Ceteri Campaign: Double Session Report (E6 and E7)

What happened before

Kamali wakes up from his seizure, and the group is attacked by zombies. Lots of zombies. Our NPC Carl finds deep reserves of courage, and just will not die. The rest of us acquit ourselves very well, but take severe wounds in the process. We are forced to amputate Gabriel’s leg as the fight ends. That ends Episode 4.

Episode 6 featured a massive combat between us and some very irritated fae in a bowling alley. Ep 7 was all impulsive, panicked aftermath.

Let’s see how it all went down.

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 as they 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”

Episode Six: The Electric Bugaloo  (Third Timeskip: )

Finding ourselves back in game on the night of March 14th 1997, coming home from school, high on recent successes and trying to find out something to do with the time they had off. Myriam was out, leaving them with just the boys, Kamali’s sister, and the newest arrival to the house: Baby Grace. Left on the doorstep only six months prior and already a part of the household as she moved around in her bouncy chair with her frankenrabbit.

It was a hard sell for most of the boys, but once getting the moth out of Grace’s mouth and getting Kamali’s sister to promise to watch the baby everyone piled into Timothy’s car with Amos immediately claiming shotgun as the rest listened to his rules for riding in his vehicle as the cruised the freezing night with Carl in tow. It didn’t take long to get to a local bowling alley. The rivalry already heating up between Kamali and Timothy as a game of numbers was suggested, the one that got the most numbers from girls wins the bet.

Once inside, the boys split up, Timothy making a beeline to the weakest prey, Kamali setting himself up a circle with his smooth tongue, Gabe and Carl grabbing some lanes, Lorenzo grabbing a seat by the jukebox and Amos immediately heads for concessions.

The girl Timothy set his eyes on was pale, in a dark corner, uninterested on the going-ons and just sucking on a drink. Having avoided charm school, Timothy reached deep inside his mind to understand the female psyche and came up with the most ingenious plan that years of tutoring in the classic romances by Amos had given him. He tried to pay for her number.

Apparently this was the wrong thing to do.

Holding his cheek where it had been slapped, Timothy watched her walking out the back door of the alley before picking up his $10 and complaining to Amos that came over to offer him a cool drink. A complaint of many a man that don’t understand women was passed between the two before Timothy asked Amos to find out how many numbers Kamali had gotten so he would know how far behind he was in the bet, and trying to be the best wingman possible, he obliged.

“So, Kamali, how many numbers have you gotten?”

As subtle as a brick to the face, it didn’t take long for Kamali to fail to convince the group that he’d been charming that Amos was mistaken about what was being said and in a scene reminiscent of Airplane!, Kamali managed to feel Timothy’s pain fivefold as the girl group moved closer to Lorenzo instead, listening to the fine beat of his guitar. Kamali’s anger at Timothy and Amos fading away as the two rivals shared their painful experiences with each other while Amos silently sipped at his drink.

But the night was not all pain, instead they picked up a couple games and had fun while Lorenzo basked in his songwriting glory, flirting with a pretty little thing named Samantha, a girl working at her father’s candy store in town. Perhaps the only one that night to get any numbers that weren’t on a scoreboard and the end of their good times as a biker gang rolled into the building.

The most observant of the boys, Kamali, managed to figure out who they were, patches on the jackets with thunderclouds and lightning gave them away as Children of the Storm, a group of Unseelie fae and others that liked to ride around. Drawn to the group, perhaps by magic, perhaps by Lorenzo’s expert skill with the guitar, the group approached Kamali and asked for a game, even offering to cover things when Kamali tried to excuse themselves with being too broke.

Perhaps it was this that set off the bikers, or one of them catching sight of the Gabriel’s sword that he carried with him always. Instead of a friendly request, it was now a demand, they wanted the sword, it did not belong to him and it instead belonged in fae hands. As long as it was in any fae hands it would be fine. Just the demand for the sword alone was enough to rile up the boys, but when they also demanded that Lorenzo be taken with them as well, that was the last straw for the group when they turned out the bikers rather flatly.

What was expected to be a fun night out turned out to be more than they bargained for as one went for a backstab on Kamali who barely dodged out of the way. Timothy, drawing his knives charged towards the nearest back himself and slaughters one of them as Gabriel, Carl, and Amos were facing their own problems. Surrounded by fae themselves and an ogre problem growing to their right, the young paladin invoked the name of god to protect them temporarily as Amos fumbled with his pouch, drawing out his slingshot and nearly fumbling a steel ball.

