The Chronicles of Ceteri (B-Team): Yukon Take It With You

What happened before

The group was moved into a new orphanage after the deaths of all their parents by the same serial killer. We get to know each other, and both friendships and rivalries are formed. We meet Myriam, the proprietor of the place, who always carries a knife and resembled Sigourney Weaver, with facial scarring. We settle in, and eventually are led to go to a house, and encountered a horrible spirit – a soul-eating fae that preys on children. We defeat it in decisive battle, helped by no small amount of luck. We confess all to Myriam at the end, who turns out to be a bad-ass monster hunter type. She starts us in a brutal and effective training regime, which lasts for two years . . .

Dramatis Personae

Kamali Blackshear (14): Kamali is a young boy in his early teens. He is healthy and is of mixed ethnicity of Caucasian South African and native South African. He is a determined youth who believes in a justice of his own, likening himself to the knight of the round whom he has read deeply into. Just asthey stood against the darkness of their age so too does Kamali seek to do the same. For his sister, for his friends, and for the world.

Tag: “A knight without a sword carrying a faith nobody believes.”

Lorenzo DeModouco (15): A handsome and charismatic musician. The loss of his parents didn’t dampen his spirits and he soldiered on after their death. He’s the cheery one always trying to make others happy and sometimes spontaneously breaks into song. Perceptive of others and their feelings, Lorenzo is the one who knows what people are thinking by the looks on their face. He’s also a boy scout and is quite comfortable in the wild.

TAG: “He’s a Jukebox Hero. He’s got stars in his eyes. A Jukebox Hero – he’ll make sure you survive.”

Amos M. Humiston (15) – A comfortable existence turned upside down, he’s still shell-shocked from what happened to his parents and has switched from a small and chatty boy to a small and quiet boy. Amos tends to quietly slip along after the group leaving a trail of books read behind him. And though he doesn’t volunteer himself quite yet, he’s always happy to help the best he can without showing off his intelligence, though that doesn’t stop him from being happy to do so when it’s possible.

Gabriel MacAlister (14) – Built like the natural athlete he is, he shows signs of growing even larger and stronger. A fairly quiet and hard working lad, always ready to lend a hand with any work, which he will do without complaint or obligating the other person to respond. Emphatically not a pushover or weak personality, but also not one to purposefully show off. Has been in many horrible places and seen many horrible things; he’s a bit of a compulsive planner as a result, as well as always feeling that most folks don’t really know how lucky they are.

Tag: “To serve others is the highest calling; to protect the meek the noblest endeavor.”

Timothy I Mitchell (16): Timothy possess an honest if forgettable face. He tends towards comfortable, though inexpensive clothing and durable running shoes, rounding off his typical attire is a deep pocketed jacket and a backpack slung over one shoulder. Timothy appears to be a poster-boy for bad kids, often finding himself in trouble with any and all forms of authority. A victim of neglect, driven to never become a victim again he often acts seemingly on impulse, taking any dare or challenge in his stride. Timothy doesn’t have friends, not in any real sense. Too few of the people who enter his orbit can deal with him in anything more than bite sized pieces, a fact which only further frustrates the young teenager.

Tag: “Darkness is within all of us, it’s how you use that darkness that matters”

Yukon Take it With You

  • Home
  • Wednesday, December 6th, 1995, 1:00 pm
  • 7 Louders Lane, Jamaica Plain Boston, MA 02130-43422

Two years have passed. We’ve grown larger, more studious in the interim, and all of us have become remarkable people. Except Lorenzo, who hasn’t given me his description and so is a blank slate. We are told we’re all going to go to support Lorenzo as he gets his Extreme Conditions merit badge. Those that don’t have backpacks (like Gabe) are given one, and we settle in to what must be fifteen pounds of roast beef.

We pack our stuff, including a fairly impressive array of weaponry for a bunch of teenagers. No one seems to notice or comment on Gabe’s white-hilted sword.

We travel for more than 30 hours, via plane, small plane, smaller plane, and various other conveyances. Alex Lawton is one of the scouts, and his uncle, Robert Lawton, is flying the plane and supervising the trip. Carl Stanford is another scout seeking his badge. That makes the PCs, Alex, Carl, and Robert. Alex and Robert are obviously native american; Alex might also be part Korean. Carl is a happy-go-lucky, annoyingly cheerful boy out on his first big adventure.

