Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Chronicles of Ceteri - A-Team - S00E05 - Stone Dead, Part V


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...
Al-Shams lay bleeding in the rain with a hole through his heart. He lays dying in of all places a baseball field...


Angels in the Infield
Sir Al-Shams mac Lannageal, Annie Murphy, & Dr. Frankie Novella
Boston Common Baseball Field
January 27th, 1999, 10:30 pm
131 Tremont St. Boston, MA 02111

As the life leaves Al-Shams body time stops and he finds himself on a featureless, endless, white plain. Behind him a voice tells him that he is late and a man dressed in a turn of the century morticians suit snaps shut the lid of a pocket watch. He tells Al-Shams that he’s dead and he’s been “one for the books” owing to his unnatural long life thanks to his previously petrified state. The man in black (presumably Death himself, one of his pale riders, or a psychopomp) extends his hand to him, but before he can take it, Bellinagar (the leprechaun), appears where he explains that he “can’t have him yet” and takes Al-Shams back to his body where another mysterious figure, this time a red-head dressed all in white, is peering down at his body. The scene shifts again and Al-Shams finds himself back at home in his castle with his children and wife. He quickly realizes that he’s dreaming when a man in grey shows up and gives him a choice: he can return to life and go through many trials or he can go to Heaven.

Al-Shams asks who he is and the figure in grey names himself “Sariel.” When Al-Shams asks if he’s “that Sariel” he nods. He offers to help him return to life since the leprechaun only made him live once more, but the damage was so severe he ended up in a coma. In exchange, he will become Sariel's eyes and ears and “help Magdalena.” Al-Shams accepts and wakes up gasping for breath as Frankie works to stabilize him. Ronan warns them not to pull the dagger in his side out, as it’s made of veneniam1. Realizing mundane medicine is their best bet, Ronan opens a gate to University of Washington Medical Center.


General Hospital or Real Life?
Sir Al-Shams mac Lannageal, Annie Murphy, & Dr. Frankie Novella
Boston Medical Center
January 27th, 1999, 11:00 pm
840 Harrison Ave Boston, MA 02118

Once in Frankie does some creative reorganizing and gets them a surgery theater. Three hours later Al-Shams is stable despite having an eighteen inch blade driven through his heart. Once Al-Shams is stable, Alvin says he might have something back at his place that could help and both him and Annie head to his place (which wasn’t far from the hospital).


Frat House, Brat House
Annalise “Annie” Murphy
Alvin’s House
January 28th, 1999, 2:00 am
185 Ivy St Brookline, MA 02446

Ignoring the drunken revelry happening when they enter the front door, Alvin and Annie head downstairs to the ex-Ranger’s “home away from home.” Once inside  (and past the booby traps and wards) Alvin rummages through his junk until he finds what he’s looking for: an alicorn (the dismembered horn of a unicorn). Annie is aghast at him having such a thing, but he quickly explains he found it when he helped stop a witch that had been eating the elderly at a nursing home. Alvin, knowing he didn’t have a “pure heart” (which the item requires to make use of its healing properties) gives it to Annie who he believes does. They then head back to the hospital.


It's Gawain's World
Sir Al-Shams mac Lannageal, Annie Murphy, & Dr. Frankie Novella
Boston Medical Center
January 28th, 1999, 2:30 am
840 Harrison Ave Boston, MA 02118

Back at the hospital, Annie presses the alicorn against the stitched wound and lets her magic pour through it. Within seconds, Al-Shams’ injuries knit themselves whole and he is again conscious. After a quick check-up by Frankie they again head to the Shadowed Heights to try and find Millicent and stop her before she summons Tzazel (aka Legion).


Witchfinder, Witchfinder, Find Me a Witch
Sir Al-Shams mac Lannageal, Annie Murphy, & Dr. Frankie Novella
The Shadowed Heights
January 28th, 1999, 3:30 am
7 Cathaoir Road, Murphy Island, Boston, MA 02171

Annie, deciding she wants to know exactly what the ritual for summoning Tzazel entails enlists everyone’s help as they comb through the library for details. Several hours later, Frankie is the one who discovers that Tzazel can only be freed from the sea by a specific Galilean incantation said over a seaside cliff, as the sun rises, near a “protector of ships,” and when the tide is at its highest (6:04 am). A host of other ingredients are required and Annie sends Alvin to check the “usual suspects.”

Gearing up for a final conflict the PCs prepare for a small war taking all manner weaponry from swords to automatic weapons. Even Frankie, who has no experience with swords, takes a huge two-handed monstrosity, a German two-handed blade called a zweihänder as a backup weapon (which is temporarily enchanted to make it easier for him to use). Millicent has cast a “masking spell” over the entire city to hide her presence from others . . . but not though the witchfinder (since she could only mask herself against everyone or the witchfinder – not both). It points them to Boston Light Lighthouse. Annie then says a prayer over them all and they depart to the only place.


