of Markus’ grace period, and he quickly leaves the island. Erik speaks with the others for a time and then hands Annie a cryptic letter from her uncle. Heading back home Annie and the others prepare for the war to come – Millicent is still out there and trying to open the way for Tzazel.


After Action Reports/Game Notes
The sheer action of this campaign section ensured there was no real stoppage. The series of critical hits made the combat insanely, gleefully gory.


Footnotes
1Annie, being the literal embodiment of the virtue of Temperance, has been given a “direct line” to the power of the Heavens. This makes her a saint in all but name. Her ability to heal transcends the normal limits of the campaign setting (as do all who possess such power), which state that no single being can be healed through “active” paranormal abilities more than their HP x 5 in a single lunar period. If such healing does occur it can warp or even kill the subject.


Session Soundtrack
"Dear Doctor" by The Rolling Stones (opening song)
"Bad Moon Rising" by Creedence Clearwater Revival
"Knife and Stone" by Urban Country
"I Stand Alone" by Godsmack (the end of the Trial)
"Into The Void" by Nine Inch Nails

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