Carl, on the other hand, did was came naturally to him. He heroically charged forwards towards the danger. His hands at the ready, a knife good to go, and he took the most natural action available:

He boxed the ogre’s location 11.

Some things should never happen as the ogre went cross-eyed at being touched in such a place and Carl took the advantage it gave him, slipping through the legs and climbing the colossal being’s back.
In the meantime Kamali and Timothy are trying to keep Lorenzo safe but are at a standstill against the leader of the biker gang. Trying to fight off the group lead to even Lorenzo getting hammered by the unseelie as he unleashed hereto unseen abilities to heal, keeping Timothy and Kamali on their feet for some time as the rest of the group fight their way the couple dozen feet towards them.
Gabriel on his peak as he slashes out with the sword he kept with him ever since the night of Bodachs and Boggles, the slain opponents die in a puff of green fire, and Amos desperate to help those that he considered friends searched his mind for how fae normally fight, firing off wildly at choices targets, but a slingshot is not considered a lethal weapon and only takes down a single opponent and knocks another unconscious when he gets a lucky hit on the fae’s solar plexus.

The ogre got off worse though as Carl’s onslaught blinds the beast. Two lucky shots and both eyes are removed and the brain scrambled, the young boy tumbles down along with his kill, full of renewed energy and a will to fight.

At the other end, Lorenzo is finally driven into a corner, taking damage himself and driving for cover over the side of a bench seat, the sounds of bones crackling all over the room before something emerges. Big, furry, and understandably ticked off as it charges straight for the bikers’ leader. Holding the fae in place and landing a hit for the first time in the short battle. Allowing the now clear Gabriel to come in from behind and the two helped him split.

It had taken a toll on Lorenzo though, falling back he passed out and reverted to his human form in tattered clothing. Barely taking a second to gather themselves and take a look at what happened before them, the boys immediately sprang into action. Kamali and Timothy stripping the bodies of valuables, Amos trying to get a coat of some kind over the passed out companion, Carl grabbing the security tapes from the back, and Gabriel attempting to interrogate the single fae they had managed to knock out.

“Did you know this sword was here?”
“We had no idea it was here, we were just coming in here to bowl. . . and maybe pick up a few morsels.”

Without a further bit of hesitation, they execute the fae with Carl dragging the ogre’s club behind him. The session ends with the boys hurrying into their car, the tail lights illuminating a little orange caution flag attached to the hilt of the rather large ogre club protruding from the trunk behind the boys.

Episode 7: Leeeroy Jenkins’ Revenge

We pick up after having fled the scene of a crime – the “Bowling Alley Massacre.” We’d taken come security footage, looted a bit, and then beat feet out of the alley, before the police come rushing to the sounds of gunfire.

First thing we do is call Myriam. We’re all piled into the car, and three cars back, there’s a motorcycle that’s following us. This guy was originally a part of the group that came in – there were 13 folks, and 12 bodies. We decide that we’ve got a dark elf tail, and we don’t want to lead her to our place. This particular tail is a sidhe, so no issues with running water. She’s also on a big phat Harley, so she’s sitting on massive amounts of iron. Hrm. No weakness there, either.

Nope, just an uber-powerful sidhe with a grudge to settle. Awesome sauce.

We talk to Myriam. She confirms we’re in deep trouble. The biker gang – the Children of the Storm – have a bit of “an eye for an eye” thing going, except it’s more like “grind your bones to make their bread and consume your soul” for an eye instead. She recommends we head for holy ground. It won’t kill ’em, but it might make them uncomfortable. We head for an abandoned church outside of town. It’s surrounded on three sides by water, and seems defensible. We head there, as quickly as practicable, and keep an eye out for reinforcements.

We note that there’s some bad weather incoming. We also note the very strong odor of wet dog, which pleases Timothy not at all (it’s his car).

The tail drops back to five car lengths, and when we pull into the church, she slows and turns around. Assuredly she’s getting help.

We pick the lock on the church (Timothy), and we start trying to make the place more defensible. There’s water about 100yds to the left of the building. Timothy notes he hasn’t gone potty in a while – can we do holy urine? No. That is a bad idea.