We call him RedShirt, instantly.

When we land in the Yukon, it’s the coldest day on record; -53 degrees (-47C). Between our arctic clothing and good HT, we’re good, but still: damn.

Rented House
Friday, December 8th, 1995, 9:00 am
15 Prospector Street, Ross River, Yukon, Canada

We all realize that we’d get all dead very fast here, so we all look carefully into things like maps and whatnot. We haul the gear into a range rover, pack up the plane, and drive for 10-15 minutes. It’s a small house, three rooms. The living room and kitchen are one thing, a bathroom, and an extra bedroom. With a big fireplace. If we sleep inside, we’ll all pile into the living room.

We’ll actually take snowmobiles up to the site, then we’ll stash ’em and snowshoe out the rest of the way. We’re headed into Chippewa territory; we need to worry about Grizzlies, Polar bears, angry lynxes, and burial grounds.

Robert Lawton asks which of us can shoot. Gabe raised his hand, and so was given one of the hunting rifles. Various parts of us are already freezing.

We’ve got 48 hours to kill, so Amos reads (and remembers) every book in the house. We all invent super-elaborate ways to kill time, and then head out.

We ensure we know exactly where we’re going, double-routes in case there’s trouble, and things are well-mapped. When Gabe looks down, he notes that the maps look an awful lot like the SFOD-D maps that my father was definitely not supposed to show me.

We all take a jog and familiarize ourselves with the snow shoes, and figure out how quickly we get tired, and how to move. Then we practice making a snow-base, and other stuff. We’re fast learners, making perfect shelter and base camp location, including a shelter. We move in circles for four hours of practice, trying to pick up survival skills, and by and large we do.

Kamali sets into set a fire; he’s a city boy, so we’re all like “oh, I can do better.” It becomes a competition; we all go to gather kindling, and then start the fire, and Christopher takes notes on who does what, and even some surprisingly useful Hobby skills. We all successfully make the fire, and then it’s a matter of keeping it going. And the final winner is . . . well, Lorenzo then Gabe found the best firewood, all the scrap from the wood-chopping, and started it the fastest, followed by Amos. Gabe and Lorenzo kept it up the longest. So overall, Lorenzo seems to win.

While we’re doing this, Carl starts talking very knowledgeably about primitive fire-starting methods, explaining stuff, things he’s pre-made. We button up for the night; Gabe notices Lorenzo isn’t quite buttoned up. He fixes him up, and I crit-succeed my HT roll for warmth; Lorenzo, thanks to Gabe’s help, also is no problem. The rest are cold but safe. Kamali goes back inside, noting that we can go be ourselves, but he’s going inside like God intended. On the other hand, he does come outside periodically, along with Amos, to turn the fire periodically.

Gabe is just happy and snoozin’ away.

We wake up . . . and very much miss the smell of bacon and hoe-cakes.

Gabe and Timothy decide we’re going to go hunting. Alex goes too. Lorenzo sets some snares, and follows Kamali into town; Karl follows along shadowing the pair.

Gabe and Timothy
20 miles west of Rented House
Friday, December 8th, 1995, 9:00 am
Ross River, Yukon, Canada

On the hunting trip; Gabe does the tracking, and is very impressed with Timothy’s fieldcraft and quietness. We hike out about 20 miles or so; we see a stag on the hill across a clearing. He’s with a small herd. The stag has an absolutely magnificent set of antlers; an 18-point buck.

Gabe takes aim very carefully, and pulls the trigger deliberately on an empty chamber; we have plenty of food, and don’t need to kill to eat. Still, it would have been mine. The deer bolt and run off.

So we just hiked 20 miles to scare some deer. Timothy’s glare on the 20 mile hike back says exactly this.

Back in town, Kamali strikes up a conversation with a local, who is confused – he asks Kamali what tribe he’s from, and Kamali describes his mixed ancestry. The guy, who looks like Lou Diamond Philips, asks if we’re up here with the Lawton boy (Alex) as the conversation turns to squirrel bacon and goose eggs. Amos discovers a bowl of marbles on the shelf; they’re not glass – turns out that they’re some sort of local stone. Amos isn’t sure what kind.