Demons + Witch = Somehow Worse
Sir Al-Shams mac Lannageal, Annie Murphy, & Dr. Frankie Novella
Boston Light Lighthouse
January 28th, 1999, 6:00 am
Lovell Island Rd, Hull, MA 02045

Scoping out the area before they go in, Annie quickly comes up with a plan to pepper Millicent and her summoned demons from the lighthouse keeper’s home with ranged fire, while her, Frankie, Svalbad, and Ronan attack them on the ground. The fighting is fierce and even though they take down one of the giant demons from afar, the hellhounds make mincemeat out of the ground attackers –though they hold their own. Millicent counterattacks having a hooded figure (probably a enslaved sorcerer) make both Alvin and Little Paw fall unconscious on top of the house. Annie commands Ronan to deal with the sorcerer and he uses his ghostly abilities to appear behind the hooded figure before gutting him with a knife and shoving him over a cliff.

Annie meanwhile calls up a small legion of the drowned (zombie-like undead that can only be found near a body of water) to distract Millicent and help with the hellhounds. She then tries to take control of the ley line Millicent has tapped to complete her ritual. While Millicent and Annie are duking it out over the ley line – Frankie manages to lop the head off of one of the giant demons and attack a nearby hellhound, though before it dies it rends the muscle on the back of his thigh. Ignoring the wound he ties it off and continues to fight as oddly another hellhound attacks the two he had been fighting, crushing their skulls between its huge jaws. Annie calls it to her and it acts like a puppy when she calls it a “good boy.”

Al-Shams peppers one side of the battlefield with arrows, felling half a dozen hellhounds in seconds. Eventually all that’s left is Millicent in her circle and Bellinagar shackled nearby with iron chains. Annie calls to one of the Doormen (an agent of the Department of Telluric Regulation) to shut the line and they slam it so hard that both Annie and Millicent find their auras “singed.” Realizing she cannot win the fight she uses her last wish to escape just as Ronan begins to crack her warded circle. The aftermath of the battle scene is riddled with custos, Doormen, and other members of the Conclave.


Aftermath
The Conclave quickly shuts Millicent’s case and concludes that she must have “fried” herself trying to teleport (an impossibility – only nonliving incorporeal beings can teleport) across the ley line. Since Darius has disappeared, Annie finds herself having to stay in Boston to serve as the impartial neutral party between all the factions. There must always be a Murphy to serve witness or there will be war. Since she is having to take over Darius’s duties to the factions of the city, she also takes over his investigative firm – E1venth Hour 1nvestigations.

Woken one morning by the building’s owner where her “new” office is she heads down to find it’s been broken into, though nothing has been visibly removed. Cleaning the place up she notices a copy of Robert Browning’s poetry placed upside down. Knowing her uncle would never have left it that way, she opens it up to a highlighted passage “Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp,. Or what's a heaven for?” Ronan is the one who thinks it might be bloodink2, cuts Annie’s finger, and presses it to the page. Words of crimson appear on the page in Darius’ handwriting “Annie, please don’t look for me. I know what I’m doing.”

Meanwhile, in the front office the jukebox starts playing on its own, Dion and the Belmont’s “The Wanderer.” There is a knock at the door and a when Al-Shams answers, a average looking man with a eye patch, black hat, and dark trench coat asks if Darius is in. When he says no and asks the stranger his name, the jukebox starts skipping drawing Al-Shams attention for a second as the line “They don’t even know my name.” repeats over and over. When he looks back the one-eyed stranger is gone leaving only a empty doorway and the sound of ravens cawing in the distance . . .


After Action Reports/Game Notes
Everything just fell into place for this game. It went from A to B to C to ...you get the idea. I love it when things like that line up because it makes sense in a in-world context and makes the out-world session run all the smoother. The obvious nod to Odin at the end made me giggle like a schoolgirl (obvious All-Father is obvious) and made my players twinge a little. No one wants to come under the microscope of a deity.


Footnotes
1Veneniam is metal that has been forged in the fires of Hell. Wounds inflicted by it are agonizing and cannot be healed by supernatural means short of a power of “great good.” It tends to corrode quickly outside of Hell and can be had by anyone willing to deal with demons (and all that that entails).
2Bloodink is a special alchemical substance that remains invisible and undetectable except when someone who is related to the writer smears their blood on the page with the encoded message.



Session Soundtrack
"Ain't No Grave" by Johnny Cash (opening song)
"I'll Keep Coming" by Low Roar
"Fighting My Way Back" by Thin Lizzy
"Hell or High Water" by AC/DC
The Wanderer" by Dion and the Belmonts (closing song)

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