There are many icicles, though – perhaps we can have holy icicle throwing knives. Worth a shot.

We also try to call Myriam again; the incoming storm is messing with reception. We also hear a bunch of crows outside, and the sound of thunder. There is danger all around us. There are very few fae that take the form of ravens and their relatives. Most of those that can are sluagh (sloo-augh).

Kamali is going to try and parley; Gabe sets out with him as backup. We wonder if the biker gang code of honor will accept a duel or something; Lorenzo, who’s basically been more or less nekkid due to wolfing out last game (and if we live, you know we’re gonna talk about that). Kamali: “I wish to talk to the leader of this flock.”

Hundreds of red eyes focus on us in sudden silence. A mocking humanoid voice comes out of several beaks, asking what we have to parley with.

We do have trophies of the last battle. A hard-won fight. We can provide them to the sluagh in exchange for their departure.

They ask for Carl, as a tasty treat. We decline. Gabe counters that in one year they can choose three of the treasures we accumulate, and we will choose two of those to give them. They ask for five years, and Gabe agrees.

The ravens suddenly flock, and coalesce into a pale-skinned, pretty, ethereal looking woman with (you guessed it) raven-black hair.

She’s waiting for Kamali to ask questions: “How did you know we would be here?” She shrugs – she just knows. “How many Brothers are coming?” The entire local chapter – 104 of them. We ask for safe passage out of this deathtrap. She agrees – they can’t collect on their bargain if we’re dead. So we’re suddenly surrounded by black flapping, and dizzyingly transported to . . . some primeval looking forest. We’re in Underhill.

“Dude . . . where’s my car?” says Timothy. We hear something loud coming from above. We scatter. The car slams fatally (for it) into the ground. Gabe holds up a pistol head. “Was this important?”

Timothy loses his shit at Gabe for the destruction of his car. Kamali tells him look, it was life or car. A bunny the size of an English Hare comes out of the bushes – “can you folks shut up?”

The bunny: “Is this one of those automobiles? I saw those on the EB. Is that real leather interior?”

Timothy tells the bunny to shut the hell up and hop along. It hops up on the hood. “This feels weird on my butt!”

“Get. Off. My. Fucking. Car.”

“You’re not very nice. I mean, the guy who lost one leg is still nice. Did your mom not hold you enough?” He goes and gets a bag of Doritos, and starts crunching He offers Timothy some too. He’ll show us a way out of Underhill that we can fit through. It’s far, but not super far. And he’ll show us if he can ride in Timothy’s car. But not on the hood. Because “butt.”

Timothy states several conditions. No food in the car. It rides in the back seat. It exits the car when Timothy says so.

It finishes the doritos, cleans up, and gets his “bunny pack” which is full of snacks. “OK, the King’s Road is this way . . .”

We freak a bit. The “King’s Road” sounds like something dangerous, uncanny, or (even worse at this point) perhaps a “toll road.”

We wrack our brains for knowledge of this road and this king. This is also known as the Autumn road, ruled over by the Seelie King. We took the Autumn Road when Darius, Myriam’s son, took us from Alaska to home.

We have to get the car onto the road, though – and to do that, we have to push the car through the bushes. Of course, the rabbit wants us to do it, because “I hate that f’ker.”

Sigh. Kamali goes over and knocks on the bush. A fox comes out . . . “Hey, I don’t owe you no money . . . wait. Is that a carnomobile?!”

Yep. He’ll help us get the car onto the king’s road . . . if he can have a ride in the car.

Timothy is not OK with this. After the fox’s place, there will inevitably be a log with a frog, who wants a ride.

Gabe pats Timothy on the shoulder, and says “How ya doin’ there, Noah?” cause pretty soon his car is going to have two of every animal in it.

“Can’t we just burn this bush?”

“If you touch my house I will cut you,” is what the fox says. (Now we know). He pulls a knife.

Timothy pulls two.

This is not going well.

The fox says “you can’t burn my wife.”

What?

Suddenly, all the trees around have faces.

And a green-skinned woman comes out of the tree. OH! The fox’s wife is a Dryad. And pregnant, and

Kamali brings up his Public Speaking voice. “OK. We need to get to the King’s Road. We just want to pass by, but now everyone’s looking for rides, and there are women in trees. So, with sincerest hope, I ask that somebody just MOVE. Please.”

Some of the trees move. Some of the bushes move. The pregnant dryad bush does not move.