They do hear a story of a shaman that went bad 200 years ago; many left because of it, and he brought a lot of bad medicine with him. The locals eventually took him out into the land and staked him down to die of exposure. He couldn’t move from the spot he was at. No one knows

Gabe and Timothy hike out and back – 40 miles – and we’re both long-distance runner types with snowshoes, Hiking, and Very Fit. We more or less kite poor Alex along in our wake, making ridiculously good time; Alex is going to be unable to walk for a while.

As Gabe moves,he crit-succeeds a Per roll, and discovers a pair of discarded deer antlers, perfectly shed. It’s a rare find; they came off all in one piece, which is a very valuable piece; he offers it to Timothy; he accepts, not knowing their value.

When Lorenzo and those guys come back from town, there are three rabbits dead in the trap. Nice. Lorenz butchers them.

When we come back, they ask where we went. Timothy grunts at him. Then shows off the antlers; Timothy’s kind of down that we hiked so long, Robert says we could fetch $3600 for them. Timothy refuses to sell them; they were a gift from his brother. And Kamali’s supernatural sensitivity goes off; there’s something up with them. We’ve been briefed in on Kamali’s talents; if he says there’s something odd about them, there’s something odd. If he says he’s talkin’ to a dead ghost, he’s talking to a ghost. “You didn’t find these by accident.”

“Nothing happens by accident,” Gabe notes faithfully.

Into the Wild

So, the merit badge requires us to go out into the wilderness on our own plus Robert, hike to a location, and live there on our own for five days. He’s the one who will ultimately decide who gets badges and who doesn’t, in the end, but other than refereeing, he’s gong to let us do our thing.

Camping Ground
Friday, December 9th, 1995, 5:00 am
Fort Smith, Unorganized Northwest Territories, Canada
62°56'31.6"N 129°02'29.9"W

We’ll head off into McKinsey mountains into a basin there, and set up camp.

We snowmobile something like 130 miles out of town. We each get a map for the location we’re going into, shown how to read it, and otherwise prepare. We head out, but it took Kamali and Lorenzo a bit to get used to the power of the snowmobiles; Carl doubled up with Alex, who knows what he’s doing. It takes us about 3 hours to cover the 130 miles; that’s not terribly fast as snowmobiles go.

We note on the map that we could get access to both good shelter and good water by hiking about five miles upward into the hills, to a mountain lake, the Natla lake. We’re sitting at -20F, but we’re well protected; the +5 bonus we get from our excellent quality clothing. Kamali is dragging large branches behind him for firewood

We wind up going to the tip of the Natla river; it’s a stunning view. About 20 feet from the water, the forest starts. There’s also a bit of clearing, and a rock foundation, and it looks like someone started to build a cabin here, but it was abandoned. Underneath a tightly-wound canvas, there’s a very large pile of cedar and hawthorne wood that’s probably been there for like 30 years. Amos finds a cache of hand tools, nails, hammers, and all sort of things. Hell, even a 1970s wood stove still sealed in plastic.

The weather is about perfect; 0 degrees Fahrenheit: It almost feels warm enough to take off our arctic gear. We ponder building a cabin up here with the materials and earning our construction badges . . . and Kamali absolutely refuses for a while, to build a cabin. Not enough time, and more importantly . . .

Timothy jumps in. While the group is interested, almost driven, to build the cabin, Kamali is firmly reminded that the entire group had willingly entered a dangerous house – which turned out to have actual monsters in it – purely on the premise of rescuing a ghost, in order to safe his sister, and since Gabe and Lorenzo can earn extra merit badges by engaging in the construction task as well as the survival one, that really, being the holdout here is not how “brothers” in the “Band of . . .” behave. Reminded of his duty, he makes his choice, and having made his choice, he gets a feeling. The certainty that, in fact, we really, really need to take this gift and build a house.

“Tell you what guys, we have to build this. Like Gabe said earlier, “nothing happens by accident,” and we need to do this.”

Given Myriam’s admonition to us, we take him seriously. Our Weather Sense is telling us that we’ll have nice, clear weather (barring supernatural interference) for several days. Kamali pulls out all the stops, Leadership to motivate the group. Carpentry for a plan. Then he’ll turn it over to Gabe, who also has carpentry and both single-minded and the diligent virtue to carry this to completion.