Amos offers to help out the dryad, since he’s got a bit of a green thumb.

The fox misinterprets. “Did you just proposition my wife? What do you think you’re going to do with that green thumb, eh?”

More wacky banter ensues, and eventually the fox does point out that he can just move the car to the road. We agree to the fox’s terms (a ride). He digs a hole under the car – it falls in, and it appears by the King’s Road.

No, really.

So we get on the road, and drive for two hours, after which we’re directed by the hare to pull over off the King’s Road, because “there’s going to be a procession.” A funeral procession.

OK. Far be it from us to interfere with a procession. In a bit, we hear hooves on cobblestones, the sound of drums and woodwinds playing a sullen beat. We see the funeral for the sidhe leader that Lorenzo and Gabe killed. He gets up (!), and walks up to us all. He does not leave the King’s Road.

Kamali and Gabe show a bit of respect.

The sidhe says “I was trying to save you, you know. That sword is cursed.”

Gabe: “Well . . . you could have opened with that.”

“You will suffer greatly. As do all humans who use that sword.”

Gabe looks down at his missing leg, as if to say “no shit.”

“No. That’s mere suffering. Mortification of the flesh. You will go irredeemably mad.”

Kamali: “I think we’re already there.”

Dead Sidhe: “My father will make you rue this day.”

We move on, and travel for another three hours, and arrive at the place where we were to stop . . . but there’s a giant festival there. “Oh, no. The King moved his court. Y’all might want to come back to my place and stay for ten or twelve years.”

We start in to the festival. They stop us at the gate. “You can’t come in here with those shoes.”

Huh?

Human shoes, and wait, we’re not even fae. Little men, you won’t even last five minutes here. He disappears, and brings back attire from the 14th or 15th century.

Kamali says “No way. You see, I’m a moor. I can’t dress like this.”

Oh. He’s confused. He wanders off to find a solution. We just walk in. There’s a dance floor in the middle of the clearing. Doors lead to chambers and bedrooms, but they’re just frames. There are lots of people – nearly all sidhe – and they’re all high nobility.

Suddenly the hottest woman anyone has ever seen literally slides along Timothy’s car. “This is a 1959 Plymouth Fury, isn’t it? And . . .you’re mortal, aren’t you? Are you . . . a murderer? A killer of men? You seem dangerous.” She smiles at him, and he feels very talkative.

“I’m not a murderer.”

“So, you’re not a killer.” She sounds disappointed.

“I didn’t say that.”

“You have blood on your hands . . . ” and she reaches down, and the softest, most enticing hand imaginable clasps Timothy’s hand gently. “I’m just wondering what’s under the hood.”

They banter on in that vein. She hammers him with Sex Appeal, and his pants are blazing for her. To borrow a line from Mystery Men, “I think my pants are shrinking too.” She really wants to get in that car. He really wants to show her. He pops the hood. (a joke is made about popping the trunk/boot instead). We decide that’s highly amusing, so Timothy accidentally opens the trunk. She takes advantage from his distraction, pushes him in, and the windows magically go up, and um, we fade to black. Erky, erky, erky, etc. Timothy got the magic nookie whammy from a fae noblewoman. He picks up a point in Erotic Art. Because to borrow a line from BvS, “I’m sure that wasn’t all she taught you.”

While Timothy is otherwise engaged, Amos gives us the rundown on the dos and don’ts of interacting with the fae (don’t make any deals. Don’t give out too much information – or any, if you can. That which is said three times is true. Etc.).

Current gossip around the court is that there was a murder of a high-born prince in Boston in the mortal world. We assume that our dead sidhe is the King’s son, or some king’s son. After all, dead guy is a prince. Yep, that’s who he was. On the King’s arm is a stunning not-fae woman dressed all in red.

Ailill Ó Braonáin was the slain prince. Duke Tierney Ó Braonáin, Dukedom of the Steel Road, was the father.

To get out of here, we decide to pay tribute to the King, and Lorenzo sings the song of the battle, telling a magnificant tale of combat, where there are no good guys or bad guys. The dead prince’s father openly weeps, and is carried off the field.

The king descends from his throne. “Tell me, bard . . . did you come here just to sing that song?” Nope. “He had his faults, but he was one of us, my sister’s son. But for this masterpiece, this song, I will give you one boon.”

We discuss for a bit, and then Lorenzo pulls the third Leeroy Jenkins of the night, and whispers in the King’s ear. He wants the king to command a trial by combat between our side and theirs to settle the matter of the Dukeling’s death.

This was actually a plan I suggested on a Discord channel we have for the game stuff – a fight between Gabe and whomever.

We head back to the car, to see a woman slink away, looking very satisfied – the kind of look you get post Thanksgiving on a tryptophan sleep. Timothy is . . . barely conscious. And chafe.

The King transports us back to Earth. The King will command the combat with the Children of the Storm.

We arrive on Boston commons three days after we left.

We are so going to be grounded. We made a deal with the slaugh. We were gone for three days. We have a trial by combat with an evil sidhe biker gang to settle a score. And Timothy got jiggy with an ethereally beautiful fae noble in the back of his car. (Y’all have seen Beowulf, right? That sort of liaison has long-term impacts)

We text Myriam. She commands us home, and gives us zero wiggle room. We give the entire story, mostly. Kamali gets smacked one for prevarication, and then we all get hugged. As she’s about to hug Timothy, he says:

“I think I’m gonna be a dad.”

Aftermath

We made deals with the fae. Three of them. Gabe arranged for five years of non-interference in the fight between the Children of the Storm and us . . . and then when we were Underhill, Lorenzo arranged for an unavoidable duel. Finally, a “deal” that involved carnal relations between Timothy and his faerie princess.  None of these will end well. Deals with the fae never do.

 

Ep 6 Commentary (Christopher):

I surprised the players by going straight for the action vs. a “decompression session.” I’d worked up three possible angles for the players to pursue and, of course, left open the door of “PCs do crazy things.” The “I can get more girls to give me numbers than you can” between Merlin’s and Richard’s character was hilariously appropriate for teenagers and Christopher’s ruining it with his nerdy oblivious behavior was so cringe worthy, amazing, and attention-capturing.

The combat itself was the deadliest one I’ve ran to date. A mix of strong, fast, tough, and capable combatants armed with magic, divine powers, and items of supernatural power produced a situation that would have killed to player characters (Kamali and Timothy) if it weren’t for a Christian spending character points to point one of his abilities. This was *intentional* the PCs took the toughest possible road ignoring the vampire thread completely. The Children of the Storm are something I’ve kept in my proverbial pocket for a while now and I’m pretty happy I finally get to use them. The PCs did managed to kill the sidhe leader of the gang . . . but that is not going to end well. The “white-hilted sword” that Gabriel possess appears to belong to the fae (or at least they thing it does). The fact that he wouldn’t give it to them (or he did eventually – right through the back) is going to create repercussions for years to come in Boston.

The Conclave finally got involved in B-Team too – though a bit indirectly. Should be interesting to see how things turn out. Carl remains awesome – with him fully stated now he’s got a decent explanation for why he can do crazy stuff and still survive. He was 10 years old during this game session and killed an ogre using Tricksy Hobbitses Tactics.
Overall, the session was great and I had a lot of fun as a GM and spectator.

Ep 7 Commentary (Christopher):

This session just exploded at the beginning an didn’t really stop exploding – in a good way. There were so many “mistakes” and the player characters making knee jerk reactions that the repercussions of last night’s game session is going to be felt in the game world for YEARS. Doug does a good job of summing stuff up, but from a GM view the player characters are in trouble – Mara and her sluagh are going to back the trial along with the High King which will force the Children of the Storm to send their best and request a battle to the death because if the sluagh are there and one of their number falls they will be dead. So the only way they can even the field is to do the same to their opponents.

Not to mention Timothy’s “liaison” and Gabe’s agreeing to give “two of three treasures five years from now.” Overall. A pretty amazing session.

Ep 6 Soundtrack

Soundtrack

Boys are Back in Town” by Thin Lizzy (Opening Song)
Hotline Bling” by Drake (Numbers “Contest”)
The Ballroom Blitz” by Sweet (Bowling Alley Brawl)
Soul of a Man” by Steven Stern (Cover)
Born to Be Wild” by Steppenwolf (Closing Song)

Ep 7 Soundtrack

Mr. Brightside” by The Killers (opening song)
Riders on the Storm” by the Doors
Xplosion” by OutKast
Fight to the Death” by White Wizzard
King of the Road” by Roger Miller (closing song)

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