With many bonuses and great rolls, we git r done: Gabe makes his natural skill roll by 6, and with bonuses and cards played it takes it to a critical success: we get a ton done, and are inspired rather than exhausted from the work. We get the foundation cleared, shore it up, and get ready to go. The thing has a full-on root cellar, and even a basement. This thing is more like a homestead than a shack. We even find boxes of plates, perfectly preserved.

This entire site was basically built for us. Hawthorn wood also has mystical properties:

Hawthorn Wood

Masculine energy. Hawthorn is a sacred tree of Celtic Astrology 13 May to 9 June. Considered sacred by the Celtic summer flower maiden Olwen, also associated with the owl. This tree is also sacred to Aquarius and the windlord Vashaan. It was often planted in the parameters of a cottage for protection. It is believed that fairies live in the hedges of Hawthorn especially if near ash or oak. Associated with the element of Air.

Magical Properties: Hawthorn wands open insight, provides psychic protection, encourages creativity, used to make charms, aids in the development of self confidence, purification, develops patience, detects magic since it is deeply magical from outer realms, used in weather working, banishment of evil spirits, concealing magic, chastity, male potency, and fairy magick.

by DragonOak

Associated with the Greek Goddess Persephone during her detainment in the Underworld. Also associated with the Celt Goddess Sezh that watches over the realm of fertility, herbs, and trees. Used by King Solomon, one of the greatest mystics of all time, in the building of the temple in Jerusalem.

Magical Properties: Cedar wands cleanses negative atmospheres. Used for the creation of sacred spaces. Related to longevity, protection, and preservation. Often used to summon helpful spirits during rituals and invocations.

Camping Ground
Friday, December 9th, 1995, 7:00 pm
Fort Smith, Unorganized Northwest Territories, Canada
62°56'31.6"N 129°02'29.9"W

More digging in the basement reveals all sorts of stuff. We find books. A whole trunk of books. We find a sword. It’s a cavalry sabre, and it’s got writing on it: MacAlister. Hey, that’s my name.

All of the books are hand-written; one in red leather is entirely in code. There’s a book that lists the best ways to kill a werewolf, or deal with spirits. This is a treasure trove for folks like us.

Gabe picks up the sword. It feel light and nice. I take out the other sword with the white hilt. The white-hilt sword feels weird and strange and light; the other just feels like a cavalry sabre.

Kamali touches the cavalry sabre, and falls to the ground, having a convulsion. As he falls, he hits a wall; dust falls from writing engraved in the wall.

They’re family names, written on the wall in an odd script:

  • Caitlin Blackshear
  • Alice Waite
  • Marion Murphy
  • Alexander McAllister
  • Pantaleone de Moduco
  • John Brandt
  • Silvana Pellegrino

Aftermath

This session was a lot of prep and roleplay. Getting to know our new characters, making some skill rolls, and feeling out personalities shaped by two years of hard training. For example, Timothy would have really never just gone on a 20 mile hike with Gabe two years ago; now, they have a competitive relationship, but a healthy one.

A lot of setting building this game, and we expect the other shoe to drop next time.

After Action Report/Game Notes (Christopher)

Today’s game started off without a lot of action and a bit slow. I don’t mean slow as in “no one was doing anything” – people were doing a LOT of stuff. It was mostly a “slow burn” as people got used to their own characters again after the two-year timeskip. This wasn’t something I intentionally did, but rather a happy circumstance and something I’ll be doing again. People need time to decompress in character and that’s truly something I didn’t even figure we’d need.

Overall, the players portrayed their characters admirably and everyone made a ton of rolls for skills they didn’t have. Christian got some major spotlight time and I will be continuing that trend (hopefully) next game. I need to include Amos some more as well, but I’m not sure how I’m going to do that (yet).

I really like how the game is going and I hope I can continue to make my players happy.

Soundtrack

It Falls on Me” by Fuel (Opening Song)
Aeroplane” by Red Hot Chili Peppers (boarding the airplane)
All Along the Watchtower” by Gabe Witcher (traveling in the wilderness)
Working Man” by Rush (building the cabin)
Secrets” by OneRepublic  (Closing Song)

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